I just finished reading The Hobbit for the first time this morning, and while it was a good book, I must say I would have liked it more if I had read it before watching the films, because, honestly, the movies were better. I am keeping in mind this is a children's book written over 75 years ago, but for me there was some serious lack of character development in comparison to the films.
There are some things about the films that did not need to be in there, I know. Legolas had an awfully big part for not being in the book at all, and he did not need all that screen time, but then again it does at least make sense for him to be present since he is a prince of Mirkwood. Also Thranduil doesn't even get a name in the book! He's just the Elf King, which I thought was awfully unfortunate. Maybe Tolkien hadn't come up with 'Thranduil' yet, but a name would have been good.
The dwarves, including Thorin, were really flat and surprisingly annoying at times. Some of them didn't even get any of their own moments at all! and basically all you could say to describe them was that they all had beards and different coloured capes...There was a lot of grumbling and treating Bilbo like a useless burden for a much longer time in the book as well. Bilbo was alright, and he had a little bit of character development, but not a whole lot...
I also liked that they made Azog a specific villain rather than leaving him as one single line, as they also did with Bolg. It just makes it better to have some named enemies heading the attackes rather than just a big throng of orcs and goblins. And Fili and Kili's death is literally like one or two lines of that also happened and was sad. Like really! Arg.
Also, my biggest gripe about the book was NO WOMEN??? NOT A SINGLE WOMAN!!! I knew there weren't any important ones, but seriously, I think the closest it even came to mentioning any specific woman was either a cousin of Bilbo's or allusion to Fili and Kili's mother. Like really, I was so so happy that they threw Tauriel in there, as well as Galadriel, Bard's daughters and the Laketown woman who got some good lines. I think one of my favourite additions to the final movie was during the battle when the women decided to go out and fight with the men. It made me so happy.
Oh well, I'm just really happy that I now have three more gorgeous Middle-Earth movies to love. And Martin Freeman was the best Bilbo there could ever be.
Anyway, could go on more but I'll shut up. leave a comment if you'd like to discuss! lol