Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Riddle Game

I just finished watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I had worried that the film would drag on due to the fact that they were taking a relatively short book and transforming it into 3 films, totaling as much as 9 hours of screen time. The book Breaking Dawn was not worthy of two films, and this was blisteringly apparent when both Part 1 and Part 2 seemed to drag on forever during certain sections. I was worried about a similar fate for the first Hobbit film.

While I did cringe during certain parts, I did have to admire the way they extended the film, but still kept it entertaining. I recently reread the Hobbit and found that so much of the richness of it was in my head. The writing is very sparse and not very detailed. Even fact it seems that Tolkien's true passion was writing songs, since the books are littered with ballads from every race in Middle Earth. But this is one of the hallmarks of fantasy writing. The writing itself may not be the most lyrical or creative, but the way they weave the world, the words and the characters together makes them so memorable, that your mind unknowingly fills in everything for you.

One part that made me truly nostalgic was infamous Riddle Game between Gollum and Bilbo. When I first read The Hobbit so many years ago I had so much fun trying to guess the riddles, and I remember getting most of them, but one or two of them confused the hell out of me.

I went back into my copy of the Hobbit (not my old copy, but a new edition I bought this past year), and typed up the riddles featured in the Riddle Game. Check them out below. For those who haven't read the book or seen the movie, see what you come up with.

What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet it never grows?

Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.

An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
‘That eye is like to this eye’
Said the first eye,
‘But in a low place
Not in a high place.’

It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind the stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after
Ends life, kills laughter.

A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail, never clinking.

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees and flowers;
Gnaws irons, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays kings, ruins towns,
And beats high mountains down.

What is in my pocket?

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