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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, a Book Review

Updated on April 27, 2013
The Hobbit, first of the trilogy movies, comes out just in time for Christmas 2012.
The Hobbit, first of the trilogy movies, comes out just in time for Christmas 2012. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

When the new Hobbit movie came out in December 14, 2012 (thank you Peter Jackson) I became interested in re-reading the book. I first became acquainted with Hobbits in 8th grade, when my Lit teacher had it on his required reading list for the year. I loved the book from the moment I opened the front cover. I have read it again several times since then, though the last time was some years ago. I have to say, So, I picked it up to re-read it in preparation for the first movie to come out. I enjoyed that book again for the umpteenth time.

The Hobbit, The Movies

Peter Jackson decided to split The Hobbit into three movies. I'll admit to being skeptical about how this would work out since the book is not all that long. However, upon re-reading the book, I realized just how much story Tolkien packed into those 300 pages. The only way to make this story come to life on the screen was to split into at least two films. Anything more than three would be stretching the story a bit too thin, though. The first movie, An Unexpected Journey, began just in time for Christmas 2012. The second movie, The Desolation of Smaug, is set to come out in 2013, and the final movie, There and Back Again, is slated for a 2014 release. If The Lord of the Rings trilogy is any indication, then The Hobbit movies should be excellent.

The Hobbit, The Book

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, an average hobbit who loves living an uneventful life. One day Gandalf, the gray wizard, shows up at his door to invite him on an adventure, which Bilbo politely declines, after which he invites the wizard to tea the next day. Gandalf arrives just in time, with 13 of his dwarf friends, who take over Bilbo's house for hours of discussion and planning for the dwarves' adventure. Their adventure - to recapture the dwarves' fortune stolen by the dragon Smaug two generations ago - is set to begin the next morning. And Bilbo has been dragged into the mess, much to his chagrin.

The first two-thirds of the book covers the troop's adventures just getting to the Lonely Mountain where the dragon Smaug resides, guarding the treasure that he now considers his own. And some mighty big adventures Bilbo and the dwarves have getting there too, what with getting captured by trolls, and giant spiders, and wood elves, and escaping these trials - thanks in large part to our hero Bilbo. These only set up the real adventure. The adventure of regaining the dwarves' lost treasure from Smaug and restaking their claim on the Lonely Mountain and their clan's historic mining reputation.

Even having read the book multiple times, I found myself captivated by the story. It's an easy yet fast paced read. If you haven't ever read the book, or haven't read it in a while, it's worth picking up a copy and reading The Hobbit. Once you open the front cover, you may just find yourself having difficulty putting the book down.

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The Hobbit Movie.

Coming Soon. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Wikipedia. The Hobbit (Film Series).

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966.


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    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Thank you so much Dr. Ide for your comments and the additional information and insight you've provided here. I hadn't heard of "The Legend of Sgund and Gundrun." I'll definitely look into it.

    • Dr. Arthur Ide profile image

      Dr. Arthur Ide 5 years ago from Iowa

      A superb review, well-written, cogent considered and analytic. You would have fit into Tolkien's classes easily. Tolkein's third son, Chrstopher, has given extra insight into his father's stellar work, in his rendition of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Legend of Sigurd & Gundrun" (Houghton & Miflin) for Tolkien was a fan of Northern Antiquity and used its legends for backgrounds to his own publications. Rather than seeing his works only as illuminating fantasies, it is ideal to read deeper to see the tales woven are based on ancient source material and gives greater dimension to the days present. These unchartered and usually ignored works are the foundations to a greater kingdom of literature over which the wit and wisdom of Tolkein shines though in which Brunhyld forcibly married and raped by Atli (the historical Attila) and wild escapades of whom we only see as phantoms. I am so pleased with this Hub that I will encourage others to read it.