Posted by: Jack Hope | Friday December 28, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Film

Hobbit-MTIEarlier this week I went to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” with two of my friends, 2 of the people who I have been patching things up with after my most recent dropout episode. Although I had been (and remain) somewhat critical of the decision to present this story as a trilogy and a marketing exercise to exploit the success of the Lord of the Rings, I knew that I would have to see this first film in theatres at least, for no other reason than the spectacular return to Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth.

Now I haven’t decided to branch out into film reviews and I’m not remaining the site ‘Beyond Movies’ or the like, but this film had an unexpected resonance for me that left me surprised at how much it dovetailed with my current life.

For those of you planning to see The Hobbit, I don’t believe anything ahead may count as spoilers but consider yourself warned that I am discussing some details of the film.

My surprising resonance from The Hobbit can be summed up as this: I am Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo Baggins is the titular Hobbit and played by Martin Freeman. Freeman provides an excellent portrayal of Bilbo, rivaling his work as John Watson on the BBC’s ‘Sherlock.’

Bilbo is living a quiet, uneventful life spent largely puttering around his house and obsessing over his heirlooms and sticking to his nice, safe, routine in the Shire (the Hobbits’ homeland) and being a quiet and respectable sort of Hobbit.

The movie opens, as the Lord of the Rings opens, with the arrival of the wizard Gandalf who seeks Bilbo’s help on a quest. Bilbo refuses on the grounds that he’s not the sort to go off on adventures and such. Shortly thereafter he is set upon by a collection of Dwarves whom eat him out of house and home, having been told that they would meet Gandalf there to start their quest to re-take their lost homeland.

Bilbo simply cannot cope with this completely unexpected influx of strange visitors with habits and customs alien to his neatly ordered life, as well as absolutely terrible table manners. Overwhelmed, he declares he will have nothing to do with this venture.

Nonetheless, given that this is to be a trilogy of films, he is nonetheless convinced to join the quest, reminded that there is a whole world out beyond the safety of the Shire.

As true on this Earth as it is on Middle Earth.

As true on this Earth as it is on Middle Earth.

In so many ways, the life Bilbo Baggins has is the life that I now have.

In my recovery from my Depression I have focused on creating stability, order and then maintaining them, giving myself a safe space, which I have often lacked previously.

Since coming to Calgary and re-engaging with my friends and family here, I have further built my own little insulated Shire focused on managing the small details and avoiding adventure and encounters with people who might disturb my equilibrium.

That’s not to say that this has been a mistake. It’s been a necessary foundation for me to build a life again and having the safety and security of my own little Shire has been a huge benefit. And no, I don’t think that for the next step of my treatment that I need to join a group of dwarves setting off to battle orcs and a dragon.

Bilbo Baggins’ journey is one of realizing that he is more than his simple, quiet and uneventful life, and that even the very smallest among us have it within them to make a positive difference for others, a thought that has been constantly with me of late.

I do not know how I make the jump from this simple, comfortable and safe life to something bigger and braver but I do know it is essential.

Boldness is a part of the solution to overcoming my mental health challenges.

It is time for me to rediscover my boldness.



  1. Reblogged this on vizualbusinessbd.

  2. The Hobbit was one of my favourite books as a child and I have just bought a new collectible copy to introduce to my daughter. I am on the fence as to whether I will see the film. I can see how you could relate to Bilbo, I always have as well. Glad you went out and are continuing on your quest to re-engage with life outside ‘the shire’ kudos to you. You will have to give me your insights into whether I should see the movie, complete with spoilers in a private message as to not ruin it for others..I am very attached to my perceptions from the book and the original animated version.

    • I will be happy to do that, although I should warn you, I’ve never actually read any of the books. The Fellowship of the Ring remains to this day one of the very few novels that I have begun reading and never finished, and afterwards I never felt much motivation to take up Tolkien again, even though The Lord of the Rings trilogy is among my favourite films.

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