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I just picked this up again as a prelude to reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. If anyone would like to join me I'm reading this now, but it's at least the third time I've read it so the discussion can begin anytime.


Very Minor Plot Give Away approaching....






Tolkein wrote "The Hobbit" first and it was later that he realized that the ring Bilbo found was the "Ring of Power" of the trilogy. He went back and made a few minor alterations to the story so that the ring would fit the next books.

Has anyone ever read the original version of the book? I am curious what Tolkein had to modify and if it made any real difference in the story. From what I've heard in the past, the changes were immaterial to "The Hobbit", but were essential for consistency with the rest of the Trilogy. Anybody know for sure?
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? I am curious what Tolkein had to modify and if it made any real difference in the story

I don't think he actually changed the text of "The Hobbit." What he changed was the story of how Bilbo got the ring, etc. The way he covers it is in FOTR. Gandalf has "investigated," and explains to Frodo that Bilbo lied about how he got the ring -- that he made up a story about winning it in a fair contest, but actually the ring decided it would go with him. That way he can change the flow of the story so the ring is more malevolent and is trying to escape from Gollum, and he can also show that it was affecting Bilbo from the start.
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I'll join in where I can, but do not plan to re-read it at this time. I've already read it a dozen or so times since I was a teenager. That's enough for now until my kid is older.

I do not know the answer to your hobbit question, I had always heard that Tolkien mapped out an elaborate history of Middle Earth... Perhaps he had to change stuff related to gollum?
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I don't think he actually changed the text of "The Hobbit." What he changed was the story of how Bilbo got the ring, etc. The way he covers it is in FOTR

I am almost certain he made minor changes to the text of the Hobbit. In fact, the edition I had says something about being a "revised edition" with a foreward saying he has made some changes from an earlier edition, but it doesn't go into specifics. I don't have the book in front of me. I'll take a look at it tonight if I remember.
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I am almost certain he made minor changes to the text of the Hobbit. In fact, the edition I had says something about being a "revised edition" with a foreward saying he has made some changes from an earlier edition, but it doesn't go into specifics. I don't have the book in front of me. I'll take a look at it tonight if I remember.

Well, I looked at the foreword in the book and the main revisions that are spoken of is in Chapter 5 "at the end of the riddle game". It explains that in the original version this normally honest Hobbit lied to Gandalf and the others which was the original version of the book and is explained as showing the initial influence of the ring on this normally honest Hobbit. It doesn't give any explanation of what the original version of the story was, only that the version in this book has been updated to be correct.

Maybe someone will happen along with the answer. Maybe I'll try to take some time and search the net for the answer.
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Here is a review of the entire Hobbit/LOR saga that has some interesting thoughts.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/9988

In relation to the Hobbit in particular:

Much is made of the comfort of the hobbits' home life: the cosy fireside, the lovely food--raspberry jam, apple tart, cold chicken, and pickles. The terrors of Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains are set off by the wholesome pleasures of the Shire. The tale begins with Bilbo smoking his pipe and ends with him reaching for his tobacco jar. Food and tobacco can be used and enjoyed; but owning things for owning's sake is the sickness of the dragon who sits on his mound of treasure.

Is this the lesson to learn from the Hobbit? Enjoy things for the pleasure they can give you, but do not own things for the sake of owning them? What other lessons are there in the Hobbit?
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You said, "It explains that in the original version this normally honest Hobbit lied to Gandalf and the others which was the original
version of the book and is explained as showing the initial influence of the ring on this normally honest Hobbit. It doesn't give
any explanation of what the original version of the story was, only that the version in this book has been updated to be correct."

