Life Lessons Learned From "The Hobbit"

  • January 02, 2013
  • Jenna Maxwell

Many, years ago, I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit.”  There are a handful of books in my lifetime that got read pretty much in one sitting, with extreme difficulty even putting the book down. “The Hobbit” was certainly one of them.  Of course, I couldn’t wait to see the movie and it did not disappoint! I’m already looking forward to the second part of the trilogy, set to come out late next year.  After seeing the movie, I got to thinking about the original story known as “The Hobbit”. What it is about this tale that is so appealing to the masses?  Perhaps in some ways each of us can relate to something about this very diminutive and basically ordinary guy.

“The Hobbit” is a fantastical tale with a very simple premise.  Can good overcome evil?  Can even the most simple, non-descript people amongst us rise to the occasion when necessary and tap into formerly unknown personal resources of courage and fortitude?  Bilbo Baggins thought he just wanted a quiet, ordinary life.  He obviously had no idea what was in store for him when he embarked on his unexpected journey; certainly one impulsive decision in Bilbo’s life would set him on a course that would show him how strong, smart and resilient he really was.  An ordinary Hobbit?  Not so fast.

Overcoming Adversity:  Bilbo is hit with major problems from start to finish where he is severely challenged.  There is little better in the human (or Hobbit) experience than encountering a major stumbling block and then finding a successful way to overcome it and come out shining on the other end.  Take for example, the hissing, slimy creature, Gollum who Bilbo discovers when he mistakenly stumbles right into Gollum’s lair.  Bilbo uses his brains and wit when he engages with Gollum in a game of riddles in order to be shown the way out of the mountains.  Bilbo confidently wins the riddle contest and not only leaves with his life still intact, but he also has an increase in the belief he has in himself. 

Brains vs. Brawn:  There is more than one-way to skin a cat, or so they say.  Bilbo understands his own personal limitations from the beginning, and when he is hit with circumstances that typically may require more physical types of heroism, Bilbo over and over uses his wits to get himself out of trouble.  When talking with the dragon Smaug, Bilbo discovers a weakness within the dragon that is a sure-fire way to kill him.  Using his diplomatic skills, Bilbo has uncovered information that is of critical importance.  You are going to have to wait for Pt. II of the Hobbit saga to see this part of the story unfold.

Just Get Over It:  Sometimes we all have to realize that we have to let some stuff go. Later in the Hobbit tale, Thorin Oakenshield becomes obsessed with getting his hands on the Arkenstone, which after Smaug’s demise, Bilbo has secretly pocketed.  Now using the stone to help strike a bargain, Bilbo offers the Arkenstone over to Bard and the Elvenking to hopefully avoid a war.  During the Battle of Five Armies, Thorin is unfortunately killed, but before he dies he has a revelatory moment and he and Bilbo make their final peace.  Thorin’s dying words profoundly state, “If more of us valued food and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.  But, sad or merry, I must leave now.  Farewell.” Thorin was buried with the Arkenstone he had so desired, resting upon his chest.

Come Together:  Sometimes in life it becomes necessary for a wide variety of people from a community to come together, unifying in numbers in the name of a good cause.  During “The Hobbit”, many good guys band together to fight off the Orcs, Wargs and their atrocious allies, the Goblins.  There is power in numbers and when many group together to fight for the right, even the most unlikely partnerships can be surprisingly fruitful.

So there you go--life lessons as taught by “The Hobbit”.  This action packed wonder of a movie is showing right now at a theatre near you.  You won’t want to miss it!