Beatrice Baldotto and The Hobbit by Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit. The hobbit is a creature that is tall half human, he has no beard and wears no shoes because of his natural tough feet. Anyway, Bilbo lived in a simple and pretty cave. It was full of rooms and, more important, full of food, because a hobbit could eat more than three times a day. One morning Bilbo was sitting on a chair, and while he was smoking his pipe he saw a wizard that was coming closer to his house. He hailed him: his name was Gandalf. Gandalf started to talk to Bilbo about a great adventure but Mr. Baggins, who was just a placid hobbit, did not want to listen. He invited Gandalf to have some tea the day after only because he did not want to give a bad impression of him-self.
The next day at tea time somebody knocked on the door but it was not Gandalf. It was Dwalin, a dwarf. After Dwalin arrived: Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Thorin and finally Gandalf. So the meeting could begin. During the conversation Bilbo understood that all those dwarves were in his house because Gandalf had signed his door with the symbol of the “Burglar that is looking for a job”. He became, without knowing it, the official burglar of the group. He had to start a long trip to find a hidden and secret door together with the others. Bilbo did not want to go, but a part of him, his mother part, wanted to go. In fact he was half Tuc, a family of adventurers. At the end everybody wanted to go to sleep, so they said that they would start their trip on the following morning.
When Bilbo woke up nobody was there anymore. The hobbit was half happy, but, like the day before, his Tuc part wished to go with the dwarves. He was washing all the dishes when Gandalf arrived and told him that he was late: all the dwarves were waiting for him at an inn.
He finally arrived at the inn and he saw all his friends that were ready to begin the adventure.
They went through the Lonely Land: nobody lived there. The weather started getting worse and cold. And after a while it started raining cats and dogs. They lost a pony and a great part of the stocks. So they looked for a shelter for the night. Two dwarves tried to light a fire, but then they saw a light and decided to send Bilbo there to check what the light was. In silence the hobbit went up to the hill, and glimpsed three Trolls through the trees. They were full of food and Bilbo wanted to steal the pocket from one of them. So he tried but the pocket screamed (it was a magic one) and the Troll captured him. The three asked him if he was alone and other questions, and Bilbo tried to answer in a way that the troll could not understand where his companions were. At the same time Balin arrived. He was looking for Bilbo and the troll captured him, and all the other dwarves that came after. They began to argue because Gandalf, with his magic, confused them. They hit each other and so the company could escape. They found a door, and with a key that Bilbo had found before they could open it. Inside it was full of food and treasures. They took some stocks and also two swords. They finally ate and slept.
The company went on with their trip, but the lands and the territories that they had to go through were getting harder and harder. They were without any stocks and tired. Gandalf told them that at the end of this part of the trip they would be hosted by Elrond (the king of the elves) and by his population. Finally the 16 arrived. They stayed there to rest for two weeks. But when they had to resume their way the king saw the two swords that they had stolen from the troll’s cave and told them that their names were Orcrist and Glamdring. They were magical swords that came from Gondolin. Elrond also read the old rune thanks to the moon’s light. The dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo left the Land of the Elves.
They went up to the mountains and it was really cold. They were all doing a great effort to go on. One night, unfortunately, there was a terrible storm, so the company looked for a shelter. They found one, but when the rain started to enter their hut they had to find another one. Dori found a cave: they went there, ate and finally could sleep. Bilbo woke up in the middle of the night and saw that some ponies that had disappeared. He didn’t have the time to wake up the others that the ogres kidnapped them. Gandalf was the only one who could escape, and so he did. The ogres took them to their master. But, when the dwarves and Bilbo thought that it was the end, the sword Orcrist (with magic powers) killed the ogre’s master. All the light turned off and the monsters started being scared. Gandalf appeared and fought against some ogres, so Bilbo and his companios could go down into a tunnel. They had to be quick because the ogres -now that their fear had dissolved- were really really angry and wanted to kill them all. Bilbo could not run, and so Dori took him on his shoulders. The ogres arrived but the other sword, Glamdring, fought them. The second time that the ogres reached them they could not escape. One monster grabbed Dori, and Bilbo fell down. He immediately collapsed.
Bilbo woke up and it was totally dark. He could not see anything, so he decided to find an exit by moving only with his sense of hearing. When he touched the ground he found a ring. He picked it up.
He continued walking in the dark when suddenly he arrived at a big underground lake. Here he met Gollum, a creature that wanted to eat him. Bilbo thought up a trick to earn time: they played the game of the riddles. By these rules: if Bilbo won Gollum would help him find the exit, but if Bilbo lost Gollum would eat him. At the end Bilbo asked Gollum the question “What’s in my pocket?” but Gollum understood that it was another riddle, he answered wrongly and so he lost. Gollum had a second plan. He went back to his little island where he hid his birthday’s present even if Bilbo was screaming that he had to respect the agreement. Gollum believed that with this present he could take Bilbo by surprise, and then eat him. Bilbo understood that Gollum did not have pacific intentions, and so he started to run. He put his hand in his pocket and, accidentally, he wore the ring. Gollum arrived, Bilbo was terribly scared. But Gollum did not see him. The creature was sure that Bilbo had stolen his present, so he went to the exit to capture him. Bilbo silently followed Gollum and, when they arrived at the exit, it was full of ogres. Gollum spoke with himself and Bilbo understood that the ring had the magic power to make the person who wears it invisible. Bilbo, because of an unexpected bravery, jumped on Gollum’s head and -avoiding the monsters- finally saw freedom.
