[[caption-width-right:230:[-Dustcover of the first edition of The Hobbit, taken from a design by the author.-] ]]

->''In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.''

The precursor to ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', '''''The Hobbit''''', [[EitherOrTitle or]] '''''There and Back Again''''', is also the story of Bilbo Baggins, a simple, respectable [[{{Hobbits}} little person]] who is content with his sleepy life in [[GhibliHills Hobbiton]] until a crafty old wizard named Gandalf and thirteen dwarves hijack him for a grand adventure to slay a dragon and win back a lost treasure, forcing him to grow out of his comfortable little world. Along the way he encounters merry elves, ferocious trolls, wicked goblins, giant spiders, and other fantastic characters and creatures before coming face to face with the terrible dragon himself.

Creator/JRRTolkien wrote the story in the early 1930s as a serious piece of fiction but to avoid scorn and derision among his peers said he was writing it to amuse children and in particular his three sons. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim. The book has sold an estimated 100 million copies worldwide since first publication and along with its sequel is '''the''' TropeCodifier for HighFantasy.

A sequel was requested by his publishers, and as work on ''The Lord of the Rings'' progressed, Tolkien made accommodations for it in Chapter 5 of ''The Hobbit''. These few but significant changes were integrated into the second edition. Further editions followed, correcting minor errors and reflecting Tolkien's changing concept of the world into which Bilbo stumbled (removing references to policemen and China, for example).

The work has not been out of print since the paper shortages during the [[WorldWarTwo Second World War]].

Adaptations include:
* A 1968 [[Creator/TheBBC BBC Radio 4]] Dramatisation in 8 half-hour episodes. The master tapes for this were wiped in the '70s (a routine event for the BBC in this period) but [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes a domestic recording]] was later recovered and used to re-issue the series.
* [[WesternAnimation/TheHobbit A 1977 animated TV special]] by [[Creator/RankinBassProductions Rankin-Bass]]; your mileage may vary in regard to how successful it is. At least they used top-flight voice talent, and much of the music was based directly on songs in the book. It was also one of the first major Japanese crossover animations, and many of the artists went on to found StudioGhibli.
* A [[Film/TheHobbit 2012-14 live-action movie trilogy]] directed by Creator/PeterJackson as a prequel to his ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' trilogy.
* Several video-game versions: there's an InteractiveFiction game of ''[[VideoGame/TheHobbit1982 The Hobbit]]'', which is considered to be one of the defining entries in the genre, and a [[VideoGame/TheHobbit2003 video game made in 2003]].
* A highly regarded GraphicNovel version approved by the Tolkien estate, illustrated by David Wenzel in 1991.
* ''Literature/ThereAndBackAgain'' by Pat Murphy, which is ''The Hobbit'' [-[[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]]-]
* A ''very'' low budget live-action version made in 1984 in Soviet Russia, as seen [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/21/the-hobbit-russian-soviet-version_n_1163699.html here]]. The same article also links to the Soviet version of the novel, with its uniquely styled illustrations.

%%% Zero Context Example entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out.
%%% Add explanations to the entries before uncommenting them.
!!''The Hobbit'' provides examples of (or the sources for) the following tropes:

* AllThereInTheManual: Tolkien's follow-up ''The Lord of the Rings'' and various posthumous publications about the world of Literature/MiddleEarth specified many additional details and background information on things that were not expanded upon in ''The Hobbit''.
** ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' provides a backstory for Gollum and his ring of invisibility, and reveals that the mysterious 'Necromancer' is a millennia-old fallen angel otherwise known as the Dark Lord Sauron (who is also the creator of Gollum's ring and identical to the "Master who ruled [the rings]" cryptically mentioned in the chapter "Riddles in the Dark"). It also discloses that the Elven King's proper name is Thranduil.
** Appendix A of the ''Lord of the Rings'' provides a history of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk, including a genealogy which reveals that the mother of Fili and Kili (Thorin's sister) is called Dís and that Balin, Dwalin, Oin and Gloin are relatives of Thorin descended from a side branch of royal line.
** In "The Quest of Erebor", published in ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'', Gandalf relates from his perspective how he first met Thorin Oakenshield, why he developed the plan to take Bilbo along, and what he was doing when he wasn't with Bilbo's party.
** ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' is an account of "the strange stories before the beginning of History, the wars of the evil goblins and the elves and the first men in the North" mentioned in the chapter "A Short Rest". This clears up various allusions made about the history of the Elves, such as the city of Gondolin (where the swords Orkrist, Glamdring and Sting were forged), the "elves and heroes of the North" who are Elrond's ancestors, and the migration to "Faerie in the West" which divided Wood Elves and High Elves.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The goblins (a.k.a. orcs) and the wargs.
* AntiHero
** Bilbo starts off as a ClassicalAntihero, often left a bystander while events happen around him. However after choosing to spare Gollum, and especially in Mirkwood, he manages to become more of a straight hero.
** Thorin is probably a PragmaticHero, as he is mostly noble and charismatic, but allows his greed to almost push him into starting a war, though he ultimately repents of that.
