Guide to The Lord of the Rings/Characters/Bilbo Baggins

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Guide to The Lord of the Rings - Character
Bilbo Baggins
Other Names The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins
Gender Male
Hair color Brown
Race Hobbit
Date of Birth 22 September, TA 2890 (SR 1290)
Related Family Bungo Baggins(Father), Belladonna Took (Mother), Frodo Baggins (Second cousin, once removed)
Spouse None


Overview[edit]

Bilbo Baggins is the main character in The Hobbit. Bilbo is also a supporting character in The Lord of the Rings, being a ring-bearer. He is a hobbit of The Shire and lives in a hobbit-hole known as Bag End. Bag End was a luxurious home built by Bilbo's father, Bungo Baggins for Bilbo's mother, Belladonna Took. Bilbo lived a comfortable life in his neighborhood in The Shire, not interested in any adventures taking him away from his village, until he was hired by Thorin and Company on the Quest of Erebor, where he went on an adventure to reclaim the dwarves' lost treasure. On the way, under the Misty Mountains, he found the One Ring and kept it for decades until he gave it up to Frodo for it to be destroyed, since the only thing stopping Sauron was the ring being away from him.

Role in the Books[edit]

The Hobbit[edit]

Bilbo played a major role in this book, being the protagonist. He was invited by Thorin and Company to be their burglar on an adventure to Erebor to reclaim The Lonely Mountain from the dragon, Smaug. When the dwarves from Thorin and Company arrived at Bilbo's home, he wasn't too keen on going on any adventures but when the next day arrived and he found out that the dwarves had left and were waiting at an inn. This is where he changed his mind. The first thing Bilbo did as burglar was investigate a light in the forest. He finds trolls and attempts to pickpocket one. He was caught and as the dwarves came to see what was taking so long they were saved by Gandalf keeping them arguing until it became daylight and they turned to stone. In the trolls' lair Bilbo finds a sword perfect for him, which he later names Sting.

Bilbo and the company stop and Rivendell and go to the Misty Mountains from there. Where he and the company fell down a trap. Bilbo loses the company and bumps his head. He finds himself in a dark tunnel and finds a small ring, the One Ring. At the time he thought it was just a normal ring, he put it in his pocket. He encounters a creature named Gollum. They play a game of riddles, if Bilbo won, Gollum would show him the way out. Bilbo won, but he asked a rather unfair question. Gollum discovers that his ring is gone. Gollum believes Bilbo stole it. He chases Bilbo but when Bilbo puts on the ring. Gollum doesn't notice him. He vanished.

Bilbo finds his way out and is reunited with the company. They stopped for the night near a small group of pine trees when wargs (wolves) find them. They climb up the trees to escape. Gandalf uses his magic to set fire to pine cones and he threw them at the wargs. The wargs fled and they were rescued by eagles.

The group traveled to Beorn's house where they rested, after being taken in by Beorn and his animal servants. Beorn learned about their story and gave a large number of provisions to help their quest. Beorn also lent several ponies to be used until the group reached Mirkwood. However, Beorn did not fully trust the dwarves, so Bilbo saw Beorn giving careful watch to see that his ponies were unharmed. Eventually the company reached Mirkwood, where the ponies were let go (to several of the dwarves discontent) and Gandalf left the group as well, warning them, "Do not stray off the path."

The Company began to follow the path through the treacherous forest. Eventually the provisions ran low and the Company was forced to send Bilbo up a tree to see where the forest ended. Bilbo climbed up a tree, where a rewarding breeze of cool air and butterflies met him. Bilbo only saw more forest, so when he reluctantly climbed back down, he did not see that the forest ended. He reported his findings to the dwarves, where they met the news with ill comfort, angry that the dwarves were fatter than Bilbo and so could not climb the trees to feel cool air or see the butterflies. Eventually the last provisions were eaten. The Company then came upon the Enchanted River. Bilbo saw a boat on the other side, leading the dwarves to retrieve it. A deer came out of nowhere when all the dwarves were on the other side. A dwarf shot it where it died, on the other side. The dwarves hoped for venison for dinner when Bilbo realized that Bombur was drowning. The dwarves fished him out, where he was asleep, but the boat was knocked away, ending the hope for venison.

While wandering down the path, the dwarves saw lights in the forest. Deciding that they would rather leave the path then starve to death they headed after the lights. As soon as they got to the lights, they went out and one of their party fell asleep. This happened twice. On the third time all of them fell asleep.

