Saturday, August 13, 2016
Its been about 3 1/2 years since I read it. It was probably just before The Hobbit movie came out. I had heard, as most probably did, that the movie would be broken into 3 parts, presumably to cash in on the franchise. What could they possible cram in there to fatten (bloat) this story to three movies, we all wondered? Well, junk is what they crammed it full of. It was good to read it then, before the movies, so it would be more in mind. I hadn't really re-read any of the stories for a while. The Lord of the Rings movies came out about 10 years earlier 2000 to 2003, or so. Whereas, The Hobbit(ish) movies came out in 2012-2014.
So lets get back to the real The Hobbit. Without any Legolas (or his flipping girlfriend!) or Radagast and his stupid rabbit sled. surpised we didn't squeeze Alatar and Pallando in there Pete. feeling blue?
Tolkien's first foray into Middle-earth, is essentially a children's story, or what we might call today a young adult story, but that's just because we coddle our children now, and try to protect them from scary stories. You've all seen copies of fairy tales with the scary bits taken out, right? This is not that story.
The Hobbit or There and Back Again, follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, who leaves his snug little home, in the village of Hobbiton, without out a hat or a handkerchief, to go on an adventure to the Lonely Mountain, with a group of dwarves he's never met, and an old wizard, whom he has met. This story is at its heart, a reluctant hero story in the same vein as those described by Joseph Campbell. Bilbo doesn't want to be a hero, but he can't resist the temptation put upon him by Gandalf.Its his Tookish side coming through, he tells himself. Maybe that's true, and maybe it isn't, in any case, Bilbo has left the life he knows, and has stepped into the very songs he is so fond of.
But why did Gandalf choose a hobbit? Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and even Aragorn, have the gift of foresight, to varying degrees, but exactly what they see and how it will end is a mystery to even them. In Bilbo's case, Gandalf simply saw that Bilbo would have a roll to play before the end. What end was unclear, but it gets back to Tolkien's unshakable belief in God. C.S. Lewis was his friend and contemporary, and both of their stories were ties back to their believes in the end. Tolkien was just better at separating his believes from his storylines than Lewis was. Not sure? Just look at The Silmarillion. And then look at Gandalf's saying to Bilbo, something like: I think you [Bilbo] were meant to find it [the Ring,] and that is a very encouraging thought.
I guess it is. What I find amazing, is that Tolkien didn't have the LOTR is mind when he wrote The Hobbit, and originally, the ring was no big deal. Christopher Tolkien's analysis of the history of the LOTR is pretty clear, when Tolkien started it, he wasn't sure where his characters were going, or what the danger was that was driving them. He had written the sequel to The Hobbit all the way to Rivendell before the ring struck him as a catalyst that he could use.
Read this book. Right Now. And then read it again and again.