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A Hobbit chosen by the wizard Gandalf to accompany 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug.See The Lord of the Rings character sheet for tropes that apply to him in that work.
- Adorkable: In the usual Hobbit fashion.
- Alliterative Name: Bilbo Baggins.
- Audience Surrogate: He's totally unfamiliar with all the lore and geography outside of the Shire, requiring its explanation.
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: A bilbo is a type of cut-and-thrust sword, similar to a rapier, that's often used aboard ships. It's an early clue that there's a badass Took within the little Baggins.
- Badass Normal: The bravest little hobbit of them all.
- British Stuffiness: Bilbo is very much modeled on a country squire of Tolkien's era or slightly before: shackled by manners and a code of propriety from expressing himself (even when facing a home invasion by thirteen uninvited guests). Through the story, Bilbo slowly loses those inhibitions via his exposure to the forthright dwarves and learns to speak his mind but tempered with the tact and subtlety of his upbringing. In his conversation with Smaug he's able to amuse the dragon with his riddling speak and yet land a number of solid blows against Smaug's overpowering ego with the surgically precise application of blunt linguistic force.
- Character Development: At first he's more or less useless. Starting when he picks up the Ring, he becomes a lot more brave and competent. By the time he gets the dwarves out of the Elven-king's dungeon, he's the de facto leader.
- The Chosen Zero: Gandalf is the only one who has faith in him in the beginning; the dwarves and Bilbo himself think he's unfit for the journey.
- Classical Anti-Hero: Bilbo starts out as a rather bumbling homebody who's really not cut out for fighting, sneaking, or hiking in the wilderness, and tends to be more of a burden on the company than anything. He evolves into a more heroic figure over time.
- Cool Sword: Sting, an elven long knife that glows when orcs are near.
- Cute but Cacophonic: When captured by the goblins, he lets out a yell which is surprisingly loud for his size. This is lampshaded by the narrator.
- Fire-Forged Friends: His relationship to the rest of the Company.
- Gentleman Adventurer: By the end of the book he's quite embraced his adventurer persona. This also has the effect of ruining his good name in Hobbiton.
- Gentleman Thief: Lampshaded. When he's offended, the dwarves assume that he's the kind who prefers to be called "expert treasure-hunter" or the like.
- Guile Hero: Unlike his dwarven companions, Bilbo prefers to use his words and brain to get him out of tight situations. His tiny size and dislike of battle also makes this trope necessary to his survival throughout the quest.
- Hard Head: Knocked unconscious twice without serious consequence.
- Hobbits: Considering he was the first one ever created, Bilbo Baggins is the hobbit of all hobbits.
- Home Sweet Home: Conflicting with his desire for the quest
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Along with I Just Want to Be Badass. Bilbo is torn between the conflicting sides of his personality: his Baggins side just wants to have a normal, comfortable life, and his Tookish side wants to have adventures.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Along with Interspecies Friendship. He's considerably younger than the dwarves and especially Gandalf, but becomes fast friends with them,.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: The books establish early on that Bilbo is impossibly accurate when throwing stones, to the point that he could knock birds out of the air. (Note that there are plenty of claims that credit slings with this kind of accuracy in the hands of expert practitioners.)
- I Should Write a Book About This: He's not only the trope picture, he's also the original author of the book. Too bad he's also an Unreliable Narrator.
- The Load: Until he saves the dwarves from the spiders. After that point, he's pretty much carrying the team.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When Bilbo locates and pockets the Arkenstone, he knows what it is, what it means to Thorin, and that it was almost certainly meant to be excluded from the "pick your own share" clause of his contract. He nicks it anyway, admitting that "Now I truly am a burglar". It's only later that he tries to make good of his action by handing it over to Bard and Thranduil to use as a bargaining chip with Thorin (which in itself is a pretty dodgy action but done for the purest motives).
- Scheherezade Gambit: He keeps Gollum from eating him by proposing him a game of riddles.
- Actually, Gollum is the one who proposes the riddle game, while trying to think of a way to eat Bilbo without facing down his sword. But Bilbo definitely accepts in order to buy time.
- Took a Level in Badass: Bilbo goes from an ordinary hobbit, who, as a responsible adult, shows disdain for adventures, to facing down a dragon.
- Unfazed Everyman: It takes a long time and even at the end there are many things he finds awkward and frightening, but he does get there.
Thorin II Oakenshield
The leader of the Company of Dwarves who have set out to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. He is the uncle of Fíli and Kíli.
