Boekverslag : J.r.r. Tolkien - The Hobbit
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The Hobbit

1. bibliografische gegevens



Ondertitel: or There and Back Again

Plaats: London

Jaar: 1975

Eerste druk: 1937

2. Samenvatting

This story is about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, a small human-like creature, who lives in a nice hobbit-hole. On a morning in April Gandalf, an old wizard, comes along and asks him whether he wants to come with him on adventure. Hobbits don’t like adventures so he says no. The next day thirteen dwarves, named Ori, Nori, Dori, Oin, Gloin, Kili, Fili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, Dwalin and Thorin Oakenshield, and Gandalf come for tea. They talk and sing about a treasure, which is stolen by Smaug, a dragon, and now lies in the former kingdom of the dwarves under the Lonely Mountain in the East, where Thorins grandfather was the king. At last Bilbo decides to go with them, and the next day they leave on ponies.

In the beginning Bilbo likes the adventure, later, when the weather turns bad, he wished to be at home. One day a pony with the food falls in the water, so they have lost much of their food, they are cold and wet and they are looking for a fire. The company can see one burning in the forest. Bilbo, who had been appointed as a burglar, has to look who is near the fire and sees that there are three trolls. He wants to show something and he tries pick-pocketing one of them. The troll notices it and grasps him, the dwarves are coming to help him and they are all caught too, but Bilbo can escape. The trolls quarrel about the best way of preparing the dwarves for breakfast. At that moment Gandalf comes back – he had been away some hours – and he saves the dwarves by saying some things with one of the trolls’ voices, so they keep quarrelling till sunrise and they turn into stone, because that is what all trolls do in sunlight.

The dwarves are freed and the have a look in the hole of the trolls, where they find food, gold and weapons from the famous city of Gondolin. They bury the gold and take some of the swords and they go further, over the edge of the wild where danger is everywhere and soon Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves arrive at Rivendell, the Last Homely House where Elrond lives with other elves. They stay there for two weeks to rest. Elrond studies Thorins map of the Lonely Mountain and reads the moon-letters (which can only be read in the same season and with the same moon phase as when they are written) which say how they can find the secret door on the West Side of the mountain.

On Midsummer Day they leave and head for the Misty Mountains. When the company is approaching the pass over the mountains it starts thundering and the group of fifteen has to shelter in a cave. At night this turns out to be the frond door of the goblins’ complex. They are all captured but Gandalf and the ponies are killed. Gandalf uses some magic to free them again and he kills the head of the goblins. Then he leads the flight through de goblins’ tunnels. On that flight Bilbo is lost.

He tries to find the exit on his own in the dark, he finds a magic ring and he meets Gollum, a nasty creature who lives alone in the dark, has no friends and eats fish and sometimes a goblin. They start asking riddles to each other, if Bilbo is the first who doesn’t know the answer he’ll be eaten by Gollum, if Gollum is the first he’ll show Bilbo the way out. Bilbo wins, not in a very fair way: he was loud up wondering what he had in his pockets, and Gollum thought that this was a riddle. Gollum starts looking for his magic ring and he doesn’t help Bilbo till he has found it, so Bilbo leaves without Gollum, who thinks that Bilbo has found the ring. Bilbo slips the ring on his finger and flights through the tunnels, for Gollum in chasing him. Bilbo falls and Gollum runs past him without noticing, at that moment Bilbo knows that the ring makes him invisible. Gollum expects that Bilbo flights to the exit of the tunnel and he runs there too, Bilbo can follow and outside he meets his friend again.

The company is leaving quickly because they expect an attack of the goblins. At a certain moment there is indeed an attack, but one of the wargs, a kind of wolves. They can withstand the attack by using some magic fire but the soon arriving goblins light the trees in which they have climbed and the dwarves expect to lose the fight. Then arrive the eagles that pick them up, give them some food and drop them on the carrock the next morning.

The group of fifteen goes to Beorn, who doesn’t really like people, they have a short rest and they head for Mirkwood on Beorn’s ponies. On the edge of de wood they have to send the ponies back to Beorn and Gandalf leaves them, because he has some urgent business in the south.

