Cheryl, Grammy and Sue knocking on the door...about to enter and experience...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Bilbo and the Wizard Gandalf

On his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he took 60 years prior, for his nephew Frodo. Bilbo writes about how, prior to his own actual involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of Erebor and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the dragon. Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale before driving the Dwarves out of Erebor and taking their hoard of gold. Thrór's grandson, Thorin, sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed to find them leaving rather than aiding his people.

A quiet life in the sleepy gardens of The Shire was all Bilbo Baggins ever knew that he wanted, but he is tricked by the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, into hosting a party for a band of rowdy Dwarves (at right) Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and their leader Thorin. They have a great time eating, drinking and worse...

The party doubles as they recruit Bilbo to be the Dwarve's "burglar" to help them steal their treasure back from Smaug. Not only was his home invaded by thirteen rowdy Dwarves and the Wizard Gandalf, but the timid Hobbit finds himself enlisted as a burglar on a perilous quest across Middle-earth’s Wilderland to reclaim treasure from a dragon. An adventurous spirit is not a quality prized among Hobbit folk, so the formerly respectable Bilbo Baggins’s sudden departure comes as much as a surprise to him as it is to his neighbors. He blames it on the Tookish blood in his veins. That side of the family was always the most odd and taken to unhobbity impulses of curiosity. Well, Bilbo was reluctant to sign on as the Dwarve's burglar at first, but after everyone left he changed his mind and with his contract in hand he raced off to join them.

And indeed Bilbo Baggins will come to count on every ounce of Took in him to save himself and his companions once the journey begins. Middle-earth is a dangerous place and the Company in which he travels is of a kind that attracts unwanted attention. If Bilbo Baggins returns from this quest alive, he will not be the same Hobbit who ran from his front door, having forgotten his pocket handkerchief.

A powerful wizard, Gandalf generally prefers to keep his powers and motives closely guarded. Bilbo reluctantly joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. They travel through the Lone-Lands where Bilbo is told about Thorin's attempt to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Moria. Traveling onward, the group gets captured by Trolls, but Bilbo is able to stall the Trolls from eating them until dawn, when Gandalf saves the company by exposing the Trolls to sunlight, turning them into stone. They search the Trolls' cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.

Radagast and his racing team of rabbits distract the Orcs.

The group then encounter Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic. The group is then chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads them through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs above are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond discloses the map's indication of a secret door that will be visible only on Durin's Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council—Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White—about his involvement with the Dwarves, expressing his suspicion that the necromancer Radagast encountered is none other than the Dark Lord Sauron. Elrond and Saruman are skeptical, believing Sauron to have been defeated forever, and that this necromancer is not a true threat.

Bilbo and the Dwarves continue towards the Misty Mountains. While passing through the mountains, Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves survive a storm and dueling stone-giants. Whilst taking refuge in a cave, Bilbo is about to quit and go back home but is convinced otherwise by Bofur, who believes in him.

Unfortunately, Goblins capture the Dwarves and take them to their leader, the Great Goblin.

Meanwhile, Bilbo had become separated from the Dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray goblin to feed on. The “precious” gold ring  is tied to the fate of Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know. It makes the wearer invisible. Gollum uses it to sneak around the goblin tunnels and occasionally catch young goblins to eat. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him. Picking up the ring and placing it in his pocket, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins, or eaten by Gollum if he loses.

After Bilbo wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket, Gollum realizes Bilbo has stolen the ring and attacks him. That's when Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility allowing him to follow the furious Gollum to an exit. Bilbo considers killing Gollum, but ultimately spares him out of pity and escapes. Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the ancestral Dwarven homeland of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin's head. By this time, Gandalf arrives and saves the Dwarves from the Goblins, killing the Great Goblin during their escape. Bilbo finds the exit and rejoins the group, keeping the ring he found secret.

The group is then ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, and take refuge in trees. Thorin charges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground. Bilbo saves Thorin from being decapitated by the Orcs before the group is saved by Eagles, who fly them to safety to the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin, who then acknowledges, and thanks Bilbo for his bravery. The party see their destination, the Lonely Mountain, in the distance, where Smaug awakens. The last thing we see is the dragon Smaug's eye opening where it's covered in the pile of gold.

The adventure was a moral experience. Thorin the leader of the Dwarves was brave, stubborn, proud, and greedy for gold. Though his birthright and noble bearing initially make him seem like a fairly heroic figure, his status quickly declines as Bilbo’s rises. Bilbo begins a process of gradual transformation from a cautious homebody to a brave hero whose reserve of inner cunning and strength slowly became the dominant force holding the group of hapless Dwarves together. He saves them from the goblins by shouting for Gandalf, rescues them from spiders and wood elves in Mirkwood, finds the way into the mountain, leads them to the treasure, discovers Smaug’s weak spot, attempts to thwart Thorin’s greed and  bring peace to the feuding dwarves, elves, and humans.

Bilbo’s heroic deeds are all the more remarkable because they didn't change him. He discovers capabilities that had been unknown to him, but he doesn't become arrogant or relinquish his values. In his final conversation with Bilbo, Thorin finally acknowledges the value of the simple lives of hobbits, even in a world marked by grim heroism and danger. Though Bilbo learns to thrive in this outer world, he draws strength from the simple source that guided his heroic quest...helping others for goodness sake.

And so ends our adventure this evening. 'Twas positively entertaining. What could be more fun than visiting Middle Earth on a Saturday night.