Blurb: (Film Trailer)
The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar.
Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of Five Armies are just some of the adventures that befall Bilbo.
Review: (Video review)
I can’t imagine a story being more tale-like than The Hobbit. My imagination takes me back to the stories told around the fireplace of my summer cabin in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. The tales of Swedish folklore often contained trolls, wolves and sirens to keep children from getting lost by wondering in the forest or getting too close to the lake in the fear of them falling in and drowning. In this tale it is obviously Gandalf who barges into Bilbo’s life and expects him to pack up and quest on this big adventure. Thirteen dwarves soon join him and a plan is forged to start their journey, the dwarves are promised wealth and the hobbit is enticed by the adventure. The Epic Fantasy then follows the company through the land of dense forest, various kingdoms and through territories inhabited by nasty creatures, such as spiders and the famous Gollum. This story has many encounters and mesmerising scenes to fall in love with and as such, is one of my favourite tales. I wish that the story would have had females in it, which would colour the emotional spectra as well as a few less dwarfs so that I would become more attached to them instead of just feeling confused with who is who.
Message & Moral
Gandalf visits Mr Bilbo Baggins and entices him to journey on this big adventure. In the beginning of the Hobbit, it isn’t really clear why they are going, other than that the dwarves want the wealth protected by the dragon Smaug and that Bilbo could do with some adventures. It is only from knowing the plot in Lord of the Rings, that I know that the aim of the adventure is to find the Ring and destroy it by dropping it into Mount Doom. This will overcome Sauron and save the world. I can’t score the message less than full marks, as saving the world is quite important.
Creatures & Environment
The lands created by the author and the way they are described is interesting and detailed. The tale features many creatures such as dwarves, murderous spiders, dragons, elves and hobbits, and the magic wizard that is Gandalf. It has dark caves, dank dungeons, confusing forests and tall mountains. The story is original and has its own elements of traditions, songs and speech. Although, I would have to say that the character cast is a bit on the long and confusing side. There are thirteen dwarves and the additional hobbit so not to give the journey an unlucky number of people. The dwarves Thorin Oakenshield, Dwalin, Balin, Gloin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Bifur, Bombur and Bofur have similar names and are therefore hard to distinguish. I couldn’t say I knew how to explain any one of them on their own; how they looked, how they acted or what they did; they all seem to collectively blend into the story.
Captivation & Continuity
The captivation is mostly fully on the details of the story and the descriptions, however with the long journey and the very detailed environment I sometimes found my mind drifting away. The story in its entirety is obviously a masterpiece, but I would have liked it to have contained some romance and some more encounters with other dangers rather than the company just being lost or walking onwards. I also found that I lost interest sometimes when it felt like the narrator spoke to the reader, as this is one of the things I hate most when reading a book. Example: ‘That story we don’t have time to tell now’. This just made me wonder what story he deprived me of.
The most interesting part of the book was in the beginning when Bilbo finds the ring and meets Gollum. They have a battle of riddles, which Bilbo only just wins because of a misunderstood mumbled comment.
What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?
Voiceless it cries,
It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes out first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.
Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountain down.
Bilbos winning Riddle 6:
What have I got in my pocket?
Answers: (1) mountain, (2) wind, (3) dark, (4) fish, (5) time (6) the ring
Language & Flow
The language is very witty, ‘If you think I will go in first your beard will grow longer’ and ‘I wouldn’t steal from Smaug even if he was as tame as a rabbit’, are just two of the imaginative ways of explaining how they acted and how they spoke. The language flowed well and the author makes you feel the worry and internal monologue of Bilbo Baggins. The language is an inspiration for future Epic Fantasy authors.
T.M. Caruana’s Crystal Ball Award