The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
When I think of reading, and of my childhood – the single most influential things on my life then were the amazing works of literature provided to the world by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I’ve read The Hobbit more times than I could be expected to recall, but upon turning thirty eight years old, I received as a prized gift another copy, as my previous one had been also gifted by myself, to someone else.
The wonder of it all – Tolkien can provide more wonder, more imagination, and more awe to those with the disposition for it, than probably any other writer that has ever lived, but of course I’m rather biased in his favor, I am not alone.
Originally published on the twenty first day of September in the year 1937, the one story of the massive legendarium of Middle Earth written for children, The Hobbit is an essential part of the larger Tolkien body of work, and whether or not it starts it all off, or, as Peter Jackson seems to be doing, ending it; is a thing up for debate. What do I mean? What debate?
Well, I was introduced to the works of Tolkien as a child, and The Hobbit is a fine children’s tale which essentially teaches a child that there is more inside of them, more daring and ability, than they might guess. It teaches the notion that a bumbling, unassuming, and small person can change the entire course of history – such notions aren’t what the state would have us believe, but we know the notion is truth. The thing is, I’m certain that a child or teen ought to be introduced to Tolkien via The Hobbit, as the LOTR series is a bit more gruesome in some places, and is more mature reading; but were I to be explaining Tolkien and what to read first to an adult, or very serious sort of mind, I’m not certain I’d recommend The Hobbit be read first.
The Hobbit And The Lord Of The Rings
The Hobbit, Middle Earth, and The Dragon.
Set somewhere in the time between the dominion of the Elves and the beginning of the Age Of Men, our Bilbo Baggins is essentially an “everyman” character that we should all be able to relate to. Wizards, elves, dwarves, men, and of course, hobbits, are all introduced to the reader – and spiders, let us not forget the spiders. Spiders are actually a large portion of Tolkien’s legendarium, they appear in all three major parts, The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, and The Silmarillion.
Smaug the dragon is another integral part of the tale, and Tolkien forever has a new monster of mythological proportions for us to be fearful of. Smaug might, in fact, be the star of the show, the dragon does talk, and the dragon has a lot to say, but one must be very careful when listening to, or talking with a dragon. Allegory is so thick in the works of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, that he’s clearly a man with a mind far beyond the realm of the genius. It is my opinion that he was the greatest writer of our time, and a clear candidate for “greatest writer of the English language.,” ever.
The Desolation Of Smaug
Gandalf, The Wizard
Warm and eager was his spirit (and it was enhanced by the ring Narya), for he was the Enemy of Sauron, opposing the fire that devours and wastes with the fire that kindles, and succours in wanhope and distress; but his joy, and his swift wrath, were veiled in garments grey as ash, so that only those that knew him well glimpsed the flame that was within. Merry he could be, and kindly to the young and simple, yet quick at times to sharp speech and the rebuking of folly; but he was not proud, and sought neither power nor praise… Mostly he journeyed unwearingly on foot, leaning on a staff, and so he was called among Men of the North Gandalf ‘the Elf of the Wand’. For they deemed him (though in error) to be of Elven-kind, since he would at times work wonders among them, loving especially the beauty of fire; and yet such marvels he wrought mostly for mirth and delight, and desired not that any should hold him in awe or take his counsels out of fear. … Yet it is said that in the ending of the task for which he came he suffered greatly, and was slain, and being sent back from death for a brief while was clothed then in white, and became a radiant flame (yet veiled still save in great need)
The entire paragraph above was copied and pasted here from the excellent and informative page dedicated to Gandalf, the wizard, on Wikipedia. While it is perfectly plain that Bilbo Baggins is the star of and the exact hobbit the book and film The Hobbit, are about, Gandalf the wizard is easily the most important single character in both The Hobbit, and The Lord Of The Rings. Just who Gandalf really is, is greatly understated in The Hobbit; he is, of course, a wizard, but his larger meaning to Tolkien’s Middle Earth is not at all clear until one has read the entire legendarium, and including The Silmarillion.
My personal opinion concerning Gandalf is that to Tolkien, Gandalf was the physical representation of one third of the Christian “triple God” incarnation. This can not be known or gathered from reading The Hobbit, but when having also read The Lord Of The Rings, it becomes abundantly obvious that Aragorn is, in fact, a very archetypal Jesus, but not like the Biblical Jesus, the returning Jesus. Gandalf, who crowned him as king, is rather like The Holy Spirit. Tolkien was, after all, well known to be a very close friend to C.S. Lewis, an abstract and enlightened Christian were the both of them, respectively.
While it can be annoying how Gandalf appears and disappears leaving people in faith to do what they were meant to do all through the LOTR and Bilbo’s adventure, I’m certain that if Tolkien didn’t create that feeling intentionally, then it at least serves as some sort as internal allegory. Gandalf represents God on Middle Earth, and the presence of God is forever comforting. Here, there, and everywhere is Gandalf, and he shows up just in a nick of time, and always he speaks in complexities that show he knows FAR MORE about what is going on and what is going to happen or what is at stake than he’ll say directly. When he does speak directly, he is generally giving out a verbal spanking, one that is very deserved. In battle, he is not just a fierce warrior, he also orchestrates situations that allow for lesser persons to become the hero instead of him. Gandalf is altogether selfless love and power, and you meet him first in The Hobbit.
Gandalf, The Wizard.
Bilbo Baggins -The Hobbit.
Bumbling out the door without even a good scarf or handkerchief comes Bilbo Baggins, literally, Bilbo is an older man, middle aged at least, already, when the story begins – but he is what we’d call someone in a “child state” just the same. Bilbo had no real clue of exactly who he was, or what he was capable of, only Gandalf is aware of those things. The dwarves surely have no clue, and are altogether doubtful of this little hobbit, and why in the world the wizard was so certain they needed him for their quest. Time and time again it seems like Bilbo is nothing but a burden on them all, and time and time again -Bilbo must face things beyond his control, and beyond anyone’s comprehension or ability to do something about. Bilbo, time and time again instead of doing what anyone wants, goes into his simple hobbit mind – the mind that loves good tilled Earth, food, wine, dancing, and peace and quite. There, from within those noble traits, Bilbo does things unexpected – saving the day, time and time again. He emerges, of course, as someone who has found himself, he realizes exactly how one little person can change the world – he has transcended himself, but even the wizard isn’t exactly sure what all he managed to get Bilbo into, not yet he isn’t.
It is no secret that Bilbo meets a very strange and menacing character on his journey, and he finds something that winds up being something far more important than he would have ever imagined. The reader, even from the pages of The Hobbit, should get the notion that things happen, and sometimes the mighty are there, but the seemingly weak are far more mighty than those the people of the world look towards for guidance. This, my friends, is the great truth of our world that has been suppressed by those who control government. It is the truth of the world, and it is the truth of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. No matter how small and powerless you feel in this world, where spy drones and trillionaire bankers presume to have all the power and all the authority – these things are not so. You have more power than you know, and just like Bilbo, there is a wizard out there trying to get you to understand just who and what you are.
Tolkien – Truth For ALL.
Please forgive me, you devoted atheists, or otherwise agnostics, Jews, or persons of other religions, I am here to revel in the joy that Tolkien has time and time again given to me. I do not apologize for Tolkien’s Christianity, but – Tolkien’s literature is NOT Christian, it is fiction, legendarium, and it is allegorical truth of resplendent color set to words, and poems, songs, and to cartoon and film.
Truth is truth regardless of religion, and Tolkien has all sorts of aphoristic value, he is a virtual cornucopia of such, just like the wizard – speaking forever in complexities who’s levels we’ve yet to discover. High literature, indeed – but there is most definitely something for Christians to love here….and the horror of all that illiterate fundamentalism in pseudo-Christian circles, is that Tolkien was once thought to promote the occult. So what? If you look for things, you will find them, and persons that adhere to the occult, well, they love Tolkien too.
I count myself as the single most excited person in the USA, specifically, Texas – and I am waiting with baited breath for Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit.
The Lord Of The Rings -Extended Version, A prized possession of mine.