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I've been meaning to read this book for such a long time, but it wasn't until the movie went into production that I decided to read it. This does mean, however, that Bilbo Baggins in my mind will forever be visualised as Martin Freeman. For some this may be a negative, but for me it is a distinct positive!
Within the book Bilbo Baggins becomes the somewhat unwilling, unlikely hero. He steals a magical ring from the evil Golum, who even in this prequel is repeating the now famous phrase 'My Precious' to himself.
With his new found ability to turn invisible upon wearing the ring Bilbo continues to save his dwarf companions from danger, whilst concealing its existence from them.
For such a short book, an awful lot happens within its pages. Whilst this invariably makes the book a page turner, which I was loath to put down, the story did have a tendency to jump about, and large problems were quickly overcome in a couple of sentences. This did mean if your concentration lapsed even for a minute or two you could find yourself lost and in need of rereading the last few paragraphs.
Whilst this may have been a minor annoyance, it didn't really detract from the wonders hidden in the pages of the book.
It fulfilled every criteria of a good supernatural action thriller; Tolkein's ability to conjure up suspense and danger is almost unrivalled, and Bilbo proved a surprise hero.
All in all a highly recommended read!
The Hobbit may be a much smaller book, but that doesn't stop it as being just as entertaining as J R R Tolkien's door stopper Lord of the Rings. The story follows Bilbo Baggins and his journey with Gandlaf and 12 Dwarves for a treasure raid from the Dragon Smaug. But it is the journey along the way which proves itself to be an unmissable story. Without spoiling anything, so much happens on their journey, it is like several short stories rolled into one.
If you love Lord of the Rings then you have to read this (if you haven't already) as this introduces you to the one ring and how it was found. There are so many great parts to this book with the part of Bilbo in the cave being not only my favourite part of this book, but one of the greatest scenes in any book I've ever read, it will stay with you for ages.
Buy The Hobbit and read it before Peter Jackson finishes the movie so that your imagination gets a chance to give life to the story. Trust me, this is a true classic.
I was exposed to The Hobbit when I was at highschool in the form of an audio book. It never caught my attention even though our teacher had wished we would enjoy the laborious task of listening to what I thought at that time to be a monotone.
Never did I think about picking up The Hobbit again until as recent as this year. I am a Tolkien fan, but only because I thoroughly enjoyed the epic that is The Lord of the Rings and the dark Children of Hurin much later. I could be excused for saving perhaps what I would call the best for last. As much as Lord of the Rings and The Children of Hurin is adult, The Hobbit is universal.
It is universal because it is lighthearted - when for example the dwarves visit Bilbo at his house with Gandalf for tea and a business propose, it captures the imagination when Beorn turns into a bear and roams the wild, it intrigues the reader when Bilbo confronts Gollum with his riddles, it enthralls when the armies are ready to battle for the treasure of the great dragon, it astonishes when Bilbo somehow always manages to save the dwarves from trouble, it excites when the goblins put fire to the trees where the dwarves and bilbo were holding out, it captivates when the Eagles rescue the party from the goblins, it tickles when the trolls argue over what to do with the little dwarves.
Pardon the long list, but it shows the strength of Tolkien in using a simple tale of adventure in such an elegant manner. The emphasis of The Hobbit is of the coming of age of Bilbo who is at first not very keen on adventure and one having no quality for it. However, with the progression of the tale, Bilbo becomes intrepid and bold and is often times seeing rescuing the Dwarves who often belittle his "burglar" status.
It is a tale that is kind reading for children, and great reading for someone like me who after these many years was reminded of my own childhood through the adventures of Bilbo.
The title pretty much says it all. J R R Tolkien was a genius, and is rightly placed as one of the best authors in history.
For those that dont know The Hobbit is the prelude to The Lord of The Rings, but in my opinion is much better. It is more a tale of adventure, much easier to read than the 'heavy' trilogy. Dont get me wrong, The Lord of The Rings is one of the best books ever written, but nothing can come close to the sense of adventure The Hobbit gives. It reads more as a legend, a tale to be told around campfires. I read this when i was 12 and have re-read it many times.
