LOTR Book Question

I’ve decided to read the LOTR series, and I want to read through The Two Towers before the movie comes out. I want to know if it is neccesary to read The Hobbit first.

Even if it is not neccesary to read The Hobbit first, I still will read it after the LOTR, so I just want to know if I need to read it to thouroghly enjoy LOTR.

Thank you all.

Not necessary. They pretty much cover the necessary info from the Hobbit in the FOTR movie.

The hobbit is apparently far ‘simpler’ than LotR. I tried to read it before LotR but got bored very quickly (I got bored with LotR too but percivered in it’s case)

I regret reading the book(s) before seeing the films because now I know almost exactly what is going to happen in the next two films. Considering the significance and quality of the films I really wish I had the element of surprise to go with the other elements - awe, respect (of wise and just characters), etc…
Funny thing is - even though I got bored reading the books and it became a chore to finish them, I am now finding myself tempted to pick them up again (well, I should say ‘it’. as I have it all in one monster of a book)

The only reason to read The Hobbit in relation to the trilogy and the upcoming movies is to get some background on Gollum and why he is pursuing the Ring.

However, it’s a very good introduction to Middle-Earth, Gandalf, hobbits, dwarf-elf relations and a pretty good adventure read as well.

It’s not required to read The Hobbit first, but it’s enjoyable, and I recommend it highly.

It really helps to get you absorbed in the world of Middle Earth, as well as introducing you to a few of the characters and the geography.

As everybody above already said, it’s not required because all the “vital info” is covered in Fellowship, but I really feel my reading experience was enriched by starting at the beginning.

I agree with Joe Cool, it is much, much better, though not strictly necessary, to begin with The Hobbit.

You really ought to turn the question around. Is it better to read LOTR before reading The Hobbit? This one is easy, NO! LOTR necessarily discusses most of the plot of The Hobbit so as far as enjoying The Hobbit goes, it is definitely better to read it before you read LOTR.


Once you get started, this isn’t going to be a problem, trust us! :smiley:

One question to add to this discussion… Is the Silmarillion worth reading at all if you’re only a normal Tolkein fan, and just are looking for a fun book?

The Silmarillion is not a fun book. IMHO, it’s debatable whether the Silmarillion is a readable book. Think about the dryest history book you’ve ever read. Then think about it detailing events in Middle Earth.

I love The Hobbit and the trilogy, but try as I might, I was never able to finish the Silmarillion.

I loved the Silmarillion when I finally got around to reading it. However, it’s not light reading, at all, and if you’re looking for more of LOTR, you’re looking in the wrong place - the style is completely different. My recommendation is to find someone who owns a copy, borrow it, and see if you can get through the first bit without your eyes crossing from stress. You’ll know, at that point, whether you want to finish it.

I read through about 1/4 of the Silmarillion before I decided it was an unappetizing cross between the Christian bible and an encylopedia of Greek mythological characters. I didn’t finish it and don’t feel bad about it either. AAMAF, I didn’t enjoy any of Tolkien’s other works besides TH and LOTR.

Try the first couple of chapters of The Hobbit and see if you like it–it’s on a bit ‘younger’ of a level than LOTR in some ways, but doesn’t really talk down to you, though the way it presents some of the characters, such as Elrond, is quite different at least in style from the Lord of the Rings. One of the valueable things about it is that you get to see Gandalf in action a bit more, as well as hearing some more about Hobbits and the various other races. I’m glad I read it first since I feel like I’ve gotten the whole story the right way around. Some folks can’t stand The Hobbit but love LOTR, so YMMV.

As far as the Silmarillion goes, it is a bit dry, but it has some really cool parts to it. It’s not a novel like LOTR is, but it’s got a lot of the stories in it that are referred to and taken for granted by people like Galadriel and Aragorn–Beren & Luthien, Earendil, the Silmarils, Morgoth, the creation of the world, who Gandalf really was. I find it best to read it in small chunks–the chapters are pretty much self-contained and can be read like short stories or encyclopedia articles. And the last chapters tell the story of LOTR from a slightly different perspective, which is interesting. All in all, a valuable resource to have on hand if you like Middle Earth.

I wildly applaud your decision to read the books! I don’t care what they say, I think it will make the movies all the more enjoyable for you. For one thing you will know all the stuff that’s going on behind the scenes that doesn’t fit into the three hours. Bravo! (or Brava! as the case may be)

LotR sort of “spoils” The Hobbit, so if you’re planning on reading The Hobbit at all, it would be better to read it first.

The Silmarillion isn’t one work, it’s several: There’s the Ainulindale, the Valaquenta, the Silmarillion proper, and the Akallabeth. They complement each other, but can be read independently. If you find the first two parts too dry, just skip them and go on to the stories.

I am a newbie to LOTR. I have only read the first volume. (She hangs her head in shame) But I did start with The Hobbit and I think it really set the stage for understanding Bilbo’s character and his wanderlust, not to mention his standing in the Shire. I am very happy I read it before reading the first volume and seeing the first movie.

I agree that you should read The Hobbit first. You learn about Bilbo, Smeagol, the Ring, and Gandalf, plus other characters who are in LotR. Bear in mind that The Hobbit was written before the Second World War and that LotR didn’t come out until the 1950s. I think the intervening unpleasantness helped to make LotR a darker work.

The Hobbit is more of a children’s book. Bilbo decides he wants an adventure (very un-Hobbitlike), and he gets it. The story is very simple, and the writing style appeals to adolescents and pre-teens. LotR, I’ve heard, was not intended as a “sequel”, but it does use many of the same characters. It is much more detailed and it contains more “angst”.

As has been said, it is not necessary to read The Hobbit before LotR, but I think it lends more “richness” to the saga when you know the background.

As for seeing the film before reading the book, I can only go by my own experience having read The Hobbit and LotR when I was a kid in the 1970s. The books did not spoil the film. Remember that LotR was written with the expectation that people have read the books. I’ve seen comments from people who have not read the books that they thought the “ending” of the film sucked; but that’s probably because they didn’t understand the story. Those of us who have read the books knew that it would end where it did, and we look with anticipation to the other two films.

Read The Hobbit. Then read LotR. Then see the film.

The thing is, LOTR is really one big long book. The publisher (back in the fifties) didn’t want to try to print a book that thick, so split it in three. The end of Fellowship of the Ring is not the end of anything, so it makes no sence to complain about the “bad ending”.

Just think, if Tolkien’s publisher had split the story into six volumes insead of three – we might have gotten six movies, with way less omitted. And six volumes would have made just as much sence as three. There are two parts per book; six parts in all.

The Fellowship movie was surprisingly good, IMO, except that it left so much out.