The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien

I really liked The Hobbit. It is a marvelous story of an incredible adventure. It is perhaps not as epic as The Lord of the Rings, and it is certainly shorter, but just like you’d expect from Tolkien it’s full of trolls and goblins and elves and men and spiders…

Mr. Bilbo Baggins is the rather reluctant hero of this tale, at least that’s what he likes to think so. He constantly pretends he would prefer to be at home drinking his tea and smoking his pipe, but you can see how this journey thrilled him and made him stronger. Ultimately, the success of the mission is based on his ability to get over his fear and his preconceptions about himself. Even though he didn’t believe it, he proved to be a very brave, cunning hobbit with a special talent in burglaries! His companions are 13 dwarves with funny names who in the beginning do not really appreciate Bilbo. Of course, Gandalf is with them, helping them in the most perilous times on their quest to retrieve their gold from the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit is exciting, funny and easy to read for the most part, it doesn’t have the grimness that some parts of the trilogy have, possibly because the subject matter is lighter. I think the most alluring thing about The Hobbit (and The Lord of the Rings) is that ordinary people (hobbits to be exact) turn out to be the heroes. Bilbo himself describes hobbits as “…plain and quiet folk and have no use for adventures.” But in the end it is obvious that he was wrong.

I never thought I would ever have to answer such a question, but Bilbo didn’t either…

“And what would you do, if an uninvited dwarf came and hung his things up in your hall without a word of explanation?”

Bilbo’s mom’s last name was Took and Tooks were considered a bit weird by the other hobbits because “once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures.”

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”

I intent to say I’m feeling Tookish whenever I have a yearning to travel, to see new things (which is often). I hope it will catch on!

The change in Bilbo could not be put better:

“Already he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without a pocket-handkerchief from Bag-End long ago. He had not had a pocket-handkerchief for ages. He loosened his dagger in his sheath, tightened his belt, and went on.”

“It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.”

In the end, the dwarves respected Bilbo, ant there are perhaps a few things hobbits could teach us too…

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

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