"The Hobbit" is written by the famous British author J.R.R.Tolkien.
Tolkien has written many novels and short-stories, but "The Hobbit" and
"The Lord of the Rings" are his most well known books. Few can deny that
Tolkien is the "father" of modern fantasy literature. "The Hobbit" has
sold over 35 million and "The Lord of the Rings" over 20 million copies.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" is the opening phrase
in the book. The Hobbit is an action-packed adventure tale which takes
place in the Middle Earth, a fantasy land greatly resembling our Earth
during the Middle Ages. The tale is told in third person limited view.
Tolkien gives insight into the thoughts and feelings of Bilbo Baggins,
the hobbit. The Hobbit has a very dark and mysterious mood which is often
brightened by the amusing dialogue and actions of the dwarves.
Bilbo Baggins is the main character of this novel. He is most of the
time backed by a crew of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf. He is short and
fat, as most hobbits are. All hobbits are very hairy and usually walk barefoot
to their many social gatherings. Gandalf is an extremely powerful white
wizard who accompanies Bilbo through most of their quest. Gandalf is extremely
random and unpredictable, making him very human-like. Thirteen dwarves
also accompany Bilbo on his quest. The group picks up many friends on its
journey. Among these are the Great Eagles, the humans, and the powerful
Smaug, the dragon, is the main evil character in The Hobbit. Smaug is
a very greedy and strong dragon who stole the dwarves' treasures while
killing many of the ancient dwarves. Smaug lives upon his pile of gold
and silver in the heart of the Lonely Mountain, and regards himself as
The dwarves have to reach the Lonely Mountain, and then kill Smaug,
to win back their gold, Almost immediately after starting their journey,
the group runs into a small group of dangerous trolls. The trolls manage
to capture all of the dwarves and Bilbo, but Gandalf's magic allows them
The groups’ trip to the Lonely Mountain is very dangerous. While sleeping
in a cave one night, they are attacked by a band of goblins who lead them
into the depths of the Misty Mountains. The dwarves manage to escape. Bilbo,
through the funny but evil Gollum, gets hold of a ring that can turn its
wearer invisible. With this ring he escapes, and later meets up with his
After even more dangers Gandalf, Bilbo and the dwarves reach Mirkwood.
A thin path winds its way through the scary forest. Mirkwood in itself
is a very dangerous place where deadly, huge spiders and many other creatures
roam freely. The spiders are very irritable and not very smart. The spiders
capture all of the dwarves, but Bilbo manages to escape by using the magic
ring. Then Bilbo kills many spiders before freeing his friends.When approaching
the eastern edge of Mirkwood, the dwarves are captured again, this time
by the woodland elves. Bilbo, with the help of his ring, once more frees
the dwarves and sends them floating down the Forest River in large barrels
to the small human lake-town of Esgaroth. From Esgaroth there’s still a
long way to the Lonely Mountain, and the treasure.
The Hobbit is an adventure book that suits mature readers. Children
can of course read it, but you have to be older to fully appreciate the
book. I found "The Hobbit" entertaining and exciting. Tolkien is a great
writer who describes the environment and the characters in an interesting,
amusing and credible way. If you want to know the whole story I will recommend
reading the book. If you haven’t already read it, you can look forward
to getting acquainted with the great world of Bilbo Baggins.
Lars Anders Heimdal ©
There were many themes relating
to the novel. Here are just a few.
There were many events expressing
the power of words. One incident was when Bilbo was telling Gollum riddles
and vice versa. That was the way Bilbo obtained the ring and escaped the
cave. The dwarves expressed the power of words by persuading Bilbo to go
on the adventure. Gandalf persuaded Beorn to stay at his humble abode.
There were many incidents in the story expressing the power of words.
Theme of Responsibility
The theme of responsibility is
well explained in The Hobbit. Bilbo, the hobbit, was well aware
of his duty when he agreed to the contract. He knew that he could not escape
or ignore the adventure that he took on. The Took blood must have had an
awakening effect because Bilbo did not want to look like a coward by leaving
the expedition. Another character that was responsible was Gandalf. He
knew that he had a responsibility of helping Bilbo and the company, because
he was the one that convinced Bilbo to go on the adventure. The dwarves
also had a responsibility of reclaiming their gold during a crisis.
