It has been just over a month since Peter Jackson released his long-awaited triumph, the first film in what he is making into The Hobbit trilogy. As the initial buzz begins to wane, I chose to return to the true masterpiece, the pen-and-parchment rendering formed by the brilliant Tolkien himself.
Tolkien was a literary genius, capable of fashioning entire worlds with his pen, of breathing life into characters of incredible depth in the midst of journeys of exceptional circumstance. On the surface, the tale seems to be about a tiny hobbit among a wizard and thirteen dwarves, set out to reclaim Lonely Mountain and a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. But in truth, these were mere events. The real story was in the development of Bilbo Baggins, the slow and steady transformation from a complacent and self-indulgent hobbit to sacrificial adventurer characterized by courage and camaraderie – a growth which took place under wise leadership of the wizard Gandalf.
So it is to Bilbo and his great sage that I turn this morning to draw forth nuggets of wisdom, pearls which we can apply to our own formation as children of God in a wild and foreign land, tools which we can draw forth when faced with our own dark tunnels and wild dragons. The following quotes all come from The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien.
The 7 Hobbit Secrets To Adventurous Living
1. Plan Wisely
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
2. Adopt A Positive Outlook
“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. “And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors.”
3. Always Be Polite
“You have nice manners for a thief and a liar,” said the dragon.
4. Know What Is Important
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. – Thorin, To Bilbo
5. Don’t Neglect The Little Things
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. – Gandalf
6. Never Forget You Are Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself
Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all! – Gandalf
7. The Adventurous Life Involves Risk
There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go. – Gandalf
How about you? What are some unconventional pieces of wisdom you have picked up?
Image Credit: CGP Grey