** The Elvenking fits a KnightInSourArmor quite well. While isolationist and distrustful toward the Dwarves, he shows kindness to the survivors of Laketown and is more reluctant to begin a war for gold than any of his peers.
* AppropriatedAppellation: Bilbo's sword (technically dagger, but big enough for hobbits to be a short sword), Sting, got its name from the GiantSpiders Bilbo fought with it.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: Smaug has exactly one vulnerable spot on his whole body, which Bard is informed of as he readies his final arrow.
* AuthorTract: While none are very prominent, Tolkien does pause the narration at times to offer some remarkably opinionated notes, such as that goblins may have invented the modern tools of war (tanks and explosives) which he himself despised so much after seeing them during the First World War. He also speaks in some length (although most of it is likely to pass over the heads of the younger, intended target audience) of the virtues of a traditional, pastoral, rural English lifestyle when compared to those of life in the city or of modern people.
* {{Badass}}
** Bilbo's ancestor Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took probably qualifies, being LargeAndInCharge (for a hobbit, anyway) and leading the Hobbits against the Goblins in the Battle of Greenfields.
** Bard the Bowman, rightful ruler of Dale and [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin an excellent shot with a bow]].
** Smaug, being described as the most dangerous threat of the age.
* BadassBoast:
-->'''Bilbo:''' I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.\\\
'''Smaug:''' I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong, strong... ... My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!
* BattleInterruptingShout: Gandalf appears between the Dwarven, Elvish, and Human armies as they move to battle each other.
* TheBerserker: In the Battle of the Five Armies, Beorn in bear form plows through the Goblin army in an UnstoppableRage. Bonus points for invoking the literal meaning of "Berserker" (bear-skinned), too.
* BerserkButton: Gandalf warns Bilbo that it would be a very, very bad idea to talk about fur-trading around [[TheBerserker Beorn]]. Wisely, they don't.
* BearsAreBadNews: Beorn plays TheBerserker trope quite literally, being a VoluntaryShapeshifter who becomes a were-bear in battle. You definitely don't want to cross him, though fortunately, he's mostly Bad News only to goblins and wolves.
* BeneathTheEarth: A number of examples; almost everyone seems to live underground.
** Bilbo lives in Bag End, the hobbit-hole that is quite literally "under hill" (though with many windows).
** The visit to "Goblin-town" and Gollum finds them in caves under a mountain range.
** The elves live in a cave system in Mirkwood.
** And of course Smaug, and before and after him the dwarves, live under the Lonely Mountain, the dwarf king being known as King Under the Mountain.
* BigDamnHeroes: Quite a few times.
** Gandalf saves the dwarves and Bilbo from the goblins.
** The eagles save the whole crew right in the nick of time.
** Bilbo saves the dwarves from the spiders
** Beorn's and the eagles' arrival at the Battle of the Five Armies basically turns the tide.
** Thorin and his original twelve companions charging from their fortress to attack the goblins' general and his bodyguard that had been tearing the heart out of the allies' line.
* BigEater: Most of the main cast, and especially Bilbo and Bombur. Hobbits in general prefer to have rather more than three meals a day, and Bombur is obese (on non-processed foods) for a reason.
* BilingualBonus: If you can decode the runes around the original cover (which are slightly adapted [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runic_alphabet Anglo-Saxon runes]] rather than in-universe ''cirth''), it gives a full title in English: [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: "The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again: Being the record of a year's journey made by Bilbo Baggins; compiled from his memoirs by J.R.R. Tolkien and published by George Allen & Unwin." ]]
(Newer editions added "of Hobbiton" after "Baggins", and changed the name of the publisher.)
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Smaug is killed, the enemy forces are defeated and Bilbo returns home safely - but Laketown was destroyed, who knows how many thousands of Elves, Men and Dwarves lost their lives - including Thorin, Fili and Kili - and Bilbo's experiences mean he's no longer fully accepted in Hobbit society. Not that he minds too much about that last bit.]]
* BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord:
-->'''Glóin:''' You can say ''Expert Treasure-hunter'' instead of ''Burglar'' if you like. Some of them do. It's all the same to us.
* BoisterousBruiser: Beorn, at least [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold once you've gotten through his defenses.]]
* BookEnds: The story begins and ends with Gandalf visiting Bilbo in his home at Bag End.
* BoringReturnJourney: While Bilbo does have (unspecified) troubles on his return journey, "he was never in great danger" -- mainly because this time, Gandalf is with him all the way and the region's goblins have just had their butts whupped and are in hiding.
* BreakTheHaughty: Thorin is something of a narcissist, probably [[ShelteredAristocrat due to his royal blood]]. He's still a likable person, though, until [[spoiler: he reclaims his family's vast long lost fortune and GoldFever gets the better of him. If it costs him his life or if he would have been killed anyway is debatable, but he [[RedemptionEqualsDeath realizes the error of his ways not long before he dies of mortal wounds inflicted by goblins]].]]
* ButtMonkey: Bombur. He always manages to come last in everything, and if one of the dwarves slips and falls into a river, gets caught by an enchantment or has something unpleasant or humiliating happen to him, it'll be Bombur.
* CallToAdventure: One of the classics.
