Genre: High Fantasy
Published: September 21, 1937
Goodreads Rating: 4.28/5
My Rating: 5/5
Set in Middle Earth, the story follows Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving hobbit of the Shire, who against his better judgement joins the expedition of dwarf prince Thorin Oakenshield, as a burglar.
Thorin Oakenshield along with twelve other dwarves and the wizard Gandalf are set on in reclaiming their ancient home, Erebor, and it’s vast treasure from the dragon Smaug.
Bilbo, our main protagonist, is a hobbit that is content with living a peaceful and uneventful life in his house in the Shire. When Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves ask him to join their company as a burglar he reluctantly agrees. The road to Erebor is difficult and Bilbo struggles to adjust to the harsh conditions. However, as the journey progresses he embraces his suppressed adventurous side and becomes more brave while his quick wit proves vital in overcoming some dangerous circumastances.
Thorin Oakenshield is the Prince of the dwarf clan of Durin’s Folk. He along with his nephews, Fili and Kili, and ten other dwarves embark on a journey to regain their ancestral home from the usurper Smaug. Thorin is proud and has the bad habit of making long speeches. Despite his personal suffering due to losing his kingdom and his relatives (father, brother and grandfather) he is determined to reclaim what is rightfully his and offer a prosperous life to his people.
Gandalf and the other twelve dwarves (Fili, Kili, Balin, Dwalin, Oin, Gloin, Bofur, Bifur, Bombur, Dori, Nori & Ori), although not as prominent as Bilbo and Thorin, are equally important. Gandalf was the one who convinced Thorin to retake Erebor and suggested Bilbo to be the burglar. All the dwarves are loyal to their prince through familial ties (Fili and Kili) and admiration for the noble quest they undertake. Each one has his own role to play (Bombur is the cook, Oin and Gloin the fire-makers etc.) and together they form a complete functional unit operated by common goals and feelings of companionship.
Freedom and personal identity are the utmost themes of this novel. The dwarves were once masters of their own lives and dweled in the rich halls of Erebor. By Smaug’s capture of Erebor they lost not only their home but the sense of who they were, thus becoming exiles in foreign lands and forced to work hard to make ends meet. Having that in mind, the quest symbolizes the deeper need of the dwarves to regain everything that defined them and end the prolonged suffering they face.
Likewise, Bilbo’s participation in the quest reminds him of the adventurous spirit he once had in his childhood and which he subdued in order to fit with what the other hobbits thought as normal.
Culture and it’s many forms is another aspect described masterfully by Tolkien through the interactions between different races such as the dwarves, the hobbits, the elves and the people of Lake Town.
The destructive power of war is touched upon in the last chapters of the novel when we see the dwarves of Erebor fighting alongside with the men of Lake Town and the elves of Mirkwood against the Goblins and Wargs.
The Hobbit might be written in a simpler manner than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it’s story is equally as captivating. I adored the authenticity of the characters and their noble quest of taking their ancestral home back from the dragon that condemned them to exile. I even wished to join them in this long journey to the Lonely Mountain…