While many have seen the cartoon and many have notions from seeing the Lord of the Rings films you do not quite get the full scope of the story till you actually read the book. The Hobbit is a story of, well a Hobbit and the enchanting prelude to The Lord Of The Rings. That Hobbit’s name is Bilbo Baggins and he is about to set of on an adventurer that will change his life and that of the entire world. He becomes both the start and the ending of the troubles in the world in ways that a simple respectable Hobbit would never think of doing. Hobbit’s never go on adventures if they can help it, they stay at home in their cosy little hole, eat, sleep and tend their gardens. Oh how he wishes that was all he was doing during the entire book.
Back beyond memory it was rumored that a Took took a fairy bride, a nymph and had children with her. That look, that Tookishness gets passed down now and again to their descendants that cause all sorts of mischief with those that have it. Many run off to adventures and some never come back when they see the whole of the world that is out there. Still some come back and settle down and have children of their own. One of those children, a descendent of that Tookish union was that of Belladona Took. She married Bilbo’s father who also made Bagend, one of the most splendid hobbit holes in all of the Shire. It would seem that his linage is exactly why Gandalf selected him to help Thorin and Company reclaim their lost fortunes from The Lonely Mountain.
The Lonely Mountain was at the western end of the Iron Hills and was once a very rich kingdom that made all the lands around it flourish. It was that way for many a generation till a dragon by the name of Smaug came and ate the dwarves and claimed all the treasure for his own bed. This is the treasure and kingdom that Thorin and his companions wish to claim but being thirteen of them, they needed someone else to help them. Dwarves are very superstitious and calculating. Why trust to luck when you can stack luck on your side. So with Gandalf’s help they acquired the services of Bilbo as their Burglar to help them find a way into the mountain and reclaim their lost gold and jewels.
From the start Bilbo is kept off balance, first by Gandalf visiting him and then with the dwarves showing up a little at a time before he can even catch a breath. The dwarves humor didn’t help either with their singing of breaking and chipping his plates either. That first meeting when he woke thought it might have been a dream when all was cleaned up and the dwarves gone till Gandalf came pounding on his door and shoving him down the road before he could even get a handkerchief to take with him. All the comforts of home and proper walking were denied him as he started out on his grand adventure. and what an adventure it was too.
Bilbo saw places that he had only read about and only even dreamed about and never even knew that existed. He saw Elves of all kinds, trolls, tall folk called humans and other strange and dark things as well. He experienced the colds of winter on high mountain passes and the dark deadly dark of the Mirkwood forest, so named after evil crept into the Greenwood where the forest elves dwelled. He even found the time, if you could call it that, to have a game of wits and riddles with some foul creatures in the depths of the goblin tunnels deep in the Misty Mountains. It was that encounter that actually changed the world, though he didn’t know it at the time. It is also the reason why he was able to come back alive at all, but you will just have to read the book to find that out for your own.
J.R.R. Tolkien is a masterful writer that spins a tale in such a way that it draws you in and doesn’t let go till the very end. Even the dull stuff in the book is interesting in the way that he tells it to you. It is almost like he is specifically talking directly to you and no one else as he tells his tale of fancy and fantasy. He makes you want to know more about everything that he tells you and then he does, a little at a time, to keep you interested. Every good story teller knows that you have to do it that way to keep them interested in the tale till the very end. Once the story ends you are a little sad that there isn’t any more, at least till the next tale begins. This is one book that both adults and teens will love and with a bit of censure the small kids as well. Some kids would not understand all the death and dark scary things that come into play, but that is for their parents to decide and not you or I.