the hobbit tagged posts

The Hobbit Gift Guide

It’s been almost a decade since we’ve had the wonderful combination of a cinematic journey to Middle Earth and holiday season!  Also, if you’re in my age group, this time around you have a real job and real money to spend on stuff!  I mean, other people.  Because it’s the season of giving.

Here’s my top ten list of some of the best and most unique Hobbit gifts out there!  You don’t even have to fight a dragon for this wonderful hoard, just your credit card bills and weird internet connections.

Limited Edition Hobbit Moleskine Notebooks

Limited Edition Hobbit Moleskine Notebooks | $17

These gorgeous notebooks are perfect for recording your own travels, or your hobbit-sized grocery lists.

Read More

An Unexpected Party: the Feast

Just before tea-time there came a tremendous ring on the front-door bell, and then Bilbo remembered! He rushed and put on the kettle, and put out another cup and saucer, and an extra cake or two, and ran to the door.

“I am so sorry to keep you waiting!” he was going to say, when he saw that it was not Gandalf at all. It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, and very bright eyes under his dark green hood.

Hobbits love food and we at Castles and Cooks are huge fans of both food and the Hobbit, so we’re pouncing on this opportunity to make some recipes that Bilbo Baggin’s would approve of. When the dwarves overtook Bag End that day, Bilbo did all he could to continue their never ending feast.

In the span of a chapter, Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves devoured all they could including eggs, scones, mincepies, roasted chicken, pickles, sausages, cheese, bread, tea, ale, beer, porter, coffee, red wine and more! Many of those are simple enough to make or buy (scones were one of our first recipes). But three of them felt worthy of their own new recipes.

If you’re looking for a complete Hobbit feast, you’ll have to wait until after the movie where we will dissect the whole scene, but until Friday: eat, drink and be merry.

Read More

Revisiting the Hobbit Graphic Novel and Animated Movie

In a hole in the ground lived a Hobbit…

So begins the journey into the epic fantasy world of Middle Earth. The line was written as a fleeting thought by author JRR Tolkien as he graded papers, proving that a) even professors doodle and b) that doodles do have value. As part of our Hobbit week we decided to look back at two of the more well-known adaptations of The Hobbit, the graphic novel (recently re-released) and the animated film for television from the 1970s.

The Hobbit Graphic Novel

This was my visual introduction to Middle Earth. I found the graphic novel in a used bookstore shortly after I finished reading The Hobbit for the first time. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure this was the first graphic novel that I ever read.

If you have a young or reluctant reader who isn’t eager to pick up Tolkien’s full novel and delve into passage after passage of names and intricate descriptions of scenery I might suggest this as a wonderful alternative entry point into the world of Middle Earth.

Originally published in 1989 as a three issue comic series, the book was eventually put together as a trade paperback and released as a full graphic novel. In September of 2012 the book was re-released with some updated changes to the layout, a new cover, and a few new pages of artwork as part of the run-up to the Hobbit film.

The watercolor-esque art style by David T. Wenzel gave Middle Earth a vibrant look that in some ways mirrored the animated film, though with smoother lines and a little more age to each of the characters. Many of the panels literally bleed off the pages and swords, staves and other artifacts often push outside the boundaries of the individual panels to great effect.

The original version had some layout issues with panels appearing a bit distorted or important characters being cutoff, apparently from a desire to have consistent margins on every page. The newly released version solved this issue by allowing for adaptive margins that are based on each individual page of panels.

The graphic novel is a fairly faithful adaptation with all the major characters and events retained from the book, including the visit with Beorn and an elongated retelling of the events in Mirkwood forest leading to the dwarves’ capture by the wood elves. The “Riddles in the Dark” chapter as well as Bilbo’s interactions with Smaug look particularly gorgeous. I can’t think of a better book to have with me at the theater to help pass the time while I wait for the movie to start.

Read More

The Hobbit trailer debut and it is glorious

Has it really been over a decade since we first visited Lord of the Rings? Maybe it’s because I’ve been rewatching the series on Blu-Ray, but it honestly feels like we never left Middle-Earth. It’s so good to be back and seeing Bilbo Baggins as played by Martin Freeman really sets the tone that this is a different kind of story.

I’ve missed the Shire and can’t wait to go back.

– Jesse

Read More

There and Back Again: The Hobbit Begins

This 10 minute clip is more deserving than being just a Portal of the Week. Peter Jackson’s video blog about getting ready to shoot the Hobbit is amazing. Seeing Bag End and Rivendell again fills me with infinite joy. And the Fellowship of the Ring has one of, if not the, greatest soundtracks ever.

It’s been 12 years and it’s so good to be going back to Middle-Earth.

Read More