Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Roast Mutton (The Hobbit Chapter 2)

Reading and discussing Chapter Two of The Hobbit was a bit tough for me. I've had a lot on my mind, so I'm wondering if I missed some things, or the chapter didn't speak to me as much as Chapter One. I will press on though!

When we last left our young hobbit, Bilbo was going to bed after a long night of entertaining dwarves and trying to avoid an adventure. Upon waking he sees a mess in the kitchen and faces the reality that last night wasn't some awful dream, and that he had an awful lot of cleaning to do. I think we've all had mornings like that. However, if we look at it from a spiritual perspective, then it's as if Bilbo is saying surely God didn't really want me drop everything and follow Him. I mean who will take care of all the daily things that need done if I don't?

Enter Gandalf, who has grown weary of Bilbo's excuses. After directing Bilbo to the letter on his mantle, and before Bilbo can come up with more excuses, Gandalf scurried him off. Some people choose to see Gandalf as a God or Christ figure when reading Tolkien? If you choose to see him as one, do you think this was a violation of Bilbo's free will? Yes, Bilbo still had the ability to say "No," but it doesn't seem like he had the willpower to do so.

The journey then begins. At first Bilbo is enjoying the adventure and thinking to himself that it's not as bad as he thought it would be. Of course that is because he was still in "hobbit-lands" with his creature comforts of tobacco, pocket handkerchiefs, and plenty of food. It is only when he was in an unrecognized land, the weather got worse, and they lost a great deal of supplies that Bilbo started to regret his decision. This particular passage spoke most to me. When God first calls us on an adventure, we're not generally going to have hardships to begin with. If we did, most people would immediately change their mind and abandon the adventure. However, as we continue on the adventure, things will get tougher, and we must ultimately decide to continue to follow.

Lastly, I would like to talk ever so briefly about the trolls. It seems a shame to devote so little attention to one of the iconic scenes in The Hobbit, but time is running short for me. What I noticed mainly is that Bilbo makes some key errors in approaching the trolls. He did a fine job spying on them, but that is where it should have ended. Instead, he decided to try his luck at robbing them and failed miserably. Young Christians make this mistake when encountering Satan. We either are ashamed to ask for help or too proud. Both are grave errors and can be disastrous, even deadly.

So what did you think of Chapter Two in The Hobbit? Read along with me, and comment at the bottom. Also, tune in two weeks for my reflections on Chapter Three!

A special thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who was generous enough to provide me with the 75th Anniversary Pocket Edition of The Hobbit.