Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit, a hobbit who lives comfortably at Bag End in Hobbiton, and is a well-respected member of the community. He lives a bland life more than anything though, and everything is changed about one day from out of the blue when the wizard Gandalf the Grey comes to visit. It seems that he has a task for Bilbo, though Bilbo doesn’t know it yet. Inviting Gandalf to tea the next day, Bilbo is horrified when an endless procession of dwarves show up on his doorstep. Soon there is a massive group: Ori, Dori, Nori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin Oakenshield. The dwarves arrive to interview Bilbo Baggins as the burglar that Galdalf reckoned, and they need him for their journey. Bilbo is rushed and unhappy and extremely angry to have his home invaded and to be called a burglar.
Bilbo relents after some taunting and joins Thorin and Company on their quest after his contract has been signed. The dwarves are going to the Lonely Mountain, where they have long since been unable to go. Thorin is the rightful King Under the Mountain, the king that should reclaim his throne that was stolen from him and his family many years ago by the dastardly dragon Smaug. There is treasure beyond imagination piled up with the dragon, who hoardes it and lives upon it, and Thorin is intent on getting it back, though paying everyone handsomely for their assistance. The party sets forth, though Bilbo is still a little reluctant. Their adventures soon begin when they encounter a group of trolls and make a very narrow escape. Bilbo meets elves and men and many a creature during their journey, though he yearns for home.
The closer they seem to get to the Lonely Mountain, the more hazardous their journey becomes. At a stage, they need to go through the goblin tunnels, where they are again almost killed. Bilbo, however, gets separated from the group, and comes across a nasty creature named Gollum at an underground lake after having picked up a golden ring while going into hiding from any goblins. Bilbo does not know the way out, though he tricks Gollum with his own words to be his guide out if he beats him at a riddle game, though Gollum will eat him if he loses. In a narrow and slightly unfair escape, Bilbo asks a riddle concerning the ring in his pocket, which stumps Gollum, but causes Bilbo to win. Gollum later realizes that his precious is gone and chases after Bilbo, who has got the ring on and discovered that it has the power to make him invisible. The ring is a powerful object, and comes to Bilbo’s aid many times in the ensuing journey.
The dwarves meet up with Beorn, a huge man that can turn into a bear, who assists them on their perilous journey, and Gandalf soon leaves the group, though he insists he had stuck around a lot longer than he should have. He leaves the party at the entrance of Mirkwood Forest, and warns them insistently on staying on the trail and journeying straight through and drinking nothing from the forest. Bilbo soon becomes instrumental to the dwarves due to his superior eyesight and sneakiness, as well as his loyalty, and how he saves the party time and time again. At the rate they are going they will soon near the Lonely Mountains, though they are making friends and enemies at a rapid pace, and greed is much the crutch of it.
Will the dwarves be able to reclaim the Lonely Mountain? Will Thorin step up and sit upon the throne that was his robbed birthright? Will Smaug be able to be defeated? Will anyone help the dwarves or is this some mission that they will be very much alone in? Will Bilbo prove to be the great burglar he was painted by Gandalf? Will Gandalf return to the group at any stage? Will the King Under the Mountain finally have his empire back, reclaim his riches and honour all agreements made? Will Bilbo be paid so handsomely and make it back to the Shire so that he may live again in peace and without hunger, adventure and discomfort?
This is just one of those ridiculously fun books, and it was awesome overall. I had an absolute blast with it, and thought it was an excellent story. The characters were cool, there was solid and funny humour, the way they spoke conveyed the time in which this was written and the adventures that the company had was fun overall. I enjoyed following the company, and I liked that The Hobbit was a lighthearted book overall, with some serious bits to it. The discovery of the ring was very good, too, and Gollum’s lunacy and lack of touch with the real world was brought to the fore, and how much he loved riddles. The characters that were met along the way were intensely interesting, and I particularly liked Beorn, he seemed really awesome. The goblins and Wargs were interesting, and the Eagles, of course. It was also interesting to hear of the one or two lines that were dedicated to the matters that Gandalf was attending to when he split from the party. Middle Earth is such a glorious place, and it is always fun to spend some time there. This book was a great read, and should definitely be checked out if you have not done so already!