It is known that I did not like The Hobbit (book), but that it almost ruined Tolkien’s magic for me, it is not much known.
In the middle of a discussion of the reason I do not like to celebrate, for example, Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday on September 22th, the idea to explain the reason it happened came out.
At first, my story with Tolkien. I started reading The Lord of the Rings, in Portuguese, when I was 8 or 9 years old. It took me almost two years to read it all, including the appendix. When I was 10 or 11 years old, I started playing with Angerthas Moria and I knew a bit of how the Shire’s calendar worked.
The deepness of the book, the fact that there was something behind this story, it always made me wonder. In some point right after this, I read The Hobbit in its illustrated version. I remember I liked it, but not so much, and started the Silmarillion right away, when I was… 12 years old(?) I read it whole and loved it.
The Tolkiendilli languages always intrigued me. I remember to write a lot on my notebook in Cirth and of being crazy to learn Sindarin (that I still don’t know and I’m not as curious as I was).
In some point, I read The Lord of the Rings for the second time and, when I was good enough to read books heavier than Harry Potter in English, I read it for the third time. Then, Unfinished Tales. I was about 16 years old when I started it and I decided it was time to learn Quenya. I met Erunno on twitter in some point and I started studying deeper this marvelous language. Right after that, I read The Children of Húrin and, until now, I can’t find a better book. A friend of mine gifted me The Silmarillion (the first time I read it, I borrowed it from my aunt) and I read it for the second time, knowing a bit of Quenya. There’s no such feeling as reading the Ainulindalë.
I always wanted to read the History of Middle-Earth series, but it took me too long to find them. When I finally did, I bought The Book of Lost Tales 1 and 2 right away. It took me a semester to read both and, needless to say, I got enchanted.
I stopped with Tolkien for a while, and after a year or more reading different things, I finally started The Hobbit, before the movie. All my Tolkiendilli friends commented so much, and bugged the hell out of me to read it!
And then…. where is it? Where’s the deepness? Where are the well-constructed characters with their marvelous and fantastic stories? What the hell are these elves? Beorn?!?!? I think I got so used to First Age and the War of the Ring that a very short and not so dense story such as The Hobbit disappointed me (yes, I know it was meant for children).
In the last chapters, I read the Annotated version. Then things got a little better, as it showed some details left by Tolkien, and also from where some things did come. But even then, I got disappointed. Some of the “Tolkien magic” ended, all the deepness and contextualization that always enchanted and impressed me, was gone. There’s almost nothing of it on the whole book, except for the Ring, the Gondolin swords and a little of the history of the dwarves, but even then it is not fully explained (something fixed in the movie!). And not to mention that the linguistic part of it is basically the runes on the map….
In the end, I missed almost everything that made me love Tolkien. Some of the magic of his work is lost. Maybe if I had read the Annotated version from the beginning it would have been different. But there’s still hope! The next book in line is Morgoth’s Ring. High, high, hiiiiiiiigh expectations. I hope I won’t get disappointed again!