Around this time of year, I reread one of my all time favorite books, The Hobbit. I love this story, not only because I’m a nerd, but for many other reasons that this post will discuss. A few weeks ago, one of my friends took a picture of me while I was in mid-sentence, and another friend of mine turned the photo into a meme. How great is that? One of the memes had the words, “Are they really taking the Hobbits to Isengard?”
I thought it was hilarious. When I tried to show it off to a freshman in my dorm, she didn’t understand the reference, stating that she had never seen The Lord of the Rings.
I was horrified. How could someone not have read The Lord of the Rings, or at least seen the movies in order to understand the references?
However, I do understand that Tolkien is not for everyone. Yet The Hobbit is a short novel that is inspiring and a great introduction into the fantasy genre. Here are three reasons why I love the novel, and why it is still relevant to read it today.
- The sass. The banter between the characters, namely Gandalf, Bilbo, and Thorin, is priceless. Bilbo plays the part of the bewildered and reluctant adventurer, and is often the one who saves the rest of the party from death. Because of this, he loses his poise quite a few times. Gandalf finds amusement in every part of the journey, particularly the moments when the dwarves are in life-or-death situations. And I shouldn’t even mention the scene with Thorin and Thranduil. (But I will.)
- The wanderlust. Perhaps the reason why I love to read this book during the fall is because it can transport me into a fantasy realm while I am in classes. The company’s adventures takes them from the rolling greens of the Shire, to the deep underground of the Misty Mountains, to the starry skies of Mirkwood. The world of Middle Earth gets thoroughly explored and personified in the travels of the short book.
- The poetic nature. I’m a big poetry junkie. I love the way someone can twist the written word and keep me lying awake at night for hours on end. I think Tolkien does it beautifully in all of his writing, but on one note in particular when describing the Elves of Mirkwood.
“The Wood-elves lingered in the twilight of our Sun and Moon, but loved best by the stars…” -pg 167, Del Rey Mass Market Edition
True, the Elves of Mirkwood are a bit simpler than their counterparts in the rest of Tolkien’s world, but they sure do love their moonlight and wine, which I think is why I love them so much.
Each of these reasons is something that is relevant for readers even today. Even though The Hobbit might not be jumping off the shelves at young readers, I believe everyone should read it at some point in their life. Though it may seem a bit daunting at first to read something as epic as Tolkien, if you give the book a try, you’d be surprised on how much the magic of Middle Earth will grow on you.