The plot is original, the characters loveable, and the villains so stereotypically evil that it actually works and rounds the whole book off perfectly. Remember, unlike elves, dwarves and dragons, Tolkien actually created Orcs as his own villains, villains which are took for granted by many fantasy writers.
If you are going to read one fantasy novel in your life make it this one. Read it to your kids as well, they'll probably love it.
I finished reading this book last night. What can I say... I was hooked from page 1! I first attempted this book when I was about 10 years old, I must have been half way through it and gave up. Like a lot of kids, my attention span didn't last very long. It has taken me 16 years to get round to trying this book again and I am thoroughly confused as to why I gave up on it when I was 10. This book was brilliant.
It is meant to be a children's book but this book is great for all the family. One of the many reasons that I like this book is because it is not too long. I still have quite a short attention span when it comes to books. I love reading but if I stop reading a book for more then a week I give up on it - not really sure why. The paperback version I read has around 280 pages so it doesn't take long to read. I found myself going to bed earlier each night because I couldn't wait to read what happens next! So much happens throughout this book and I had no idea what the book was about, other than a hobbit adventure.
Hobbits are creatures of routines and home comforts and Bilbo Baggins (the main character in this book) was no exception. He received a visit from Gandalf the wizard one day, who spoke of adventure. The next day 13 dwarfs arrived at intervals in the afternoon 'An Unexpected Party' to talk of their journey to the Lonely Mountain to claim the gold and treasure that is hoarded by Smaug, the dragon, they have with them a map. Bilbo joins this adventure with the dwarfs to make the party up to a lucky 14.
They start off on their journey and encounter trolls. Gandalf luckily returns and saves them all from being eaten. They then travel to Rivendell and meet the Elves, after staying for a while they then journey across the Misty Mountains where they are all captured by Goblins, once again Gandalf saves them and kills the great Goblin but Bilbo becomes separated. During his separation from the party he comes across a magic ring and Gollum. With the help of the ring, Bilbo manages to escape and finds the dwarfs and Gandalf. It is not long before the Wargs and goblins come across the party but luckily enough they were rescued by eagles. They then took refuge with Beorn in is home (a friend of Gandalf).
The party then has to enter Mirkwood, a forest that is dark and almost everything in it is evil. Terrible things happen but Bilbo manages to rescue all of the dwarfs from the giant spiders and then the wood elves dungeons. They make their way to Lake-town and make friends with the people of the town. After much needed rest, they continue onwards to the Lonely Mountains and Bilbo checks out the dragon's lair with the help of his magic ring. Bilbo steals a cup from the lair and enrages Smaug, who then goes on to try and destroy Lake-town. However the dragon is slain by Bard, who lives in lake-town. The dwarfs hear of the death of Smaug and reclaim the mountain (which used to belong to dwarfs).
The people of Lake-town request a share of the treasure for their aid. Thorin (leader of the dwarfs) becomes greedy and denies them a share. They are about to go to war with each other when the Goblins and Wargs return looking for revenge and also a claim on the mountain. The book comes to a head when there is a battle - the battle of five armies.
This is a fantastic book that I believe everyone would enjoy. I hope my review did this book justice.
Tolkien's Hobbit will take your curiosity on a fantastic flight of fantasy. I browse this book on a annual basis and every year I'm thrilled and fascinated by the joy of Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is a hesitant member of a journey that'll permanently change his life and also the lives of the people close to him.
He accompanies thirteen dwarves on a quest to get back the gold and mountain empire of their ancestors from the dragon, Smaug. They've a lot of journeys and incidents on their quest to the lonesome mountain such as the climactic battle of 5 armies. Bilbo discovers a magic ring on the way that leads, not just to an increase in his prominence, but additionally to a brand new adventure for his close friends in "The Lord of the Rings." Tolkien is a expert storyteller and the degree of his skill is best observed in this story. In the subsequent trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings" the storyline is carried on, however the pure delight of "The Hobbit" isn't completely recaptured.
This story is about a particular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. Hobbits are small people, about half the size of a human's height, and are smaller than dwarves, with little magic, other than that that makes them able to disappear. They have leather soles growing on their feet and woolly toes which they brush. They also eat about twelve meals a day!
