*Caution contains spoilers…but shame on you for not having read it already!
1) It’s a genre defining book. Duh. Tolkien created the rise in popularity of Fantasy in his day through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It’s a classic that stands on the highest tier of literature and vision. Tolkien’s creation of this world down to the tiniest detail is nothing short of remarkable and should be enjoyed over and over again.
2) Smaug the Dragon. The embodiment of greed and pure evil, Smaug haunted my dreams and was the first thing I thought of when something scared me (well, Smaug and JAWS, I didn’t swim for a year after that movie). Smaug is also pretty much a badass, flying around flash frying sheep and taking what he wanted, all the while being quick-witted and clever. As much as I loved the character, I was pleased with his demise.
3) The introduction to Gollum (Smeagol) and the battle of riddles with Bilbo. Reading the Gollum section of the book, I always got the sense that his character was bigger than it was in The Hobbit. Tolkien’s description of the filthy, slippery, vile little creature always gave me a shiver. His rage at losing the battle with Bilbo and the ferocity of the chase was unforgettable.
4) The Goblins and the Great Goblin himself. After the company is snatched by the Goblins in the Misty Mountains, they come face to face with the Great Goblin. It’s here where a bit of the history between the two races (Dwarves and Goblins) comes to light and the feeling of unease and hate between them is palpable. The Goblins, although I despised them, were interesting and to be feared. Nothing about them was boring or plain, they were downright nasty.
5) Bilbo vs. the Spiders. Awww yeah. One of my favorite moments of the book. Bilbo, in possession of the ring, exacts revenge on the dirty scum spiders that stole his friends and poisoned them. Not only does he get revenge, but he trash talks the spiders through song and rhymes. They were no match for an invisible Bilbo and his glorious sword, Sting. I may or may not have held a grudge against spiders ever since.
6) The Battle of Five Armies. Wargs and Goblins vs. Men, Dwarves, and Elves. Good vs. Evil. Greed put aside in order to face common enemy. Oh, and giant Eagles arrive in the nick of time. You heard me. Giant. Freaking. Eagles.
7) The escape from the Elven King. Floating down a river in a barrel that smells like over-ripe apples, wine, and cheese? No thanks. But, Bilbo comes through in the clutch with an ingenious plan to get all of his friends to safety and close to their goal. Plus, the Elven King seemed like a total jerk.
8) Bilbo going from a dull life filled with routine and cleanliness to an emotional adventure filled with everything you could possibly want; adventure, intrigue, deception, battle, and bonds of friendship. It’s enough to make me want to get up from this desk, throw on a backpack and…get dinner started? This is what I mean. It’s the ultimate escape from the norm, something that every one of us hides a desire for.
9) Mirkwood. The scariest forest I could ever dream of. Filled with magic and foes, and seemingly impossible to escape, Mirkwood goes on forever.
10) It’s the first book that made me cry. I remember reading it with my Mom when I was around 7 years old and the end (Thorin’s demise) had me bawling like I’d lost a brother. I mean how could Thorin go so far, pouring his heart and soul into the quest, only to be struck down in battle? It was a life lesson moment for me, one of bitterness, exasperation and sadness that I will never forget.
Plus, there’s the fact that THIS is coming in less than 200 days…
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