Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Bilbo Baggins is the main character of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'. He lives a quiet and simple life until an unexpected adventure changes everything. Read more about the hobbit Bilbo Baggins now.

Story Synopsis

The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit whose life changes when he is volunteered by his friend Gandalf, a wizard, to assist a group of dwarves in getting back their home: the Lonely Mountain and Erebor, which has been overtaken by Smaug, a dragon.

When the dragon overtook Lonely Mountain, the Arkenstone gem, a stone that had become an emblem or symbol of power for the king of Erebor, was lost. Bilbo's goal is to retrieve the Arkenstone for the leader and son of the King of Erebor, Thorin Oakenshield, whose family had found and shaped the stone.


The Simple Life

Bilbo is a hobbit from the Shire, a small, out-of-the-way place in Middle-Earth. He is in his prime of life at the age of 50. He is small in height, with large hairy feet and curly hair. As a hobbit he appreciates a good pint, his pipe, and the comforts of home; travel and adventure were not things he took part in. That is until a group of dwarves barge into his home. They are under the impression that they are hiring him to be their resident thief, thanks to Gandalf, the mischievous wizard, who advised Bilbo would be up to the task. At first, Bilbo declines most stubbornly, but as the dwarves leave without him, he realizes he wants the adventure they are offering.

Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo Baggins

The Adventure

Bilbo struggles in the beginning to fit in with this rough and tumble group. Cultural differences in food and behavior put them at odds with each other in the beginning. The dwarves laugh at his need for order, and Bilbo cringes at Thorin's gruff manner regarding his people. But Bilbo's cleverness is almost immediately needed at the beginning of their journey when they face the trolls.

Without the small hobbit's quick thinking and stalling of the trolls until the sun came up, his group would have been eaten. Instead, the ignorant trolls end up getting turned to stone. This little bit of luck brings the whole company into a bit of gold and weapons that the trolls had stashed in a cave, which endears Bilbo to the dwarves a bit.

His sheer cleverness continues as they proceed on their journey and are captured by goblins, but Bilbo eludes them. It's during this time that he runs into Gollum, the creature that holds the ultimate ring of power. During a quick-witted battle of riddles with Gollum, Bilbo finds the ring, pockets it, then wins the battle of wits and escapes! He saves his companions yet again, ensuring most of the dwarves' trust and loyalty. Though Thorin still appears to be apprehensive about Bilbo.


The hobbit's loyalty increases as they travel through Lake Town, a village of boats and floating homes that are placed in the middle of a lake. Once they finally make it through the town and up the Lonely Mountain, they manage to get to the area they need to be in order to get back into their home, but they struggle to solve the oddly worded instructions on how to enter. Bilbo, however, figures out the riddle of how to use the key, and goes into the Lonely Mountain alone to find the Arkenstone for Thorin. Bilbo is terrified, but goes to confront Smaug because he wants to give the dwarves a chance to obtain the lives they deserve.

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