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kristinannie
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Yes. I think the LOTR books are darker. I have read Hobbit and am currently reading Fellowship of the Ring to my sons. We will probably stop there. When I was reading the trilogy for myself I couldn't complete the second book--too much killing.

 

The Hobbit is a nice place to start, though.

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Yes, read The Hobbit first. Not only is The Hobbit the introduction to the world and characters of Middle Earth, the language and themes are much more simple -- much more of a adventure/quest tale.

 

In contrast, the vocabulary and sentence structure in Lord of the Rings becomes much more archaic and complex, with many deeper themes, often with fragments of songs in the Elvish language, and references to people/events in Middle Earth's past.

 

 

I would like to add that if this is NOT just for your personl reading, and if you are thinking of reading these to your DC, from your signature it looks like they are VERY young (ages 5 and younger) -- I would WAIT on The Hobbit until more around age 8-9, and WAIT on Lord of the Rings until age 10-14. For your young ages right now, if you would like to expose them to Tolkien, I'd suggest: Mr. Bliss (a charming children's picture book) and The Father Christmas Letters (either this edition or this edition -- other editions are MUCH abridged). Both works are absolutely charming, with lovely watercolor illustrations done by Tolkien himself.

 

 

Enjoy! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I wouldn't NOT read the Hobbit before LOTR. :D

 

:iagree:

 

I would like to add that if this is NOT just for your personal reading, and if you are thinking of reading these to your DC, from your signature it looks like they are VERY young (ages 5 and younger) -- I would WAIT on The Hobbit until more around age 8-9, and WAIT on Lord of the Rings until age 10-14.

 

:iagree:

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I think reading the Hobbit to young kids would be at your discretion. My dh was dying to read it to our oldest daughter. I kept telling him to wait because she was only 5 and I had listened to everyone saying it should be read around 8 or 9. He eventually started it anyway and with the intention of seeing how it went. My 5 year old LOVED it. I was amazed at how much she retained and understood. She asked engaged and pertinent questions as he read. They really bonded over it together.

 

My 3 year old was in the room with them during read aloud time and obviously the majority of the book went over her head but even so- when she hears the word elves, dwarves, or hobbit- she says "Like BILBO!" And just a few weeks ago my 3 year old ran to me screaming about a spider in their play room and said it was "as big as the ones Bilbo fought."

 

So, I really think when you read it depends on what sort of books your kids have already been subjected to. You might be surprised at how much they can retain.

 

My dd5 has been drawing Hobbit inspired pictures since they read the book. I posted a few of her pics here :)

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This is for my own personal reading!!! :D I am starting to give myself the classical education that I never got!!!! Thanks for all of the advice. I remember starting to read The Hobbit when I was in 4th grade and thought it was really boring. I don't think I got past the first couple of chapters. I will read it first! Thanks, ladies!

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I personally read LOTR before The Hobbit, and really prefer LOTR! I agree that the Hobbit is a better intro for children, but I wouldn't consider it necessary to read it first as an adult (although I wouldn't skip it altogether).

 

I just read The Children of Hurin by Tolkien this week. Talk about (IMO) a weird book! I didn't enjoy it much at all compared to the others, and was surprised by the extremely sad ending. So, I would definitely recommend skipping that one!

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Yes Children of Hurin is a tragedy, but beautifully and delicately written and well worth some effort. Rather than skipping it, I would recommend reading some of his other works first, plus some background reading on Tolkien himself to get a better understanding of what he was attempting with CoH.

 

Tolkien's short stories "Smith of Wooten Major" and "Leaf by Niggle" would be good starting points of looking for the Christian themes that underlie his work. Reading the Silmarillion would give you Tolkien's "creation myth" and some of the tales and myths that were a part of the First Age of Middle Earth, and an understanding of who Elves were and their history. And definitely some articles in understanding Tolkien's scholarly interests and influences would help.

 

Background that may help in understanding CoH:

 

- COH is an expanded story from his First Age of Middle Earth stories and histories, which can be explored in his work the Silmarillion, and then in the series of Unfinished Tales.

 

- Tolkien himself was trained in the ancient Greek and Roman epics and Classics and was a scholar of Beowulf; CoH really feels like a powerful mix of The Iliad (ancient Greek tragedy, demi-god warrior/heros, fate) and Beowulf (Northern landscape, the great serpent, the epic quest and warrior/hero).

 

- Tolkien's faith underscores and shades all of his works; LotR is a lovely, poignant, and powerful look at the Christian's spiritual walk; CoH resonates with the same sort of great grief, loss and tragedy that is seen in the Genesis account of the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and that wandering of the descendents of Adam.

 

 

Just a little plug for Tolkien and his lesser-known works! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I wouldn't NOT read the Hobbit before LOTR. :D

I'll jump in on the opposite side of the question. I read Lord of the Rings first, and loved it. When I read Hobbit, I was very disappointed.

 

The Hobbit is a kid's bedtime story. The Lord of the Rings is an adult morality tale, in the very best sense. The Hobbit is popcorn and soda. The Lord of the Rings is a feast of literature. If you're in the mood for light reading, go with The Hobbit. If you're in the mood for a *real* story, with real characters and real temptations and real conflict and pain and joy, go with Lord of the Rings. It is dark in many places (as is life) and beautiful and full of grace, too.

