Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.
Bilbo: Can you promise that I will come back?
Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same.
What’s this? Why is there a post about Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on a blog ostensibly about (soft) adventure and world travel?
Because for me, the hero of these blog posts, it all started here. Even before sailing school, even before army cadets, there were books: Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons; The Hardy Boys; Narnia; The Once and Future King; and, most important of all, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkein’s fantasy stories opened up a world of possibilities for me: the world of imagination, of course, but also of history and of other cultures (the elves, the dwarves, ents, even orcs and goblins would be worth an ethnographic study if, like, they were real).
If I had to credit — or blame — any one source of inspiration for my peripatetic life, this would be it. I have spent most of my life looking for Middle Earth.
One difference between now and then: when I was young, I most wanted to be like Bilbo, and Frodo after him; the hero of the story. Now I’m older, it’s the wisdom and power of Gandalf I increasingly aspire to. In fact, my bike is named Shadowfax…
So here it is, the announcement trailer for The Hobbit, due out December 2012.