Or There and Back Again.
The Hobbit is one of those books that, as such a well established pillar of its genre, does not really need a review. It has inspired people for years – and will continue to – and is honestly one of the most charming books I have ever read. and re-read.
It defines the genre in the intricacies in the world Tolkien creates, other tales of grandeur, vast histories, war and strife are hinted at throughout the novel helping to create a fully comprehensive world. A world that is so ingrained into my subconscious, that as soon as I open the page (in either this or his other books) I fall head first into story, into the world Tolkien so loving created.
Most of us know the story but for those that don’t I won’t as usual divulge much. Bilbo is our, almost reluctant, hero and adventurer. He simultaneously yearns for adventure and excitement, but is apprehensive to leave the comfort of his nice bright hobbit-hole, his arm chair, his singing kettle and his fried eggs and bacon. Scared to leave normality for the unknown that lies ahead.
As an audience we can learn a lot from Bilbo. I personally am not a huge fan of change, not very good at putting myself out there and don’t like breaking routine, much like Bilbo at the very beginning, and the other Hobbits in Hobbiton. But as Bilbo realised, sometimes you have to just go running out that door. ‘Roads go ever ever on’ after all.
I know that some people do not like Tolkien’s writing style, but I love the personal touch it has. How he as the author steps away from the narrative and directs a question, clarification or anecdote to you as the reader. This I feel adds to the charm of the overall book, and engages the reader in the story more.
The ending does however seem rushed, Bilbo was unconscious for most of the battle, as we see the story from his point of view we get only a second hand account of what occurred. Though this I think brings back to the reader that, regardless of the danger and impending doom of the tale, the depth in the descriptions in the landscape and the deep rooted histories hinted at throughout, the story is meant for children. For Tolkien’s children in fact…apparently.
However, the end is not the end. Not really. While the One Ring is seen as no more than a magic ring of invisibility, darker things are hinted at and the Ring seems to already be working it’s power over Bilbo, even if this is just shown in his evasiveness to reveal his secret.
I didn’t note down my favourite quotes or descriptions as I was too engulfed in the story to stop reading. But this one quote always sticks in my mind (and in the minds of many others I am sure).
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.