Is Bilbo Baggins a Hero: Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Bilbo’s journey
  2. Notion of heroism
  3. Bilbo as a hero

The journey of a hero is an imperative part of any quest narrative. It shows not only the development of the character but allows the reader to feel part of the story. Within this essay, I will be analyzing Bilbo Baggin's journey as well as describing Bilbo in relation to an archetypal hero. Lastly, I will be making a comparison between Bilbo Baggins and Harry Potter; what similarities and differences they may share.

The hero’s journey consists of 12 steps that the hero goes on; venturing between known and unknown worlds. I will briefly discuss the ways in which Bilbo Baggins experienced the hero’s journey below.

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Bilbo’s journey

Step one is the ordinary world (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo Baggins, who is a Hobbit, lives in a warm and comfortable home underground (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). Hobbits love a peaceful life, idling away and eating most of the time. Here he sits outside his Shire, smoking a pipe and enjoying the fresh morning air (Tolkien. 1996).

Step two is the call to adventure (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo then meets the wizard, Gandalf, for the first time and is rather annoyed by the stranger's visit, for he does not like unfamiliarity (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). However; Gandalf identifies himself as an old family friend and that is when Gandalf invites Bilbo for an adventure; he feels Bilbo is the perfect candidate (Tolkien. 1996).

Step three is the refusal of the call (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo detested the idea of adventures (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). So, when Gandalf asked him to participate in one, he politely refused but also invited him to tea the very next day (Tolkien. 1996).

Step four is meeting the mentor (Reedsy. 2018). The following day Bilbo opens his door to an extremely large party of Dwarves who made themselves comfortable in his home (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). Gandalf, who accompanied them, explains that they are on a quest to the Lonely Mountain to retrieve the stolen treasure from the wicked dragon Smaug (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). Bilbo would be given the name “Burglar” (Tolkien. 1996).

Step five is crossing the first threshold (Reedsy. 2018). The next morning Gandalf arrives and hurries Bilbo along to meet up with the Dwarves at the Green Dragon Inn (Tolkien. 1996). Bilbo leaves his comfortable burrow, leaves everything he holds dear, and where he feels safe to travel into the unknown (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

Step six is tests, allies, and enemies (Reedsy. 2018). Here Bilbo faced many challenges along the way. He encounters allies in Elrond at Rivendell, the Eagles, Beorn who gives them shelter, and Gandalf of course who uses his magic from time to time (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). There were plenty of enemies namely, the Trolls who captured Bilbo, the Goblins who tortured them, the Wargs who hated all Dwarves, Gollum the slimy creature, and Smaug (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). All of these tested and the Dwarves.

Step seven is the approach (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo and the group eventually reached Lonely Mountain; once a place of glory (Tolkien. 1996). They decided to camp near the door in the center of the mountain (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

Step eight is the ordeal (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo is the one who has to face Smaug so he approached Smaug and tried to talk to him, however; Bard was the one to eventually kill the dragon (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

Step nine is the reward (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo is rewarded in many ways. He gets the elfin blade, “Sting.” He also settles the dispute between Thorin and the Lake Town people by giving away the Arkenstone. Bilbo gets one-fourteenth of the treasure which has been promised to him too (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

Step ten is the road back (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo begins to travel home to Hobbiton. There is a conflict between the Dwarves and the Lake Men because they feel they need to be compensated for the part they played in the war (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

Step eleven is the resurrection (Reedsy. 2018). The Battle of the Five Armies broke out. There was a war between the Goblins and the Wargs and their hated enemies the Dwarves, Elves, and Men (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12).

The final step is to return with an elixir (Reedsy. 2018). Bilbo returns home with the magic ring and his share of the treasure. He buys gifts for his family and the ring helped him when he had unwanted guests (Kuswidyasari. 2019:5-12). Bilbo realized that the journey had changed him in ways he could not explain.

Notion of heroism

I will speak about the notion of heroism and whether Bilbo Baggins identifies as an archetypal hero. There are various interpretations of what constitutes a hero. It is generally felt that a hero is one who faces danger or difficult situations with courage (Wiklander. 2011:4-15).

In literature, heroes are strong, and brave and have the appeal attractiveness both physical and emotional. In the fantasy world, there are unforgettable heroes (Wiklander. 2011:4-15). For instance, Hercules is a hero who is known for his strength and courage.

Bilbo as a hero

If one should look at the traits of an archetypal hero they are as follows: “Unusual circumstances of birth, leaves family and lives with others, traumatic event leads to a quest, has a special weapon and gets supernatural help (Wiklander. 2011:4-15).”

Bilbo is very different from the recognized ideas of a hero. He is small and fat, uncertain, and does not participate in any spectacular acts (Wiklander. 2011:4-15). Nevertheless, he is a hero. He completes a difficult quest, acquires a weapon, makes very brave decisions, and is finally rewarded with wealth and fame.

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Is Bilbo Baggins a Hero: Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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