The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

by

J.R.R. Tolkien

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Bilbo Baggins Character Analysis

An elderly and kindly hobbit who gained fame and fortune after his exploits in helping to defeat the dragon Smaug (as detailed in The Hobbit). Bilbo is unaware of his ring’s true power, until the truth of its master Sauron is revealed to him at the Council of Elrond. Despite his age, Bilbo bravely volunteers to take the ring to Mordor to destroy it, but his nephew Frodo is given the task of Ring-bearer.

Bilbo Baggins Quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring

The The Fellowship of the Ring quotes below are all either spoken by Bilbo Baggins or refer to Bilbo Baggins. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Fellowship of the Ring published in 1954.
Prologue Quotes

At no time had Hobbits of any kind been warlike, and they had never fought among themselves. [...]

Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to it, difficult to daunt or kill; and they were, perhaps, so unwearyingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them, and could survive rough handling by grief, foe, or weather in a way that astonished those who did not know them well and looked no further than their bellies and their well-fed faces.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

“But my lad Sam will know more about [Bilbo’s gold]. He’s in and out of Bag End. Crazy about the stories of the old days he is, and he listens to all Mr. Bilbo’s tales. Mr. Bilbo has learned him his letters –meaning no harm, mark you, and I hope no harm will come from it.

Elves and Dragons! I says to him. Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don’t go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you’ll land in trouble too big for you, I says to him. And I might say it to others,” he added with a look at the stranger and the miller.

But the Gaffer did not convince his audience. The legend of Bilbo’s wealth was now too firmly fixed in the minds of the younger generation of hobbits.

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday, as I have told you before. Probably a permanent holiday: I don’t expect I shall return. In fact, I don’t mean to, and I have made all arrangements.

I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”

Gandalf looked curiously and closely at him. “No, it doesn’t seem right,” he said thoughtfully. “No, after all I believe your plan is probably the best.”

Related Characters: Gandalf the Grey (speaker), Bilbo Baggins (speaker)
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

For some years he was quite happy and did not worry about the future. But half unknown to himself the regret that he did not go with Bilbo was steadily growing. He found himself wandering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself “Perhaps I shall cross the river myself one day.” To which the other half of his mind always replied “Not yet.”

[…] He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself; and Merry and his other friends watched him anxiously. Often he was seen walking and talking with the strange wayfarers that began at this time to appear in the Shire.

Related Characters: Frodo Baggins (speaker), Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck, Bilbo Baggins
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later – later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour him.”

“How terrifying!” said Frodo. There was another long silence. The sound of Sam Gamgee cutting the lawn came in from the garden.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

"So now, when its master was awake once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire!

Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought."

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 54-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

“[Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; and that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountains or even further and to worse places?’ He used to say that on the path outside the front door at Bag End, especially after he had been out for a long walk."

Page Number: 72-3
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid Hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Frodo was neither very fat nor very timid; indeed, though he did not know it, Bilbo (and Gandalf) had thought him the best Hobbit in the Shire. He thought he had come to the end of his adventure, and a terrible end, but the thought hardened him. He found himself stiffening, as if for a final spring; he no longer felt limp like a helpless prey.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Slowly he drew it out. Bilbo put out his hand. But Frodo quickly drew back the Ring. To his distress and amazement he found that he was no longer looking at Bilbo; a shadow seemed to have fallen between them, and through it he found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands. He felt a desire to strike him.

The music and singing round them seemed to falter, and a silence fell. Bilbo looked quickly at Frodo's face and passed his hand across his eyes. “I understand now,” he said. “Put it away! I am sorry: sorry you have come in for this burden: sorry about everything.”

Related Characters: Bilbo Baggins (speaker), Frodo Baggins, Gollum / Smeagol
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 225-6
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Fellowship of the Ring LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Bilbo Baggins Character Timeline in The Fellowship of the Ring

