The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

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When I was twelve, I saw the Lord of the Rings movies for the first time. And I loved them. More than I had loved any non-Disney movie up until then. Even now, nine years later, my dad and I take a weekend every couple months and camp out in the basement and watch all three of the movies. And every time, I get really excited about how awesome Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli are, and how awful Frodo and Sam are in Return of the King. I mean really, did they have to get all homosexual? They could have done that scene completely differently, and it would have been much more effective. But I digress.

After I watched, and consequently fell in love with these movies, I had this mad desire to read the books that inspired them. So I took my little twelve year old butt (alright, so my butt’s never actually been that little, it’s a bit of a ghetto booty) down to my school book fair and begged my parents to buy me the Tolkien box set (which included Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) as my reward for getting really awesome grades that year. My parents were always those parents who bought us books as rewards for great grades, and that was just fine with me. Anyway, I went home and set myself to reading The Fellowship of the Ring. And I fought through all three volumes of Tolkien’s masterpiece. Once I finished LOTR, I moved on to The Hobbit. And I found it much more difficult to read than the Tolkien I had read before. So I gave up, and moved on to more age appropriate material. Now I’ve returned to Tolkien, and delved into the adventures of Bilbo and friends again, and I loved it.

I found The Hobbit much easier to read than LOTR, if only because there was much less descriptive language and imagery in between action and adventure. In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spends a lot of time and page space giving the reader a picture of exactly what everything looks like, smells like, and sounds like. In The Hobbit, Tolkien gives enough description for the reader to make a scene in their mind, but does not do it in excess. And I appreciated that, because I just finished my third year university, I had a crazy exam period, and I’ve dedicated this month to doing very little thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to stop thinking, I’m just not putting any effort into it. And I didn’t have to with The Hobbit. It was a light, fun, easy book that I could take to work and read in between guarding rotations. One of my coworkers thought it would be funny to threaten to throw my poor book into the pool, but other than that it escaped unscathed.

I really enjoyed Bilbo’s easily flustered, yet intelligent and compassionate personality. He was a little like Winnie the Pooh, but smarter. However, he was also a little cunning and secretive which brought a bit of a twist to what I expected he would be. Now, I’m aware that this side of Bilbo was drawn out by the ring but it was still interesting to see him portrayed like this, and to compare him to the post-ring Frodo. I really enjoyed Gandalf’s faith in Bilbo and his qualities, as well as the changing opinion of him by the dwarves. The intriguing part for me was that Gandalf had faith in Bilbo’s character before the adventure started, and the dwarves doubted him. The dwarves eventually changed their opinion, but not until after Bilbo acquired the ring. The ring allowed him to escape from Gollum, save the dwarves from the wood-elves, etc. However, I believe Bilbo would have found a way even without the ring, for Hobbits are extraordinary creatures.

Now that I’ve rambled in a rather disorganized fashion, somewhat resembling the state of my mind right now, I’ll conclude this mess with a last thought. Tolkien seems to have taken all that is good and wonderful in Hobbits, put them into the spirit of Bilbo, and found a way to express Bilbo’s spirit in words, which is always something I’ve struggled with. I came away from The Hobbit feeling like I had made several new friends, and that to me is the mark of a good book.

There is a Blue Jay’s game calling my name, so have a wonderful week! See you at the end of my next read.

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