The Hobbit

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Overview

J.R.R. Tolkien's classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly ...

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The Hobbit

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Overview

J.R.R. Tolkien's classic prelude to his Lord of the Rings trilogy

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies worldwide and established itself as a modern classic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All those, young or old, who love a finely imagined story, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts." Horn Book Guide

"A flawless masterpiece." The Times of London

Horn Book Guide
All those, young or old, who love a finely imagined story, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts.
Times of London
A flawless masterpiece.
From the Publisher
"One of the most freshly original and delightfully imaginative books for children that have appeared in many a long day... The Hobbit is a glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irrestible... All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts" The New York Times Book Review
Booklist
"… the best available ... "
--Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547928227
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Series: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Edition description: 75th Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 529
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit , The Lord of the Rings , and The Silmarillion . His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

Biography

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After his father's death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.

His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edward's School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shine in his classical work. After completing a First in English Language and Literature at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the New English Dictionary and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called "The Book of Lost Tales" but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.

In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife's death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins (UK).

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 3, 1892
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)
    1. Date of Death:
      September 2, 1973
    2. Place of Death:
      Oxford, England

Read an Excerpt

AN UNEXPECTED PARTY

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.

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill—The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without thebother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours’ respect, but he gained—well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

The mother of our particular hobbit—what is a hobbit? I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). Now you know enough to go on with. As I was saying, the mother of this hobbit—of Bilbo Baggins, that is—was the famous Belladonna Took, one of the three remarkable daughters of the Old Took, head of the hobbits who lived across The Water, the small river that ran at the foot of The Hill. It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbitlike about them, and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.

Not that Belladonna Took ever had any adventures after she became Mrs Bungo Baggins. Bungo, that was Bilbo’s father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her (and partly with her money) that was to be found either under The Hill or over The Hill or across The Water, and there they remained to the end of their days. Still it is probable that Bilbo, her only son, although he looked and behaved exactly like a second edition of his solid and comfortable father, got something a bit queer in his make-up from the Took side, something that only waited for a chance to come out. The chance never arrived, until Bilbo Baggins was grown up, being about fifty years old or so, and living in the beautiful hobbit-hole built by his father, which I have just described for you, until he had in fact apparently settled down immovably.

By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast smoking an enormous long wooden pipe that reached nearly down to his woolly toes (neatly brushed)—Gandalf came by. Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion. He had not been down that way under The Hill for ages and ages, not since his friend the Old Took died, in fact, and the hobbits had almost forgotten what he looked like. He had been away over The Hill and across The Water on businesses of his own since they were all small hobbit-boys and hobbit-girls.

All that the unsuspecting Bilbo saw that morning was an old man with a staff. He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which his long white beard hung down below his waist, and immense black boots.

“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. “And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain. If you have a pipe about you, sit down and have a fill of mine! There’s no hurry, we have all the day before us!” Then Bilbo sat down on a seat by his door, crossed his legs, and blew out a beautiful grey ring of smoke that sailed up into the air without breaking and floated away over The Hill.

“Very pretty!” said Gandalf. “But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. 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! I can’t think what anybody sees in them,” said our Mr Baggins, and stuck one thumb behind his braces, and blew out another even bigger smoke-ring. Then he took out his morning letters, and began to read, pretending to take no more notice of the old man. He had decided that he was not quite his sort, and wanted him to go away. But the old man did not move. He stood leaning on his stick and gazing at the hobbit without saying anything, till Bilbo got quite uncomfortable and even a little cross.

“Good morning!” he said at last. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.

“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off.”

“Not at all, not at all, my dear sir! Let me see, I don’t think I know your name?”

“Yes, yes, my dear sir—and I do know your name, Mr Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don’t remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!”

“Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows’ sons? Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer’s Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!” You will notice already that Mr Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe, also that he was very fond of flowers. “Dear me!” he went on. “Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures? Anything from climbing trees to visiting elves—or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter—I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time. I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business.”

