It's hard to believe there was a time when the world didn't know of Hobbits, those hairy-toed homebodies who prefer a good pipe and cozy hole in the ground to the promise of fame and fortune. But their secret subterranean lifestyle was exposed in 1937 when author J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit. Intended for children, but serving as the basis for his more sophisticated later Lord of the Rings trilogy, this introductory Middle Earth novel offers a delightful account of how paternalistic wizard Gandalf prodded sheltered Bilbo Baggins to step outside his comfort zone and help a band of dwarfs reclaim their kingdom.
The Hobbit is celebrated and castigated in equal measure for re-popularizing folklore in 20th Century literature - presenting a detailed alternate universe teaming with warmongering elves, hungry trolls, giant spiders, and a fire breathing dragon. Is it all just fodder for role-playing games and kiddie cartoons 77 years later, or are there timeless life lessons and enduring appeal to what's on the page? Join hosts Jakob (who grew up with Tolkien) and Stuart (a fantasy-challenged reader) as they revisit this milestone in preparation for a larger Hobbit/Lord of the Rings movie retrospective being created for Silver and Platinum donors to sister podcast Now Playing.