A new year has begun, and with that so has my ultimate reading challenge. And I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been to get started. Already more than half a month into 2020, and I’m actually off to a pretty good start if I must say myself. I’ve finished five books and am currently working through the sixth. I know, some of you will probably say that it’s nothing, but going from aiming for a monthly goal of one book last year to having finished four in half a month, is pretty good to me. But enough with the self-praise. I want to go back to my first book of the year, the one I chose to kick of my reading challenge. And that is none other than The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
I read it a crazy long time ago when I was very young. And I must admit, that I didn’t quite get it then albeit it, in fact, being a children’s book. Reading it this time, I found to appreciate it immensely. So of course, I want to give my review of this all-time classic. And I’ll try to keep it short.
A Brief Summary
“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 hobbit is the one and only Bilbo Baggins whom we meet in his home in Hobbiton, Bag End. On a fine morning (indeed, all kinds of a good morning), Bilbo is approached quite unexpectedly by a wizard named Gandalf who wants him to come along on an adventure. Bilbo respectfully declines, but nonetheless, later in the evening, he finds himself hosting a rapidly increasing party of dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf himself.
Despite having respectfully declined Gandalf’s request, Bilbo is all of a sudden entangled in what seems to be a most dangerous adventure. A quest to regain the treasure beneath The Lonely Mountain where Thorin’s ancestors lived and ruled before the great dragon Smaug attacked the mountain and destroyed everything around it.
And before Bilbo knows it, he is off on quite an unexpected journey. A journey he will most likely never forget.
My Thoughts On “The Hobbit”
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is cozy and, for some reason, quite nostalgic. It is a tale of adventure, home and friendship. It is, in fact, a children’s book and does have the occasional lesson on manners and what not. However, it is just as fit for adults. And if you’re into it, it is a great starting point to reading The Lord of the Rings.
Even though the story is fairly known to me (from the book itself and the movies), I was occasionally quite surprised by the turns of the story. Things I thought were made up in the movies were actually all there, in the book.
It is quite impressive that Tolkien has managed to put so much story into less than 300 pages. Surely, at times he quite shallowly skips ahead and leaves some story untold. But it doesn’t really mar the narrative. Quite on the contrary, it seems to me that he has tried to focus on what’s been important to him. And instead of dragging out the story, he has quickly surpassed the parts that are needed to keep the story going but not essential to the heart of it.
All in all, according to me, JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is a must-read. And if not for yourself, then certainly for your children. It really grasp the essence of adventure and fantasy. And it is written in a delightful and light manner, evidently meant for children. Bilbo is a likable character that grows on you just as he as a person grows throughout the story. In the beginning of the book, he comes off a little grumpy, however still friendly and amicable. And as the story goes along, he takes on all challenges set in front of him with his head held high and (almost) no complaints. He truly becomes a hero.
The Hard Facts
JRR Tolkien (1892-1973) was a British author born in South Africa in 1892. He served in World War I, where he amongst other things participated in the Battle of the Somme in France in 1916. After the war, he started his writing career while teaching as a professor in various colleges in England.
Tolkien was a lover of languages and philology, which clearly manifests itself in his literary works. Perhaps not so much in The Hobbit as in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, into which several of his constructed languages have found their way.
The Hobbit was first published in 1937 with the full title actually being The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Tolkien wrote it for his children and it received wide critical acclaim when published. The book remains a popular classic and has been translated into more than 40 languages.
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