Book Review: The Hobbit

Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 8:07pm

“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien is first and foremost written for children. The language is simpler and the tone is lighter. Even during parts that could be scary and frightening, Tolkien throws in jokes or phrases that lighten the mood. This is probably a reason, if not the main reason that most readers like the Hobbit more than Tolkien’s sequel “The Lord of the Rings.”

“The Hobbit” starts out: in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Gandalf the wizard has come to visit Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is a very good and normal hobbit who does what a hobbit is supposed to do. Gandalf has always been famous for his fireworks. As he leaves Bilbo’s home, a hole called Bag End, Gandalf marks the door with his staff.

Pretty soon dwarves start showing up at Bilbo’s house. Thirteen dwarves: Thorin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin, Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur, end up coming to Bilbo’s house. He is convinced or tricked into joining their quest by becoming the burglar.

The dwarves are going to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the land and treasure pillaged by the dreadful dragon Smaug. The journey doesn’t start out the best for Bilbo. The dwarves leave without him and he forgets to take his handkerchief. Luckily, or not so much, the adventure soon takes on some excitement.

Bilbo and the dwarves stumble upon a trio of trolls. One by one, the trolls capture the dwarves and then Bilbo. Gandalf, who seems to come and go as he pleases, gets the trolls arguing and the trolls turn to stone when the sun comes up. This is just one of many sticky situations the group find themselves in.

The group makes it to Rivendell, home of Elves, and prepare for the trek into the Misty Mountains. In the mountains, the dwarves and Bilbo are captured by goblins. Gandalf, of course, escapes. Gandalf helps them escape and in the excitement, Bilbo gets lost. He finds a ring in the darkness and stuffs it into his pocket.

A creature called Gollum finds him and wants to eat him. Bilbo, and as it happens, Gollum both love riddles. Gollum tells Bilbo that if he can best him in a game of riddles Bilbo will live, if not Gollum will eat him. The first riddle Gollum asks is:

What has roots as nobody sees,

Is taller then trees,

Up, up it goes,

And yet never grows’.

Bilbo quickly answers this and asks one of his own.

Thirty white horses on a red hill,

First they champ,

Then they stamp,

Then they stand still

The riddles get more difficult and more desperate. Bilbo, who has run out of riddles, asks Gollum: what have I got in my pocket? Gollum asks for three guesses. He guesses hands, then knife and finally string. Bilbo has the ring in his pocket, which is actually Gollum’s precious.

Gollum lets Bilbo go and returns to his rock in the middle of a pond. He discovers his ring is missing and goes after Bilbo. Bilbo accidentally slips on the ring, which turns him invisible. He eludes Gollum and catches up with the dwarves.

The group continues their journey, and once again find themselves in trouble. A pack of evil wolves trap them in trees before they can even recover from their struggle with the goblins. They get out of one mess and fall right into another one.

Throughout the book, Bilbo discovers who he really is. He started the journey a quiet, unadventurous hobbit that kept to himself. He transforms into a brave, and opinionated adventurer.

The Hobbit really is a marvelous book that readers of all ages will enjoy. It is definitely a must read, especially with the first part of the movie coming out in a few weeks. It seems fitting that my final book review is on “The Hobbit” since my first one was on “The Lord of the Rings”. Those of you who may have found “The Lord of the Rings” too big of a task, try The Hobbit first. Also, my review covers what I think the first movie will recover, so you will have to read the book to find out what happens to Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves.

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