How Many Hobbit Books Are There?

Ah, The Hobbit. There have been so many adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy that followed a generation later.

There is only one Hobbit book, that being The Hobbit published n 1937 by J.R.R. Tolkien. The intended sequel was never written, being transformed into the related but separate Lord of the Rings Trilogy, meaning there is only the one true Hobbit book.

Some argue that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings can be grouped together as four Hobbit books and while there’s no doubt the books are related as part of a longer tale of Middle Earth, for movie fans trying to figure out why there are so many movies but seemingly only one book – it’s because there is one book.

The Hobbit is a standalone novel all on its own. This sets the stage for The Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit is not a prelude to the later trilogy. It’s a loose prequel at best.

This is further emphasized by the fact that The Hobbit was a children’s book but The Lord of the Rings trilogy was not written specifically for children.

However, if you want a full understanding of why there are still disagreements on how many Hobbit books there are, let’s dive further into everything surrounding this conversation.

Hobbit Inspired Home
These wonderful whimsical homes are inspired by the descriptions of Hobbit homes in Tolkien’s works.

Why Are There One Hobbit Book But 3 Hobbit Movies?

Simply put, money. Not a satisfying answer, but the sheer success of the LOTR movies is why instead of just creating a simple one-off Hobbit movie that could have been excellent based on the core material, they went for the multi-long movie trilogy that included multiple characters, scenes, and fluff that simply wasn’t necessary and was never a part of the base story.

This is a major part of the confusion for younger readers and movie-goers expecting three books, in part because LOTR was 3 books = 3 movies, but that just isn’t going to be the case with The Hobbit.

Why Is My Version of The Hobbit Different?

If you have a really old edition of The Hobbit, you might be surprised to learn that this is a lot different than a modern paperback copy. So why would two copies of The Hobbit have different stories, sections, and scenes in them?

The three editions were released each over a decade apart and each actually had notable revisions and changes. These weren’t mild touch ups between printings but a lot of rewriting and changes happened within the base story from the 1937 version to the 1965 modern version.

  • 1937 First Edition
  • 1950 Second Edition
  • 1965 Third (Modern) Edition

Generally, everyone today is familiar with the third edition, the one with the final edits in it and that is also the one that is considered the foundational base for LOTR trilogy that would follow.

How Many Tolkien Books Have Hobbits In Them?

Sometimes referred to as “Hobbit-adjacent” books, there are multiple books that have Hobbits as main characters or revolve around adventures or characters who will be familiar to readers of Tolkien’s “Big 4.”

Those Hobbit-adjacent books by Tolkien are:

  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
  • The Road Goes Ever On
  • Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth

I wouldn’t call these Hobbit books but if you wanted to stretch the definition to include as many as possible, or wanted to know more about the world outside the big four, then these would be your choices.

You could also argue that The Lord of The Rings are related, though not officially in a series with the Hobbit

  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King

Is The Hobbit a Prequel To Lord of the Rings?

No and yes. This isn’t a true prequel or prelude. You can read LOTR without reading the Hobbit and understand all of it, just as The Hobbit stands alone as a complete story. Reading all of them gives a slightly fuller and more complete picture of the world, but it’s not necessary.

Is The Hobbit A Trilogy?

The movies are a trilogy, though it’s important to note that while some information is from the book or loosely based on the books, there’s a LOT here that has nothing to do with the actual original source material.

If you’re talking about the book The Hobbit, it’s a standalone book.

How Old Is Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit?

The answer is never given in the book itself, but we know from the birthday party setting of LOTR that he was 51 at the time of the adventure with the Dwarves.

How Much Is a First Edition/First Printing of The Hobbit Worth?

An enormous amount. There are very few on the open market and while estimates for auctions of true 1st/1st are expected to generally reach 50,000-70,000 British Pounds, the last one up from auction shattered the record (and expectations) when it went for 137,000 Pounds, which at the time was approximately $210,000 (Source).

Most listed for sale (and there are less than half a dozen publicly listed when this post was wrote) are north of that price.

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