I am currently reading The Hobbit for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th” time, over and over for the past 53 years. I’ve lost count. I can remember distinctly standing in the corner of the ‘Children’s Section’ of the New Philadelphia Library and pulling The Hobbit from the shelf for the first time. I can even remember the position on shelf, the right hand side of the corner, second shelf down, probably over about 2/3 of the say to the end of the shelf. Isn't that strange. I put Children’s section in quotes because I found The Hobbit not too long before I was allowed access to the whole rest of the Library. That was a red letter day.
I was enthralled with The Hobbit and a little disappointed when it ended. I’d never heard of JRR Tolkien and had no idea that three more volumes of hobbit stories existed on the other side of the library. I can’t remember when I found The Lord of the Rings. I rather think they were in paper back. But I DID find them.
I know that as soon as I finish The Hobbit, I will be drawn to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It is inevitable.
I don’t read quite as much as I used to. My eyes are not what they used to be and it is difficult to read except under the best circumstances. So today my reading is restricted to only two locations in the house. Those places have the best lighting. I keep a different book in each location so I don’t have to carry one around with me. Right now The Hobbit is on the counter in the kitchen. I only read it there in the mornings when I’ve finished packing R & M’s lunches. I do that and fix my own breakfast, then I can sit and read until knees are cold and my toes are numb. Bilbo doesn’t travel quite as fast as he used to. Actually he only travels for about 30 minutes a day. Heh, heh, heh. I guess he goes pretty fast at that since he had gone from Hobbitton clear to Smaug’s Mountain in about a week..
When the dwarves arrived at Lake Town from their trip down the river in the barrels they were received with mixed feeling by the people. But soon they became enthusiastic with the thought of the dragon being destroyed and all of the treasure that would come out of the Mountain. They lent the Dwarves boats and helped them get to the base of the mountain.
Bilbo did his part by finding the opening, the ‘back door,’ to the mountain and then actually going down the tunnel to the dragon’s lair. Eventually, Bilbo angered the dragon by stealing a golden cup from the hoard and then by foolishly taunting the dragon with riddles. Then the dragon left his lair in a rage and destroyed the back door; finally he rushed down the river to destroy Lake Town.
So today, the dragon is dead. Bard the bowman shot his black arrow into the bare patch on his chest. When Bilbo had tricked him into showing him his jewel armored underside he had seen the bare patch under his leg. The arrow penetrated deeply and buried itself in its chest. Smaug plummeted into the depths of the lake amid clouds of steam and boiling water.
Now the Elves and the men of Lake Town are preparing to march on the Mountain and claim the treasure, which, by the way, Thorin and his dwarves have already laid claim to. Life is going to get interesting.
(I never realized the fantastic amount of art work that has developed because of the hobbit series. And the artists who have done the work are fantastic. Take time to visit the sites of the artists and look at all the work they have there... Follow the links on the pictures I've posted...)