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Bilbo Baggins Character Sketch

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Audrey Kyun

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of Bilbo Baggins Character Sketch

Always proper and polite, Bilbo Baggins was considered to be a very respectable individual. Before his great adventure, Bilbo cared greatly about what his neighbours thought of him. He enjoyed the comfort of his tidy, warm hobbit hole. Any mention of Mr. Baggins doing something unexpected was highly unheard of, and he preferred it that way. Gradually changing throughout the course of the book, his character turned for the better, in my opinion. Cleverness, courage, and compassion are all character traits Bilbo possesses. He is humble, yet unafraid to speak his mind. For instance, when Thorin wanted to withhold all of the treasure from the Lakemen and the Elves, Bilbo used his wits and delivered the Arkenstone to the “other side”. Doing this would most likely result in him being on bad terms with the dwarves, as Bilbo knew, but he did it anyway. This displayed his ability to make difficult choices that did not go along with the rest of the group. Additionally, his intelligent and resourceful mind has saved the entire company from troubling situations numerous times. He is incredibly loyal, yet knows when to do the right thing. Bilbo Baggins was chosen to take part in this quest due to his many wonderful qualities.

By: Audrey Kyun
Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo Baggins is typically very clear when it comes to his likes and dislikes. Feasting on a satisfying supper and smoking a long pipe are among his favorite pastimes. Also, the numerous snacks of cakes and scones he consumes throughout the day display his affection for food. He also enjoys visitors,(when he knows they are coming!), as well as hosting dinner parties. Home luxuries, his handkerchief, and a hot cup of tea are also things Bilbo values. On the other hand, his dislikes are also quite obvious. Mr. Baggins detests chaos and disorder in his home, as he is used to orderly routine. For instance, when the dwarves came over without warning, Bilbo became very frustrated at all the noise and mess he couldn’t control. To quote the novel, “... he was getting very hot, and red in the face, and annoyed.” Additionally, at the start of the novel, he showed distaste for adventures or anything that made him different from his neighbours. Of course, as the quest continued on, Bilbo’s likes and dislikes shifted to other things. He became grateful to be alive and to have even the littlest scraps of food. Learning the ways of the world outside of his cozy hobbit hole really opened his eyes, and I believe the quest benefited Bilbo greatly.
Bilbo Baggins comes from a long line of the famous Tooks and Bagginses. His mother, Belladonna Took, was one of the famous daughters of Old Took, the leader of the clan. The Tooks were extremely wealthy, but found to be a bit queer by their neighbours. Members of this family were known to go off on adventures, but these stories were quieted up by the rest of the family. Rumours that one of the Took ancestors had taken a fairy wife floated around, but there was no hard proof. Although they were definitely richer, the Tooks did not have the same amount of respect as the Bagginses. The Bagginses were probably very well-respected by many, based on the personality of Bilbo Baggins. There is not much information about the Baggins side of Bilbo’s family, but we know that Bilbo looks fairly identical with his father. His father, Bungo Baggins, used a great amount of the Tooks’ money to build his luxurious hobbit hole, which would later be inhabited by his son. Bilbo also has a close relationship with his “nephew”, Frodo Baggins. There is no mention of the two of them actually having an uncle and nephew relationship, but Bilbo adopted Frodo and they live together in Bag End. Overall, Bilbo has a very adventurous family.

Bilbo’s beliefs throughout his life before his great adventure were fairly narrow-minded. He believed that having an extravagant home with the approval of his neighbours was extremely important. Doing anything out of the ordinary was unexpected out of Mr. Bilbo Baggins as he was very predictable in all his actions. As mentioned in the book, you could tell what a Baggins would say even before he answered your question. I believe that Bilbo always had the same beliefs throughout the book, but that some came out clearer in different situations. For example, in the case of Thorin withholding all the treasure from everybody else, Bilbo knew that the right thing to do was to negotiate peacefully with the other parties. So, he went behind the dwarves’ backs, even though he valued their friendship and camaraderie. Another display of Bilbo’s beliefs throughout the novel was his loyalty towards the dwarves and Gandalf. He had various opportunities to escape from troubling situations by himself easily, but he chose to stay and help them out. From when they were entrapped by spiders, to the Wood Elves dungeons, Bilbo remained faithful the entire time. Helping his friends out was more important than saving his own skin, as an example, the barrel scene. Bilbo has many more beliefs, but I think that these ones are the most prominent in the book.
"Who they really are"-Tolkien

