Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Hobbit Read-Along, Chapter Four

Previous chapters: Intro | Ch1 | Ch2 | Ch3 |
JRR Tolken seems to do an awful lot of telling and not very much showing. As a writer I know this is a cardinal sin. I mean we all do it but we also know that we're not supposed to and so we cut it down as much as possible. I don't recall ever reading any book that 'tells' me quite so much while actually showing me so very little. As I mentioned in the last chapter with the interactions between the dwarves and elves, sometimes what I am being shown directly contradicts what I have been told!
I'm quite expecting that fairly soon I will be shown Thorin's strong chin, even though I have been told he has a long beard and so I couldn't possibly see his chin.
Having been told 3 times how dangerous this path through the mountains is (and chapter 4 begins with a few more warnings) I'm just thinking it's all just a bunch of silly superstitions and that there actually is nothing evil lurking just off the beaten path when we meet some goblins.
Like the dwarves and elves, goblins also sing, which for some reason makes them far less menacing despite the lyrics being liberally sprinkled with words such as 'boom', 'bang' and 'crash'.
Surprisingly, despite Thorin having a sword, the orcrist, which was used to 'cleave and kill' goblins, he doesn't use it. As far as I can see, no one even puts up a fight. Except Gandalf, who once again saves the day and rescues them. It strikes me that the dwarves and the hobbit are just slowing him down!
The goblins give chase to our questers but are sent running and shrieking by the sight of the orcrist and Gandalf's sword, the glamdring. Reminds me of playground bullies stealing some poor kids lunch then running scared when the kids fight back.
Unfortunately the goblins aren't giving up yet; they regroup and after donning some magic slippers that make them silent, give chase to the dwarves and take down Dori and Bilbo who are at the rear of the party!
They can't take down Dori! Thanks to an uncanny resemblance to my Dad, he's the only dwarf I have any kind of affinity for at the moment!


  1. Haha, I like your read-along! I, too, am very guilty of telling more than showing. And you're right, we know we're not supposed to. Oh well, it happens. I've been noticing it a lot as I'm revising a novel I began in 2008.

    Best wishes from one blogger to another,


  2. Thanks, Zabrinah. Next time someone tells you off for telling too much, just point them to The Hobbit. If it's good enough for Tolken, it's good enough for us! ;)