The Hobbit :: The End (Final Review)

Welcome to the The Hobbit read-a-long! We’re reading this book through November and December. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.

Week Seven: Read to The End

Discussion:

So, how did you like it?

(I’m going to jump in in the comments because I don’t want to take too much steam out of your thoughts up here, but ooooh the very ending: Bilbo’s song… “Roads go ever, ever on…” and the metaphors – THE METAPHORS. And the lesson, in the very last paragraph, and the way Tolkien ended it with a line that showed us that they just kept on going – existing just out of our sight. Such a good read, and yet in such a very different way than when I read it 20 years ago!)

Who’s Reading Along:

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly The Hobbit discussion (see below for more information).**

Melissa Caldwell
jackiemania
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
sarahdulitz
Ashley
Roberta
Amber
June @So_Meow
Krystlee
Brittany M
Cindy
jaynesbooks
Nancy
threewhales
Jenny Colvin (@readingenvy)
Diane
sawcat
Stewart
thetruebookaddict
Arenel
kai charles (@YogiKai)
MaryAnn

Friendly Reminders:

  • If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
  • Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
  • Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
  • If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
  • If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!


46 thoughts on “The Hobbit :: The End (Final Review)

  1. Once again, Bilbo Baggins is in his home in Hobbiton, and after his great adventure, he’s content with his quiet life. When Gandalf tells him, in effect, the world doesn’t revolve around him, his reply is “Thank goodness!” I don’t think he experienced that letdown that can occur when certain events come to an end. He doesn’t even mind that he’s no longer considered “respectable” by the townfolks.

    I was impressed with a children’s story that didn’t bring about a completely happy ending and with characters who used intelligence (in addition to physical strength) to win the battle on all fronts. The loss of Thorin and two of the dwarves is sad, but such tragedies occur in a war. Bilbo’s idea to use the Arkenstone as a bargaining tool might not have worked with Thorin, but he made solid allies out of Bard, his people, and the elves. Good lessons for young ones to learn. Of course, how one handles the idea that Bilbo took a precious stone that wasn’t given to him as a reward is another thing. Another gem Tolkien added was Bilbo’s willingness to accept responsibility for taking the stone and giving it to Bard. Mr. Tolkien, you have my respect!!

    Bilbo is a hobbit after my own heart. I love how he dreams about food!!! And I share his sentiments about battle: “Misery me! I have heard songs of many battles, and I have always understood that defeat may be glorious. It seems very uncomfortable, not to say distressing. I wish I was well out of it.” I agree, Bilbo.

    I’ve enjoyed my journey with Bilbo and the dwarves to the mountain and the dragon. Thanks, Wallace, for allowing me to accompany you!

  2. Personally I didn’t really like it; Tolkien put too much in the book that half the time that I didn’t understand what the heck was going on. Could have been half the length and still just as effective. I don’t really care about metaphors; I just want a story that is clean and tight.

  3. I really liked this story! I liked that Bilbo is so out of his element but he finds a way to overcome his fears and to get out of his comfort zone to go on a big adventure. Being sort of a homebody myself, I really appreciated reading this story.

    I had remembered liking this book the first time that I read it but could never really get in to the LOTR trilogy. I think I may have started reading the first book in the trilogy too early in my life to really be able to get into it (I would have been trying to read those books late in elementary school). At that time, I think the books were way beyond Re-reading “The Hobbit” made me think that I should really give the trilogy another try.

    • You definitely should, Meg. I think you will feel right at home this time. I’m planning a reread in the future. Just not sure when yet. It’s been about 10 years. I think I will read it more slowly next time. :)

    • I also really appreciated the homebody-stretch-out-of-your-comfort-zone theme. They really play that up in the movie too (which I thought was inspiring)!

  4. My favorite quote in the entire book:

    “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

    I love these words of wisdom so much.

    How ’bout that Bilbo using the Arkenstone to make everyone get on the same page! I know you guys were all worried about him taking it, but it wasn’t for selfishness and gain. It’s one of those grey areas that the book does so well. No “thou shalt not steal” — it depends on the situation. Life is not always black or white.

    I also saw the movie and LOVED it. It’s dramatically different from the book — some characters who were not in the book, different twists on the action, no feeling of being told a story tucked under a million blankets — but I think it works as a film extravaganza. If you ask me book or movie, I’d say “Both!” :)

    • I also appreciated the quote. So true!!! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I hope to soon. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Yes! I marked that quote too. As much as I was inspired by the journey my fellow Hobbit took – I liked that Tolkien also celebrated what he was instead of just showing how important it was that he changed.

      I finally saw the movie. I think I had been tainted by some bad reviews from friends, so I noticed some of the things that they didn’t like – but I definitely liked it and will be seeing the next two! I didn’t so much mind the back story that they added along the way (in fact, it was quite interesting), but I’m so curious why they actually changed some of the scenes.

