Bilbo Baggins makes a decision

As one of those who watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey within the first 24 hours of its release in Canada, I can say that I enjoyed it.

The following concerns one of the most chilling moments of The Hobbit for me, though it’s probably not what you would typically consider a chilling moment. Don’t worry, this is not a spoiler, although if you’re against watching trailers, this does reference content in the trailer.

You can watch a snippet from 2:00 in this trailer if you wish, just of the exchange between Bilbo and Gandalf.

Bilbo Gandalf

Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.
Bilbo Baggins: Can you promise that I will come back?
Gandalf: …No. And if you do, you will not be the same.
[Click image for original website.]

Like Bilbo, I want that assurance of familiarity. Gandalf’s words that you and others will not be the same are almost like a nightmare.

Bilbo Baggins’ fear of change and strangers and uncertainty, his apprehension at leaving all that he knows and loves and values, and his reluctance to dive into a life-changing adventure are all things that I, at the depths of my play-it-safe nature, very much identify with.

This fear is one of the huge challenges for humanity, as expressed in so many of the stories in our culture: letting go of what could have been for what could be.

Frodo Baggins leaving the Shire for the Fellowship of the Ring.

Jay Gatsby refusing to let go of his ideal of Daisy.

Daisy Buchanan pursuing her ideal of love. (Funny how ideal is not far from the spelling of idol.)

Simba leaving his desert oasis paradise to challenge Scar on Pride Rock.

Spiderman taking on his burden of  great responsibility that comes with great power.

The twelve disciples answering Jesus’ call to follow him.

Again and again, we are shown that the world is not static, and that we must adapt as life happens, but we don’t always respond favourably. Most of us are control freaks, in the sense that if things are out of control and beyond our zone of comfort, we freak out. The thing is, if we see what we are as fine-and-dandy, we will abhor change; if we have a healthy discontent that recognizes how we could be changed for the better, we would be more open to change, in reasonable proportions. (I’m not talking complete overhaul for no reason.)

Now, I know my resolution to this fear, and it is something I remind myself of all the time. Yet this is a recurring concern that comes back to taunt me, in case I can be hoodwinked to forget the source of my confidence, so then I fend it off with my sword. I shall leave this post unresolved.