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Should You Watch LOTR Before You See The Hobbit Movie?

Updated on April 26, 2012

Today we are looking at the question, should you watch or read Lord Of The Rings before you watch or read The Hobbit. We will tell you just how the two books are related and so if you are considering going to watch the new Hobbit movie we will tell you if it is important to first be familiar with the LOTR story. We won’t give away any plot spoilers in this article, just in case you are worried.

The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings are two masterpieces of fantasy fiction by writer J.R.R Tolkien. Around ten years ago Peter Jackson turned Tolkien’s LOTR into a trilogy of films which went on to be hugely successful. After the films were finished people wanted to know if we would see a Hobbit film, now ten years on we are finally getting that Hobbit film. So do you need to know the LOTR story before you go and see The Hobbit?

The Hobbit Movie

The Hobbit & LOTR Stories

The most important fact in all this to remember is that the Hobbit is not the sequel to Lord Of The Rings, it is actually the prequel. In other words the Hobbit is set before the LOTR story. So realistically the questions should be, do I need to see the Hobbit before I see the LOTR? The vast majority of people who filled the cinemas ten years ago were unfamiliar with The Hobbit and yet they still enjoyed the trilogy of films without ever reading The Hobbit book. This is mainly because Peter Jackson included a few little bits of The Hobbit to give us a better understanding of what was taking place in LOTR. For instance we see a brief glimpse of Gollum’s cave and we see when Gollum lost the ring and Bilbo found it, all things that we had to have an understanding of to make sense of parts of LOTR.

So will there be parts in The Hobbit that will make more sense if we are familiar with LOTR. Well if we were to ask that question about the books, then no, The Hobbit was meant to be read first so it would make no sense to first of all read LOTR. However, due to the way film makers operate, we are expecting some references to Lord Of The Rings in The Hobbit. This is a move by Peter Jackson to really make audiences feel a part of the story, they will think back to the previous films and make that connection. So we are expecting Peter Jackson to add little bits of things that create that link.

The Relationship Between The Two Stories

So what kind of things can we expect the director to include to make the two stories tie together? Well for one thing we already know that Legolas is going to have a role in the new Hobbit movie. Now in the Hobbit book there is no mention of Legolas, he does not feature anywhere. But Jackson has found a way to include him, probably only in a very small role but even so, it gives us that connection back to LOTR. Another character that we will be seeing popping up in the movie is Frodo. A character that does not appear in the book directly, but once again Jackson has included a small role for Frodo to make that link back to the original films.

So to ask our original question once more, do we need to have seen the LOTR before we watch the Hobbit? Well the answer is no but with a but. The two Hobbit movies should make perfect sense if you are totally unfamiliar with the later Lord Of The Rings stories. However, there will be little sections in the film that will make more sense if you have either read or seen the Lord Of The Rings. So it is totally up to you, if you want to enjoy the Hobbit more then go out and read the later books or watch the movies, but strictly speaking it is not really essential.

When The Hobbit finally gets it big release in December 2012 fans will no doubt pack the cinemas full. This is one of the most eagerly awaited sequels or prequels of our time. If the original trilogy of films is anything to go by then we are surely in for quite a treat with this new set of films. Peter Jackson is a wonderful film maker and everyone is expecting big things from the new Hobbit films.


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    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      I remember when I first saw the Fellowship ten years ago, I thought it was awesome, I'd never read the books, so I went ahead and bought the trilogy, but then my mom explained to me that I needed to read the Hobbit first, in order to understand LOTR, very glad I did, and can't wait for the film. Wonder if they'll do a Silmarillion film at some point? Would love to see Melkor on the big screen.

    • yvonne16 profile image


      6 years ago from Phillipines

      I've always loved LOTR trilogy! in fact i considered it as my all time trilogy movie and I am really looking forward to the new Hobbit movie which I have waited so long! thanks for this informative hub and for reminding me to watch the LOTR trilogy again to refresh my memories then finally watching The Hobbit!


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