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There and Back Again: A hobbit's holiday.
~ Bilbo, titling his book.
I would have doubted me too. I'm not a hero or a warrior or a burglar.
~ Bilbo to Thorin.

Bilbo Baggins is the titular main protagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's highly acclaimed high fantasy novel The Hobbit and its trilogy adaptation. He is a hobbit, who joins Thorin Oakensheld and company on their quest to reclaim their long-lost kingdom of Erebor and the treasure within by Smaug. Bilbo is later a supporting protagonist in The Lord of the Rings and its many adaptations.


  • In the Ralph Bakshi film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, he was voiced by the late Norman Bird.
  • In Rankin and Bass' film adaptations of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, Bilbo was voiced by the late Orson Bean, who voiced Frodo in The Return of The King by Rankin-Bass.
  • In the Peter Jackson film adaptations, he is portrayed by the late Ian Holm as an 111-year-old and as a 50-year-old, is portrayed by Martin Freeman, who also portrayed Arthur Dent in The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and John Watson in Sherloc.

The Hobbit

In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit in comfortable middle age at 50 years old, was hired despite his objections as a "burglar" by the wizard Gandalf and 13 Dwarves led by their king, Thorin Oakenshield, on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. The adventure took Bilbo and the companions through the wilderness, to the elf haven of Rivendell, across the Misty Mountains and the black forest of Mirkwood, to Lake-town in the middle of Long Lake, and eventually to the Mountain itself. Here, after the dragon was killed and the Mountain was reclaimed, soon after that the Battle of Five Armies took place.

In his journey, Bilbo encountered other fantastic creatures, including trolls, elves, giant spiders, a man who can change shape into a bear, goblins, eagles, wolves and a slimy, murderous creature named Gollum. Underground, near Gollum's lair, Bilbo accidentally found a magic ring of invisibility, which he used to escape from Gollum.

By the end of the journey, Bilbo had become wiser and more confident, having saved the day in many precarious situations. 

He rescued the dwarves from giant spiders with the magic ring and a short Elven-sword he acquired. He used the ring to sneak around in dangerous places, as well as his wits to smuggle the dwarves out of the elves' prisons. When tensions arose over ownership of the recovered treasure, he tried unsuccessfully to bring the opposing sides to compromise, using the Arkenstone, a stolen heirloom jewel, as leverage. This strained his relationship with Thorin, but the two were reconciled at Thorin's deathbed. At the end of the story, Bilbo returned to his home in the Shire only to find that several of his relatives, believing him to be dead, were trying to claim his home and possessions. In addition to becoming wealthy from his share of the dwarves' treasure, he found that he, like Adam, had traded respectability for experience and wisdom. At the end, Gandalf proclaims Bilbo is no longer the Hobbit he was. This is certainly true as Bilbo has gone through a rite and has fully matured. Continuing the pilgrimage theme, a true pilgrimage does not end at the destination, but rather when the wanderer is absolved, blessed, and ready to return home.

Lord of the Rings

Bilbo appears in The Fellowship of the Ring as a supporting character and The Return of the King as a minor character.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, set 60 years after The Hobbit, Bilbo decides to leave the Shire on his 111th birthday. He argues with Gandalf about giving up the Ring, which he calls "my precious", just as Gollum had done. With Gandalf's help, he gives up the One Ring - the first Ring-bearer in history to do so - and wills it to his cousin and adopted nephew, Frodo Baggins. He then leaves the Shire to find another adventure. Without the Ring, however, he ages rapidly, and decides he is too old to go to the Mountain again. He settles in Rivendell, a guest of the Elven-king, Elrond.

Years later, he sees Frodo again when he latter arrives in Rivendell during his quest to destroy the Ring. Upon seeing the Ring again, a dark change comes over Bilbo, and he nearly attacks Frodo before restraining himself. He then tearfully apologizes to Frodo for unintentionally putting t he burden of the Ring on him.

in Return of the King, Bilbo leaves Middle-earth after the Ring is destroyed and the Dark Lord Sauron defeated. He travels with Gandalf, Frodo, and Elrond to the Grey Havens, and they sail away to the Undying Lands.

Animated film adaptations

Bilbo appears in the 1977 film adaptation of The Hobbit, where he was voiced by the late Orson Bean. Bean later reprises Bilbo's voice in the 1980 film adaptation of Return of the King. In the 1978 film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, he was voiced by the late Norman Bird.

