The One Ring
|Dead or Alive||Alive|
The son of Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took, Bilbo Baggins was content to live a quiet life in the Shire, despite a not-often yearning for adventure he inherited from his mother. He behaved as an ordinary Hobbit of the Shire, until he got a visit from Gandalf. Bilbo was invited to join a party of thirteen dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield. The goal of the party was to travel to the Lonely Mountain, kill the dragon Smaug, and thus win his massive hoard. Initially, Bilbo was hesitant about the undertaking of such an unlikely venture by a Hobbit, but at last, his hidden spirit of adventure took over, and he decided to go on the journey. On their way to Rivendell, they were almost eaten by Trolls, but luckily, Gandalf tricked them; and the light of dawn turned them to stone. When they came to Rivendell, Elrond allowed them to stay for a while. When they set out again, they crossed the Misty Mountains, yet were captured by Goblins and brought to the Goblin King's lair. There, they were almost killed, but Gandalf once again saved them. As they were escaping the Goblin lair, Bilbo got separated from the rest of the party, and traveled down a side path into the heart of the mountain. Stooping in the almost total dark, he came upon a golden ring. Then, he ran into Gollum. The two had a riddle match, and Bilbo won. Bilbo, using the golden ring's power to render its wearer invisible, made his way out of the tunnels, and was reunited with the dwarves and Gandalf. On the outskirts of the mountains, they were attacked by Wargs and Orcs. They climbed up trees to escape, and Gandalf used his power to blast flaming fir cones at them. The wargs eventually set the tree on fire, but the company was saved by the Great Eagles. The company went on to Beorn, a friend of Gandalf, and stayed with him for a while. Then, they went on to Mirkwood, but at this point Gandalf left them. Inside Mirkwood, they were attacked by spiders, but Bilbo, using his ring once more, fended them off. Yet they were captured by the Mirkwood elves and imprisoned in their halls. However, they had missed Bilbo, still invisible because of the Ring. The Hobbit freed the dwarves, and stuffed them into barrels, in which they escaped. The party was deposited at Lake-Town, where Thorin was greeted as a king. They went on to the Lonely Mountain and opened a secret door to the inside. Bilbo sneaked in, and still invisible, spoke to Smaug, the dragon. Bilbo discovered that Smaug had a weak spot, and stole a golden goblet from the dragon's hoard. The dragon noticed the piece of treasure was missing, and smashed the mountainside in his wrath. He then went to Lake-town, destroying a great deal of it, but was killed by Bard the Bowsman in the process.The dwarves and Bilbo barricaded the mountain, but they were confronted by Bard and the Elven-king who both demanded a share of the treasure. Thorin stubbornly refused to give them any of it, and called for help from Dain, another Dwarf. Bilbo sneaked out, without the Dwarves' knowledge, and gave Bard the Arkenstone, which Bard could use to help in his bargaining with Thorin. Bilbo also saw that Gandalf had come with Bard. Thorin found out about Bilbo's treachery and kicked him out of the Mountain. As Dain and the dwarves arrives, so did an army of Goblins. A huge battle known as the Battle of Five Armies was fought, and the Goblins were defeated when the eagles and Beorn joined the fight. However, Thorin, Fili, and Kili were killed in the battle. Bilbo said goodbye to the dwarves, and he and Gandalf returned to Bilbo's hobbit-hole.
The Lord of the RingsEdit
The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, begins with Bilbo's "eleventy-first" (111th) birthday, on September 22nd by Shire Reckoning (September 12 or 13 of our calendar), in the year T.A. 2890, 60 years after the beginning of The Hobbit. The main protagonist of the novel is Frodo Baggins, Bilbo's kinsman, who celebrates his 33rd birthday and legally comes of age on the same day.
In T.A. 2989 (S.R. 1389), Bilbo, a lifelong bachelor, adopted Frodo, the orphaned son of his first cousin Primula Brandybuck and his second cousin Drogo Baggins, and made him his heir. Though Frodo was actually "his first and second cousin once removed either way", the two regarded each other as uncle and nephew.
All this time Bilbo had kept his magic ring, with no idea of its significance, using it mostly to hide from his obnoxious cousins, the Sackville-Bagginses, when they came to visit. Gandalf's investigations revealed it to be the One Ring forged by the Dark Lord Sauron. The Ring had prolonged Bilbo's life beyond the normal hobbit span, and at 111 he still looked 50. While the Ring did not initially corrupt him as it had its previous owners, it was beginning to affect him; over the years, it had begun to prey on his mind when out of his sight, and he lost sleep and felt "stretched out and thin", as he said to Gandalf.
