The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is one of those books which are read many times. There are probably many different reasons why. For me it’s the world which is described in the book. Tolkien’s language is rich and captivating.
I love the little details of Bilbo’s home – his homesickness during his adventures is understandably painful, as we know how cosy and perfect his Bag-End is.
Bilbo’s journey to the Lonely Mountain is full of unexpected events – let’s face it, in his case the whole adventure is unexpected. He’s employed to be a burglar by a group of Dwarves who want to claim treasure which belongs to them and their ancestors. There’s only one fiery obstacle – Smaug the dragon, who adores gold and all that shines. They know that and still trudge on on their journey, but soon realise that it is more formidable than they anticipated.
The book is full of adventures which involve many creatures – some of them will become Bilbo’s friends and the other ones will try his very limits; in many different ways. At the same time, Bilbo is able to explore his strengths and weaknesses. Though the Dwarves are the backbone of the story, as their nostalgia for the ‘heart’ of the mountain and their lost home drives them through thick and thin, they get to accept Bilbo as a valuable asset in their team and as their friend.
Gandalf takes the role of the matchmaker – even Bilbo didn’t realise he had certain qualities that would make him one of the best burglars – protector and advisor of this journey. He disappears occasionally but always comes back when more pressing and darker matters are settled.
One of my favourite characters is Beorn – the shifter of sorts who is a dangerous creature with a big heart. Elves, goblins, giants, trolls and more or less dangerous creatures live amongst the pages of The Hobbit.
There’s no time to stop and reflect on each step of their journey, because there are more and more exciting adventures with every turn of the page. Also, the Ring is found, which becomes the core of a greater story further on.
It’s not only a merry trip filled with lyrical songs and dangers of all sorts here and there, but a story which will make you laugh and cry a little bit perhaps too. The Hobbit has it all – minor feuds, mind duels, heroic bravery, magic and battles of great magnitude and sacrifice.
Nevertheless, the most important thing is that this little story can make you fall in love with fantasy, as it did with me when I first read it years ago as a child. Smaug might have been the first dragon that I grew to like – memories of reading this book for the first time take me back to my happy book childhood filled with knights, dragons and amazing adventures. I re-read it at least three times afterwards and another time just before seeing the film. I would encourage everyone to read The Hobbit and enjoy the great unexpected adventure.
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Title: The Hobbit
Publisher: Unwin Paperbacks
Format: Paperback, 288 pages