I read this book about 18-Sep-2001. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1937. This note was last modified Saturday, 19-Aug-2006 10:47:10 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
I haven't reread The Hobbit in forever; I can't remember when I last read it. I don't know if it will continue to seem a good idea, but I'm currently thinking of reading this, LotR, and Bored of the Rings consecutively. Can't abominate the movie properly if my memory isn't fresh, after all.
Page citations are to the Ballantine Books paperback, U7039, revised edition, 5th printing (October 1966).
Both in the goblin's tunnels in the Misty Mountains, and in Mirkwood, eyes seem to actually emit light. In Mirkwood, it's so dark Bilbo can't see his hand flap in front of his face, but there are glowing eyes around them.
Gollum's eyes really do emit light in the tunnels, so maybe that's how it actually works, at least for some creatures, in that world. Given that Gollumn is biologically a hobbit, this doesn't make any sense to me, but then this is a fairytale. Here are some quotes from Bilbo's interaction with Gollum in the tunnels in the Misty Mountains: "...as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face." (p.79) "The hobbit nearly jumped out of his skin when the hiss came in his ears, and he suddenly saw the pale eyes sticking out at him." (p. 80) "But now the light in Golllum's eyes had become a green fire." (p. 89) "He turned now and saw Gollum's eyes like small green lamps coming up the slope." (p. 89-90) "Bilbo could see the light of his eyes palely shining even from behind." (p. 90) If Bilbo can see anything at all in unlit underground tunnels (Sting is in its sheath), then that thing is emitting light.
Hmmm; I see that Sting wasn't named that yet at the time Bilbo and Gollum had their riddle game. (He names it after killing the first spider).
"Some of the dwarves had knives, and some had sticks, and all of them could get at stones; and Bilbo had his elvish dagger." (p. 161). And Thorin should have had his elvish sword, as well, and a rather special sword it was. But Thorin was missing, and they don't notice till later. Okay, I can, barely, see them not noticing (though they also counted the number of dwarves rescued, and that came up one short), but this is throwing it in my face pretty hard. I guess I'm supposed to notice it. "All of a sudden Dwalin opened an eye, and looked around at them. 'Where is Thorin?' he asked." (p. 164).
But all in all it was a fun adventure. And while many unnamed men, elves, and dwarves die, and also goblins and wolves, only three named characters die, and one of them dies gloriously, and the other two die defending him. Oh, a second almost-named character, the Master of the town of Esgaroth, dies shamefully after the battle. And of course three trolls die early on, too. But, really, the death toll is fairly moderate for such a combative book.