Bilbo, being of the respectable Baggins family, is not one for adventures, he describes they am 'Nasty disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!' However Bilbo's mother was Belladonna Took, and the Took family were known for loving adventures, so, sure enough, Bilbo ends up on an adventure of his own.
This journey leads Mr Baggins to come across trolls, elves, goblin, eagles, wolves, shape-shifters and the now famous Gollum.
Bilbo sets off with Gandalf the wizard and thirteen dwarves, their mission: retrieve the treasure from the dragon Smaug who has stolen his hoard and lays, guarding it, in the mountain where Thorin used to rule, occasionally terrorising the local town of Esgaroth.
Each character has skills which they bring to the team, creating a team spirit. The most obvious talents belonging to Gandalf, who comes and goes but is there if they desperately need rescuing, and his numerous allies come in handy, but what is Bilbo's talent? What can a small mostly magic-less hobbit going to do against a powerful dragon?
I love this book, I first read it at about ten years old and it fuelled a love of fantasy fiction. The style of the book reminds me a little of C. S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia), who was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, as it gives the feel of a story being told by the fireside. My particularly favourite piece of description is the first paragraph which instantly draws you into the book and gives a real feel to what a hobbit is all about; '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 book is written with a fairly quick pace so it never gets dull, or makes you want to flip a few pages to the next bit of excitement or action, but at the same time it doesn't go too fast; you don't get lost, and the style of narration is such that you feel as though you are just sat beside them because any questions you may have get picked up on an answered.
As with a lot of Tolkien novels the text is occasionally mixed with poetry and songs which give you an idea of myths, legends and the history of Middle Earth. It also lightens the text, particularly for children, for whom this text was originally written, but with battling against goblins and the fate of the dragon Smaug to be decided there is still plenty of action in this book.
Bilbo grows as a hobbit, he starts of quite shy and timid, eager to please but very easily flustered, and the idea of someone hinting that he should go on an adventure is enough to make him cross, at least until he's had a cake or two. However he shows himself as able to save the day when necessary and is much braver than he realised, and is able to hold his own in conversations and riddles with the sneaky dragon Smaug, and Gollum. His adventure may cost him his respectability but he gains wisdom and courage as a result.
Gandalf is shown in The Hobbit as a very wise and powerful old man, leaning on his staff, but he is also a very warm person, he may at times come across rude; 'the unexpected party', but his intentions are good, as are the results. He may be quick to rebuke folly but he is also kind and modest.
As there are thirteen of them I won't dwell too long on their descriptions.
Their leader is Thorin Oakenshield. He is a very proud and scorned dwarf, but he is capable of kindness and forgiveness, a side which Bilbo brings out in him.
Thorin's nephews, Fili and Kili, are the youngest of the group which makes them very useful for scouting as they have the sharpest eyes.
Oin and Gloin are also brothers, Gloin's son is Gimli who plays an important role in The Lord of the Rings. The brothers were especially skilled at making fires.
Dwalin and Balin are another set of brothers, Dwalin wasn't overly warm towards Bilbo, he became very impatient with him when they were trying to find the secret door at the Lonely Mountain. Balin on the other hand was very warm hearted rather liked the hobbit.
Dori, Ori and Nori are brothers also, Dori was the strongest of the thirteen dwarves, and he and his brothers were very fond of food. Ori was a talented flute player.
Bifur, Bofur and Bombur, who are the last to be introduced to the group at the unexpected party, have relatively minor roles in the book, although Bombur is a particularly good friend to Bilbo and he is known for his large weight which causes some problems for the team.
About the author:
J.R.R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel) was a writer, poet and university professor. He and his previously mentioned close friend, C.S. Lewis, were members of Inklings, a literary discussion group. In 1972 Tolkien was appointed Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Elizabeth II.
His most famous works were probably The Hobbit and the trilogy The Lord of the Rings although some of his writings were published posthumously by his son, such as The Silmarillion.
