The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit viewing order...?

So with the lock down, we are thinking about starting the six movie Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit series. In similar fashion to questions about what order you should watch the Star Wars franchise, I’m similarly curious what the prevailing wisdom is for the Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit series. With minimal spoilers please…because I actually have not seen any of The Hobbit series, but it is my understanding that those three episodes are actually prequels correct?

Which should I start with?

  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • The Hobbit Trilogy

0 voters

Yes, chronologically, The Hobbit comes before the Lord of the Rings.

1 - An Unexpected Journey
2 - The Desolation of Smaug
3 - The Battle of the Five Armies
4 - The Fellowship of the Ring
5 - The Two Towers
6 - The Return of the King


Ignore the Hobbit trilogy in general, read the book with the boys.


This. The Hobbit movies are not bad, but… they are not good unfirtunately. I love the book but the movies added too much stuff that just isn’t there.

The Lord of the Rings movies are a masterwork though.

If you want to watch the Hobbit movies I’d recommend watching them after the LotR movies, even though they are chronologically set before. That way you can enjoy it more when you meet characters like Legolas that are in the Hobbit movies but you have no clue who they are. All the character development happens in the LotR movies.


I am currently working my way through the movies as well. Started with the first Hobbit movie and plan to go right through to the end of the Rings movies.

Yeah, the books are better that the Hobbit, but that doesn’t make the Hobbit bad.

That is a good point. The Hobbit movies do assume a few things that may not make sense if watched first.

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That’s what happens when the bean counters want to squeeze three blockbuster movies out of a book that wasn’t all that long.


I would not consider showing those movies to kids under 12, to be honest.


This is a good point. 10 and 12 are the ages… They have seen quite a few PG-13 movies to this point, but definitely no R rated movies.

Skip the hobbit if you don’t want to bore em to death. If I would have seen The Hobbit in instead of LOTR I would never have latched on those books as much as I did!


Remember when the PG rating had nudity?
My parents got burned with that one when we went to see M *A *S *H. I was only 5 or 6 but I STILL remember it. :rofl:


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Not sure.

I’m one of those few people that have never watched/read Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

LOTR is my choice, but I’ll add the caveat that I saw the animated version of The Hobbit in the 90s on TV one time before the LOTR films. I’m not sure what the opinions are of that one.


ok…unpopular opinion time

i loved the hobbit books but disliked the movies (although the first one wasn’t bad)
i LOVED the LOTR films but dislike the books with a burning passion.

If i was you id agree with @Navynuke99 and read the hobbit books and watch the LOTR films. the extended versions. Andy sirkis? circis? as Gollum is Phenomenal


The LOTR movies are an excellent envisioning of the books but make some pretty disappointing changes to the story (imo). I would read them the books first, starting with the Hobbit and skipping some of the “travelogue” parts of the LOTR, then see the LOTR movies, and skip the Hobbit movies completely. I’d also recommend the extended versions of the movies, they add some good scenes.

I also played LOTRs online with my boys, we had some fun together and I thought it was cool to visit some of the locations from the hobbit. It’s pretty dated but it’s free.


This is the best advice. The extended versions are utterly glorious.



< insert extended rant about Peter Jackson’s oddly specific…‘obsession’ with elves, and adding in needless characters who have been dead for a couple hundred years… >


Many brought up an important point.
The quantity of key events lost in translation from books to movies…

It physically hurt to not see Tom Bombadil and the return to the Shire of the Hobbits… And much more…

But honestly maybe it is better to watch the movies first, to get a solid grip on the overarching story and then read with them the books, so to introduce all the fine details while the amazing “imagery” of the movies is still in their brains.


I absolutely agree with the majority here:
Read them The Hobbit! It’s not that long and wonderfully written. It is a children’s book actually.

The Lord of the Rings book has a much slower and more expansive style, which is terribly boring for most people (though I still like it personally but I understand @Victork2.

The Lord of the Rings extended movies are really good! But also quite gory and intense at times so I wouldn’t recommend showing them to a ten year old. Make sure to sample the “release the prisoners” scene at Minas Tirith before you do.


The extended versions of LOTR have them return to the shire, though there’s no Saruman being a spoilsport. They also go to the greyhavens. Leaving Bombadil out was always a good idea, it’s a weird interlude in the books and very 4th wall-y breaking.

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I know the chronology so voted Hobit first. But never saw the movies. In fact never saw even the LOTR movies, just the first one iirc.

I have read the Hobit book and that one was very good I have to say.
LOTR1 book little bored me when I tried to read it, never finished it.

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