I remember this as being reasonable accurate. Also in the post immediately following the concept that ownings things for "things" sake is not considered good. While our good Hobbit may have "lied" or may not have lied he perhaps engaged the in the game of "two-sided definitions" i.e. A: is good and B: is bad. Therefore noting about A can be bad and nothing about B can be good. This is a cleverly deceptive tactic that has been applied to many things. Pro-Choice and Pro-life are two great examples ... If I am for one, by definition I must be against the other .... The definers will allow me no middle ground. Many of Crooked Willies problems were attempted to be explained away by definintions, (Depends on what you mean by sex - ergo - I did not have sex with that woman) Crooked Dick Nixon (I never stole any money ) somebody just left it laying on the table and I found it.

Our friend Frodo used some very clever definitions to justify his actions, and in later light I'm not sure if he was right, wrong or somewhere in the vast middle ground. I prefer to think the latter and like many of us, at least thought he was more right than wrong.

As I've said before an excellent treatise on this type of writing is Language in Thought and Action by S.I. Hyakawa. It teaches you how to consider the viewpoint from which the writing comes and the directions in which it hopes to aim you. Without this understanding it is almost impossible to become an understanding, non-biased reader.

Perhaps because a large portion of my reading life has been in non-fiction, technical and poetry I seemed to have learned this well.

I do not have agree with what you say, nor disagree with what you to find your information interesting, enjoyable and useful. What you say may be neither absolutely right (A) nor absolutely wrong (B), it may just be different from what I have seen before. When I travel my compass will read 360 degrees (and each of these may be broken down into 60 seconds) and when I read I must teach my mind to be at least as good as a dime store compass.
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ColonelCAF writes:

"Therefore noting about A can be bad and nothing about B can be good. This is a cleverly deceptive tactic that has been applied to many things. Pro-Choice and Pro-life are two great examples ... If I am for one, by definition I must be against the other .... The definers will allow me no middle ground. Many of Crooked Willies problems were attempted to be explained away by definintions, (Depends on what you mean by sex - ergo - I did not have sex with that woman) Crooked Dick Nixon (I never stole any money ) somebody just left it laying on the table and I found it...."



I liked your viewpoint, right up to the judgmental* "crooked Willies and crooked Dick Nixon.." You just took away their middle ground!!
Even so, I gave you a recommendation. Krishna once said ..(and I am paraphrasing) No good man is without some evil, and no evil man is completely evil. So, too, hobbits, I assume.

*Just so there is no misunderstanding, the 'judgmental' reference is to the term 'crooked' - I am not agreeing or disagreeing with their specific alleged discrepancies, which I shall leave for history to sort out!

roko2
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AGulpOfWax writes"

"Much is made of the comfort of the hobbits' home life: the cosy fireside, the lovely food--raspberry jam, apple tart, cold chicken, and pickles. The terrors of Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains are set off by the wholesome pleasures of the Shire. The tale begins with Bilbo smoking his pipe and ends with him reaching for his tobacco jar. Food and tobacco can be used and enjoyed; but owning things for owning's sake is the sickness of the dragon who sits on his mound of treasure.

Is this the lesson to learn from the Hobbit? Enjoy things for the pleasure they can give you, but do not own things for the sake of owning them? What other lessons are there in the Hobbit? "


Since I am a great fan of Tolkien and The Hobbit, especially (being somewhat of a hobbit, myself) I wanted to research your question. Alas, I have loaned my book and - as is often the case with books - it was never returned. But I do have The Silmarillion which was published by Tolkien's son posthumously. While there is a complete history on the origin of the rings, I can't answer your question about the rewrite.
But I do have a question for you - I looked for 'Glup' and it is not in my dictionary. I thought it might be a misprint of 'glut' which means that wax might well stop up something, but then I read your profile, and anyone who is bothered by 'loose' and 'lose' (I once explained the finer distinctions of those two words to a poster) would not make an error. SO?

Oh, BTW, the reference to dragons is that they hoard Gold and Virgins, neither of which they can use, (since they would then no longer be in their posssesion....) so, Hobbits keep only what they can use.

roko2


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But I do have a question for you - I looked for 'Glup' and it is not in my dictionary. I thought it might be a misprint of 'glut' which means that wax might well stop up something, but then I read your profile, and anyone who is bothered by 'loose' and 'lose' (I once explained the finer distinctions of those two words to a poster) would not make an error. SO?

