Hobbit characters lead us through Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s
trilogy, which is based on JRR Tolkien’s 1937 novel, The Hobbit, or
There and Back Again. Here is a guide to who’s who in this fantasy classic:
Bilbo (played by
Martin Freeman in the movie trilogy)
is the main character in The Hobbit, and himself a hobbit. He takes an
unexpected journey that transforms him
utterly, from an unassuming gentleman
to a courageous hero.
Hobbits are distant relatives of men, small in stature, with large
hairy feet. They live off the land and wear
clothes the color of nature, mainly green and yellow. Most hobbits
enjoy nothing more than a hearty meal, a pipe full of tobacco and
good company, and are happiest at home, living quiet, predictable,
Until the wise wizard Gandalf enters Bilbo’s life, he is a typical
hobbit, concerned mainly with home comforts and the food in his larder,
which has to stretch across six meals a day. Gandalf, however, cajoles
him into accompanying a Company of Dwarves on a journey to the Lonely
Mountain so they can retrieve their treasure from the treacherous
As Bilbo and his comrades face one danger after another, he often
regrets leaving the safety and coziness of his home in The Shire.
Modest and gentle, he feels ill-equipped to handle the many threats
encounter. But then he runs into Gollum, finds the One Ring, and
outwits the miserable
creature – and his confidence
begins to grow.
In time Bilbo becomes the group’s unlikely hero. He saves them from a
group of giant spiders and rescues them from the dungeons of the Silvan
Elves. And when the party reaches the doorway to the Lonely Mountain,
he ventures forth to face the dragon alone.
is another of the main Hobbit characters and the leader of the Company
of Dwarves. Thorin’s grandfather Thor was actually a resident and king
the Lonely Mountain when Smaug attacked him and his people a century
and a half earlier and drove
them out of their homes. Now Thorin is seeking vengeance on behalf of
his ancestors and is determined to slay their greatest foe and reclaim
their treasure at last.
Although he is a brave and mighty warrior, Thorin shows himself to be
selfish and greedy. He often makes poor
decisions on behalf of his fellow dwarves and inadvertently leads them
danger, only to be rescued time and again by Bilbo. And when he
retrieves the treasure, he refuses to
share any portion of it, even if it means going to war. However, he
does redeem himself
on his deathbed by expressing regret at his behavior and paying tribute
to Bilbo's loyalty, bravery, and goodness. Smaug
(voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch),
sometimes called Smaug the Golden or Smaug the Magnificent, is one of
the last great dragons of Middle Earth, the main antagonist in The
Hobbit, and one of Tolkien's most memorable Middle-Earth characters.
Like most dragons, he is consumed by a desire for treasure and
can account for every ounce of gold in his massive hoard.
About 150 years before the events that take place in The Hobbit, Smaug
destroyed the town
of Dale and took over the nearby Lonely Mountain. He claimed the gold
that lay within and drove out its rightful owners, which
included a dwarf king and his kin. And for all these years, he has sat
upon it, guarding it with his life and defeating any who
have challenged him for its possession.
The dragon has many defenses, including the fiery breath associated
with his species and a powerful sense of sight and smell. He can use
his tale as a battering ram, hypnotize people with his eyes, fly great
distances, and sleep with one eye open, so he can watch over his
treasure even while he rests. He also has a sharp mind, a strong
personality and a cruel sense of humor, all of which he uses to bully
and manipulate his enemies.
It is Smaug’s sense of invulnerability that is his greatest
vulnerability. His belly is
covered with gems and gold for protection, but he is unaware of the
bare patch on his left breast. Bilbo notices the patch and passes on
the information to Smaug’s enemies, thus bringing about the dragon’s
Hobbits are, by and
large, unconcerned with worldly affairs, and distrusting of the
adventurous kind. And Gandalf (Ian
McKellen) is a wizard with a
reputation for leading young hobbits astray. A friend of Bilbo's
mother, he cajoles the young Mr
Baggins into setting out on an adventure that will earn him
nothing but disapproval from his fellow folk.
Gandalf is an archetypal wizard –
old, grey-haired, bearded,
wise, and skilled in magic. He acts in
accordance with some deeper purpose and always seems to know more than
doesn’t accompany Bilbo and the dwarves on their journey, he does set
them on their path
and turns up several times along the way just in time to save the day.
