Tolkien s greatest creation can easily be argued to be the Hobbits. They are one of the most beloved creatures in literature, mostly because they are just so damn cool. Here is one of the best descriptions of Hobbits from the book The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”. This was Thorin Oakenshield toward the end, speaking to Bilbo. If you have read the Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings you find that this description fits most hobbits. They just want to be left alone to enjoy their life, yet if needed they have the courage and wisdom.
Think about this Hobbit fact for a moment. They give away gifts on their own birthdays. How cool is that?
Food, drink, fun and the bounty of the earth is their main focus and who can blame them. Wouldn’t we all like to have that focus. Unfortunately, in the world today that is hard to come by. I am going to repeat one of the lines from the book that holds true for our world today.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”.
There were many things about Tolkien’s work that could be qualified under genius. He started creating a language, realized he could not do that because language comes from culture, so he created a culture to base the language on. Thus was Middle Earth born. For this post I wanted to focus on his use of maps in his tales of Middle Earth. The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. It enabled the reader to become more involved in the story. Going along with the characters if you will. I think the Hobbit really shows this to a greater extent than the others.
The Hobbit makes wonderful use of the maps at the beginning of the book with several references in the story to the maps. They maps are not just there to refer to while enjoying the story; they are a part of the story, and help create a greater enjoyment in the story. The two maps in the front of the book show the Desolation of Smaug and the Wilderland. The Wilderland shows the whole lay of the land from the Elves Last Homely House, to the other side of Mirkwood, far to the east where the journey ends. The Desolation of Smaug is the final destination of the journey to recover the dwarves lost city. This map shows a closer look than the Wilderland map, a zooming in of Tolkien’s literary GIS, (Geographic Information System), on the area around the Lonely Mountain. It is their goal and where they will face the greatest challenges in the story. The maps are continuously referenced within the story by the characters. First at Bag End by Gandalf, then in Rivendell being discussed and poured over by Elrond among others and several times after it is a constant reference for the characters and the audience. This is one of the things that helped make Tolkien s works the best faery tales of modern times.