Peter Jackson's films

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

In The Lord of the Rings, the late Ian Holm portrayed Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Bilbo leaves the One Ring for Frodo and reunited with him in Rivendell. Before his quest to destroy the One Ring, he gives Frodo a Mithril shirt he once wore and his sword, Sting.

When he sees the One Ring, he briefly turns into a creature and nearly attacks Frodo. A guilt-ridden Bilbo then breaks down crying and apologizes for leaving this heavy burden on Frodo.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

At the harbor, he asks Frodo if he can hold his ring one last time, but Frodo lied and said that he lost it, as Bilbo had forgotten about Frodo's quest to destroy it. Bilbo departs from Middle-Earth with Frodo, Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond and Celeborn to the Undying Lands

The Hobbit film trilogy

Ian Holm reprised his role as Old Bilbo Baggins while Martin Freeman portrayed his younger self.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The late Ian Holm reprised his role to portray Bilbo Baggins, while his younger self is portrayed by Martin Freeman

Bilbo is first seen in the movie writing down his journey in the Red Book of Westermarch. In the present-day timeline, his nephew Frodo sees him working and attempts to read the book, but Bilbo does not let him look at it. He begins to hide things around the house and acknowledges Frodo goodbye when he goes to go meet Gandalf at East Farthing Woods.

The flashback begins to when Bilbo was 50 years old, approached by Gandalf, who is an old family friend of both Bilbo's parents' sides of his family. However, after Gandalf offers for Bilbo to take up a chance at an adventure, the hobbit refuses and retreats back into his house.

While traveling to a market located near the Green Dragon, Baggins believes the wizard to be stalking him and what he thought was Gandalf's hat was really hobbits carrying a sack.

Later that evening, he met the four dwarves, Dwalin, Balin, Fíli and Kíli. After a while, Bilbo loses his patience at the fifth bell and finds at least nine more dwarves at the door. None of the dwarves treat his possessions none too kindly, as most of them use it for throwing it around. Bilbo is then introduced to their leader, Thorin Oakenshield, who has an unexplained contempt over their newly found member. When they bring up the fact of a burglar position for the Hobbit, Bilbo initially refuses, even after Gandalf tries to convince him otherwise. The next morning, Bilbo finds the dwarves gone. Having made up his mind, Bilbo decides to go on an adventure after hearing the dwarves sing their song from the night before.

On their first night of the quest to reclaim Erebor, Bilbo goes to pamper his pony, which he had affectionately named "Myrtle". After he heard a shriek from a long distance, Fíli and Kíli take this opportunity to scare him before Thorin puts an end to it. Balin comes to the three boys and explains to them Thorin's hatred of Orcs. This possibly causes Bilbo to see Thorin more than a stern prince, but one who is a benevolent leader and meant to be King.

Sometime later, the Company moves on. Bilbo and his companions were covered by rain. After Gandalf telling Dori to find another wizard to change the weather of the world, Bilbo inquires of the other four. One he takes particular interest in was Radagast, and asked Gandalf if Radagast is a great wizard or more like the grey wizard himself.

Later that day, Gandalf and Thorin have a massive argument leaving the dwarves and Bilbo to fend for themselves. Bilbo is later sent by Bofur to give Fíli and Kíli their portion of dinner. However, the dwarves had misplaced three of their 16 ponies. They send Bilbo to try to free the poor creatures while they leave him behind and go to retrieve the company. Bilbo doesn't make it in time to avoid the Trolls. Before they torture the poor hobbit, Kíli and the others rescue Bilbo. During the skirmish, Bilbo goes to release the ponies, before he and the other dwarves are captured by the trolls, who are ready to eat them. However, Bilbo manages to keep them at bay until dawn, when the first rays of the sun turn them into stone.

Later, Gandalf emerges from the Troll's cave and presents Bilbo with a sword, which would later glow blue when either Orcs or Goblins came closer. As Bilbo unsheathed his sword, Radagast appears and talks to Gandalf. When they are chased by a pack of Wargs in Azog's servioce, the dwarves subdue their attackers and realize they are being followed. With assistance from Radagast, Bilbo and his companions make their escape. However, they are soon chased by the Wargs and Orcs, before they go through a hidden entrance. Before he takes another step, Bilbo stops to tell Gandalf that he feels a magical presence, to which the wizard responds to it being a "very powerful magic". They eventually emerge out of the cave and into Rivendell.