Gandalf is one of the key characters involved in an epic battle between
good and evil in the sequel to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).
precious!” This phrase is synonymous with only one character, the
miserable creature Gollum (Andy Serkis). Gollum is one of the most
characters in The Hobbit and plays a major role in the LOTR, in
which we find out that he was a carefree hobbit called Smeagol before
he found the One Ring and became corrupted by its power.
Bilbo encounters Gollum on an island under the Misty Mountain, where he
lives alone surviving on a diet of raw fish and stray goblin. He finds
the creature’s stolen ring and defeats him in a battle of riddles. When
Gollum discovers that Bilbo has the ring, he tries to kill him, but
slips the ring on his finger and becomes invisible, enabling him to
Tolkien had to rewrite this scene to bring it into line with the
LOTR. In the original version of The Hobbit, Gollum willingly offers up
the One Ring as a prize in a battle of riddles and he and Bilbo part on
good terms. In later editions however, published from 1951 onwards, he
is distraught at losing the ring and tries to kill and eat Bilbo
instead of leading him to safety.
These and other updates were included to reflect the ring’s corruptive
nature and establish Gollum as a creature utterly lost to its power.
is another character to feature in both The Hobbit and the LOTR. Elrond
is the master of the Elven city of Rivendell and an old friend of
Gandalf. He welcomes Bilbo and the dwarves into his home on their way
to the Lonely Mountain and helps them by deciphering the moon runes on
their map and giving them essential supplies.
Not to be confused with Elrond, the Elvenking Thranduil (Lee Pace)
Silvan Elves, also called wood elves, and proves a foe instead of a
friend to the Company of Dwarves. He holds the dwarves captive in his
dungeon, where he tries to discover their purpose, until Bilbo comes to
the rescue. The Elvenking is the father of Legolas, who is featured in
the LOTR. Although Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is not in
the book The Hobbit, he does appear in the movie trilogy.
Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt) is a shape-shifter who can turn from a man
into a great black
bear at will. He helps Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves after they
escape from goblins, offers them
food and shelter, and protects them from the treacherous wargs (see
Bard the Bowman
Bard (Luke Evans) is another of the story’s great heroes. A skilled
mighty warrior, he kills the dragon Smaug by shooting the vulnerable
spot in his belly, as
discovered by Bilbo, with the black arrow that belonged to his
ancestors. Bard later becomes the king of the re-founded town of Dale.
This wise and ancient raven has a small but vital role in The Hobbit.
He acts as a messenger for Thorin and delivers the news that
Bard has killed Smaug and that humans and elves are coming to claim a
share of the treasure. Roäc advises Thorin to
come to some agreement with
Bard over the riches but Thorin asks the bird to summon an
army of dwarves to fight by his side, thus inciting a great battle.
Company of Dwarves is made up of 13 dwarves, namely Thorin, Fili, Kili,
Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin, Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur.
Tolkien said of them: “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.”
Ancient, fair and beautiful, the elves are the first people of
Middle Earth. Considered to be immortal, they do not die of natural
causes, though they can die from injury or a broken heart. They have a
strong connection with nature and are skilled
craftsmen. Elrond is a high elf, noble and wise, whereas Thranduil is
a Silvan or wood elf, and therefore suspicious and distrustful, less
enlightened than his grander counterpart.
mythology includes several types of trolls, including Mountain-trolls,
Cave-trolls, and the Olog-hai bred by the dark lord Sauron in the LOTR.
The trolls in The Hobbit are called Stone-trolls, crude but dumb nocturnal giants
with cockney accents. They
capture the dwarves and plan to roast and eat them. But then Gandalf
Bilbo trick them into staying outside until dawn, at which time the sun
them to stone.
What are known as goblins in The Hobbit are more commonly called Orcs
in the LOTR. They are hateful and destructive creatures who take
pleasure in torturing their victims. When they discover Bilbo and the
dwarves trespassing through their territory in the Misty Mountain, they
take them captive, but then Gandalf kills their leader and once again
Wargs are evil wolves and allies of the goblins, who they align with in
an attempt to kill Bilbo and the dwarves by setting fire to a forest.
The two treacherous species fight together in the final battle over
The Hobbit trilogy also features
characters that are not in the book
but do appear in the LOTR. These include the Elven ruler Galadriel
(Cate Blanchett) and the wizard leader Saruman the White (Christopher
Lee). And it introduces a brand new character, a female Silvan Elf
called Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly).
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