The Hobbit

or There and Back Again

J.R.R. Tolkien

Houghton Mifflin, 1966, 276 pp.
ISBN: 0-618-00221-9

Genre: Young Reader

Subgenre: Fantasy
Reviewed: 4/21/2010

Reviewed by: Cierra Tigard

Book Cover


There was nothing else to be done; and the goblins did not like it.

They came scurrying round the corner in full cry, and found Goblin-cleaver, and Foe-hammer shining cold and bright right in their astonished eyes. They ones in front dropped their torches and gave one yell before they were killed. They ones behind yelled still more, and leaped back knocking over those that were running after them. "Biter and Beater!" they shrieked; and soon they were all in confusion, and most of them were hustling back the way they came.

It was quite a long while before any of them dared to turn that corner. By that time the dwarves had gone on again, a long, long, way on into the dark tunnels of the goblins' realm. When the goblins discovered that, they put out their torches and they slipped on soft shoes, and they chose out their very quickest runners with the sharpest ears and eyes. These ran forward, as swift as weasels in the dark, and with hardly any more noise than bats.

That is why neither Bilbo, nor the dwarves, nor even Gandalf heard them coming. Nor did they see them. But they were seen by the goblins that ran silently up behind, for Gandalf was letting his wand give out a faint light to help the dwarves as they went along.

Quite suddenly Dori, now at the back again carrying Bilbo, was grabbed from behind in the dark. He shouted and fell; and the hobbit rolled off his shoulders into the blackness, bumped his head on hard rock, and remembered nothing more.



Bilbo Baggins is like any ordinary hobbit, he loves his tea and cake and is satisfied with sitting in his hobbit hole smoking and reading his books. He was from a high praised family, not only because of his wealth but because he had no desire to have any adventures or did anything unexpected. That is until Gandalf, known as a disturber of the peace in little Hobbiton of the Shire.

One day, the wizard, Gandalf, appears at his doorstep with 13 dwarves. He convinces Bilbo to come on adventure with them. Bilbo soon finds finds himself being held captive by goblins, outsmarting Gollum, and flying on the back of an eagle after being trapped in a tree by hungry wolves.

After Bilbo finds out he can turn invisible by wearing the ring he stole from Gollum, he trudges through Mirkwood, where he soon ends up by being attacked by giant spiders. He helps his companions escape from the Elvin King and communicates with the dreaded dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit is a fantasy, adventure book written by J.R.R. Tolkien. This book is intended for young readers ages 12 and older.



Because of The Hobbit and his later trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien is identified as the ďfatherĒ of modern fantasy literature. This book is a perfect balance between action, cunning characters, and desires for the Underground Kingdom.

I chose to read The Hobbit not just because Iíve heard multiple complements about it but also because Iíve always been interested in Tolkienís work. At first, I didn't understand the storyline of the book and was therefore confused and didn't understand the characters Tolkien was introducing. Second, the book was very humorous and light. I questioned if the book was supposed to be a comedy with the way the author described everything. It didnít really make sense to me.

I soon realized the reason why Tolkien made Bilbo Baggins so comical. When Bilbo and the 13 dwarves set out on the journey, the book became darker and more dangerous. So, not wanting the book to become depressing, Tolkien made Bilbo have more hope than the others. I soon found myself late at night not wanting to put the book down, (many times getting in trouble from my parents) being drawn in to the multiple obstacles and adventures this hobbit was put through. I found the storyline interesting and captivating.

The thing that I found funny was the fact that Bilbo had not wanted to be disturbed in the first place. He was part of a family that was highly praised and respected by all the other Hobbit families. And then, all of a sudden, Gandalf comes knocking on his door with 13 dwarves in tow. He finds himself leaving the Shire without a handkerchief and not a clue as to what is to come or why he has been chosen to go. The dwarves hadn't even liked him all that much; they thought he was just dead weight. He often wishes he was in his cozy hobbit hole drinking hot tea and feeling the breeze through his circular door.

One thing that I think Tolkien was trying to get across to his readers is that even though Bilbo is a hobbit, small and not someone to be praised for a great deed, he was chosen to go on a great adventure. He's the most unpredictable person and ends up being brave, knowledgeable and creative. All this and Bilbo is only 3 feet tall with hairy toes. Bilbo shows many times that he can be held accountable for his actions and that there is a reason he was picked for this journey by Gandalf.

Another thing that really amazed me was how much Tolkien developed each race and their beliefs. He made the characters seem so real and believable. There are the hobbits who never care to stick their nose in other people's business and love drinking their brew and smoking pipe weed. They aren't great warriors or very wise, yet they have a charm that makes them very likable. Then there are the goblins. They are foul and gruesome. They take no mercy on other living creatures and enjoy causing pain and misery. They have a very big ego and once defeated are very fond of revenge. The elves are described as beautiful and enchanting, but they have a very hostile side once they are angered.  Men are strong, but above all, desire power and riches.

When you read a book, you expect to be captured into its words. You expect to be shown its world with great description and energy. You want to make connections with the characters, to be taken away with the adventures and complications written in the pages. In every story, you read between the lines, producing thoughts of your own, asking questions and trying to conclude the end of the book. That was J.R.R. Tolkienís plan, and thatís exactly what he did.

The Hobbit tells you all about Bilbo's fears and victories. It tells you how Bilbo Baggins learns that just because heís small and has no prior experience with the other races, he can help save his new-found friends and be just as heroic as any man, dwarf or elf. You witness him mature throughout the pages as he gains knowledge and experience. You also see his mind broaden to expect the unexpected. Though at first he was reluctant to go on any adventures or journeys, Bilbo finds that he loves the outside world. His life has new meaning and definition. He finds that his companions soon become great friends. Biblo meets many new beings, some pleasant, like Beorn, a very large man that becomes very fond of Bilbo and some not so pleasant like the the goblins, whom Bilbo would be more then happy to stay away from.

Throughout the pages of The Hobbit, you realize that no matter how ignorant and naÔve you are, you can grow to be a like someone in story books. You can learn to role with the punches. You can become someone who is wise and mature. Thinking about how Bilbo grew up, learning that if he didnít stick his nose in other peoples business that no harm will come to you, you see how he is going against his instincts by walking down the road with a wizard know as the ďDisturber of the PeaceĒ. Even though Bilbo has no idea what he is getting into, he deals with the tasks at hand, not asking for any praise at all, and helping out the 13 dwarves tremendously.

This story is a wonderful piece of literature that didn't bore me to death. I loved reading it at night, not able to tell myself to put it down and go to sleep. It captured me into its pages. It made me think of it even after I finished it, and it made me want to go on a journey of my own. I will forever remember the book that made me believe I could do anything.  J.R.R. Tolkien writes in a way that made me believe every word he put to paper. He made this world seem so realistic that I thought it actually existed. I believe this book would appeal to anyone. So go out and try it. See a hobbitís confidence rise and unlock the legend of Smaug.

Overall, The Hobbit is very interesting and captivating. I love the way Tolkien phrases his words and made me believe everything he wrote. He made it seem as if Middle Earth existed and was an actual place. I loved The Hobbit and I will forever remember it.

I rated this book an 8 out of 10.

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