The Hobbit: The Enchanting Prelude to The Lord of the Rings

The Hobbit: The Enchanting Prelude to The Lord of the Rings

by J. R. R. Tolkien

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The enchanting prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is the classic fantasy that inspired Peter Jackson’s major motion picture trilogy

When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark upon a dangerous quest to reclaim the hoard of gold stolen from them by the evil dragon Smaug, Gandalf the wizard suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming Hobbit dwelling in peaceful Hobbiton.

Along the way, the company faces trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and worse. But as they journey from the wonders of Rivendell to the terrors of Mirkwood and beyond, Bilbo will find that there is more to him than anyone—himself included—ever dreamed. Unexpected qualities of courage and cunning, and a love of adventure, propel Bilbo toward his great destiny . . . a destiny that waits in the dark caverns beneath the Misty Mountains, where a twisted creature known as Gollum jealously guards a precious magic ring.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345339683
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/1986
Series: Lord of the Rings Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 13,742
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. After serving in the First World War, he embarked upon a distinguished academic career and was recognized as one of the finest philologists in the world. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. He is, however, beloved throughout the world as the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic works as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He died on September 2, 1973, at the age of 81.

Date of Birth:

January 3, 1892

Date of Death:

September 2, 1973

Place of Birth:

Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)

Place of Death:

Oxford, England


B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

Read an Excerpt


In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill—The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours’ respect, but he gained—well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

The mother of our particular hobbit—what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). Now you know enough to go on with. As I was saying, the mother of this hobbit—of Bilbo Baggins, that is—was the famous Belladonna Took, one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived across The Water, the small river that ran at the foot of The Hill. It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbitlike about them, and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.

Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after she became Mrs Bungo Baggins. Bungo, that was Bilbo’s father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her (and partly with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across The Water, and there they remained to the end of their days. Still it is probable that Bilbo, her only son, although he looked and behaved exactly like a second edition of his solid and comfortable father, got something a bit queer in his make-up from the Took side, something that only waited for a chance to come out. The chance never arrived, until Bilbo Baggins was grown up, being about fifty years old or so, and living in the beautiful hobbit-hole built by his father, which I have just described for you, until he had in fact apparently settled down immovably.

By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast smoking an enormous long wooden pipe that reached nearly down to his woolly toes (neatly brushed)—Gandalf came by. Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion. He had not been down that way under The Hill for ages and ages, not since his friend the Old Took died, in fact, and the hobbits had almost forgotten what he looked like. He had been away over The Hill and across The Water on businesses of his own since they were all small hobbit-boys and hobbit-girls.

All that the unsuspecting Bilbo saw that morning was an old man with a staff. He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which his long white beard hung down below his waist, and immense black boots.

“Good morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. “And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain. If you have a pipe about you, sit down and have a fill of mine! There’s no hurry, we have all the day before us!” Then Bilbo sat down on a seat by his door, crossed his legs, and blew out a beautiful grey ring of smoke that sailed up into the air without breaking and floated away over The Hill.

“Very pretty!” said Gandalf. “But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

“I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them,” said our Mr Baggins, and stuck one thumb behind his braces, and blew out another even bigger smoke-ring. Then he took out his morning letters, and began to read, pretending to take no more notice of the old man. He had decided that he was not quite his sort, and wanted him to go away. But the old man did not move. He stood leaning on his stick and gazing at the hobbit without saying anything, till Bilbo got quite uncomfortable and even a little cross.

“Good morning!” he said at last. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.

“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.”

“Not at all, not at all, my dear sir! Let me see, I don’t think I know your name?”

“Yes, yes, my dear sir—and I do know your name, Mr Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don’t remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!”

“Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows’ sons? Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer’s Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!” You will notice already that Mr Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe, also that he was very fond of flowers. “Dear me!” he went on. “Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures? Anything from climbing trees to visiting elves—or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter—I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time. I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business.”

“Where else should I be?” said the wizard. “All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me. You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, and that is not without hope. Indeed for your old grandfather Took’s sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna, I will give you what you asked for.”

“I beg your pardon, I haven’t asked for anything!”

“Yes, you have! Twice now. My pardon. I give it you. In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, very good for you—and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it.”

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea—any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.

“What on earth did I ask him to tea for!” he said to himself, as he went to the pantry. He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright.

Gandalf in the meantime was still standing outside the door, and laughing long but quietly. After a while he stepped up, and with the spike on his staff scratched a queer sign on the hobbit’s beautiful green front-door. Then he strode away, just about the time when Bilbo was finishing his second cake and beginning to think that he had escaped adventures very well.

The next day he had almost forgotten about Gandalf. He did not remember things very well, unless he put them down on his Engagement Tablet: like this: Gandalf Tea Wednesday. Yesterday he had been too flustered to do anything of the kind.

