The Hobbit was written in 1937 by J.R.R. Tolkein and celebrated its 75th anniversary (21/09/12). Incidently, there is a Tolkien week, which runs the week containing the 22nd of September. This year it ran from the 16th and ended on 22nd; Hobbit Day, the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
|J.R.R.TOLKEIN 1892 - 1973|
J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkein was born in South Africa to British parents, and when his father; a banker, died, his mother and brother moved back to England. His mother, Mabel was a great influence; teaching him to read and write and instilling him with a love of nature and landscape. His writing influences came from George MacDonald who wrote fairy tales and fantasy and later, Andrew Lang, who also wrote fairy tales.
He studied English Language and Literature and graduated in 1915, and the following year married his wife Edith before joining the First World War.
The Hobbit was written for Tolkein's children many years before it was published, and was highly acclaimed to his surprise. It is a fantasy story about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who has been volunteered to join a band of dwarves, in a quest to raid the treasures guarded by Smaug, the dragon. The adventure takes him and his travelling companions through Mirkwood where his character is tested.
My favourite part of the story was the beginning; chapter one: An Unexpected Party, involving dwarves, food and more food.
And then there's Gollum, 'my preciouss,' the riddles and the ring.
Talking of rings. Tolkien was a close friend of C.S. Lewis (who is on my list of fifty), and he also had a magic ring in my favourite of his Narnia chronicles; The Magician's Nephew.
I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this romp through the woods, but the different characters and challenges that Bilbo and the dwarves come across made the story enjoyable. The adventure also followed the development of Bilbo's character from the quiet hobbit who enjoys his routine at home, to that of a courageous hero.