The Hobbit began as a bedtime story for JRR Tolkien’s children. It has a milder story arc than the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, therefore, is a great read-aloud for families whose younger children can absorb the peril of giant spiders, a wily and powerful dragon, and battle scenes. Older teens and adults will receive enjoyment and insight from the book as well. (My husband listened to it on audio just this past summer).
I found that reading The Hobbit aloud to my teen daughters recently offered not only the solidarity of sharing a great story, but also a new understanding of how our inner gifts and life purpose can be drawn out by others. Gandalf does this for Biblo Baggins, who sees himself as a simple hobbit in the Shire, living a safe and complacent life. All of a sudden, he is thrust into an adventure and needed for skills he didn’t know he possessed. Throughout the story, Bilbo saves the day.
Wow! We all need to have others who will see our unique purposes and help us walk them out. Like the biblical Gideon, sometimes we are “hiding in the wine vat”, just trying to get by and then we hear the voice of the angel: “Greetings, you mighty man (or woman) of God, the Lord is with you!”.
Beware, as Tolkien shows us, the road to fulfilling our destiny is fraught with difficulty.
The first of a two-part film adaptation of the book: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released on December 14, 2012 by New Line Cinema, Warner Bros, and MGM. I urge you to read the book first so that you receive the story as the author intended it to unfold – unabridged- the plot intact with all the detailed descriptions and dialogue that define the characters. Also, give yourself the fun experience of having certain scenes and themes of the book jump off the pages right at you. The movie. By contrast, is the product of director Peter Jackson’s vision and how the story impacted him.
Fun Fact: There are editions of his work that JRR Tolkien illustrated himself. The Art of the Hobbit was published recently which contains his artwork. http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Hobbit-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0547928254