The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is a children's fantasy book that kicked the genre in the ass in a big way. Stories of far away, scary lands with magical beings have always been popular, just look at King Arthur and Merlin, but The Hobbit is special in the way National Lampoon's Vacation made family comedies special. Just putting the story on a road seemed to help bring new life.
To say the story has no flaws, however, depends on your willingness to read verse and give a shit about your characters. Many times the dwarves and other characters lapse into song that can be skipped over without losing story. Also, besides going from place to place, the characters do not do very much. There is an internal change, especially in the central character of Bilbo, but overall the party just goes from place to place, gets in trouble, then get saved. They do little except forward the plot with their own need to go somewhere. This is boring save the few times Bilbo hobbits-up and becomes more active, but even then it leads to little but an excuse for a dues ex machina device to come save the day.
The book was banned several times over the years, most notably in 2001 in Alamagordo, New Mexico where a Christian rights group held a book burning. The themes of friendship and striving against adversity were lost among those looking for witchcraft and "satanic themes," so the book has suffered. Overall, however, The Hobbit and the sequel series, The Lord of the Rings, have escaped most detractors due to the strong messages and obvious fantasy elements they contain. Hope, friendship, kindness, and general fighting against adversity for the greater good are themes we can all embrace.
2001 - New Mexico - Burned in Alamogordo outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.
Doyle, Robert P. Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read. 2014
"Dances and Dames"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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