- Anti-Hero: While he's a leader on a fairly epic quest, he's also choleric and greedy.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Thorin's most definitely this for the dwarves, who all look up to him both because of his leadership and his prowess in combat.
- Badass Beard: Compulsory for all dwarves and particularly the king of the Longbeard clan.
- Badass Grandpa: He's the oldest of the dwarves.
- Best Served Cold: He spends decades plotting against Smaug the dragon for destroying his people's kingdom.
- Character Development: It takes long for it to kick in, but he manages it before the end.
- Celibate Anti-Hero: Never married or had kids.
- Cool Sword: Orcrist, an elven sword. Although it's confiscated by the Wood-elves and never returned while he is alive; he later uses a dwarven axe from the Lonely Mountain's armories.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Poor Thorin's had a pretty rough life. His kingdom was taken over by a dragon that either killed most of the Erebor dwarves in the initial attack or forced them to flee to distant lands; much of his life afterwards was spent working in menial, dead-end jobs that brought little respect from the humans around him. Very shortly after his grandfather was brutally murdered by Azog for daring to set foot inside the gate of Moria; the Longbeards' original strongold and Thorin had to fight in a war of vengeance against the orcs climaxing in the Battle of Azanulbizar which cost his people a huge percentage of their fighting strength (essentially every dwarven male of fighting age fought in the battle) including his brother. Not long after that his father embarked on an attempt to take back the Mountain on which after several years of getting nowhere he disappeared, presumed dead, and Thorin spent the next hundred years burdened with the fact he'd have to do likewise or be a failure of a king, 'an heir, but an heir without hope'. Very little seems to ever go right or come easy to the poor guy.
- Determinator: Despite his many flaws, Thorin's determined to reclaim his clan's rightful ancestral homeland and treasure.
- Deuteragonist: Thorin is the second character after Bilbo, because the quest is to restore Thorin as King under the Mountain.
- Disappeared Dad: His father, Thráin, disappeared attempting to reclaim the Mountain when Thorin was ninety-five, leaving Thorin to care for and guide the exiled dwarves of Erebor alone.
- Doomed Hometown: The Lonely Mountain.
- Enemy Mine: Thorin is forced to team up with the Elves and the people of Lake-Town after learning that the Goblins and Wargs are marching to their location. Ironically, this is what prevents Thorin from becoming a Fallen Hero.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Has this reaction after Bilbo betrays him by giving the Arkenstone to Bard and the Elves to use as a bargaining chip.
- The Exile: Of the Noble Fugitive variety.
- Greed: His quest has an undercurrent of this, since it's not just to take Revenge on the dragon and reclaim his ancestral realm but also to reclaim its hoard of treasure, despite not exactly living in poverty anymore - though he does have a valid claim to it, more than the invading dragon who drove his people out. Comes to the fore when the lingering "dragon-sickness" effect of the treasure affects his judgment, increasing his gold-lust.
- Grumpy Old Man: For most of the book - until he becomes King and he dresses up in armor, revealing his inner Badass Grandpa.
- Harp of Femininity: Averted. Plays a golden harp, extremely well. And he's still easily the most (if not only) badass dwarf present.
- Heel Realization: On his death bed, Thorin comes to regret his fall from grace, and honors the request to give money to the people of Lake-Town.
- Impoverished Patrician: Reduced to blacksmithing for a living and living in what he describes as his 'poor lodgings in exile'
- Improvised Armour: How he got his name.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although he grumps and complains about Bilbo being The Load, he will go rescue him when it's needed. And after Bilbo's Character Development, he comes to have quite a bit of respect for the hobbit.
- The Leader: Of the dwarves.
- Not So Above It All: Thorin comes to rely on Bilbo just as much as the rest of them.
- Odd Name Out: The only dwarf with a last name, and the only one whose name doesn't rhyme with or otherwise sound similar to that of at least one other dwarf in the company. Though it does rhyme with his great-great-uncle Borin (great-grandfather of Balin, Dwalin, Óin, and Glóin).
- Old Soldier: At One hundred and ninety-five one of the oldest out there, and a veteran of the Goblin Wars.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Along with Gimli in The Lord of the Rings, he is the Trope Codifier.
- Parental Substitute: To his nephews, Fíli and Kíli. And to Bilbo in a soft son, disapproving dad kind of way (whereas Balin is more of a cuddly uncle figure).