      About the tucking-in feeling… I was absolutely wondering if this was a movie that kids could see. I thought the LOTR trilogy was far too scary for littles, and this one (in certain places) went there too. Most of it was fun and exciting, but at three hours (and the placement of Orcs throughout) I’m guessing they decided they didn’t care if the younger kids came?

      • I think the changes made for a more spectacular film viewing experience – I was surprised I was so OK with the changes (I usually HATE when films change books).

        Yeah – I think the wee-est of wee ones would be too scared!!

    • I love that quote, too. It speaks to the braveness that resides so quietly in us that we hardly know notice its presences, unless we need to defend it. Here’s to good food and friends and the comforts of home!

  5. I miss the book already! I was looking forward for each week’s reading with eagerness, and now it’s suddenly finished(
    I liked how there’s no traditional happy end in the book. I thought dragon was the biggest problem, but then his death caused big quarrels between people. Then I thought the battle had been won and everything was gonna be OK now, but then I got to know Thorin was dying and two dwarves too… But anyway the reader is left with the feeling that everything is the way it meant to be, and returning home really makes Bilbo happy!
    I’ve seen the movie too, and it’s really very different from the book, it’s far more epic and pathetic, but they added far more background there than there is in the book, which puts the story in the context. So I generally liked it but don’t expect it to be of the same mood as the book is.

    • I felt the exact same way about the movie!

      It’s funny how used to these “meetings” you get each week, isn’t it? Was fun having you!

  6. I loved the ending except for the final battle being more of an afterthought than visually described. Thorin’s outcome was so sad! Yet his death felt so hurried! I’m looking forward to the movies to see the battle played out fully. A very enjoyable read! So glad I joined you guys and I feel empowered ti try and read the Lord of the Rings

    • I agree about Thorin’s death. It took me by surprise and happened so quickly I actually had to reread that passage to make sure it really happened.

    • Yeah, Kai, after I read the battle scene (which I had forgotten about), I now realize why Jackson is making three movies. You know he loves his epic battle scenes. Definitely read LOTR. It is such a wonderful trilogy.

    • Yes, I was surprised by Thorin’s death as well (as well as the other two, Fili and Kili was it?). And it DID feel hurried – good way to put it. I, like Ashley, actually re-read to make sure I got it right! Boo and bummer.

      • Perhaps Tolkien felt it wasn’t necessary to the story and detracted from his message? If his message is that there is a hero, a wise person, and a quiet person who loves comfort in each one of us, that the right side of us shows up when most needed, then perhaps the battle is somewhat less necessary.

  7. I think I enjoyed it more the second time around, because I’ve read LOTR also. First time I read this then moved onto LOTR, so I wasn’t able to connect all the LOTR references in it. Makes me want to reread LOTR, and read the other tales.

    • I read LOTR right after the first film came out. I have a volume with all three books in it. I just plowed through all three, totally lost in Tolkien world! It was a pleasure.

    • I read LOTR about ten years ago. Each book before each movie was released. I will definitely be rereading someday. I have yet to read The Silmarillion nor the The Books of Lost Tales, but I have them so expect to get to them…probably sooner than later now that Middle-Earth so beckons. :)

    • I have not, but own Lord of the Rings and have looked through The Silmarillion (I really want to read that one because I adore the elves and want to learn more!).

  8. I really enjoyed the book and wouldn’t have read it if is wasn’t for this online book group. Since the rest of my family has read it, it is nice to know what they are talking about- finally!

  9. I loved the last piece of conversation between Gandalf and Bilbo–definitely my favorite exchange in the entire story. It’s important to remember the big picture!

    Thanks for the read-a-long, Wallace! Had a great time–looking forward to 2013′s list!

  10. I’m sad it’s over. :( Such a wonderful book. I had totally forgotten about the battle at the end, but it’s funny, I found myself seeing glimpses in my mind of the cartoon movie version The Hobbit that I loved as a child. I have it on VHS and the LOTR (the cartoon version) so it looks like I’m going to have to watch them again. I just watched the entire LOTR movie trilogy again last weekend. I’ve decided that Middle-Earth must be visited often. :) What a profound ending for Thorin. I was starting to worry about his morality, but he ended up proving himself in the end. And Bilbo was the sweetest of all. Such a good heart and sense of justice.

    Thanks to you, Wallace, for hosting this read-a-long. It turns out that The Hobbit was just the read I needed in my life right now.

  11. “Well done! Mr. Baggins!” “There is always more about you than anyone expects!”

    The Return Journey paragraph about Bilbo going off by himself and sitting alone, crying himself red and hoarse, may be my favorite in the entire book. Kindly little souls do much more of that than the world suspects, my darling Bilbo.