“Where else should I be?” said the wizard. “All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me. You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, and that is not without hope. Indeed for your old grandfather Took’s sake, and for the sake of poor Belladonna, I will give you what you asked for.”

“I beg your pardon, I haven’t asked for anything!”

“Yes, you have! Twice now. My pardon. I give it you. In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, very good for you—and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it.”

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea—any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Come tomorrow! Good-bye!” With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem rude. Wizards after all are wizards.

“What on earth did I ask him to tea for!” he said to himself, as he went to the pantry. He had only just had breakfast, but he thought a cake or two and a drink of something would do him good after his fright.

Gandalf in the meantime was still standing outside the door, and laughing long but quietly. After a while he stepped up, and with the spike on his staff scratched a queer sign on the hobbit’s beautiful green front-door. Then he strode away, just about the time when Bilbo was finishing his second cake and beginning to think that he had escaped adventures very well.

The next day he had almost forgotten about Gandalf. He did not remember things very well, unless he put them down on his Engagement Tablet: like this: Gandalf Tea Wednesday. Yesterday he had been too flustered to do anything of the kind.

Just before tea-time there came a tremendous ring on the front-door bell, and then he remembered! He rushed and put on the kettle, and put out another cup and saucer, and an extra cake or two, and ran to the door.

“I am so sorry to keep you waiting!” he was going to say, when he saw that it was not Gandalf at all. It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, very bright eyes under his dark-green hood. As soon as the door was opened, he pushed inside, just as if he had been expected.

He hung his hooded cloak on the nearest peg, and “Dwalin at your service!” he said with a low bow.

“Bilbo Baggins at yours!” said the hobbit, too surprised to ask any questions for the moment. When the silence that followed had become uncomfortable, he added: “I am just about to take tea; pray come and have some with me.” A little stiff perhaps, but he meant it kindly. And what would you do, if an uninvited dwarf came and hung his things up in your hall without a word of explanation?

They had not been at table long, in fact they had hardly reached the third cake, when there came another even louder ring at the bell.

“Excuse me!” said the hobbit, and off he went to the door.

“So you have got here at last!” That was what he was going to say to Gandalf this time. But it was not Gandalf. Instead there was a very old-looking dwarf on the step with a white beard and a scarlet hood; and he too hopped inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited.

“I see they have begun to arrive already,” he said when he caught sight of Dwalin’s green hood hanging up. He hung his red one next to it, and “Balin at your service!” he said with his hand on his breast.

“Thank you!” said Bilbo with a gasp. It was not the correct thing to say, but they have begun to arrive had flustered him badly. He liked visitors, but he liked to know them before they arrived, and he preferred to ask them himself. He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he—as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful—he might have to go without.

“Come along in, and have some tea!” he managed to say after taking a deep breath.

“A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,” said Balin with the white beard. “But I don’t mind some cake—seed-cake, if you have any.”

“Lots!” Bilbo found himself answering, to his own surprise; and he found himself scuttling off, too, to the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and then to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.

When he got back Balin and Dwalin were talking at the table like old friends (as a matter of fact they were brothers). Bilbo plumped down the beer and the cake in front of them, when loud came a ring at the bell again, and then another ring.

“Gandalf for certain this time,” he thought as he puffed along the passage. But it was not. It was two more dwarves, both with blue hoods, silver belts, and yellow beards; and each of them carried a bag of tools and a spade. In they hopped, as soon as the door began to open—Bilbo was hardly surprised at all.

“What can I do for you, my dwarves?” he said.

“Kili at your service!” said the one. “And Fili!” added the other; and they both swept off their blue hoods and bowed.

“At yours and your family’s!” replied Bilbo, remembering his manners this time.

“Dwalin and Balin here already, I see,” said Kili. “Let us join the throng!”

“Throng!” thought Mr Baggins. “I don’t like the sound of that. I really must sit down for a minute and collect my wits, and have a drink.” He had only just had a sip—in the corner, while the four dwarves sat round the table, and talked about mines and gold and troubles with the goblins, and the depredations of dragons, and lots of other things which he did not understand, and did not want to, for they sounded much too adventurous—when, ding-dong-a-ling-dang, his bell rang again, as if some naughty little hobbit-boy was trying to pull the handle off.

“Someone at the door!” he said, blinking.

“Some four, I should say by the sound,” said Fili. “Besides, we saw them coming along behind us in the distance.”

The poor little hobbit sat down in the hall and put his head in his hands, and wondered what had happened, and what was going to happen, and whether they would all stay to supper. Then the bell rang again louder than ever, and he had to run to the door. It was not four after all, it was five. Another dwarf had come along while he was wondering in the hall. He had hardly turned the knob, before they were all inside, bowing and saying “at your service” one after another. Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others. Already it had almost become a throng. Some called for ale, and some for porter, and one for coffee, and all of them for cakes; so the hobbit was kept very busy for a while.

A big jug of coffee had just been set in the hearth, the seed-cakes were gone, and the dwarves were starting on a round of buttered scones, when there came—a loud knock. Not a ring, but a hard rat-tat on the hobbit’s beautiful green door. Somebody was banging with a stick!

Bilbo rushed along the passage, very angry, and altogether bewildered and bewuthered—this was the most awkward Wednesday he ever remembered. He pulled open the door with a jerk, and they all fell in, one on top of the other. More dwarves, four more! And there was Gandalf behind, leaning on his staff and laughing. He had made quite a dent on the beautiful door; he had also, by the way, knocked out the secret mark that he had put there the morning before.

“Carefully! Carefully!” he said. “It is not like you, Bilbo, to keep friends waiting on the mat, and then open the door like a pop-gun! Let me introduce Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and especially Thorin!”

“At your service!” said Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur standing in a row. Then they hung up two yellow hoods and a pale green one; and also a sky-blue one with a long silver tas- sel. This last belonged to Thorin, an enormously important dwarf, in fact no other than the great Thorin Oakenshield himself, who was not at all pleased at falling flat on Bilbo’s mat with Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur on top of him. For one thing Bombur was immensely fat and heavy. Thorin indeed was very haughty, and said nothing about service; but poor Mr Baggins said he was sorry so many times, that at last he grunted “pray don’t mention it,” and stopped frowning.

“Now we are all here!” said Gandalf, looking at the row of thirteen hoods—the best detachable party hoods—and his own hat hanging on the pegs. “Quite a merry gathering! I hope there is something left for the late-comers to eat and drink! What’s that? Tea! No thank you! A little red wine, I think for me.”

“And for me,” said Thorin.

“And raspberry jam and apple-tart,” said Bifur.

“And mince-pies and cheese,” said Bofur.

“And pork-pie and salad,” said Bombur.

“And more cakes—and ale—and coffee, if you don’t mind,” called the other dwarves through the door.

“Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!” Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. “And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!”

“Seems to know as much about the inside of my larders as I do myself!” thought Mr Baggins, who was feeling positively flummoxed, and was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house. By the time he had got all the bottles and dishes and knives and forks and glasses and plates and spoons and things piled up on big trays, he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed.

“Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!” he said aloud. “Why don’t they come and lend a hand?” Lo and behold! there stood Balin and Dwalin at the door of the kitchen, and Fili and Kili behind them, and before he could say knife they had whisked the trays and a couple of small tables into the parlour and set out everything afresh.

Gandalf sat at the head of the party with the thirteen dwarves all round: and Bilbo sat on a stool at the fireside, nibbling at a biscuit (his appetite was quite taken away), and trying to look as if this was all perfectly ordinary and not in the least an adventure. The dwarves ate and ate, and talked and talked, and time got on. At last they pushed their chairs back, and Bilbo made a move to collect the plates and glasses.

“I suppose you will all stay to supper?” he said in his politest unpressing tones.

“Of course!” said Thorin. “And after. We shan’t get through the business till late, and we must have some music first. Now to clear up!”

Thereupon the twelve dwarves—not Thorin, he was too important, and stayed talking to Gandalf—jumped to their feet, and made tall piles of all the things. Off they went, not waiting for trays, balancing columns of plates, each with a bottle on the top, with one hand, while the hobbit ran after them almost squeaking with fright: “please be careful!” and “please, don’t trouble! I can manage.” But the dwarves only started to sing:

Chip the glasses and crack the plates!

