The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”  – J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit

From Lauren’s Perspective:

My father is an avid lover of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.  So much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if he reads through The Lord of the Rings series once a year.  Because of this, it has always been my intention to read the series, and even though I loved reading The Hobbit in high school, I never did continue.  This time around, I started with The Hobbit once more to be ready for the movies release in a months time, and plan to continue with the rest of the series soon after.  For some reason it seems like the perfect Christmas read.

So, it has been over a decade since I read The Hobbit and I remembered very little of the details that accompanied this wonderful children’s story.  I remembered only the bare bones structure of the Journey and of our hero, Bilbo Baggins.  And just as I did 12 years ago, I was immensely impressed with the story, the writing, the characters, and the grand adventure that was embarked upon within its pages.

This story is the epitome of what an epic saga should look like, it follows the characters on their journey, beginning to end.  It begins with little Bilbo in his little home, perfectly comfortable and in need of nothing but his comfortable life.  His world is immediately turned upside down by Gandalf and his decision that Bilbo is the perfect person to accompany his band of dwarves on this particular adventure.  Bilbo goes, begrudgingly, and very often he wishes to be back in his perfectly comfortable hobbit hole.  But, despite the desire to be back in his comfortable life, he proves himself as a hero time and time again, and above that, he proves himself as a hero with strong morals who chooses to do the right thing time and time again.  It would be hard not to fall in love with Bilbo’s character, for there is a little bit of him in all of us, I suspect.

The writing is simple, as is fitting for a children’s story, and I found myself thinking it rather “cute” at parts.  Bilbo is silly and a bit of a complainer at first.  And his repeated encounters with various creatures are completely frustrating.  Too many creatures seem to hate Hobbits and Dwarves, and too many creatures go after them for blood, wanting nothing more than to see their demise.  This adds to the epic journey, of course, because who wants to hear an easy tale of an easy journey with an easy end?  But despite the writing being somewhat cute, it is also somewhat perfect.  It is a children’s tale after all.  It is easy to follow, but with just enough going on that despite it’s simple nature, it can easily draw any adult into this incredibly creative new world.

The journey’s plot follows a simple formula of travel, adventure, travel, adventure, rest, travel, adventure, etc.  And time and time again, Bilbo proves himself as a worthy comrade for this trip despite his longing to be back in his simple life and in the comfort of his Hobbit hole.  But as with these kinds of stories, there is always a message hidden within the pages.  Bilbo went out of his comfort zone and did something he never thought he would want to do, let alone succeed at doing.  He found out that he was great under pressure and that he had a knack for getting people out of tough situations.  By the end of the journey, despite his complete joy of returning home, he was a different person.  A different Hobbit rather.  He had completely changed, and all those who lived near him and used to know him as a quiet, unadventurous fellow, now thought him strange, and weird.  The moral of the story:  Do what you’re afraid of, then do it again, then continue doing it without giving up.  It will change you into a different person, but a better person.  It will change you into a person to be admired, even if some people do find that new person a little odd.  Sometimes being odd is quite a good thing.

Overall, the story was beautifully written, a great adventure, and a great introduction into the wonderful world called “Middle Earth”.  I look forward to continuing with The Lord of the Rings series, and hope to find the same adventure, mythical creatures, and completely interesting characters as I did in The Hobbit.  I also hope more than anything that Gandalf returns bigger and more powerful than ever, he is ever interesting and not nearly as present as I would have liked in this book.  I will be back soon with my continued review of the series, because as is written in The Hobbit, The road goes ever on and on”.

Rating

Plot – 4/5
Writing/Style/Form – 4/5
Characters – 5/5
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4/5

Overall Score – 17/20

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