Every good book has its faults. Today I’m sharing some of the things I don’t like about The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Unfortunately, I can’t share my least favorite things without including some spoilers. If you don’t want the book spoiled, you should stop reading this.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, and you don’t have to agree with them.
Number 8: Thorin becomes a jerk.
I don’t like how the dragon sickness makes Thorin a jerk toward the end of the book. I want to like Thorin, but this part ruins that for me. I know the dragon sickness is part of the story and Thorin’s arc, but I don’t like how much it makes me dislike him. I was far more forgiving the first time I read it. I’m not sure why that changed the second time.
Number 7: Not all of the dwarves seemed necessary.
Most of the time I forgot there were thirteen dwarves in the company because so many of them are virtually invisible. Thorin, Balin, Fili, and Kili seem to be the only important ones. Every once in a while one of the others has a moment in the spotlight, but those moments are rare. Did they really need all thirteen of them? Maybe, maybe not. I would have liked it better if each one had a specific talent or something they use in the story that illustrates their importance to the company.
Number 6: The only character readers get close to is Bilbo.
We really don’t learn much about any of the dwarves. Bilbo’s the only character we have any intimacy with. It would have been nice to get to know the dwarves better, and I think it would have helped them feel more important to the story.
Number 5: There’s a lack of character variety.
By this, I primarily mean there are no female characters. Middle Earth can’t be all male, and yet we only meet male characters. There aren’t any badass dwarf women who could help Thorin reclaim his throne? Beorn couldn’t be a female? There couldn’t at least have been a random woman in Lake-town or Mirkwood? I see potential for female characters, and it would have added some variety to the cast.
Number 4: Bilbo missed the end of the battle.
I feel robbed because Bilbo was unconscious for the end of the battle. We get all this build-up, and then we don’t get to see the end because Bilbo hits his head. I don’t want a long, drawn-out battle scene, but I want something.
Number 3: Smaug was defeated by the villagers instead of the dwarves.
Again, we have this build-up where we’re expecting the dwarves and Bilbo to face the dragon, but then they don’t because the men of Lake-town defeat him instead. The dwarves are robbed of their mighty battle against the dragon.
Number 2: The dwarves need rescued a lot.
The dwarves seem kind of stupid and bad at being adventurers because Bilbo has to save their butts all the time. I think part of that is the way dwarfs are, but Gimli never gets himself in situations like these dwarves do. They certainly make Bilbo’s job harder, and Bilbo comes across as way smarter than any of them.
Number 1: The deus ex machinas cheapen the story.
Gandalf rescuing the dwarves from the trolls, and the eagles rescuing them from the goblins cheapen the story. We’re supposed to accept that Gandalf happens to return just in time to save them, and the eagles show up just in time to rescue them. If there’s going to be any rescuing, I want at least a little foreshadowing or build-up rather than it coming out of nowhere.
These are some of things I don’t like about The Hobbit. No story can be perfect. Do you agree with any of these points? Do you disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.