Elements of Fantasy
- Alternate world
- Other-worldly beings
- "End of the World" situation
- Quest/Adventure, or "hero journey"
- Magical realism
- Comedy relief character, or sidekick
- Death
- Continuation of folklore

When I first read The Hobbit I was in elementary school, the fifth grade to be exact. My dad has always been one of those obsessive Middle Earth fans, and he told me when I was older that he had to "start me out young." Haha, well he succeeded, because I've been basically in love ever since. I read The Hobbit a couple of times and then ended up focusing more on The Lord of the Rings trilogy after that, especially since about a year or two later the first movie by Peter Jackson came out. I don't remember reading The Hobbit at least since middle school, so I thought I'd read it again and see if it seems any different now from what I remember.

I can definitely say, after reading it yet again, that it is much more enjoyable as an adult. I feel like I took more out of the novel than I did when I was little. The book begins very much like you would a tale for children, but there is a turning point in the story where the story begins to get more grim. The same things actually happens in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien eventually begins to raise moral questions in the book that aren't something a child is really prepared to contemplate, and so it makes more of an adult read. Such questions as who has the right to Smaug's treasure? Is Bilbo entitled to take the Arkenstone? Is there a difference between behaving properly and acting according to one's claim?

I know I wasn't prepared for those types of questions when I read it when I was 10 or 11 years old. Back then I was just immersed in this fantasy world that was so different of the "mundane" one I lived in. I've also been obsessed with dragons for as long as I can remember, and Smaug truly IS the magnificent. He is one of my favorite character I have ever encountered in a novel, and I've read a lot of novels in my life.

I also feel like the book needs to be read aloud in order to give it the justice it deserves, almost like one of those old epic poems such as Beowulf or Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. My favorite lines from The Hobbit are during the death of Smaug:

The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin. Full on the town he fell. His last throes splintered it to sparks and gledes. The lake roared in. A vast steam leapt up, white in the sudden dark under the moon. There was a hiss, a gushing whirl, and then silence.

Gets me every time. The writing is absolutely beautiful.