Bilbo realized that he had passed through the entire mountain and now he was on the “other side”. He also realized that, even if he did not want it, he had to go back and look for his friends. But suddenly he heard the voice of Gandalf that was arguing with Thorin because they had lost Bilbo. The hobbit was still invisible, so he got more closer to them and he took his ring off. Everybody was surprised, and finally they restarted their adventure.
Like the other times the roads were dangerous and insidious. In fact they had to cross a path that was pebbly. They failed, because there was a landslide and they all fell down in a clearing. The company immediately heard some howls that got closer and closer to them. Gandalf screamed to the other to hide themselves up in the trees, because the wolves could not climb them. Dori helped Bilbo before a wolf could bit him. They were not common wolves, they were werwolves. Gandalf understood their language: they were waiting for the ogres to come, because they were allies. Gandalf threw some burned pine cones to the wolves. The company was not the only one who was watching the werwolves from the top. In fact the Lord of the Eagles had noticed the light of the pine cones and became interested in what was happening there. Eagles hated the wolves and the ogres. They helped our friends and took them to their secret shelter. There Gandalf spoke to the Lord and asked him if they could take him back to their way. He accepted.
The day after all the eagles left the company on a enormous rock. Gandalf said to all the dwarves -and Bilbo- that in those lands lived a friend of him, but he was a bit raw and sometimes rude. So the company had to be absolutely kind and polite, if they wanted to get some help. The name of this man (that could also become a bear) was Beorn. He lived with many animals, and ate only honey and crackers, because he respected all the animals and they were like his children. After the story of the company’s adventure Beorn, fascinated by it, decided to help them. The day after all the 16 remained at Beorn’s home and relaxed a bit, but there was no sign of the man. He arrived the next morning and he told to his new friends that, undoubtedly, he had gone to all the places of their story to check if their tale was true. And so it was! He also told them that all the werwolves and the ogres were looking for them, so they could not resume their normal way, they had to go through the Dark Wood. Nothing was healthy to eat or drink there. Also the water was cursed. For this reasons Beorn gave them a water bag to each one, and also crackers and honey. Everybody straddled on a pony, and Beorn warned them: They absolutely did not have to leave the main road. They started their trip and after four days they arrived at the Dark Wood’s border. There they sent back the ponies to Beorn, and Gandalf had to leave them because of some tasks. So the dwarves and the hobbit were alone. Sad and disconsolate they entered the forest.
This was the hardest part of their trip since now. In the wood it was always dark, and they would finish soon all the stocks. The forest seemed to be unending. At a certain point the company arrived at a river, and the only way to cross it was by boat, but the boat was on the other side of the river. Fili, who was the youngest dwarf, threw a rope to catch the boat and succeeded. Everybody crossed the river but when it was Bombur’s time a deer came out from the wood and Bombur fell into the cursed water. They caught him in time, but he was the victim of a magic and he could not wake up. They went on, carrying Bombur on their shoulders. They were so tired and in the middle of the way there was an enormous oak. So Bilbo climbed it to see how much they had to walk. What Bilbo did not know was that the tree was in the middle of an hollow, in fact they were not far away from the end of the forest, but the hobbit could only see trees and trees. So he thought that the road was long, and the exit far away from them. They walked for another day, and then, suddenly, Bombur woke up. He lost all the memories about the trip. He did not stop talking about the dream that he had during his sleep: he was at a banquet in the middle of the forest, and he ate like never before. So he started to complain. He, like the others, was terribly hungry. Bad luck was not enough: the next morning the company woke up and it was raining. They went on but near to evening Bombur saw a light in the wood. It was exactly like in his dream. Everybody was too tired and hungry, so they decided to leave the main road and go and see what was there. When they entered in the lightning zone all the elves and the banquet disappeared. They had other three hallucinations like this one. The third time Bilbo collapsed, and when he resumed consciousness he was alone, and trapped in the net of an enormous spider. He fought against him with a little sword that he had found in the troll’s cave at the beginning of the journey. When he was finally free he started looking for his friends. Bilbo found them in his same old conditions: trapped by the spiders. He put the ring on his finger and became invisible. Thanks to this power he threw some rocks to the spiders, so they became angry and left the dwarves in peace. When the spiders were finally defeated Bilbo told the others all the story about the ring. At the end they discovered that Thorin was not there. He was the prisoner of the Wood’s Elves.
