What is a hero? While many envision a muscular man wearing a cape with super powers, the definition of a hero is much simpler. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a hero is “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities.” Bilbo Baggins was the hero introduced in The Hobbit. This adventurous story, by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in 1937, is a cherished book to this day. Surprised with a visit from a wizard and twelve dwarves, Bilbo is set on a quest as their “burglar” to reacquire the dwarves’ stolen treasure. Bilbo ended up being their hero an uncountable amount of times because he saved them in times of trouble, never gave up, and was loyal.
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Bilbo was the dwarves’ constant source of rescue. There were many cases where the dwarves found themselves in danger, and Bilbo found a way out. In the goblin’s cave, Bilbo was the one to cry out and warn the dwarves of the goblins, which enabled Gandalf to escape. In addition to this, when Thorin & Company (what the dwarves called themselves) were captured by spiders in Mirkwood, the hobbit slipped on his ring and lured the spiders away. After the incident with the evil spiders, the dwarves were taken as hostages to the Elvenking. When he realized this, he devised a clever plan that would allow the dwarves to escape. Bilbo was always there in time of need, and even when his plan sounded unlikely, it would always pull through.
Bilbo never gave up. Even though in the beginning of his journey he grumbled and longed for home, he never turned back. Instead, he urged the dwarves to continue even when they fell upon hard times. In the elves’ palace, when Thorin was about to reveal his true intents of his trip to the king, Bilbo was there to encourage him: “Thorin was too wretched to be angry any longer at his misfortunes, and was even beginning to think of telling the king all about his treasure and his quest, when he heard Bilbo’s little voice in the keyhole.” (Tolkien 175). This was not the only instance. In the mountain when the Company was searching for the hidden door Bilbo persuaded them to keep studying the map and searching. He was in it until the end.
Some say Bilbo was not a true hero; 1) because he kept the secret of the ring and the Arkenstone, and 2) because he was inexperienced. Bilbo was selfish in keeping the secret of the ring, but in the end, he saved the dwarves with it and even eventually disclosed his secret. With the Arkenstone, Bilbo’s initial intentions were selfish. However, he traded it in to the elves intending the outcome to be peace; he never imagined the wars. A hero has flaws of his or her own because heroes are human; Bilbo had more character than a superhero who possesses incredible superpowers. Even though Bilbo wasn’t experienced, his daring plans always worked out. This is why he was the truest of heroes.
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