Riddles in the Dark

Hobbit Record Jacket

I had this record when I was a boy.

So, I’ve been reading The Hobbit to Annika at bedtime for a few weeks and we have hit an important milestone. Tonight’s “Hobbit Time” session (not to be confused with “Hammer Time“) saw the dwarves and Bilbo rescued from the clutches of the Great Goblin by Gandalf and the Elvish swords that the party had earlier liberated from the Trolls’ secret cave. So, having reached the end of Chapter IV, we quit reading for the night. I placed Annika’s hand-crafted bookmark at the beginning of Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark. When I asked Annika what was going to happen next in the story, she replied “Bilbo’s going to find the magic ring and meet that other type of goblin guy.” Annika’s seen the classic Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit once, so she has a basic idea of the story.

Tomorrow night I need to get my Gollum voice ready and channel both Peter Woodthorpe from the BBC Lord of the Rings dramatization and Tokien himself, whose Gollum voice was the first I ever heard. When I was 9, my father bought me a record of J.R.R. Tolkien reading Riddles in the Dark on one side, and singing songs from Fellowship of the Ring on the other. I often played it on my little record player in my room as I fell asleep.

I know I’m going to wreck my throat, but I think it will be worth it.

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