Dwarves, elves, goblins, trolls, dragons and wizards - these are the ingredients of J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful fantasy, the prelude to The Lord of The Rings, now the subject of a major feature film series. The hero of the tale is Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving unambitious hobbit who is suddenly thrust into what turns out to be the biggest adventure of his life. Guided by Gandalf the wizard, Bilbo and a company of dwarves set out to destroy Smaug the Magnificent, a ferocious dragon who guards a treasure hoard. Their journey contains many dangers, and in facing them the reluctant Bilbo's great resourcefulness and courage surprises everyone - not least himself! Since it was first broadcast in 1968, this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation has become a classic in its own right, perfectly evoking Tolkien's magical other world and its enchanting, fantastic inhabitants.
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One for There and Back Again
To be completely honest, this particular dramatization didn't really appeal to me straight away- still BBC, but without the same team that had done The Lord of the Rings (though it was still a sight better then the effort by NPR). However, as I settled into the tale, I came to appreciate it's true genius; this adaptation makes no attempt to stick rigidly to the text, rather, it seeks to evoke the senses and gently lead one by the hand onto a an enchanted path to wonder. Tolkien's great humor finally gets a proper airing, and in the hands of some great British vocal talents, shines out brightly at last. The music is probably my favorite of all the Tolkien audio adaptations- evocative and deftly used, without being ponderous or dour. Nothing is omitted and the story tears along at a grand pace, making this a great story for kids to listen to while in the car or a similar journey.
If you want to buy the unabridged reading by Rob Inglis, then it's best to go hunting, since as of this review, iTunes shows no inclination to picking up these great recordings. In the meantime, you could do a lot worse the picking up this wee gem.
a treasure to say the least
I also grew up listening to books on tape and can honestly say this is the best! i could not begin to tell you how many times i have listened to this great story and been taken away completely to JRR tolkiens fantasy world, the music is incredible and the story telling is poetic. This is great for anybody with an imagination!
I love this book, it is the fondest memory of my childhood and if i did not have such a deep love for tolkien's books that memory would have been crushed. The casting was so distinctly terrible, gandalf is depicted with a high pitched, whiney voice. The names of many characters have been horrible butchered (Thorin pronounced as TORIN, Gollum as GOLOOM). There was even changes in pivital plot points(Bilbo and the trolls, Thorin and the wood elves). And as the for the music...the obvious kazoos left me laughing as did the off-key singing and dastardly horrible compilation of the music's score. I have truly never been more disappointed in the BBC, I could not even complete it i was so disgusted. I highly recommend the other version of the Hobbit that can be found on iTunes. DO NOT waste your money.