The Hobbit is a brilliant little book which I would recommend to readers of any age, particularly if you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings and wish to know a bit more about just what a hobbit is and the background to the trilogy, as I'm sure you will have noticed that he shares his surname with the hero Frodo Baggins, who is his adopted son.
I have recentley finished a wonderful journey, reading The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. Published in 1937 it tells the story of a Mr Bilbo Baggins who lives in his Hobbit hole, at Bag-end, Underhill , Hobbiton.
Mr Baggins is a Hobbit - A Hobbit you say, what on earth is that - A Hobbit is like us, but the size of a child and smaller than the great Dwarves of Dain. Hobbits have no magic about them, no odd quirks that befall many of Tolkiens creations , no, they are just regular everyday Hobbits. Personally I think I may be part Hobbit sometimes, not one for adventures (As Bilbo points out , they often make you late for tea) and often enjoy company of others, especially when it's an excuse to break out cakes and cheese and biscuits, which is all the Hobbits truly live for.
2 breakfats, elevensies, twelvsies , brunch, lunch , a light snack , a heavy snack , tea , dinner and then an evening snack. yes sir thats the life for me. But the book would be boring just following Bilbo in his house, this is the story of how this Hobbit done something very unexpected, with the aid of Gandalf the wizard and 12 Dwarves they set out to rid the lonely mountain of the Dragon Smaug and gain a insurmountable amount of treasure.
Set over a year , the story of the Hobitt or there and back again, is the memoirs of Bilbo Baggins and his journey from Bag end to the lonely mountain. On the way encountering Goblins, Wargs, Elves, Eagles and shapechangers, as well as a horrible creature known as Gollum.
The story is tolf by a narrator, this voice is our guide throughout the story and not only tells us the events that our occuring , but gives us information about who the people are and a breif background so you never feel lost. This is done in a easy to follow and feels like you are sitting beside the narrator and being told the story, it fits in with the style as this was origionally a bedtime story for Tolkien's children.
At no point does the story become tedious or boring, as it is split up into small chapters which chart the beggining and end to each small adventure over the course of the story. For example, the chapters each the tell an individual story as well as being part of the whole narrative, one chapter is about Bilbo having a riddle contest with Gollum in order to escape wereas, another chapter tells the story of how Bilbo and the Dwarves were caught by 3 trolls and how the trolls bickerd over how they would cook the party, be it sqaush them, roast them or boil them.
So what of the rest of Bilbo's party, well their are the Dwarves and Gandalf. The Dwarves are also short creatures but with big hearts, heralding from the lonley mountain itself as well as the north in Dain were most of the Dwarves reside.
The Dwarves that accompany Bilbo include the great Thorin Oakenshield , son of Thrain who once ruled the mountain that Smaug resides in. As well as he , their is Oin and Gloin (Gimili's father for anyone who has seen Lord of the Rings), Dori , Ori and Nori, Dwalin and Balin, Filli and Killi, Bifur and Bofur and finally Bombur. All at your service and aiding Bilbo on the adventure he has been thrust into, now whislt you may think that that is a lot of characters, they are all surprisingly easy to account for and have subtle personalities that make them recognisable. Bombur for example is the fattest Dwarve wereas Fili and Kili are the youngest, albeit in Dwarve ages as their leader Thorin is the wrong side of 100 and still as fit as a fiddle.
Rounding off the group is Gandalf the wizard, he comes and goes as he pleases and has to save the troop more times than they would like to remember. But it is his knowledge of Middle Earth's people and factions that make him worth is weight in Dorwinion wine.
Due to his age , Gandalf as made many aliies which we meet throughout the book. These are all short encounters but leaving you wanting to know more which is cleverely revealed in his other books and the histories. Some of the people we meet are Elrond of Rivendell, an Elve who aids the party with supplies and knowledge when they reach his palace. Their is also Beorn , the outcast woodsman living outside the deadly forests of Mirkwood and who can shapechange into one of the fearsome Bears who roam the outskirts of the forest. Meetings also occur with the Great Eagles whose eyesight and age come in handy in saving the group when it seems all is lost, all these encounters are filled with excitement and action leading you to read on late into the night.
