Today I am going to write The Hobbit book review, one of my favorite books. From now on I can tell you that it is not my last reading, but I have been planning to dedicate some posts to Tolkien’s work for a long time and there is no better way than to start from the beginning.
The Hobbit is a work of fantastic literature by the renowned British writer and philologist, J. R. R. Tolkien. Originally the author made this story with the sole purpose of entertaining his young children. However, eventually, his friends and acquaintances read it, and finally, it reached the George Allen & Unwin publishing house. The publishers first published the novel on September 21, 1937. The Novel was so well received the publishers asked Tolkien to make a sequel, which he called The Lord of the Rings.
About The Author
It would be unfair if I don’t tell something about the author of this fantastic novel who had such an amazing imagination to portray the characters so well for the young fantasy lovers and connect the readers till the end.
J. R. R. Tolkien was a British author, academic, philologist, and poet. He was a great high fantasy story writer although he had a number of notable works on mythopoeia, translation, and literary criticism. Though many authors had written fantasy before Tolkien, the huge success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings became a masterpiece that led to a popular resurgence of the fantasy genre. Obviously, these added the golden feathers to Tolkien’s creations and made him the father of modern fantasy or in other words high fantasy.
The Hobbit Book Review
Title: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Genre: High fantasy, Young fantasy
Pages: 310 (first edition)
Saga: The Lord of the Rings
Publisher: George Allen & Unwin
Publication Year: 1937
The Hobbit is the first novel written by the author set in Middle Earth. It is true that Tolkien wrote other things like The Adventures of Tom Bombadil but this is the first novel in which we really get into this world. Furthermore, this novel is much simpler and more childish than The Lord of the Rings. There are no great heroes, warriors, or heroic missions here that the survival of the world depends on.
Anyway, I think the best way to start this book is at the beginning and this is where we suddenly fall into middle ground. From the first paragraphs, Tolkien is dedicated to explaining what a hobbit is, how they live in the Shire and the uses and customs of this race of little people. It’s here that we learn that Hobbits eat 8 meals a day, love to nap, and are probably the most boring race in a fantasy world. With this introduction we meet Bilbo Baggins, an ordinary hobbit who is a worthy example of his kind.
As things would be very boring with just Bilbo, a character arrives who kicks the board and disarms the hobbit’s lifestyle. Gandalf the Gray is a powerful wizard who once in a while visits the hobbits. While these creatures get along well with Gandalf, they often see him with a stranger. Anyway Bilbo always had a good relationship with him and that is why Gandalf comes to tell him about his next adventure. That same night we see one of the funniest and most bizarre scenes in the history of Middle Earth. Here Bilbo begins to receive several visitors. First one dwarf, then two, then two more, and so on until there are 13 dwarfs.
I want to be totally honest with you and confess that I never learned all the names of the dwarves. Although I love Tolkien’s work, when reading Ori and Dori in my mind I read “a random dwarf” and except for Thorin I could not connect emotionally with any of the dwarves (even after watching the movie and putting a different face on each one). On the other hand, I admit that Tolkien made an effort to give elaborate and unique personalities to each of the dwarves, but having such similar names I keep confusing them.
Gandalf is the last to arrive and when he does, he explains to Bilbo the objective of the dwarves’ mission. Enter her ancestral home, The Lonely Mountain and free her from the yoke of the dragon Smaug. Gandalf’s plan is for Bilbo to be the thief of the team and the one to enter the cave of the wolf (or rather the Dragon) to steal the crown jewel of the dwarves. This scene is very funny because we see how everyone is convinced of the qualities of little Bilbo except him.
About The Vital Characters
With this premise begins a journey that will take Bilbo and the 13 dwarves through many of the hidden corners of Middle-earth. From this point on I am not going to continue talking about the whole story because I know that I am capable of spoiling the book in its entirety and ruining it. Anyway, I want to dedicate a few lines to the important characters.
To begin, I want to dedicate a few lines to Bilbo. This hobbit is a strange protagonist. For starters, Bilbo is not eager to go on adventures or see the world. He just wants to take his naps, eat his snacks and enjoy the life that a normal hobbit has in La Comarca. This is constantly emphasized by the author in the moments that he repeats “poor Bilbo” like a mantra. Anyway, I want to admit that Bilbo can put himself in the role of hero when his friends need him. Even Bilbo proves to have more heroic qualities than Thorin himself.