The story begins when Bilbo Baggins is smoking
his pipe after breakfast. He feels good and happy because pipe smoking
is one of his favorite pleasures. He is a nice man that is clean and respectable
and has few worries if any. He has lived in his nice burrow that his father
tunneled years ago and has never ventured out further than his own community.
Thus, he is caught by surprise when Gandalf, a wizard, stops by wondering
if anyone wanted to go on an adventure with him. Slowly a spark within
Bilbo ignites; the coating of exotic blood (took blood) from his mother,
recalls Gandalf's tales that used to fascinate young Bilbo. Common sense
and caution soon knocks him to his senses and dismisses the wizard who
disturbed a Hobbit's morning peace. He invites Gandalf for tea the next
day and is glad he did not agree to Gandalf's offer. The next day he remembers
that he invited Gandalf over for tea when the doorbell started to ring
frantically, but instead of Gandalf being at the door there was a dwarf,
then two, then three until there was thirteen. Bilbo entertains them all
and was very exhausted from bringing food and drinks to them, who later
sung songs that stirred the Took blood in Bilbo. When Thorin, the son of
a dwarf king begins to explain their plans to their guest, Bilbo becomes
fearful as he hears of Thorin's fearful explanation of the possible dangers.
Then it is revealed that Gandalf tricked Bilbo by putting a sign on his
door that read that he is a burglar seeking a good job with lots of excitement.
Eventually the Took blood in Bilbo is fully awakened and he decides to
go on the adventure with them. Gandalf reveals a key and map, which ends
in Lonely Mountain where the stolen treasure of Thorin's ancestors lies
guarded by the horrifying dragon, Smaug. The plan is simple: go to Lonely
Mountain, kill the dragon, and reclaim the treasure. An early morning start
is agreed and Bilbo promises everyone to a good breakfast although he is
not as thrilled to go as he first was. That night he dreams and hears the
songs of which Thorin and the dwarves sang about gold and treasure.
Bilbo oversleeps and soon finds out that everyone
is gone. Being disappointed at not getting a chance to bid them farewell
he is surprised to see Gandalf walk in and say they are waiting for him
at the Green Dragon Inn. He is quite hurried by Gandalf as he leaves his
breakfast half finished, but urged by Gandalf to hurry and meet the dwarves
at the Inn. The company mounts and rides off on their ponies for their
adventure. They pass many places with different speaking people and territories,
and Bilbo realizes that they are far in the Lone-lands. Rain begins to
fall yet the company continues when Bilbo realizes that Gandalf is missing.
When the rain starts to pour they send, Bilbo to investigate a light not
too far away. Bilbo finds three trolls eating roast mutton near a fire
yet they prefer man-flesh. Bilbo decides not to talk to the trolls, and
recalls that the dwarves think he is a burglar and should bring back proof.
He made a bad decision to pick William's pocket (troll); the trolls capture
him and fight over him for dinner. All the dwarves are captured except
for Thorin who sees what is happening. Bilbo escapes and he and Thorin
try to defeat them with fire logs and sparks, but fail. Gandalf returns
and from a distance tricks the trolls to argue amongst themselves until
dawn returns and they turn into stone. Once they are all released, they
decide to camp out for the night but not before they took some weapons
from the troll's loot. Next afternoon they find the path a head towards
the East. Gandalf said he went ahead yesterday, heard of the trolls, and
came back as soon as he could. He warns them to be more careful.
Next, they visit their friend Elrond who lives
in Rivendell. They find the secret valley and proceed to hear elf songs.
They stop for a short time and came to Elrond's Last Homely House. They
are entertained and greeted and Elrond discovers secret ruins on the map.