Just before tea-time there came a tremendous ring on the front-door bell, and then he remembered! He rushed and put on the kettle, and put out another cup and saucer, and an extra cake or two, and ran to the door.

“I am so sorry to keep you waiting!” he was going to say, when he saw that it was not Gandalf at all. It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, very bright eyes under his dark-green hood. As soon as the door was opened, he pushed inside, just as if he had been expected.

He hung his hooded cloak on the nearest peg, and “Dwalin at your service!” he said with a low bow.

“Bilbo Baggins at yours!” said the hobbit, too surprised to ask any questions for the moment. When the silence that followed had become uncomfortable, he added: “I am just about to take tea; pray come and have some with me.” A little stiff perhaps, but he meant it kindly. And what would you do, if an uninvited dwarf came and hung his things up in your hall without a word of explanation?

They had not been at table long, in fact they had hardly reached the third cake, when there came another even louder ring at the bell.

“Excuse me!” said the hobbit, and off he went to the door.

“So you have got here at last!” That was what he was going to say to Gandalf this time. But it was not Gandalf. Instead there was a very old-looking dwarf on the step with a white beard and a scarlet hood; and he too hopped inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited.

“I see they have begun to arrive already,” he said when he caught sight of Dwalin’s green hood hanging up. He hung his red one next to it, and “Balin at your service!” he said with his hand on his breast.

“Thank you!” said Bilbo with a gasp. It was not the correct thing to say, but they have begun to arrive had flustered him badly. He liked visitors, but he liked to know them before they arrived, and he preferred to ask them himself. He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he—as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful—he might have to go without.

“Come along in, and have some tea!” he managed to say after taking a deep breath.

“A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,” said Balin with the white beard. “But I don’t mind some cake—seed-cake, if you have any.”

“Lots!” Bilbo found himself answering, to his own surprise; and he found himself scuttling off, too, to the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and then to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.

When he got back Balin and Dwalin were talking at the table like old friends (as a matter of fact they were brothers). Bilbo plumped down the beer and the cake in front of them, when loud came a ring at the bell again, and then another ring.

“Gandalf for certain this time,” he thought as he puffed along the passage. But it was not. It was two more dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards; and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade. In they hopped, as soon as the door began to open—Bilbo was hardly surprised at all.

“What can I do for you, my dwarves?” he said.

“Kili at your service!” said the one. “And Fili!” added the other; and they both swept off their blue hoods and bowed.

“At yours and your family’s!” replied Bilbo, remembering his manners this time.

“Dwalin and Balin here already, I see,” said Kili. “Let us join the throng!”

“Throng!” thought Mr Baggins. “I don’t like the sound of that. I really must sit down for a minute and collect my wits, and have a drink.” He had only just had a sip—in the corner, while the four dwarves sat round the table, and talked about mines and gold and troubles with the goblins, and the depredations of dragons, and lots of other things which he did not understand, and did not want to, for they sounded much too adventurous—when, ding-dong-a-ling-dang, his bell rang again, as if some naughty little hobbit-boy was trying to pull the handle off.

“Someone at the door!” he said, blinking.

“Some four, I should say by the sound,” said Fili. “Besides, we saw them coming along behind us in the distance.”

The poor little hobbit sat down in the hall and put his head in his hands, and wondered what had happened, and what was going to happen, and whether they would all stay to supper. Then the bell rang again louder than ever, and he had to run to the door. It was not four after all, it was five. Another dwarf had come along while he was wondering in the hall. He had hardly turned the knob, before they were all inside, bowing and saying “at your service” one after another. Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others. Already it had almost become a throng. Some called for ale, and some for porter, and one for coffee, and all of them for cakes; so the hobbit was kept very busy for a while.

A big jug of coffee had just been set in the hearth, the seed-cakes were gone, and the dwarves were starting on a round of buttered scones, when there came—a loud knock. Not a ring, but a hard rat-tat on the hobbit’s beautiful green door. Somebody was banging with a stick!

Bilbo rushed along the passage, very angry, and altogether bewildered and bewuthered—this was the most awkward Wednesday he ever remembered. He pulled open the door with a jerk, and they all fell in, one on top of the other. More dwarves, four more! And there was Gandalf behind, leaning on his staff and laughing. He had made quite a dent on the beautiful door; he had also, by the way, knocked out the secret mark that he had put there the morning before.

“Carefully! Carefully!” he said. “It is not like you, Bilbo, to keep friends waiting on the mat, and then open the door like a pop-gun! Let me introduce Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and especially Thorin!”

“At your service!” said Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur standing in a row. Then they hung up two yellow hoods and a pale green one; and also a sky-blue one with a long silver tas- sel. This last belonged to Thorin, an enormously important dwarf, in fact no other than the great Thorin Oakenshield himself, who was not at all pleased at falling flat on Bilbo’s mat with Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur on top of him. For one thing Bombur was immensely fat and heavy. Thorin indeed was very haughty, and said nothing about service; but poor Mr Baggins said he was sorry so many times, that at last he grunted “pray don’t mention it,” and stopped frowning.