-->''By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door smoking an enormous long wooden pipe that reached nearly down to his woolly toes (neatly brushed) -- [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gandalfvisit.jpg Gandalf came by]].''
* CanonWelding: When he began writing the sequel, Tolkien moved it and ''The Hobbit'' into his Middle-earth legendarium setting, which had already been around for over thirty years, although nothing of it had been published so far. The move brought with it some {{Retcon}} and ReWrite concerning the events of ''The Hobbit'', which was partly explained as Bilbo being an UnreliableNarrator. (Or rather, a Reliable Narrator whose lying about the recovery of the Ring was extremely portentous and whose knowledge of the Elder Days wasn't quite up to snuff.) It also led to profound changes in the wider yet-unpublished Middle-earth stories at the time. This material would also be shaped further by ''The Lord of the Rings'', and it was finally published [[AuthorExistenceFailure posthumously]] in 1977 as ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''.
* TheCaper: Morally grey protagonists "stealing" the treasure from Smaug, one of an AlwaysChaoticEvil race of Satanic monsters who stole it from its original owners.
* TheCavalry: The Eagles. Bilbo unwittingly rallies the Dwarven, Human, and Elven forces when he sees the Eagles on the horizon and announces their arrival. And then he gets hit in the head with a rock and [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome passes out for the duration.]]
* CastingAShadow: The webs that the Mirkwood spiders produce are extremely dark.
* TheChooserOfTheOne: Gandalf picks out Bilbo, personally, to help the dwarves' quest.
* TheChosenZero: The dwarves react to Bilbo as one. Ironically, he doesn't even know he's been hired as an adventurer.
* ChromosomeCasting: While largely justified by the genre conventions, no female characters appear in the text of ''The Hobbit''.
* CityOfCanals: Laketown is built on the surface of Long Lake. Which sounds like decent protection from dragons, until you realize how rickety that would make it... oh, and flammable. Did we mention Smaug flies and breathes fire?
* CleverCrows: The talking ravens that live near the Lonely Mountain are friendly to the Dwarves (unlike the crows, which ravens despise).
* ConflictKiller: The Men of Laketown and the Elves want to grab the treasure (and get revenge on Thorin's group for unleashing Smaug on them, however unwittingly) but Thorin has called in dwarven reinforcements. The two sides are gearing up to fight when the goblin army attacks, forcing an EnemyMine.
* ContemptibleCover:
** [[http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/dmiller/images/000137.jpg This one]], which Tolkien himself [[WordOfGod hated with a passion]]. This edition also didn't include Thorin's map, which is actually referenced in the text as being in the front of the book.
** Tolkien also hated [[http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/ballantine-books/310-1.jpg the cover]] of the 1965 American edition. In his letter to the publisher, he wrote: "I must ask this about the vignette: what has it to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs?"
* CoolOldGuy: Gandalf--''The Hobbit'' doesn't specify how old he is nor the full range of his powers, but he's more-or-less the brains behind the operation, clearly capable of "magic," and not ''at all'' feeble or weak. And he looks like this dried old geezer with a long beard and unreasonably large eyebrows.
* CovertDistressCode: When Bilbo is preparing to sneak up on some trolls, he's told that should he get into serious trouble, "hoot twice like a barn-owl and once like a screech-owl, and we will do what we can" -- however, it turns out Bilbo doesn't actually know how to make the correct owl sounds, so it doesn't do him any good.
* CueTheSun: Bilbo's rescue from the trolls. Gandalf, unseen, keeps re-igniting the argument the trolls have about how to cook the prisoners until the dawn [[TakenForGranite turns them to stone]], effectively TalkingTheMonsterToDeath.
* CulturedBadass: Pretty much all the protagonist dwarves, shown when they break out musical instruments (Thorin himself plays a harp) and explain their purpose to Bilbo by way of singing "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold".
* CurbStompBattle: Beorn vs. any goblin (including Bolg) during the Battle of Five Armies, being able to effortlessly take out the elite goblins that Thorin and co. couldn't get past.
* CuteButCacophonic: Bilbo gives out a loud warning shout in the cave.
* TheCynic: Bard is well renowned for his grim attitude throughout Lake Town - but it comes in very handy when he's the first to twig that Smaug is coming, and races to get the town ready to fight back.
%%* DeadpanSnarker: The LemonyNarrator.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: [[spoiler:Thorin]] repents of his [[spoiler:greed]] and forgives Bilbo on his deathbed.
* DidntThinkThisThrough:
** After Bilbo manages to get the dwarves into barrels, he realizes that he didn't put one aside for himself and there is no one to seal him in even if there was. This is lampshaded by the narrator, who then challenges the readers if they could have done any better.
** In his conversation with Bilbo, Smaug points out the obvious futility of Bilbo's mission: Without a way to get rid of the dragon, stealing the hoard piece by piece under the eyes of the dragon would take "maybe a hundred years", and even then there would be no chance for Bilbo to get his promised share of the hoard (a fourteenth) safely home to Bag End. Bilbo is completely stumped, having never thought thus far ahead.
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: With the help of the Ring, Bilbo manages to exchange a few taunting words with Smaug, and leaves to tell the tale. Wasn't exactly the best idea since Smaug [[DoNotTauntCthulhu almost roasted him]] and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero goes off and burns down Laketown.]]