Mirkwood is a very dark and dangerous forest where is nearly nothing to find to eat or to drink. At a certain point they have to cross the enchanted river, for which Beorn has warned them. They can use a boat to cross it, but the last dwarf, fat Bombur, falls in the river and fells asleep, so the others have to carry him. When he wakes up there is no food left, but they see fire and hear singing in the wood north of the path at night. When they reach the fire (Gandalf had warned them not to do that) they can see the wood-elves having a feast. When one of them steps into the circle of light all the lights go out some new appear a little further. This happens three times, the last time they have lost each other completely and the next morning Bilbo finds the dwarves – except Thorin, who was already captured by the wood-elves – captured by spiders. By using his magic ring Bilbo can free them but soon the dwarves are captured by the wood-elves because they interrupted their feast. Bilbo uses his magic ring again to stay free. Thorin doesn’t tell the truth about why they are in the forest, namely the gold under the mountain, so they have to stay there. Regularly empty barrels are send by the river to Esgaroth, the Lake-town. After two weeks Bilbo helps the dwarves to escape again in the barrels, and this way they reach Esgaroth.

In Esgaroth Bilbo and the dwarves get a warm welcome, because the songs have come true. The king is back and gold will flow again from under the mountain. When the dwarves are healthy again (they were sick due to travelling in cold wet barrels) they leave and go to the foot of the mountain.

After some time Bilbo discovers the place where the secret side-door in the mountain is, but they can’t open it. At the beginning of winter, when the sun sets and the young moon is on the horizon (the dwarves call this Durin’s day, new year; this day was mentioned on the map of the mountain in moon-letters. At sunset the sun would shine on the keyhole) there appears a crack in the rock in which Thorin can turn his key to open the door. Bilbo goes down to take a look at the dragon. Smaug is asleep and Bilbo sees that there is still a treasure. He picks one golden cup out of it and brings it to the dwarves, who are happy to see it. Later Bilbo goes down again and has a talk to the dragon, which has noticed there was a thief in his hall, and Bilbo finds the week spot of Smaug. He tells about the weak spot to the dwarves, while a thrush is listening. Then Smaug attacks them, they can flight into the tunnel, and the mountainside with the tunnel is ruined. Smaug flies to Esgaroth, where the people can watch him coming, and he attacks the town. The citizens jump into the water, even the master flies on the lake, but a few men stay fighting against the dragon. One of these men is Bard, direct descendant of Girion, lord of Dale, the town near the foot of the mountain. The thrush comes sitting on his shoulder and tells him the weak spot of Smaug and with his last arrow Bard kills the dragon. Many people are wounded so the master gets help from the wood-elves, who are already coming. In the meantime Thorin and his company go down and find out that Smaug is not at home. Thorin is looking for the Arkenstone but he can’t find it (Bilbo has found it and put it his pocked). He gives Bilbo a part of the treasure. When he hears that Smaug is dead Thorin sends a raven of over hundred years old to Dain, another dwarf-king who lives in the Iron- hills in the east, to tell him he has to come. The men from Esgaroth go to the mountain in arms because the dragon, which they had killed, demolished their town, and they want a part of the treasure. The wood-elves come with them. Birds tell Thorin that armed people are coming and he fortifies the mountain. When they arrive they ask for a part of the treasure, but Thorin doesn’t give it to them. Bilbo goes to Bard and gives him the Arkenstone so that he has a better position in the negotiations. Bilbo sees that Gandalf is back. Later Bilbo goes to a safe lookout post on the side of the mountain when Dain arrives to attack the man and the wood-elves. At the same moment goblins and wargs are coming from the north. What follows is called the Battle of Five Armies, in which Thorin, Fili and Kili are killed. First it seems that the goblins and the wargs are winning, but then the eagles from the Misty Mountains and Beorn arrive. After that, Bilbo goes home with Gandalf. Since most of the goblins are killed in the battle it is save and there aren’t many problems. At the point where the met the trolls they dig up the pots with gold and soon Bilbo is back home, where the Sackville-Bagginses are selling his property, considering he is dead. Bilbo has to buy things back. He has lost his reputation, but what does it matter? Some years later Balin and Gandalf come for tea, Balin tells that gold is running again in the river and that Bard has rebuild Dale.

