Little by little, one travels far.
Friday marked the 75th anniversary of the publishing of J.R.R. Tolkien's seminal fantasy novel "The Hobbit." To celebrate the event, fans all across the globe met at 11 a.m. local time to eat second breakfast with fellow fans.
Locally, a group of Tolkien fans met at the residence of Don Hill in Jamestown to eat, drink and be merry, such as the band of Hobbits did in Tolkien's classic novel. In addition to Hill, the group consisted of Michael Magnuson, Matt Warren, Amanda Wickmark, Kristina Benson and Paul Schermerhorn.
Friends gather for second breakfast to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publishing of “The Hobbit.”
P-J photo by
Though "The Hobbit" is a nonfiction fantasy novel, fans will agree that there is plenty to learn from Tolkien's writing.
"This is taking place on the book's 75th anniversary, but this day can happen every day," said Warren. "This getting together, eating, conversing, laughing and having fun this doesn't have to just happen on Sept. 21. As Tolkien taught, it's not about the gold or searching for the treasure. It's about getting together, having experiences with people and enjoying life."
Magnuson said that he had just recently reread the novel after having his father read it to him as a child, and he appreciated the perspective he gained from reading the book again as an adult.
"The one thing that really stayed the same for me both times I read the novel was the sense of adventure," said Magnuson. "You just don't see that type of adventure in other books even in books that try to copy the Tolkien universe. One thing I appreciated in reading the book again as an adult was the impeccable sense of humor that Tolkien incorporated into the book. For instance, there is a part of the book that mentions the invention of golf about how it was invented in Middle Earth."
Middle Earth, of course, is the planet on which "The Hobbit" and the subsequent "Lord of the Rings" trilogy takes place. It is very much like our Earth, only Middle Earth has far more humanoid races, such as dwarves, elves, hobbits, orcs, ents, half-elves and of course, dragons. Many fans believe that Tolkien crafted the races of Middle Earth as he did to show that it is possible for all different types of peoples to coexist on one planet, a lesson which many would like to see applied to our Earth. Magnuson believes another moral should be taken away from "The Hobbit" as well.
"Expect the unexpected, and never tell yourself that you can't do something," said Magnuson. "The Hobbit' is all about this short, kind of fat, not very adventurous little person who enjoys having company come to him who goes out and becomes a master adventurer and a master thief. He is thrown into this situation, almost against his will, and ends up being completely changed by the experience. He ends up truly treasuring the adventures he had and not regretting them at all. It's what everyone here on Earth probably wants to do, but they're not sure they have the courage to. The lesson is: you have that courage."
"The story is about a normal man, who due to unexpected circumstances, was forced to find the hero within himself," said Warren. "The lesson is that everyone can find that hero within themselves if they truly want to. It's a lesson I'll teach to my own children some day that, we inside us, have this ability to become a hero if the situation demands it. Bilbo comes back from his quest with a sense of courage and a sense of bravery that he didn't have before, and that's what we can connect to. We can remember a time in our life where we were forced to show courage and bravery and had to overcome fear and obstacles. That's what resonates with me, Bilbo's innate sense to overcome everything that he did."
Though the novel is 75 years old, most children in grade school will recognize the name Tolkien, which stands as testimony to how important he was in the canon of fantasy nonfiction. Everyone at second breakfast unanimously agreed that in another 75 years, children and adults alike will still be reading "The Hobbit."
"I really just wanted to have people over to enjoy each other's company, to tell stories and show fellowship," said Hill. "(The 75th anniversary) is a great reason to do this, but what should be taken away is that every occasion is a great reason to spend time with your friends. In the Internet age, we're more connected to each other, but truly we've become so disconnected. Seventy-five years from now, I think people will still be reading Tolkien, but what I hope more is that people are still doing this: spending time with each other for the sake of spending time with each other."