- The Patriarch: The dwarves are fiercely patriarchal, considering themselves all descended from the original seven 'Fathers' of the dwarves. Thorin, as king of the eldest clan (the Longbeards or Durin's Folk) is the symbolic father of the entire race. In The Hobbit, he displays all the qualities of a more literal patriarch among his company, including the tragically late expression of his respect for the black sheep, Bilbo.
- Pride: Thorin's fatal flaw.
- Revenge: A main motivator.
- Rags to Riches: Reclaims his kingdom and his wealth.
- Riches to Rags: The (once removed) heir to an immensely wealthy kingdom, but was driven out by Orcs.
- Rightful King Returns: The goal of his quest, apart from killing Smaug, is to restore himself to Erebor's throne.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Taking back Erebor is no easy task, but Thorin firmly believes that it is his responsibility as the king of the Longbeard dwarves to reclaim their ancestral home and riches. And (as revealed in later books) despite his sometimes arrogant behavior, Thorin is also willing to do the same work and menial jobs as his fellow dwarves in exile.
- Sacrificial Lion: His reign as King under the Mountain is only a few days in length.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Thorin specifically does not introduce himself to Bilbo by declaring to be "at your service", nor does he assist the other dwarves in doing the washing-up after they eat, and throughout the rest of the book his manners are rather brusque and business-like. This could also be a case of "screw politeness, I'm important" as well.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He's very long-winded and rather pompous.
- Surrounded by Idiots: His Company is composed mainly of dwarves... well... generally less than totally competent.
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: Thorin is notorious for speaking at length and never doing away with the formalities to the point that the narrator lampshades it on a number of occasions.
- Warrior Prince: He's unquestionably the most skilled warriors in the Company and charges into battle alongside his fellows without a second thought.
- Badass Beard: All Thorin's company sport them
- Badass Grandpa: Balin, the most visibly old of the company.
- Band of Relatives: About half of the dwarves * are fairly close kinsmen. All of them play instruments.
- Big Brother Mentor: Balin, to Bilbo.
- Big Eater: All of the dwarves, but especially Bombur.
- The Big Guy: Dori is the strongest of the dwarves. He often ends up carrying Bilbo.
- Bus Crash: Balin, Óin, and Ori die years after the events of the book, during an effort to reclaim another lost dwarf-realm: Moria.
- Butt Monkey: Bombur suffers almost constant misfortune.
- The Cameo: Glóin's appearance in The Lord of the Rings.
- Catch Phrase: "[X], at your service."
- Chew Toy: Pretty much Bombur's role in the books. He's one of the more prominent dwarves, but whenever the narrative mentions him, it's usually because he's suffering some misfortune, being made to go last, falling asleep on guard duty... Poor guy just never catches a break.
- Cool Old Guy: Balin, while not especially old for a dwarf, looks the part and is one of the closest to Bilbo.
- Color-Coded Characters: Tolkien lists the colors of the Dwarves hooded cloaks, as if that would help you keep them straight. If you pair up colors and names in the orders they are both listed, you should get:
- Dwalin - Dark green
- Balin - Scarlet red
- Fíli and Kíli - Blue
- Dori and Nori - Purple
- Ori - Grey
- Óin - Brown
- Glóin - White
- Bifur and Bofur - Yellow
- Bombur - Pale green
- Thorin - Sky-blue with a long silver tassle
- Conservation of Competence: Generally limited to Thorin, and later Bilbo. See: the only ones not immediately jumped by trolls, the only one who keeps his bow out in a forest, the only one with a plan to escape Mirkwood... the others may or may not get a moment before the major battle. Balin too is depicted as having good judgement.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: They're mostly Played for Laughs until they reclaim the Lonely Mountain and they show they're of a warrior race.
- Disappeared Dad: Balin and Dwalin's father Fundin fell at Azanulbizar and so became one of the Burned Dwarves- the casualties of the battle were too numerous to be buried according to dwarven custom.
- Doomed Home Town: The Lonely Mountain.
- The Eeyore: Dori and Bombur both complain a great deal. It's justifiable since Dori's often put-upon carrying Bilbo, and Bombur does make some valid points himself.
- Fat Comic Relief: Bombur.
- Grumpy Old Man: Most of the dwarves.
- Human Pack Mule: Dori.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Most of the dwarves could be considered to be this, especially Dori....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.
- Man in White: Glóin wears a white hood. By the time of The Lord of the Rings he also has a white beard.
