In preparation for this week’s release of the film version of “The Hobbit”, I decided that I wanted to read the book. I haven’t read “The Hobbit” since High School, which was a few decades ago. If you haven’t read “The Hobbit”, I’ll fill you in a bit. “The Hobbit” is Bilbo Baggins, a resident of Middle Earth, who is recruited by the wizard Gandalf to accompany a company of dwarfs on their mission to reclaim their kingdom under the Lonely Mountain, as well as their treasure. The mountain has been occupied for perhaps a century by a dragon, Smaug, who has laid waste to the surrounding area, terrorizing those beings foolish enough to still live there.
Hobbits are, by nature, not adventurous people at all. They prefer to stay in their hobbit hole, eat many meals a day, and read books and drink tea. So of course, the dwarfs are skeptical as to whether Bilbo will be of any use at all on their quest. Gandalf assures them that he will prove himself quite useful, so along they go. Along the journey, which takes them about a year from beginning to end, they come up against goblins, elves, and wargs (wolf like creatures…evil and hungry). And of course, Bilbo meets up with Gollum, and steals the ring, the ring that all of the fuss is about in “The Lord of the Rings”. But “The Hobbit” is the first in the series, before Tolkein knew it was going to be a series, and is more of a children’s book than the others. They find their own better natures deep within, sometimes, and their own failings as well. And of course, they come up against Smaug. Too many ponies die for my taste, but it’s not gorey.
I really enjoyed re-reading “The Hobbit”. I enjoyed Bilbo’s strength of character, and how he came into his own on this very un-hobbitish journey. I’m not so sure that the Peter Jackson and his group made the right decision in splitting the book into three separate films. The book is just over 300 pages, and I think could have been handled easily in a 2, maybe 2 1/2 hour movie. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it soon, though the reviews thus far are NOT GOOD. I’ll let you know if we do.