Edited by letsplaymath
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I'll jump in on the opposite side of the question. I read Lord of the Rings first, and loved it. When I read Hobbit, I was very disappointed.

 

The Hobbit is a kid's bedtime story. The Lord of the Rings is an adult morality tale, in the very best sense. The Hobbit is popcorn and soda. The Lord of the Rings is a feast of literature. If you're in the mood for light reading, go with The Hobbit. If you're in the mood for a *real* story, with real characters and real temptations and real conflict and pain and joy, go with Lord of the Rings. It is dark in many places (as is life) and beautiful and full of grace, too.

 

Yes this was my experience as well. Read The Hobbit first or you probably won't want to after. I am going to read it next year to my boys and I am dreading it because I didn't like it the first time. I hope that seeing it through their eyes will help me find the spark that everyone seems to feel.

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Yes, for a couple reasons.

 

One, it's available! If a prequel's not available, I won't wait for it... but in this case, why not start at the beginning?

 

Two, it's much shorter. If you don't like it, you don't have to suffer through three rather long books to finish. Some people just don't care for Tolkien's style.

 

Three, it's a complete story in one book. Similar to my point two, but especially if you're using library books and book 2 is checked out or you don't happen to own the second book in the series, it can be frustrating to wait for it.

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I'll jump in on the opposite side of the question. I read Lord of the Rings first, and loved it. When I read Hobbit, I was very disappointed.

 

The Hobbit is a kid's bedtime story. The Lord of the Rings is an adult morality tale, in the very best sense. The Hobbit is popcorn and soda. The Lord of the Rings is a feast of literature. If you're in the mood for light reading, go with The Hobbit. If you're in the mood for a *real* story, with real characters and real temptations and real conflict and pain and joy, go with Lord of the Rings. It is dark in many places (as is life) and beautiful and full of grace, too.

 

This is another argument to read the Hobbit first. I think I started the Hobbit 3 or 4 times before I finally got into it. After I did, I liked it. But I loved LoTR. There's so much backstory in the Hobbit that it's good to know while reading LoTR. But it wouldn't be as enjoyable to read afterwards, I'd think.

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Another vote to skip The Hobbit. I've re-read LOTR many, many, many times. I've re-read The Hobbit maybe twice.

 

FWIW, the first time I read the LOTR I almost didn't make it through the first book. There is a part where it just seemed to drag... on and on (Forest/Tom Bombadil section mostly). For years I would skip that part when I re-read it :D (I do generally read it now, but I read the LOTR less often as well).

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PS

Whatever you decide to do, do NOT compare the LotR trilogy to the films, or The Hobbit to the upcoming film. They are so VERY different!!

 

I really have to talk myself through this every single time we have sat down to watch the films, having read the books multiple times before the films ever came out.

 

IMO, Director Peter Jackson pretty much stripped out the depth of theme, poignancy and ANY spiritual context in favor of extended battle scenes and loads o' spectacle. Yes, as films, they are well-done adventure/action films. But if you read the books first, then you end up frustrated at all that is lost from the films, and if you see the films first, you may feel impatient, bored, and surprised at how the books are different.

 

sigh...

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What was up with Tom Bombadil, anyway? I think I skimmed most of that section after a while. Didn't seem to fit in the story, as I recall.

 

I agree that The Hobbit gives some good background to the LOTR trilogy. I read them all for the first time as an adult, and I can tell you I wouldn't have made it through the trilogy without the understanding I got from The Hobbit.

 

I'm a big re-reader, but I haven't re-read any Tolkien or even felt a desire to watch the movies again (saw them once). Great themes, but dark for my tastes. I enjoyed them the first time through, but they're not a place I want to revisit. Too stressful for me to do again!

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Since kristinannie started the thread on Tolkien already, may I add a question? I hope you don't mind kristinannie! Does anyone have any recommendations on good illustrated editions? I think I found one for the Hobbit (from Rainbow). How about for The Lord of the Rings books?

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PS

Whatever you decide to do, do NOT compare the LotR trilogy to the films, or The Hobbit to the upcoming film. They are so VERY different!!

 

I really have to talk myself through this every single time we have sat down to watch the films, having read the books multiple times before the films ever came out.

 

IMO, Director Peter Jackson pretty much stripped out the depth of theme, poignancy and ANY spiritual context in favor of extended battle scenes and loads o' spectacle. Yes, as films, they are well-done adventure/action films. But if you read the books first, then you end up frustrated at all that is lost from the films, and if you see the films first, you may feel impatient, bored, and surprised at how the books are different.

 

sigh...

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

I hated what Jackson did to the books! Stripped out all the honor; had a chance to show his quality and failed--miserably. I was so disappointed.:glare:

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Does anyone have any recommendations on good illustrated editions? I think I found one for the Hobbit (from Rainbow). How about for The Lord of the Rings books?