“Now we are all here!” said Gandalf, looking at the row of thirteen hoods—the best detachable party hoods—and his own hat hanging on the pegs. “Quite a merry gathering! I hope there is something left for the late-comers to eat and drink! What’s that? Tea! No thank you! A little red wine, I think for me.”

“And for me,” said Thorin.

“And raspberry jam and apple-tart,” said Bifur.

“And mince-pies and cheese,” said Bofur.

“And pork-pie and salad,” said Bombur.

“And more cakes—and ale—and coffee, if you don’t mind,” called the other dwarves through the door.

“Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!” Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. “And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!”

“Seems to know as much about the inside of my larders as I do myself!” thought Mr Baggins, who was feeling positively flummoxed, and was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed.

“Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!” he said aloud. “Why don’t they come and lend a hand?” Lo and behold! there stood Balin and Dwalin at the door of the kitchen, and Fili and Kili behind them, and before he could say knife they had whisked the trays and a couple of small tables into the parlour and set out everything afresh.

Gandalf sat at the head of the party with the thirteen dwarves all round: and Bilbo sat on a stool at the fireside, nibbling at a biscuit (his appetite was quite taken away), and trying to look as if this was all perfectly ordinary and not in the least an adventure. The dwarves ate and ate, and talked and talked, and time got on. At last they pushed their chairs back, and Bilbo made a move to collect the plates and glasses.

“I suppose you will all stay to supper?” he said in his politest unpressing tones.

“Of course!” said Thorin. “And after. We shan’t get through the business till late, and we must have some music first. Now to clear up!”

Thereupon the twelve dwarves—not Thorin, he was too important, and stayed talking to Gandalf—jumped to their feet, and made tall piles of all the things. Off they went, not waiting for trays, balancing columns of plates, each with a bottle on the top, with one hand, while the hobbit ran after them almost squeaking with fright: “please be careful!” and “please, don’t trouble! I can manage.” But the dwarves only started to sing:

Chip the glasses and crack the plates!

Blunt the knives and bend the forks!

That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates—

Smash the bottles and burn the corks!

Cut the cloth and tread on the fat!

Pour the milk on the pantry floor!

Leave the bones on the bedroom mat!

Splash the wine on every door!

Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;

Pound them up with a thumping pole;

And when you’ve finished, if any are whole,

Send them down the hall to roll!

That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!

So, carefully! carefully with the plates!

And of course they did none of these dreadful things, and everything was cleaned and put away safe as quick as lightning, while the hobbit was turning round and round in the middle of the kitchen trying to see what they were doing. Then they went back, and found Thorin with his feet on the fender smoking a pipe. He was blowing the most enormous smoke-rings, and wherever he told one to go, it went—up the chimney, or behind the clock on the mantelpiece, or under the table, or round and round the ceiling; but wherever it went it was not quick enough to escape Gandalf. Pop! he sent a smaller smoke-ring from his short clay-pipe straight through each one of Thorin’s. Then Gandalf’s smoke-ring would go green and come back to hover over the wizard’s head. He had a cloud of them about him already, and in the dim light it made him look strange and sorcerous. Bilbo stood still and watched—he loved smoke-rings—and then he blushed to think how proud he had been yesterday morning of the smoke-rings he had sent up the wind over The Hill.

“Now for some music!” said Thorin. “Bring out the instruments!”

Kili and Fili rushed for their bags and brought back little fiddles; Dori, Nori, and Ori brought out flutes from somewhere inside their coats; Bombur produced a drum from the hall; Bifur and Bofur went out too, and came back with clarinets that they had left among the walking-sticks. Dwalin and Balin said: “Excuse me, I left mine in the porch!” “Just bring mine in with you!” said Thorin. They came back with viols as big as themselves, and with Thorin’s harp wrapped in a green cloth. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin struck it the music began all at once, so sudden and sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill.

The dark came into the room from the little window that opened in the side of The Hill; the firelight flickered—it was April—and still they played on, while the shadow of Gandalf’s beard wagged against the wall.

The dark filled all the room, and the fire died down, and the shadows were lost, and still they played on. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells

In places deep, where dark things sleep,

In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord

There many a gleaming golden hoard

They shaped and wrought, and light they caught

To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung

The flowering stars, on crowns they hung

The dragon-fire, in twisted wire

They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away, ere break of day,

To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves

And harps of gold; where no man delves

There lay they long, and many a song

Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,

The winds were moaning in the night.

The fire was red, it flaming spread;

The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale

And men looked up with faces pale;

Then dragon’s ire more fierce than fire

Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;

The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.

