I went to watch The Hobbit on big screen on 31st December. I have been anxiously awaiting that movie for the last couple of years. I read The Hobbit when I was in High School and loved it. I have always loved stories with Fairies, dragons, elves etc. basically I have always loved stories to do with magical creatures. So you can imagine that I immediately fell in love with The Hobbit. But I didn’t know at the time that there were other books after The Hobbit. It was when the first Lord of the Kings was being filmed that I realized there were others and immediately became a fan of the other Tolkien books.
Anyway after watching the movie I realized that there are some lessons we can get from the book and the movie.
Sometimes we get too comfortable and are not ready to change. Bilbo Baggins had become too comfortable in his lifestyle and home in the shire. Gandalf had to come and shake him up and force him to go on an adventure. While growing up Bilbo had an adventurous spirit but as he grew older he began to seek comfort instead. This is a lesson we should never lose the ability to dream and the willingness to pursue dreams. Change is scary but also good. It helps us find our dreams again.
Mentors – sometimes people see things in us that we don’t see ourselves. Gandalf saw the potential in Bilbo Baggins before Bilbo saw it himself. Bilbo didn’t see himself as somebody who was capable of leaving the shire leave alone being a burglar for the dwarves but Gandalf saw the person he could be, the person he was inside and believed in him. This helped Bilbo believe that he could be more. We all need somebody or people who believe in us and help us become what we are meant to be. Sometimes it’s our family (mothers especially – Thank you mum), friends but some times its random strangers or some people we have interacted with. Always surround yourself with people who believe in you. It will help you in your journey in life.
Learn to let go. Some things in life will destroy you. Gollum had gotten a golden ring which he became obsessed with (my precious). It then changed him from being a hobbit to being a nasty creature. Sometimes we become so obsessed with something; wanting to make money, a relationship, a job, climbing the career ladder that we change and become bad people in trying to keep that thing. How many times have you heard this about somebody, “that person has changed” and not in a good way? Let me digress a little and go to Frodo Baggins who was the ring bearer in Lord of the Rings. He knew the ring was corrupting him and he fought it. He was actually in the end ready to be eased of its burden. Gollum was so obsessed with it he bit off Frodo’s finger to get it. And in that ecstasy of celebrating that he had gotten it back fell into the active volcano with the ring and was destroyed. The lesson is learning to let go. Some things will give you grief and change you into somebody you’re not. Learn to let go.
Sometimes gut feeling is all you have to go on. Gandalf chose Bilbo to go with them on gut feeling. That is what made him help the dwarves on their adventure to reclaim their former home, the mountain where the dragon had made his lair. Even after advice from Saruman, the white wizard, to stop the quest he still went on with the journey. Sometimes you have to follow your gut feeling. Once you start something and you believe it to be the right thing, don’t quit despite the opposition.
Equip yourself for the journey. When the company on the adventure found the Elvin swords they never knew how important the swords would be apart from in battle. They took them anyway. Bilbo’s sword was helpful in so many ways after. And the Goblin killer sword was used to slay the King of the Goblins. We are all on a journey going somewhere. Some things may not look important but they are important for the next level of your journey. Look out for these things and when you find them, carry them along with you.
Enemies. Sometimes the people you think are your enemies are really your friends. The dwarves refused to deal with the elves, believing that they had betrayed them. In actual fact they refused to help the dwarves because of the pride the dwarf king had about a certain magical gem and tried to make the elves bow down to him. So when they were in trouble the elves refused to help. But this time when they needed help with the map the elves helped them. So it’s important to know that not everybody you think is an enemy really is your enemy. It could be your perception. Learn to forgive and let go of past anger and move on. Sometimes those perceived enemies could end up being your salvation.
Acknowledge that you make mistakes. That is the mark of a true leader. That is what Thorin did after Bilbo went in to fight the orcs when he was about to be killed. He acknowledged that he had been wrong that Bilbo did not belong with them and expressed his gratitude. Learn to acknowledge it when you make a mistake. More importantly, when somebody does something for you, say thank you. This will take you very far.
Courage. Sometimes we have courage that we never knew we had. That’s what Bilbo found out when he tried to fight the orcs. Sometimes we know something is the right thing to do. And we follow our hearts. That’s an important lesson. To be courageous in a time when courage is required.
There are so many lessons we can learn from The Hobbit and from Lord of the Rings as well. I hope that each of us can take them and incorporate them in our lives. Because sometimes a story is not just a story, it’s lessons in story form that one needs to learn.
Potentash Founder. A creative writer. The Managing Editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories and stories about the inclusion of minorities. Find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We're all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat