Review Novel The Hobbit

Jumat, 18 November 2011

Poor Bilbo Baggins! An unassuming and rather plump hobbit (as most of these small, furry- footed people tend to be ), Baggins finds himself unwittingly drawn into adventure by a wizard named Gandalf and 13 dwarves bound for the Lonely Mountain, where a dragon named Smaug hordes a stolen treasure. Before he knows what is happening, Baggins finds himself on the road to danger. Wizards, dwarves and dragons may seem the stuff of children's fairy tales, but The Hobbit is in a class of its own--light-hearted enough for younger readers, yet with a dark edge guaranteed to intrigue an older audience. In the best tradition of the archetypal hero's quest, Bilbo Baggins sets out on his fateful journey a callow, untested soul and returns--tempered by hardship, danger and loss--a better man--er, hobbit.
This book is the predecessor to Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, and though that trilogy can be thoroughly enjoyed without first reading The Hobbit, much that happens in the later novels is foreshadowed here. A word of caution, however: as Bilbo discovers early on, travel and adventure are addictive things; embark on this journey to the Lonely Mountain with Tolkien's reluctant hero, and you might not be able to stop there. And the road taken to the distant mountains of Mordor in the ensuing trilogy is an even more perilous one.
Saya: Kisah Bilbo Baggins, anak dari Belladonna Took, cucu Old Took yang termasyur...Bilbo yang masih muda n single, bertemu Gandalf. Pertemuan itu membawa 12 kurcaci ke rumah Baggins n mulailah mereka ber-14 melakukan perjalanan mengambil kembali harta karun milik Raja Dari Bawah Gunung (kurcaci)...dari sinilah Bilbo terkenal sebagai Si Pencuri berkat cincin yg bisa menghilangkan tubuhnya...(Frodo belum ada waktu itu)
Marchel: Gw dapat buku ini di Book War I FPI 2010 5 Desember 2010Cerita tentang petualangan seorang Hobbit bernama Bilbo Baggins dengan ke 13 kurcaci untuk merebut kembali harta kekayaan kurcaci dari naga bernama Smaug.

Ayu: Tolkien's writings are kinda too hard for me yet this one is very entertaining :)
Matt: Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? Unless you are an author of equal worth to the one whose work you review, what powers of prose and observation are you likely to have to fitly adorn the work?

'The Hobbit' is at one level simply a charming adventure story, perhaps one of the most charming and most adventurous ever told. There, see how simple that was? If you haven't read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable. At some level, there is little more to say. Enjoy the story as the simple entertainment it was meant to be. Read it to your children and luxuriate in the excitement and joy that shines from their faces. That's enough.

But if it was only simple entertainment, I do not think that it would be anything more than just a good book. Instead, this simple children's story resonates and fascinates. It teases and hints at something larger and grander, and it instructs and lectures as from one of the most subtle intellects without ever feeling like it is instructing, lecturing or being condescending.

At its heart, the complaint I opened the review with is just a variation on one of the many nuanced observations Tolkien makes in 'The Hobbit' when he complains that a story of a good time is always too quickly told, but a story of evil times often requires a great many words to cover the events thereof. How often has that idea fascinated me.
Consider also how the story opens, with Bilbo's breezy unreflective manners which are polite in form but not in spirit, and Gandalf's continual meditation on the meaning of 'Good morning.’ How much insight is concealed within Gandalf's gentle humor! How often do we find ourselves, like Bilbo, saying something we don't really mean and using words to mean something very unlike their plain meaning! How often do we find ourselves saying, "I don't mean to be rude, but...", when in fact we mean, "I very much mean to be rude, and here it comes!" If we did not mean to be rude, surely we wouldn't say what we say. Instead we mean, "I'm going to be rude but I don't want you to think I'm someone who is normally rude...", or "I'm going to put myself forward, but I don't want you to think of me as someone who is normally so arrogant...", or even, "I'm going to be rude, but I don't want to think of myself as someone who is rude, so I'm going to pretend I'm not being rude..."

I think that is what makes this more than just a good book, but a great one. Tolkien is able to gently skewer us for our all too human failings, and he does so without adopting any of the cynicism or self-loathing so common with those that seek out to skewer humanity for its so evident failings.
We fantasize about heroes which are strong and comely of form, and we have for as long as we've had recorded literature. Our comic books are filled with those neo-pagan mythic heroes whose exaggerated human virtues always amount to, whatever else may be true of them, 'beats people up good'. These modern Ajaxs, Helens and Achilles dominate the box office, and I would imagine dominate our internal most private fantasy lives as well. Oh sure, the superhero of our fantasy might have superhuman ethics to go along with his superhuman ability to kick butt, attract the opposite sex, and enforce their will upon others, but it is always attached to and ultimately secondary to our fantasy of power and virility. How different is Tolkien's protagonist from Heracles, Lancelot, Beowulf, or Batman - short, small, mundane, and weak. Of all the principal characters of the story, he possesses probably the least of that quintessential heroic attribute - martial prowess.
And yet, he is not actually merely an 'average Joe'. Bilbo is just as much an exaggerated idealized hero as Heracles, it's just that those attributes in which Bilbo is almost transcendently inhuman isn't the sort of attributes we normally fantasize about having ourselves. Bilbo is gentle. He is simple. He is humble. Power and wealth have little attraction for him. He is kind. He takes less than his share, and that that he takes he gives away. He is a peacemaker. Though wrongly imprisoned, he bears no grudge and desires no vengeance for the wrongs done to him. Rather he apologizes for stealing food, and offers to repay in recompense far more than he took. Though mistreated, he harbors no enmity. He never puts himself forward, but he never shirks when others do.
How often do we fantasize about being this different sort of hero, and yet how much better we would be if we did? How much better off would we be if we, like Thorin could declare in our hearts, "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." How often is it that we hunger after all the wrong things? What profit would we really have if we had in great measure the power to 'beat people up good'? What real use could we put it too? How much better off would we be individually and as a people if we most desired to be graced with Bilbo's virtues, rather than Achilles speed, strength, and skill with arms? How much less mature does this mere children's book of a well lit-world cause our darker fantasies to seem?
Now, I admit I am biased in my review. I read this book 36 times before the age of 16. I broke the spines of three copies of it with continual reading. Yet in my defense I will say that I'm considered only a moderate fan of the book by many. I've known several devotees of the book who, like the protagonist of Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451', can recite whole chapters from memory - ensuring that this would be one of the few books that would survive the sudden destruction of all the world's technology if only the world's story tellers survived. If you are inclined to think no book can be that good, and that my review overhypes it, so much the better. Go in with low expectations so as to be certain that they will be met or exceeded. Forget all I have said save that, "If you haven't read it, you should, because it is quite enjoyable."