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View Poll Results: Which book should be the subject of the next CbC discussion?
The Hobbit 35 60.34%
The Silmarillion 23 39.66%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-15-2005, 02:59 AM   #1
Son of Númenor
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CbC: Silm or TH?

With the Lord of the Rings Chapter-by-Chapter Discussion being such a hit, there has emerged discussion of the possibility of another CbC some time after this one is wrapped up. This poll is to get a read on which other work of Tolkien's BDers would be most interested in discussing chapter-by-chapter. The two logical choices seem to be The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. I am assuming that HoME, UT, the Letters, etc. should be excluded from this poll, though doubtless there are some of us who would love to disect them page-by-page, letter-by-letter.

So what do you think? Bilbo or Beren? The two pieces are obviously dissimilar, and there are those who feel that neither is to be taken as wholly canonical. Regardless of their merit as pieces of the Legendarium, they both make for a sterling read. I would not be unhappy with either, and I suspect that the majority of Downers feels the same way. The Silmarillion, however, gets my vote: it has always been my favorite of Tolkien's works, edging out LotR on account of its grand scope and that indescribable hint of the mythic, of old dusty lorebooks and legends washed away by the Sea. (Sorry to wax faux poetic.)

This is by no means the official poll to determine which work we read next, unless the moderators deem it to be. You need not substantiate your vote with a lengthy argument (though we all know prolix debate is welcomed here at the Downs if you wish to engage in it). Just choose whichever work you would have more fun reading and discussing.

I will note that if The Silmarillion is chosen, I would be happy to take over Esty's role as discussion leader -- assuming she wishes to relinquish that power. Apologies if this thread was posted in the wrong place, or if it should not exist at all.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:11 AM   #2
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Leaf Turning over a new leaf!

I voted for The Hobbit because of the experience I made with the LotR discussion. Very few members have continued discussing the chapters by now, so that I think a shorter work would have a better chance of getting widespread and hopefully lasting participation. I also think TH would get a bigger audience, as younger members might be more inclined to post there than on a book about which they don't feel as knowledgeable.

The whole idea is to get as many people as possible involved, and I think that could more likely be achieved with a discussion of The Hobbit.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:18 AM   #3
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I'll vote for The Hobbit, for all the reasons Esty has mentioned! But also because I think it is time we gave some serious thought to the book - and that can include where it does and does not 'fit' into the Legendarium.

I've discovered a lot more about LotR through these CbC discussions, they have added depth to my reading, and I would love to experience that with The Hobbit.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:19 AM   #4
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Pipe

I've always loved The Hobbit and would very much like to get in on discussing it.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:59 AM   #5
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I voted for the Silmarillion because I love it more than the rest of Tolkien put together, it has the Sons of Feanor and Maeglin in it, and-most importantly-I have a copy in my room here at school, which is not true of LOTR and the Hobbit...so my comments could actually have a textual basis...
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:00 AM   #6
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If it's possible that we'll eventually go through both the Sil and the Hobbit as CbC, I don't care which book we read first. I'd love to learn more about the Sil but I agree with Esty that the Hobbit might gather more participants than the Sil.
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Old 09-15-2005, 07:53 AM   #7
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I think that it'd work better to start with the Hobbit, though the Sil will eventually be more useful and interesting to those who have read it. The Hobbit would gather more participants for one thing. I also grew up on the hobbit from when I was starting reading chapter books on my own, so I may be biased towards it, but I feel discussing the hobbit would be better to go first between the two.

Of course I think after this Sil should also be done.
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Old 09-15-2005, 12:27 PM   #8
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While I feel the Silmarillion would appeal more personally, since it is richer, I do think the Hobbit would be a better choice and less liable to get tangled up with HoME. I think there might be a case for at least parts of UT though. But then I love UT.....
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Old 09-15-2005, 12:36 PM   #9
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I don't suppose both in tandem would be an option?
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Old 09-15-2005, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
I don't suppose both in tandem would be an option?
That'd be too confusing, I think. I'm voting the Hobbit because it's easier and what with school beginning in all its hecticness, I'd rather some light reading.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
I don't suppose both in tandem would be an option?
I agree that that'd be interesting, though I think it could get extremely confusing. Having the other one after the choosen to go first ends is my vote.
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:12 PM   #12
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I voted for The Hobbit just because it's a much less 'scary' work. To tell the truth, I've been curious about CbC, but frightened by the deep level of though being discussed. The Hobbit is a more accessible work than Silm, which would be very helpful to those like myself who would like toget involved, but are intimidated. Also, as Encai said, it would be much easier to do some worthwhile thinking on The Hobbit than Silm while a good number of us younger members are busy with school.
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:53 AM   #13
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Both should be done, but The Hobbit ought to go first.
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Old 09-16-2005, 12:12 PM   #14
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Eye

