The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit is a 20th-century novel which is also known as There and Back Again. It was first published in 1937 and is a timeless fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. The author creatively imagined the world in this classic tale.

The book has inspired a lot of other plays such as The Lord of the Rings. The book centers on Quest, Greed, Community, Powers, and lots more. In 1938, the Hobbit: Prelude to the Lord of the Rings won the best Juvenile story by the New York Herald. While in 1957, the Lord of the Rings won the International Fantasy awards.

Introduction

In the book, the wizard of Gandalf encourages Bilbo to leave his comfortable hole in the ground for an adventure. He goes along with 12 dwarfs seeking to reclaim his community treasures that were stolen and protected by the Dragon. He is able to discover his true potentials and fights on amid adversities. He wins several battles as a result of his bravery and becomes a hero.

The major character in The Hobbit is Bilbo, whose transformation from a soft and tender child to a fighter is notable. Notwithstanding the warrior spirit in him, he is humble to the core in his strength and eventual fame. Other interesting characters in The Hobbit are the thirteen dwarfs, the wizard of Gandalf and Thorin

It was so popular in the world of novels that a lot of books, television plays, dramas, and more stories came out of its inspiration. In 1997 it was adapted into an animated television movie and also as a series of live-action movies known as Helmed in 2012 and 2013. It has also influenced a film series known as The Hobbit, which Peter Jackson directed in 2012. In 2014, another fantasy adventure appeared titled The Battle of the five armies. In this play, Bilbo fights to save the dwarves and protect their precious Lonely Mountain.

Overview

Bilbo Baggins lives a quiet, peaceful life in his comfortable hole at Bag End. Bilbo lives in a hole because he is a hobbit—one of a race of small, plump people about half the size of humans, with furry toes and a great love of good food and drink. Bilbo is quite content at Bag End, near the bustling hobbit village of Hobbiton, but one day his comfort is shattered by the arrival of the old wizard Gandalf, who persuades Bilbo to set out on an adventure with a group of thirteen militant dwarves. The dwarves are embarking on a great quest to reclaim their treasure from the marauding dragon Smaug, and Bilbo is to act as their “burglar.” The dwarves are very skeptical about Gandalf’s choice for a burglar, and Bilbo is terrified to leave his comfortable life to seek adventure. But Gandalf assures both Bilbo and the dwarves that there is more to the little hobbit than meets the eye.

Shortly after the group sets out, three hungry trolls capture all of them except for Gandalf. Gandalf tricks the trolls into remaining outside when the sun comes up, and the sunlight turns the nocturnal trolls to stone. The group finds a great cache of weapons in the trolls’ camp. Gandalf and the dwarf lord Thorin take magic swords, and Bilbo takes a small sword of his own.

The group rests at the elfish stronghold of Rivendell, where they receive advice from the great elf lord Elrond, then sets out to cross the Misty Mountains. When they find shelter in a cave during a snowstorm, a group of goblins who live in the caverns beneath the mountain takes them, prisoner. Gandalf leads the dwarves to a passage out of the mountain, but they accidentally leave behind Bilbo.

Wandering through the tunnels, Bilbo finds a strange golden ring lying on the ground. He takes the ring and puts it in his pocket. Soon he encounters Gollum, a hissing, whining creature who lives in a pool in the caverns and hunts fish and goblins. Gollum wants to eat Bilbo, and the two have a contest of riddles to determine Bilbo’s fate. Bilbo wins by asking the dubious riddle, “What have I got in my pocket?”

Gollum wants to eat Bilbo anyway, and he disappears to fetch his magic ring, which turns its wearer invisible. The ring, however, is the same one Bilbo has already found, and Bilbo uses it to escape from Gollum and flee the goblins. He finds a tunnel leading up out of the mountain and discovers that the dwarves and Gandalf have already escaped. Evil wolves known as Wargs pursue them, but Bilbo and his comrades are helped to safety by a group of great eagles and by Beorn, a creature who can change shape from a man into a bear.

The company enters the dark forest of Mirkwood, and, making matters worse, Gandalf abandons them to see to some other urgent business. In the forest, the dwarves are caught in the webs of some giant spiders, and Bilbo must rescue them with his sword and magic ring. After slaying his first spider, Bilbo names his sword Sting. Shortly after escaping the spiders, the unlucky dwarves are captured by a group of wood elves who live near the river that runs through Mirkwood. Bilbo uses his ring to help the company escape and slips the dwarves away from the elves by hiding them inside barrels, which he then floats down the river. The dwarves arrive at Lake Town, a human settlement near the Lonely Mountain, under which the great dragon sleeps with Thorin’s treasure.

After sneaking into the mountain, Bilbo talks to the sly dragon Smaug, who unwittingly reveals that his armorlike scales have a weak spot near his heart. When Bilbo steals a golden cup from the dragon’s hoard, Smaug is furious and flies out of the mountain to burn Lake Town in his rage. Bard, a heroic archer, has learned the secret about Smaug’s weakness from thrush, and he fires an arrow into the dragon’s heart, killing him. Before Smaug dies, however, he burns Lake Town to the ground.

The humans of Lake Town and the elves of Mirkwood march to the Lonely Mountain to seek a share of the treasure as compensation for their losses and aid, but Thorin greedily refuses, and the humans and elves besiege the mountain, trapping the dwarves and the hobbit inside. Bilbo sneaks out to join the humans in an attempt to bring peace. When Thorin learns what Bilbo has done, he is livid, but Gandalf suddenly reappears and saves Bilbo from the dwarf lord’s wrath.