The timeline below shows where the character Bilbo Baggins appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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...of Westmarch (also known as The Hobbit) that was written by a renowned hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. (full context)
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...people, they were largely disregarded by their fellow inhabitants on Middle-earth until the exploits of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. (full context)
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Bilbo Baggins was a seemingly ordinary hobbit who was thrust into adventure when Gandalf the Grey... (full context)
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Bilbo’s adventure would have barely registered in the history books except for a chance event that... (full context)
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For no obvious reason, when recounting this story to trusted friends, Bilbo alters some of the details about his finding of the magic ring and his encounter... (full context)
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Upon his return to the Shire, Bilbo keeps the ring’s existence quiet and lives a long and happy life in his homeland.... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 1
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Bilbo Baggins, a wealthy and eccentric hobbit who lives at Bag End in the Shire, announces... (full context)
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Bilbo is on good terms with all of his relatives except for the Sackville-Bagginses, obnoxious hobbits... (full context)
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After unloading the goods and shooing away curious hobbit children, Gandalf and Bilbo sit together at Bag End, looking out on the well-tended gardens. Bilbo confirms that he... (full context)
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...Almost everyone from Hobbiton has been invited, and many more from the wider Shire regions. Bilbo busies himself with all things administrative for the party, barring entry to Bag End except... (full context)
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...near Bag End. As is customary, guests receive presents from the host, and this year Bilbo has outdone himself with strange and wondrous gifts for all of the partygoers. The birthday... (full context)
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...party’s special guests who are squeezed into the central tent listen to a speech from Bilbo. The audience is full of great cheer, but become rather confused by Bilbo’s muddling words... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Bilbo has slipped on his magic ring to become invisible at the climax of his speech.... (full context)
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Gandalf enters the study, and they discuss Bilbo’s plans to leave the Shire. Gandalf is intrigued to hear how tired and old Bilbo... (full context)
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Bilbo gets angry at Gandalf’s insistence that he leave the ring for Frodo—a reaction that is... (full context)
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Shortly after, Frodo enters Bag End to find Gandalf sitting in the darkness of Bilbo’s study, thinking deeply. Confirming that Bilbo has left as planned, Gandalf also draws Frodo’s attention... (full context)
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With Bilbo departed, Frodo is the new master of Bag End and feels it is his duty... (full context)
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...level-headed and responsible hobbit who has come to help Frodo deal with the aftermath of Bilbo’s party. Frodo is surprised but delighted when Gandalf appears one day and demands entry to... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2
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Bilbo’s disappearance endures as a favorite talking point in Hobbiton for approximately a year, and eventually... (full context)
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Gandalf, who has barely visited the Shire in the seventeen years since Bilbo’s departure and has not been seen at all there in the past nine years, suddenly... (full context)
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...Middle-earth. The wizard began to suspect its true nature after observing its unusual effects on Bilbo. (full context)
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...Shire—for the Dark Lord caught the wretched creature Gollum and tortured him for information about Bilbo. (full context)
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...servants (the Black Riders) who are closing in on the Shire. When Frodo laments that Bilbo did not kill Gollum in the Misty Mountains—therefore allowing news of the Ring to reach... (full context)
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...been surprised by the bravery demonstrated by hobbits, similar to his previous experiences traveling with Bilbo. Gandalf advises that it is no longer safe to use the name “Baggins,” and suggests... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 9
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...to revealing Frodo’s and the Ring’s identities as the young hobbit tells a crowd about Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 12
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...as the party’s stumbling upon three stone trolls. These are the very same creatures that Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves had outwitted at the beginning of their journey to the Lonely... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
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...food, Frodo is also delighted to meet the person sitting beside him, for it is Bilbo’s old acquaintance Glóin (one of the thirteen dwarves who journeyed to the Lonely Mountain with... (full context)
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...to a great hall to enjoy singing and storytelling. Frodo is astonished to reconnect with Bilbo in the hall. They sit together happily as Bilbo relates his travels since leaving the... (full context)
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Next, Frodo and Sam tell Bilbo of all the eventful Shire news he has missed. For several minutes they do not... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
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The next day, Gandalf summons Frodo and Bilbo to the Council of Elrond. Many individuals from far-off lands have recently arrived to Rivendell... (full context)
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...Gondor who cut the Ring from Sauron’s hand during the War of the Last Alliance. Bilbo also relays the Riddle of Strider to the Council—the final lines state that “Renewed shall... (full context)
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...he is ready to officially begin to claim his rightful authority as king of Gondor. Bilbo then tells the Council of his part in the story of the Ring, followed by... (full context)
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...quest, as he cannot imagine anyone wanting to destroy an object of such great power. Bilbo bravely volunteers his service as Ring-bearer, but accepts Gandalf’s gentle rebuke that he is too... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
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Later that day, Elrond sends out scouts for news, and the hobbits meet in Bilbo’s room. Merry and Pippin are offended that Elrond has confirmed that Sam will accompany Frodo... (full context)
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...is reforged into Anduril, Flame of the West. Frodo also gains a new weapon when Bilbo gifts him the magical short sword Sting, whose blade glows blue if orcs are near.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 6
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...mithril is what protected Frodo from being killed, and he realizes that it must be Bilbo’s old coat of mail. (full context)