Classic Corner Review: The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books; Mti edition (September 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547844972
ISBN-13: 978-0547844978
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Bilbo Baggins – A Hobbit.
Gandalf – A Wizard.


A hobbit is surprised one day by the visit of the Wizard Gandalf. Unbeknownst to the Hobbit, when the wizard leaves, he marks the door with a symbol. This symbol brings not 1, not 5, but 13 Dwarves to Bilbo’s door. Their purpose, travel to the west to a mountain, destroy the dragon Smaug and retrieve the dwarven treasure he has horded. Sounds simple enough, unless you’re a hobbit.


This along with The Lord of the Rings is the grandfather of modern Fantasy. The characters, or at least the character of Bilbo, are well developed. I can’t say the characters of the 13 dwarves are as developed, their main distinguishing feature is either their weight, or the color of their hoods. As for Bilbo and the other supporting characters, they are well designed, and the reader tends to care what happens to them. You can feel Bilbo’s nervousness and cheer him on during his acts of bravery.

The story is broken into two main parts. One adventure is the discovery of the magic ring, what will turn out to be a catalyst for The Lord of the Rings series to follow. The other adventure is to actually infiltrate the dragon’s lair and discover the treaure.

For fans of Fantasy, this novel is required reading. If you haven’t read fantasy novels though, you might not want to start with this one. Tolkien has a tendency for the average reader to be hard to understand, and this sometimes leads people to give up rather than attempt to finish his novels. His style is probably close to Shakespeare in the use of language, and poetic prose. For this reason, it seems to be an acquired taste.

I’d suggest you get a copy of it, and give it a shot. Definitely read this before attempting to read Lord of the Rings which is a quite hefty story. I think the age appropriateness is good for teens and adults. There is some violence and scary situations which wouldn’t be good for most young readers.

Give it a shot, and be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought. If I recall the first part comes out as a movie in December, so you can familiarize yourself with the events before you see it brought live on the big screen.

About the Author

Born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa, J.R.R. Tolkien settled in England as a child, going on to study at Exeter College. While teaching at Oxford University, he published the popular fantasy novels The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The works have had a devoted international fan base and been adapted into award-winning blockbuster films. Tolkien died in 1973 at 81.

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2 Responses to “Classic Corner Review: The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien”

  1. Fab Brandt Says:

    “The Hobbit” is a lot to review, but I especially like what you said about not making this your first fantasy read…excellent!

  2. Rick Rhodes Says:

    Thanks Fab, I think it’s one of those that you grow to appreciate, my 13 or 14 year old self didn’t enjoy it as much as my 44 year old self.