When Bilbo first sees Rivendell, Bilbo immediately falls in love with the city, as well as the Elves who live there. Just at that moment, when Elrond appears, Bofur safely pulls Bilbo to the center of the circle. During their feast, Bilbo overhears the Lord of Rivendell talk of Thorin's and Gandalf's weapons. However, Balin advises against it, as it is not a proper weapon. He is present at the meeting in Rivendell, along with his companions Thorin, Balin and Gandalf and Lord Elrond himself. Bilbo is amazed at the moon runes and inquires of Durin's Day and what they will have time for.

Over the next couple of days, the company stayed in Rivendell, with Bilbo admiring its beauty. Elrond approached Bilbo and allowed him to stay in Rivendell, if that was what he wished. On the night before the Company leaves for the Misty Mountains, Bilbo continues to adventure in Rivendell, but overhears a conversation between Elrond and Gandalf, with Thorin present behind Bilbo's back. They depart for the mountains afterwards, where they are caught up in a stone-giant battle scene. Bilbo nearly fell off the cliff twice before Bofur and Dwalin pushed him back. When the mountains collide together, while his companions remain unharmed, Bilbo hangs on for dear life before Thorin saves him. Because Bilbo almost put both him and Thorin at risk, the dwarf king denounces Bilbo before the rest of the company. Hurt, Bilbo tries to go back to the Shire, but Bofur persuades him to stay. Moments later, however, they are all taken prisoner by Orcs. Gandalf saves them, but Bilbo is knocked down into a deep, dark cave.

In the cave, Bilbo encounters a slimy, murderous creature named Gollum who drops the Ring on the ground after killing an Orc. Bilbo picks up the Ring and puts it in his pocket, and asks Gollum to show him the way out of the cave. Gollum challenges Bilbo to a game of riddles, promising to show him the way out if he loses; if he wins, however, he will eat Bilbo. Bilbo wins the contest, but Gollum goes to get the Ring so he can attack and kill Bilbo. Upon finding his "precious" missing, Gollum realizes the answer to Bilbo's last riddle - "What have I got in my pocket?" - and attacks him. Bilbo puts on the Ring seconds before Gollum attacks him, and realizes that it has made him invisible when Gollum walks right past him. He prepares to kill Gollum, but is overcome with pity for the wretched creature and spares his life. Bilbo then escapes Gollum's cave, and finds his way back to the dwarves.

Their reunion is short-lived, however, as Azog's hunting party attacks them. On the final stand, Thorin charges at Azog and is nearly killed by his would-be executioner before Bilbo jumps from the burning tree and kills Thorin's almost-killer while defending the dwarf king's broken body. Just before the orcs attack them, the eagles arrive and saves the company from Azog's men. Seeing the Hobbit in a new light, Thorin embraces Bilbo as a friend and apologizes for his previous ill-treatment of the Hobbit. The group looks into the horizon and spots the lonely mountain, unaware of what the future has in store for them.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Bilbo is sent by Thorin and company to spy on Azog. While not being spotted, he sees Beorn standing there, watching the Wargs and the Orcs as well. Bilbo goes to warn the dwarves of their enemies' recent movement, but every time he does, he is either interrupted by a dwarf or a wizard. When Bilbo tells Thorin and the others that there is something else out there, which Gandalf guesses is in the form of a bear, shocking both Bilbo and the other dwarves. The company is forced to take refuge with a man named Beorn, who was the bear Bilbo saw a few seconds before. Gandalf tells them that this man will either help them or destroy them. The team reluctantly agrees, but they are tracked down by Azog and chased to Beorn's house.

During the night, Bilbo takes out the Ring, swearing he could hear it whisper while inspecting it. The next morning, Bilbo and his friends meet Beorn, but one by one, starting with him and Gandalf while slowly introducing their companions. Learning of their ordeals, Beorn decides to aid Bilbo and his friends by giving them ponies. However, when the company reaches Mirkwood, Bilbo is shocked to learn that Gandalf is leaving them yet again, but the wizard reveals he has no choice. Before Gandalf departs, he says that Bilbo is not the same Hobbit as the one who left the Shire. Bilbo attempts to tell Gandalf about the Ring but he decides against it and claims that he found his courage, which appears to satisfy Gandalf, who secretly knows Bilbo has the Ring with him. He leaves the company at the gates of Mirkwood and warns them not to touch the water and not to stray clear of the path, stay on it at all times.

