I read The Hobbit when I was about eight– and re-read the entire series from beginning to end the way kids read Harry Potter. So don’t take this as a bash:)
I got into an amusing conversation the other day. The entirety of the series is kicked off by Bilbo recovering The One Ring. So, my question was: why Bilbo? How did Gandalf come to this decision, and why was he hanging out with the dwarves, anyway (but that’s another question:)
So, I imagine Gandalf was sitting around, with someone, having this conversation.
Person: We’re going after Smaug’s gold and we need one more person.
Gandalf: You have twelve dwarves who know the mountain, you should be fine.
Person: We need a thief. Someone who can sneak inside and scope it out.
Gandalf: Well, just get another dwarf.
Person: <looks at Gandalf like he is an idiot> Dwarves do not steal, or sneak!
Gandalf, <tapping the ashes out of his pipe>. Yeah. I can see that. Stompy loud buggers.
Person: <glares at Gandalf>.
Gandalf: So, you need a thief.
Person: That’s what I said.
Gandalf: Well, the elves are good at –
Person: Are you insane?
Gandalf: right- I can’t think of a single elf who would lower himself to travel with dwarves.
Person: That’s not what I meant!
Gandalf: <ignoring the froth and spittle>. What about a human?
Person: Like who?
Gandalf: Maybe someone from Gondor?
Person: Too busy fighting their own wars. Take a look at Osgiliath.
Gandalf: <relighting his pipe> Good point. They’re much too busy to worry themselves about a petty quest.
Person: <more glaring>
Gandalf: What about the Rohirrim?
Person: When is the last time any of them did anything for anyone else?
Gandalf: You have a point there. They wouldn’t want to risk a dragon eating those beautiful horses.
Person: You aren’t very helpful.
Gandalf: I have an idea.
Person: Is it better than the other ones you had so far?”
Gandalf: Well, you probably aren’t going to like it.
Person: What is it?
Gandalf: A hobbit.
Person: A what?
Gandalf: A hobbit.
Person: Never heard of it.
Gandalf: Well, they are small. And good at staying hidden. You’ve never even heard of them, so they must be very good at it.
Person: <looking doubtful>
Gandalf: And there is one other benefit.
Gandalf: We just might be able to convince one of them to do something this completely and utterly stupid.
Person: <chewing his lip> Hobbit it is!