Gandalf is another of the characters we meet here. The magician is an enigmatic character who is dedicated to pulling the strings of our protagonists from the shadows. Although at first, it seems to have more prominence than in The Lord of the Rings, here Gandalf is limited to showing up at the right times and helping Bilbo and the dwarves and then disappearing. Tolkien wanted to use him as an enigmatic character but ended up creating a kind of superhero that appeared at the right times but without preventing the protagonists from shining in their own light.
Thorin, the leader of the dwarves is a character-driven by duty and mission. I think this makes him a difficult character to relate to. These qualities make him a born leader and hero, which makes it very interesting to see his moments of weakness and how Bilbo can shine.
Balin, Thorin’s close friend. Balin along with the prince himself had the bitter experience of the arrival of Smaug that he still remembers. Being a tracker, soon he becomes the hobbit’s greatest support in the group.
Smaug, the biggest villain of this novel. Several centuries before the events narrated in the novel, this dragon invaded the Lonely Mountain between rivers of fire, taking advantage of the dwarves’ relaxation in defending themselves. This monster is a formidable foe.
Bombur, the very fat dwarf, whose excessive size makes him clumsy than anything else during this adventure. As a matter of curiosity, when “The Lord of the Rings” is developed, this dwarf has gained so much weight that he is unable to move on his own.
I am going to ignore the other characters because I am not going to talk about each of the dwarves and I do not want to touch on the most important points of the story.
I am going to limit myself to commenting that when its sequel is known the Hobbit seems like a book for young children but that it forms a beautiful connection with the Lord of the Rings. I think Bilbo’s story is more personal and more beautiful than Frodo’s, but that misses a lot of things that perhaps could have given the story more depth.
The end of the book does not convince me. I think there is a lot to lose by having a villain with such a notorious soft spot and the way they discover it is just bizarre. On the other hand, the final battle is a joke because being from Bilbo’s point of view we miss a lot (those who read it understand what I mean).
However, I love the book for its lightness, pleasant story, narrative quality, and positive messages. It is an excellent read to distract yourself and have a little fun with the journeys of Bilbo and the dwarves, all of them, characters with whom you end up empathizing. It is noted that when writing this work, its author J. R. R. Tolkien thought very well of the public to whom it was directed and managed to create an impressive fantasy world, in which he let his imagination run while trying to contribute some teachings and messages of friendship, courage and true wealth.
The book allows for an agile and light reading, funny and exciting, sometimes with a touch of danger. Without a doubt, any boy or girl will enjoy the entertaining adventures of the peculiar group, which will meet various fantastic beings, such as trolls, elves, eagles, ravens, and talking wolves, Gollum, and, of course, the dragon Smaug. If you haven’t read Tolkien’s work yet, The Hobbit is an excellent way to start your adventure. If you want my verdict on this novel, from the young fantasy reader’s point of view, I will rate it 5 out of 5 without any hesitation.
The Hobbit is a beautiful book and a must have on your bookshelf. It is the best way to enter Tolkien’s world. There are no great songs of heroes from ancient legends here. There are no long and tedious descriptions and the story progresses fast enough that anyone can enjoy it without making it boring. Many people tell me that they see Tolkien as a very heavy and difficult-to-read author, but I think that starts with The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit greatly simplifies reading and is the best option to come to know the fantastic world of Middle Earth.
The Hobbit is ideal for children ages 9 to 12; however, it is also a very pleasant read for young people and adults interested in fantasy stories. I want to recommend this book to everyone who loves fantasy stories and worlds full of fantastic creatures. Tolkien can be a bit scary when you haven’t started reading it yet I guarantee you this is the best place to start.
So, what are you waiting for???
Dennis K. Hawkins is a writer, blogger, book critic and bookish person. He has written several books and regularly write blogs. As a bookish, he reads a lot and regularly share his opinion regarding books. Besides, he has a huge collection of unique accessories related to book. So, he is an expert and also a real user of the book accessories that he chooses to write on.