It has begun: the countdown to the opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13). Like most J.R.R. Tolkien fans, I am both excited and anxious to see the next installment of Peter Jackson’s planned Hobbit trilogy. Before the last film, I reread Tolkien’s novel, plunging myself deep into Middle Earth. I treasure The Hobbit more than any other book in my library, and for good reasons.
The Hobbit was the first fantasy book I ever read. It introduced me to a world of wonder that I wanted so badly to be real. I fantasized about running through the Shire, eating cakes and drinking tea in a cozy hobbit-hole, and adventuring into unknown lands encountering elves (who would have clearly befriended me). I loved this new fantasy world, and wanted more. In a weird way, this is also how I discovered my love for medieval history (for those of you who don’t know, I’m a history nerd). So in many ways, The Hobbit served as an introduction to two things that would forever be important to me. When I look back on my childhood, I see a creative and strange child running through the forest, and can’t help but laugh. I love that little girl, and know that The Hobbit made her childhood better.
As I matured, The Hobbit became more than a fantastic world I longed to live in. It summed up core values that I have continued to practice. Bilbo shows bravery and courage; even when he realizes that “adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine,” he carries on with a determined attitude. He became a model of sorts. If a hobbit can handle giant spiders and trolls, then maybe I can handle moving to a new school or city without knowing a soul. I have tried to keep Bilbo’s courageous attitude regarding life’s adventures.
However, to me The Hobbit ’s most important lesson is to enjoy life and find pleasure in simple things. Life is so busy and chaotic, it’s easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle. The Hobbit reminds us to slow down—summed up in one simple quote from Thorin, King Under the Mountain (which also happens to be my favorite): “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
The Hobbit has enriched my life, and I am forever grateful to my dad for making me read it, and of course to Tolkien for sharing his world with us. I can hardly wait to be in the theater with other Tolkien geeks, where we’ll be swept away on one of Bilbo’s adventures, enjoying the moment while being forever enchanted by Tolkien’s world.