The Hobbit Characters

Instructor: Ronald Speener

Ronald, with my Masters in English, has taught composition, literature, humanities, critical thinking and computer classes.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is a rich fantasy world with great characters - from the main character Bilbo Baggins to supporting characters like the wizard Gandalf, dwarves, and a dragon. This lesson explores the important characters in The Hobbit.

Characters in The Hobbit

It is one of those Saturdays where nothing is planned; the weather is sunny and warm. It is a perfect relaxing day - no adventures. Adventures, however, find people or hobbits whether they want it or not. The Hobbit is a story about how dwarves, a wizard, and particularly a hobbit, manage the challenges of an adventure, encounter friends and foes, and successfully defeat a dragon. Chapter 1 introduces all the main characters: thirteen dwarves, a wizard and one reluctant hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo Baggins

The Hobbit is about Bilbo Baggins, an uptight, stick in the mud, and his impulsive adventure. Bilbo's life is routine. He is content to go no further from home than he can walk. He likes each day like the last and hopes tomorrow will be the same. As Bilbo says at the beginning of Chapter 1.. 'We don't want any adventures here.'

A knock on the door by the wizard Gandalf shatters Bilbo's routine. Soon Bilbo's life is flooded with 13 dwarves promising riches and adventure. Adventure is not a comfortable word; adventure is a word in nightmares for Bilbo. He refuses the offer. Yet, something in Bilbo's character changes his mind, and he is off on an adventure.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money. (Chapter 1)

Although most of the characters in the novel do not grow as characters, Bilbo blossoms into a hero. He grows into the hero without losing his hobbit humility. We see Bilbo change from obsessing about leaving the house without a handkerchief to a character willing to defy his leader to do what is morally right.

Important Supporting Characters

Bilbo isn't the only important character in The Hobbit. The novel is also filled with important supporting characters.


Gandalf the Grey is a wizard. As the novel says, Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard a very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion. (Chapter 1)

Gandalf comes and goes throughout the story as he pursues other darker and more dangerous missions. However, he is always there when Bilbo most desperately needs him. Gandalf is wise, careful in speech, dangerous when angered, and blows fantastic smoke rings with his pipe.


The dwarves in The Hobbit have a love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic... (It is) a fierce jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. (Chapter 1). However, they are generous - if you are worthy.

Part of the richness of The Hobbit is that each of the 13 dwarves in the story has his own personality. Bombur is jolly and likes food. Fili and Kili are the youngest and impulsive.

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