They range from men to dwarves, wizards, hobbits, goblins, and more. Good and evil are very clearly defined by Tolkien in The Hobbit, making it easy to root for Bilbo and the Company to prevail over Smaug and every other creature who stands in their way.
The protagonist of the story is invited by Gandalf to join a quest to retake the throne of the Lonely Mountain. He’s promised a share of the gold. He is often conflicted between his interest in the quest, his love for his home, and his doubts about his own abilities. He ends up showing a great deal of courage and saving the company multiple times.
An old wizard who’s noted for his wisdom and clarity of mind. He sometimes speaks in riddles and alludes to the knowledge that he’s not willing to share. He has magic that he uses when it’s needed most. Gandalf doesn’t accompany the dwarves on their whole journey but turns up when they need him. He doesn’t care about the gold but has other reasons for wanting to help the dwarves succeed on their quest.
The leader of the company and the dwarf with the strongest claim to the throne in the kingdom of the Lonely Mountain. He had the longest beard of all the dwarves in the company and wore a sky-blue hood with a large silver tassel. He’s described as playing the harp. He’s the grandson of Thror, who was himself descended from Thrain the Old. Gandalf gives him a map that leads to the Lonely Mountain and a key to open a door. He dies in the Battle of the Five Armies. At the end of his life, he redeems himself, but he shows terrible greed that makes him a less likable character than he might’ve been.
Fili and Kili
Brothers and the two youngest dwarves in the company. Fili was the youngest of the two. He wore a blue hood and had a yellow beard. Kili was noted for his good eyesight. He wore the same clothes, and had the same colored beard, like his brother.
Balin is Dwalin’s older brother. He is described as having a white beard and a red hood. He and Bilbo became close friends. Tolkien describes him as the only dwarf to return to Bag End after the events of The Hobbit to visit Bilbo.
The young brother of Balin. In The Hobbit, Tolkien describes him as wearing a green hood and golden belt. He had a blue beard that was long enough to tuck into his belt. He also played the viola. Dwalin was one of the first dwarves that Bilbo met.
Oin and Gloin
Brothers who were in charge of starting the campfires. Gloin doubts Bilbo’s capacity to contribute to the company at the beginning of The Hobbit. Gloin is also the father of Gimli, the main character in The Lord of the Rings. He wears a white hood while his brother Oil wears a brown hood.
Dori, Nori, Ori
Distant kinsmen of Thorin who want to join the quest to retake the Lonely Mountain. Dori wore a purple hood and was given the job of carrying Bilbo through the goblin tunnels. Dori and Nori wore purple hoods and Ori wore a grey hood. All three played the flute.
Bifur, Bofur, Bombur
Bofur and Bombur were brothers and cousins to Bifur. Bombur was noted for his fatness and his kindness towards Bilbo He wore a pale green hood while his brother wore a yellow hood. Their cousin Bifur also wore a yellow hood and played the clarinet.
Bert, Tom, and William
Three trolls from whom Bilbo takes the key to a cave. They are cruel and attempt to roast the dwarves and eat them. The company is rescued by Gandalf who tricks the trolls into staying out in daylight, ensuring that they turn to stone. The company takes swards from them that are later used in battle with the Goblins and in the Battle of the Five Armies.
The leader of the Rivendell elves. He helps Bilbo and the company and provides them with advice to make their journey easier. He is described as wise, strong, and venerable. He translates the runes on the swords taken from the trolls and describes them as having been taken used in the Goblin-wars. He also translates the moon-letters on Thorin’s map.
Ugly creatures that live in the Misty Mountains. They capture Bilbo and the rest of the company, eat their horses and try to kill them. Their leader is the Great Goblin. Gandalf and Thorin kill the leader and manage to help the others escape. They are infamous for their cruelty and skill at making torture implements.
A strange creature who lives in the caves of Moria underneath the Misty Mountains. There, he hoards his magic ring, something he loses and Bilbo finds. His form has been distorted due to the power of the ring, the greed it induces, and his time spent living underground in a wet and dark climate. Bilbo and Gollum engage in a game of riddles.
Terrible wild wolves who the dwarves and Bilbo have to hide from. Gandalf sets them on fire and chases them away. They are joined by the goblins in an attempt to recapture the company that tries to hide in trees to escape them.
Lord of the Eagles
The leader of the eagles, enormous dragon-sized birds, rescues Bilbo and the company from the trees before the Wargs and goblins can get to them. He flies the company to his nest in the mountains. The eagles return during the Battle of the Five Armies.
A skin-changer who has the ability to transform himself from a man into a bear. He attacks goblins and Wargs and is kind to Bilbo and the company. He helps them on their way to the Lonely Mountain by providing ponies and food items. He also turns up to help at the Battle of the Five Armies.
An elvish king who imprisons Thorin and company in the dungeons of his domain. They are later reduced by Bilbo who makes a daring plan for them to float down the river in barrels to Lake-town, or Esgaroth.
Master of Lake-town
The ruler of Lake-town who is challenged by Thorin and eventually replaced by Bard. He’s a corrupt leader who does not care for his people.
A resident of Lake-town who kills Smaug and takes over as its ruler. He starts the novel as the captain of the guard in Lake-town.
A cousin of Thorin who comes to help the dwarves during the Battle of the Five Armies.