These runes are moon runes and are used in a special way. He translates
the message and says the only way to get into Lonely Mountain is to use
the key Thorin has, when the thrush knocks "and the setting sun will shine
on the keyhole." The next morning they leave for Misty Mountains and the
Gandalf helps them find the right path; one
of many they will face on the hard journey. Soon a storm caused them to
stop and head down in a small dry cave. They chose the wrong cave to sleep
in and soon there were goblins surrounding them. Gandalf waves his wand
and sword in the tunnels and kills the Great Goblin to free his friends.
Free, the dwarves hurry to what they hope is an exit, but Bilbo gets knocked
on the head, unconscious and is accidentally left behind.
When Bilbo awakes, he finds himself alone.
As he crawls for a while, he finds a metal ring and places it in his pocket
without thinking much about it. Little did he know that this act would
affect his life as well as all of Middle Earth. After awhile he is alarmed
when he steps into a cold, cavern pool along the edge of where he meets
Golllum, "a small sling creatures." Gollum is cautious of the sword Bilbo
has so he settles in a game of riddles rather than a direct attack. The
stakes are uneven, whereas it is Bilbo's life for Gollum leading the way
out of the tunnels. With memory and luck Bilbo wins the game only to find
Gollum cannot carry his end of the bargain until he finds his ("precious")
a ring that makes its occupant invisible. Because he has it, Gollum tends
to strangle him. When Gollum notices that it is missing he rushes to Bilbo.
He finds the ring in his pocket, slips it on, and Gollum passes right by
him because he cannot see him. Bilbo follows him and finds him sitting
at the opening that leads to the outside world. Because Bilbo had pity
for Gollum he leaps over him rather than kill him.
In a short time, he is reunited with his dwarf
friends who are amazed that he escaped. However, Bilbo does not tell them
about the magic ring. Escape is yet not complete when they are chased up
trees by evil wolves called Wargs and are kept there until the goblins
arrive. Gandalf tries to drive the animals away with flaming pinecones
but also sets the trees on fire. For the moment, they look like goners
until the King of the Eagles leads his followers to rescue them. After
they rest at the eagles' eyrie they are transported to a great rock east
of the Misty Mountains and nearer to the Mirkwood Forest.
Beorn reluctantly greets them; a bear like
man who, sometimes, changes into a bear because he is a skin-changer. Beorn
is not used to having so many guests when Gandalf tells him of their recent
incidents. In a late night meeting with other bears Beorn confirms Gandalf's
story and is pleased to help them on their next stage of their journey:
Mirkwood Forest. Beorn stresses that no matter how bad it gets not to wonder
off the path they take.
Bilbo and the dwarves are fearful when Gandalf
announces that they must go without him through the forest. Their fears
begin when they are in Mirkwood without Gandalf. First, they attempt to
cross a black colored river by getting a boat from the other side, but
in the process, Bombur falls in and into an unnatural sleep to which the
others cannot awaken him. Around the same time a dark deer appears, leaps
over the river, and is apparently struck by Thorin's arrow that he shot
at it. Then a white hind and fawn appear and the dwarves use up all their
arrows trying to get food. Next, the hungry travelers are lured off the
path by sightings of elves feasting some distance away. Every time the
dwarves were seen by the elves, the elves would disappear. After Bilbo
takes a rest for a while he awakes to find himself tied down by a giant
spider. Cutting himself from the web, he kills the spider with his sword.
Bilbo passes out for a moment from the horror of the fight, but then has
a great surge of pride that he killed the spider himself. He celebrates
his new coming of masculinity by naming his sword "STING." Bilbo then goes
and looks for his fiends only to find them tied in bundles by hungry spiders.
Through cleverness and strategy, Bilbo rescues his friends with the use
of the ring; therefore, he must reveal the existence of it. They felt very
fortunate to have a friend with such cleverness and luck but then find
that Thorin is missing. He is captured by woodelves who are trying to find
out why he and his friends were in the woods.
The others are captured quickly after and put
into dungeons but were not mistreated. Bilbo was there only chance to get
them out because he slipped on the ring before the others were captured.
He devises a plan to free his friends and send them downstream supposedly
in empty barrels.
