Front cover of an edition of The Hobbit.

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, often referred to by the shortened form of the title, The Hobbit, is a fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, first published in 1937. The book is followed by The Lord of the Rings.

Writing and publication

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again originated in the stories which Tolkien told to his children. It was not initially conceived as part of the Middle-earth legendarium. When Tolkien began writing The Hobbit 's sequel, The Lord of the Rings, he made it part of his previously-existing legendarium. Tolkien later edited The Hobbit to fit some of the missing details with The Lord of the Rings, mostly with the conversation between Gollum and Bilbo. Although the books fit together, the style and tone of The Hobbit is much "lighter" and the novel is relatively easier to read than The Lord of the Rings.


Over Hill - Bilbo and Gandalf by Joel Lee

2013 depiction of Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf by Joel Lee.

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit (a short person with hairy feet), lives a peaceful life in his home Bag End built by his father. But then, he is visited by the wizard Gandalf, who introduces him to a group of Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield. Together they set out to the Lonely Mountain, the original home of the Dwarven group's people, which many years ago was attacked and occupied by the dragon Smaug, intent on taking back their home and treasures. Along the long way the group face many difficulties and have many adventures, often aided by a magic ring of invisibility found by Bilbo, until they finally arrive at the Lonely Mountain. The dragon is killed, but a new threat appears in the form of an army of goblins (orcs) headed for the mountain. The Dwarves, Elves, and Humans present at the site join together against their common enemy, and are ultimately victorious, although with heavy losses, among them Thorin. The Dwarves rebuild their kingdom under the mountain, and Bilbo returns home, richer in experience and intending to write down his adventures.



It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
-- J. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, chapter 12

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