After days of travelling, the woods' dangerous spell begins to slowly take effect on Bilbo and his companions. During one of their obstacles, they find they cannot cross the enchanted river, which Bilbo is forced to cross alone. While they are in Mirkwood, Bilbo and Thorin spot a white stag but Thorin shoots the creatures as Bilbo watches it. After Thorin gets the company lost, Bilbo hears a whisper in the trees when he plucks the giant spider webs that hang from the trees.

Bilbo goes up to look ahead to see that they are getting closer to the Lonely Mountain, but Bilbo finds them to be gone before h is taken away by a giant Spider. However, Bilbo manages to escape and frees the dwarves from the spider's nest. Bilbo proceeded to join them but was attacked by a spider, and dropped down to the forest floor where the Ring took hold over Bilbo, who began brutally murdering a baby spider thinking it was getting the ring. However, he sees the error of his ways before going to rescue his friends, only for the company gets captured again this time by the Elves led by Thranduil. Bilbo helps the others escape from the Elves by snuggling them out of Lake-town in barrels.

The day that the company reaches their goal, Bilbo finds the secret door and enters the mountain to find the Arkenstone, advised by Balin not to wake the dragon up. However, Bilbo accidentally wakes it up and and engaged in a cat/mouse dialogue with Smaug while chasing after the stone. The dragon notices Bilbo's intentions and threatens to let him take it to see it make Thorin mad, causing Bilbo to take the stone for safe keeping. He helps participat‌e in attracting Smaug to the Erebor Forges. At the very end, Bilbo watches with horror as Smaug flies toward Lake-town, intent on destroying it.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Along with his nine companions, Bilbo watches the destruction of Lake-town from afar. He sees Bard the Bowman kill Smaug, announces it to the others, who rejoice. By now, however, Thorin has gone mad with power and greed, and refuses to share the treasure. He once confronted Thorin one night to convince him to do something other than hunt the treasury room all day, but Thorin doesn't listen to Bilbo.

When the four dwarf companions who stayed in Lake-town were found, Bilbo quickly ran up to the four who were coming. When one of them see him alive, Bilbo warns that all of them need to leave. When Bofur reasons that they had just got there, Bilbo tells them how Thorin has been misbehaving, spending his days in the treasure room and not bothering to get a nibble or a wink of sleep. Kíli asks what kind of sickness has possessed his uncle while his brother, Fili runs past them to the treasure room with Bilbo, Bofur, Óin and Kíli following Fili down to the treasure room. While the dwarves look at it in awe, Bilbo feels nothing but contempt and disgust for the gold and scared for what Thorin has become.

Bilbo later sits alone in a secluded area, where it is revealed in a flashback that Bilbo stole the Arkenstone shortly after he disappeared when putting the Ring on. After seeing what danger Thorin has been in, Bilbo pulls the Arkenstone out of his pocket, contemplating on what to do with it. The gold sickness gets worse. Thorin begins sulking in the Throne room hour after hour, waiting for the Stone's return. Little does he know Bilbo still is in possession of the Arkenstone. Bilbo grows even more concerned after the fact that Thorin will kill whomever withholds the king's jewel from him. He later comes across a crying Balin, who voices his concerns. Bilbo asks if finding the Stone will help Thorin, Balin points out that finding the Arkenstone will only make Thorin worse and that it's best if it remains lost, and sending signals he knows Bilbo has the stone. Because Thorin is unaware of the Orcs that are going to attack from the north, and Thranduil refuses to dispatch the forces to Ravenhill, Bilbo instead volunteers to go there and warn him, but Gandalf will not allow Bilbo to complete it. Despite everything they have been through, Bilbo still cares for his friends and tells him he doesn't care if the wizard allows it or not. Bilbo then takes the ring and runs to Ravenhill.