- Meaningful Name: Bombur's name means "fat" in Old Norse.
- Old Soldier: Like Thorin, both Balin and Glóin are veterans of Azanulbizar. Dwalin and Óin were also probably there since they're both older than Glóin, but they're not confirmed as being there by Tolkien (incidentally, Glóin was a mere sixteen at the time, half the age of a dwarf considered 'Battle ready'- Azanulbizar must have been a desperate battle indeed).
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Most of the dwarves do nothing to distinguish themselves.
- The Pollyanna: Fíli and Kíli.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: They get into accidents quite frequently.
- The Reliable One:
- Balin. He's the first dwarf to take Bilbo seriously and later is the only one to stand up for him when he falls out with the other dwarves.
- Dori is often the last person to escape a tough situation, and also often the one to risk himself to help out Bilbo.
- Sibling Team: Fíli and Kíli; Balin and Dwalin; Óin and Glóin; Nori, Dori and Ori; and Bofur and Bombur (plus their cousin Bifur). note .
- Teeth Clenched Team Work: Though it's justified, concerning how miserable the conditions often are for them.
- Theme Naming: As noted under Sibling Team, all of the fraternal pairs have rhyming (or at least similar) names.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Dwalin has a rather inexplicable blue beard.
Gandalf the Grey
The Lord of the Eagles
"I hear wolves' voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?"The leader of the Eagles of Manwë at this time.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Apparently he's named King of All Birds and given a sizable portion of the dwarves' treasure (presumably for his pivotal role in the Battle of Five Armies).
- Back for the Finale: He brings an entire host of eagles to the Battle of Five Armies.
- The Cavalry: Along with the other Eagles.
- Giant Flyer: A giant eagle.
- No Name Given: This Lord of the Eagles is not Gwaihir (who features prominently in the sequel), but an earlier holder of the "crown".
- Talking Animal: Unlike most animals in The Hobbit, he can speak Westron (the language used by Bilbo and company).
"A very good tale! The best I have heard for a long while. If all beggars could tell such a good one, they might find me kinder."
- Anti-Hero: He's a very dangerous individual and Gandalf warns that meeting him at night, while he's in bear form, would be a bad idea. He's also not fond of dwarves—but he also hates goblins more, and will help if talked around in the right way.
- Badass: He's very strong, especially in his bear form.
- Badass Beard: Because bears are big and hairy.
- Back for the Finale: Shows up late in the Battle of Five Armies to kill Bolg, the Goblin King: only then is the tide turned (even with the Eagles already there).
- Bears Are Bad News: Transforms into a big black bear. However, he only harms the villains.
- The Berserker: In bear form.
- Big Damn Heroes: Doesn't get much bigger than a giant bear tossing goblins left and right.
- Big Eater: He eats enough honey to need very large beehives.
- The Big Guy: He is of immense size and strength for a man. If necessary he can use an even bigger, stronger form.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Because bears are big and hairy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's a big laugher and pokes fun at his guests.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: He might not like strangers and is a terror for goblins and wargs, but he loves his animal friends dearly and treats them like his children.
- The Cavalry: In the Battle of Five Armies.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Sinister and perilous - not somebody you want to make into an enemy. But not a villain.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: This is how he makes his entrance in the Final Battle.
- Good Is Not Soft: Hunts and skins a wolf and a goblin then leaves them on display as a warning.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Forces information out of a Goblin and a Warg, then kills them.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is disdainful of the dwarves at first, but then helps them on their journey by supplying them with provisions and shows up to fight the goblins at the end.
- Meaningful Name: "Beorn" is an Anglicisation of bjørn, Danish/Norwegian for "bear".
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Tolkein drew on Slavic myth, not necessarily the more recent forms of shape-shifter myth. Beorn's ability is under his conscious control, and he retains at least enough human mentality to rescue Thorin after he falls in battle. The power seems to run in his bloodline, since some of the Beornings after his time share the ability.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Gandalf gets the Company into his house in a two-part gambit. Beorn would have turned them away if they'd all shown up at once, but when they come two at a time while Gandalf tells the story of their adventures, it's easier for him to say "hello, sit down, shut up" than to interrupt the story by chasing them off.
- Shape Shifter: Known as a "skin-changer" in-universe, Beorn can assume the form of a giant black bear.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Keeps animals as his friends, rather than eating them.
