The Hobbit

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. New York: Ballantine Books, 1965.

The Hobbit has got to be one of the best loved, most well known fantasy-adventure stories out there. It paved the way for the Harry Potter series for sure. The Hobbit in question is one Mr. Bilbo Baggins. He has been tricked into joining a band of dwarves on an adventure to recover stolen treasure. Handpicked by Gandolf the wizard it is unclear to the rest of the group why Mr. Baggins has been designated “burglar” of the adventure, but in time Bilbo rises to the challenge as only a bumbling hobbit can do. The grumbling group encounter an impossible variety of challenges: ogres, goblins, wolves, spiders. Each obstacle brings them closer to Smaug, the treasure-hoarding dragon where they must fight their final battle to win back their rightful bounty.

This is something I didn’t discover until the rereading of The Hobbit and yet I find it subtle and very interesting. Bilbo’s last name is Baggins. Baggins sounds a lot like baggage and I have to wonder if that was intentional because until Bilbo finds the infamous ring he is more baggage than help to his traveling companions. “It is a fact that Bilbo’s reputation went up a very great deal with the dwarves after this” (p 92).

Favorite quotes, “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 great deal of telling anyway” (p 51).

Author Fact: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends.

Book Trivia: The Hobbit has been made into movies, plays and award winning games. Interestingly enough, on a personal note, it was published on September 21 (my father’s date of death), 1937 (the year my father was born).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust mentioned three times – in the introduction and two different chapters. First, in the chapter called “Christmas Books for the Whole Family to Read” (p 56) and again in the more logical chapter “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror” (p 213). The first chapter shouldn’t count because Pearl was only making reference to a Christmas book Tolkien had written but conceding he was better known for The Hobbit.

Somewhere out there there is a picture of me reading The Hobbit. The most interesting thing about the picture isn’t my age (I think I’m eight) but rather the fact I have folded myself into a box. I have no idea why. As an another aside: I must have loved this story because I also had the reading of The Hobbit on vinyl; a 45 that spun on a very old, cheap record player. I can still remember the “Greatest Adventure” song at the end.

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