Wednesday, February 6, 2013



It seems like everyone has read The Hobbit as some point in their life and everyone has a different story; I was in grade five, I stole it from my older brother, It made me love the entire fantasy genre, I was forced to read it for a children's lit class in University and loathed every moment of it, I was unemployed and had some time to burn one beautiful Monday afternoon in 2004...stuff like that.

What's your story?   (Feel Free To Comment Below)

The Hobbit is the archetype for the quest-adventure storyline that is so common in fantasy books. I have to say, I have read many a quest-type fantasy books in my day, and this one ranks as number one. Which is funny, since the book is aimed at a younger reader and the plot is very simple (Hobbit leaves his hole in attempt to steal treasure from a Dragon in the mountains). It is just so well written, so many interesting things happen along the way, that you get caught up and taken away. I read this book for the first time back in 2003 (see unemployed on a Monday morning above) and find myself being surprised by every plot twist and turn as I read it again in 2013. The characters never vary far from the path they must take to get to the mountain (and the treasure), but, they are constantly waylaid by obstacles; dangerous creatures, natural barriers, ego filled Kings. Each challenge is beaten by skill (and a lot of luck), mostly by the Hobbit.
Maybe that is the best part? How the Hobbit's (Bilbo Baggins) character is built. At first he appears to be a lazy, overeating, unambitious Hobbit who has done nothing with his life. But, after each hurtle a small part of him is revealed, giving us a glimpse at how special he really is.
It helps that he is in a crowd of grumpy Dwarfs who have no confidence in him to begin with. You always cheer for the underdog right? Especially when the all knowing Wizard who started this adventure hints that this little Hobbit is destined for greatness.
As well as the Hobbit's character, the story grows substantially as well. By the end of the book we've gone from quest for some gold to an all out world war (middle-world war would be a better name I think). Tolkien does a great job of throwing together this middle-world war in such a way as to keep it from taking the Hobbit (and the simple essence of the book) too far off track, but, adds some epic drama to this somewhat simple story. It really does come as a surprise when the hordes of Goblins show up, both for me as a reader and Gandalf as a character...How could Gandalf be caught off guard?
Even though Bilbo is a very interesting character always full of surprises, I have to say I really like Gandalf. I think it is hilarious that he is the one who starts this whole adventure yet is constantly leaving them to go off on other business...usually just as things start getting rough - always shows up when most needed and least expected. He seems to have no desire for treasure or adventure, but, just likes to make lesser folk get themselves into near death experiences. I know he is doing this all for a greater cause, like all good and powerful Wizards would...but, I still laugh at it.


I actually own a brand new copy of this book. It was given to me as an Xmas present. I will proudly display it next to my Lord of the Rings box set. Even though I spilled tea on it. Wouldn't you know it, the first new book I get in years and I spill tea on it, staining the edges along the bottom. Oh well, gives it character - that well read look already!

1 comment:

  1. I, too, first read The Hobbit in about 5th grade. That would have been in, um, 1973 (tell me that "2003" bit is a typo! Please!). Great little story, though I'm a sucker for the sweeping epic (self) importance of The Lord of the Rings, over the lighter and less consistent fantasy world of the Hobbit. My copies of all Tolkein's books are fallling apart. I used to re-read regularly, and now my kids have been reading them.