They fled their hall to dying fall

Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim

To dungeons deep and caverns dim

We must away, ere break of day,

To win our harps and gold from him!

As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up—probably somebody lighting a wood-fire—and he thought of plundering dragons settling on his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered; and very quickly he was plain Mr Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill, again.

He got up trembling. He had less than half a mind to fetch the lamp, and more than half a mind to pretend to, and go and hide behind the beer-barrels in the cellar, and not come out again until all the dwarves had gone away. Suddenly he found that the music and the singing had stopped, and they were all looking at him with eyes shining in the dark.

“Where are you going?” said Thorin, in a tone that seemed to show that he guessed both halves of the hobbit’s mind.

“What about a little light?” said Bilbo apologetically.

“We like the dark,” said all the dwarves. “Dark for dark business! There are many hours before dawn.”

“Of course!” said Bilbo, and sat down in a hurry. He missed the stool and sat in the fender, knocking over the poker and shovel with a crash.

“Hush!” said Gandalf. “Let Thorin speak!” And this is how Thorin began.

“Gandalf, dwarves and Mr Baggins! We are met together in the house of our friend and fellow conspirator, this most excellent and audacious hobbit—may the hair on his toes never fall out! all praise to his wine and ale!—” He paused for breath and for a polite remark from the hobbit, but the compliments were quite lost on poor Bilbo Baggins, who was wagging his mouth in protest at being called audacious and worst of all fellow conspirator, though no noise came out, he was so flummoxed. So Thorin went on:

“We are met to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy and devices. We shall soon before the break of day start on our long journey, a journey from which some of us, or perhaps all of us (except our friend and counsellor, the ingenious wizard Gandalf) may never return. It is a solemn moment. Our object is, I take it, well known to us all. To the estimable Mr Baggins, and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves (I think I should be right in naming Kili and Fili, for instance), the exact situation at the moment may require a little brief explanation—”

This was Thorin’s style. He was an important dwarf. If he had been allowed, he would probably have gone on like this until he was out of breath, without telling any one there anything that was not known already. But he was rudely interrupted. Poor Bilbo couldn’t bear it any longer. At may never return he began to feel a shriek coming up inside, and very soon it burst out like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel. All the dwarves sprang up, knocking over the table. Gandalf struck a blue light on the end of his magic staff, and in its firework glare the poor little hobbit could be seen kneeling on the hearth-rug, shaking like a jelly that was melting. Then he fell flat on the floor, and kept on calling out “struck by lightning, struck by lightning!” over and over again; and that was all they could get out of him for a long time. So they took him and laid him out of the way on the drawing-room sofa with a drink at his elbow, and they went back to their dark business.

“Excitable little fellow,” said Gandalf, as they sat down again. “Gets funny queer fits, but he is one of the best, one of the best—as fierce as a dragon in a pinch.”

If you have ever seen a dragon in a pinch, you will realize that this was only poetical exaggeration applied to any hobbit, even to Old Took’s great-grand-uncle Bullroarer, who was so huge (for a hobbit) that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfimbul’s head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and in this way the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.

In the meanwhile, however, Bullroarer’s gentler descendant was reviving in the drawing-room. After a while and a drink he crept nervously to the door of the parlour. This is what he heard, Gloin speaking: “Humph!” (or some snort more or less like that). “Will he do, do you think? It is all very well for Gandalf to talk about this hobbit being fierce, but one shriek like that in a moment of excitement would be enough to wake the dragon and all his relatives, and kill the lot of us. I think it sounded more like fright than excitement! In fact, if it had not been for the sign on the door, I should have been sure we had come to the wrong house. As soon as I clapped eyes on the little fellow bobbing and puffing on the mat, I had my doubts. He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!”

Then Mr Baggins turned the handle and went in. The Took side had won. He suddenly felt he would go without bed and breakfast to be thought fierce. As for little fellow bobbing on the mat it almost made him really fierce. Many a time afterwards the Baggins part regretted what he did now, and he said to himself: “Bilbo, you were a fool; you walked right in and put your foot in it.”

“Pardon me,” he said, “if I have overheard words that you were saying. I don’t pretend to understand what you are talking about, or your reference to burglars, but I think I am right in believing” (this is what he called being on his dignity) “that you think I am no good. I will show you. I have no signs on my door—it was painted a week ago—, and I am quite sure you have come to the wrong house. As soon as I saw your funny faces on the door-step, I had my doubts. But treat it as the right one. Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert. I had a great-great-grand-uncle once, Bullroarer Took, and—”

“Yes, yes, but that was long ago,” said Gloin. “I was talking about you. And I assure you there is a mark on this door—the usual one in the trade, or used to be. Burglar wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward, that’s how it is usually read. You can say Expert Treasure-hunter instead of Burglar if you like. Some of them do. It’s all the same to us. Gandalf told us that there was a man of the sort in these parts looking for a Job at once, and that he had arranged for a meeting here this Wednesday tea-time.”

