Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Over Hill and Under Hill (The Hobbit Chapter 4)

There hasn't been much activity on these posts lately. So I'm debating keeping this going, or replacing it with an occasional review of a children's book. Let me know what you think.

Chapter 4 again focuses on the difficult journey and Bilbo reminiscing about his home and the Shire. How far on our journey/adventure with God must we travel before we stop looking back to the past? Will we always be looking back to the past? I've read/heard somewhere that there are no plateaus on the path to Heaven. You are either making progress towards Heaven, or your slipping down to Hell. As my readers are well aware, it takes a lot more effort and time to climb upwards than it does to slip downwards. All the progress you have made for months or years could be wiped away in a day with the wrong decisions. So let us aim to always be vigilant, trust in the Lord for guidance, and constantly strive to be moving upwards.

I could not find anything Catholic or spiritual in the description of the thunderstorm. I just found it fascinating on a mythological level. The description of the stone-giants playing a game of hurling rocks truly made my imagination come to life.

In order to escape the thunderstorm, our adventurers send out a 2 man scout party of Fili and Kili to find them a drier place. They come back, a little too quickly, and find an absolutely wonderful dry cave with enough room for them and their horses. This reminds me of when Moses sent scout teams into the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who returned with good news. Unfortunately, Fili and Kili did not investigate their cave well, and it turned out to be the front porch for goblin headquarters and led to our adventurers capture.

The description of the goblins spoke to me the most. "They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones...Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light." I believe the goblins at Tolkien's time represented Nazi Germany, but you could argue they represent the darkest part of all of us. Is this a cause of our original sin?

I would lastly like to talk about the two swords, "Orcrist" and "Glamdring the Foe-hammer." They are simply known to the goblins as Biter and Beater. I would compare these to the Bible and the Rosary. I think I would refer to the Bible as Beater, because the Goblin's hated it worse than Biter, and because of the term Bible-beaters. It is important to note that when Gandalf and Thorin were being chased by goblins and turned to fight, the goblins were afraid of Biter and Beater not Gandalf and Thorin. This is how the demons feel about the Bible and the Rosary. They are not afraid of the people who use these tools, but the tools themselves, as they are the tools God has given us to fend off demons!

So what did you think of Chapter Four in The Hobbit? Read along with me, and comment at the bottom. Also, tune in two weeks for my reflections on Chapter Five, unless y'all tell me y'all are done reading about The Hobbit!

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