I'm with Legolas.
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Old 09-16-2005, 12:40 PM   #15
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I voted for the Silmarillion. Admittedly, I probably won't have a chance to participate, and I understand too well how bad it is to try and moderate a discussion that isn't happening (in fact I'm having that exact problem with a book group at the moment). I voted on my instincts. The Silmarillion has more to offer. The decision (in my mind) is like deciding between discussing Jack and the Beanstalk and Faust. While Jack has some interesting ethical problems and plot mechanisms, and is so short that it can be easily exhasted (comparatively), Faust has much more depth and participants stand to gain much more from discussion.


THe same goes here.


Best wishes to all,
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Old 09-16-2005, 04:34 PM   #16
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Leaf Hobbits, then sons of feanor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orominuialwen
I voted for The Hobbit just because it's a much less 'scary' work. To tell the truth, I've been curious about CbC, but frightened by the deep level of though being discussed. The Hobbit is a more accessible work than Silm, which would be very helpful to those like myself who would like toget involved, but are intimidated. Also, as Encai said, it would be much easier to do some worthwhile thinking on The Hobbit than Silm while a good number of us younger members are busy with school.
Took the words out of my mouth!
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Old 09-16-2005, 06:21 PM   #17
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I voted for The Silmarillion, but simply because I'm trying to get my mother to read it at the moment and I think a chapter-by-chapter discussion could motivate her a bit more.
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Old 09-16-2005, 06:29 PM   #18
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I voted for The Hobbit for the reasons previously stated by Esty. Also, I think that if we start with a book wich is really closely related to LotR, more people would be motivated to talk about it. I know that if The Hobbit is chosen, I'll be participatin (if I can) in the CbC thread.
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Old 09-18-2005, 05:50 PM   #19
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The Hobbit

My reasoning is that the Silmarillion is quite possibly the better known work. We have dozens of threads all carefully going over all the little quirks and queries of the book, but The Hobbit seems a little neglected. We tend- or I tend- to think of it as more of a frivoulous read, not one that contains as much lore.

But really, it does. There are whole sections of Middle-Earth history that are glimpsed primarily through The Hobbit, and there are many little snipets pertaining to the greater history that are among the few canonical statements about it.

And, barring those readers who accept ONLY the Lord of the Rings as canonical, The Hobbit is the only definitive canonical source of any decent size pertaining to Middle-Earth that can be accepted as such close to definitely, except for the Lord of the Rings itself. It is the only other major work by the Professor that was published in his lifetime, according to his specs, that deals with Middle-Earth.
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Old 09-19-2005, 02:35 AM   #20
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The Silmarillion

In my opinion we'll get more interesting (?) and more in-depth discussion on Sil.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:34 AM   #21
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I would agree with Encai and Esty (and others) that we should start with The Hobbit to get people interested and also to avoid scaring them away. I have been haunting the Cbc thread for a long time but have never felt brave enough to post because of the sheer intelligence of the discussion going on in there. To my mind there is less symbolism and fewer hidden messages within The Hobbit and so it might be easier to start with.
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Old 09-25-2005, 07:41 PM   #22
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The Hobbit, fourthing the reasons from Oromin, et. al. I think I could more meaningfully contribute to a Hobbit discussion; it's been some time for both books, but I really had to churn through Silmarillon

Also agree that I'd like to do both eventually, but I think it'd be easier to get used to the sort of analysis that tends to happen in CbC threads with the smaller work.
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Old 09-26-2005, 01:25 AM   #23
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Pipe Rats in the Pipe

I've voted for The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings was a mammoth task, I think we need a little break, to do something a little less daunting. I think that The Silmarilion should be done, but not just yet. I'd wait till a little later. Doing The Hobbit would be a good way for some who gave up (namely me) to get back into the discussions before we go on to something as huge (not in size, but in stature) as The Silmarillion. Save the best till last. What’s next? The History of Middle Earths? The Letters? Farmer Giles and other Tolkien books?

