fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien
- For the movies, see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014).
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937) is a high fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien about the quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins, along with a band of dwarves, to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug.
Chapter I: An Unexpected PartyEdit
- In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
- "Good morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
- "What do you mean?" he said. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"
- "All of them at once," said Bilbo.
- "I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."
- "I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"
- Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
- As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.
- The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up—probably somebody lighting a wood-fire—and he thought of plundering dragons settling on his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered; and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill, again.
- "I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth"—by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?"
- Old Took's great-grand-uncle Bullroarer...was so huge (for a hobbit) that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of The Green Fields and knocked their king Golfimbul's head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and in this way, the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.
- "There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself."
Chapter II: Roast MuttonEdit
- “If you had dusted the mantelpiece, you would have found this just under the clock,” said Gandalf, handing Bilbo a note (written, of course, on his own note-paper).
- "Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, if it don't look like mutton again tomorrer," said one of the trolls.
- Trolls are slow in the uptake, and mighty suspicious about anything new to them.
- "Who shall we sit on first?" said the voice.
Chapter III: A Short RestEdit
- ...but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to.
Chapter IV: Over Hill and Under HillEdit
- You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.
Chapter V: Riddles in the DarkEdit
- He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment.
- What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?
- One of Gollum's riddles for Bilbo. The answer is "mountain".
- Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.
- One of Bilbo's riddles for Gollum. The answer is "teeth".
- Voiceless it cries,
- One of Gollum's riddles for Bilbo. The answer is "wind".
- An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
"That eye is like to this eye"
Said the first eye,
"but in low place
Not in high place."
- One of Bilbo's riddles for Gollum. The answer is "sun on the daisies".
- It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.
- One of Gollum's riddles for Bilbo. The answer is "dark".
- A box without hinges, key, or lid,
yet golden treasure inside is hid.
- One of Bilbo's riddles for Gollum. The answer is "egg".
- Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
- One of Gollum's riddles for Bilbo. The answer is "fish".
- No-legs lay on one-leg, two-legs sat near on three-legs, four-legs got some.
- One of Bilbo's riddles for Gollum. The answer is "fish on a little table, man at table sitting on a stool, the cat has the bones".
- This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
- One of Gollum's riddles for Bilbo. The answer is "time".
- Bilbo pinched himself and slapped himself; he gripped on his little sword; he even felt in his pocket with his other hand. There he found the ring he had picked up in the passage and forgotten about.
- "What have I got in my pocket?" he said aloud.
- “Where iss it? Where iss it?” Bilbo heard him crying. “Losst it is, my precious, lost, lost! Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost!”
- "Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!"
Chapter XII: Inside InformationEdit
- There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don't expect too much.
- It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession; and Smaug was no exception.
- To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful.
- 'I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.'
- This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don't want to reveal your proper name (which is wise), and don't want to infuriate them by a flat refusal (which is also very wise). No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it.
- "My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"
- "Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.
Chapter XIII: Not at HomeEdit
- The mere fleeting glimpses of treasure which they had caught as they went along had rekindled all the fire of their dwarvish hearts; and when the heart of a dwarf, even the most respectable, is wakened by gold and by jewels, he grows suddenly bold, and he may become fierce.
Chapter XV: The Gathering of the CloudsEdit
- The king is come unto his hall
Under the Mountain dark and tall.
The Worm of Dread is slain and dead,
And ever so our foes shall fall!
Chapter XVI: A Thief in the NightEdit
- The Elvenking looked at Bilbo with a new wonder. "Bilbo Baggins!" he said. "You are more worthy to wear the armour of elf-princes than many that have looked more comely in it"
Chapter XVII: The Clouds BurstEdit
- "The Eagles!" cried Bilbo once more, but at that moment a stone hurtling from above smote heavily on his helm, and he fell with a crash and knew no more.
Chapter XVIII: The Return JourneyEdit
- 'Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a very gloomy business.'
- "Farewell, good thief," he said. "I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed. Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth, I wish to part in friendship from you, and I would take back my words and deeds at the Gate."
- "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. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!"
Chapter XIX: The Last StageEdit
- As all things come to an end, even this story, a day came at last when they were in sight of the country where Bilbo had been born and bred, where the shapes of the land and of the trees were as well known to him as his hands and toes.
- Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
- He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves; and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said "Poor old Baggins!" and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy to the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long.
- "Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!" said Bilbo.
"Of course!" said Gandalf. "And why should not they prove true? Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"
"Thank goodness!" said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.
Quotes about The HobbitEdit
- Seventeen years ago there appeared, without any fanfare, a book called "The Hobbit" which, in my opinion, is one of the best children's stories of this century.
- W. H. Auden, "The Hero Is a Hobbit", in The New York Times Book Review (31 October 1954)
- I am personally immensely amused by hobbits as such, and can contemplate them eating and making their rather fatuous remarks indefinitely; but I find that is not the case with even my most devoted ‘fans’.
- J. R. R. Tolkien, commenting upon the likelihood of a sequel to The Hobbit, in a letter to C. A. Furth of Allen and Unwin, 24th July 1938. The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Allan and Unwin (1981), p. 38
- I never expected a money success. In fact, I never even thought of commercial publication when I wrote The Hobbit back in the Thirties. It all began when I was reading exam papers to earn a bit of extra money. That was agony. One of the tragedies of the underpaid professor is that he has to do menial jobs. He is expected to maintain a certain position and to send his children to good schools. Well, one day I came to a blank page in an exam book and I scribbled on it. 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.' I knew no more about the creatures than that, and it was years before his story grew. I don't know where the word came from. You can't catch your mind out. It might have been associated with Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt. Certainly not rabbit, as some people think. Babbitt has the same bourgeois smugness that hobbits do. His world is the same limited place.
- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Telegraph interview, originally published on 22 March 1968.