* DragonHoard: Smaug destroyed the Kingdoms of Lonely Mountain and Dale solely to rob the kings' treasures. He heaped them up in a vault where he spends most of his time just sleeping on it. This habit also has the advantage that the coins and gems grow into his sticky, glowing hot skin, thus providing him with additional armor. When Bilbo steals a single cup from the sleeping dragon's hoard, Smaug detects the loss immediately upon waking, which implies he has a minute knowledge of his hoard that exceeds human mental capabilities; the narrator even lampshades this by saying that even if dragons never ''spend'' a single bit of their treasure, they "usually have a fair idea of the market value."
* ElvesVersusDwarves: Tolkien probably started the literally-elves-vs.-dwarves version of this trope, though their long grudge had been simmering in his unpublished writings for years beforehand, and had clearly defined historical causes.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Thorin is the only dwarf ''not'' to greet Bilbo with "at your service." He is also the only one not to help clean the dishes.
* EurekaMoment: Bilbo is struggling with one of Gollum's riddles, when a fish brushes by his foot. This makes him realize that the answer is in fact fish.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Neither the Elvenking nor the Master of Lake-Town are named.
* EvilSorcerer: The Necromancer, mentioned in passing by Gandalf.
* ExploringTheEvilLair: Bilbo exploring the goblin tunnels, and later Smaug's lair.
* TheFairFolk: The narrator says that Wood Elves can be a lot closer to this than High Elves. They're first seen partying in fairy-rings that wink out when the dwarves try to enter.
* FamedInStory / ShroudedInMyth: As Tolkien's narration puts it:
-->''Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion.''
* FauxAffablyEvil: Smaug is extremely articulate when Bilbo was sneaking around, and has some enjoyment in conversing and riddling, but he would have killed Bilbo immediately if he could see him, and at the same time makes no attempt to hide that he's a merciless killer.
* {{Fiction 500}}: Smaug sleeps atop a mound of coins and jewelry and his hideout has many more riches. ''Forbes'' magazine [[http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2012/04/23/how-much-is-a-dragon-worth-revisited/ has estimated the value of Smaug's hoard at $62 billion]], amending an earlier evaluation of $8 billion.
* FinalBattle: The Battle of Five Armies, in which everybody and the local werebear converge on the Lonely Mountain to fight over the loot.
* FoeTossingCharge: [[spoiler: Beorn]] does this during the Battle of the Five Armies, on his way to rescue Thorin.
* FoodPorn: Oh yes. One thing Hobbits love is a good meal -- "especially dinner, which they take twice a day if they can get it." And since Bilbo is deprived of food more often than not on the adventure, he pays extra close attention when he does get a good meal.
* GameChanger: The magic ring found by Bilbo Baggins gives him the power of invisibility, which allows him to aid the dwarves far more than an ordinary hobbit could have done.
* GentlemanAdventurer: Bilbo is a gentleman, not stinking rich, but "well-to-do" by hobbit standards and of a fairly high-status family in his homeland.
* {{Giant Spider}}s: Talking, man-eating, venomous spiders the size of people infest Mirkwood. It's enough to make one wonder why the elves still live there.
* GoldFever: The curse of a dragon's hoard. It nearly leads Thorin to war with Laketown and the Wood Elves, and leads to the old master of Laketown stealing most of the treasure and dying in the wilds once it's all over. Bilbo, on the other hand, is (mostly) immune. (It's probably a hobbit thing.)
* GreyAndGreyMorality: We have conflicts between Dwarves and Elves, and the story almost ends in a war between Dwarves on one side and Elves and Men on the other -- until Bilbo's peace-brokering and the goblins and Wargs showing up as a common enemy forces an EnemyMine scenario. While the goblins and wolves are clearly bad guys, nobody else (even the Eagles) is really perfectly good, except perhaps Gandalf.
* GrimUpNorth: The Withered Heath, north of the Lonely Mountain, is notorious as a breeding ground for dragons.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: The Mirkwood elves demonstrate the DrinkingOnDuty variation of this trope, allowing [[spoiler: the dwarves]] to escape.
* HairTriggerTemper: Gandalf describes Beorn has having this, especially regarding the topic of hunting and skinning animals.
* HaveAGayOldTime: "He was in fact held by all the hobbits of the neighbourhood to be 'queer'..."
** And one of the wood-elves calls another a "toss-pot". Back then it meant "[[UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish heavy drinker]]", but has come to have a much ruder meaning.
* {{Herald}}: Gandalf deliberately sets up the whole adventure by dragging Bilbo into it, and selling him to the dwarves as some sort of professional burglar... or something.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Gandalf. He has a lot of involvement with this one, but it's just one task of many that requires his attention, which is why he eventually leaves the group. While he's away, he goes on to defeat the Necromancer who had been terrorizing the south.
* HiddenElfVillage: Rivendell, literally a hidden elf town at the bottom of a ravine.
* {{Hobbits}}: TropeMaker, TropeNamer, TropeCodifier, and most likely UrExample as well.