AGlupOfWax is a combination of various screen names I've used in the past. When my doppels died on 2/14, I incorporated them into my name. The "Glup" part came from "SeaOfGlup" which is from
"The Sea Of Glup" an old children's record by Jim Copp and Ed Brown

Their records are great fun! If you want to check them out: http://www.playhouserecords.com/
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You said, "I liked your viewpoint, right up to the judgmental* "crooked Willies and crooked Dick Nixon.." You just took away their
middle ground!"

Maybe I am guilty of that. It was not my intention, my reference to "Crooked Dick" was referring to scandal and problems related President Nixon when he running for Vice President with Eisenhower and several very questionable "loans" were being aired, of course, by opposition press. A very popular political joke asked "What was Ike's biggest political dissapointment?" Answer: When he found out he had a crooked dick!" At that time I lived about seven or eight miles from Nixon and was quite familiar with some of the individuals involved in the case. On the other hand, Nixon did his country a great service in pursuing and strengthening relations with China. I had no intention of poisoning your mind ... just a bit of levity.

I actually made a typo in the second - it should have been "Slick Willie". While he was campaigning for President I was serving on the Board of Directors for a Little Rock Technical School of the Blind and came in frequent contact with political stalwarts. The worst statement I heard about him was, "Gene, you just can't trust the man --- he don't tell the truth!" It was from them that I first heard Slick Willie. While he wasn't a bad President, neither was he a good one.

But for both of these ... and for our good hobbit Frodo .... I expect you take the little bit of paint I furnish you .... add to all the other you gather .... and please, please, please, PAINT YOUR OWN PICTURE THE BEST WAY YOU CAN WITH YOUR OWN BRUSH.

BTW. THANKS FOR THE RECS...

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Greetings Glup

Has anyone ever read the original version of the book? I am curious what Tolkein had to modify and if it made any real difference in the story

I haven't read or posses a copy of the original version, but I do have a book called the Letter of JRR Tolkien. isbn 0-395-31555-7 copyright 1981

The first revision to The Hobbit occured in 1951, and the second in 1966.

From what I gather from the letters sent back and forth with his publisher, the 1951 changes involved chapter V, the riddles in the dark. Essentially I "guess" the first 1937 version had the riddle game end just like he told the dwarves. The revised version has the "what have i got in my pocket" question. This leads to the Bilbo's confession at the Council of Elrond and asking forgiveness from the dwarves for having told them a different story.

Cheers,
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Has anyone ever read the original version of the book? I am curious what Tolkein had to modify and if it made any real difference in the story

I haven't read or posses a copy of the original version, but I do have a book called the Letter of JRR Tolkien. isbn 0-395-31555-7 copyright 1981

The first revision to The Hobbit occured in 1951, and the second in 1966.

From what I gather from the letters sent back and forth with his publisher, the 1951 changes involved chapter V, the riddles in the dark. Essentially I "guess" the first 1937 version had the riddle game end just like he told the dwarves. The revised version has the "what have i got in my pocket" question. This leads to the Bilbo's confession at the Council of Elrond and asking forgiveness from the dwarves for having told them a different story.


In my new edition of LOTR, they have a prologue which explains some of the hobbit for the benefit of folks who haven't read it before. They give a brief explanation of the differences.

Apparently in the first version, Gollum claims that if Bilbo wins the riddle game, then Gollum will give him a present. Bilbo assumes that the ring in his pocket is the present he is supposed to get and so feels justified in keeping it. This is supposedly the story he told the dwarves and Gandalf. In later editions, this version is explained as being a lie showing the early influence of the ring upon Bilbo. They also say that Gandalf never really believed the first version of the story.
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