So before LOTR came out on film I sat down with the book, determined to re-read LOTR, finish TT (which I never finished as a child, despite 2 attempts, which is as many as I’ll ever give any book, because Gollum & Frodo were just in the damn swamp for way too damn long) and read RTOK.
As an adult, I *really* couldn’t get into the books at all, ’cause the Hobbits bugged the bejeesus out of me. Silly, infantile, irresponsible Hobbits. Now when I was eight, it seemed entirely reasonable that they’d pretty much goof off all the time and not take the Voice of Authority (Gandalf) seriously. I, at that point, didn’t take the VoA seriously. ;-)
However, as an adult I found myself saying “Geez guys, Gandalf’s telling you some bad voodoo’s coming down the pike — listen to him, fer cryin’ out loud and get your fuzzy feet moving! He’s the uber-wizard!!! And, will you *please* just put the darn ring down already?!!”
I suppose this makes me old.
FWIW, I think part of this annoyance was that in the books it was made clear that the Hobbits about whom we were speaking were “all grown up,” which left them with no excuse for their flighty behaviour (yes, I know Hobbits are supposed to be flighty, but you get my point). In the movie, though, the Hobbits in question (Frodo, Sam, etc.) were cast with *young* looking actors, so it *seemed* more like they were teenagers/youths, in which case their frivolous behaviour could simply be attributed to not having fully grown up, which made it (to me as responsible adult-like person) much less annoying.