Excerpt: “As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”
Mr. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, comfort-loving hobbit (Hobbits were plump, furry creatures that lived in cozy holes in the ground. They measured only about half the size of a normal human being, but were very human in most ways), is surprised into joining an adventure with thirteen dwarves and the clever wizard, Gandalf the Grey. Their mission is to get back (or steal back) the wealth of the dwarves from their ancestral home in the caverns of the Lonely Mountain. The only drawback in the scheme is that a terrible dragon called Smaug the Magnificent, guards the treasure, and Bilbo, the reluctant hobbit has to steal it from under his very fiery nose!
The road to the Lonely Mountain is packed with danger; they encounter trolls; fight goblins and wolves; make friends with eagles; are captured by spiders; are imprisoned by elves. Along the way, Bilbo meets the scary, slimy Gollum, and finds his magic ring. Equipped with just ‘a little wisdom, a little courage, and considerable good luck’, Bilbo works his way out of every trouble. The dragon is killed, but the great wealth of the mountains brings on the Battle of the Five Armies. At the end of it all, Bilbo returns home, a transformed hobbit, though not so respectable in the eyes of his townspeople now!
The Hobbit, written for Tolkien’s own children, was first published in Great Britain in 1937. It was very popular then, and is considered one of the greatest classics of its kind today. The language might seem different, but it is by no means difficult. It suits the fairy-tale adventure perfectly. The book can be enjoyed by itself for its excitement, humour and fine narration. However, it is also a good introduction to The Lord of the Rings trilogy that Tolkien wrote later. Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum and the magic ring have major roles to play in the Lord of the Rings books.
Suitable for readers 12 years and above.
Published by: Harper Collins Publishers India, with India Today Group, 2003.
First Published in Great Britain in 1937
Price: Rs. 295 /-
Genre: Fiction (Fantasy)