That’s what I think anyway,
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:24 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath
I would agree with Encai and Esty (and others) that we should start with The Hobbit to get people interested and also to avoid scaring them away. I have been haunting the Cbc thread for a long time but have never felt brave enough to post because of the sheer intelligence of the discussion going on in there. To my mind there is less symbolism and fewer hidden messages within The Hobbit and so it might be easier to start with.
That's true. I maybe should have thought of that more deeply.
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:58 PM   #25
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I voted for Hobbit. If I can get myself in gear and actually participate this next time around, I think starting off with something that is both a fun and sweet book would really work for me and some others as well.
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:01 PM   #26
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Silmaril

I too vote for The Hobbit. I have a particular affection for Bilbo's tale, it's true. But also I hope I'd be able to participate this time around.
I've tried, but found it impossible to keep up with the previous CbC discussion, I didn't have the time to do it justice I'm afraid. The thoughtful and insightful posts made by others have been fascinating reading though...Well done to those who did take part!
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:59 AM   #27
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Quote:
I've tried, but found it impossible to keep up with the previous CbC discussion, I didn't have the time to do it justice I'm afraid.
Perhaps we should have slower pace in this new CbC discussion, for example a chapter in two weeks...
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:31 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien
Perhaps we should have slower pace in this new CbC discussion, for example a chapter in two weeks...
Don't forget that the chapters are shorter, or at least easier to read, in The Hobbit. Keeping up shouldn't be such a problem. Really, is one chapter of The Hobbit per week a huge commitment?

As for the Silmarillion... That's a different question. Some chapters are shorter, but some (if one counts the "Akallabeth" as a chapter) are quite large, if not in pages then in information.
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Old 09-29-2005, 02:04 PM   #29
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The Silmarillion would be wonderful. And though I do think that it would be harder to keep up with, I think the rewards would be tremendous! But should we even be thinking of CbC discussions in terms of time. Can't they always be an ongoing thing, with one adding to the thread with every rereading?
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Old 10-02-2005, 03:34 PM   #30
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Silmaril

I voted TH. I think that, while there is less "meat" there, it will be easier to get into for those of us who don't feel particularly confident with our degree of knowledge on the Sil.

A slower pace would be great, too. I have a very busy schedule and therefore don't really have the time to participate meaningfully in the CbC on LOTR. I wish I did, but I just don't have enough time to read every thread before posting.

Sil might be interesting, though. I'm sure I'd learn a lot through discussing it. Either one we pick is pretty much fine with me, and now I'm wondering why I didn't want to go out for the challenge of discussing Sil...
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Old 10-19-2005, 08:13 AM   #31
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The Hobbit for me
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:02 PM   #32
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Leaf The Hobbit (ooohhh I have been away too long, now you have pretty green leaves!)

Although I think discussion would be more in-depth with The Sil; I have to say The Hobbit. Because it is so different from everything else it is certainly the most confusing of Tolkien's works for me. I'm never quite sure what to take seriously: all of it or not? I think that hearing other Downer's views would help me a great deal with deciding what to think about The Hobbit in general too... I've never really been 'into it' as I have LotR and The Sil and such like.
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Old 11-02-2005, 03:35 AM   #33
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Tolkien

Much as I love The Silm , if the idea is to engage more Downers in the discussion, I think The Hobbit is a 'friendlier' choice. It saddened me to think that some people were shy of posting on the LOTR CbC discussion because they thought they wouldn't sound intelligent enough. While well-thought-out posts should always be encouraged, everyone should feel free to comment within the guidelines of civilized discussion, even if it's their first reading of a book. New eyes can give us old-timers interesting perspectives on our favorite books & chapters.