“Of course there is a mark,” said Gandalf. “I put it there myself. For very good reasons. You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr Baggins. Just let any one say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal.”

He scowled so angrily at Gloin that the dwarf huddled back in his chair; and when Bilbo tried to open his mouth to ask a question, he turned and frowned at him and stuck out his bushy eyebrows, till Bilbo shut his mouth tight with a snap. “That’s right,” said Gandalf. “Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet. Now Bilbo, my boy, fetch the lamp, and let’s have a little light on this!”

On the table in the light of a big lamp with a red shade he spread a piece of parchment rather like a map.

“This was made by Thror, your grandfather, Thorin,” he said in answer to the dwarves’ excited questions. “It is a plan of the Mountain.”

“I don’t see that this will help us much,” said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. "I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it. And I know where Mirkwood is, and the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred."

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsx
Note on the Textxi
Author's Note1
I.An Unexpected Party3
II.Roast Mutton32
III.A Short Rest51
IV.Over Hill and Under Hill61
V.Riddles in the Dark76
VI.Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire100
VII.Queer Lodgings123
VIII.Flies and Spiders153
IX.Barrels Out of Bond185
X.A Warm Welcome205
XI.On the Doorstep219
XII.Inside Information230
XIII.Not at Home253
XIV.Fire and Water266
XV.The Gathering of the Clouds277
XVI.A Thief in the Night289
XVII.The Clouds Burst296
XVIII.The Return Journey310
XIX.The Last Stage320
Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One of The Lord of the Rings A Long-Expected Party333

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‘One of the best loved characters in English fiction… a marvellous fantasy adventure’Daily Mail‘Finely written saga of dwarves and elves, fearsome goblins and trolls… an exciting epic of travel, magical adventure, working up to a devastating climax’The Observer‘A flawless masterpiece’The Times

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The Hobbit: The Enchanting Prelude to The Lord of the Rings 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 486 reviews.
Balina More than 1 year ago
That was great. I enjoyed every minute reading this. J.R Tolkien is one of the best !!!!
Bilbo808 More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit is a great book for people of all ages. As you read this book it will bring you back to a time when life was as simple as good versus evil. Every detail of the world that J.R.R Tolkien creates is brought to life. As challenges arrive, the characters' personalities change and they develop their own unique characteristics and feelings. As I read this book I felt as if I was growing and learning along with the heroes. I liked how the main character Bilbo began as a normal friendly four foot tall and became the heroic thief that risks his life for the sake of his friends. The Hobbit is just one of those books that you read for hours at a time and still want more. This is one of my favorite books and I would recommend it for any adventurer seeking the thrill of a goblin fight, the terror of a dragon's lair, or the excitement of encountering talking man-eating spiders. The world of the hobbit is truly a well thought out literary treat. Tolkien sows in stories and adventures that are not directly related to Bilbo to give the story more depth. One example of this is when he tells of how Bilbo's relative, a Took, who fought in the Goblin War and invented golf. One of the greatest things about The Hobbit is Tolkien's writing style makes the story sound as if someone is personally telling you a story. The casual way that the author writes in allows the story to come to life and be more realistic. From cover to cover the mysteries unfold as you learn more of this world of mystery and magic. The quest's sense of urgency forces the reader to want more, but when that last page is finished and all tensions are resolved your life is at ease. Finishing The Hobbit was a self-fulfilling task. It gave me the joy of understanding a world unlike our own. If you want to learn more of how the Lord of the Rings trilogy began or if you just want to leisurely read another feel-good book then The Hobbit is the perfect book for you.
RPM123 More than 1 year ago