At this moment, an army of goblins and Wargs marches on the mountain, and the humans, elves, and dwarves are forced to band together to defeat them. The goblins nearly win, but the arrival of Beorn and the eagles helps the good armies win the battle.

After the battle, Bilbo and Gandalf return to Hobbiton, where Bilbo continues to live. He is no longer accepted by a respectable hobbit society, but he does not care. Bilbo now prefers to talk to elves and wizards, and he is deeply content to be back among the familiar comforts of home after his grand and harrowing adventures.

Four themes stand out; that of power, greed, community, quest.

The use of power

The use of power is one of the major themes in the Hobbit, and several characters depict it perfectly. Gandalf is one of the characters that have magical powers, and he uses it whenever he wishes. He uses these powers selfishly to the extent of placing a secret mark on Bilbo Baggin’s door. The essence was to make the dwarfs congregate at the hobbit-hole.

In modern society, abuse of power is an unlawful act that affects the performance or existence of others. People abuse their powers to humiliate and harass others. While in some work environments, higher authorities request lower staff to carry out the personal assignment and run errands for them. In the police, you see officers abuse their powers in unlawful detainment and biased judgments. Today police officers carry out criminal acts around the world, especially for the ruling regime. They misuse their powers just because they have some form of impunity.

We also witness the misuse of powers in the homes called institutional abuse. This is the maltreatment of younger (children) or older ones in the family. It ranges from acts of sexual abuse, neglect, unfair ways of behavioral modification, neglect, physical abuse, and lots more.

The Hobbit teaches against the misuse of powers, which Bilbo illustrates perfectly. Bilbo gets a magic ring under the misty mountains and never for once misuses it. He has magical powers but only uses them when hungry or when he wants to save another character that is suffering abuse. In one of the instances, Bilbo Baggins uses his magical powers to save the dwarves from the dungeon and gains the respect of others. The theme of powers in the Hobbit teaches that yes power is good but one can only earn respect and love if one doesn’t misuse one’s authority or maltreat others.

Greed

The theme of greed is another major theme in The Hobbit. Greed is prevalent in society and the cause of many conflicts around the world. There are a lot of lessons in the theme of greed, and one of them is that it could render one poor instead. Other mishaps that may come with being greedy include losing people close to you and the inability to make new friends.

Greed can also affect your professional life and your enterprise. There are greedy CEO’s today who hoard billions and millions of money and properties while their employees earn a very small minimum wage. This is not an ideal long term success model, and it would only cause organizational downfall.

An enterprise like Southeast Airlines understands the negative impacts of greed. So, they adopt measures to ensure employees receive the right compensation. As an example, Southeast Airlines has a policy of sharing its annual profit with employees. In 2018 Southeast Airlines shared a whopping $543 Million with its employees, and this culture has existed for 44 consecutive years. Generosity has placed Southwest Airlines among the most successful organization in the world and the most flown airline in the U.S. today.

People tend to think that they can amass wealth by becoming greedy. However, The Hobbit teaches that greed is the fastest way to become poor. It teaches us to desist from a “wanting it all” attitude; rather, we should be contented with what we have.

Some people fantasize about things that they could have and are not satisfied with their lives. They need the latest smartphones, the latest cars, mansions in big cities and lots of other things. Wanting it all is a greedy lifestyle that has the potential to take away the little you have.

Community

The quest of the hero in The Hobbits was to search, improve, and restore the community to former glory. They set out in search of the Holy Grail, which had the powers to restore the community. In society today, if people put the interest of their communities and nations as a top priority, then every nation would be better than what it is. Lack of corporation can be damaging.

Most African nations are very poor today despite having an abundance of natural resources. This is exemplified in Nigeria. The country is ranked among the poorest nations in the world today despite being the 5th largest oil-producing nation in the world. The country also has a lot of other natural resources such as gas, tin, ore, coal, zinc, lead, limestone, arable land, and niobium, etc. It is evident that without cooperation, no empire can be built. Rome was not built in a day, and it certainly was not built by one man. Lack of corporation has led to regional inequalities and bias in a lot of countries today.

Organizations cannot make meaningful strides without cooperation because it is a must in the workplace. For any organization to thrive, exceed goals and deadlines, there must be corporation among team members.

In the book, the town of Dale was on the ruins and in dear need of restoration, so everyone came together with one purpose to save the town.

Quest

Quest is not just the most important theme in The Hobbit but also one of the oldest themes in literature. Lots of Greek and Norse myths, Old / Middle English Poetry, and lots more have used this theme.

A knight ventures into the deep ends in search of the Holy Grail to restore the kingdom is a selfless and courageous act. Quest is also depicted in Bilbo Baggins, who is always on a voyage of self-discovery. He uncovers unknown talents to conquer dangers throughout his quest. The Hobbit teaches that without exploration, you cannot discover certain talents and gifts in you.

Growth and personal discovery is an important aspect of life. The book teaches that we should seek out activities and opportunities to grow as a person or in our respective careers. The biggest organizations in the world today are those that are able to explore in other to bring solutions to the needs of people

In the Hobbit, Bilbo explores and eventually becomes a hero after discovering his potentials and utilizing them to fight the Dragon.

Conclusion

The Hobbit is a novel that has greatly influenced a lot of people, plays British and American Fiction from the 20th century. The novel focuses on adventure, will power, and the desire to change the faith of a community by a brave Bilbo.

Tolkein’s novel remains in the heart of readers despite been published in 1937. The author Tolkien was an incredibly gifted writer, a poet, a philanthropist, and a loving family man. He was a close friend of another famous writer C.S Lewis who helped review the book in 1937. The author’s opening line in this book has become so popular that readers never forget it. Tolkein’s “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit”, shows is imaginative talent.

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