Blunt the knives and bend the forks!

That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates—

Smash the bottles and burn the corks!

Cut the cloth and tread on the fat!

Pour the milk on the pantry floor!

Leave the bones on the bedroom mat!

Splash the wine on every door!

Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;

Pound them up with a thumping pole;

And when you’ve finished, if any are whole,

Send them down the hall to roll!

That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!

So, carefully! carefully with the plates!

And of course they did none of these dreadful things, and everything was cleaned and put away safe as quick as lightning, while the hobbit was turning round and round in the middle of the kitchen trying to see what they were doing. Then they went back, and found Thorin with his feet on the fender smoking a pipe. He was blowing the most enormous smoke-rings, and wherever he told one to go, it went—up the chimney, or behind the clock on the mantelpiece, or under the table, or round and round the ceiling; but wherever it went it was not quick enough to escape Gandalf. Pop! he sent a smaller smoke-ring from his short clay-pipe straight through each one of Thorin’s. Then Gandalf’s smoke-ring would go green and come back to hover over the wizard’s head. He had a cloud of them about him already, and in the dim light it made him look strange and sorcerous. Bilbo stood still and watched—he loved smoke-rings—and then he blushed to think how proud he had been yesterday morning of the smoke-rings he had sent up the wind over The Hill.

“Now for some music!” said Thorin. “Bring out the instruments!”

Kili and Fili rushed for their bags and brought back little fiddles; Dori, Nori, and Ori brought out flutes from somewhere inside their coats; Bombur produced a drum from the hall; Bifur and Bofur went out too, and came back with clarinets that they had left among the walking-sticks. Dwalin and Balin said: “Excuse me, I left mine in the porch!” “Just bring mine in with you!” said Thorin. They came back with viols as big as themselves, and with Thorin’s harp wrapped in a green cloth. It was a beautiful golden harp, and when Thorin struck it the music began all at once, so sudden and sweet that Bilbo forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill.

The dark came into the room from the little window that opened in the side of The Hill; the firelight flickered—it was April—and still they played on, while the shadow of Gandalf’s beard wagged against the wall.

The dark filled all the room, and the fire died down, and the shadows were lost, and still they played on. And suddenly first one and then another began to sing as they played, deep-throated singing of the dwarves in the deep places of their ancient homes; and this is like a fragment of their song, if it can be like their song without their music.

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.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells

In places deep, where dark things sleep,

In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord

There many a gleaming golden hoard

They shaped and wrought, and light they caught

To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung

The flowering stars, on crowns they hung

The dragon-fire, in twisted wire

They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away, ere break of day,

To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves

And harps of gold; where no man delves

There lay they long, and many a song

Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,

The winds were moaning in the night.

The fire was red, it flaming spread;

The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale

And men looked up with faces pale;

Then dragon’s ire more fierce than fire

Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;

The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.

They fled their hall to dying fall

Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim

To dungeons deep and caverns dim

We must away, ere break of day,

To win our harps and gold from him!

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. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. He looked out of the window. 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.

He got up trembling. He had less than half a mind to fetch the lamp, and more than half a mind to pretend to, and go and hide behind the beer-barrels in the cellar, and not come out again until all the dwarves had gone away. Suddenly he found that the music and the singing had stopped, and they were all looking at him with eyes shining in the dark.

“Where are you going?” said Thorin, in a tone that seemed to show that he guessed both halves of the hobbit’s mind.

“What about a little light?” said Bilbo apologetically.

“We like the dark,” said all the dwarves. “Dark for dark business! There are many hours before dawn.”

“Of course!” said Bilbo, and sat down in a hurry. He missed the stool and sat in the fender, knocking over the poker and shovel with a crash.

“Hush!” said Gandalf. “Let Thorin speak!” And this is how Thorin began.