Bilbo Baggins lived in a hobit-hole in a town called the Shire. It is almost been quiet in the shire, except for interruptions from a wizard named Gandalf. When Bilbo won't go with Gandalf on a quest for treasure, Gandalf and his nine dwarf companions annoy Bilbo so much that he agrees to go. Using one of the dwarf's maps, they they set out through forests, rivers, and mountains facing danger, hunger, and obstacles all the way. Ending with a big battle it is a good book. One of the things I liked about this book is that there is a bunch of action and adventure. Unfortunetly, in between the events there is a lot of waiting and walking which can become very boring. There is also a good amount of unnecisary information. It depends on who the reader is to say whether or not I recommend it. If it is a reader who can't stand waiting, I wouldn't recommend it. If the reader likes to wonder what is going to happen next, then I would certainly recommend the Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien writes somewhat clear in the Hobbit. He brings in other things where he should go straightforward. He writes in a third-person limited point of view, but he is telling a story, chipping in his own personal opinion from time to time, so that the reader knows what he was thinking while he wrote the book. So he writes in a casual sense, as if he is talking, not writing. Also, J.R.R. Tolkien likes to use similes.Some similar novels are the Chronicles of Narnia and the rest of the Lord of the Rings series. An intresting fact is that J.R.R. Tolkien was friends with the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis.
AuraWolf More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered how a hobbit from Bagend got a ring of power? In this prequel to Lord of the Rings, you can see Bilbo Baggins’s adventure from the Shire to the dwarven homeland. In the world of Middle Earth, a hobbit is met with a strange wizard who offers him a chance to go on an adventure. The hobbit, Bilbo, refuses the offer while the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, marks the door of Bilbo’s home and the action starts. Later that evening, Bilbo meets a group of dwarves called Thorin and Company, which is led by Thorin Oakenshield. The dwarves and Gandalf tell Bilbo how Smaug the dragon took their cavernous kingdom. Then, Gandalf and the dwarves offer him a job as their burglar on their journey to free the dwarven domain. He gladly accepted the contract and started his employment as the thief for Thorin and company. On the way, they encounter an orc army who wants to claim the throne of Erebor and the domain’s treasures. They escape the orc mass thanks to Radagast the Brown (another wizard), but then they stumble upon an elfish town and they find weapons to help their cause. Then the group gets captured by the High Elves and put in the dungeon except for Bilbo, who discovers the creature Golem and a ring. He steals the ring from Golem and frees the dwarves from their cells. The crew leaves the town and looks at the mountains in the distance. The group splits up with Gandalf going to the mysterious villain Necromancer’s territory while the dwarves and Bilbo head through the giant spider infested woods. They make it out thanks to Bilbo and his new sword, Sting. They meet at the base of the mountain and meet Smaug the terrifying dragon.
Nogareson More than 1 year ago
I have always wanted to delve into J.R.R. Tolkien, but, the time never came. When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey came into theaters, I immediately saw it. Afterwards, I picked up the book at the library and delved in. (As you can see, I loved the movie.) I haven't seen or read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but, The Hobbit is definitely a must read.
readingissexy23 More than 1 year ago
I've heard in the past that The Hobbit is considered a "childrens book". However, I completely disagree! The Hobbit can appeal to all ages, I certainly loved it! It's a great start to this magnificent series. We get adventure, thrill, humor, among other things. I'm glad Bilbo was able to embrace his Tookish side, thus The Hobbit was born! A must read for anyone who is a fan of the trilogy.
winstonreed More than 1 year ago
I read this book outloud the first time I read it, did the voices and all. I just can't read it any other way. I must have an audience. Leading you directly into the Lord of the Rings trilogy, nothing will every replace "The Hobbit".

