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Opinion: There and Back Again

Written By Editor on 1/6/14 | 1/6/14

The leather-bound volume caught my attention in a section of books, as if by its simple elegance it knew I would be drawn to its content.  Content that, although previously familiar with, caused instant curiosity - even a mix of excitement - deep inside this fantasy aficionado and compelled a timely purchase at the store's checkout.
Volume in hand, and temperatures outside reaching well below freezing, there was but one option to consider, and that was to enjoy a classic work of mid-20th century fiction that spurred a trilogy of subsequent books that have longed imbedded their character into the fabric of modern pop culture and how we view the fantasy genre.
And enjoy did I. Over the course of several weeks, between work and attending to the daily functions of my existence, the volume followed me wherever I went and enthralled my senses a few pages at a time, carefully unfolding a well written adventure in a time before our own and a place foreign to our modern imaginations.
It caused several, seemingly conflicted emotions within the reader, from amazement of the primary character's development to sadness over the hero's passing and even anger directed toward ignorance displayed by all but a few. However, its greatest achievement was not only maintaining a colorful and thoroughly enjoyable world you could envision yourself in, but also a plot that employed so many twists and turns that you found yourself a little dazed by the story's conclusion.
Of course, I am referring to J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit: There and Back Again, one of the more important works of fantasy ever composed. It set the gold standard for not only the Lord of the Rings trilogy and C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia in terms of imagery and creativity, but came to define an entire genre of how we view such mythical creatures as elves, dwarfs, dragons, and yes, hobbits.
One does not simply read The Hobbit, as it takes you on a journey that you can taste, feel, smell and imagine being there yourself all at the same time... As if you are reliving the youngest days of your youth when imagination still existed and where evil was clearly defined and was always vanquished by the seemingly least expected characters who over the course of an entire volume, or even a trilogy, would grow from callous cowardice or indifference and ultimately transform into our heroes.
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