Bilbo Baggins was enjoying his peaceful life in the Shire until the great wizard Bladorthin shows up at his door with a throng of dwarves. The leader of the dwarves, called Gandalf, tells about the dragon, Pryftan, who took over their home. This is how originally the tale of The Hobbit was told by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has a strange feel to it, since we all now know that Gandalf is not a dwarf and that the wizard that arrived at Bilbo's door was Gandalf.
Now with The Hobbit Movie being produced and next year celebrating 75 years The Hobbit, it is nice to see that HarperCollins has decided to bring us a revised and updated One Volume Edition of The History of The Hobbit.
The story of The Hobbit was constantly evolving because the world around Tolkien evolved, as did tolkien's view on Middle-earth grow and some changes were needed to the original version of The Hobbit to make all books that took place in the same Middle-earth work. John D. Rateliff does an outstanding job of presenting the original draft and its subsequent transformation, including his own discoveries and commentaries along the way. I'm certain this book can be enjoyed by many and I'm happy to see this book available in one volume soon!
Somehow I always wondered if Peter Jackson ever took up the two volumes and read through them. Some pieces could be extremely informative and also it would give hime a big understanding on how The Hobbit links in with The Lord of the Rings. Well of the second Jackson Hobbit movies is called "Return to Bag-end" we will know he did find his inspiration in reading Rateliff.
About the author John D. Rateliff
John D. Rateliff moved to Wisconsin in 1981 in order to work with the Tolkien manuscripts at Marquette University. He has been active in Tolkien scholarship for many years, delivering papers on Tolkien and the Inklings. While at Marquette, he assisted in the collation of their holdings with those Christopher Tolkien was editing for his History of Middle-earth series. A professional editor, he lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three cats, only one of whom is named after a Tolkien character.
If you want to find out more about the author of this book please read the following interview with John D. Rateliff.
Other editions of The History of The Hobbit
The History of the Hobbit is also available in two volumes, being called The History of The Hobbit: Volume I: Mr. Baggins and The History of the Hobbit: Volume II: Return to Bag-End. Of course they were also published in an 70th anniversary boxed set. The books are also available in paperback format, which I like to use to read and make annotations in.
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