"Take him away and keep him safe, until he feels inclined to tell the truth, even if he waits a hundred years."The ruler of the elves of Mirkwood. Later named Thranduil in The Lord of the Rings; he sends his son Legolas to join the Fellowship of the Ring.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Arguably his biggest weakness.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He shows up personally on Erebor's doorstep.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Always referred to as "the Elvenking". He only gets a name in The Lord of the Rings.
- The Fair Folk: The king of Mirkwood's fair folk. More fey and mischievous here; the dwarves find them partying in the woods in a way similar to fairy rings and the king himself wearing a crown of flowers.
- Fantastic Racism: Towards dwarves, rooted deeply within the common history of their peoples and further fuelled by the actions the dwarves take during their time under his 'care'.
- Good Is Not Nice: His pride and caution make him a Hero Antagonist, although later in the book he turns out to be an elf of compassion and principle.
- Greed: Sets out to claim the treasure of Smaug, with no intention to share it with others - like, Thorin and the dwarves or the men of Laketown.
- Hero Antagonist: He's unequivocally on the side of good, what with fighting in the Last Alliance against Sauron and siding with Thorin and Bard against the goblins, but he's also arrogant, greedy, and bigoted toward dwarves, and stands firmly in the way of their quest. He learns his lesson by the end, though.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Pet the Dog: Offers to let Bilbo stay with the Elves and Men after he's handed over the Arkenstone, correctly guessing that Bilbo won't be too popular with Thorin once this gets out.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Ultimately.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Initially set out to capture the treasures of Erebor for himself, but turned around to help the people of Laketown when he learned about the disaster that struck them.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Became this after witnessing his father and most of his folk die during the Battle of the Last Alliance.
Bard the Bowman
"The dragon is coming or I am a fool!"The captain of Lake-town's archers, he is actually of the lost noble house of Dale.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He is acclaimed king by many in Lake-town because he kills Smaug and he leads the contingent of Men in the Battle of Five Armies because of this also. But since Smaug had just destroyed Lake-town he still submitted to Lake-town's Master until it was finally rebuilt.
- Badass Normal: Even the dwarves are said to use spells (albeit to ward treasure rather than any battle magic). Bard is an ordinary foot soldier with no special powers.
- Chekhov's Gunman: First appears unnamed, musing about the dwarves' arrival. He is later named and described in more detail.
- The Cynic: Known throughout Lake-town for his pessimism.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Kills Smaug, the last of the great dragons.
- Doomed Home Town: Lake-town itself.
- The Exile: A Noble Fugitive whose home city is destroyed.
- Good Is Not Soft: Everyone knows him as a cranky bastard; after Smaug, he joins the people camping outside Erebor hoping for some Dwarf treasure. But he's also a fair and just man.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Towards the Master of Lake-Town. When the latter flees during Smaug's assault on the town, Bard fights to the last and ultimately kills Smaug. It reaches the point where the town wants to dispose of the Master and make Bard their new leader.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Kills Smaug with one shot, through a tiny hole in in the armour of gems that had embedded into the dragon's soft underbelly over decades.
- Laser-Guided Karma: When Smaug devastated Dale, devoured its king Girion and plundered its treasures, the king's wife fled with her child to the neighboring town of Esgaroth. Decades later, the son of that child would face off against his grandfather's murderer.
- Not So Different: To Thorin. A king in exile who wouldn't mind some gold.
- Perpetual Frowner: Is described as a grim-faced man, with a grim voice.
- Rightful King Returns: He reestablishes the kingdom of Dale after the events of The Hobbit, though not before Lake-town is rebuilt and restored to stability.
- Royal Blood: Of the line of Girion.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: The royal line of Girion have one incredibly lame supernatural ability: they understand the speech of birds.
Roäc the Raven
"We would see peace once more among Dwarves and Men and Elves after the long desolation."
- Bald of Awesome: Because he's 152.
- Cool Old Guy: A bird version.
- Clever Crows: Ravens are historically pals with dwarves. Roac's grandfather was pals with Thorin's granddad, and Roac's family keep themselves busy acting as messengers between Thorin and Dain.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Ravens are, of course, black-feathered carrion birds and thus usually symbols of death. Roac is considered a respectable and eminent figure.
- The Mentor: He actually refrains from advising the dwarves since their decisions are their own, but the dwarves greatly respect him.
- Talking Animal: He's a talking bird.
Dáin II Ironfoot
- Badass Grandpa: During the last days of The War of The Ring, he literally leads the armies of the North, donning his full armor and arms despite being 250 years old (about as old as Naugrim ordinarily get).
