is the main character of the story. He is a hobbit who prefers domesticity to adventure, but he soon finds himself caught up in the escapades of Gandalf, the wizard, and a group of dwarves. Bilbo is hardly the raw material of a hero, but as the story progresses he develops into a clever and brave hero. Throughout the novel, he longs for his home but he is able to perform his duties as a member of the group. Finding the ring that makes him invisible is certainly the greatest tactical advantage that he gains in the story.
is a wizard who appears in The Hobbit intermittently, though he has a more sustained presence in the first novel of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. Gandalf is a friend of Bilbo's mother, Belladonna Took, and he contrives the gathering of Bilbo and the dwarves that initiates the adventure. He has plenty of wisdom, magical skills (usually fireworks) and useful contacts with individuals like Beorn and the Lord of the Eagles.
is the major villain of the story. He is a dragon that has terrorized several towns and, within his mountain, he guards a massive horde of treasure. Part of this treasure belongs to the dwarves and so they intend to reclaim it. Smaug dies in battle against the villagers of Esgaroth, when a warrior named Bard shoots an arrow through his unshielded breast.
is the leader of the dwarves that accompany Bilbo to the cave of Smaug. Like most dwarves, he is focused on wealth, political ascendancy and historical lineage. He carries an old sword and he is heir to the throne established in Smaug's mountain. Unfortunately, Thorin's negative tendencies reveal themselves in his power-hungry maneuvers at the novel's end.
Balin and Dwalin
are among the dwarves that accompany Bilbo; they are brothers. Balin is obsessed with the historic glory of the dwarves and his tomb, in the caves of Moria, appears in the first book of the LOTR trilogy.
is a valiant warrior from the town of Esgaroth. As an excellent archer, he slays and kills the dragon Smaug.
is half-bear and half-man. He is a fearsome protector who provides lodging and food for the dwarves and helps defend them against the wolves.
(deceased) is the mother of Bilbo Baggins. She does not appear in the story but she is known for being courageous and adventurous.
Bert, Tom and William
are three trolls who capture the dwarves, but they are bewitched by Gandalf and the sunlight petrifies them into dead stone.
Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur
are among the dwarves on the journey and they are often mentioned together. Bombur stands out as immensely fat and heavy. He falls into enchanted water and suffers a narcoleptic delusion for a good part of the novel.
is a cousin of Thorin who arrives to assist in the battle of Chapter 17.
Dori, Gloin, Nori, Oin, and Ori
are dwarves who do nothing especially distinct during the story. They do play the flute, though.
is a wise old friend of Gandalf. He lives in the Last Homely House and he re-appears in LOTR. He replenishes the travelers' stocks and helps them decipher the moon runes of their map.
holds Thorin and the other dwarves captive, though Bilbo manages their escape.
Fili and Kili
are the two youngest of the dwarves, significant because they accidentally choose a goblin's cave as suitable lodging for a night.
is one of the laborers in the Elvenking's palace. His drunken negligence enables Bilbo to sneak his friends out of prison.
is a creature that Bilbo encounters in the caverns of the Goblins. Gollum has lost his birthday-presentthe ring which Bilbo has found. The ring renders its bearer invisible and so, this is a great loss for Gollum. He reappears in the LOTR Trilogy.
is the leader of the goblins, slain in his cave when Gandalf uses the sword Foe-hammer.
The Lord of the Eagles
rescues the dwarves in Chapter 6 and saves the battle in Chapter 17.
is a wise bird who can communicate with certain creatures; he seeks to avoid war but also aids in destruction of Smaug.
are greedy and unpleasant members of Bilbo's family.
are evil wolves, allies of the goblins, who try to murder the dwarves by chasing them into trees and then setting the trees on fire.
The Hobbit Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Hobbit is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
“Moon-letters are rune-letters, but you cannot see them,” said Elrond, “not when you look straight at them. They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the more cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape...