A Bit Bookish

The name's Luna.
24/Los Angeles/wannabe blogger & researcher
Just another freak in the Freak Kingdom.
A place for me to ramble about books I love... also probably the only blog I'll ever have that will keep its theme. I don't want my page to be a mess so I'm only going to shelve books starting with what I've read in the past year.
I'm not always eloquent, and I'm certainly not pretentious. I am just a huge nerd who lurks in used bookstores and likes to read and do research for fun.
Geeks unite.

The Hobbit- Ch. 4

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Lee

Chapter 4 stands out as the first real challenge for our party of adventurers. They're high in the mountains and have entered the Wild (I love that it's capitalized, it adds to its majesty), where any number of horrible things could be lurking.
"...most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers." 
I couldn't help but think that Tolkien was trying to warn young readers here about their own chosen paths. No matter what you decide to do with your life, there are going to be challenges, obstacles, deceptions and dreadful things; people aren't always honest, life isn't always fair, and a direction you take which seems completely correct could turn out to be dead wrong. Maybe not, but it's a thought that came to my mind as I read.


Before the party journeys too far (down the correct path, thanks to Elrond and Gandalf), they pause to gaze down upon the lands through which they've passed. Bilbo's comfortable village is a mere spec on the horizon. It's a moment that should make them proud, but after traveling miles and miles from Rivendell and being seemingly no closer to their final destination, the moment is lost. This is when we first start to see Bilbo and the others being of the same mind-- the dwarves don't complain as much as Bilbo does but they are all suffering the same impatience and frustration. This likeness of mind continues when they get trapped in a horrible thunderstorm... on the side of a cliff... near giants... in the pitch blackness with barely any shelter... yeah, I'd be a little bit annoyed myself. 

"All was well, until one day they met a thunderstorm-- more than a thunderstorm, a thunderbattle."


It says that Bilbo had never seen anything like it, which makes me wonder if even the rain is pleasant in The Shire. The situation is so bad that even Thorin complains--
"This wont do at all! If we don't get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football!" 
"Well if you know of anywhere better, take us there!" said Gandalf, who was feeling very grumpy, and was far from happy about the giants himself. 
I enjoyed this moment of snarkyness between Thorin and Gandalf. It shows that none of them are really so different from Bilbo after all and it brings a bit of humor to the situation without overdoing it. 

Fili and Kili are sent to find shelter and return with news of a cave not too far off. Gandalf is skeptical about the cave's safety, but after a close inspection they settle in for the evening.




There is a very brief moment of coziness that takes us back to Bilbo's kitchen-- there's no fire, but the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are all sitting in dry clothes, getting comfy in their blankets and talking together. The dwarves are smoking their pipes and Gandalf is changing the colors of their smoke rings for amusement. It's a moment of calm, and everyone lets their guard down... which is always a mistake. 

That tiny piece of coziness is very strategically placed by Tolkien. The reader gets this warm feeling like "good, we have shelter for the night, everything's all good for now" and then, just as suddenly as Bilbo and company are dragged from their beds, we are jerked out of a calm reverie of colored smoke rings and cozy blankets and fumbling our way through the dark right alongside the others. 


Now Bilbo and friends (minus Gandalf, who got separated) are facing a different kind of evil. The trolls were evil enough to eat people, but they weren't really smart enough to be sadistic or psychotic. Goblins, on the other hand... 
"Now goblins are cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted. They make no beautiful things but they make many clever ones... Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work til they die for want of air and light."  

The thunderstorm, the difficult paths, even the trolls seem like challenges from nature, but these creatures are the group's first encounter with true evil. Having heard of Tolkien's background in theology I couldn't help but think of the goblins as demons. 
Luckily for them, Gandalf ("Of course it was Gandalf...") finds his way back to his friends and buys them some time to escape from the clutches of the goblins, who are just about to brutally murder the entire party. 


"Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner." 


Unfortunately, even Gandalf doesn't see what comes later, after they are sure they've beaten back the impending army of goblins. Determined to get revenge, the goblins, who have the tunnels memorized and can see well in the dark, put out their torches, put on soft shoes that will make no noise, and sneak up on the party.

(show spoiler)


The chapter ended when Bilbo "...fell... into the blackness, bumped his head on hard rock, and remembered nothing more"



Ahh, writing about The Hobbit was a perfect end for today... I was really sad because we had Hobbit day at the bookstore and it turned out to be the slowest day ever! It really bummed me out, I was excited about nerding out all day, so I needed this tonight...gotta read all you guys' posts as well, which I shall do over coffee in the morning. :] Also, I recently purchased a nice crisp paperback copy of The Fellowship of the Ring! Not sure when I'll get to start it, but anyway... time to watch Futurama, eat chocolate cake (left over from tea & cake for Hobbit day), and drift off to sleep. 

-and then Luna fell... into the blackness... and remembered nothing more. 


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