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Travel Book Club: Hobbit Discussion

Eden Book Club: The Hobbit Discussion

More than a classic fantasy story, The Hobbit is a tale of adventure. It’s a children’s book about Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit who wants nothing more than to stay in his comfy, little Hobbit Hole. 

I related to Bilbo’s character so much while reading this book. In the past few years, I’ve grown to like quiet mornings, taking time with my breakfast, reading books while curled up in a little nook in the corner of my room. Nowadays, it takes my Tookish side to shake up my inner homebody and draw a traveler out of me. 

Filled with songs and merriment, The Hobbit is a delightful, cozy read. Although the storyline is simple and linear, the world slowly gets more and more complex, page by page. As Bilbo travels with Thorin and Company, I got a distinct feel for the places and landscapes Tolkien wrote about.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book. Like many of our book club picks, this is very much a love-it-or-hate-it title so feel free to sound off in the comments section.

Book Club Discussion Guidelines

Discussion posts (like this one) will have a series of questions as starting points. But honestly, you can talk about whatever you want regarding the books (or questions). You don’t have to answer all (or any) of the questions. I’d still love to hear your thoughts!

You can join in regardless of whether you’ve read, not read, or DNF’d the book! I understand that not everyone has the time to read or finish the book so I try to include a general discussion question as well to make the discussions more inclusive.

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Hobbit Discussion Questions

  • How did you feel about Bilbo’s initial reaction to adventure?
  • Did you resonate with any of the dwarves in this story?
  • How does the presence (or lack thereof) of Gandalf affect characters’ actions?
  • Did you like the way this story was told? If you could make any changes to the storytelling structure, what would you do?
  • How did you feel about Gollum? Do you think Gollum is truly evil?
  • Thorin and Company stop at many different locations during their journey. Which place did you enjoy reading about the most?
  • How did you feel about Bilbo’s interaction with Smaug?
  • What role does greed play in this story?
  • How does the definition of Bilbo as a burglar evolve over time? Does Bilbo’s attitude towards being a burglar change?
  • How did you feel about the conclusion to the Hobbit? Would you read the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after this?

February 2022 Book Club Pick

sincerely anshula

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book (or otherwise). I’ll be jumping in and responding as well!

6 Comments

  • Vyas
    January 30, 2022 at 7:27 PM

    > How did you feel about Bilbo’s initial reaction to adventure?
    I think he’s very grounded and aware of his own limitations and fears. I found it very refreshing to have a protagonist be both interested in adventure, but also consider his weaknesses before jumping into it. (Even if it did require a bit of a push)
    > How does the presence (or lack thereof) of Gandalf affect characters’ actions?
    Gandalf is definitely the voice of reason and wisdom in the team. Many of the naive (or even bad) ideas that Bilbo and the Dwarves have tended to lead the group into more trouble, but when Gandalf is there, he guides them away from making foolish decisions. (Side note: I get the feeling he holds back a lot of his abilities throughout the adventure)
    > How did you feel about Gollum?
    I think he’s weird. Why does he play a game of riddles with someone he considers food? 🤔
    > Do you think Gollum is truly evil?
    Yup
    > What role does greed play in this story?
    I felt that greed was the center of corruption for many of the characters.
    > Would you read the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after this?
    I certainly will! I’ve seen a bit of the movies, but I was very hesitant on the idea of reading them because I heard how long it was, and I tend to shy away from large books. But after reading a bit of the Hobbit (sorry I didn’t finish it yet), I’m very excited to finish it and start on the Lord Of The Rings!

    Reply
    • Anshula Varma
      January 30, 2022 at 7:37 PM

      I found Bilbo’s character to be quite refreshing as well! In so many of the fantasy books I’ve read, the main characters are confidently rebellious and self-assured in their ability to go on an adventure (even if the undertaking might seem too much). Bilbo’s resilience is part of what made him endearing.

      I do think Gandalf feels very much like a father figure, especially at the start of the story. The group is very much dependent on Gandalf at the start to pull them out of trouble. He steps in at the right time. Later on, they have to fend for themselves and this allows them to grow in their friendships with each other (as they are more dependent on each other). Bilbo especially steps up during this time. This is probably going to sound strange but at times, Gandalf reminded me of the training wheels on a bicycle (a really weird description – I know). I do feel that his absences are what made Bilbo stronger.

      In terms of the riddles, I feel like Gollum is more lost in evil than evil, if that makes sense. There’s a childlike element to him wanting to play riddles (that matches how he speaks) and there’s another part that is deeply dark and probably just wants to finish off Bilbo. But he might also just really like riddles 😂

      No problem with not finishing The Hobbit! As I always say with the book club, “You can join in regardless of whether you’ve read, not read, or DNF’d the book!” 😊 I’m really glad this book piqued your interest in Lord Of The Rings. I haven’t read the series yet either (the books are so large and intimidating) but I’d love to (especially since I’ve heard the world is more complex and there are more stakes).

      Reply
    • Rita
      January 30, 2022 at 9:49 PM

      The early parts of the story had a lot more naivete to them. Bilbo’s decisions (when it came to the Trolls) came from a lack of experience. I enjoyed how each perilous situation made Bilbo stronger and you see that strength slowly unfold over the book.

      I do appreciate how much Gandalf stood by Bilbo and believed in Bilbo. I think that his encouragement (and strength in his own decision to bring Bilbo as the burglar) really added to Bilbo’s growth.

      Reply
  • Maya
    January 30, 2022 at 7:42 PM

    I didn’t realize how short The Hobbit was! I thought it was going to be really big like Lord Of The Rings. This book took me by surprise because there was way more singing and conversation and dialogue than what I expected. I thought they were going to fight their way more.

    Reply
    • Anshula Varma
      January 30, 2022 at 8:21 PM

      That’s so true! There was way more singing and dialogue than I expected too! While I personally loved the merriment and the joyous tone that was kept as a result, I did feel like those elements of the storytelling made Bilbo’s interaction with Smaug a bit anticlimactic.

      Reply
  • Sean
    January 30, 2022 at 9:54 PM

    I did not finish the book. The world was imaginative I’ll give it that but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the storytelling. It felt very impersonal. I know this is a classic so I’m scared to change anything about it (also Tolkein fans might off me) but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was written in first person.

    Reply

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