I think the way I'll structure these posts is that I'll post my thoughts on the chapter as a whole, mention whatever particular things I feel are worth mentioning or discussing, and list off some favorite passages. I might also think up a discussion question or two. Then you can comment with your own thoughts on the chapter, reactions to my post, your own questions, your favorite lines, etc.
Also, I'm putting in page numbers when I quote things -- you don't have to if you don't want. That's more for my future reference than anything. But, just so you know, all my page references come from my copy, which is from the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston and New York, the edition that was first published in Great Britain by Harper Collins Publishers in 1994.
Okay, enough of that. Time for the important stuff!
Ahhh, Hobbits. Aren't they delightful? I love how Tolkien speaks of them as if they're real, saying they "are becoming hard to find." Helps me slip into the fictive world so easily.
If you're reading this book for the first time, please don't get scared away by all the place names and different breeds of Hobbits listed here. You don't need to remember them; there won't be a test or a pop quiz. Anything that's important will get brought up again later.
I don't know about you, but my house is full of mathoms, and I love the description here of them.
WARNING! Once again, if you haven't read this or The Hobbit, but you're watching Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies and do not want to know how that all ends, this prologue contains spoilage in the fourth section, "Of the Finding of the Ring." Skip the first paragraph and you'll be okay. Or skip the whole first part and begin again with "Now it is a curious fact..."
But in the days of Bilbo, and of Frodo his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great (p. 2).
...they were, perhaps, so unwearyingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them... (p. 5).
...they liked to have books filled with things that they already knew, set out fair and square with no contradictions (p. 7).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Do you read prologues? Forewords? Did you read these? If so, did you find them useful and/or enjoyable, or do you just want to get into the story already?
(Don't feel like you have to answer the discussion questions if you don't feel like it -- just comment with whatever you want to share, ask, or explain!)