“Gandalf, dwarves and Mr Baggins! We are met together in the house of our friend and fellow conspirator, this most excellent and audacious hobbit—may the hair on his toes never fall out! all praise to his wine and ale!—” He paused for breath and for a polite remark from the hobbit, but the compliments were quite lost on poor Bilbo Baggins, who was wagging his mouth in protest at being called audacious and worst of all fellow conspirator, though no noise came out, he was so flummoxed. So Thorin went on:

“We are met to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy and devices. We shall soon before the break of day start on our long journey, a journey from which some of us, or perhaps all of us (except our friend and counsellor, the ingenious wizard Gandalf) may never return. It is a solemn moment. Our object is, I take it, well known to us all. To the estimable Mr Baggins, and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves (I think I should be right in naming Kili and Fili, for instance), the exact situation at the moment may require a little brief explanation—”

This was Thorin’s style. He was an important dwarf. If he had been allowed, he would probably have gone on like this until he was out of breath, without telling any one there anything that was not known already. But he was rudely interrupted. Poor Bilbo couldn’t bear it any longer. At may never return he began to feel a shriek coming up inside, and very soon it burst out like the whistle of an engine coming out of a tunnel. All the dwarves sprang up, knocking over the table. Gandalf struck a blue light on the end of his magic staff, and in its firework glare the poor little hobbit could be seen kneeling on the hearth-rug, shaking like a jelly that was melting. Then he fell flat on the floor, and kept on calling out “struck by lightning, struck by lightning!” over and over again; and that was all they could get out of him for a long time. So they took him and laid him out of the way on the drawing-room sofa with a drink at his elbow, and they went back to their dark business.

“Excitable little fellow,” said Gandalf, as they sat down again. “Gets funny queer fits, but he is one of the best, one of the best—as fierce as a dragon in a pinch.”

If you have ever seen a dragon in a pinch, you will realize that this was only poetical exaggeration applied to any hobbit, even to Old Took’s great-grand-uncle Bullroarer, who 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.

In the meanwhile, however, Bullroarer’s gentler descendant was reviving in the drawing-room. After a while and a drink he crept nervously to the door of the parlour. This is what he heard, Gloin speaking: “Humph!” (or some snort more or less like that). “Will he do, do you think? It is all very well for Gandalf to talk about this hobbit being fierce, but one shriek like that in a moment of excitement would be enough to wake the dragon and all his relatives, and kill the lot of us. I think it sounded more like fright than excitement! In fact, if it had not been for the sign on the door, I should have been sure we had come to the wrong house. As soon as I clapped eyes on the little fellow bobbing and puffing on the mat, I had my doubts. He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!”

Then Mr Baggins turned the handle and went in. The Took side had won. He suddenly felt he would go without bed and breakfast to be thought fierce. As for little fellow bobbing on the mat it almost made him really fierce. Many a time afterwards the Baggins part regretted what he did now, and he said to himself: “Bilbo, you were a fool; you walked right in and put your foot in it.”

“Pardon me,” he said, “if I have overheard words that you were saying. I don’t pretend to understand what you are talking about, or your reference to burglars, but I think I am right in believing” (this is what he called being on his dignity) “that you think I am no good. I will show you. I have no signs on my door—it was painted a week ago—, and I am quite sure you have come to the wrong house. As soon as I saw your funny faces on the door-step, I had my doubts. But treat it as the right one. Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert. I had a great-great-grand-uncle once, Bullroarer Took, and—”

“Yes, yes, but that was long ago,” said Gloin. “I was talking about you. And I assure you there is a mark on this door—the usual one in the trade, or used to be. Burglar wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward, that’s how it is usually read. You can say Expert Treasure-hunter instead of Burglar if you like. Some of them do. It’s all the same to us. Gandalf told us that there was a man of the sort in these parts looking for a Job at once, and that he had arranged for a meeting here this Wednesday tea-time.”

“Of course there is a mark,” said Gandalf. “I put it there myself. For very good reasons. You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr Baggins. Just let any one say I chose the wrong man or the wrong house, and you can stop at thirteen and have all the bad luck you like, or go back to digging coal.”

