By Gabriela Kustner
“Prediction is dangerous: but The Hobbit may well prove a classic.” So wrote C. S. Lewis in 1937 of his good friend J.R.R. Tolkien’s newly released book—and how right he was. Now, if you were to judge the merit of The Hobbit from the glimpses of the movie trailer you might have caught by an NYC subway entrance, you might have wrinkled your nose in distaste. I wouldn’t blame you, because the movie is chock full of digitally mastered, rip-roaring, big-boy fight scenes—and not so full of the whimsical storytelling that makes The Hobbit such a delightful read. In the book, Tolkien’s tone resembles that of an indulgent grandfather with a wicked sense of humor mixed in with a reverence for tradition and those old, ancient fairy tales and adventures which first open children’s horizons. Perhaps that is one of the things I enjoy most about The Hobbit: the way it makes you rediscover the child within you that loves dragons and elves and quests that might make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins’s riddle contest with Gollum, his audacious escape with the dwarves from the prisons of Mirkwood, and his general cheek and courage make for the best sort of storytelling that will never grow old, though its readers may. In short, put down what you’re reading, pick up The Hobbit, and read it with your loved ones: you’ll instantly find yourself whisked away on an unexpected journey that you’ll never be able to forget.
Gabriela Kustner, long-time Tolkien fan, is a recent Princeton grad with a degree in English who lives in New York City.