When I first cracked open the pages of the Hobbit I was struck with a couple of things.
For one you are thrown into a strange and compelling world with a strange and terribly interesting group of creatures, Bilbo Baggins of the Shire certainly not the least.
And before you can even get your breath and try to work out just what a curly haired, diminutive curly footed sort of human is or does or thinks, there comes along a wizard of all things,and then dwarves such as you have never known.
Then off they go on the most fantastic treasure hunt against a most cunning and evil dragon you can imagine. Sort of like being on a huge and incredibly fast roller coaster.
I would like to talk about the challenges to Bilbo Baggins, challenges met whether willingly or not, that began to make a lasting change in the character of this Hobbit.Such that, when he went back to the Shire h e was very very different and thought of that way by the rest of his kin and neighbors for ever after.
To start then I think that as the story opens you see a well fed, orderly in the sense of provisions and the niceties of life Hobbit. One that is not short with his hand concerning the simple things such as food and drink that bring contentment to the heart .I see someone who does not like to be put upon when he is not the person responsible for the get together.
I see someone however who minds his manners and does what needs doing when pressed.
And I also see that the first challenge that sort of hit h im head on was the two sides of his nature that derived from both sides of the geneology. One side fully Hobbit meaning food, fun, all the creature comforts and content with having no adventures. Then the other side that now and t hen craved something different, craved elfs and roads walked unknown before. A sense of finding something wonderful on that road.
But until the coming of Gandalf this time and the dwarves Bilbo never had to really seriously choose to go beyond his comfort zone whether he wanted to or not. So that I think was his first challenged and set h im up to have to take harder and h arder ones.
Any thoughts out there?