So who is this Smaug that they set out to find. He is a dragon in the Lonely mountain who sits upon gold, silver, jewels and the Arkenstone of Thrain. Smaug is a scaley, firery and angry dragon who knows all his loot by smell and will set fire and fear into anyone who ventures to close, however his mountain is not foolproof and legend of a back entrance is what spurs the party on.
What I also loved in the book is the inclusion of poems and songs at every opportunity to give a flowing, mystical feel to the story. Be it the songs of the Goblins as they work in the mines which are slow, scary and full of imagery of death and murder, or the happy tunes of the Barrel throwers in the Elvenkings halls who sing of the beauty of the land and the barrels journey down the long lake Ergeroth.
The riddle conversation between Bilbo and Gollum was one of my favorite moments of the whole book, it swings from side to side and has a wonderful momentum as you can feel the two trying to win for survival, albeit one is escaping and the other is eating, but all the same it is scary, thrilling and intense.
What should be the books biggest testament is how it has stood the test of time, written in 1937 it feels as though it could have been released last month. None of the writing or methods feel outdated and instead is better than what many come up with today, with what we class as great authors.
Being the prelude to the Lord of the Rings , the book shows how much work there is into creating a whole world full of stories and history. This sets it apart from what may be classed as a great environment in todays books like Harry Potter or Twilight, as much of those stories dont have the entire world rather 4 or 5 settings. Throughout the Hobbit you will be shown tidbits of information about far off lands and people which are slightly involved in the story, but help link all the books together and urge you to read more about them. For example, one of the historys mentioned is about the Toy market in the ruined town of Dale, this is talked about in the histories of middle earth in a short story and poem, its truly magnificent.
One very small issue and one that is covered elsewhere in the histories is the battle of 5 armies, this is only mentioned very briefly and not given in as much detail as I had hoped seeing as it is an important moment. However the battle is told heavily elsewhere by the generals, songs and poems in peices of the other stories.
The book features 2 lovely drawn maps showing the lay of the land and the environment , including strange writings known as Runes. The map at the front concentrates on the mountain and as a lot of Runes, these are markings and can be partly deciphered with help from notes in the books, but you will need to investigate his other writings or the internet if you hope to fully understand it. The map at the back shows the overall jounrey with the furthest east image being Rivendell and the map showing hobbiton lying just off the face of the map, these are really helpful in placing the group and the use of names and drawings gives a sense of scale to what has taken place.
The book is 364 pages long and has a good sized print, on Amazon it is £4.49 for my copy of the essential modern classics version, although I picked this up at Oxfam for 50p so a great bargain on my part.
I honestly can't reccomend this book enough for adults, or reading to your kids as a exciting bed time story, due to its design.
Thanks for reading !
The Hobbit is an amazing book that leads into the well-known Lord of the Rings trilogy by the epic author of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkein.
The Hobbit is a brilliant book where a hobbit - Bilbo Baggins - goes on an adventure to retrieve the gold from a dangerous and feared dragon. Bilbo Baggiins is a peaceful little hobbit, not looking for adventure and he is happy in his house. But when Gandalf visits him and tells him he has to go on an adventure, he his led into a world of mystery and fear. He goes from fighting Goblins to talking with the great dragon himself.
The plot and story are brilliant and it keeps you on the edge of your seat right until the end. The story is a very thrilling read that makes you want to read on and J.R.R. Tolkein has come up with a masterpiece of epic, creative writing.
Also, another thing that makes this book so good is the range of characters. The imaginitive characters are so unbelievably, fanatically brilliant and the description that goes into these characters are amazing.
Overall, I think this book is brilliant and it is a great fantasy book that delivers everything fantastically. An amazing book worth reading.
I hope this review helps. Thank you.
The Hobbit is the first book published by the master of epic fantasy JRR Tolkien, though it's not the first piece he wrote. Tolkien began writing this novel whilst fighting in the trenches of the First World War and instead of being full of dread and despair is one of the most uplifting novels ever written.
"In a hole there lived a hobbit" begins one of the most famous books ever written in the English language, principally aimed at children it still can be enjoyed as an adult. The story is a simple one in truth, as depicted by the novels secondary title; there and back again - a hobbits tale.
