About the Book

Book Protagonist: Bilbo Baggins
Publication Date: 1937
Genre: Action and Adventure, Children, Fantasy

Important Quotes

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Throughout 'The Hobbit,' J.R.R. Tolkien crafts a story of adventure, bravery, heroism, greed, and loss.

Bilbo Baggins changes from a mild, home-loving hobbit to a brave one who is willing to risk his life in defense of his friends and in order to save their home. While he never loses the parts of himself that are integral to his character– a love for song, food, drink, and home. 

The Hobbit Important Quotes


Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet.

These lines come from the first chapter of The Hobbit and are spoken by the wizard, Gandalf. He is reacting to Bilbo and the dwarves’ belief that he’s wrong in his selection of the hobbit for this particular job and journey. To the dwarves, not to mention Bilbo himself, Bilbo is a simple person. He’s quite small, not partially strong or clever seeming, and is certainly very much attached to his home. Plus, the hobbit has no stake in the quest.

The dwarves, and likely the reader, are all doubtful that he’ll make a very good “burglar.” But, Gandalf attempts to assuage their doubts (while also silencing any protests) by telling everyone that there is a “more” to him than anyone knows, even himself. These lines are a great example of foreshadowing. They allude to the courage Bilbo’s soon going to find and the important role he plays in their quest. 

There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

Thorin speaks these lines when talking to Bilbo in Chapter 18, shortly before he dies. He asks Bilbo’s forgiveness for the way he spoke to him before the Battle of the Five Armies while also acknowledging the important role Bilbo played in their quest. There is “more” to Bilbo, Thorin realizes, just as Gandalf promised at the beginning of the novel. Thorin also comments on the fact that if more people cared about what Bilbo cares about, “food and cheer and song,” then the world would be a better place. 


He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath. ‘I will give you a name,’ he said to it, ‘and I shall call you Sting.’

In these lines, which come from Chapter 8, Bilbo thinks about how he’s just killed the giant spider. He felt “fiercer and bolder” despite the fact that he’s hungry—something that would’ve consumed his thoughts had he been at home. This is a turning point for Bilbo. He now knows how courageous and strong he can be. He’s capable of taking the initiative and protecting his friends as much as they are capable of protecting him. He also names his sword in these lines. When he does so, he marks the sword’s importance to him and in a specific battle. 

This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.

In the first chapter of The Hobbit, the narrator describes Bilbo with the above lines. This sentence sets the stage for the tale that’s going to follow. The narrator tells the reader that Bilbo is going to change, stretch himself, and find himself doing things he never thought he would. This is an exciting way to begin a novel and should inspire the reader to find out exactly what the narrator is alluding to. 

Greed and Treasure

“This is the Arkenstone of Thrain,” said Bilbo, “the Heart of the Mountain; and it is also the heart of Thorin. He values it above a river of gold. I give it to you. It will aid you in your bargaining.

In these lines from Chapter 16, Bilbo is speaking to the Wood-elves and to Bard. He’s handing over the Arkenstone that Thorin so greedily lusts after. Bilbo knows that he must betray Thorin in order to save him from himself and perhaps avert an even worse outcome to the events about the play out at the Lonely Mountain. Thorin believes if he can get possession of the stone then his birthright will be realized and he’ll finally come to fully own the treasure in the mountain. It’s a symbol of his greed and the way that treasure corrupts. It finally takes the Battle of the Five Armies for the two sides to unite against a common foe. 

He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel.

At this point, in Chapter 5, when Bilbo discovers the ring for the first time, all it is is a bit of “cold metal lying on the floor.” He has no idea what its importance is or how it is going to change him. He thinks it’s a nice find, something to take home with him. He puts it in his pocket, soon to realize the power it holds.

There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don’t expect too much.

These lines come from Chapter 12 of The Hobbit. The narrator describes how the dwarves would do what they could to save Bilbo, should he ever fall into harm’s way, and they would certainly pay him for the “nasty job” they brought him along to complete. But, they are themselves “not heroes.” Their greed is part of who they are and they can’t change that. Just like the hobbits are simple folk who love their homes, song and drink, the dwarves are greedy and sometimes deceptive, the orcs and goblins are evil, and so on. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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