Title: The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Published: September 21, 1937 by George Allen & Unwin
Genre: Children’s literature, Fantasy
Preface: Douglas A. Anderson
“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.” (p. 3)
Ah, J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s been 78 years since those words were published, and they still have the ability to touch people’s hearts. It’s amazing how people are still reading your timeless story!
I have been a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies for all my life, but I’ve only recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tolkien’s classic novels. It makes me beyond elated to finally be able to read these stories. I will say that I may be a tad bit biased with this review of The Hobbit – and my reviews of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which will come in the future – because of my immense love for the movies. But, the point of reading is to have fun and get yourself lost in the story. As long as I’m enjoying them, I don’t see any harm in it!
The story begins with our main character, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, enjoying the quiet life in the Shire. The Shire is the more country-esque region of Middle-Earth, occupied entirely by hobbits. Life is very peaceful there.
Bilbo is swept off on a journey by the wizard Gandalf, the dwarf-heir Thorin (grandson of the late king Thror) and his company of twelve dwarves. Their goal is the reclaim the dwarves’ homeland, the Lonely Mountain, from the gold-coveting dragon named Smaug. They must travel across the vast expanse of Middle-Earth, and they come across many different races on their journey (some of which cause them a little trouble).
The dialogue can make or break a book, in my opinion. The plot could be extremely fascinating, but if the dialogue is sub par, the reader will quickly lose interest. The Hobbit, on the other hand, has very engaging dialogue. Each character has a very distinct personality, and you can definitely see their personality shining through in their dialogue. Every word is believable.
The main theme of the novel is greed and how it can negatively affect your life. It’s the concept that drives the entire plot. Smaug was drawn to the mountain due to Thror’s lust for gold and the hoard that he had acquired. The destruction of Thror’s people could have been avoided if he didn’t let his lust control him (however, the same thing could be said about ol’ Smaug the Magnificent).
But greed isn’t found in Thror and Smaug alone. Greed can also be found in our main dwarf Thorin. He shows the power that greed has over him after only a couple of days at the mountain:
“But none of our gold shall thieves take or the violent carry off while we are alive.” (p. 244)
And that’s only after a couple of days. He’s already so attached to the hoard that he can’t let one little bit of it go. Imagine how Thror must have felt about his gold after being around it almost all his life. Jeez.
You can see little glimpses of greed in almost every character throughout the story, especially towards the climax. The climax of the novel comes about because of each character’s greed. They are all trying to get what they want at the same time. Now, obviously I don’t want to give too much away. So to find out the rest, you’ll have to read it yourself!
Although the dialogue is great, and the story has a good moral, it can be kind of hard to follow. Tolkien has the tendency to ramble from time to time. Sometimes the rambling helps the story, and sometimes it can hurt it.
- Detailed world
- Extraordinary dialogue
- Advises against greed
- Tolkien is prone to rambling
Whether you’re a long-time Tolkien fan, a fan of Peter Jackson’s movies, or have never even heard of Middle-Earth before, you will enjoy this novel. Prepare to get swept off just as Bilbo did!