The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is truly a masterpiece. Tolkien brought in the idea of something new, which would eventually be a hit all over the world. Tolkien worked in and developed the genre we know now as fantasy. In 1937, when the book was published, it was misunderstood and was perceived as “a children’s book which has somehow gotten out of hand” (Edmund Wilson). This book exceeded my expectations, and I am glad I made the choice to read it, even though I was hesitant at the beginning.
The Hobbit is about a hobbit, which is a short, furry, and nimble creature. This hobbit’s name is Bilbo Baggins. He goes on an adventure with dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf. Dwarves are short, brave and hairy people that have an obsession about gold. Wizards are creatures that look like men, but have power over magic. On the way they encountered many troubles like giant spiders, fierce short green creatures called goblins, vicious wolves and Wood Elves to get the treasure back from a dragon called Smaug who stole it from the dwarves. They even encountered hill trolls, who are tall dumb creatures that turn into stone when exposed to sunlight. However, Gandalf defeated the trolls. This proves to us that the quote, “the bigger is not always the better” is true. And short Bilbo has a streak of the Took clan in his blood – the hobbit Tooks have been known to be adventurous and even perhaps somewhat connected to elves.
At the beginning of the book, when the dwarves and Gandalf are at Bilbo’s hole, and he overhears his name being scorned, he gets angry because he wants to prove what being Took really means. During the end they accomplish what they were there for. The Battle of the Five Armies takes place too. The five armies are made up of both good and evil characters. At the end when one of the side wins, Bilbo retires. Frodo, Bilbo’s cousin is the main protagonist in the Lord of The Rings, the next book. (Martin Freeman will be playing Baggins in the film of The Hobbit)
Reading the first few chapters in The Hobbit over again allowed me to understand what was happening in the book. As you read more and more, you begin to understand what is going on. The end was more exciting than the beginning because there was a lot more going on at once. However, the middle was my favorite part, since it included lots of adventure. If I had to pick what would be the most likely first fantasy book, and I did not know the answer, I would not have guessed this. Compared to other books though, this is great for readers new to fantasy. This book is really different from the others I have read, such as the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer and books by Rick Riordan. Their ideas about elves and many other creatures were probably all based off of The Hobbit and its predecessor, The Silmarillion. Tolkien was a philologist, a scholar of languages, and he specialized in lost tongues. Tolkien got his ideas from the Voslunga Saga which is a late 13th century Icelandic legendary saga that interprets the descent of the Völsung clan. The Völsung saga is from Norse Mythology, and is in poetic form. An underworld, which is a place below the earth where other creatures dwell, was one of the settings in the books from the Rick Riordan, Artemis Fowl, and of course The Hobbit.
One of the themes in The Hobbit is that you shouldn’t judge people by one thing that they do. This was shown when the dwarves did not think that Bilbo was worthy to be in their group, just because he fainted. However, he bravely saved their lives more than once. Also, there is a good and evil theme that shows that there are only two sides, the positive and the negative. I am glad I remembered the quote “Never judge a book by its cover” when I was at the library looking at books, because the cover had green forests and mountains, and that did not show what was really inside the book. The Hobbit is a fantastic book.