Saturday, April 17, 2010
HISTORY OF THE BOOK:
The early 1930’s was a wonderful time in history. The Mickey Mouse comic strip made its first appearance. Hostess Twinkies are invented. 3M markets Scotch tape and somewhere in Oxford England one fateful Saturday afternoon Professor J.R.R Tolkien is marking exam papers.
This wouldn’t be of any relevance to his literary career until he got bored of the days work and found a blank page on one of his student’s exams. This fateful day would set Tolkien’s imagination in motion and would eventually make him the most read author of all time.
“It was quite laborious” Tolkien said “There was a blank page. Glorious! Nothing to read! I think I gave an extra mark for it” Tolkien stated in a BBC interview later in life.
Being rather bored he wrote on the page: In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit
What was a Hobbit? He pursued that question and made a tale of it for his children. And by late 1932 he had written the manuscript and handed out several copy’s to friend. One of which was C.S Lewis.
In 1936 Stanley Unwin gave the manuscript to his10 year old son (Rayner Unwin) to read and review. The book was published on 21 September 1937.
1,5oo prints were made and soon the demand became greater when the book received critical acclaim and praises. Though high in demand, there was a paper rationing due to the war until 1949. Tolkien revised the hobbit before the release of The Lord of the Rings (1948) to fit the Hobbit into the world of Middle-Earth.
THE REVIEW: April 17 2010
Re-reading The Hobbit has been a bit of a challenge. Between the new born baby’s feeding times, naps, and running around accomplishing house work and other duties it hasn’t been easy. I found my self reading @ 3 am when my daughter wouldn’t sleep. But that is part of the project isn’t it?
Bilbo reflects many of us in a way. Not wanting to be bothered with anyone’s problems and quite content to stay home. In comfort of his food, drink, and pipe smoking. When a Wizard chooses him for a special mission involving a Dragon, Dwarves, thievery, epic battles involving 5 armies the little Hobbit finds it hard to say no. Be it that Hobbits in nature are polite and don’t like to offend even if it means saying no to a crazy suicide mission. Not saying that he didn’t try to back out of it. Gandalf chooses him to play the role of a burglar. To help steal the treasure back from a violent and murdering Dragon.
Bilbo was scrutinized constantly by the Dwarves who believed Gandalf to have made a great error in judgment of the little creature. But the Hobbit would time and time again prove his worth (and luck) to the Dwarves and eventually gain a great deal of respect.
They set out from his home in Hobbiton set in the west of Middle-Earth to venture to the East to the Lonely Mountain and quickly ran into Trolls, Elves from the house of Elrond and Giants throwing rocks. The story picks up in momentum when the group get caught by Goblins in the misty mountains. Bilbo get separated from the gang and eventually finds a ring. Insignificant at first, the ring goes on to play a giant role in the book (and is the reason for The Lord of the Rings) when Bilbo finds out that it makes him invisible
This ring gets him out of trouble too many times to count.
After a separation from Gandalf, on the doorstep of Mirkwood, the Dwarves and the hobbit end up starving, tired and almost killed by spiders in the depths of the forest. Then when looking for help, end up being prisoners of the Elf king.
With the help of the hobbit (again) they escape their captors and made a rough arrival to Lake Town. They got fed and harbored for a fortnight.
They set on their way to the Lonely Mountain. After spending days looking for a way in Bilbo ends up playing a verbal tag game with the worm under the mountain. The dragon goes on a Rampage and scorches the mountain side. Eats the ponies, and takes vengeance on the city of Lake Town where he gets killed by a archer named Bard.
Feeling they are entitled to the share of the treasure the men of Lake Town make their way to the mountain asking for 1/12 of the loot. Thorin refuses.
Here the story takes a turn. Bilbo takes the Arkenstone ( Thorins treasured Gem) and gives it to Bard in secret as a bargaining tool. When he reveals to Thorin curses him and kicks him out of the Mountains keep. The Dwarves cousin & his army shows up. Battle is about to ensue. Just then as it is about to all go down, Gandalf see’s the army of the Goblins marching toward them. A massive battle takes place, and for the first time in the whole book, the dwarfs go to war and show their strength.
Thorin get mortally wounded in the battle. Bilbo got knocked out by a stone. Beor shows up in bear form and lays a massive whooping on the Goblins.
Bilbo departs from the mountain with a handsome load of treasure. Gandalf escorts him back to his home in the Shire.
Gandalf would return 50+ years later at Bilbo’s One Hundredth and eleventh birthday in the Lord of the Rings.
If you would like to read the hobbit you can get it here: