MiddleEarthBlog: Compare & Contrast


Monday, June 4, 2012

Compare & Contrast

 In this article I will attempt to compare and contrast the two great Tolkien classics  The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. Firstly let me say once again that I am not a Tolkien scholar and these are my own opinions. So let us begin. I guess the easiest comparison is the size of the novels, one book versus a three volume book why the difference? The Hobbit was meant as a childrens book and most children aren't at the stage where they are willing to invest their time on a work that long so the pace is much quicker, things happen at a more rapid pace, once again the Author is writing for chilldren, that is his intended audience. Now to the characters, mostly Dwarfs and a Wizard and a Hobbit, Fantastical beings that are immensely more interesting than some boring man.Maybe Tolkien put in these diminutive folk ( the Wizard excluded ) so they would be the size of children and thusly the children would feel a sort of bond, small people in a tall world, just a guess on my part here. They all had easliy spoken short names, two syllables a piece for each one of the adventurers ( Gandalf,Bilbo  Dwalin,Balin,Oin,Gloin, Fili,Kili,Bifur,Bofur,Bombur,Dori,Nori, Ori,Thorin) with Thorin given a surname of Oakenshield just to seperate him from the others and sound more important since he was the heir to the throne of Erebor. They are presented to the readers as rather a group of comical characters with voracious appetites and the love of a good song, poor Bilbo at first seems to be a bit of a very frightened old homemaker who almost faints at the thought of going off on an adventure especially one involving a Dragon. Gandalf is seen here as a rather bemused observer of this traveling circus and out front you learn he has more pressing business elsewhere. Gandalf always seemed to have more pressing business elsewhere. Let us compare and contrast the two different journeys made in these books. In the Lord Of The Rings there is a great sense of urgency, time is of the essence, in The Hobbit there is no such sense of desperate need for quick action, Smaug the Dragon has been setting on his pile of gold and jewels for around a century and is probably not leaving any time soon. The purpose of the mission on LOTR is to destroy the ring of power and end Saurons ambitions to rule MiddleEarth in The Hobbit it is to recover the Treasure by any means necesarry and really they had no plan of how to accomplish the mission and seemed to be winging it and hoping things would all work out in the end. So one mission was defined by sacrifice the other by greed and revenge. Sacrifice was rewarded with victory at a price and greed and revenge was rewarded with failed ambitions and death. Tolkien always liked to make a moral statement.Now to compare and contrast the two characters of the novels who would be Kings that is Thorin and Aragorn, Both set out to reclaim Thrones that others set on, one held by a Steward and one held by a Dragon. The end game was the same that is to reclaim those prospective thrones but the ambitions were different and this mostly laid in the one major cardinal sin that Tolkien effused in his tragic heroes and that was the sin of pride and I am of course speaking of Thorin, beyond even his lust for his lost treasurehe his overpowering sense of pride led him to his doom when he found that after reclaiming that treasure , he could not share it. it was his by rights and no others and of course others had a different view of that which led to a war that could have been avoided In Aragorns case that war was thrown at him and his desire in fighting it was to make things right and whole again. Of course he regained his throne but his joy was in sharing in the sacrifice of others and gaining from it a new age of peace for his people. In the end Thorins greed and pride led to his death while Aragorns sacrifice and compassion for the needs of all led him to his throne and happiness. Both are excellent books but different in fundamental ways, my advice is to read and enjoy them both.

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