The main character in the book is the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. He is asked through the 13 dwarfs and Gandalf to be the burglar of the company. His job is to steal the Arkenstone from Smaug the dragon, who is claiming the mountain named Erebor, and to help the dwarfs by their quest to reclaim the mountain.
Bilbo changes throughout the book, so changes his understanding of the world around him, his sense of adventure, and his desire to live a comfortable life in his warm Hobbit hole.
At the beginning of the book, he doesn’t care what’s outside of The Shire. But when the end of the book is near, Bilbo’s view to the world outside the Shire has changed, and he has an understanding of different creatures he met: orcs, goblins, elves, dwarves, trolls, and Gollum (a slimy creature who is as dark as darkness except for his two big round pale blue eyes in his thin face).
Also, his sense of adventure grows. First, Gandalf had to give Bilbo a little push into going on this adventure, and at the end, Bilbo became more courageous, because he had to fight against goblins and spiders, he must confront Smaug, and he played a game of riddles with Gollum to not to be eaten.
And Bilbo has learned how to make sacrifices: he had to step out of his comfort zone to rescue the dwarves from the spiders and the Wood elves. But he’s a Hobbit who will always love his Hobbit hole and his six meals a day.
The story is written chronological. It starts in 2941 third age and it ends in 2949 third age. Sometimes the author refers to the future: ‘It was not the last time that he wished that!’
(page 32), ‘But as that comes in at the end of this tale we will say no more about it just now.’ (page 101). Because the writer knows what coming. Also, the tell pace varies: The conversation between Bilbo and Smaug is very long and the journey back to The Shire is very short. That gives effect while reading. Perhaps Tolkien means when subjects are long, they are important and when they are short, they are less important.
Theme, motive, symbolism:
There are four symbols in the book. The first one are the swords which are named.
While reading this book, I came to the conclusion that swords with names are often in possession of great heroes. For example the sword of King Arthur: Excalibur. The swords in the book, Orcrist and Glamdring, were won by Thorin and Gandalf from the trolls. These swords symbolizes their heroic deeds. The dagger of Bilbo, which he named Sting after killing a spider, symbolizes his bravery, and his transformation into a hero.
The second one is the Arkenstone, also known as the Heart of the Mountain. It’s a precious stone found under the mountain many years ago. It’s described by Thorin as so: ‘It shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the moon..’. The stone represents: Thorin’s greed, and the peace among dwarves, humans and Wood elves.
The third one is the Lonely Mountain. This one is an important symbol because it symbolize the final destination of de company.