Tolkien has written many things that give us his own perspective of who Bilbo Baggins truly is. For instance, his description of Bilbo’s physical characteristics was very vivid and easy to visualize. It was as if J.R.R. Tolkien had transferred a self portrait of Bilbo into words on a page. But, his outward appearance was not the only concern of the author’s portrayal of this particular main character. Personally, I imagined Bilbo to be a bit stuffy and pompous at the start of the novel, but as I read further, that turned out to be incorrect. Bilbo Baggins is intelligent, compassionate, and brave. I learned that he had these traits, not from any sort of list in the novel, but from all the difficult times he faced and overcame. For example, during the game of riddles between Gollum and himself, Bilbo managed to stay calm with a clear head in that terrifying situation. Additionally, Bilbo exhibited compassion when he had the opportunity to end Gollum’s life, but opted not to. He also displayed bravery, as well as loyalty, when he singlehandedly freed the dwarves from the spider webs. In all three situations, Bilbo had the chance to run away and be safe from all danger, but that is not who he is.
My Personal Dislikes
After finishing his journey in the novel, I don’t have very many personal dislikes about Bilbo Baggins. At the beginning of the book, I hypothesized Bilbo to be a polite, yet somewhat snobby old man with no ambition whatsoever. I couldn’t be more wrong. He is, at times, a bit irritable when reminded of his warm bed and countless seed cakes back at Bag End, but then again, who wouldn’t be? Nothing very specific rubbed me the wrong way about Mr. Baggins. Of course, there were a few times here and there when I thought he could have made other choices. Such as, not telling the other members of the company about the magic ring when he first learned about its fascinating capability. I understand that at that time, he might’ve felt a bit apprehensive towards the thought of giving up the ring to Thorin, which presumably would happen as he was their leader. Also, the dwarves were on a quest to take back their home and its limitless gold, and a golden ring with unexplored power would most likely trigger the dwarves’ greedy nature. Nevertheless, I assume that most of the dwarves would understand that it belonged to Bilbo, despite how much they wished it was their own. In conclusion, Bilbo Baggins is generally a very likeable person and I had few disagreements with his character overall.

Why did I select this character?
I selected Bilbo Baggins as the main focus of my character sketch for multiple reasons. Firstly, he is the main character and the whole novel is filled with his opinions and ideas. Instead of just reading a myriad of descriptions that categorize him into different traits, good and bad, his own reactions and feelings gave me a better idea of his personality in “The Hobbit”. To continue, Tolkien completely and wonderfully composed Bilbo’s character development. In my opinion, his personal character growth is unmistakable and also on a larger scale than the other candidates. He started off as a highly predictable hobbit, leading a comfortable, yet mundane lifestyle. All that soon changed after Gandalf arrived one morning, as Bilbo was enjoying a beautiful day with his great, long pipe. After a whirlwind of countless perils and undertakings, the dwarves gained their mountain, while Bilbo gained something that could be considered much more valuable. Learning that there was more to life than having afternoon tea and owning the finest handkerchief was profoundly beneficial to him. His old sense of adventure he had possessed as a child was rekindled through this quest. I believe that Bilbo Baggins most certainly demonstrated his ability to be a burglar. This was displayed through all his effort and maybe, just a bit of luck.
Physical Appearance
J.R.R. Tolkien described Bilbo Baggins extremely well in the novel, “The Hobbit”. From his curly, brown hair to his thick, leathery feet, I got a complete visualization of this particular character. Bilbo Baggins, as well as most hobbits, is fat in the stomach and about half the height of an average human adult. He enjoys multiple meals a day, along with various snacks scattered throughout. Deep, fruity laughs are also associated with hobbits. They also have long, clever fingers, and most often wear clothing in bright hues. Reds, greens, and yellows are quite popular among hobbits. To be more specific, Bilbo himself is around fifty years old and an exact replica of his father. Despite his short stature, his good-natured face makes him easily approachable. Finding Bilbo Baggins without his handkerchief is very rare, as he sticks to routine as much as possible. I feel that his character, both physically and mentally, was incredibly well envisioned.
Bilbo Baggins
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