The Hobbit brings back fond memories

Jeroen Steenbeeke  
In the next few days, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will premiere in theaters worldwide. To celebrate this occasion, I've teamed up with a number of other fantasy and supernatural fiction writers in a 4-day blog hop. As part of this blog hop, I'm giving away 2 sets of ebooks of the entire Hunter in the Dark trilogy, in a format of the winner's choice (MOBI, EPUB or PDF). One set can be won by participating in the Blog Hop's Rafflecopter, which you can find on the Blog Hop main page, along with a number of other fabulous prizes.

The other set of ebooks can be won right here, by doing the following:
  1. Follow me ( @JSteenbeeke) on Twitter
  2. Tweet about this blog post, or retweet one of my links
  3. Reply to this post with a link to your Tweet (or to my own with a mention of your account, if you retweeted), and what your thoughts are about the Hobbit movies (and the book, if you've read it)

Note that I will only give away the second set if there are at least 10 entries. The winner will be picked using a random number generator, and will be contacted through Twitter by direct message. If I am not able to send you a direct message (because you unfollowed me, for instance), a new winner will be picked. The winner for my blog will be announced on the 16th of December. Note that the winner of the main blog hop giveaway will not be eligible to win the second set (as you'll be getting the first set).

My first time reading The Hobbit

I first read the Hobbit when I was ten or eleven. After repeated attempts of getting the Dutch translation at our local library, I finally gave up and took the original English version home instead. It was the first book I read in English, and I vividly recall struggling through those first few pages. Some of you may find this surprising, but you have to understand that my knowledge of English mostly came from Star Trek, so when I encountered the word "handkerchief", I had no idea what it was supposed to mean. This being the early 90s, I couldn't simply Google the word and get a dozen dictionaries to explain it. Fortunately, we did own a paper English to Dutch dictionary, so I figured it out eventually, but boy, was I off to a rough start.

But once I got started, I breezed through the story. I had already read the Dutch translation of Lord of the Rings by then, and I found The Hobbit much easier to follow. And it didn't take me long to finish. It was a good story: an exciting adventure with plenty of humor and suspense, but essentially a children's story. I remembered thinking the story was over too soon.

I guess the most important thing for me is that it opened the door for me to start reading other books in their original language. Today I rarely read translated works, unless I do not speak the language a book was written in, or the text is so sophisticated I couldn't make sense of it otherwise (i.e. reading Nietzsche in the original German).

And what about the movies?

As of writing this, I have not yet seen the second Hobbit movie, but I have seen the first. In my opinion, I don't think the story is big enough to justify three entire movies. Sure, there is plenty of background material to draw upon, and it's nice to see the Dol Guldur plot receive more than a casual mention by Gandalf, but at times the first movie felt stretched a bit too far. On the other hand, I did find the book to be a bit on the short side, so in that regard the elaboration is welcome, not to mention the stunning visuals which do wonders for my imagination. The singing Dwarfs I could have done without, even if that part was true to the book.

In closing

I will definitely go see the new movie, and I can't imagine not seeing the final part either. And despite my misgivings about the elaborated storyline and singing Dwarfs, I will definitely enjoy this movie as well. And on that note, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the book and the movies!

Again, don't forget to head over the blog hop page to win lots of other prizes.