There and Back Again: A Fangirl’s Tale

There and Back Again: A Fangirl’s Tale

By: Terra Clarke Olsen

Like most people, I am extremely excited to see The Hobbit movie. In preparation for the film’s release, I re-read The Hobbit, plunging myself deep into Middle Earth. While I was reading The Hobbit, a dear friend of mine sent out HobbitClassicCovera hypothetical question to a group of her friends. She created the following scenario:

The world is about to end [very fitting for the time] and you’ve said your goodbyes, but now you have a few hours left to read a book. What would you read and why?

My answer came quickly-The Hobbit, of course! The ‘why’ was a bit harder to answer. For one, it is short enough to finish before the end of the world, but obviously there are other reasons… and until that moment I had never sat down and really thought about all the reasons why I love The Hobbit. I mean, there is the easy answer that Tolkien is an absolute genius who should forever be immortalized by those who have been lucky enough to come after him. His words are pure and beautiful (being more of an analytical writer myself, this is always something I’ve awed at). But what else? My answer came in two simple parts: nostalgia and life lessons.

The Hobbit was the first fantasy book I ever read. It introduced me to a world of wonder that I so badly wanted to be real. I fantasized about running through the Shire, eating cakes and drinking tea in a cozy hobbit-hole, and adventuring into unknown lands encountering elves (who would have clearly befriended me). I loved this new fantasy world, and wanted more. In a weird way, this is also how I discovered my love for Medieval History (for those of you who don’t know, I’m a history nerd). So in many ways, The Hobbit became my introduction to two things that would forever be important to me: fantasy and Medieval History. When I look back on my childhood, I see a creative and strange child running through the forest, and can’t help but laugh. I love that little girl, and know that The Hobbit truly made her childhood better.

hobbit hole

As I matured into my teens, The Hobbit became more than a fantastic world I longed to live in. It summed up core values that I have continued to practice in my life. Bilbo shows bravery and courage, and even when he realizes that “adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine” he carries on with a determined attitude. Bilbo became a model of sorts. If a hobbit can handle giant spiders and trolls, then maybe I can handle moving to a new school or city without knowing a soul. I have tried to keep Bilbo’s courageous attitude regarding life’s adventures.  However, to me the most important life lesson from The Hobbit is to enjoy life and find pleasure in simple things. This does not mean to act insane (no “YOLO” please), but rather to enjoy a simple walk, or drinks with friends. Life is so busy and chaotic, it’s easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of those around us. The Hobbit reminds us to slow down and take pleasure in life. This lesson is summed up in one simple quote (which also happens to be my favorite):

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

–Thorin, King under the Mountain

The Hobbit has enriched my life, and I am forever grateful to my Dad for making me read it, and of course to Tolkien for sharing his world with the rest of us. I can hardly wait to be in the theatre tomorrow, where my childhood self and I will be swept away on Bilbo’s adventure, enjoying the moment while forever being enchanted by Tolkien’s world.

May your beards never grow thin!…May your memory never fade!”

"Hobbit Panorama" David Wenzel

*Featured Image and Bottom Illustration by David Wezel