The Hobbit: Bilbo’s Maturation Chapters 1-12 – Points of Significance
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party • In chapter 1, it is clearly established both through Tolkien’s narration and Bilbo himself that hobbits, and Bilbo in particular, are not inclined to take part in adventures: • “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures. No thank you!” (6). • “We are plain quiet folk who have no need for adventures!” (4).
Chapter 2: Roast Mutton • Bilbo’s encounter with the trolls proves to be his first challenge given by the dwarves to prove his wits as a burglar. He fails miserably; however, he attempts to prove himself nonetheless. • “…he wished himself a hundred miles away, and yet – somehow, he could not go back to Thorin and company emptyhanded” (36).
Chapter 5: Riddles in the Dark • Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum fosters his independence as an adventurer. Here, he not only is able to survive without the aid of the dwarves, but proves that his luck and ingenuity allow him to emerge as a character of significance to be later praised by the dwarves: • “It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it” (68).
Chapter 6: Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire • Despite not telling them of the ring’s assistance in his newfound triumphs, Bilbo manages to earn the respect of the company. He is accepted into their brotherhood, despite his past transgressions leading the dwarves to believe Bilbo a coward and a poor excuse for a burglar: • “It is a fact that Bilbo’s reputation went up a very great deal with the dwarves after this” (93). • “If they had still doubted that he was really a first-class burglar, in spite of Gandalf’s words, they doubted no longer” (93). • “The dwarves looked at him with quite a new respect, when he talked about dodging guards, jumping over Gollum, and squeezing through, as if it was not very difficult or very alarming” (94).
Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders • Bilbo’s encounter in the forest with the spiders allows him to complete his heroic transformation. By defeating the spiders, naming his sword, and rescuing the dwarves, Bilbo cements his role as the unlikely hero of the story who gains the respect of the dwarves: • “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 in his sheath” (156). • “Bilbo saw that the moment had come when he must do something” (158). • “’I will give you a name’ he said to it, ‘and shall call you Sting’” (156). • “The spider lay dead beside him, and his sword-blade was stained black . Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone, by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins” (156).
Chapter 9: Barrels out of Bound • Bilbo’s rise to hero and savior continues with his rescue of the dwarves from the hands of the Wood Elf King. Suggesting the Dwarves escape using barrels, his success only wins him further accolades from all of the dwarves, with the exception of Thorin: • “…and they all trusted Bilbo. Just what Gandalf had said would happen, you see. Perhaps that was part of his reason for going off and leaving them” (175).
Chapter 11: On the Doorstep • Bilbo is the one to discover the riddle’s answer through the back door of the cave according to the map left to Thorin from his father. • “Forgetting all danger, he stood on the ledge and hailed the dwarves, shouting and waving” (209).
Chapter 12: Inside Information • Bilbo’s encounter with the dragon serves as a significant stride in his character and personality. Although he remains afraid of the task at hand, he continues to move forward with it lest hebreak his word. • “It was at this point Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing that Bilbo ever did” (215). • “There they would have been killed, if it had not been for Bilbo once again” (218).