Never have I read Tolkien novels. I was so young when the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy came out as a big hit. My cousins love those movies. We used to watch them together at our late grandparents’ house. But I always fall asleep. To my defense, I was only about ten then. I didn’t know better than the fact that Legolas is super handsome that my favorite t-shirt was a red one with his face printed on it. Years passed and I grew up to appreciate literature and with the intention to read then watch the trilogy. Now that the prelude is coming to theaters soon (and the first LOTR book was checked out) I started my streak with The Hobbit.
Only three pages have been flipped yet I’m already struggling. I can stand reading maps although I don’t do that a lot – nobody has to anymore, thanks to GPS (whatever that stands for). But an entirely new alphabet made my eyebrows meet and my forehead wrinkle. Bad sign. They are runes. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t feel bad. That’s normal. I’m sure it’s not part of any school’s curriculum. But if you must know, the photo on the left is a part of Thror’s map – the ultimate guide of the unexpected journey – and it translates to Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast. Anyway, I almost gave up reading when I saw the map. It’s filled with stuff I can’t make sense of. And I was too lazy to research. So I just kept flipping until it said Chapter 1, and I read on. Not too long after that, I made a mental note: Novel is not in Runes but in English. Relief.
Tolkien took me to a different world. A world unknown to man, where dwarfs and elves and hobbits dwell, wizards have wands waved with a spell, where eagles and ravens among other birds can speak, and goblins and dragons make our heroes freak. And that attempt at poetry is to say that there are also rhymes that the characters sing although the melody is a big question. If you read to relax and forget everything going out in the world, this book would do you good. I felt like I’ve escaped my weary world and followed a thrilling adventure. I was not a part of it though, just a spectator. Effortless. With just one book and more to go, I already am a big fan of Tolkien. He epitomizes the leisure of reading. I was unwinding and learning simultaneously.
The hobbit’s name is Bilbo Baggins. He has not been to any adventure until a friend, Gandalf, invited him to one. He was hesitant. And Thorin & Company, his adventure dwarf buddies, were even more doubtful of him. They cannot understand how an inexperienced hobbit could come in handy in their quest to retrieve treasures guarded by a fire-breathing dragon called Smaug. But they respected Gandalf as a wise wizard. He handpicked Bilbo and assured the dwarfs that he would be of good use when the occasion calls for him to be. Even I had my doubts on that. But the wizard was right. And Bilbo turned out to be a lot more than he thought he was. We all have potentials, most of them we cannot see. That’s what makes crisis an opportunity for self-actualization. If life were too easy, we would never be able to unleash our natural abilities.
Another remarkable point to ponder is greed. Regardless of status – high, middle, or low income – we all want more than what we already have. Enough is as far a goal as the heavens. The homeless wants a cottage, the one with a cottage wants a town house, the one with a townhouse wants a mansion, the one with a mansion wants a castle, the one with (well, you get the picture). Tolkien shows us discontentment and reminds us that if we only appreciate what we have been blessed with, we could be happier – at peace with ourselves, and the world at peace with itself.