* HollywoodDensity: Averted. Bilbo only takes a small fraction of what he was allowed to claim from Smaug's hoard, mainly because the two small chests of coins that he did take, one of gold and one of silver, were all that his pony could carry. It still took him eighty years to spend it all (He gave the last of the gold he got from Erebor away shortly before the Scouring of the Shire in ''Return of the King'').
* HomeSweetHome: Hobbiton, Bilbo's hometown. He may be one of those crazy Took nutters, but he ''is'' still a hobbit, and he wants to get home again.
* HonourBeforeReason: Bilbo refusing to kill Gollum out of pity.
* HorseOfADifferentColor: Goblins ride large, sapient, evil wolves into battle. This is explicitly an alliance as well, the Wargs have a completely separate social structure and don't even live with the Goblins normally.
* IAmXSonOfY: Most Dwarves, Elves and Men introduce themselves in this manner. Hobbits, on the other hand, use family names.
* ICallItVera: Sting, Bilbo's sword (er, knife) from a troll hoard.
* ImAHumanitarian: Supplementary to his diet of raw fish, Gollum also eats the occasional goblin whenever he can kill one.
* IncomingHam: Thorin -- "I am Thorin son of Thráin son of Thrór King Under the Mountain! I return!"
* InflationaryDialogue: In Gandalf's account to Beorn, the number of dwarves continually inflates, starting at "one or two" and ending accurately. Beorn does not fail to notice, but it succeeds at preventing a meltdown in negotiations.
* InterspeciesRomance: It's speculated that someone on the Tooks' family tree married into a fairy family, which accounts for the adventurous nature in those of Took blood. However, the narrator says "This, of course, is absurd", and the whole thing is presented as a slur on the Took family rather than a practical possibility.
** Played entirely straight with Elrond, who is explicitly described as having "both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors".
* InTheBlood: The Took side of Bilbo's family is well-known as the adventuring sort, and more than once, when Bilbo does something crazy or brave, the narrator notes that perhaps the Took side took hold of him. Naturally, decent hobbits consider them nuts.
* InvisibilityCloak: It's a ring, not a cloak, but it grants invisibility when one wears it.
* IShouldWriteABookAboutThis: And Bilbo does, resulting in the Memoirs ''There And Back Again: A Hobbit's Holiday'', which [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis cheekily is stated by Tolkien]] to be the novel's "base".
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Several characters, including Bard and Beorn.
* LastOfHisKind: Smaug is said to be the last of the "great dragons", though this implies there are still less impressive dragons.
* LegallyDead: When Bilbo returns to Bag End after one year of absence, he finds he has been presumed dead and his heirs are just holding an auction on his possessions. Since it's not so easy to convince the authorities that he is still alive, he resorts to buying much of his own stuff back to save time and bother.
* LegendaryWeapon: Early in the book, the party recovers a small treasure hoard from some trolls. Among the hoard are a pair of legendary elvish blades, Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver and Glamdring the Foe-Hammer, two legendary swords forged millennia earlier by the elves of Gondolin. Thorin Oakenshield takes Orcrist [[spoiler:and it's eventually buried with him]], while Gandalf takes Glamdring.
* LemonyNarrator: Tolkien, as narrator, interjects several asides to the audience in each chapter. Since the book is presented as being compiled from Bilbo's memoirs, it is up for debate about how much of this style is derived from the original text.
* ALightInTheDistance
** When the starving travellers see the elven-lights in Mirkwood, they eagerly leave the trail hoping to beg for food. This, unfortunately, only gets them more hopelessly lost.
** The encounter with the trolls began this way.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The story is "compiled" from Bilbo's memoirs. This was exploited by Tolkien when he wanted to change the backstory of Bilbo finding the Ring to fit with ''TheLordOfTheRings'' while he was writing it - the first edition represents Bilbo being economical with the truth.
* TheLoad: How the company initially view Bilbo, this changes after he saves them from the spiders.
* TheLostWoods: Mirkwood is a sea of huge, ancient trees, under which there is perpetual darkness, and the sky cannot be seen at all. There are very few paths through it, and crossing it takes several weeks. The few sources of water there are may be enchanted. If you get lost (which is awfully easy, as the wood is apparently under a spell), your best hope is to be captured by inhospitable elves before you starve, the giant spiders get you, or (still worse) you stumble into the realm of the Necromancer. All things considered, best don't go there at all.
* LukeNounverber: But done as actual earned epithets, such as Thorin Oakenshield and Dáin Ironfoot, who earned their names in the Goblin Wars -- Thorin, for example, had his shield broken in battle and replaced it with a oak branch, which he ''ripped off the tree in the middle of the fight''.
* MacabreMothMotif: When the party is traveling through Mirkwood they go without campfires at night rather than attract the swarms of huge black moths that come out at night. Though not actually harmful, they're very unpleasant.
* MagicMap: The map of the Lonely Mountain is just a regular map most of the time, but in the light of a certain phase of the moon it reveals information crucial to getting into the mountain alive.
* MarkedBullet: Bard had an arrow he was particularly fond of, a family heirloom, and [[OneBulletLeft saved it for last]]
* TheMarvelousDeer: The first marvel of the Mirkwood.