So what's it all about?
Well the story is about the most dependable of hobbits, Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, Hobbiton, The Shire, it is said at the start of the novel that you don't need to ask a Baggins' opinion on a subject because you know the answer all ready. Bilbo quiet and peaceful day is shattered by the sudden arrival of a host of dwarves who are in the mistaken belief that Bilbo is going to act as a guide/burglar for a mission they are on. Along with the dwarves is a mysterious magician called Gandalf, this group forces Bilbo to leave his home without a handkerchief!!!
So the story moves on, we meet trolls who whilst discussing how to cook the dwarves have their pockets pinched by Bilbo. They talk so long that they turn to stone in the dawn sunlight, these trolls are nothing like the cave trolls we meet in LOTR, they are simpler and less warlike but no less fearsome.
Bilbo slowly converts himself from a reluctant traveller to a companion of the dwarves and is content until he finds out that their mission for him is to sneak into a dragon's lair and steal a priceless artefact. Smaug the dragon has been devastating the lands of Dale and the dwarves need to get rid of him, they encounter Goblins by pure chance and Bilbo is driven into the tunnels beneath Smaugs lair. There grubbing in the darkness, he finds a plain gold ring, and a crazy half man creature called Gollum.
Bilbo and Gollums game
Bilbo meets Gollum who wanting to eat Bilbo gives the hobbit a chance to survive by besting him in a game of riddles. The pair takes it in turn to think up weird and wonderful riddles to confound the other, they each have to guess the answer failure for Bilbo means death, and success means release. Bilbo thinks up riddles about eggs, fish and Gollum thinks up riddles about the sun. Finally Bilbo bests Gollum by....... don't want to spoil it.
Anyway Bilbo escapes and finds out that the ring will make him invisible, this gives him a chance to sneak into Smaugs lair undiscovered, he finds out an essential truth about the dragon and tells the dwarves.
The novel slowly gets darker as it goes along, it starts as a jolly story about a journey but we soon meet those trolls, then some pretty nasty spiders, goblins and finally the dragon. The dragon is the star of the book, without him the novel would have been good with him it's great, he has stellar lines like he's a bit full at the moment because he's had one too many dwarf last night.
Bilbo is the books hero and of course we warm to him, Gandalf is the mysterious wizard and the dwarves are noble and not at all comedy pastiches like Peter Jackson's lamentable depiction of them. They are funny yes, but have serious issues and stories and the dereliction into Gimli in the films was atrocious. We of course meet Gollum for the first time, but he's not as sinister as when he meets Frodo, the ring has just left him and he wants it back. The encounter between Gollum and Bilbo was re-written three times each time making Gollum more sinister to place him in context with the darker lord of the rings. In the 1937 original book, he's more of a colourful traveller than a ring obsessed wraith, also Sauron is mentioned but when Bilbo puts on the ring there is no all seeing red eye (in fact there isn't in the LOTR but Sauron had to be depicted somehow I guess).
This is lighter and frothier than its sequel but it still has adult themes so isn't suitable for very young children but as a novel it's wonderful full of humour, adventure and song. Everything a child wants whose into fantasy is in this novel, it's a classic and has enthralled me since I first read it thirty years ago.
The Hobbit is a super fantasy story from Tolkein who also wrote the epic Lord of the Rings book. The central character is Bilbo Baggins who is a hobbit living a tranquil simple life in his little home where he indulges his passion for cakes, mostly the making and eating of cakes.
This life changes when Gandalf the Wizard along with a group of dwarves arrive who are on a quest to get some gold tat is guarded by a fierce dragon and it is Bilbo who is going to actually steal the gold for them despite having no ability in that direction however that is what Gandalf has decided should happen. They then embark on a fantastic journey encountering many weird and wonderful mystical creatures and having adventures and coping with adversity as well with their main enemies the evil goblins.
What makes this book so enjoyable and fascinating in the sheer scale of the detail that Tolkein includes in his books, the links with the LOFR is obvious with many characters appearing here, this is the pre ring part of the story and so you get to meet Gollum and other such characters as well as the ring itself.
