The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
The Hobbit was J. R. R. Tolkien’s first published novel in 1937 and received more critical acclaim than anyone could have ever predicted.
It’s one of the best-loved novels in the world and has been a family favourite since it’s first release. It’s a tale of adventure, dragons, and personal growth. Written while pursuing an academic career at Oxford University, the idea first came to Tolkien while grading school papers. The novel took almost three years to complete and was published by the first company that saw it.
It takes place in an entirely different universe that has been astounding readers since day one. Loved by both children and adults, The Hobbit deals with many important issues. Tolkien drew inspiration both from his time in the war and from fairytales he read as a child to create the famous magical world that most know today.
The story begins with the original powerful old wizard; Gandalf as he tricks Bilbo Baggins into hosting a feast for thirteen dwarves. The simple party quickly spirals out of control and the quiet hobbit finds himself joining them on their quest to recover stolen treasure. They meet many fantastical creatures along the way, from trolls to goblins to wargs to great eagles. Bilbo plays a game of riddles with Gollum, fights giant spiders by himself, and manages to stumble upon a dragon’s lair at the heart of the Lonely Mountain. There’s sword-fighting, revenge, and betrayal and the infamous battle of the five different armies until everything rises to a crescendo and Bilbo is left to deal with the consequences.
The Hobbit is well-loved by all for a reason. It’s a brilliant tale of creatures and treasure and talking dragons and deserves nothing less than the highest of praise.
- There’s fantastic character development. Bilbo starts as a meek middle-aged hobbit, quite happy to live alone in his comfortable little home in the ground. By the end, however, he has grown dramatically. He’s mature and capable, and far more independent and confident than before.
- There’s a perfect blend of humour and seriousness throughout the novel. Tolkien is able to effortlessly blend the two, adding light-hearted moments to dangerous situations and increasing tension in previously happy conversation.
- It’s relatable. And no, I’m obviously not talking about the orcs, trolls, and goblins. I’m talking about the hero; the unassuming, quiet, reluctant hero that doesn’t need weapons to succeed. It’s a story of family honour and returning possessions to their rightful owner. It deals with imperialism, racism, and coming of age. There’s something for everyone, no matter how fantastical the novel actually is.
- Gandalf is all-mighty and powerful and full of wisdom and advice… but he’s also quite fickle. He does his one good deed at the beginning of the novel by bringing Bilbo and the dwarves together, but after that, it’s up to them to get out of tricky situations. I mean, he’s a wizard. Surely he could have offered more help along the way?
- It has a very simple plot. Yes, it’s full of dragons and elves and mystical treasure guarded by a talking fire breathing lizard. Remove all that, however, strip the story down to its bare elements, and you’re left with a basic plot. For readers who like plot twists and surprise endings, it leaves much to be desired.
- Smaug had a rather boring ending. In fear of spoilers, I won’t go into any detail, but for such a powerful and famous creature, it was strange for him to leave like that. It makes his character seem rather pointless in the long run, and leaves much to be desired in the way of ‘typing up loose ends’.
The Hobbit is without a doubt one of the best novels that I have ever read. Therefore, it deserves nothing less than 5/5 stars!
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone, whether you’re a child or an adult, whether you love classics or not, even if you don’t like reading at all, you should read this novel. It’s an intriguing and wonderful story, perfect for any age, and most definitely worthy of its reputation.
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