* MeaningfulName: "Beorn" is OldEnglish for "bear" (cognate with the Scandinavian "bjørn").
* MinionMaracas: Thorin picks up Bilbo and "shakes him like a rabbit" when he learns that the latter has stolen the Arkenstone and given it to the Men and Elves besieging the mountain. (At least, Gandalf manages to convince Thorin to not throw Bilbo down the wall.)
* MoodWhiplash: At first, it seems like a classic adventure story...then, Smaug annihilates Laketown and kills hundreds of people, then he dies...and eventually, Thorin goes mad, armies besiege Erebor and tens of thousands of men, elves and dwarves are killed the Battle of the 5 Armies, including Thorin, Kili and Fili.
* MundaneUtility: It's mentioned that after his adventure, Bilbo used the Ring when he ''wanted to avoid unwelcome visitors''.
* MythicalMotifs: The dragon breathes fire and is definitely a symbol of the gold-greed that takes dwarves, humans, and elves alike.
* NamedWeapons: Glamdring, the Foe Hammer; Orcrist, the Goblin Cleaver; and Sting. Glamdring and Orcrist are famous enough that the goblins recognize them on sight, calling them "''Beater''" and "''Biter''" respectively.
* NatureHero: Beorn, a vegetarian who lives alone in a cabin, talks to animals, and turns into a bear. [[BerserkButton Don't mention furs or hunting in his presence]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Throughout the journey, the dwarves just keep stumbling into trouble and making a royal mess of things.
** First, they stumble right into a goblin lair. The incident results in the Great Goblin's death. Hence, the goblins and wargs band together and set out for revenge, gathering an army in the process, which catches up to them near the end.
** The dwarves are then caught by the Wood Elves, and due to the [[ElvesVersusDwarves mutual]] FantasticRacism, refuse to tell them their motives. They're imprisoned, and upon escaping, the Elves become even ''more'' suspicious and angry with them.
** They then end up waking Smaug up, who proceeds to go on a rampage on Laketown, assuming Bilbo came from there, and the survivors aren't happy with them for it.
** Bilbo himself, in stealing the Arkenstone and handing it over to the Elvenking and Bard, raises tensions between them and Thorin from merely a Mexican standoff/cold war to imminent bloodshed, despite his good intentions.
* NobodyHereButUsBirds: "Hoot twice like a barn-owl and once like a screech-owl." Parodied in that Bilbo can't even do a ''generic'' owl sound, much less specific ones.
* NothingIsScarier: The lightless tunnel to Smaug's lair is so terrifying to Bilbo that actually seeing the giant dragon in all his gold-encrusted glory comes as a ''relief!''
* TheObiWan: Gandalf guides the party and helps Bilbo develop into a competent "adventurer," but he does not use his considerable powers to just do the job for them. And then he goes off to deal with the Necromancer, leaving the party to fend for themselves.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: Bilbo spends the majority of the Battle of Five Armies knocked unconscious after a rock hits him in the head. When he wakes up, he's told that Beorn even entered the fray ''[[BearsAreBadNews in bear form]]''!
* OhCrap: "''What has it got in its pocketses?!?''" Cue Gollum wigging out.
* OneBulletLeft: Bard shoots the dragon with the only arrow he has left. Although more justified in this case, as the one left is also a special one inherited through generations, and just before the shot Bard is [[AttackItsWeakPoint told the dragon's weak spot.]]
* OneHitKill: To be fair, Smaug got hit ''lots'' of times before, but none of those arrows [[ImmuneToBullets were able to penetrate his armor.]]
* OnlySmartPeopleMayPass: The Riddle Game with Gollum, whose offer is to show Bilbo the way out of the caves (or to make a meal out of Bilbo if Bilbo loses the game). Played straight in the first few riddles (some of which are real stumpers), but subverted by the winning riddle: it's just a stupid question which Gollum mistook for a riddle. Of course, Gollum intended to cheat and eat Bilbo all along, since he had the Ring (or thought he did).
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Smaug is a huge winged, scaly, firebreathing, gold-hoarding, sentient and intelligent reptilian monster that can talk. Tolkien confirmed that Smaug is a fusion of the dragon from ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'' (a winged creature of fire) and Fafnir from the ''Literature/VolsungaSaga'' (huge size, talks, has a personal name). Through its influence on the {{fantasy}} genre, ''The Hobbit'' re-introduced intelligent, talking dragons to literature.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: The TropeCodifier, though since there are thirteen of them in the main party, some of them do get one or two individual personality traits. (Thorin is pompous and long-winded, Dori is a JerkWithAHeartOfGold come TheEeyore, Bombur is a fat ButtMonkey, Balin is the nice guy, Fíli and Kíli are cheerful.)\\\
However, none of them seem to carry any weapons until they find some in the Troll's lair, at which point they end up not with axes, but swords. Nor are they particularly stolid: they seem like seasoned adventurers to Bilbo at first, but once on the journey they whine and grumble about things at least as much as Bilbo does (and eventually ''more'' than Bilbo). Thorin's gang might be excused, however, from the fact that they have been technically homeless for decades; Dáin's dwarves from the Iron Mountain fit the trope a lot better.