- Last Stand: Died on the same day the siege of Minas Tirith entered its final phase, defending the corpse of King Brand of Dale - grandson of the man who freed the Lonely Mountain.
- Hero of Another Story: There has to be an interesting backstory behind the ruler of the Iron Hills, right? His backstory includes numerous battles there against Easterlings, he fought at Azanbulzibar alongside Thorin Oakenshield, and he eventually died in battle during the War of the Ring.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dain - far more than Thorin and his companions - is like the prototype for every dwarven warrior since.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He admits that all Smaug's victims deserve to be compensated. He and Thorin are clearly very different.Dain (to Bilbo): Yet even though you were willing to lay aside all your claim, I should wish that the words of Thorin, of which he repented, should not prove true: that we should give you little. I would reward you most richly of all.
- Rightful King Returns: As Thorin's closest surviving relative, he inherits the kingship of the Lonely Mountain after Thorin (and Fíli, and Kíli) perished.
- Royal Blood: Grandson of Grór, brother of Thrór II.
- You Killed My Father: Decapitated Azog as a boy after the orc slew his father Náin. He may have been as young as Gloin or even younger, but is only said to have been "a stripling" by the dwarves reckoning.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Thanks to Sauron, who else.
- Disappeared Dad: To Thorin.
- Doomed Home Town: The Lonely Mountain.
- Eye Scream: Lost one eye in the Battle of Azanulbizar.
- Memento MacGuffin: Inherited the last of the seven Dwarven Rings from his father, Thror, before the latter set out to recapture Moria. Sauron took it from him, with torment, in Dol Guldur.
- Posthumous Character: He's dead before the story starts.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Thrain won the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs. The dwarven losses were staggering.If this is victory, then our hands are too small to hold it.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: In Dol Guldur.
- Doomed Home Town: The Lonely Mountain.
- Fearless Fool: Walks alone into the orc-infested Moria against advice, gets killed.
- Memento MacGuffin: Inherited the last of the seven Dwarven rings from his father and, before setting out to recapture Moria, gave it to his son Thraín.
- Theme Naming: He had two brothers named Grór and Frór.
Smaug the Magnificent
"Lake-men, some nasty scheme of those miserable tub-trading Lake-men or I'm a lizard. I haven't been down that way for an age and an age; but I will soon alter that!"A dragon in the Third Age, Smaug is the last great dragon left in Middle-Earth, and the main antagonist in the Hobbit. Prior to the events in the story, he lay waste to Dale and captured Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, from the Dwarves. For two hundred years he hoarded Erebor's treasures.
- Achilles' Heel: The single weak point in his armour.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Fortunately, Bilbo noticed it, reported it to the dwarves, and was overheard by a bird who took the vital information to the one bowman in Esgaroth who could talk to birds.
- Badass: He's an ancient, powerful dragon, it comes with the territory (see Our Dragons Are Different). He also single-handedly destroyed a kingdom, killing nearly all of its people, and captured a city.
- Badass Boast: Bilbo tries to make a comment that he and the company came for revenge on Smaug for everyone he's killed, he responds with a VERY lengthy one that practically descends into a speech on how awesome he is.Revenge! Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me? 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, Thief in the Shadows! My armor is like tenfold shields. My teeth are like swords. My claws, spears. The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt. My wings, a hurricane. And my breath, death!
- Berserk Button: Conversations amuse him, but, NEVER insult or mock him, he doesn't take that well. Also, he doesn't like being stolen from.
- Big Bad: He's undeniably big and definitely bad, but he does not fill the trope. While he is the motivation behind the hero's journey, he is not responsible for any of the problems encountered on the way, nor is he aware of the dwarves' intentions until Bilbo rather foolishly states it to his face. He has (and needs) no minions, and his strategy when he realizes he's dealing with thieves is a straightforward, but hardly brilliant "kill them, then kill anybody who helped them."
- Breath Weapon: He can breathe fire, per being a dragon.
- Compelling Voice: Comes with the Badass Baritone territory.
- Composite Character: Tolkien designed him as based on the two iconic dragons of the Norse lore (which he considered "the only true dragons"), Fafnir and the dragon that Beowulf killed. The former is the basis of his witty, sassy personality, while the later is the reason he flies, breathes fire, and is nigh invulnerable.