Great read for all ages. Again and again as we travel through life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing!!!! You can really tell how much thought was put into the creation and writing of this book. Tolkien was an absolute genius in inventing Hobbits. Kind, genial, peace-loving creatures similar to humans, but about half the size and having big, hairy feet. Brilliant! The storyline was even more brilliant, a Hobbit's journey with 13 Dwarves and the wise Wizard Gandalf to reclaim the Dwarves' homeland from a dangerous dragon and take back their gold. This is magnificent! If you decide not to read this, you have no idea what you're missing out on!
Student Joseph Pick More than 1 year ago
The hobbit could possibly be my favorite book and movie of all time. I have read this book countless times and always love re watching the films. This book starts off with Bilbo Baggins who is not one for doing anything adventurous and likes to stay home and have tea. One day the wizard Gandalf appears. These two had some past as Gandalf always had fireworks on mid summers eve. Gandalf gets to the point and wants Bilbo to be the fourteenth member of an adventure. Bilbo says no and refuses to even be seen by the wizard once he goes inside. Later that day dwarfs start entering his house assuming the "meeting" has started, Bilbo is very confused by the but the Gandalf comes in and explains. Thorin the leader of the group is leading them all back to their homeland to take back their kingdom and kill the dragon Smaug. Bilbo hates the idea but as morning comes Bilbo can't resist going to help. The group goes through many problems as fighting trolls, getting lost in the biggest forest in middle earth and getting caught by the Goblin King of the Misty Mountains. Eventually they get caught by elves and with Bilbo's magic ring he found in the goblin caves he helped the dwarfs escape. They finally make it to the mountain and wake up the dragon. The Smaug becomes angry and fly's off to Lake Town burning it to ashes. Bard the head chief of the town kills the beast with a black arrow. Word spreads and goblins, dwarfs, men, and elf's march to the mountain for the riches and piles of gold that lay in it. The battle is called the "Battle of the Five Armies". In the end Thorin dies of his wounds but the dwarfs kingdom is restored. This book is amazing and I love reading it every time. If you loved Lord of the Rings then you will love this book. It has action throughout the entire book and never gets boring. The book I would say is a lot better than the movie and I hope anyone that reads it will feel the same love for the book as I do.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit has got to be one of the best loved, most well known fantasy-adventure stories out there. It paved the way for the Harry Potter series for sure. The Hobbit in question is one Mr. Bilbo Baggins. He has been tricked into joining a band of dwarves on an adventure to recover stolen treasure. Handpicked by Gandolf the wizard it is unclear to the rest of the group why Mr. Baggins has been designated "burglar" of the adventure, but in time Bilbo rises to the challenge as only a bumbling hobbit can do. The grumbling group encounter an impossible variety of challenges: ogres, goblins, wolves, spiders. Each obstacle brings them closer to Smaug, the treasure-hoarding dragon where they must fight their final battle to win back their rightful bounty.
Aaron.Korff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part 1This is a famous novel about a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. He never wanted to have any adventures, all he wanted to do was to stay in his nice little hobbit hole. One day a wizard named Gandolf came by. He said people will come in the morning and that Bilbo was going on an adventure. The next morning 13 dwarves came. Later they set out to go to the Lonely Mountain and defeat the dragon and get back the gold he took. On the ways they have many adventures, trolls captured them, goblins took them hostage, Bilbo found a magical ring, they were rescued by eagles, and met a man that could change into a bear named Beorn. So far this is a great book that everybody should read. I have read all of the Lord of the Rings books so now I wanted to read from the very beginning. This book is amazing. J.R.R Tolkien must have had a great imagination. He created so many things. He came up with people, languages, lands, creatures, and much more. I can't wait for the movie to come out. The thing I liked the best about the book is the riddle part, between Golom and Bilbo. I always tried to get the answer before I read further. This is only part one so I can't wait to see how it turns out.
HeavenLeAngel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh this oh so classic novel is by far better than the great lord of the rings trilogy. I feel sympathy for those who have read the trilogy and have not had the chance to enjoy this work of art.
Hedgepeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tolkien introduces us to one of the most unique species of beings in Middle-earth and the One Ring begins the path of destruction...
deslni01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again follows Bilbo Baggins as he is thrust from his lazy life across the continent to the Lonely Mountain with a band of dwarves (and for a while, an old wizard). Naturally, Bilbo is not fond of travel or adventure - very few hobbits are! - and going up against orcs, trolls and goblins - let alone a dragon! - hardly seems like something he would prefer to do. But he does it, and in his adventure he finds many things - especially a magical ring - and he helps the dwarves re-take the Lonely Mountain (and learns a little something about himself, as well).This is a childrens, or young-adults novel written quite a long time ago. However, for many reasons it has become and remained a very popular and fond book. Tolkien's universe is spectacular, with strong ties to Norse and Germanic mythology. He creates interesting creatures, folk and customs to flesh out his world. At the same time, he sets the reader up for one of the most well-known adventures ever - the Lord of the Rings. All of this and more combine to form a wonderfully quick and light read full of adventure (and treasure!).
SunshyneBuckarma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(First published in 1938). This humorous, fantasy/adventure classic focuses upon a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who is reluctantly drawn into a quest with a wizard named Gandalf and 13 dwarves. Their hope is to recover stolen treasures from the dragon Smaug. I think what makes The Hobbit unique, is the fact that it¿s so detailed, as Tolkien paints such a vivid picture of his characters and the world they live in. Tolkien even goes to the extent of including ¿Elvish¿ words, (a language he created for the novel), as well as detailed maps of the story¿s various settings. Thus Tolkien certainly makes the typical hero¿s quest his own, turning it into something truly original. It¿s suitable for children of about 12 years of age to adults. Another novel of the fantasy genre that was written in the same decade (1933) is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
