is a wonderful story about Bilbo Baggins and his adventures. Although
a story for children – the preface tells us that Tolkien related
the story for his children – it has an appeal that goes far beyond
the limitations of age. With
a primal theme of good conquering evil and the added nuances of the
oral tale, it holds the reader's attention from the beginning to the
very end. It is both well written and intelligently written (which
probably accounts for its universal popularity), and words like Warg
and Beorn are not just words pulled out of a hat but all of them have
a definite and
first read The
more than forty years ago, and it was, therefore, exciting to reread
it. Although I could remember the gist of the story, I had forgotten
specific details. I remember loving it when I first read it, and I
definitely loved it on this my second reading.
Baggins is a simple, ordinary, down-to-earth character (I suppose
anyone living under the ground would have to be down-to-earth). He is
the hero of the tale, but at all
times the reader is very aware of his ordinariness. In his
interactions with dwarves, goblins, trolls, elves, eagles, a bear, a
dragon and even a wizard, Bilbo always remains Bilbo, torn between
the practicality of the home-staying Bagginses and the
Images of his armchair and his kettle are never very far from his
Tolkien meant this story to be some
statement on our society, or whether it simply evolved as he
related it to his children is difficult to say.
However, it goes without saying that much of Tolkien's wisdom would
have found itself into the story, either consciously or
subconsciously. A great read and a must
for anyone considering embarking on The
Lord of the Rings
by the same author.
The book has been made into a total of three (3!) films.