"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!"
I am participating in the "The Hobbit" Read-a-Long instigated by Unputdownables. As I previously mentioned, this is my first time reading The Hobbit! Some of my observations may seem like no-brainers, but I hope you can forgive my naive perspective.
Now we have come to the end, and I am writing this weeks in advance since I finished the book in early December. I have loved this reading experience. I have valued the words, the storytelling, the song, and the feedback of friends in reading communities who have offered their own thoughts as they journey with me through this book that seems to be a favorite of many. Oh how I wish I had read this as a child. It feels like a book that has nostalgia built-in. The songs, the poems, the characters, the lands, the descriptions, the way action builds - these are clearly geared towards a younger audience, but I still enjoyed it very much.
I was surprised at what Bilbo did with the Arkenstone of Thraine. I suppose I thought the battles and Gandalf's return would have enough momentum to resolve the story line, but I love that the Hobbit's actions prove central to the resolution of the story of the same name.
I'm not sure it does enough for Bilbo, who still just wants to go home, but he clearly earns the respect of Gandalf:
"'Well done! Mr. Baggins!' he said, clapping Bilbo on the back. 'There is always more about you than anyone expects!'"
Thorin has an excellent last-words speech to give to Bilbo, somewhat of an apology really:
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
I will end this experience with this very poignant moment between Gandalf and Bilbo as they are close to the Shire:
"There is a long road yet," said Gandalf.
"But it is the last road," said Bilbo.