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“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”

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Since the works of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien seem to be the topic de jour, remember to raise a glass to Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo was a furry-footed little gent who was gate-crashed by a wizard and 13 dwarrows, ran out of his home without a single handkerchief, had to borrow a cloak, was captured by trolls, played riddles with a murderer, escaped orcs, rode an eagle, visited a bear man, taunted spiders, flummoxed elves, tricked a dragon, outwitted the dwarrows and got home in time to surprise everyone and disappoint the Sackville-Bagginses.

And somewhere along the way, he found a certain item of jewelry.

Anyway, today is his (and his nephew’s) birthday. The book about his adventures was published the day before this day in history, in 1937.

It is hard for me to pick a favorite thing about a book I’ve re-read so many times. But after also reading the Lord of the Rings books even more times, one thing I’ve came to enjoy is the scene after Thranduil’s butler and the captain of the guard get so drunk they fall asleep, allowing Bilbo to steal – and return – the keys to the cells: A while later more elves come down to push what they think are empty barrels into the river and have a perfectly normal reaction to seeing the pair passed out at the table . “LOL, check out these assholes. Wake up bro!”

OK, not verbatim.

Bilbo’s plot works because the butler is pissed off about being shaken and wakened and ignores the elf who is like “Bro, some of these barrels are really heavy.” (Again, not verbatim.) It is simply cute and unless I’m misremembering, a unique look into the domestic side of an elf-king’s household.

Another thing I like about the book is that Tolkien included great big spiders to frighten one of his kids. What a completely parent thing to do.

Yes, I was one of those horrible little nerds who learned to write with the dwarven alphabet.

People who post off-topic comments have a fetish for orc feet.

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