The morning after the company was extremely tired and finding a way to escape from the forest was the last of their problems. At a certain point the dwarves and Bilbo heard some noises and they knew that it was the elves but they stayed still where they were and they let the wood’s creatures take them away. But Bilbo, like he had done before, put on his magic ring, so the elves did not know that he was there. The hobbit followed them, and he arrived at the “royal palace”. There all his friends were caged. There was a positive side: Bilbo discovered that also his lost friend Thorin was in a cage. Bilbo stayed there for days thinking of a great plan to free his companions. Studying the habits of the guards and of the elves in general he saw that when a barrel was empty they threw them through a drain that flowed in a river. So Bilbo waited, and a night there was a party and the keeper of the keys of the cages drank too much and he fell a sleep. Bilbo stole the keys and finally fred his friends. Then he told them his plan: they had to enter the barrels. At the beginning they complained a bit but then they understood that it was the only possible solution. When all the dwarves where “packed” Bilbo realized that none could close his barrel. So, at the last moment, he jumped on a barrel before the elves threw them in the drain. The little trip was very insidious but at the end he and the dwarves were free.
They arrived at the first stage of the barrel’s trip. Bilbo knew that he could not free the dwarves from the barrels because they were too much and the next morning they had to restart their journey hidden in the casks. And so it was. After another stretch of the river the company finally docked at a wharf. Bilbo immediately freed Thorin, and the dwarf started to complain but then, together, they opened also the other barrels.
As soon as each dwarf was freed they all decided that Thorin should go and speak with the Master of Dales. Since Thorin was an Oakenshield he had been welcomed and thanks to his speaking skills, he got medicaments, food and a house where the company could sleep. After a week and after having been restored they got three ships, ponies and food in order to have the possibility to continue their path.
They arrived at the River Running (from up there you could see the Mountain). From there on they followed the road until the Desolation of Smaug (Smaug was one of the worst dragons in the whole land and this land was desolated: he guarded the precious treasures). Winter came when the squad arrived down on the hill in the Desolation and there a few dwarves looked for the Front Gate. The Gate was closed but nobody knew how to open it. Luckily, the morning after the sunlight appeared and so did a lock. Thorin opened it.
Bilbo was a burglar so he entered first. Entering this castle that was inhabitated by Smaug, Bilbo took his courage and wore the ring. He arrived soon in the dungeon that was full of the most beautiful treasures. There was one problem: Smaug was lying on them asleep…but he seemed to be aware of everything. The hobbit was astonished in front of all that sparkling and he stole a cup, but Smaug felt it and he wasn’t really happy about it. Smaug was bad and evil but also really intelligent, therefore as soon as the burglar returned there he basically confused Bilbo with all his maleficent speeches. Bilbo wasn’t feeling confident anymore.
Two days passed without knowing where Smaug had flown but the squad decided to enter the castle again and tried to look after the most precious jewel in the world: The Arkenstone, better known as the Heart of the Mountain. Bilbo found it but kept it for himself.
Smaug flew all the way down to Lake-Town and attacked it, there a terrible battle took place: houses were destroyed, inhabitants died and mess was everywhere. Even if this battle took pain and destruction the dragon was defeated, Bard defeated him. As a symbol of gratitude the ones that survived the attack, wanted him to be the king, but he refused because he wanted to rebuild Dales. Since building the city was not easy the elves decided to help Bard.
Meanwhile a raven flew on the way to the camp where the dwarves were staying, with the intention of announcing them the great news. Then the brave Bard appeared and after some very long talks, Bard declared the Mountain besieged.
Thorin called something like 500 dwarves from the Iron Hills and the hobbit wanted to stop the fight that would happen shortly. He took the tour from Bombur and wore the ring and then he ran as fast as he could, in order to avoid the inevitable, therefore he took the ring off and had a brief but effective chat with Bard. After he had given him the Arkenstone Bilbo got back to his steps to the camp.
The day after Bard came with 20 ambassadors and a purpose: the Arkenstone in exchange with 1\14 of silver and gold but Thorin declined the offer. Now the story has come to the battle of the five armies: Goblins and Wolves against elves, men and dwarves. Bilbo tried to escape but he saw eagles and got scared and also hit on the head by a stone.
Bilbo woke up and a lovely man dragged him where Thorin was recovering with Gandalf. Sadly Thorin died because of his injures and was buried beneath the Mountain. Fili and Kili died as well. Gandalf and Bilbo started their return trip, road up to Beorn’s house; they arrived in winter and left in spring.
Bilbo finally arrived in his hobbit hole. He found as a welcome greeting the fact that everyone thought he was dead, and that they had sold his furniture.
The Hobbit is surely the greatest fantasy book I have ever read. Usually I am not a fantasy’s lover, but reading a book by Tolkien is like visiting Rome: you must do it once in your life.
At the beginning I was full of prejudices about the Hobbit, I thought that it had to be a boring and childish tale, but it wasn’t at all. Tolkien paint a fantastic world, and he did it so perfectly that Bilbo, his friends and his story seemed to be real. I have grown fond to this little burglar hobbit, to all the dwarves and to Gandalf the wizard. As soon as I have finished the book I immediately borrowed the film, and then I bought the first book of the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”. I didn’t want to leave all the characters, and this feeling of magic that was everywhere while I was reading the Hobbit.
Finally I can say that this book is, first: completely different from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; second: the most epic fantasy that I have known in the whole fantasy series; third: a masterpiece.
(c) Beatrice Baldotto