Finding home with The Hobbit

Finding home with The Hobbit

“I often think of Bag End. That’s where I belong. That’s home. You don’t have one. It was taken from you but I will help you take it back if I can.”

2h45 minutes flew past very quickly while watching The Hobbit, directed by Peter Jackson, the new trilogy based on the book by JRR Tolkein. I think towards the end, I finally understood and appreciated the grandeur of the scenery.

The Hobbit is about the adventures of Bibo Baggins who was recruited by Gandolf to help the dwarfs reclaim their land. Their task is to find the secret door that can lead them into the mountain where home is.

As with any Tolkein story, the goblins, orcs and ugly ugly creatures came to thwart their path. But in between, we visited a few homes.

The home of Bilbo the hobbit is where the movie begins. A place that is clean, proper and comfortable that was disrupted one night by 13 dwarfs. They came to eat his food and drink his wine and beer. They also came with songs of cheer and good spirit and their song of a nation who had lost their home.

While Gandolf explained his league of 5 magicians, we visited the forest of the east, home of the wizard who guards the woods. In this home, the animals are well beloved and even the birds have a home in the nest of his hair.

While getting to the mountain, they came upon the home of the elves to decipher the ancient language on the map. The home of the elves is a welcome refuge after a long hard fight. There was music and fresh food, a place of serenity by the waters. It is a place of grandeur and beauty.

From heaven, we descended to hell, the underground home of the goblins. Where it is dark and deep filled with make shift bridges that connects the walls of the cave.

And finally, we arrive on the mountaintop with the view of the lonely mountain, the home of the dwarfs. The destination and the vision of what were past and what is to come.

With the words of Bilbo, my eyes welled up and the meaning of home in my mind. So where is home really? In chinese, we say, 家在我心房 . Literally, home is in the room of my heart. And during Christmas, this question is on the top of my mind.

For someone like me who has a family that is non-present, where is home? Maybe this is why the film has touched me deeper than I was prepared for. For a vagrant traveller who has a make shift room over my head, who has refused to buy even a good knife and chopping board because this is a rented apartment (which is absolutely ridiculous by the way since I love cooking and has numerous dinners at home), who has refused to stick something on the wall to hang a photo or a painting, or anything that makes it more homelike. Where is home?

What about those who had lost their home in war like Syria, disasters like NYC and Haiti or poverty like the homeless people on the streets? Where is home? And what is the meaning of home?

I think it grand that the dwarfs have a place to reclaim. It is an atrocity when one has spent so much time and effort to build a place called home only to be taken away unjustly. My heart goes out to those who had lost it.

But is home a place, an apartment, a building? I think the dwarfs can look upon the company they are in and take courage. They are at home already, in the company of comrades, people who can be counted on.

I think love is home, companionship is home, acceptance is home. This Christmas, I think my little mezzanine is home. There is no one but I have a tree. This year, I’ve decided that my tree and I will decorate Christmas and be the makeshift home. Maybe next year, I’ll find the lonely mountain so it will be filled with anything but loneliness.

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