He scowled so angrily at Gloin that the dwarf huddled back in his chair; and when Bilbo tried to open his mouth to ask a question, he turned and frowned at him and stuck out his bushy eyebrows, till Bilbo shut his mouth tight with a snap. “That’s right,” said Gandalf. “Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet. Now Bilbo, my boy, fetch the lamp, and let’s have a little light on this!”

On the table in the light of a big lamp with a red shade he spread a piece of parchment rather like a map.

“This was made by Thror, your grandfather, Thorin,” he said in answer to the dwarves’ excited questions. “It is a plan of the Mountain.”

“I don’t see that this will help us much,” said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. "I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it. And I know where Mirkwood is, and the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred."


From the Audio CD (Unabridged) edition.

Copyright 1986 by J. R. R. Tolkien
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4243 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3195)

4 Star

(521)

3 Star

(198)

2 Star

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1 Star

(239)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 4261 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Enchanting book,

    But the enhanced edition is worth the extra buck, which it is I believe only a dollar more. It has recordings of J R R Tolkein reading the dwarves songs such as chip the glassses n crack the plates! & far over the misty mountains cold.

    169 out of 221 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    (eBook version) Terrible formatting interrupts the flow.

    I've loved the Hobbit for a long time, and was excited to see an eBook version come out. "Finally, I can read it on my Nook", I thought. I was extremely disappointed in some of the choices of the formatters. Tolkien's illustrations are included, but are reduced to a postage stamp size, for some reason. The Nook screen has a very high resolution, and the illustrations should take advantage of it! The illustrations even look terrible on the tiny iPhone screen. Also, for some reason, the lines of verse are irregularly spaced. Sometimes you'll get 5 stanzas on the screen, sometimes two or three with bizarre spacing. If I'm paying for a product, I expect a professional look and consistent formatting!

    161 out of 195 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2009

    Just Wonderful!

    This is a fabulous edition of the Hobbit. We purchased it for our family library. My children loved the illustrations. It is a bit pricy - but a wonderful addition to any collection.

    111 out of 146 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    The 5 stars belong to the story ONLY!

    The Hobbit as most people know is one of many books that precede The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. All of the books from the set are my favorite "Go to" books and I keep many of them on my Nook.
    That having been said there is nothing enhanced about this version.
    The "artwork" by Micheal Hague could have been drawn by a 3 year old. This artist is the one responsible for the ghastly Tolkien Calendars from the last few years.
    If someone at the publishing company wants to enhance this book again get rid of Hague and use Alan Lee or John Howe's paintings and drawings. Those are true fans of the literature and know how to do honor to the literary work.

    85 out of 118 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Greatest Book Ever

    The Hobbit (the prelude to the Lord of the Rings) starts out great and never goes downhill from there. When it starts out with a three foot tall person being thrown out of his home with nothing, and coming back the richest person in his country, it will almost always be a great book.
    In the beginning a hobbit named Bilbo gets thrown out of his home and goes on an adventure. The following exert is Gandalf the wizard getting Bilbo out the door. "But. ""No time for that!" "But.""No time for that either!" He then goes on a fantastic journey with talking spiders, goblins, greedy elves, and..riddles. That last part may not make sense, but it will when you read it and decide it is an incredible book.
    I think it is an occasionally funny, exciting, fantasy genre adventure story. It sprinkles in humor sparingly at good points in the story. It is not a book I would recommend for those below eleven or twelve years of age.
    The Hobbit is, in my opinion, an incredible read that should be worth a look from everyone.
    The Hobbit is the greatest book I have ever read, and a true classic. If you like The Lord of the Rings movies, you will love this book. When I set it down, I was captivated by its story, and its incredible quality.

    69 out of 94 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    magical and inspiring

    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is truly a magical book that will cheer most people up when they're not in a good mood. A tale concerning small hobbits no more than three feet tall, to cave trolls towering over ten feet, which will swipe you off your feet and into a new world, if you get into it. All the creatures in between include elves, wizards, dwarves, and goblins that according to Tolkien all existed during the past times, after the age of the creation of magic and before the dominion of men. Tolkien describes that the reason for which this magic is lost is because through time, when men grew and spread through middle-earth, men could not use such powers and so those who knew magic became extinct.

