The Hobbit is the novel that first introduced us to the fabulous realms of Middle-Earth. It is written by J.R.R. Tolkien, one of literature’s beloved authors of all time. It tells the account of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit – the peace loving folks of the Shire. A hobbit is half the size of a man, shorter than a dwarf but with heightened senses and keen instincts which more than makes up for their lack of height.
The events in The Hobbit took place a generation before LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring, before Frodo Baggins was even born – when the world of Middle-Earth lived in peace unsuspecting of the Dark force brewing in its dark corners. Here we find his Uncle Bilbo took off into an unexpected adventure with Gandalf the Grey wizard, and Thorin, a dwarf king, with twelve of his mighty companions. Their mission was to recover the vast treasures ravaged from a dwarf kingdom of long ago and still guarded by the mighty evil dragon Smaug. And there begins a journey filled with dangers, misadventures, and legendary feats that required of our dear hobbit enormous amount of courage, heroism, and luck beyond he could ever imagined.
The tone of the story in The Hobbit is a lot less dark than The Lord of the Rings. It is written simple, straightforward yet playful and light-hearted narrative filled with optimism even at the darkest of moments. No foul words. No exaggerated accounts of violence and treacheries. Not even a fraction of the dread and hopelessness Frodo and Sam will later have to endure just to destroy a goddamned ring. It’s a book written for children and the young at hearts as we follow the adventurers’ journey that is ever filled with layer upon layer of troubles and misadventures. Bilbo and the dwarves have to survive the treacherous long journey to the dragons lair, but before that they’ll have to pass through hungry trolls, escape giant the spiders’ lair, survive the carnage inside the evil goblin’s stronghold, trick a creature called Gollum, outrun wild foxes, escape (again) the wood elf’s prison, get into a lot of misfortunes, navigate a dark forest despite great hunger and a whole lot of nasty things waiting for them. And for them to survive they have to turn on to Bilbo the burglar, the group’s go-to-guy. And takeake note he’s the smallest one.
The narration by JRR Tolkien is different from what he later used in LOTR. In The Hobbit, he is the playful of grandfather telling stories to his grandkids at night. It never fails to surprise to hear the author gleefully talking to the readers as if we’re a part of the family listening to the old man’s tales. At times he even playfully asks what will happen next to our dear Bilbo.
For me The Hobbit isn’t really a page-turner, but one of those great books you want devour nice and slow. It took me more than a month to reach the epic climax. But it is nice to hear again of the beloved Lord of the Ring characters appearing in the HOBBIT like Gandalf and Elrond, and yes ‘Mr. My Preciousss’ Gollum. The climax was really fantastic and twisted. I think there are two climaxes in this book; one is the battle against the dragon Smaug and the other is the great battle of six armies fighting over the treasures. For sure The Hobbit won’t disappoint hard core LOTR fans. The former is neither superior nor inferior to the latter, but both are great companions that complement one another. No wonder The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is beloved by the past, present and future generations of readers (and moviegoers).
Why The Hobbit is so beloved is that impart to us valuable moral lessons in life. It is a triumphant tale of one humble creature’s determination to help others before his welfare in time of their needs and that Life is ought to be viewed with passion, optimism and of great hope because you never know how much it could means to other. Most of the Hobbit is a great reminder that there’s great goodness in ourselves than we could ever imagine.
Movie Adaptation: The Hobbit is currently on production by the same team that brought us the Lord of the Rings a decade. Peter Jackson once again takes on the director’s chair to bring the world of Middle-Earth to life once again. Bilbo Baggins will be played by British actor Martin Freeman (Love Actually) with SHERLOCK co-star Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) playing the voice of the dragon Smaug (plus the motion capture technique). The Hobbit will be split into two movies: part 1 will be The Unexpected Journey coming in this December, and part 2 is There and Back Again for next year.