Tolkein writes with a lovely flowing style that sometimes goes off in strange direction to tell additional tales that are all linked to the main plot ultimately, his imagination is so vivid to create such a great alternative world and it is easy to get absorbed into the story which is really enjoyable and well told.
The character development is everything, Bilbo is the charcter who does not want to be a hero of any kind and just wants the easy life and you cannot help but admire him for that. Although at times it can be hard to keep track of all the characters it is still a lovely magical tale and a great book to read.
The Hobbit is an enduringly famous fantasy novel by JRR Tolkien and was first published in 1937. This is a book I tried to read unsuccessfully a couple of times while at school and always found absolutely tedious for some reason. Chancing upon a copy a few weeks ago, I decided to give it another whirl and was surprised to rattle through it in about three days and enjoy the novel a great deal. The story concerns Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit ('little people about half our height') who loves the quiet life and the comforts of his house - which is quite literally built into the ground. 'It was a hobbit-hole,' writes Tolkien 'And that means comfort.' Bilbo's house is like something out of Jules Verne with portholes and a sleek tube-shaped hall. His favourite sound is that of his kettle whistling and he appears to spend most of the day either baking cakes, eating cakes or thinking about eating cakes. It's fair to say that hobbits, and Bilbo in particular, have a fairly pleasant and relaxed lifestyle.
However, Bilbo's rather sedate and enviable life is turned upside down by a visit from Gandalf the Wizard. 'Gandalf!' says Tolkien. 'If you had only heard a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have heard only very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tales.' Gandalf brings with him a company of dwarves who are about to undertake a perilous quest in search of far away gold guarded by a dragon and - although he doesn't know it yet - Bilbo is to travel with them as their 'burglar'. 'I have chosen Mr Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you,' says Gandalf to the unconvinced dwarves. 'If I say he is a burglar, a burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.' Bilbo is soon a reluctant participant in the epic adventure.
The adventure takes our heroes deep into the foreboding Misty Mountains where they are troubled by goblins and trolls and frequently become lost. The book is essentially a series of encounters between Bilbo and his group and the strange, magical and often dangerous creatures and people that lurk in the wilds of Tolkien's fantasy landscape. 'Now goblins are cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted,' writes the author. 'They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosions always delighted them.' Bilbo ends up lost in a dank underground cavern where he meets the troubled and frightening Gollum who engages him in a game of riddles with the stakes being Bilbo's life. 'A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo's heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering.' Bilbo's encounter with Gollum is rather creepy but very intriguing when he happens to accidently stumble across a strange ring that grants the wearer the power of invisibility.
The long journey of the characters in The Hobbit serves to transform the humble Bilbo from a home dwelling and slightly nervous person into a hero who will inspire many tales and songs. You identify quite a lot with Bilbo as he camps out in dark woods, never quite sure what is going on or where he is as he dreams of being in his house with the kettle whistling and something nice to eat on the stove. The transformation of Bilbo is nicely developed by Tolkien in the story as he slowly begins to earn the trust and respect of the dwarves. 'As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.'
Bilbo is a great character to follow the adventure through as he frequently becomes separated and runs into all manner of trouble and the author is inventive in coming up with little cliffhangers and piling danger upon his characters - as when Bilbo and the dwarves are being hunted by goblins and Wargs, Wargs being essentially wolves, but crafty, cunning wolves who can talk. When Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves are trapped in tall trees with countless Wargs prowling the ground below (and goblins about to cut the trees down) the reader will be very eager to turn the pages. 'Maddened and angry they were leaping and howling round the trunks, and cursing the dwarves in their horrible language, with their tongues hanging out, and their eyes shining as red and fierce as the flames.' There is a subtext in the book which I quite enjoyed too and found interesting all about industrialization and nature and how we are losing things that used to be precious and abundant. Tolkien pointedly laces the book with lines about when things were 'greener' or some such and his descriptions of gloomy neverending forests, butterflies in trees and wild landscapes are always very enjoyable.
I could probably have lived without the numerous songs included in the text but it's all part of the atmosphere I suppose. The Hobbit is genuinely creepy at times but Tolkien is always on hand to guide us through the story and reassure younger readers with some gentle humour and a few asides. Bilbo's encounter with giant talking spiders is one of the highlights of the book for me and really rather scary. 'The nastiest things they saw were the cobwebs: dark dense cobwebs with threads extraordinarily thick, often stretched from tree to tree, or tangled in the lower branches on either side of them.' Perhaps the most memorable character in the book though is Gandalf who sort of flits in and out of the book and gets Bilbo and the dwarves out of various sticky situations with his magical wizard capers. I love Gandalf because he's very enigmatic almost in a Sherlock Holmes sort of way, never quite revealing all that he knows but always a few moves ahead of everybody else, like Garry Kasparov in a chess match. You do find yourself - inevitably - often imagining Gandalf as Sir Ian Mckellen but then that's not such a bad thing.
The Hobbit is an imaginative piece of escapism that passes the time very pleasantly and is highly recommended.
Often viewed as a children's book, the Hobbit is an excellent introduction to Tolkien for readers of all ages. It tells the tale of the initially quiet and unassuming Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, and his adventures with the wizard Gandalf and 13 dwarves as they try to defeat the dragon Smaug. On the way, Bilbo becomes quite the adventurer and also serendipitously finds a mysterious and magical golden ring which turns him invisible.
This book has a much lighter tone (and weight!) than its sequel, the Lord of the Rings. Little can we guess the trouble that the ring will cause in later years. The fairy-tale elves and goblins (orcs) are much more capricious here and allies seem too few upon the ground for the dwarves, who can be a little too stubborn at times. The highlight of the book for me, however, is the encounter that Bilbo has with the grotesque, yet pitiable, creature Gollum and their famous riddling competition.
I recently reviewed all three Lord of the Rings books. So I thought it only proper to give The Hobbit a review. This is really the prequel to Lord of the Rings. Tolkien wrote this before he had ever dreamed of writing the follow up epic.
If you have read Lord of the Rings or more likely seen the films, the Hobbit may surprise you somewhat. It's not the epic adventure that you might expect. Rather, I would describe it as a rather quaint fairytale.
The plot follows a Hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins. Now Hobbits are very quiet folk who tend to keep to themselves. However Bilbo is visited by some Dwarves and a Wizard who sweep him away on an adventure. Bilbo travels away across Middle Earth to the home of the dwarves and has many adventures along the way.
Unlike Lord of the Rings the Hobbit has a really nice feel to it. It's not deep and complicated; it's the kind of book a child would have no trouble reading. In fact I was just a boy of about eight when my dad first read me the Hobbit and I began my love affair with Tolkien.
When I read the book more recently I still enjoyed it immensely. Even though the story is quite easy to follow, Tolkien has a way of drawing you into the story and making it come alive. The vivid word pictures he draws for you make it so easy to actually be there in the story.
Along with his word pictures, Tolkien does actually use a few illustrations and maps. The maps especially are remarkable as they give you a real sense of what is taking place in the actual story.
There are many different versions of the Hobbit that have been printed down the years. The one I have has the original art work on the cover which I think gives it a really authentic feel.
Overall would have to say this is a wonderful read. Whilst I didn't enjoy it as much as the Lord of the Rings books, it still is a really enjoyable book. Its not quite as daunting a read this one as its quite a short book. Ideal for older children, or adults who don't fancy reading an epic trilogy. This has got to be one of the most loved stories ever written. Am sure people will be enjoying it and if you have never read this book, it's one you should put on your list!
I loved this book so much....I read it while my work was quiet and I couldn't put it down the whole day.
The main idea behind the novel is about a young hobbit called Bilbo Baggins, and he wants to leave the shire in search of adventure. On his travels he comes across magical ring that makes him invisible, which turns him into a profitable part of the group. Don't want to say any more incase I ruin the story for you!
The book is aimed at a very wide and varied audience which means even young children would find "The Hobbit" appealing. The strong points of the story are the beginning to end! The entire book is amazing! As long as you have a bit of an imagination you're likely to enjoy this timeless classic!
Enjoy! Think i will go and read it again this evening, its a classic
This is the prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep to take him on an adventure.