    The story starts off with a description of how hobbits lived during this era, and about a particular hobbit that would become a hero, Bilbo Baggins. Hobbits were three-foot tall creatures that look like men but have a thick layer of hair beneath their feet to walk bare-footed, and they didn't do anything unexpected or out of the ordinary. So to make the long story short, a wizard and thirteen dwarves set out to Bilbo's house and convince him to commence a long journey through dangerous lands around middle-earth, and he has no choice but to agree. So they fight goblins and trolls and converse with a dragon to find a treasure.

    This story is more about the journey and the bonding of the characters throughout the experience, than about wanting and finding the treasure. It's a wonderful tale about friendship and learning through experiences to be successful. The style of writing the author offers the reader in this book is uniquely captivating because he writes very simple sentences, yet his intended ideas are perfectly well written and so his simplicity also keeps the reader interested rather than reading a line ten times because you can't make sense of it. The pacing of the book is moderate (neither fast nor slow), and because it is a journey the setting constantly changes and varies throughout. There is a perfect amount of magic that's enough to have one believing in the story and not have the reader thinking of excuses as to how certain things cannot possibly be true.

    The Hobbit is a wonderful novel where the world of magic and reality collide and to some may seem truly spectacular. In the end, this book helps us appreciate life as a whole and also to move on in life. It also advises us to try new things in life because you never know something for sure unless you try it. Instead of sticking with the unexpected and blinding ourselves with ignorance, we can open our closed-minds and instead of dismissing a challenge, we can accept it and maybe we can change the way we live, or even the mood that we wake up in each morning, opening ourselves to the simplicity of life. So yes, I do recommend this magnificent title.

    49 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    While the nook version may have some bugs to work out (and very slight bugs in comparison to many other books might I add) the story is still as magical as it was the first time I read the book. The only "problem" I noticed was that the illustrations would sometimes come in between two consecutive pages, instead of at the end or beginning of a chapter. The illustrations were still fabulous and, for me anyways, did not interrupt the story.

    47 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Fascinating Read

    I'm in eighth grade, and I was truly fascinated by this book. It has many captivating moments that keep your eyes glued to the screen of your nook. I recommend this book to any teenager who is a great reader (and quite nerdy perhaps as you will be saying things like "Orcrist" and " Glamdring" with your friends), I also would recommend this to any adult who has a knack for fantasy creatures, and likes descriptive settings. I truly enjoyed this book and I am excited to read the next book in The Lord of the Rings series.

    29 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    Love this book!

    The Hobbit is such a great book! Tolkien's writing is incredible! He makes it seem as if you are in the story with the characters, thinking and feeling what they are! It is the best fantasy novel I have ever read! I can't wait to move on to the Lord of the Rings!

    29 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2010

    Exelent-A true work of art

    The Hobbit, also known as There and Back Again, is a classic prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and connects the information given in the Lord of the Rings with an awe inspiring-story. The book highlights the journey of the then young Bilbo Baggins, who is tricked by the wizard Gandalf to host a party for a band of thirteen dwarves. Gandalf then proposes to Bilbo and the Dwarves to go on a quest to find the Lonely Mountain, a refuge for the evil dragon Smaug. The mountain was not always this way; it was once a rich dwarf stronghold, full of gold and other riches. The confused Bilbo accepts the offer, and finds himself on the most exciting journey he will ever take. This book is written in a more understandable way than the Lord of the Rings. Strange and improvised words are less dense, leading to a faster; more useable reading experience. You can't go wrong with this book. It tells the classic tale of a common, modest being venturing out of his comfort zone and finding himself in vast riches.