    “You are a fool, Bilbo Baggins, and you made a great mess of that business with the stone; and there was a battle, in spite of all your efforts to buy peace and quiet, but I suppose you can hardly be blamed for that.” Kindly little souls struggling with all their might to do right by everyone–then struggling to not second-guess themselves. Countless lives could have been spared, including his own, had Thorin been less bent on defending his treasure, but then the goblins would also have been spared and peace never restored, nor Lake-town rebuilt “more prosperous than ever.”

    I was really taken aback, by the way, with the reactions here to Tolkien’s treatment of Smaug’s demise. I thought it was BRILLIANT. I loved that Bilbo was responsible for the dragon’s downfall though not the one who “fired the shot.” And a dragon blazing over a town before falling to his death is more than epic enough for me!

    And ohhhh that moment when Bilbo at long last returns to where “the shapes of the land and of the trees were as well known to him as his hands and toes.” Our home-loving hobbit was home…”and the sound of the kettle on his hearth was ever after more musical…”

    • Tolkien sure did manage to get a lot of lessons taught in this one, didn’t he? Including that life does not always go the way we think it will – and that sometimes when something bad happens, it also is the cause for something good. So confusing, this life.

      I imagine Tolkien didn’t have Bilbo slay the dragon because it wouldn’t have been quite believable, would it? And then how would we have trusted the negotiating process if we hadn’t seen that everyone was really on the same side — the side of wanting peace?

    • Some great quotes and I love the fact that you love the essence of the hobbit spirit! Thank you for reminding me of them. I had to finish the book 2 weeks ago and this is perfect.

  12. My favorite part was when Gandalf told Bilbo he would need the gold for the future. Turns out he needed it to buy back his things! So in the end, everyone was richer, wiser and happier for the journey.

  13. I also really enjoyed The Hobbit and would have never re-read it if it had not been for this wonderful readalong. Thanks Wallace! I’m surprised at how little I remembered of the specifics of the plot from from when I read it as a child. I’m trying to imagine my little self absorbing all of the threats, mayhem and death that Tolkien dishes out, but I’m having a hard time doing so — I must have been more resilient that I remember!

    On that note, just as Tolkien keeps Bilbo out of the key scene of Smaug’s ultimate demise, he uses the same technique at the end of the book by having Bilbo be unconscious during the final battle in the Battle of the Five Armies. Even though as an adult reader I was disappointed in both choices, I think Tolkien may have made them specifically because he wrote The Hobbit with an audience of children in mind. This story is clearly Bilbo’s, and he is the one that young readers especially would relate to. Perhaps by having them hear about these two particularly violent and pivotal scenes second-hand, Tolkien is able to convey the thrills and horrors of such intense battles without overwhelming his target audience.

    This thought occurred to me when I read the following passage in “The Return Journey” chapter — Bilbo had just woken up from being knocked out during battle and remarked, looking at the surprising calm around him: “‘Victory after all, I suppose!’ he said, feeling his aching head. ‘Well, it seems a very gloomy business.’” (p. 272, Kindle Ed.). Victories like that of Bard over Smaug, and the Dwarves/Humans/Eagles etc. over the goblins in the Battle of Five Armies still exacted a terrible toll in human life and the destruction of house and home. It’s not something to be enjoyed as much as somberly appreciated, and Tolkien keeping key battle scenes out of Bilbo’s presence (and thus at a remove from us as readers) I think is part of that overall message. And of course Tolkien hammers this point home with all of the wonderful quotes you all have already recited above, about how much Bilbo appreciates his life back in the Shire after having been through this adventure.

    Thanks to all for the great comments about this book — it really enhanced my reading and enjoyment of it. And now on to Persuasion!

    • I agree on being a more resilient child than I remember, I can’t believe I wasn’t more scared of this book!

      And I love your ideas on why Bilbo was kept out of the violence. I think you are probably right, and possibly this is why the violence of the movie didn’t sit quite right with me (but I still enjoyed the movie).

      To Persuasion!

  14. I am so glad I read this book! I loved watching Bilbo evolve and his cleverness of using the stone to end the war!! Now I just need to see the movie!!!

  15. I enjoyed it. Not as much as when I read it as a child, but that makes sense since it is really written for young people. :) I am looking forward to seeing the movie on Friday and reading this made me want to pick up the LOTR series again!

  16. Throughout the book as Biblo found courage or wisdon as needed, then returned to being his hobbit-hole loving, tea loving, food loving self, I was reminded of a wonderful poem by Odgen Nash, “The Tale of Custard the Dragon.” Here is a link to it, if you think you might enjoy reading it: http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/Custard.html.

    It is a children’s poem which reminds us that those who say they are brave are not always so brave when it comes to action, and those who pronounce themselves cowards are capable of great bravery — and it is funny!

    One of my favorite things about The Hobbit is Bilbo’s Walking Song: “Roads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea; ….” This song appears in LOTR in various versions, but to me it has always been a theme, you never do know when you leave your home where your journeying will take you — whether that journey is by foot or by book!

    Great read. Thank you, Wallace!
    Happy New Year, everyone!

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