The Hobbit

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Sting Symbol Icon
Bilbo finds a dagger in the trolls’ lair, which is small for the trolls, but large enough to serve as a sword for him. Later, when Bilbo is rescuing his friends from the spiders in Mirkwood forest, he renames this sword Sting. It’s no coincidence that Bilbo gives his weapon a name at the same time that he’s discovering his own aptitude for adventure, deception, and fighting. In effect, Bilbo “renames” himself in the second half of The Hobbit — he goes from thinking of himself as a well-to-do, adventure-phobic hobbit to a bold, daring adventurer (when he talks to Smaug, he even gives himself new names). Thus, Sting symbolizes Bilbo’s changing nature, and proves that ordinary things —a dagger or a hobbit — are full of surprises.
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Sting Symbol Timeline in The Hobbit

The timeline below shows where the symbol Sting appears in The Hobbit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...him. Bilbo manages to free his sword and kill the spider. He names his sword Sting, and suddenly feels powerful and excited. (full context)