Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.   Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat:  it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort. . .   This is the story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.  He may have lost the neighbors’ respect, but he gained - well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

So begins the delightful story of Bilbo Baggins and his escapades. Even though Bilbo asserts that he has no use for adventures (“Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!”), he embarks on a journey with Gandalf and thirteen dwarves that will change him forever.  Since I had just finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy I couldn’t help but recognize their similar themes: greed, villainous foes, a hopeless quest, a returning king, a definitive battle, an adventure that lasts a year, and unimpressive hobbits who astound everyone with their faithfulness and courage.

However, it probably wasn’t a good thing that I read this after The Lord of the Rings because it seemed so light in comparison.  Still, because of it’s lightness, this would make a great family read aloud.  In fact, with dwarves named Ori, Gori,  Balin, Dwalin, Fili and Kili, the book BEGS to be read aloud.  

On second thought, the "lightness" of The Hobbit makes the ending of the LOTR trilogy all the more amazing. Because the hobbits have matured through suffering, they are able to save the shire from evil influences, something the untried hobbits are unable to do.

1 comment:

Petra said...

I just reread The Hobbit in preparation for the movie, too! However, I was surprised, not by its lightness, but by how sophisticated it is! I remembered it as a children's book that turns unexpectedly darker toward the end, but the themes running throughout aren't ones that I think most people typically associate with children's literature. This is really an outstanding effort by Tolkien. He refused to talk down to children and he gave them (and the rest of the world!) something of great beauty.