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An Unexpected Ending: My Hobbit Adventure - The Last Stage

Good morning, if it is a good morning (to you) when you’re reading this. I certainly hope it’s a morning to be good on. Or at the very least, I wish you a good morning, whatever time you’ve decided to open this post. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that my son and I last left off our Hobbit adventures as Bilbo, Thorin and Company were escaping the Elf King’s Halls by hiding in some barrels. You can debate as to whether that was the best idea on my previous post. Now, we come to the end of our journey: Smaug. You’re probably saying to yourself right now, “Smaug isn’t the end! Are you crazy?” You’d be right, although I may, indeed, be crazy. The ending is the gathering of the five armies and what happens between Bilbo and the Dwarves. The final resolution in the story before our hero makes his journey home. Think back to your first reading of the book, or perhaps the first time you were with someone as they saw or listened to an adaptation, or maybe as someone listened in ex

Barrels Out of Bond?

Last week, we lost a man near and dear to a great many nerds. Sir Ian Holm passed away and left for the Undying Lands, and it shall be a sadder Hobbit Day this September. It is an utter shame and loss to us all that he couldn’t grow to Bilbo's ripe age of 131. Bilbo bookends the whole trilogy for us. Before we even start the epic journey through Middle Earth, we have Bilbo’s birthday, and we end (almost) with his trip to the Undying Lands. Bilbo is, in a way, our journey through Lord of the Rings. We’re borne into the series in fellowship with his birthday. We’re excited to see Frodo and his friends make it to the Last Homely House, and we’re jealous that Frodo has the Ring and not us. Finally, our journey ends with all of us on the ship to the Undying Lands with him. End of the story. How lucky we were to have such an excellent actor help us on this quest! This week we’re taking a look at one of the more dangerous events of Bilbo’s burglar career. If you’ve read the Hobbit or watc

Flies and Spiders

"I don't like the idea of giant spiders and flies," my 8 year old worried at me. My response,"who said anything about ‘giant’?," was of little comfort. He didn't believe me. I had just read him the title to the Eighth chapter of The Hobbit as a preview before ending our pre-bedtime reading session. Thorin and Company were about to enter the bleak forest of Mirkwood, and I knew giant spiders were on the way and somehow... so did my son. I don't know if he'd picked it up through pop culture, an educated guess, or if I'd mentioned it at some point and forgotten. The giant spiders were coming though, and I couldn't stop it. Or could I? I've already caused him some fitful sleep with the scenes between Gollum and Bilbo. Would the encounter with the spiders be the same? Would it start some deep-seated fear of spiders that might keep him up at night or harm him for years to come? As a kid around his age, I certainly had an irrational fear of sna

Of Goblins

How do you describe a goblin to an 8 year old? Recently, I began reading The Hobbit at bedtime to my eldest kid. We're a few chapters in, not far past the section on the trolls. The topic of goblins has come up as the troop has just raided the trolls’ cave and found the goblin slaying sword Orchrist (note that orc bit later.) "What are goblins, dad?" We of course aren't quite to the point where a good description is given. We will get there at some point, likely just as we are meant to. His interest was piqued though, and so I had to give some sort of response. I could jump ahead in the book and find a Tolkienian description of them. I could go grab one of my many Monster Manuals and find a picture and a description. The latest D&D description is as follows: Goblins are small, black-hearted humanoids that lair in despoiled dungeons and other dismal settings. Individually weak, they gather in large numbers to torment other creatures. This description is what I wo