silverwing2332 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely one of my favorite books, I love all of Tolkien's works (they are all so amazingly intricate and researched and well written). This one was written for a younger audience than his other books were, which is why it has a lighter, younger, less complex, and dark feel to it. I read this in mythology class, and it was interesting how Tolkien incorporates northern mythology into the book. Through this book, and all the others, it is evident that Tolkien was a master of language and words. Its just a wonderful and thrilling read.
gehsekky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
what can you really say? this is the book that set the stage for the LOTR series. it catapulted millions of readers to the magical world of middle earth and influenced many of their reading habits and perhaps how they view golden rings (one ring to rule them all!) for the rest of their lives.
endersreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tolkien, father of fantasy, philogolist, friend and colleague of C.S. Lewis, Pipe-smoker, wizard, genius! The prelude to LOTR, now 71 years since having been first published, has not aged a day. The novel is so finely fashioned, I feel I could open it and smell bacon, eggs, butter, toast, tea, mead, earthen Hobbit hole, and fine tobacco. The generations of the 60s and 70s found Tolkien to be so intriguing because industrial America was ready for escape. Escape to where? Tolkien claimed that his work was not fiction, but fact. He drew from his vast knowledge of ancient Norse mythologies, and most notably the story of Beowulf. It is this mystic glimpse into the magical past that draws us hither into worlds long lost. Here my precious, pack a bowl from the tobacco jar, blow some smoke-rings, and come to learn of Thorin son of Thrain, King under the Mountain and his immense horde of treasure, not to mention the War of Five Armies.
Chiree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Hobbit is a fantasy about a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who goes on an unprecedented quest with a wizard called Gandalf the Gray and twelve dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield. The adventure takes place in Middle Earth, a land filled with magical creatures, elves, goblins, dwarves, wolves, wizards, and a creature called Gollum. The quest is a journey to the Lonely Mountain to slay the dragon Smaug and reclaim the dwarves¿ treasure. Bilbo encounters many dangers on his journey including being separated from the dwarves and lost in a maze of underground caves. These caves are where Bilbo stumbles onto the creature Gollum. Unknown to Gollum, Bilbo discovers the Ring that Gollum has treasured many years. Bilbo wins his freedom from Gollum through an exchange of riddles. He later uses the magical power of the Ring to disappear, stealing treasure from the dragon Smaug. Smaug is killed, the treasure recovered and Bilbo returns to his hobbit hole in Hobbiton with his magical ring.I enjoyed reading this tale about the hobbit that is waist high to a man and loves to eat, drink and be merry. Bilbo¿s comical approach to his many predicaments keeps the story light hearted as is his character. Good versus evil is at every turn as they travel in their strange world called Middle Earth. It is difficult to call Bilbo a hero. However, Bilbo, under the protection of the wizard, Gandalf the Gray and with the magic of the Ring, is the means in which the dwarves are able to recover their treasure. In a classroom the story could be used as an example of how to overcome anxiety about going some where they are uncomfortable. Students could be given a project to think about a place they do not want to go such as the doctor¿s office, the dentist, or to see a relative they do not like. They could be encouraged to write a story about how they imagine the visit would be if they were Bilbo and how they would conquer the imaginary ¿evil¿ that makes them not want to go. A teacher could also use the story of the hobbit, dwarves, elves and wizard in demonstrating that different types of people can work together and accomplish a task because of their different and special qualities. Several groups of students could each be given a project to construct a ¿castle¿ with blocks, paint, and glue. By putting them in very diverse groups they can be asked to discover what each of them is best at doing and work as a team to complete the project.
mentormom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A master of language, Tolkien certainly worked his magic on my four children, ages two to nine. They sat with rapt attention as I read The Hobbit aloud to them. After an hour of reading, they begged for more stories about Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves. Bilbo's adventures serve as the field experience his education was lacking. On the road with the dwarves, he develops his talents spurred on by Gandalf's confidence in him. His courage, character, and creativity grow throughout the book as Bilbo faces trolls, spiders, elves, and finally the dragon. In the end, Gandalf observes that Bilbo has truly become a new hobbit through his adventures.
privatjokr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is better than the LotR series combined. More happens between the covers of the Hobbit than in the rest. has a dragon! Can't beat it.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found the Hobbit when I was in the 5th grade. I'd finished reading all the Jules Verne I could find and was looking for more books that interesting to read. I picked up the Hobbit and loved it. The plot and characters were so alive. This is the book that made me love fantasy and is one of the few epic fantasies I really love. This is a classic that everyone should at least try.
chatfielda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was a kid, a pretty young kid at that, and have read a few times since then and every time I do I experience an entirely different book.Much lighter and more suited for casual reading than Tolkien's opus Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit is a tale of adventure and finding one's place in the world. Bilbo is an entirely lovable character, and we first meet all of the great and wondrous cast that populate the aforementioned trilogy. Gandalf first appears as the mysterious robed man from afar and Bilbo's band of dwarves is hilarious troupe of characters, perfect for taking on a dragon guarding treasure under a mountain. A classic story in every sense, and Tolkien manages to make it fresh, which in turns makes it even more classic.I haven't read it in a few years now, and I can only hope that if the studios ever do decide to make it, they don't continue playing these childish games with rights and holding out on Peter Jackson, the only man alive whose right it is to even touch Tolkien's work. Brilliant fantasy, and a classic for all ages. Just sitting here and thinking about it, I kind of want to go read it again, just for the sensation.
av71 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished The Hobbit a few weeks ago. It has some great lines about hobbits. (Based on my habits, my dad & brother say I must be one.) But I think it's poorly written over all. Tolkien only TOLD the story; he didn¿t make me feel that I was there. It was a tedious read though I enjoy reading. I think it¿s really strange how dedicated some people are to the book; I can't understand why.
prozacstan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Best work of fiction I have ever experienced! I found myself laughing out loud many times. It seemed as though I was on the journey. Fascinating.