Experience Middle Earth as you travel from Hobbit Land to the mount of Dorin in this adventure quest. Find your way through the dark Mirkwood, see if you can acquire the aid of the elves in that forest, encounter great treasures to aid in your quest, make new friends along the way. Oh yes, don't forget the preeeciousss! Tolkien's magical prose shines trough on this tale that starts as a children's book but quickly heads towards, but does not quite reach, LOTR levels of epicness.
Gandalf enlists the help of an unlikely ally, a hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins, in order to help Thorin Oakenshield and his 12 dwarven warriors in order to reclaim the mountain of his ancestors who fled from the wrath of the great dragon Smaug.
The real magic in Tolkien's books is in his writing style. He pulls us into his stories with powerful words that fills us with a sense of heroic deeds and joyful friendship. The world is beautifully brought to life with vivid descriptions, the characters are brimmed with personality. His locations are memorable, and depicted in endearing (the “hobbit hole”) and terrible (Mirkwood) ways.
The book chronicles how gradually Bilbo wins the trust and friendship of the dwarves through his deeds of luck and courage, but ultimately it is his good nature that seals the deal.
In this story, Tolkien shows exactly why elves are not fond of dwarves. When confronted with all the harm he has caused, Thorin refuses to give up any of his new found wealth to help those in need. He is also the perfect example of dwarven stubbornness, choosing incarceration for an undetermined time in the hand of the elves instead of revealing to them his purpose while crossing their woods.
SIDE-NOTE: ABOUT THE MOVIES
Like many, I did not enjoy the movies too much because of the overly stretched content and the many unnecessary subplot insertions. Turiel and Legolas are the the prime example of these.
However, I was impressed by how faithful to the book the movies were. It is what I would have expected from Peter Jackson due to his previous works. I did not like the first parts of the movie (like an hour or so in the extended version) and all the music, but those were a perfect reflection of the book as well.
SYNOPSIS (a bit rough and not too precise )
- Bilbo meets the Thorin and the other dwarves. They eat, drink and sing all day long, hire the help of Bilbo on bequest of Gandalf, that describes him as a burglar, something he is definitely is not, as himself likes to point out.
- Unsure and afraid, but slightly curious, Bilbo is goaded into accepting this dangerous adventure, forsaking the peace and comfort of his home, something unheard of for a hobbit.
- They seek aid and council with Elrond of Rivendell, who provides them shelter and advises in the best course to their destiny.
- Their first obstacle are a few trolls in their way. Bilbo is sent to spy on them, but as he tries to live up to the burglar expectation, he fails his steal check while stealthily trying to rob one of them. Eventually the dwarves come to his aid, but one by one they are overthrown. Luckily Gandalf comes to save the day. He manages to trick them into arguing among themselves as to who to eat first and in what manner should he be prepared. He stall them long enough until the day breaks in and turns them into stone. They found many treasures within the Troll's lair, including the sword Bilbo would name Stinger.
- Next, they need to cross a fierce mountain, where giants of the storm play throwing balls of ice on each other. As they seek shelter from the tempest and also a place to sleep, they enter a cave that appears to be safe at first. However, during their slumber, a concealed door opens in the back of the cave, letting through a troop of goblins. Bilbo was having trouble to sleep and spots them, but not long enough to prevent him and the dwarves to be captured. But that gave Gandalf time enough prepare and to resist the goblins, later rescuing his friends.
- While fleeing the goblins, Bilbo falls from a precipice and too late the dwarves notice he is not with them. During the days that he is lost inside the goblin mountain, Bilbo finds Gollum and wins a trivia contest to escape with his life, else he would have been eaten by the creature! However, when Gollum finds out Bilbo got his ring, he lounges at him, forgetting his promise and not caring weather the hobbit is dangerous or not.
Luckily for him he is not, and Bilbo slips on the ring and run away. Gollum makes chase, but the ring makes the hobbit invisible. He becomes desperate as he cannot find Bilbo, and inadvertently leads him to the exit of the cave.
- Bilbo them is once again reunited with his friends, but eventually they are caught up by a pack of vicious wargs, which usually serve as mounts for the goblins. They climbed up some trees to escape them, as the wargs could not scale up the trees themselves. But soon they were joined by the goblins.
- Gandalf shoot fire into some of the wargs, and that started a fire in the forest. The goblins decide to wait them out while their trees were burning, but when all hope seemed to fade, the Eagles show up (iei Eagles!) and save the day. They grab each one of the party and lead them away to the tops of the mountain where they make their lair, inaccessible to humans in any other way.
- It turns out that the Lord of the Eagles owed Gandalf a favor, an he agrees to aid them in their quest, flying them as far as they deemed safe to go towards their final destination. As they leave the Eagles, Gandalf seeks the help of a “skin-changer” by the name of Beorn, who lives in solitude in that region and only abides the company of animals. Gandalf cleverly manages to get his help by telling a compelling tale that keeps Beorn entertained and invested in the story. So the party gets food and shelter for a few days.
- The next part of their quest is a difficult one. They need to cross the treacherous forest of Mirkwood, and Gandalf is forced away to attend in more pressing business (the Necromancer). Bilbo and the dwarves spend many days in the woods, they ran out of food, and after a few days without eating, they are faced with evil spiders, which captures the dwarves, but Bilbo escapes with the help of his ring, and latter rescues his friends.
- But now they are captured by the elves of Mirkwood, who demand to know their business and why they have trespassed his domain. Fearing the Elf King would demand a part of his treasure if he knew of his quest, Thorin keeps silent, and for many days him and the dwarves are kept captives there. Eventually Bilbo saves them, after a carefully planned escape.
- Now they arrive at village of Lake-town, where prophecies told of the return of the rightfully King of the Mountain. They agree to help the party with food and supplies, and now the final part of the journey begins as they walk toward the mountain.
- There they are faced first with finding a backdoor door, and then opening it, because they would not dare to come through the front gate where Smaug may be watching for intruders. Bilbo again prevails in both matters after a trialing few days.
- Once inside the mountain, Bilbo is finally charged with the task which he was originally hired to. He is to spy on the dragon find any weakness he may in order to defeat him. As the party devise a plan to kill Smaug, a task that seems impossible, the dragon awakes and tries to kill them all. Failing to do so, he angrily flies towards Lake-town, with plans to exert his vengeance upon their inhabitants for the insolence of the dwarves.
- With an unintended help of Bilbo, Smaug is defeated by Bard son of Gilleon, but the town is destroyed, and many of its people are dead.
- They started to rebuild with the help of the Elves of Mirkwood, and believing the dwarves to be dead, both man and elves march towards the mountain to reclaim its treasure.
- Thorin gets a hold of the news that two armies are marching towards his new found home, aiming to steal his gold. He sends word to this cousin for help. Meanwhile, the goblins also heard the news and send an army of their own.
- When Bard and the Elf King arrive at the mountain, they try to reason with Thorin for a fair share of the treasure to help to rebuild the Lake-town, but Thorin would have none of this. He awaits his cousin to arrive and soon a battle between the elves and humans against the dwarves breaks out. Gandalf is there to by now, and right before the battle starts, he points out the army of goblins and wargs coming in.
- Elves, humans and dwarves join forces against the goblins, but they are too many for them. When all seems lost, they died. No, just kidding. The Eagles and Beorn with some beats shows up and saves the day. Later this would be recalled as the Battle of the Five Armies (goblins, wargs, men, elves, dwarves).
- Thorin and two of the dwarves of his party dies in the battle. Bilbo travels back home with Gandalf.