- Disproportionate Retribution: His reaction to Bilbo's theft of a single cup. Also a Take That from Tolkien against people who are both rich and greedy.His rage passed description - the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but never before used or wanted. His fire belched forth, the hall smoked, he shook the mountain...To hunt the whole mountain till he had caught the thief and had torn and trampled him was his one thought.He would not forget or forgive the theft, not if a thousand years turned him to smouldering stone, but he could afford to wait.
- The Dreaded: No one even went near him for decades after he claimed Erebor. The Dwarfs, even Thorin, are too afraid to enter the Mountain when they know he's there. It's stated that many of the people defending Lake-Town would've just fled from Smaug without a fight when he attacked, if not for Bard's orders and constant encouragement.
- Evil Is Hammy: When drawn into conversation, he's boastful, gloating and melodramatic. There are plenty of ways he could have called Bilbo's bluff about the dwarfs coming after him for revenge, but he choice to the route of lengthy Badass Boast about how nobody dared to challenge him in decades despite all the enemies he's made and brags about all the ways he can kill.
- Evil Is Petty: A mild taunt or taking ANYTHING from him, no matter how insignificant, is enough to provoke him to violence.
- Evil Laugh: In the book, his laughter is enough to floor Bilbo and shake the mountain.
- Famous Last Words: The last sentence of dialogue he has in the book (not counting his thoughts when he's attacking Lake-Town). Even these are a badass boast.Smaug: They shall see me and remember who is the real King under the Mountain!
- Faux Affably Evil: Despite being a megalomaniac, a murderer and a thief, he enjoys a good conversation, even with his enemies, and compliments Bilbo on his courtesy.Smaug: You have nice manners for a thief and a liar.
- Fiction 500: Forbes has done extensive research on the question of just how rich he really is. The final official tally has him richer than Bill Gates, but not quite as rich as Carlos Slim Helu. Smaug is said to be the wealthiest character in fiction. Ironic that the wealthiest character in fiction can't use (and technically doesn't need) any of his wealth. Then again, one of the major messages in the book is that Greed is a flaw; a negative, destructive trait (when Gordon Gekko said "Greed is good" he was wrong).
- Genius Bruiser: He easily deduces the situation from Bilbo's riddling, has memorised every single piece of treasure in his hoard, and the book goes into detail about how crafty he is.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: From the description, it comes close to Eye Beams. Literally Eye Beams in the animated 1970s movie.
- Greed: Smaug, like all dragons is obsessed with treasure, and will hoard as much as he can during his lifetime (which is forever unless killed). Yet he never enjoys a single brass ring of it.
- Hannibal Lecture: In a sense his entire conversation with Bilbo is this, but in particular when he spreads doubt in Bilbo's mind about the dwarves and how (or whether) they actually intend to pay him his fourteenth share- there being nothing in the agreement about providing transport or guards for his journey home, and it would take longer than he has to live to even steal it all.
- Knight of Cerebus: His appearance causes a big case of Reality Ensues. The company is helpless against him, and even after his death, they still have to face the consequences of his rampage.
- Last of His Kind: Smaug is stated to be the last of the Great Dragons of Middle Earth, as opposed to “lesser dragons” such as those of the Withered Heath, which were implied to be much lesser in power than Smaug’s kind. Although dragonkind as a whole persisted, the race of the Great Dragons died with Smaug.
- Light Is Not Good: Due to the fire inside him, he radiates light.
- MacGuffin Guardian
- Meaningful Name: His means "to squeeze through a hole" in Old Germanic.
- The homonym with "smog" was probably deliberate as well.
- 'Smug' is also a very appropriate homonym.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Smaug is so vainglorious that under the right conditions, anyone could encounter him and walk away. Those conditions are: 1. Don't touch anything. 2. Don't carry any visible valuables. 3. Don't touch anything! 4. Grovel. 5. Don't touch anything at all. 6. Remind him of all the horrible things he's done. 7. In the name of all that's holy, don't touch anything. 8. Be sure to mention how rich he is, and how all your friends will be jealous of you just for having seen all that money. 9. Well, you know.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They talk for one. The animated version has a head more resembling a ravening wolf than a giant lizard. The animated and live-action movies go for a saurian appearance as well, while Tolkien actually made a painting of Smaug himself and depicted him as more narrow and serpentine (Smaug is called a "worm"; the Old English form wyrm connoted both "snake" and "dragon".)
