Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hobbit - or there and back again by J.R.R. Tolkien

One day while the quiet and respectable hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is out smoking his pipe, the great and adventurous wizard, Gandalf, appears. Gandalf invites Bilbo to go on an adventure with him which makes Bilbo quite flustered. Bilbo respectfully declines and tells him to come back the next day just to get the wizard out of his hair. The next day Bilbo had forgotten about his invitation to Gandalf. When a knock came at the door he suddenly remembered his invitation, but when he answered the door instead of seeing Gandalf he was greeted by thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakensheild. The dwarves invite themselves inside and ask politely that Bilbo bring them all food. Once they are all done eating Gandalf finally shows up and they get to talking about the adventure they are about to embark on.

The dwarves talk about their past home under the Lonely Mountain and all of the treasure that remains there. Long ago, a dragon named Smaug chased their forefathers from the mountain and stole their treasure. The group now wants Bilbo to come along as their thief. Bilbo finally agrees to go and they all set off the next morning. They face many hardships on their way east including being captured by three trolls which they only escape due to Gandalf's wit. They make it to the city of elves called Rivendell where they rest and restock their supplies. Then they set off in attempt to cross the Misty Mountains. While they're taking shelter from a storm one night, everyone except Gandalf is captured by a horde of goblins and taken under the mountains. Gandalf rescues them and they make a run for the exit. While they're running Bilbo gets knocked unconscious and left behind. When he wakes up he finds a little gold ring which he absent mindedly puts in his pocket. He then encounters the creature named Gollum who challenges Bilbo to a riddle contest. Bilbo wins by cheating so Gollum must show him the way out. Gollum goes back to his home to find his magic ring that will turn him invisible because he plans on killing Bilbo anyway. Gollum is enraged to find his ring gone and runs for the exit thinking that is where Bilbo has gone. In actuallity Bilbo had slipped on the ring to find he was invisible and follows Gollum out of the caves. Once he leaves the caves he is reunited with the dwarves and Gandalf, but doesn't tell them about the ring.

After some more hair-raising adventures the company makes it to the edge of the enchanted forest of Mirkwood. There Gandalf leaves the company to attend to other business and puts Bilbo in charge. After many days, they are near the end of their food and they leave the path, against Gandalf's advice, when they see lights in the trees. Giant spiders capture them but Bilbo escapes and helps his friends escape. He reveals to them the secret of the ring and they get away from the spiders. The dwarves are captured by woodelves, but Bilbo manages to escape through the use of his ring. After many days of wandering around the Wood King's home he rescues the dwarves by getting them all in barrels and sending them down the river till they get to Esgaroth, which is the closest town to the Lonely Mountain.

In Esgaroth, they are treated like royalty, and after a week, they set off towards the mountain. When they get there, they search for the secret entrance and find it after a lot of trouble. They cannot open the gate, until days later, when they discover the hidden keyhole. Bilbo enters the dragon's lair, and steals a golden cup for them. Smaug wakes and kills their ponies. Bilbo reenters the lair and has a conversation with the dragon; he discovers that the dragon has a weak spot over its left breast. The dragon attacks them, but cannot reach them because they've closed themselves in the narrow tunnel. Smaug goes off to destroy the nearby town of Esgaroth.

In Esgaroth, the dragon destroys the town but is killed by a man named Bard, who was told of its weak point by bird from the mountain. The men begin to rebuild their city, but some of them join the passing wood elf army who have come in search of Smaug's treasure.

The dwarves are informed of the coming armies by a raven, and they decide to fortify the mountain, because they don't want to share the treasure, and send a bird to Thorin's cousin. When the armies arrive wanting a share of the treasure, Thorin refuses to compromise. Bilbo steals a valuable stone and gives it to the armies as a means of bargaining. Thorin agrees to give up some of the treasure in exchange for the stone, but in actuallity he is waiting for his cousin's army to arrive. The army arrives and the sides prepare to fight, until Gandalf stands between them to warn that a great army of goblins is soon to arrive. The armies fight the goblins, and would have lost, if an army of eagles had not helped them. Thorin dies, and asks for Bilbo's forgiveness for his greediness. Bilbo finally returns home with Gandalf and his share of the treasure.

Discussion Questions:
1. Do you consider Bilbo a Hero or just a greedy thief? Why?
2.Can Thorin be blamed for his greed or is it just in his nature?


Greg P. 13-14 said...

1) I dont consider Bilbo either a Hero or a theif. He was kinda of greedy but throughout the novel he was mostly spurred on by the thought of adventure.

Kyle P. 13-14 said...

Good point, but did you consider it heroic when he first saved the dwarves from the spiders and later on when he saved them from the wood elves?

Steve S 13-14 said...

I agree that he was spurred on by the thought of adventure, but I also think that his greed made him curious. All the while, his acts of bravery make him a hero

Kyle P. 13-14 said...

Yeah although he might not have started as a hero i think he finally grew into it.