* OurGoblinsAreDifferent: The story is "''teeming'' with goblins, hobgoblins and orcs of the ''[[LemonyNarrator worst]]'' description!". [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orc]] is said to be the untranslated Westron word for goblin; see for example the sword ''Orc''rist, and its translated name, the Goblin-Cleaver.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: Beorn the "skin-changer" is able to shapeshift into the form of a huge bear, which he apparently does regularly by night, but also by daylight if need be (such as to fight in the Battle of the Five Armies).
* OutOfTheFryingPan: {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d, when the party escapes the orcs of the Misty Mountains, only to be surrounded by wolves when night falls.
-->"What shall we do, what shall we do!" [Bilbo] cried. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say "out of the frying-pan into the fire" in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.
* TheOutsideWorld: The opening chapter mentions that "adventures" are generally frowned upon by the Hobbits, but the occasional hobbit has set out to see the world, particular those of the Took family.
* PragmaticVillainy: The three trolls don't want to eat Bilbo, simply because he isn't big enough to go through the trouble of skinning and boning him. They don't feel sorry for him, they're just... lazy.
* PrettyButterflies: On the treetops in Mirkwood.
* PrimalFear: The {{Giant Spider}}s especially, but through the whole story Bilbo travels in a world where everything wants to ''eat'' him.
* ProperlyParanoid: Bard is notorious among the Laketowners for predicting all kinds of disasters, like floods and poisoned fish. When the glow of the approaching dragon is seen in Laketown, the more naive townsfolk believe that the river is turning into gold, while Bard immediately assumes that the dragon is coming. He is mocked for it, but before long it turns out he was right, and the preparations urged by Bard allow the townspeople to put up a temporary defense.
* TheQuest: Go forth across the land, over the Misty Mountains cold, to the distant Lonely Mountain to somehow get a massive pile of treasure out from under a very dangerous dragon. Try not to get dead.
* RealityEnsues: Everything that happens after the dwarves arrive at the mountain and provoke Smaug. The dwarves, who got as far they did thanks to Gandalf and Bilbo rescuing them, unsurprisingly have no plan to deal with him, which really sucks for them because their only chance at surviving is to kill him. Smaug is killed by Bard only after burning down Laketown, leaving its people homeless and very unhappy with the dwarven party.
* {{Rewrite}}: In the original edition of ''The Hobbit'', Gollum gave Bilbo the ring willingly after losing the riddle game to him. After Tolkien had started working on ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' and decided that the ring was an ArtifactOfAttraction that had corrupted Gollum, this did no longer fit the character of Gollum nor the nature of the ring, so Tolkien rewrote chapter 5 of ''The Hobbit'' in later editions so that Bilbo accidentally found the ring after Gollum had coincidentally lost it. The introduction of the 1951 second edition even mentions that Bilbo initially told a different story, and suggests his earlier "lie" may already have been due to the bad influence of the ring's magic.
* RiddleMeThis: The riddle contest between Gollum and Bilbo. It's a hobbit thing, apparently.
* RightfulKingReturns: Bard brings the line of Girion back to rulership of Dale, and Thorin intended to take the Lonely Mountain back for the line of Durin.
* RobeAndWizardHat: "I am Gandalf, and 'Gandalf' means me!"
%%* RuleOfThree
%%* SacredHospitality
* SavageWolves: Wargs, the evil talking wolves who ally with goblins. Following the Company's escape from Goblin Town, they run into a pack of Wargs on the slopes of the Misty Mountains and are forced to climb trees to escape them. The Wargs later show up again as one of the five armies in the battle at the book's climax.
* SenselessSacrifice: In the Battle of Five Armies, it is said that [[spoiler: Fíli and Kíli defended Thorin with "shield and body." All for naught, as Thorin died of wounds anyway.]]
* SequelHook: In the foreword to the second edition, Tolkien notes that the account of Bilbo's encounter with Gollum is different in this new edition, and Bilbo lying about how he acquired the Ring is of great importance. The reason for this will be revealed in the (yet to be published) [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings sequel]].
* SeriousBusiness: In-universe, the riddle game is regarded as "sacred" and the prose says that even a lowly creature like Gollum is hesitant to cheat at it.
* ShoutOut: The moon runes and SundialWaypoint clues to Erebor's secret entrance are fantasy-flavored versions of similar clues in Creator/JulesVerne's ''Literature/JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth''.
** The opening narration mentions that Hobbits are "smaller than dwarves... but very much larger than [[Literature/GulliversTravels Lilliputians]]". Whether this is the LemonyNarrator using a species from a more well-known work of fiction (at the time) to give the reader a rough idea of what size Hobbits are, or an implication that Lilliputians exist in Middle-Earth, is unknown.
* SortingAlgorithmOfThreateningGeography: The adventure starts out in Hobbiton and proceeds through hobbit lands, then into the semi-wilderness Lone-lands where they meet the trolls. The party enters the Misty Mountains, passes through the darkness of Mirkwood and eventually reaches the Desolation of the Dragon -- the "bleak and barren" land around the Lonely Mountain.
* SpaceJews: Tolkien compared the Dwarves to the Jews (Dwarvish being of Semitic influence), though he was in RealLife a committed anti-racist.
