As you’ve no doubt heard, The Hobbit (first published in 1937) will soon be coming to a theater near you. Not once, but three times.

Inside a Hobbit hole

Each of J.R.R. Tolkien’s three famous Lord of the Rings books (1954-1955) was made into a movie (in 2001, 2002, and 2003, respectively). But The Hobbit only has about 317 pages.

Then how will they get three movies out of it?

Look at the end of the final LoTR volume, The Return of the King – there are six appendices that could furnish a lot of material:

  • Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers — More about Aragorn, and kings and heirs of Gondor, Isildur, and other realms
  • Appendix B: The Tale of Years — Marvelous details about the First, Second, and Third Ages (the last of which ended with the defeat of Sauron)
  • Appendix C: Family Trees — Including those of Baggins, Took, and Brandybuck
  • Appendix D: Shire Calendar — First of all, every year begins on the first day of the week, which is Saturday
  • Appendix E: Writing and Spelling — Includes pronunciation
  • Appendix F: The Languages and the Peoples of the Third Age — Background about elvish, dwarvish, and other tongues, including the Black Speech of the Orcs
Behold its awesome Power

Amazing! This man was obviously very devoted to this world he created.

He was indeed. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) loved languages, literature, and mythology; he even wrote a book about the legend of Beowulf. Since about 1915, he had been constructing the story which would eventually become The Silmarillion, as well as the languages used by the people in those tales. This book was finally published in 1977 by Tolkien’s son Christopher. (By the way, you can’t beat the excellent Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for information about anyone who “shaped British history and culture…from the Romans to the 21st century.”)

Several of the elder Tolkien’s friends, including C.S. Lewis (perhaps best known for his Chronicles of Narnia), encouraged him to complete the Lord of the Rings epic, which Tolkien began writing at age 44.

In addition to the aforementioned appendices, there are rumors about other material that may be used in the movies, such as events mentioned in The Hobbit but not elaborated upon, and some of The Silmarillion. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What materials does JHU have about Tolkien and his works?

We have a lot! Put the single word tolkien(remember that the library catalog is not case-sensitive) into the search box, and you get 147 results.

The Master of Middle-Earth

Wow, did he write that much?

No, he didn’t – the results include 134 books that are mostly *about* Tolkien and/or his works (11 of which are e-books), as well as 5 non-musical recordings (including J.R.R. reading and singing his works, and his son Christopher reading one), 3 films, 3 serials, and even a musical score.

To see the list of languages, authors, topics, and other information about our Tolkien holdings, use the list of filters on the left.

How soon should I review The Hobbit, the appendices to The Return of the King, and The Silmarillion, so that I’m prepared for the movies? 

Start now! The first one, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be out this December (2012)! In December 2013 will come The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; and finally in July 2014, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

4 thoughts on “The Hobbit

  1. SaraO, You’re right, it *is* amazing how complete this world is. It’s equivalent to the universes that are written about by some sci fi authors (such as Mike Resnick); there are many stories in many places and times in that universe and you get to know it very well.
    — Gabrielle, Cool, thanks!
    — Barbara, Yes, sometimes research must wait so that other lands can be explored. 🙂 And you’re right – there are amazing people connected with the films, so they might be really great. (Also, I’m the librarian for BME, so if there’s any non-Hobbit-related library stuff that I can help with, please let me know.)

  2. I am so excited for this movie and am very happy that you decided to write a blog about this! What a pleasant surprise to go on the Sheridan Libraries website planning on doing biomedical research and finding “The Hobbit” as a blog title. I just read Lord of the Rings over the summer. I read The Hobbit back in middle school and it was definitely one of the best school reads.I’m planning to read it again and possibly the Silmarillion (if I have time) before the movie comes out.
    I have full confidence in Peter Jackson and its main actors, especially Martin Freeman. (And Fun Fact: Both Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, who are starring together as Watson and Holmes in BBC Sherlock, are in this movie). I definitely have high hopes. More screen time just means more beautiful landscapes and epic music, right?

  3. Geeze, I haven’t even read the Hobbit (shock and awe). Eek. Must search catalyst now! Though, I’ve read everything else. So I’m close to being prepared.

    I do think that it’s amazing how completely Tolkien imagined his fantasy world. To create history just to mention it in a book – wow – not to mention the language and legend involved. It really is very cool. Still not sold on how we’re getting 3 full movies…not sure the calendar is going to add a lot of minutes… 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.