This weekend, Peter Jackson’s first installment of The Hobbit is opening in theaters worldwide. It’s sure to be a huge box-office draw. Truth be told, I’ll probably be going to see it myself. I respect what Jackson did with the LOTR trilogy even though it had some significant flaws, and I expect some good performances from Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Richard Armitage as Thorin, and of course the returning Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis (Gandalf and Gollum).
At a certain point I want to just stop and say “Is this what these stories were meant for?” Because anyone who thinks the original stories (we’re talking about the books now, folks) deserve to be on the same plane as Harry Potter, Star Trek/Wars, or the Avengers doesn’t understand great literature when he sees it. Not only are the Lord of the Rings easily the greatest fantasy novels of all time, they’re some of the best novels of all time, period. They’re high caliber literature. Any student of great books needs to read them several times over.
Lord of the Rings doesn’t deserve to become just another franchise. These stories deserve more and always have. So for those of you who have kids, or hope to have kids some day, I hope that you will make sure to instil in them a love for greatness. Buy the books and give ’em to the kiddos when they’re old enough to appreciate them. Educate their taste buds. Don’t raise them to be snobs, just make sure they understand the difference between fool’s gold and the real thing. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t get it, make sure someone still does.