On the night of his and Frodo's birthdays, Bilbo announced his intent to turn his home and estate over to Frodo, put on the Ring and vanished from sight. As Bilbo prepared finally to leave the house, he reacted with panic and suspicion when Gandalf tried to persuade him to leave the Ring with Frodo. Bilbo refused to give up the Ring, referring to it as his "precious" – just as Gollum had in The Hobbit. Gandalf lost his temper with his old friend, talking some sense into him. Gandalf lost his temper with his old friend, talking some sense into him. Bilbo admitted he would have liked to be rid of the Ring, and he left it behind, becoming the first person to do so voluntarily. He left the Shire that night, and was never seen in Hobbiton again.
His earlier adventure, his eccentric habits as a hobbit, and his sudden disappearance lead to the enduring figure of "Mad Baggins" in hobbit folklore, who disappeared with a flash and a bang and returned with gold and jewels.
Freed of the Ring's power over his senses, Bilbo travelled to Rivendell, where for the next 17 years he lived a pleasant life of retirement: eating, sleeping, writing poetry, and working on his memoirs, There and Back Again, known to us as The Hobbit. He became a scholar of Elven lore, leaving behind the Translations from the Elvish, which forms the basis of what is known to us as The Silmarillion.
When Frodo and the other Hobbits stopped in Rivendell on their quest to destroy the Ring, Bilbo was still alive but now visibly aged, the years having caught up with him after he surrendered the Ring. Upon seeing the Ring again, he suddenly tried to take it from Frodo; he returned to his senses when a terrified Frodo backed away, and he broke down in tears, apologizing for bringing the burden of the Ring onto Frodo.
After the quest to destroy the Ring was fulfilled in The Return of the King, Gandalf and the four Hobbits visited Rivendell on their way back to the Shire and found Bilbo still living there. He gave Frodo a set of manuscripts that later became Translations from the Elvish, and also gave Samwise Gamgee a small bag of gold that represented the last of his share from Smaug's vast hoard. Two years later Bilbo accompanied Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Frodo to the Grey Havens, there to take ship for Tol Eressëa across the sea, on September 29th, T.A. 3021. He had already celebrated his 131st birthday by this time, surpassing the Old Took by one year and becoming the oldest living Hobbit ever in Middle-earth. (The average life expectancy of hobbits who survive to adulthood is about 100 years.)
According to the Appendices of The Return of the King, Bilbo was born to Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took on 22 September, T.A. 2890, or S.R. 1290. The Bagginses of Bag End were one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most respectable hobbit families in Hobbiton until the year 2941 (SR 1341), when Bilbo inexplicably disappeared on his adventure and was thought dead.
Poems and songs written by BilboEdit
- "A Walking Song"
- "All that is gold does not glitter"
- "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late"
- "The Road Goes Ever On"
Bilbo's Last SongEdit
Tolkien's posthumously published poem "Bilbo's Last Song", illustrated by Pauline Baynes, describes Bilbo's contemplation of his forthcoming voyage to the Undying Lands. The illustrations evoke his last ride in the company of Elrond from Rivendell to the Grey Havens, as described in The Lord of the Rings.
Portrayals in adaptationsEdit
In the 1968 BBC Radio serialization of The Hobbit, Bilbo was played by Paul Daneman.
Nicol Williamson portrayed Bilbo with a light West Country accent in the 1974 performance released on Argo Records.
In the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit, Bilbo was voiced by Orson Bean. Bean also voiced both the aged Bilbo and Frodo in the same company's 1980 adaptation of The Return of the King.
In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo was voiced by Norman Bird. Billy Barty was the model for Bilbo, as well as Frodo and Sam, in the live-action recordings Bakshi used for rotoscoping.
In the BBC's 1981 radio serialization of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo is played by John Le Mesurier.
In the 1993 television miniseries Hobitit by Finnish broadcaster Yle, Bilbo is portrayed by Martti Suosalo.
In Peter Jackson's films The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King, Bilbo is played by Ian Holm, who had played Frodo in the BBC radio series 20 years earlier. For the film series The Hobbit, also directed by Jackson, the young Bilbo is portrayed by Martin Freeman while Ian Holm reprises his role as an older Bilbo.
- 79000 Riddles for the Ring
- 79003 An Unexpected Gathering
- 79004 Barrel Escape
- 79013 Lake-town Chase
- 79018 Lonley Mountain
- LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game