On this day 1937, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien is published. It would go on to sell 100 million copies, be translated into roughly 50 languages, and adapted into three major motion pictures.
(“Signed Copy of the Hobbit Sells for Record at Auction.” Tolkien News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.)
Tolkien recalled that he began writing The Hobbit in early 1930. While reviewing school papers, he found a blank space and wrote, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.”
Like many writers, life got in the way of completing his novel. If it wasn’t for the encouragement from his good friend and fellow writer C.S. Lewis, Tolkien may not have completed this great work of literature. Tolkien once wrote, “The debt that I owe to Lewis is unpayable. For long he was my only audience, and but for him, I would never have brought this whole project to completion. He was the one who convinced me that my stuff might be interesting to others…”
As a side note… Did you know that C.S. Lewis was once an atheist? However, through his good Christian friend Tolkien, he came to Christ. That’s a story for another time, and I digress… back to the Hobbit…
In 1936 Elaine Griffiths, one of Tolkien’s students, managed to convince an employee from a local publisher to read the draft. In fact, the employee let her ten year old son read the book. What was the verdict? The young man loved it! Sealing the deal for the Hobbit to be published.
Despite all the success of this beautiful story, a major theme fails to be discussed in our secular world today. The Hobbit beautifully weaves a Christian worldview through this fantastic tale.
I know… You’re saying, “but, it’s a story of dragons, wizards, and elves?” You are correct; however, similar to his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien enjoyed writing stories that didn’t overtly discuss Christianity, but allowed the worldview to linger below the surface.
Maybe there’s a lesson here for other Christian writers. A good story doesn’t need to blatantly discuss God to be a witness for Christ.