** To the extent where he wrote a vicious letter to a publisher in NaziGermany tearing the man down several pegs and pointing out the flaws in Nazi doctrine as only a Professor of Linguistics and expert on Norse/Germanic mythology can. A politer, but still harsh letter was sent instead, counting as a RealLife CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Bard, Balin (though he can only understand raven), the Wood Elves, Beorn... there's a lot of this going around. Bilbo, though, can't understand a word and remained blissfully ignorant of exactly which ugly names the crows were calling them.
* SpidersAreScary: Tolkien can tell no lie.
* SpiderSwarm: Mirkwood is full of intelligent talking spiders. The group which Bilbo and company run into all live together in the trees and cooperatively hunt prey.
* StandingBetweenTheEnemies: Gandalf stands between the Three Armies (human, elf, and dwarf) to point out that their common enemies the goblins are approaching on warg-back.
* StarterVillain: The three trolls.
* StayOnThePath: Gandalf's advice to the dwarves about to cross Mirkwood. Of course, the time comes when they disregard his warning, leading to much trouble.
* StolenMacGuffinReveal: Bilbo gets to do this a few times, most dramatically with the Arkenstone.
* StoryBreakerPower: Gandalf leaves the group before they enter Mirkwood, and reappears just in time at the end to warn the good guys of the coming attack. In the original edition, his dealing with a random Necromancer was just the author's excuse to get him out of the way.
* StrongerWithAge: Smaug, who outright mentions the trope.
* SueDonym: "a bur-- a hobbit." "a burrahobbit?"
* SundialWaypoint: The moon-runes needed to find the secret door into the mountain can only be read under the same phase of the moon in which they were written. The keyhole to the door is likewise revealed by the last light of Durin's Day.
* SupportingLeader: Bard the Bowman and Dáin Ironfoot. Both are royalty and straight-up [[{{Badass}} Badasses]] who lead the defenders of Laketown and the army of the Iron Hills respectively; compare them with the central protagonist Bilbo, who is just a well-to-do hobbit and a GuileHero, caught up in an adventure he didn't expect.
* TakenForGranite: The trolls turn to stone if caught outside in sunlight. Too bad for them, they aren't bright enough to remember this.
* TalkingAnimal: The Eagles and other birds, and the Spiders. Smaug may also count, if you consider him an animal. Also while Beorn's animals aren't heard speaking, they're certainly sapient and understand human speech.
* TemptingFate: Smaug. "Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep. And where are his son's sons that dare approach me?' Bard, who kills him, is Girion's heir.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Bilbo starts out doing as well as you'd expect a homebody away from home would do. He gets better, with the description of his first spider kill almost coming across as gaining a CharacterLevel.
** The dwarves themselves are rather bumbling for most of the book. They all are quite badass in the Battle of Five Armies however.
* UndergroundCity: The dwarven city under the Lonely Mountain.
* UnfazedEveryman: Bilbo. While he has grown up aware that magical people and things ''exist'', like most hobbits he has little knowledge about and zero first-hand experience with it until that one fateful day.
* VerbalTicName: Gollum owes his name to [[VerbalTic the gulping noise]] he habitually makes in his throat.
* VillainSong: The goblins' song, which the goblins sing when they capture the company, who unwittingly camped on their "front porch", as it were.
-->''Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!\\
And down down to Goblin-town\\
You go, my lad!''
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: Beorn, the {{Badass}} werebear berserker and one-man/bear army.
* WackyWaysideTribe: Some of the characters, such as the trolls and Beorn, are largely irrelevant to the plot.
* WasActuallyFriendly: Wood Elves. They distrust the dwarves mutually ([[PoorCommunicationKills so the dwarves refuse to say why they're there, making the elves more suspicious]] since they assumed the starving dwarves approaching their banquet to beg for food were attacking). They turn out to be a lot nicer later on, [[spoiler:with Bilbo giving them some treasure in payment for the food he stole while orchestrating the dwarves' breakout]]. Arguably the men of the lake as well [[spoiler:since they join the elves in laying siege to the old keep]].
%%* YeGoodeOldeDays
* YesNoAnswerInterpretation: After the defeat of Smaug, the people of Laketown came to Thorin seeking compensation for their lost town which Thorin refused. After some hours, messengers returned reasonable demands. Guess how Thorin response.
-->'''Messenger:''' At the least he shall deliver one twelfth portion of the treasure unto Bard, as the dragon-slayer, and as the heir of Girion. From that portion Bard will himself contribute to the aid of Esgaroth; but if Thorin would have the friendship and honour of the lands about, as his sires had of old, then he will give also somewhat of his own for the comfort of the men of the Lake.\\
(''Thorin fires an arrow at the messenger's shield'')\\
'''Messenger:''' Since such is your answer, I declare the Mountain besieged. You shall not depart from it, until you call on your side for a truce and a parley. We will bear no weapons against you, but we leave you to your gold. You may eat that, if you will!
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: [[spoiler:Smaug dies three chapters before the actual climax of the story.]]
* YouWereTryingTooHard: The "time" riddle. Bilbo is wracking his brain for an answer, and shouts "Time, time!", by which he means, "I need more time to think!"