“Then Gandolf’s smoke-ring would go green and come back to hover over the wizard’s head. He had quite a cloud of them about him already, and in the dim light it made him look strange and sorcerous.”
The Hobbit: or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien 1937
Middle-earth. Now that is a creation. A world that captured everyone. I had a freshman year roommate that could describe exactly what was going on in The Hobbit and ensuing Lord of the Rings by being read a single sentence. We tested him repeatedly and he always delivered. That was the obsession with this book. Before Harry Potter and the magical world, we had Bilbo Baggins and a world of elves and dwarves. (Hmm don’t want to forget Harry Potter). I’m not a big fan of reading about new worlds for the most part. However, I read this book over and over to my daughters. They read it to themselves. Great memories of them being young is part of the pleasure of reading this again. And the guide through this incredible world was Gandalf. Coolest name ever for the coolest wizard. Thoughtful, always thoughtful, smoking his pipe as he pondered the difficulties. He was aware in a way that we all wanted to be. I’ve had various pipe experimentations and adventures that could probably be traced to Gandalf. But then I could trace a lot of my experimentations and experiences to books.