3. Vertelinstantie

De vertelinstantie van dit verhaal is de auctoriale verteller. Meestal ligt het perspectief bij Bilbo maar soms worden er zaken vermeldt waar Bilbo niets van af wist. De verteller weet alles over de personages, verwijst naar de toekomst en is altijd objectief. Bewijzen zijn: But he did not tell Bilbo that there was one smell he could not make out at all, hobbit-smell; it was quite outside his experience and puzzled him mightily. (blz. 189) It was not the last time that he wished that! (blz. 37) De verteller kent de toekomst. But as that comes in at the end of this tale we will say no more about it just now. (blz. 101) Alleen de auctoriale verteller wendt zich wel eens tot de lezer. De functie van deze vertelinstantie is het verkrijgen van objectiviteit waardoor het verhaal duidelijker wordt. Door het geven van aanwijzingen over wat er in de toekomst gaat gebeuren wordt spanning opgebouwd.

4. Ruimte

Fysische ruimte. De fysische ruimte in dit boek is voor een groot deel al in de samenvatting ter sprake gekomen. Verder kunnen nog een aantal zaken opgemerkt worden. Het hol van Bilbo is gemaakt in een heuvel, met een ronde deur en ramen aan een zijde van het huis. Het onweer in de Misty Mountains kondigt onheil aan. Over de scène waar Bilbo Gollum ontmoet kan gezegd worden dat dit gebeurt in de donkere gangen van de orks. Er is daar een onderaards meertje met een eiland waar Gollum op woont. In het meertje leeft vis. Het bos waar ze later doorheen moeten is erg donker: overdag kun je er al haast niets zien, het bootje over de Enchanted River kunnen ze maar met moeite zien: … they knew Bilbo had the sharpest eyes among them. ‘Not at all far. I shouldn’t think above twelve yards.’ (blz. 124)

Psychische ruimte. Hierover kan ik vrij kort zijn. De eerste dagen van het avontuur is het zonnig en vindt Bilbo het nog leuk, als het een tijdje later gaat regenen vindt hij het niet meer leuk. Op de momenten dat het donker is, zoals in de tunnels van de orks, in Mirkwood of in de berg bij Smaug is er telkens sprake van groot gevaar.

Zintuiglijke ruimte. Deze speelt geen grote rol. Er kan opgemerkt worden dat op de momenten dat er groot gevaar is Bilbo en de dwergen soms meer gevaar zien of horen dan er is. In Mirkwood zien zij ‘s nachts vaak allerlei ogen zien, in de berg, wanneer Smaug dood is maar de dwergen en Bilbo dat nog niet weten schrikken zij ook heel erg van vleermuizen, terwijl die onschuldig zijn.

5. Tijd

Historische tijd

In het boek wordt vermeld dat het verhaal lang geleden speelt, op andere plaatsen geeft de schrijver dat iets preciezer aan: ongeveer 7000 jaar geleden. De omgeving in het verhaal doet echter vrij middeleeuws aan: On some of them were old castles with an evil look, as if they had been build by wicked people. (blz. 36) De tovenarij is eigenlijk in geen enkele tijd te plaatsen, evenals de vele niet-menselijke levensvormen als draken, elven, trollen en orks. Het is misschien het beste het verhaal in geen enkele tijd te plaatsen.


De verteltijd van dit verhaal is 253 pagina’s. De vertelde tijd is ruim een jaar. Het verteltempo varieert aanzienlijk, de tijd die wordt doorgebracht bij Smaug in de Eenzame Berg wordt heel uitgebreid verteld, de terugweg heel kort.


Er wordt door de verteller af en toe expliciet naar de toekomst verwezen, zie ook het citaat bij de vertelinstantie. Er wordt ook een aantal keer naar het verleden verwezen, bijvoorbeeld als Gandalf vertelt wat zijn belangrijke zaken in het zuiden waren. Flashbacks komen niet voor.


Het verhaal wordt geheel chronologisch verteld.

Ab ovo – In medias res

Het verhaal wordt ab ovo verteld. Het begint met een beschrijving van wat een hobbit is waarna wordt verteld wat voor een avontuur er gaat komen.
Andere boeken van deze auteur:

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