Bilbo tries to warn Thorin of the invading Orcs led by Bolg, but is too late. Azog kills Fili in front of him, Thorin, Dwalin and Kíli. He stays behind where he is attacked by Bolg and his mercenaries, as well as several bats. Before more are able to kill him, Dwalin comes to Bilbo's rescue. As he fights off the other Orcs, Bolg hits Bilbo with the handle of his mace, and he passes out. Sometime after the Battle in Ravenhill ends, Bilbo wakes up to find the Eagles are flying over him and that the battle is won. Overlooking the valley, he sees Azog has been killed, but Thorin has been mortally wounded. Bilbo goes by his side, where Thorin spends his last moments with Bilbo, asking for the Hobbit's forgiveness.

Bilbo also comes to their funeral to pay his respects for his fallen friends. When he comes across Thorin's body, he breaks down crying. Bilbo is also one of the others who show their respect to the new King under the Mountain.

Later, Bilbo returns home to see his hated cousins, the Sackville-Bagginses, selling his possession, but Bilbo shoos them away. He pulls out the Ring one last time, and examines it with a troubled look on his face. Flash-forward sixty years later, an older Bilbo has finished writing the story (and also telling said story to Frodo), when a knock is at the door. Though Bilbo tells the stranger to go away, he immediately perks up when it is actually Gandalf and goes out to greet him.


Bilbo was a very friendly and well-mannered hobbit fond of food, drink, a full pipe, his friends and good cheer, and was known for greeting strangers and friends with hospitality saying; "At your service and your families". Being related to both the Tooks and the Baggins two family groups that were fundamentally opposite in their mentalities, with the Tooks being fonder of adventures and wandering, and the Baggins who were fonder of the settled life, Bilbo had two different sides to him something he referred to as the "Took side" and the "Baggins side". This meant that he secretly relished having adventures but still wanted to remain settled and was very afraid. His Took's side was the reasons why he eventually chooses to go for adventures to Erebor alongside other heroes at the beginning of the story.

Bilbo seemed to be happy with his life at Bag End and would have been content to remain a child of his father, had adventure not come upon him. Still very afraid and wishing he had never left his hobbit-hole, the Took side eventually won out even after he returned home to his old life. Thus, his desire for another adventure never truly departed from him in his heart even into his old age. This he demonstrated in his sudden departure from Bag End in TA 3001.

Bilbo has a strong will, and eventually gives up the Ring, making him the only Ring-bearer besides Samwise Gamgee to do so. However, he is never completely free of it; when he sees it again years after abandoning it, he nearly tries to take it, seized with a sudden, violent lust for it.





  • Bilbo is the first individual who voluntarily gave up the One Ring.
  • The way the One Ring slips out of Bilbo's hand in An Unexpected Journey and the ring lands on his finger is similar to the way Frodo catches the ring onto his own finger after it slips out of his hand as well.
  • Bilbo uses the One Ring to make himself invisible a total of six times throughout the trilogy: -1st - to escape Gollum in the Goblins' caves. -2nd - to escape the spiders. -3rd - to help Thorin and the rest of the Company to escape from Thranduil's cells. -4th - to hide from Smaug's sight after his awakening. -5th - to avoid being eaten by Smaug, running from Smaug's fire breath. -6th - to travel from Dale to Ravenhill, to tell Thorin about Azog's trap.
  • By sparing Gollum, Bilbo unknowingly helped save Middle-Earth. If Gollum was dead, he wouldn’t have been able to bite off Frodo’s finger and accidentally destroy the Ring, thus depowering Sauron into a mere spirit and saving Middle-Earth.


            Middle earth sbg-1-1024x257.pngHeroes

Grey Company
Gandalf | Bilbo Baggins | Thorin Oakenshield | Dwalin | Fili | Kili | Balin | Bofur | Bifur

Fellowship of the Ring
Gandalf | Frodo Baggins | Samwise Gamgee | Peregrin Took | Meriadoc Brandybuck | Aragorn | Legolas | Gimli | Boromir

Manwë | Ulmo | Aulë | Oromë | Mandos | Irmo | Tulkas | Varda | Yavanna | Nienna

Gandalf | Radagast | Morinehtar & Rómestámo

Théoden | Éowyn | Éomer

Faramir | Talion | Isildur | Arwen Undómiel

Woodland Realm
Thranduil | Tauriel

Turgon | Eärendil

Eru Ilúvatar | Elrond | Galadriel | Celebrimbor | Eltariel | Sméagol | Bard the Bowman | Sigrid | Tom Bombadil | Goldberry