They end up in Laketown in barrels that were
originally filled of food for the elves. The path that Beorn and Gandalf
told them never to leave has been unsafe and the river through the elf
kingdom was the only way to their destination. When he is among the people
of Laketown, he says he is the grandson of the King under the Mountain
and is now the new king and the people of the town are exited. They begin
to remember old and perhaps prophetic songs of the rivers running with
gold when the king would return. After staying a while at Laketown, they
decide to go to Lonely Mountain where the gold as well as Smaug lies.
Once at Lonely Mountain they search for the
secret entrance far away from Smaug's front door. They remember what Elrond
told them about the runes when they heard the sound of a thrush breaking
a snail open on a rock and immediately placed Thorin's key to open a hidden
door into the mountain.
The dwarves remind Bilbo that his part in the
adventure is to be a burglar so they send him in the tunnel alone. He finds,
at the bottom, a great treasure of gold and jewels with Smaug on top of
it all. Bilbo gets a great two-handled cup from the treasure and fleas.
When Smaug awakes he notices what is missing and is in a furious rage;
the dwarves barely escape by going inside the tunnel. Finally, Bilbo puts
his ring on and confronts the dragon. There is another riddle game, but
is composed of only his identity and adventures. The riddles continue when
Smaug turns to his side only to reveal a spot that is not protected by
his iron scales that cover the rest of his body. He barely escapes and
goes to tell the dwarves what he discovered. Smaug suddenly erupts again
and goes across the mountainside where he seals the dwarves inside the
tunnel from which they fled. Smaug flies to Laketown to destroy the people
who he thinks have helped his unseen enemy.
Bilbo again explores the cavern below the tunnel
and finds a great jewel called the Arkenstone. When the other dwarves are
searching through the treasure, he says nothing about the jewel.
Meanwhile, Smaug attacks Laketown destroying
everyone in it. At a critical moment, a thrush tells Bard, a brave archer,
where he vulnerable spot is and uses his last arrow to kill Smaug, and
he falls dying into the lake. Bard becomes a real hero although the master
of Laketown tries to prevent this.
At Lonely Mountain, the dwarves and Bilbo are
relieved to hear from a raven that Smaug is dead. Nevertheless, they also
learned that the men and elves are coming for the gold that Smaug protects
no longer. Thorin asks the raven to alert some of his relatives to help
protect the treasure. Then he and the other dwarves make a barrier to the
entrance of the cavern. When the elf king and Bard try to negotiate with
Thorin, he refuses and thinks of the concept of war.
Bilbo sneaks into the enemy's camp where he
gives the elf king and Bard the Arkenstone so they will have something
to change Thorin's mind on war. Bilbo discovers that Gandalf is among them.
Bilbo goes back to the dwarves.
When Thorin sees that Bard has the Arkenstone,
nearly throws Bilbo over the barricade, because of his anger. Finally,
Thorin offers Bilbo's share of the treasure for the Arkenstone and both
sides retire for the time being, but Bilbo is banished from the company.
As men and elves watch Thorin's army emerge, troops from Thorin's relatives
Dain join them. Suddenly everything changes as dwarves, men, and elves
are attacked by goblins and Wargs. The battle of Five armies has begun.
In the midst of the battle, Thorin leaves his dwarves in disregard. Just
as all seems lost, Bilbo cries that the eagles are coming. He is soon knocked
on unconscious and does not awaken until the battle is over.
Then he bids farewell to Thorin Oakenshield
who is dying from wounds from the battle and wishes to talk to Bilbo.
Bilbo returns home in the Shire with a little
gold and silver. Gandalf's prediction that Bilbo might need more money
in the future was right when Bilbo returns to his home only to find his
belongings being auctioned. Everything was set right in time and settled
down with friends and kin, but was marked as a bit odd. He spends most
of his time writing memoirs. A few years later Gandalf and Balin visit
Bilbo and tell him of their good fortunes and the rebuilding of the city,
Dale. The story ends with the suggestion that luck lay behind the adventures
and with an expression of satisfied recognition by Bilbo that he is only
quiet a little fellow in a wide world after all.
Lars Anders Heimdal ©