When Bilbo awoke in the night, he was alone. He cursed the dwarves for leaving the path and discovered that spiders had captured his companions. Bilbo was forced to find his lost companions and cut through the cocoons the spiders had formed around his companions. He distracted the spiders by improvising several insulting songs to irritate the spiders, who left their domain to find the insulter and eat him. Bilbo killed a few by throwing stones at a few spiders and he killed more via his sword. They never found his since he use the Ring to turn invisible. After freeing the dwarves, he led them into a charge against the spiders, where Bilbo killed dozens of the arachnids with the help of the Ring and his sword.

After traveling through Mirkwood Forest they had been taken prisoner by Wood-elves, who believed that the company had "assaulted" the elves while they were partying (the bright lights the company had seen in the forest). Shortly after, the travelers had gone to Lake Town, a small town occupied by men. Here is where Smaug would frequently attack, though he had not been seen in many years. The group had fended off the Dragon until Bard shot the Black Arrow at the single bare spot on the dragon's jewel encrusted underbelly. Killing it and sending him to rot at the bottom of the lake, and destroying part of Lake Town. Here, after Thorin Oakenshield reclaimed the mountain, the Battle of the Five Armies took place. Beorn, the Beorning chieftain, joined the travelers in their fight against an army of orcs.

After the battle, a soldier sent by Gandalf to search for him found Bilbo. Then Gandalf takes him to Thorin, who was lying on a bed, dying. Thorin apologizes to Bilbo about how Thorin cursed Bilbo, and Thorin then praised Bilbo's beliefs, that food and drink is valued higher than gold or treasure. Bilbo later attends Thorin's funeral. After the funeral, Dain offers him his one-fourteenth share of the treasure, which Bilbo turns down, receiving only two small chests, one with gold, and the other laden with silver. Bilbo traveled back with the wood-elf host that participated in the Battle of Five Armies. Bilbo traveled with the wood-elves down to Mirkwood, and then went to Beorn's house with Gandalf. Then Bilbo set out with Gandalf to where Bert, Tom, and William turned to stone. They dug up some of the buried treasure the dwarves buried earlier, in which Bilbo offered most of it to Gandalf to use to aid the peoples of Middle-Earth. Bilbo eventually made it back to Hobbiton, where he witnessed an auction selling most of his possessions to the other hobbits. His relatives, the Sackville-Baggins were...vexed to see Bilbo alive since they wanted to live in Bag End so badly. Bilbo had to buy back his sold possessions in order to avoid quarreling. Eventually, Balin and Gandalf visited him, where they reported the current news of Middle-earth.

The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King[edit]

On September 22, a farewell Birthday Party was held in his honour, where he announced his intention to leave the Shire, to the shock of his family and friends. Immediately afterwards, he put on his ring and disappeared, as a joke on his neighbours. He returned to his house where he was confronted by his friend Gandalf, who tried to persuade him to leave the ring for Frodo.

Bilbo initially agreed, but then became hostile and accused Gandalf of trying to steal the ring for his own benefit, which he referred to as his "precious." Horrified by Bilbo's outburst, Gandalf stood to his full height and ordered Bilbo to leave it behind. Immediately Bilbo returned to his senses, apologising and admitting that the Ring had been troubling him lately. After a moment of inner struggle, Bilbo finally dropped the ring to the ground, becoming the first ring-bearer to give up the ring on his own will. Bilbo and Gandalf bid each other goodbye, and Bilbo left the Shire for his journey.

On the same day, Bilbo left the One Ring and his home of Bag End in the possession of his relative, Frodo Baggins who was eager to be his own master despite the loss of Bilbo, for he was not yet ready to leave the Shire. After his departure, Bilbo accompanied three dwarves to Dale and the Lonely Mountain, before finally settling in Rivendell. There, he met Aragorn and Elrond.

Between TA 3003 and TA 3018, Bilbo worked on the written account of his adventures, in a book that would later be known as the Red Book of Westmarch. He also studied the Elvish language and compiled a three-volume history of the Elder Days, which he called Translations from the Elvish. He composed the poem All that is Gold Does Not Glitter for Aragorn as well as a much longer poem about Eärendil during his stay at Rivendell.

In October 3018, Frodo arrived at Rivendell. Bilbo learnt that his nephew was on a quest to destroy the One Ring so he gave him the sword Sting and for protection his mithril shirt. However, he remained in Rivendell while Frodo travelled south. After Frodo returned, Bilbo had noticeably aged, partially freed from the Ring's effect, although he continued to desire it.