Bother, I've gone off on a rant...but I think I'll leave it.
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Old 11-11-2005, 01:36 PM   #34
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While I have no doubts that certain Down's members will still attain the highest levels of lengthy and annalytical posts equipped with well documented quotes for their debates (look what they did to a simple game of 'werewolf'! ), I have voted for The Hobbit because I myself would be able to dip a toe in the discussions.
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Old 11-13-2005, 02:44 PM   #35
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Well... I prefer The Hobbit, I think that is because is the first book I ever read...
Anyway, The Silmarillion can be kind of 'thick' in some parts for me, specially in the beginning when it tells how Iluvatar created the Valars, etc, etc...
The sotry of The Hobbit is such a classical story of fantasy but wiht a lot of little things that give flavour to the tale, I don't know if you can follow my "primitive" english...

Whatever, my votes goes rightly to The Hobbit.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:10 PM   #36
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I wonder how deep an analysis of TH can go. Unlike LotR, TH was written as a straightforward entertainment for Tolkien's children. No-one has a greater love for TH than I do, but to be honest I think I'd struggle to come up with more than either an 'I really like the bit where...', or an exploration of Tolkien's sources/influences - which is just 'breaking a thing to find out what it is made of'.

All those wanting to go on to TH: have you thought of the kind of things you want to discuss? There are some books/movies that we love to bits because of the spell they weave on us, but, beyond the way they make us feel there's little to talk about.

In short, I think there's much more mileage in 'Ainulindale' than in 'An Unexpected Party' (though personally I'd rather read the latter if its simply a matter of enjoyment).
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Old 11-13-2005, 07:05 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
I wonder how deep an analysis of TH can go. Unlike LotR, TH was written as a straightforward entertainment for Tolkien's children. No-one has a greater love for TH than I do, but to be honest I think I'd struggle to come up with more than either an 'I really like the bit where...', or an exploration of Tolkien's sources/influences - which is just 'breaking a thing to find out what it is made of'.

All those wanting to go on to TH: have you thought of the kind of things you want to discuss? There are some books/movies that we love to bits because of the spell they weave on us, but, beyond the way they make us feel there's little to talk about.

In short, I think there's much more mileage in 'Ainulindale' than in 'An Unexpected Party' (though personally I'd rather read the latter if its simply a matter of enjoyment).
Ah, but Master Davem, since when do the discussions have to intensely scholarly and particularly in-depth?

After all, we have had a great deal of that in the LotR CbC. Perhaps a temporary change of pace to a more lighthearted "What I like here"/"What I don't like here" sort of discussion would be good for us.

Furthermore, if the rousing number of posts on Master Fordhim's new "Calling All Women" thread is any indication, I think you can expect more deep discussion from The Hobbi than you think. Personally, although I agree that The Hobbit is a more child-oriented and simpler book than either the Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion, it still has more to offer than you are suggesting.

Furthermore, although some people (I am recalling Mithalwen) on the other thread have basically said that there is nothing new in The Hobbit for them, I rather disagree. By getting the perspectives of a whole number of people, you are bound to get some new thoughts, and opinions unthought of.

I stick by my original vote for The Hobbit.
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:29 AM   #38
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I have to read The Hobbit again. Maybe this time I'll finally appreciate it, as my love for LotR grew by leaps and bounds thanks to CbC.

Besides, I think a CbC of The Silm would be bloody. And it would probably be inevitable to include a lot of HoME, and that could turn some off from the discussion...
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:02 AM   #39
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Quote:
I wonder how deep an analysis of TH can go. Unlike LotR, TH was written as a straightforward entertainment for Tolkien's children. No-one has a greater love for TH than I do, but to be honest I think I'd struggle to come up with more than either an 'I really like the bit where...', or an exploration of Tolkien's sources/influences - which is just 'breaking a thing to find out what it is made of'.
Though admittedly I hardly even dare read the CbC discussions, let alone participate, I think there might be a lot more in the Hobbit to discuss than what you'd expect. Every written work which somehow has an effect on people is worth discussing - at least, in my opinion - and I don't think that "I really like the bit where..." is any less valuable than analyzing hidden meanings, metaphors and irony in great detail. Besides, who knows what people could come up with once they start to read the Hobbit closely?

I'd vote the Hobbit, anyway, but that's mostly because the Silmarillion seems far too scary.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:17 AM   #40
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The majority voted for The Hobbit; as that's what I was planning to do any way it is the next book we'll be discussing chapter-by-chapter. We begin this coming weekend - I hope all those of you who voted and many more will join in!
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