The Hobbit Was My Family Bible

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Bilbo Baggins is a cultural icon

The cast of Peter Jackson’s upcoming Hobbit movie has been announced. It will star Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage, among others.

I for one will be first in line, with my kids in tow. Whether they like it or not. How could I miss this? The Hobbit was our family bible growing up.

I grew up in a Tolkien-loving house. Many childhood evenings were spent listening to my parents read the Hobbit aloud to me and my sister Arwen (named after the Elven princess in the Lord of The Rings).

We’d be snuggled in front of the fire listening to mom and dad read to us, with our dog Aragorn (the hero who eventually marries Arwen), curled at our feet.

As an aside: Dear Mom and Dad, what were you thinking with those names? That we’d never grow up and notice you’d named my sister after the dog’s wife?

I digress. They are both lovely names, and the dog died of old age long before we were old enough to be teased about that by our friends.

The point is that the Hobbit was our family bible, and when the long-awaited Hobbit movie comes out, I will be first in line with my kids to see it.

When I met my future husband and learned that his nightly ritual involved reading the Hobbit aloud to his son, I knew I had a keeper. Not because I still love the Hobbit so very much. I find Tolkien’s writing kind of long-winded and my attention wanders.

But I know that Reading The Hobbit Aloud is one of the first duties of parenting. It’s just the way it’s done.

Maybe there are good reasons for it: it’s a moving adventure story with complex characters and moral arcs. The division between good and evil is sometimes murky, and sympathetic characters make mistakes. It’s also a world of magic.

A particular vision of magic that has powerfully influenced our cultural imagination for generations. If I want my kids to grow up to be avid Dungeons and Dragons players well-versed in cultural history, exposing them to the Hobbit makes sense.

Of course, my own girls today are more interested in Harry Potter than they are in the Hobbit. But they’ll learn. Oh yes, my precious, they’ll learn.

Photo: screenshot from LOTR

More by Sierra Black:

I Flunk Being A Girly Mama

Why I Don’t Miss Homeschooling

How Smartphones Made The Playground Fun

Stepmothers: Do You Really Love Your Husband’s Kids?

10 Ways To Squash Sibling Rivalry

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