MiddleEarthBlog: The Hobbit - Happy 75th Birthday


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Hobbit - Happy 75th Birthday

In honor of the 75th birthday of  THE HOBBIT I have decided to journey with you through the book chapter by chapter. I will be doing it  a chapter at a time. Let see we have around  seven months to the first installment Of Sir Peter Jacksons latest gift to us the fans on December the 14th and there are 19 chapters so around two chapters a month sometimes three. Let me place this caveat up front.This is not meant to be some scholarly tome  but my own personal views on things and as I have pointed out before they may not always be  right on the money  but just a fans interpretation of  a novel that I have cared for deeply for a whole lot of years,never mind how many  but more than a few. Some of the views and material you will have seen in some prior posts but for the sake of those who mostly just look at the videos I will repeat myself occasionally so I will make my apologies up front. So lets get started with chapter one.

CHAPTER ONE: An Unexpected Party.

  From the very first chapter it is quite easy for all the LORD OF THE RINGS  fans to realize that this is a much different kind of novel all together. We have familiar names and familiar characters but things just don't quite seem the same to us.What you have to realize up front is that this novel is basically a tale for children and therfore the tone of the novel is much different, firstly there isn't such a sense of urgency as in LOTR. The dragon who guards the treasure has been there for more than a century and doesn't appear to be in much of a hurry to leave.In LOTR there is a journey to destroy something in THE HOBBIT there is a journey to reclaim something the killing of the Dragon being quite  a byproduct . In the LOTR the hobbit was a ring bearer in THE HOBBIT a hobbit is a burglar.In the LOTR there is a pervasive sense of duty and honor in THE HOBBIT there is a pervasive sense of greed.The very first line " In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbitis quite a strange statement. What in the deuce is a Hobbit and why would he live in a hole in the ground? What is a Hobbit some form of burrowing mammal or some Dwarven like creature  living in some underground cavern? Immediately you are interested even if it's only to find out the answer to these questions. Of course Professor Tolkien answers them quite nicely. A hobbit is of a man like people who are half the size of normal men and for the most part seem quite harmless and actually a little comical. They certainly like their comforts, food, comfortable homes, relaxing on the porch with a pipe between their teeth comfortably puffing away. You could definitely equate Bilbo Baggins with a country squire in merry olde England. Not much of a tale so far but every great tale has it's arc that is the point that things are changed and we begin to get down to the meat of the matter. This arc is named Gandalf and Gandalf is a Wizard who shows up one fine Spring morning and proposes to Bilbo that he leave all his comforts behind and accompany a band of Dwarves to Erobor in the Lonely mountains and help them regain their homeland and treasure from a very large and fierce dragon named Smaug who had attacked their great cave and slain and eaten many Dwarfs and took their possessions away from them and scattered the remaining Dwarves to far and distant lands. Gandalf calls this little jaunt an adventure and immediately Bilbo is repulsed stating that adventures are untidy things and make one late to dinner. This is the Baggins side of Bilbo speaking but as we find there is another side to Bilbo and that is from his Mothers side. She was Belladonna Took and the Tooks were a little odd. It seems that every once in awhile a Took would for no good reason set off on adventures and while the Baggins side was definitely set on " no adventures please, thank you very much and good day" the Took side was excited at the thought of Gold and Wizards and Dragons oh my.While the Baggins side wanted nothing to do with it. All through the novel these two sides of Bilbo fight it out sometimes one would win sometimes the other. The decision to go on the adventure is finally made by the Took side to the everlasting dismay of the Baggins side. Eventually the Dwarfs shoe up at Bilbos tidy little Hobbit hole and proceed to make themselves comfortable as if they had been expected. We find later that Gandalf left a secret mark on the door for the Dwarves to read basically stating that here was the home of an experienced treasre hunter looking for employment which of course is not the case at all but Gandalf will play his little tricks. The Dwarfs are quite the comical troupe dresses in clothes of many different colors. There names are quite melodic and seem to roll off the tongue. Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Bifor, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin and of course just to set him apart is Thorin Oakenshield the only Dwarf with a last name it seems. The last name is due to an incident in battle when his regular shield is broken he picks up an Oak limb to defend himself. He is a very important Dwarf. If the dragon had not chased the Dwarfs from there ancestral home then he would be King Under the Mountain and it is his burning desire to reclaim his lost land, treasure and crown that has initiated this little adventure. It seems that Thorin had approached Gandalf for advice on how to do just this and Gandalfs advice was not a full frontal attack on the Dragon but a plan of stealth for you see Gandalf possessed a special map of the Dragons lair and a special key that would allow them entrance into a hidden chamber that gave them access to that lair. For this Gandalf explained that they would need the assistance of a professional burglar ( for you see Hobbits possessed the ability to be very stealthy which the Dwarfs certainly did not ) and this led them to Bilbo who had been unbeknownst to him a favorite of Gandalf who remembered him as a young Hobbit always asking him of tales of far away adventure and now Bilbo was to pay for that very curiosity.To say that Bilbo did not make a good first impression on the Dwarves would be an understatement.At one point he swoons and has to take to his bed, One of the dwarves states that he has more of a grocer about him than a burglar. Bilbo is offended by these remarks and that causes the Took side to come to the forefront again. He accepts the Dwarves offer and upon rising the next morning nd fiding the Dwarves gone he thinks they left without him and he is a little happy at the prospect and a little sad but Gandalf shows up and announces that the Dwarves are awaiting his arrival at the Green Dragon Inn in less and has only a few minutes to get there, Bilbo rushes out of the house and makes a mad dash to meet them and so the story truly begins. I will pick it up at the next chapter, until then good reading.

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