By Sarah Kneath
There and Back Again…
I attribute my love of all things fantasy fiction to The Hobbit. I remember being very jealous of my brother, when he was reading the book. Telling me all about trolls, elves and magic powers. It sounded amazing.
As soon as I was old enough, I read The Hobbit with gusto, practically devouring every page and giddy with excitement. It was like nothing I had ever read before. Being a youngster, I was used to reading the likes of Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis so imagine my sheer joy, when I discovered the little furry-footed fellow living in Bag End, Hobbiton.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit…
The story follows a young, well-respected Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins as he is tricked into going on an adventure with notorious disturber of the peace, the wizard “Gandalf the Grey”. Along with a band of dwarves they set off to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim it as their own, along with all the treasure, from the dragon Smaug.
Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!
In the wild they encounter the Elves of Rivendell, pass over the Misty Mountains, where they’re ambushed by goblins. Whilst trying to escape, Bilbo Baggins is separated from the rest of the group and stumbles into the path of Gollum.
Poor Gollum is a loathsome creature who has been driven mad by his “precious”, a gold ring – which Bilbo happens to have found. Gollum challenges Bilbo to answer a number of riddles, in a bid to earn his safe passage from the tunnel.
After some while Bilbo became impatient. “Well, what is it?” he said. “The answer’s not a kettle boiling over, as you seem to think by the noise you are making.
Bilbo wins and manages to escape from the angry Gollum by putting the ring on and becoming invisible. He is then reunited with travelling party, who are saved from the band of goblins by the Eagles and taken to safety.
“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks,” answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.
After they finally enter the Lonely Mountain, Smaug discovers that there has been intruders and sets out to destroy the settlement of Lake-town.
His rage passes description – the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.
Bard, the defender of the town learns of the dragon’s weakness from Bilbo and then slays him. The dwarves are then free to reclaim the mountain.
Word is received from Gandalf that there is an army of wargs and goblins approaching so the dwarves, elves and men band together to fight the Battle of the Five Armies. After the battle, Bilbo returns to the Shire with his share of the treasure…
Wow… What a story for a young child to read. In my teens I went on to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which again, I absolutely loved! We’ll save that blog for another day though.
I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, and was excited when Peter Jackson decided to make The Hobbit too. Whilst I think the films are… okay. Nothing beats the book. The language and the scene they set can only be conjured in your imagination and not on film. Although, the casting of Sir Ian McKellan was spot-on for me!
J. R. R. Tolkien created a whole world, that so many generations have had the pleasure of exploring. An incredible story-teller, his tales continue to capture the hearts of many.
He is a firm favourite of ours here at World of Books and his stories continue to be amongst our bestselling titles.