Thursday, December 13, 2012

Articles of the Week - Special "The Hobbit' Edition

With the release this weekend of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three feature films adaptations from Peter Jackson of J.R.R. Tolkien's prequal to The Lord of the Rings, the blogosphere and news/magazine sites were naturally abuzz with both reviews of the film and discussion of the source material. A few highlights from my reading:

  • Lawrence Downes of The New York Times reflects on the sheer depth of Tolkien's literary creation, arguing that it is not really that it is not a stretch at all to make even six feature films about Middle-earth.
  • The Economist's Prospero, on that same point, notes that the story of Bilbo Baggins as told by Tolkien in the novel suffers somewhat from the inclusion of so much extra, if canon, material.
  • Louis Markos, an English professor writing for The Gospel Coalition, looks at Tolkien's own defense of the use of "fairy stories" for communicating Scriptural truth.
  • Circling back on the question of "is the extra material out of place?" - Todd Hertz of Christianity Today reviews the film and observes that Peter Jackson has made an attempt to turn the "simpler" story of The Hobbit into something on the scale of Tolkien's larger work, The Lord of the Rings - though Hertz reserves judgment on whether Jackson was successful or even wise to do so.
  • Bradley J. Birzer, also for Christianity Today, takes a comprehensive look at Tolkien himself.
  • Storer H. Rowley, writing for the Chicago Tribune, offers his thoughts on why The Hobbit is such a successful piece of writing.
  • Finally, my alma mater, Wheaton College, is home to a museum/research institute, the Wade Center, on seven British Christian authors, including Tolkien. Featured on the College's website is the Center's take on the significance of The Hobbit (the novel) to literature and culture.

Do you have plans to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? I will be seeing it with some of my college roommates next weekend!

This is Rubio, over and out.

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