Look, no one needs another damn review of The Hobbit. If you haven’t heard of the book or heard/read someone’s opinion on it, you can throw a virtual stone on any literary website and probably find more reviews, articles, and homages than you could shake a stick (virtual or otherwise) at. So instead I’m going to talk about some of my favorite scenes – the ones that keep me rereading this book every year!
The Hobbit – readers love it, hate it, or are just never going to read it (but really they should because it’s the best). If you’ve been around my blog for a while you already know I love the book. I wanted to share some of the reasons why.
Overall, I love the tone of the book and the narration (perfect for reading aloud!); it’s lighthearted and feels like a story told by an old friend or a favorite relative. I love the characters too – with my favorites naturally being Gandalf and Bilbo (big surprise, right?) What’s not to like about Gandalf? He’s a badass old dude with magical powers, a gorgeous beard, and an affinity for fireworks. On a more serious note, he puts his trust in Bilbo based on the fierceness he knows the little hobbit has inside, while others doubt Bilbo because of his outwardly meek appearance. I see a little of myself in Bilbo too – I love a cozy, tidy home underground and delicious, frequent meals; I get flustered when there are too many guests in my living space, I have hairy feet, and I secretly long for a grand adventure that I also return home from in one piece (preferably rich too.)
The Hobbit has become an old friend of mine. After all, I’ve been reading the book (and occasionally watching the cartoon from the 70s or whatever) since I was in 5th grade! At this point, I can pick the book up on basically any page and dive right in. It’s the perfect book for keeping in my car in case of emergencies when unexpected reading time appears.
Ok, now that I’ve rambled, let’s get to my actual list:
+ Trolls – this is Bilbo and Company’s first spot of trouble on their grand adventure and Bilbo’s first shot at burgling. Bilbo, never having burgled before, understandably bungles the entire situation. But can you blame him? I think trolls are like 50x the size of hobbits (don’t come at me if I’m wrong – I’m really bad at estimating) and yet he still dives right in. This is a fun scene and a great way to start off the adventure without too much danger.
This scene has my favorite phrase ever: various burglarious proceedings.
I mean, how can you not love the sound of that!?
Also, the way the trolls talk is somehow charming, for example, this monologue from Bill when his companions start bitching about the lack of food. “Yer can’t expect folk to stop here for ever just to be et by you and Bert. You’ve et a village and a half between yer, since we come down from the mountains. How much more d’yer want? And time’s been up our way, when yer’d have said ‘thank yer Bill’ for a nice bit o’ fat valley mutton like what this is.”
Also, also, the trolls have first and last names, like Bill Huggins. I find this so amusing!
+ Gollum – Bilbo meeting this classic character down in the depths of the mountains (I should know if these are the Misty ones, but I don’t so let’s just move on) and obtaining the One Ring is…CLASSIC. The rest of the series doesn’t happen without this crucial scene. It’s creepy and damp and there are riddles! Even the chapter title, Riddles in the Dark, is cool!
Reading the riddles as a kid, I guessed like…one. Reading them as an adult, despite countless rereads, I guess like…one. I try to give myself a moment to think of the answer, but I always just end up reading on because I’m too stupid. Gollum would have had me as a snack for sure.
I just think this is an excellent scene that’s scary, without being too much for younger readers/listeners. Bilbo is alone and almost complete darkness, hungry, tired, stressed, and missing his companions. Then he must riddle for his life – both solving and creating the riddles – to stump a strange, dangerous, and maybe equally hungry creature. The tension builds wonderfully as it becomes harder for Bilbo to stump Gollum and also increasingly obvious to the reader and Bilbo that Bilbo has something the creature wants.
+ Smaug – I’m not sure I know of any fantasy lover who reads a book where a dragon appears and they don’t love the dragon. As an adult, I feel Smaug doesn’t get enough page-time. He’s grand and arrogant and magnificent!
The moment Bilbo, and the readers, meet the great beast is through a snore: “A sound, too, began to throb in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him.” I don’t know how you could better describe the snore of a massive dragon!
Dragons in this universe are clever and powerful and it speaks a lot to how far Bilbo has come on this journey, emotionally, that he can speak with Smaug and mostly keep his cool. Bilbo steps up once again and we realize how much of the adventure he’s been carrying, and how little the dwarves give him credit for. I really love seeing how brave little Bilbo becomes. Also, I just love giant dragons bent on hoarding gold and wreaking havoc and destruction on innocent townsfolk.
There you have it – three big scenes I love from one of my favorite books. There honestly isn’t anything I don’t love about The Hobbit…
…ok, well…I don’t love the songs, but there aren’t many in this tale. I don’t hate them, they just don’t do anything for me. Haha.
But anyway! I hope you enjoyed exploring some of the many reasons why I come back to The Hobbit time and time again.