 

The 3-book-set illustrated by Alan Lee is gorgeous.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Lord-Of-Rings-Fellowship/dp/0261103385/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333255303&sr=8-1 (link is to the first book in the series)

 

If this link doesn't work correctly, just type in illustrated fellowship of the ring alan lee, or illustrated lord of the rings alan lee. There is a hardback boxed set or paperbacks (which is what we own). These are large-sized paperbacks, not bitty things.

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The 3-book-set illustrated by Alan Lee is gorgeous.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Lord-Of-Rings-Fellowship/dp/0261103385/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333255303&sr=8-1 (link is to the first book in the series)

 

If this link doesn't work correctly, just type in illustrated fellowship of the ring alan lee, or illustrated lord of the rings alan lee. There is a hardback boxed set or paperbacks (which is what we own). These are large-sized paperbacks, not bitty things.

 

Thank you :)! It is so frustrating sometimes, looking at the Amazon website. You think you are previewing the edition shown when you are actually previewing another :glare:. Would this be the one:

 

http://www.bookdepository.com/Hobbit-Lord-Rings-Lord-Rings-Tolkien/9780007355143

 

I am in Canada so I am hoping to avoid shipping costs. Also, would you say this is a good price for the four books?

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PS

Whatever you decide to do, do NOT compare the LotR trilogy to the films, or The Hobbit to the upcoming film. They are so VERY different!!

 

I really have to talk myself through this every single time we have sat down to watch the films, having read the books multiple times before the films ever came out.

 

 

:lol:

 

I only ever managed to read Fellowship and never was able to get into Two Towers. I adored the movies.

 

When our son finished reading LoTR, we tried to show him the movies (extended edition, so that should be somewhat better, we thought). We did the first half of Fellowship with him grumbling through parts of it of how they got it wrong. Waited a couple weeks and tried the second half. Heard quite the diatribe about how the books were being ruined.

 

I don't think he'll ever watch the movies and I think we'll keep him far away from the Harry Potter films. :)

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PS

Whatever you decide to do, do NOT compare the LotR trilogy to the films, or The Hobbit to the upcoming film. They are so VERY different!!

 

I really have to talk myself through this every single time we have sat down to watch the films, having read the books multiple times before the films ever came out.

 

IMO, Director Peter Jackson pretty much stripped out the depth of theme, poignancy and ANY spiritual context in favor of extended battle scenes and loads o' spectacle. Yes, as films, they are well-done adventure/action films. But if you read the books first, then you end up frustrated at all that is lost from the films, and if you see the films first, you may feel impatient, bored, and surprised at how the books are different.

 

sigh...

(((soul sister))))

 

I cannot bear to watch the movies, as beautiful as they are.

 

What the heck was Jackson thinking when he protrayed Faramir that way? Oh, my poor Faramir!!!:crying:

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Since kristinannie started the thread on Tolkien already, may I add a question? I hope you don't mind kristinannie! Does anyone have any recommendations on good illustrated editions? I think I found one for the Hobbit (from Rainbow). How about for The Lord of the Rings books?

 

 

I bought this version of the Hobbit and this version of LOTR based on recommendations! I haven't received them yet so I can't speak personally about them!

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We read The Hobbit a few years ago. We're reading LotR this year, just finished The Two Towers. I've seen the movies before, so I had a vision in my mind already. After we read The Hobbit the movies made more sense.

 

Ds doesn't remember The Hobbit, so we will read it again this summer. I don't know about reading order, but ds is happy to go back and read (we'll probably do a read-aloud) this summer.

 

Honestly, I like the movies. We just watched The Two Towers on Friday, my 2nd or 3rd time. I think Jackson makes Cliff notes version, but I respect what he did. Ds and I normally very outspoken about the plundering of movie versions, but he was happy with the first two movies. Normally he'd go on and on about mistakes, yet he didn't say a word afterwards.

 

I know Peter Jackson made me a LotR fan, without the movies I might never have tried the books. You do need to watch the extended versions, the theatrical version are too short. I see the intention of everything in the movies, he doesn't paint with words like Tolkien, he paints with scenery. We'll see how I feel after reading Return of the King.

 

This is my favorite line in TTT. It makes me cry. I openly wept several times in the movie, more than before I had read the books.

 

Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.

 

Eowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.

 

Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?

 

Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

 

Aragorn: You are a daughter of kings, a shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.

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I bought this version of the Hobbit and this version of LOTR based on recommendations! I haven't received them yet so I can't speak personally about them!

 

Thank you! The Hobbit you linked is the one in the set I linked :). Someone also PMed me with this link but it is almost double the price. I wonder what the differences are :confused:. The one with the Hobbit that you linked, I found preview pages somewhere, and there is a picture of one of the illustrations in the Amazon link too. I like :)! I am hoping that the other books in the set I linked before are the same.

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What the heck was Jackson thinking when he protrayed Faramir that way? Oh, my poor Faramir!!!:crying:

 

:iagree:TOTALLY!!

 

We have the movies because DH loved them (he's in the couldn't make it through the books camp) - as far as I'm concerned, I could go without ever seeing them again. However, this thread may have jumped the books back up into need to re-read SOON status LOL!

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