Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Q&A: Hobbit and LOTR Order, Age, Worthiness

First, I need to vent a bit.  I have some serious questions bothering me.  The first of them is: why don't I live in England?  Also, maybe I should stop following the blog of the Tolkien Society.  They are always posting updates about Oxonmoot and Tolkien toast parties and most recently, Tolkien Weekend in Newcastle.  Also, just warning you, multiple Merlin gifs impending.

Feeling upset there are no events in my area :(
Anywho...I actually have a question here from my friend about the order to read the books in.

Q: Should I read The Hobbit books before or after I read The Lord of the Rings?
A: First off, I just want to give you an internet hug because you are awesome for deciding to read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit!

Oh, and a quick clarification.  While there are three Lord of the Rings volumes, there is but one for The Hobbit; it can get confusing though because of the movie adaptations.

It's a bit different for every reader depending on why you want to read the books, but I would generally recommend reading The Hobbit first is the best way to go.  You can however, read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings on their own.  The reason I would recommend The Hobbit first is simply because it is chronologically the first story.  It can get confusing (especially for people who saw the Lord of the Rings movies first and then The Hobbit when they came out later) to read things out of order.

Keep in mind as you're reading that The Hobbit is written in a different style and different time than The Lord of the Rings, so even if you find The Hobbit isn't your favorite, keep going to The Lord of the Rings.  I'll be honest and say The Hobbit is my least favorite of the Middle-earth books I've read (not that I dislike it, of course).

Even if The Hobbit's not your thing...

Q: What age group do you think it is appropriate to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings?
A: Regarding The Hobbit, I think it is suitable for kids of all ages, frankly.  It was geared towards kids and though it does have some dark moments (the goblin tunnels come to mind) Tolkien always balances those times out perfectly with little humorous details.  For example, Bilbo is alone in the dark of a cave, but instead of making it completely horrifying, Tolkien makes a big deal about how self-conscious Bilbo feels because the buttons of his waistcoat have fallen off.  My nephew is five years old and I would love it if he could sit still long enough for me to read the story to him.  I think it is a good tale for kids but might be hard to keep their attention if they like pictures.
Young Mordred is probably old enough to read The Hobbit.  I mean, he already looks like one.
The Lord of the Rings is longer and more complex.  It does have darker themes, but you can read the story and still enjoy it without knowing about the themes.  I think a mature ten year old would be able to handle the book, but it ranges widely.  Base it off of how well they deal with anxiety (don't want them feeling down in the dumps because of heavy themes) and honestly how well they do with comprehension (especially since there are multiple story lines happening at once).

If you're on the fence about whether your child should read these stories, put it off for a little while.  It would be a shame for them to try and read it but dislike it because it is too challenging.  Then they might get a bad impression of the story and never pick it up again!  I would appease them with The Chronicles of Narnia or just The Hobbit for the time being.

Q: I've heard these books are dry and tedious.  Should I read them anyway?
A: Well you've probably already guessed my response.

Read them.  If the beginning is boring, keep reading--it gets better.  If you seriously hate the writing, watch the movies, and re-read them. 

Gwaine in this image is The Lord of the Rings.  It's worth it.


  1. Oh my goodness that Gwain hair flipping gif is the best! I can see you're loving Merlin. :)

    1. I really am! Hopefully finishing season three soon :D

  2. *sigh* I feel you, sister. Don't we all we wish we could live somewhere else besides our boring old Kansas? No, I don't live in Kansas but I really like The Wizard of Oz... Somewhere over the rainbow lies... ENGLAND XD

    Anyway, I'm currently trying to get my younger sister to read The Hobbit but she is giving me a hard time. I WILL NOT GIVE UP!

    1. XD Ah England...

      Keep going! I support this effort :)