The Hobbit


Plot Summary

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit (a mythological creature invented by Tolkien) who lives in a large and comfortable hobbit-hole. The book opens with a brief description of hobbits, given in the clever tones of the omniscient narrator, who often speaks directly to the reader. Hobbits are peaceful rural creatures, about half the height of humans, with leathery feet and hairy toes, who tend to be stout because of their fondness for eating well and often. Bilbo Baggins is a wealthy hobbit who lives alone. On the Baggins side, his family has always been very quiet and respectable; however, his mother was a Took and, as the narrator tells us, the Tooks tended to be adventurous hobbits. Bilbo has a little of both in his personality.

On a bright spring morning, Bilbo is enjoying a pipe in front of his hobbit-hole when the wizard Gandalf comes by. Gandalf asks Bilbo if he would like to sign up for an adventure, and Bilbo declines. Not wanting to seem rude, though, Bilbo invites Gandalf to join him for tea the following afternoon. The next day at tea time, 13 dwarves show up in addition to Gandalf. The flustered Bilbo receives everyone with polite hospitality, eventually realizing that Gandalf has brought them all together because he believes that Bilbo should join their adventure. The dwarves intend to reclaim their stolen ancestral treasure from the terrifying dragon Smaug, who long ago drove the dwarves from their land and now sits hoarding their riches atop the Lonely Mountain. Gandalf has told the dwarves that Bilbo is a burglar, which Bilbo most certainly is not. When Bilbo overhears the dwarves expressing their doubts about his ability to aid in their quest, Bilbo’s pride takes over and he insists on joining in the adventure.

The next morning, the dwarves leave before Bilbo is out of bed. Discovering his hobbit-hole empty, Bilbo is relieved to escape the long journey and frightening adventure. Gandalf soon shows up, however, and rushes Bilbo out the door, explaining that the dwarves expect to meet him at the inn where they have gone ahead to arrange food and...

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