LOTR vs The Hobbit

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
Which would you say is your favourite? (Presuming you've read both!)

I thoroughly enjoyed "The Hobbit" - it was a very well rounded story and entirely homogenous.

The "Lord of the Rings", on the other hand, often seemed to vary in places, never quite decided if it was going to be a children's or adult story.

For example, Tom Bombadil would not at all seem out of place in The Hobbit. However, the Mines of Moria - especially when you read about the death of Balin - to myself was a particularly adult peak, like killing the innocence of the Hobbit in some small way.

Sometimes LOTR seems a little rushed, too - for example, the Battle of Minas Tirith seemed very rushed ni the book (thuogh the film brought it properly to life).

So - which is your favourite?
I would have to say LOTR for various reasons. Mainly because you get more involved and understand each of the many characters more. The Hobbit, on the other hand, focusses primarily on Bilbo.

I also would say that I never considered either one to be a children's story. I'm sure they could be, but they don't strike me that way.

But I can see how going from the Hobbit to LOTR, Tolkien's writing and characterizations became more complex and interesting. You can see how he learned from writing the Hobbit; it was much more shallow and facile, especially when he was dealing with dangerous situations like the trolls and Smaug. Everything works out neatly and easily, whereas in LOTR, danger seems more real.
Both works are a must read. I think the difference between the two is style. The Hobbit is a simpler tale, therefore it seems to appeal to younger readers. I think that LOTR deals with much more complex relationships and values. The size alone would deter a young reader. I don't have a favorite because I think of them as the same story.
I liked both, but I probably would pick LOTR if I had to make a choice. If only for the sheer scope of it. All of the different things that are happening. It does seem in some ways to be more mature than "The Hobbit". You can see how much Frodo changes from the innocent young hobbit to the scarred individual he becomes. He's changed so much he can't stand to stay in Middle Earth. Also, I was forced to read "The Hobbit" in a highschool English class and it has never been the same. :(
Hmm, I have always seen the hobbit as a childrens book though I myself reread it a few months ago, I often think the hobbit had more of a comedy aspect to it there was more wit in the way it was written and in my opinion the dwarves were always portrayed as being a comical bunch.

The lord of the rings is so different its about emotions,civilisations,life and death, good vs evil, races and realms all rolled into one.
It mirrors life its bitter sweet there are a few comical bits in it but its not really anything like the hobbit in my opinion,
I think that i would have to disagree with you all and swing for the Hobbit. The Hobbit is a short sharp story where as Lotr Read five pages and the have only walk a couple of steps, Although some bits are somewhat rushed. Lotr IS still one of the greatest bok i have read and would throughly recomend them to any one else.
Wow...tough choice. The Hobbit is a mini-epic. I love the adventure quality to it, it's a great goal driven journey. LOTR seems to be a massive expansion on this, with all the elements that makes the hobbit so good. (War, Journeys across strange lands, anti-heroes, humour...)

I think I would pick Lord of the Rings though...if you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose that is.
I love them both, for vastly different reasons. Somehow, I always feel more like I'm actually there on the spot sharing the adventure when reading The Hobbit; also, I do love the humor. On the other hand, LOTR is so deep and rich and grand, and it opens up great vistas that the Hobbit only hints at.
Err, the Silmarillion ?

I'd say LOTR, more adventurous better written better character relationship. The Hobbit bored me as a child, and bored me when I retried it as an adult.
LOTR of course. LOTR was actually written first and The Hobbit was an afterthought for Tolkien. I even liked The Silmarilion better than The Hobbit.
Actually based on his biography he had the whole world of middle earth completely mapped out and the nearly the entirety of his LOTR story finished before he concluded that a prelude was necessary. This including geneologies, races, histories... He had pretty much written a history of a fantasy land before publishing anything. He started all this in Oxford and at a very young age. I will dig out the biography and offer more details on dates. However, I am not at home at the moment.
It all started with the book of lost tales and the Lay of Leithian and such. The Hobbit was a children's book not originally intended to be a part of the Mythos, but got drawn back to it inextorably by his choice of settings and the like. Tolkien then set to work on LOTR, beat it out, revised the mythos to fit with what LOTR was saying, and went back and rewrote portions of the Hobbit (Bilbo does not flee Gollum, but is sent off on his way by the irate misanthrope in the original, plus other stuff I don't remember) in later editions because of his obsessive need to make everything fit.

I'll go the Hobbit, if I really had to chose, but I probably never will so I'm making the choice lightly.
I liked Lost Tales. I read that book after The Two Towers but before The Return of the King. Don't know why but I did.
in 1985, i bought the hobbit and lord of the rights...

i read straight through from the hobbit into the others...

i enjoyed the hobbit immensely, but the lord of the rings was very heavy going... i was hoping to read them all in one go, but only managed to get to page 17 of return of the king before stopping - and ain't touched them since... i recently re-read the hobbit and still enjoyed it...but i don't think i could ever touch lord of the rings, even after seeing the films... i just found it so mired in descriptions... it reminds of why i can't read robert jordan, just too heavy going... i need something a little lighter in the feel of the writing - like raymond e feist and mark anthony...

i haven't felt the need to try reading any of the other tolkein books... i'm half expecting them to be as heavy as lord of the rings and that puts me off...
I know what you mean, Master. When I first read Lord of the Rings (German translation), I had the feeling that some descriptions would never end. Especially Frodo and Sam's track through the Emyn Muil really got on my nerves.

The second time round is was no different. Then I got a hold of the English original version and I told myself: this is the last go, girl. And strangely, the feeling didn't return... Up until today, I don't know why, but it didn't return, not even during the Emyn Muil part. Right now I'm looking forward to the next round of LotR... :)

And strangely enough, from when I've read the Hobbit, I still remember the plot, but no details... Maybe I should go and reread that... ;)
i have to say that the part of lotr that stumped me, was to do with rohan... it seemed to drag on for an eternity... and that just started to drain all the enthusiasm out of me...

i know what you mean about the hobbit... you remember what happened, especially the beginning and the end, but the rest is a complete blur!!! when i re-read it, i kept saying to myself "i don't remember that!!!"... it was an eye-opener... :D
lol, no with the Hobbit the inbetween is reasonably clear... where it gets vague with me is the beginning and the end! :D But maybe that's to do with the fact that Bilbo finding the Ring is also in a way part of LotR which is why I think to remember that. And the trolls and that there was a dragon...

Oh my gosh, I need to read that book again. It's like I remember less than the basics... :eek:
yeah, okay, i remembered the ring and gollum and smaug and the dwarves and the trolls... but there was the elf king in the forest and the bear man (i forget his name) and bard that killed smaug and climbing the mountain to smaugs lair... i'd forgotten all that... but remembered about the arrival of the dwarves and the party at the end...

i'd forgotten about the dwarves defence of the lair, and thorin's arrogance... :D
You are quite right.Lost Tales and the Silmarillion were a bit heavier and read more like a history book than his others.