Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Hobbit

As I was reading, the book, The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien I started to sweat over how I was going to offer an opinion of it. How could I review a legendary author? Who am I to offer an opinion of a classic like this. Then it dawned on me. Don't review the book but offer an opinion to people that haven't read the fantasy genre and let them know what to expect.

This I can do because this is my first fantasy novel that I have finished. I tried reading Stephen King's The Dark Tower and could not get into it. I couldn't grasp why people enjoyed fantasy novels. I admit that I am more of a murder mystery novel fan or a horror fan. Getting through The Hobbit would truly be different for me and a minor accomplishment.

I struggled in the beginning of the book. It is a descriptive, fantasy novel about Bilbo Baggins a Hobbit and a group of dwarves out to recover gold and family heirlooms of Thorin Oakenshield in a mountain guarded by the dragon Smaug. The novel is filled with adventures for this group as they are approached by goblins, elves, rival dwarves, and they have to battle the natural elements. The path to the gold is filled with pages of descriptive scenery. Today's novels move faster than this classic. It is a slower moving novel. The style of writing in the 1930's was to paint a portrait for readers. Tolkien does this successfully.

Around page 100 I discovered the beauty of The Hobbit. The fantasy genre provides an escape for readers. The adventures of Bilbo Baggins and friends provides an escape from life. Reality is filled with war, economic recessions, layoffs, professional competition, and stress. The Hobbit is an adequate place for your mind to break away from every day responsibilities. It relaxes you and if allowed will let you become absorbed with the story of Bilbo Baggins.

Along the way there were characters that I couldn't get enough of;

1)  Gollum-A creepy, sneaky, cold, self centered character that tries to trick Bilbo Baggins in becoming his dinner. Gollum's riddles are laced with bad intentions. Gollum gave me the chills when he spoke. He provided Bilbo with an important piece of jewelry that helped him get out of some tough situations.

2) Gandalf-Is a wizard that chooses Bilbo to accompany the dwarves to the mountain as the group thief. Gandalf shows up in critical times to help the group by providing allies, magic, and is their guide.

3) Smaug-I love how Tolkien writes the dragon into the story. He truly is a menacing figure that guards a hill of gold and heirlooms. There is a scene between Bilbo and Smaug that is simply a classic confrontation.

I recommend The Hobbit if you are new to the fantasy novel genre. Be patient with its description and slower movements. It is truly rewarding once you finish it. I will try the next book in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring, because I know it will be as enriching as The Hobbit.

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