The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
1 March, 2013
My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!
In the Shire, there lived a hobbit under the hill. And so the story begins. Bilbo Baggins lives in a quiet, pleasant and green village, eating, drinking, smoking and generally enjoying a quiet life. One day, Gandalf the wizard appears and soon after 13 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield traipse into Bilbo’s house during teatime to invite him on an adventure. Thorin’s ancestral home was lost over a century ago to Smaug, a thundering dragon lured by the wealth under the Mountain. And so Bilbo Baggins goes on a quest with his 13 companions to steal the dragon’s gold and take back the kingdom that was lost.
I first read The Hobbit several years after The Lord of the Rings and found it rather boring. But after watching Peter Jackson’s 3D version at the Imax over Christmas, I was itching to give it another go. And I’m really glad I did. I think having a strong visual image of the film enriched my re-reading experience and this time around, I enjoyed the story tremendously.
The book is much more child friendly compared to the film but there is a surprising amount of bickering and suspicion between the dwarves, the hobbit and the wizard. Gandalf always comes across as a character with so much potential to save the day and yet only turns up for a cameo role right at the end. But I liked Bilbo a lot, how he got on with the job of designated burglar and grew in confidence from the staid homebody who worried about teatime and forgetting his silk handkerchief into someone you wouldn’t want to mess with in a fight.
*SPOILER* (highlight to see text)
I actually didn’t remember much of the book and so was surprised by the method of Smaug’s demise.
*END of SPOILER*
I’ll passing on my copy on to my nephew like a good aunty. Spreading the love, and all that.
Everytime I watch one of Peter Jackson’s films, I inevitably get a little obsessed with Tolkien. I got myself copies of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, both of which I tried to read many years ago and abandoned. Hopefully Jackson’s magic will rub off and I’ll enjoy them more second time around. And I’m tempted to learn some Elvish too.