The hobbit is the first novel written by Tolkien and settled in a world of fantasy that he later developed in his trilogy called The Lord of the Rings. We can certainly say that The Hobbit is a wonderful introduction to that masterpiece sequel, so it is recommended to start with the first one before reading the second one.
This enchanting tale was made up for the author’s children in the 1930s, but once it was published, it achieved enormous success. The story tells the awesome adventure of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a group of dwarves. They were all called to an unexpected party at Bilbo’s by the wise wizard Gandalf. Bilbo lives in a comfortable hobbit-hole in the ground and as any other hobbit he likes quiet and food, while he dislikes adventures and has never gone beyond Brandivino River. But things change for Bilbo after the meeting, when he sets off as a burglar with fourteen dwarves and Gandalf’s help on the most amazing journey ever imagined: going to the distant Lonely Mountain to recover the treasure stolen to the dwarves by the terrifying dragon Smaug.
They run dangerous adventures, such as being captured by goblins under the Misty Mountains, where Bilbo meets the nasty and hissing creature Gollum and he finds the later famous ring which makes him invisible when slipped on his finger. They were also caught by trolls, which are fantastic creatures that must be underground before dawn, otherwise they go back to the stuff of the mountains they are made of, and never move again.
On the other hand, they also meet extraordinary characters, such as Elves in Rivendel, where the dwarves and Bilbo stayed at least fourteen days at Elrond’s Last Homely House; and Bearn, who is called Carrock and is very strong and a skin-changer: sometimes he is a huge black bear and sometimes a great strong man. Bearn keeps cattle, horses and great fierce bees, but he never hunts or eats animals. He warns the travelers against the perils of Mirkwood, where they have many more dangerous and weird adventures.
The book is quite shorter than The Lord of the Rings, highly entertaining and easy to read. At the same time it displays all Tolkien’s talent with a fluent narrative technique that takes the reader’s mind to incredible fantasy lands with magical animals and unforgettable characters.
For all lovers of fantasy and adventure novels this book is a must, a real delight.
Elena. Advanced level. Year II