Words fail me to describe my excitement. I was introduced to Gandalf the Grey and Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit before I ever heard of such a thing as The Lord of the Rings. I can remember the thrill of fear as I read about the goblins capturing the dwarves in the cold, dripping cave. I remember my disgust at the creature Gollum and my terror of the huge spiders. I remember my fascination with the Wood Elves of Mirkwood and the strange town that was built out in the middle of a lake. I came to know and love Bilbo, the dwarves, and Gandalf. They became my friends, and have stayed such for over a decade. And now, when the movie representation of my childhood story is about to hit theaters, I’m filled with so much anticipation and excitement that I can hardly stand it!
There’s always a certain amount of anxiety involved for an avid book-lover watching their imagination become flesh and blood and play out in a 2-hour film. After all, no movie will ever be able to get a book adaptation perfect. But from the trailer (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it), I have high hopes that Peter Jackson will get The Hobbit pretty darn close to how I imagined the story to be.
I only have two weeks left to wait, but it still seems like December 14 will never arrive! While I wait, though, I’m enjoying lots of Tolkien-related things – from books to videos to projects.
My dad reads to us nearly every night (see my September 2012 post, “Sharing the Adventure”), and several months ago he read The Hobbit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and with the movie coming out in a matter of days, I’m ready to read it again. Tonight I plan on starting it again. And wrapped around my copy of Tolkien’s masterpiece is a book cover that I lovingly made a couple of years ago. It’s the biggest embroidery project I’ve ever worked on, but it was so worth it. It’s just the right size to fit on all of my Lord of the Rings books plus The Hobbit. (As a side note, if any of you are fellow-embroiderers, I’d be glad to share my pattern and stitch guide with you.)
Smaug’s wing wraps around the spine of the book (left). The right-hand picture gives a slightly-closer view of the face and flames.
Also among my hobbit-related projects are my Wee Folk Gandalf and Bilbo. Wee Folks are tiny (under 4 inches) dolls made from pipe cleaners, embroidery thread, and felt. I learned how to make them from Salley Mavor’s book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. (For a great blog post about the wonderful world of Wee Folks, check out my friend Emily’s blog, becomingemily.wordpress.com. I hope to have my own post – dedicated to the dolls that I’ve made – up soon.)
Besides reading and creating projects based on The Hobbit, I’ve also been really enjoying a book that explores Tolkien’s writings. It’s called J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, by Tom Shippey.
I was in the World War II section of the library, trying to find some books that I could use as research for my latest book project. I don’t know why it was in that area, but the title caught my eye and I ended up checking it out. I’ve been reading through it this past week. Tom Shippey, like Tolkien, is a philologist – a student of words – so much of his book deals with the names of places, people, and things in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. His chapter on The Hobbit, and the sources that Tolkien pulled from to write it, was fascinating and enlightening.
And last but certainly not least on my list of Tolkien-related pastimes is a music video from one of my favorite instrumental groups, The Piano Guys. Their Lord of the Rings music video came out recently; I was very impressed. The locations they used for the video are gorgeous; they look like they’re straight from Middle-Earth!
After all of the work and school for today is complete, I hope that this evening finds me curled up on the couch or under my comforter, opening the first page of The Hobbit, reading the opening words of the masterpiece that started it all.
“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.
Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell,
nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat:
it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.”