Should You Read The Hobbit Before Seeing The Movie?

by Sam

Having read the book before seeing a movie like 'The Hobbit' can be either a good or a bad idea. Here some tips to make your decision easier.

The Movie 'The Hobbit' is scheduled for release on 14th December 2012 (Part 1) and 13 December 2013 (Part 2). Unless you live in New Zealand, apparently it will have its premiere there a bit earlier. So, what to do until then? If you haven't read the original book 'The Hobbit - There and Back Again' you might wonder if you should or shouldn't do so now, whilst you are waiting for the movie. Reading a book and then seeing a movie based on said book can either be a great idea, or a disappointing experience. Here some ideas and personal experiences that might help you deciding. And If you don't know much about the upcoming movie 'The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey', I recommend to you the article below:

An Unexpected Journey is the first of two Hobbit movies by Peter Jackson.

Reasons to read the book first

... and then to watch the movie

You want to write a movie review

If you plan to write a review of a movie that is based on a book, reading the book beforehand is essential! If not you will miss important aspects, for example if the movie is faithful to the original story, if some scenes were excluded, if the film took any shortcuts etc.

You want to enjoy the cinematography at its fullest

Modern movies are often full with special effects and visually very complex, if you have to concentrate too much on following the story, you might miss some of these visual delights.

You like to 'see' the story first in your own head

I don't know about you, but when I read a good book, I can 'see' the story in my head. This happens less easily when I see the movie first. It is as if the directors imagination is stronger than my own one, perhaps because the visual impact is stronger thanks to modern cinematography?

Skipping the book because the movie is bad

Seeing the movie first can, if it is badly made, put you off completely from reading the book - and that could be a real loss! Granted, the danger is slim when it comes to The Hobbit as the director has already proven that he can 'handle' Tolkien's complex works. Peter Jackson directed also the epic 'Lord of the Rings' triology and did a great job with it!

The Hobbit - Original

Cover design by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit

The Hobbit - Annotated

Original text plus background info!
The Annotated Hobbit

Reasons to see the film first

... and then to read the book

You can't get 'into' the book / language

That happened to me when trying, several times, to read 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Silmarillion'. Perhaps it was because I am not a native English speaker, but when I tried to read these books first, many years ago, they simply didn't 'open' for me and the language did nothing for me. Only years later, when I had seen the films, and tried again to read the books I did enjoy them. So if you have tried to read The Hobbit, but couldn't enjoy it, perhaps watching the movie first might help you.

You don't enjoy reading at all

Sounds strange to me, a bookworm, but I do know people that don't like to read at all. Perhaps seeing a movie could make you curious about the book?

You want to get your kids to read more

Similar to the above, but for kids / parents. It worked well with the >Harry Potter books<, so why not also for a more classic piece of children's literature? If you want to introduce your kids to the beautiful world and language of Tolkien, seeing 'The Hobbit' with them might be a good idea!

Map of Middle Earth

... where there are hobbits - and dragons ;-)
(24x36) Lord of the Rings (Map of Middle Earth) Art Poster Print
Only $14.99

If You Have Read 'The Hobbit' and are looking for similar books

... you might enjoy some of the books that I reviewed in the article below ;-)
Having finished The Hobbit and looking for similar books you might like? Here a list and summary of books that might appeal to a Hobbit fan.

Book or Movie first, what do you prefer and why?

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I always read the book first, because ...
kajohu on 02/14/2012

I guess I can't say I ALWAYS read the book first, but it seems like I've often read the book before seeing the movie. If I've loved the book, then I am much more likely to see the movie when it comes out. I've already read The Hobbit (years ago!) and am very much looking forward to the movie!

Updated: 02/16/2012, Sam
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