Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

"Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum."

In honor of the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that comes out this Friday, I've decided to treat you guys to a classic tale of dwarves, elves, wizards, and other fantastical creatures. This prelude to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one that will grab your interest and keep it until the very last page. The Hobbit is a must read for everyone.

As I've said before, rereading books isn't really my thing. I rarely ever pick up a book that I've already read before. But since the movie comes out this weekend, I thought I'd pick The Hobbit up again -- especially since I hadn't read it in years. And once I did that, I was reminded of just how much I loved it all over again. One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book was Tolkien's ability to paint a picture with his words that allows the reader to really feel like they're right there with the characters throughout the entire story. His descriptions are so realistic that it's hard to remember that you're not really experiencing it all, you're just reading about it. This is a technique that not many authors today are able to imitate nearly as well as authors past have done.

Another thing I really enjoyed about The Hobbit was the character of Gollum. This scary little creature provides some of the most humorous lines in the entire book -- which is a rather impressive feat, considering he doesn't appear in the book for very long. Gollum is possibly one of my favorite characters in this book, for exactly that reason. He is such a peculiar little character that it's funny to see him interact with Tolkien's more "normal" character of Bilbo Baggins. This makes it extremely difficult to do anything but love and enjoy the character for as long as he's present in the story.

Finally, I am once again amazed at the scope of Tolkien's imagination at the time that he was writing this book, as well as the other books that were set in Middle Earth. The fact that he was able to create this entire world, complete with histories about the different races that inhabit that world, is truly fascinating. And it definitely helps to make an extremely intriguing story, too. Combined with his ability to describe everything in Middle Earth down to the minutest detail, Tolkien's imagined world of hobbits, dwarves, elves, and other mythic creatures is one that I, as well as many other readers I know, would love to live in.

While I enjoy Tolkien's ability to describe everything in great detail, if there is one thing I didn't particularly care for in The Hobbit it would have to be the author's need to describe everything. This is the one aspect of Tolkien's books that I have a sort of love-hate relationship. I enjoy the descriptive detailing in this book, but there does come a point where I feel like it sometimes takes away from the story itself. Nevertheless, I'm still going to insist that you guys check this book out. The Hobbit is a book that you will love from the very beginning, I know it. And honestly, the excessive details are well worth reading through, in this case. So, go ahead: Step into Tolkien's magical world of Middle Earth with The Hobbit. You'll never want to leave. Oh! And be sure to check out the movie this weekend. Looks like it's going to be awesome!

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 -1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

No comments: