◐ Book Name: The Hobbit
◐ Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
◐ Genre: High Fantasy
◐ Pages: 366
Respectable Hobbit Bilbo discovers his adventurous side when he meets the Wizard Gandalf, who inducts him into a company of dwarves seeking to reclaim their homeland.
◐ Review: 4/5 ⭐
Full disclosure: I am heavily biased toward Tolkien because my ongoing obsession since high school has been Lord of the Rings.
That being said, I am less fond of The Hobbit, for a number of reasons, the main one being that while Lord of the Rings reads like a philosophical musing on life, The Hobbit is a straightforward adventure story. Of course, one must keep in mind that it was written for Tolkien’s children, so the purposes are vastly different.
Since I have been reading Dear Theo (my thoughts here), which has begun getting heavier, I needed a lighter read. Coincidentally, I read Lord of the Rings annually over the summer, and had for twelve years. Tragically, I ruined that streak last year, but I’ll forgive myself because life was horribly unkind, and try again this year.
Anyways, we’re here to talk about The Hobbit. Bilbo lives a comfortable life. But there is more to him than even he knows. Gandalf sees that, and more or less forces him out the door.
Through encounters with trolls, fights with goblins, and various other dangers, Bilbo gains confidence and courage. He becomes the impetus of change, and though the most reluctant member of Thorin’s company, the thirteen dwarves eventually depend wholly on him for plans out of scrapes and send him out on dangerous errands.
What makes this book enduring is not only its connection to Lord of the Rings, but also, I believe, its story of courage when faced with impossible circumstances. It is about one’s heart when tempted. In the end, the greatest cause of death to the dwarves is their own greed, not the dragon.
With this line, Tolkien asserts a recurring theme in his works: what the world values so dearly is never what is most precious. But friendship, courage, home–these are what make life beautiful.
“You’re a booby,” said William.
“Booby yerself!” said Tom.
When he heard that there was nothing to eat, he sat down and wept, for he felt very weak and wobbly in the legs. “Why ever did I wake up!” he cried.
Actually, as I have told you, they were not far on the edge of the forest; and if Bilbo had had the sense to see it, the tree that he had climbed, though it was tall in itself, was standing near the bottom of a wide valley, so that from its top the trees seemed to swell up all round like the edges of a great bowl, and he could not expect to see how far the forest lasted. Still he did not see this, and he climbed down full of despair.
Already they had come to respect little Bilbo. Now he had become the real leader in their adventure. He had begun to have ideas and plans of his own.
Really you know, things are impossible. Personally I am tired of the whole affair. I wish I was back in the West in my own home, where folk are more reasonable.
Thank you very much I am sure, but I don’t think I ought to leave my friends like this, after all we have gone through together.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure.