Tolkien's genius was not so much about the creation of languages no urbane person would wish to admit to speak. It was not so much about the revitalization of Nordic myths and legends. It was a reboot, so to speak, of PICKWICK TALES shroud in the clouds of Nordic myths and legends.
In the PICKWICK TALES, three bachelor friends of Mr. Pickwick (and remember, in Tolkien's notes, there had to be four hobbits--he was very clear about that) decide to go on adventures around England. And they do. Mr. Pickwick eventually lands up in trouble with his landlady (not because he doesn't pay his rent), but because his landlady mistook his intentions and believes they are engaged. When Pickwick makes it abundantly clear they are not, she sues for breach of promise of marriage (probably even then , a ripe motif for comedy--think years later, of Gilbert and Sullivan's mock heroic operetta--TRIAL BY JURY, which is all about such a suit). Even then, apparently, it was more a financial revenge than anything else--the lady could be bought off. Only Pickwick won't--hence--debtor's prison. And the friends, who during their adventures, picked up girlfriends and are about ready to retire from bachelor adventures, rally round to try and resolve the matter.
Well--Merry and Pippin are pretty clear that they are all in for a bit of adventure and danger. Sam, of course, doesn't have to say so--wherefore Frodo, therefore Sam. Merry and Pippin even write the first pages--a prelude to adventure, to be off ere the break of day. And of course, comedy ensues--they get lost in a dark and hostile forest. Oh that there was GPS to guide them on the best route to Bree. Or at least GoogleMaps.
And yet, they are all modern characters. Everyone one of them is planning their own version of THERE AND BACK AGAIN. The hobbit who ginned the whole plot--Bilbo, was the first to pen his memoirs. And Bilbo, as we have mentioned earlier, had read a good many adventure books in the past which fueled his inchoate knowledge about the art of the riddle and the art of dragon-smarm.
Witness Sam, trying to make the best of a bad Gollum situation--hey--do you want to be the hero or the villain? And later, alone with Frodo, trying to cheer them up with wondering when they are part of the lore of Middle-Earth, and a father reads the book to his children, how this part will be depicted. And Frodo, for once taking part of the musing, even though he only shuts down the conversation by saying that the father would close the book and stop the story, as the children are getting too frightened.
Pippin, after a troll falls upon him, believes himself to be dying and confused, hears the cries of "The eagles are coming." Briefly, hope of life stirs in him, before he realizes--"No, that was in Bilbo's tale." And as he passes out, his last thoughts are, "And my tale is over." Merry is the nearest there is to a scholar who specializes in the lore of pipeweed, never tiring of being able to trot out to any who would listen the history of the blends.
This is probably the first story where many of the characters are aware of the lore and desirous of contributing to it. Sort of like all the hipsters in LA who are writing screenplays. But not having adventures with which to season them. Latte art is hardly a contribution to the adventure genre.