The Hobbit is one of Ian’s all -time favorite books. It is also one of mine.
“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien wrote this book for his own children, so it is indeed a children’s book. Yet it is a timeless story that adults cherish long after it has been read. In fact as it is read over and over, grownups discover new tales within tales and “get” the funny parts because of our “agedness”.
This is an odyssey in the classical sense, where our hero, Bilbo Baggins, much disinclined, leaves the comforts and the security of home to overcome evil, in the form of the dragon Smaug. Smaug has stolen the dwarves gold and has looted others along his way too, and now lives under the great Lonely Mountain guarding his hoard. Gandolf the wizard and the dwarves, have summoned Bilbo. Throughout this adventure there are not only hobbits, dwarves, and wizards, there are goblins, fairies and Gollum, the epitome of corruption.
Tolkien takes us through the cultivated Shire, which seems much like a picturesque English country side, where hobbits live in their clean, well kept, tasteful homes under ground. Throughout this saga there are travels to horrific dark forests and formidable, treacherous mountains, and flight on Eagle’s wing.
The plot takes on a cautionary edge at the discovery of a powerful and dangerous ring discovered by Bilbo while escaping the slimy, wretched under world of Gollum and his narcissistic avarice.
Corruption seizes upon Bilbo because of the ring. The force of it’s awful power threatens to over take him and this Hero Quest takes on dimensions of the ever presence of sheer evil that would destroy all that is good and noble in the simplest and most genuine of Hobbits.
This is the stuff that heroes are made of and where epics derive. The story has just begun with Bilbo, Gandolf and a middle earth that echoes the extraordinary journeys of ordinary folk.