Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson


The Lord of the Rings trilogy has delighted millions of fans worldwide in book and movie form. With the theatrical release of the two-part film The Hobbit slated for 2012 and 2013, attention will once again turn to J. R. R. Tolkien's classic works. In a culture where truth is relative and morality is viewed as old-fashioned, we welcome the chance to view the world through hobbit eyes: we have free will, our choices matter, and living a morally heroic life is possible.
In this engaging and thought-provoking book, Tolkien expert Matthew Dickerson shows how a Christian worldview and Christian themes undergird Tolkien's Middle-earth writings and how they are fundamentally important to understanding his vision.
This revised and expanded edition of Following Gandalf includes new material on torture, social justice, and the importance of the body.
Matthew Dickerson (PhD, Cornell University) is professor of computer science and environmental studies at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and a popular speaker on Tolkien. He directs the New England Young Writers' Conference at Bread Loaf and is the author of From Homer to Harry Potter; The Mind and the Machine; Narnia and the Fields of Arbol; and Ents, Elves, and Eriador.


Even though I came by the books by way of Peter Jackson's movies, I really enjoyed Tolkien's trilogy. In fact, since I read the second and third book before I saw the movies, I was actually looking forward to some things in the book which weren't in the movie.

A Hobbit Journey not only discusses the differences between the books and movies, it also discusses the importance of certain things and events in the books in terms of Tolkien's beliefs.

Mr. Dickerson helps demystify some of the things in the books and their significance and how some of his characters' beliefs reflect his own. The book also mentions details found in Tolkien's other works like The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. This is a perfect way for people who only know Middle-Earth through Lord of the Rings to find out more about its history, stories and traditions.

There are chapters that talk about specific wars, as well as chapters on what exactly the power of Sauron's ring is. The book even answers whether the book counts as a Christian myth or not.

The book is packed with facts and a lot of Tolkien fans, especially those who like to dissect his writing, will find this book interesting. Others, though, may find the amount of information in the book to be overwhelming and boring.

Thanks to NetGalley and Brazos Press for the e-copy.


  1. The book is very well-researched.
  2. Newbies to the Tolkien universe, as well as those who have read at least a few of his books will learn a lot of new things.
  3. It will make you think.


  1. Some people may find the book or parts of it boring.

That is what Tolkien, a professional scholar of Anglo-Saxon language and literature, has done.

  1. You're a Tolkien fan.
  2. You want to learn more about Middle-Earth.
  3. You've wondered if there was a deeper meaning to The Lord of the Rings.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.


  1. I have a friend who is such a fan that he even READ the Silmarillion. I'll have to recommend this!

    1. Hi, Ms. Yingling. Wow, your friend sounds like he might appreciate this book. I ended up kind of skimming through the parts that talked about characters I haven't read before, but for the most part I was hooked.


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