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The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1413
  • Category: Adventure

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In the classics book I read, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The themes of adventure, Good vs evil, and loyalty make for a great read. A long time ago, before the events of Lord of the Rings, was a hobbit whose name was Bilbo. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who likes to be left alone in his nice little hobbit hole. But the wizard, Gandalf, comes along with group wondering dwarves. Soon enough, Bilbo is drawn into their quest, where he faces vile orcs, vicious wolves, giant spiders, and even unknown dangers. Finally, it’s Bilbo, by himself, that confronts Smaug, the dragon. In the end, Bilbo learns that actually enjoyed an adventure, as well as being able to make friendships that will last a lifetime.

The first, very obvious element that J.R.R. Tolkien implements into his book is adventure. Which is also kind of ironic since at the beginning of the book Bilbo wants nothing to do with any sort of adventure. But soon enough Bilbo starts to gain some interest and becomes a burglar for the adventure, just as Gandalf had intended. So off and away they went. With way more adventure then Bilbo had bargained for. Between being almost eaten by trolls, caught by goblins, chased by giant wolves, almost eaten by giant spiders, and confronting a dragon, I’m sure Bilbo had plenty of it. The adventure is one of the first things introduced to the reader, as it is Bilbo minding his own business enjoying the fresh morning air when along comes Gandalf ruin all of it with the mere suggestion of finding someone to have an adventure with. Of course, at this point, Bilbo did not recognize who Gandalf was at the time, for once upon a time Gandalf had been friends with his Grandfather on the Took side of his family. Who were known to go out on quests and adventures, all of which Bilbo despised.

When Bilbo finally figured out who Gandalf was he started going on and on about all these things that Gandalf had been known for, such as, “Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures? Anything from climbing trees to visiting elves – or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter – I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time.” (Tolkien 5-6) And of course, Bilbo, desperate to avoid this adventure, scrambled back inside, unintentionally asking him to tea for the following day in the process. So as the story goes about noon time the very next day, one by one dwarves started to appear at his door, as if expecting that he would just let them in. Later Gandalf shows up and he and the dwarves discuss plans for their quest, to which Bilbo became mildly Interested. And slowly but surely Blibo is dragged into the dwarves great adventure. So by the end of the book Bilbo went from a Hobbit that feared to climb trees, to a Hobbit who left the comfort of his own home, eating only a couple of meals a day (which should be a big accomplishment for a hobbit, since they usually eat at least two breakfasts’), and even managing to confront and steal from a fearsome dragon named Smaug.

The second element in this story is good vs evil. Good vs evil is a constant theme in this story as the dwarves and Bilbo’s first encounter starts evil with being captured by trolls, who proceed to attempt to cook the dwarves and eat them. However, their plans are foiled when Bilbo, who hadn’t been captured, started yelling out rude and stupid suggestions to the trolls who all three seem to think it’s one of them saying it. To which keeps the trolls arguing with each other until sunrise, which happens to turn them into stone. The dwarves quest goes on encountering much more evil along the way; such as getting captured by goblins, hunted by savage wolves, captured and almost eaten by giant spiders, almost killed by a dragon, and even fighting an army of evil orcs. In another part of the book, Bilbo gets lost and encounters a horrible and evil looking creature called Gollum. In his escape, Bilbo finds Gollum’s magical ring, which makes the wearer invisible. During which he follows Gollum to the way out of the dark cave. Gollum ends up blocking the exit, planning to wait for Bilbo there. The following quote is what goes through Bilbo’s head at this time. “Bilbo almost stopped breathing, and went stiff himself. He was desperate. He must get away, out of this horrible darkness, while he had any strength left. He must fight. He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sward. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him, or tried to yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost. A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. A then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped.” (Tolkien 86-87) This part of the book I think is a good vs evil within a good vs evil. Bilbo has to face Gollum, who wants to eat him, and while in his escape he has the chance to kill the unaware, unarmed Gollum, he chooses to embrace the good in him and instead decides to instead leap over him to escape; leaving Gollum unharmed.

The Third, reiterating, theme in this book is loyalty. Throughout the book, both the dwarves and Bilbo’s loyalty is tested. In the book, Bilbo has many chances in which he could have left or abandoned the dwarves, yet he stuck by them, saving them many times as a result. Later in the book after the Smaug, the dragon is killed and the dwarves have recaptured their kingdom, the people of Laketown come looking for the gold they were promised by Thorin. Thorin, blinded by his greed, refuses. However, Bilbo has a plan to get Thorin to cooperate. He sneaks out from behind their wall and delivers the Arkenstone (a very valuable gem) to the elven king and Laketown king, hoping to trade it back in exchange for the gold they were promised. This may not be the best example of loyalty, but Bilbo did what he thought was best the dwarves and the people of Laketown and even went back to the dwarves, willing to face Thorin’s wrath. The dwarves loyalty was also tested when they found out that Bilbo had given away the Arkenstone, especially Thorin’s. I thought one quote sums it up the best, in which Bilbo says farewell to Thorin and the dwarves, stating that it had been a “bitter adventure” and that gold could not amend it. Yet he also says he is also glad to have shared these many adventures and that it is more than “any Baggins deserves” (Tolkien 290).

In the end, I think that in each of these elements, Tolkien is incorporating lessons and real-life representations into his book. The first in adventure, that even though we might not want to be pushed out of comfort, that there are adventures out there to be explored and while it might seem uncomfortable or desirable, we may not know till we try it, and who knows, we may end up enjoying it after all. As far as good vs evil, even though this is a more obvious one, I think Tolkien is trying to incorporate real-life representations of good vs evil. Though I doubt most of them are as extreme. Lastly, loyalty I believe is another important lesson and theme that Tolkien adds into his book, teaching us that we should not be so quick to quit on or abandon those who we are close to. Personally, if you have the patience and time I would totally recommend this book. It’s also quite a bit different than the movies. To sum it up, I now see why The Hobbit is epic classic that will be forever enjoyed and am glad I got the chance to read it.


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