    20 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    This is for the Bill Vincent publisher eBook version. I WANT MY

    This is for the Bill Vincent publisher eBook version.
    I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!
    I have read the Hobbit Several times. Love it, 5 stars etc.
    Looks like Bill Vincent is a lazy incompetent publisher who does not even proof read his publication.
    This eBook version is a scan of the book where there are intolerable OCR errors on just about every page. The OCR spell check also incorrectly changes some of the Dwarf names to the wrong spelling.
    Who the heck is Bill Vincent and how did Barnes and Noble let him in here with his piece of book scan and OCR fail garbage.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2012

    The Hobbit is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings titles ill

    The Hobbit is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings titles illustrating the long talked about adventures of Frodo's father, Bilbo Baggins. Although the title doesn't make huge connections to the original Lord of the Rings tales, it does explain how the Baggins' got the magical ring and it explains everything that made Bilbo what he is today. If none of this made sense, that's okay. Even if you have no knowledge of the Lord of the Rings, this book still beautifully tells an amazing tale.
    The story begins in Bilbo home town where he still lives. The book explains very well that Hobbits (the race of Bilbo) don't much care for adventures and would rather be safe at home. So when Gandalf the wizard visits Bilbo and practically pushes Bilbo into an adventure, it doesn't sit well with Bilbo. It seems within a day he is swooped away and on a horse to help Gandalf and the dwarves on a grand adventure that he never actually agreed to. The dwarves (13 of them) are a group a relatives that plan to reclaim the lost gold of Thorin's (the lead dwarf) father's former kingdom which is now inhabited by a mighty dragon.
    The story takes countless twists and turns throughout the book. What starts as a simple adventure at the beginning of the tale, soon turns into much more. What you get in the end is a truly satisfying tale. If you love stories of great adventures, this is the book for you. Whether it's goblins, giant wolves, elves, and even dragons, this book truly grasps the imagination.
    Bilbo is an especially interesting character to follow. As the adventure goes on you see him change and become braver and more heroic. In the beginning, the dwarves see him as a pain to carry along with them. But then you see Bilbo become much more to the group which makes the book even better. Bilbo is a troubled, scared, and sad hobbit that answers the call to save himself and others which is very interesting to read.
    Finally, this book is worthy of being read simply because of J.R.R Tolkien's unique writing style. It is different from today's standard literature and truly is told in a special way. It gives the book it's own feel and brings the fantasy world alive. This book is a must read for all.

    14 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Awesome

    AWESOME STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    Wonderful Classic

    I've always loved this book, since I first read it at the age of five. Twenty-seven years later, I still find it enjoyable, like an old friend who is always dependable. I just read it again last weekend when I was sick with the flu, and it was just as good as the first time around. Tolkien did a wonderful job telling an entertaining story in a marvelous, mystical world that transports one away from the problems of the real world. A definite classic and a highly recommended read for anyone, young and old.

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A classic for all ages

    Before there were whispers of a growing shadow or the finding of a perilous ring of power, there was a simple hobbit that lived in a simple hole in the ground. Considerably lighter in tone than the epic of the ring, The Hobbit is a marvelous tale that follows the most unexpected adventures of a most unfortunate hobbit. Bilbo Baggins, accompanied by a companion of dwarves and a wise old wizard, travels across Middle-earth in search of a long lost treasure guarded by a fearsome terror known as Smaug.

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Classic

    I love it!

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Militza luv read this

    Best book ever reaad it no joke

    8 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Not Compatible with Many Devices

    I received this book as a gift. Sadly, it is not compatible with the Nook Simple Touch or the Nook for Android app (even when running on a color Android tablet). It should fail gracefully on all devices, offering, for example, text-only on devices that cannot display color photographs. Pity.

    7 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    THE HOBBIT!!!

    This book is seriously awesome! It was full of action,adventure,and total epicness!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    I received The Hobbit as a gift almost a year ago. This emerald

    I received The Hobbit as a gift almost a year ago. This emerald hardcover edition is stunning -and I don't just mean its appearance! The Hobbit is a fantastic, captivating story, and a wonderfully well-written one at that. Tolkien's own illustrations are included throughout and add to the magic and ingenuity.

    I had difficulty putting the book down and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read. The Hobbit is a classic!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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