I recently completed reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, which is a prequel book to the renowned The Lord of the Rings. My entry into Tolkien’s Middle-earth, The Hobbit was a charming, beautiful read. It was after a long time that I picked up a fantasy book, wanting to read fiction and getting into a habit of reading. I was excited from the very moment I decided to start the book as I had watched one part of the LOTR trilogy movies but fortunately had forgotten most of it. It was time to start fresh.
The Hobbit or There and Back Again is a story about a hobbit, Mr Bilbo Baggins - one of the several character species that lived in the Middle-earth, a time long ago from now, sometime during middle-ages in the region around the UK. Well, the story isn’t about a hobbit, but more about an adventure he joins along with a party of dwarves - another species in Middle-earth. Tolkien’s style of writing is unique and I gradually started liking it, even grinning occasionally as I read about various happenings during the adventure.
In all my previous reads of fantasy or thrillers, the author tries to hook the reader with leading stories that are kept hanging as a chapter ends. You become excited as the chapter ends, eager to read further. But I found Tolkien’s writing very different – he mentions a lot of events plainly before they occur and then goes on to describe how they happened in detail. Well, I found this a bit surprising at first, when the Hobbit and the party “set out on an adventure”. I had never seen a thrilling journey stretched across a year being summed up literally as an “adventure”. Tolkien’s writing is beautiful in a very different sense.
Even before I can talk about his writing, I had previously read how elaborate the world of Middle-earth is, with Tolkien including detailed maps in the book and even creating a new language (Elvish) that was supposedly spoken in that era. The book includes all runes (similar to letters in English) and a short description of what they mean.
I enjoyed reading the book, and by enjoyed I mean I laughed and smiled as I went through the journey with the party. The Hobbit was originally published as a children’s book in 1937, but soon gathered popularity among all ages. The story also lays some stepping stones for the larger Lord of the Rings epic. There’s magic in the form of Gandalf - the Wizard, there’s wrath in form of Smaug - the dragon and several other characters.
After I started reading again this year, I’ve stressed on a very obvious point that many seem to miss - read because you enjoy it. We often read for the sake of reading, ruining the point of the entire activity. Reading has to be entertaining, soothing, calming, and fun! The Hobbit was all of it for me. Now I’m onto my next adventure, the Lord of the Rings.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.