The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
"For over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day
To find our long-forgotten gold"
Like most middle schoolers, I was forced to read, evaluate, and analyze this fantasy classic within an inch of its life. I don't remember much about the tale of Bilbo Baggins from this school experience, other than tediously reading the book out loud in class (an activity that constitutes one version of my personal hell) and random pop quizzes testing our general knowledge of the story.
Now, eight years or so after my first encounter, The Hobbit is about to come out on the big screen. Thankfully, my appreciation for good literature and interest in the fantasy genre has deepened over the years, and I am ridiculously excited to see this film!
I felt the need to go back and revisit the book before I hit my local movie theater, and I must say, I LOVE THIS STORY!
The reader follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a respectable hobbit living a dull but contented life in his cozy hobbit hole. Into this comfortable scene barges Gandalf, a wizard who selects the unlikely Bilbo to complete a company of dwarves on a quest to the Lonely Mountains to reclaim their rightful treasure- now guarded by a deadly dragon, Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo and Co. face many obstacles and conundrums, and oftentimes it is the unassuming, unskilled hobbit who rescues the band from their current predicament to save the day.
Not only does this book pave the way for other, more well-known tales (introduces Gollum and the ring of Lord of the Rings fame), it is a valuable story in and of itself. The reader watches the transformation of Bilbo Baggins from a frightened creature most concerned about his own material comfort, to a brave hobbit motivated by conviction to do the right thing. Of course, Bilbo is not perfect… but then again, perfect characters are totally unrelateable and unlikeable, anyways. The best part of the novel was watching Bilbo's development. Other noteworthy mentions that made the story enjoyable were the vivid descriptions, and multi-layered world building. Everyone knows that Tolkien is a master of his craft, but The Hobbit truly is a beautiful illustration of his genius.
There were so many quotable moments as well! From the opening, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit," to "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him," I found myself tweeting great lines over and over again. (To check out great quotes I'm reading, be sure to follow me on twitter! @LynnzLuLu89! #amreading)
If you love fantasy and have never given this story a try, or, like me, want to revisit the book before checking out the movie, The Hobbit is definitely worth picking up! Five out of five stars for this one!