- Pooled Funds: Smaug just loves to wallow in gold. He has a lot of it, considering he can burrow in and be completely covered, despite his vast size. Invoked Trope of Money Fetish; it's his, even though he doesn't spend it.
- Pride: And appealing to it is the only thing that saves Bilbo.
- Red Baron: Aside from "the Golden" above, Bilbo reels off a whole list of titles for Smaug at one point. The most common is "the Magnificent".
- Seven Deadly Sins: He represents Greed; and it was Greed that summoned him.
- Smug Snake: Despite his cunning and crafty mind, Smaug is absolutely sure of his invincibility, showing off his gem-encrusted armor to Bilbo and never once considers the possibility of the hobbit actually finding a weak spot to exploit.Bilbo: Old fool! Why there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell!
- Smug Super: He's very arrogant.
- Stronger with Age: Provides the page quote.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, Thief in the Shadows!
The Trolls: Bert, Tom, and William
Bert: Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey, if it don't look like mutton again tomorrer.
William: Poor little blighter! Let him go!
- Aerith and Bob: They're the only characters in the novel with modern English names.
- First Installment Weirdness: All other Tolkien trolls, while just as big and stupid, are decidedly uncomedic and not terribly interested in talking.
- Taken for Granite: When exposed to sunlight.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: They only appear as a brief obstacle.
The Great Goblin
"Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!"
- Berserk Button: When he sees the dwarves' elven swords. He launches himself at Thorin.
- Large and in Charge: He's much larger than the other goblins.
- Evil Overlord: Chief of the goblins of the Misty Mountains. A lesser one compared to Sauron, but still.
- Orcus on His Throne: His goblins are mainly threats to travellers.
- Revenge: The Battle of Five Armies is caused in part by the Misty Mountain goblins wanting to avenge him, along with all the spoils for the taking. They stir up other clans of goblins and they all converge on the Lonely Mountain.
- Evil Overlord: Leads the goblins of Mt. Gundabad.
- Large and in Charge: He's larger than most other Orcs.
- Praetorian Guard: Has a bodyguard of similarly large goblins.
- We Hardly Knew You: Is introduced and killed one the same page.
- You Killed My Father: He has a grudge against the dwarves due to the death of his father, Azog, at Dáin's hands.
"If beggars will not wait at the door, but sneak in to try thieving, that is what we do to them. If any of your people poke their foul beards in here again, they will fare the same. Go and tell them so! But if his family wish to know who is now king here, the name is written on his face. I wrote it! I killed him! I am the master!"
- Cryptic Background Reference: He's only briefly mentioned in the text of The Hobbit. His role is expanded in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings.
- Off with His Head!: He was decapitated by Dáin.
- Evil Overlord: Chief of the goblins of Moria.
- Karmic Death: He started a war with the dwarves after beheading Thrór, where he was himself beheaded. Also, he taunted Thrór's companion by throwing a bag of coins at him. Years later, the dwarves put Azog's own head on a pike and stuffed that same bag into his mouth.
- Large and in Charge: He's bigger than his kin and is in charge.
- Lightning Bruiser: Said to be large and yet quite agile. May have murdered a defenseless Thrór but also slew the lord Náin in single combat.
- Orcus on His Throne: He moved into Moria after the dwarves abandoned it years before.
- Tin Tyrant: He is described as being clad in full-body armor, even having an iron-clad head.
- Horse of a Different Color: The Goblins often use them as mounts, in the same manner that Men or Elves would use horses.
- Sapient Steed: The Goblins ride them when they work together, but they also have their own society and speak their own language.
- Talking Animal: They have their own distinct language, although only Gandalf and the Goblins are known to understand them.
The Spiders of Mirkwood
"You were quite right, the meat's alive and kicking!"
- Casting a Shadow: The webs they produce are extremely dark, thanks to being descended from Ungoliant.
- Giant Spider: They're big ass spiders.
- Lovecraft Lite: A fraction of their ancestry is demonic in nature, due to being the children of Shelob, and thus the grandchildren of Ungoliant. However, the demonic traits they inherited from their mother and grandmother are not as prominent (apart from the abilities to speak and produce webs of darkness), making them less like demigods and more like semi-sentient beasts.
The Master of Lake-town
People of Lake-town: He may have a good head for business, especially his own business, but he is no good when anything serious happens!The ruler of Lake-town, elected by the people. Akin to a merchant prince, though he's not royalty.
- Adipose Rex: Notably not the "Rex" part officially, but as ruler of Lake-town, he's still the head honcho.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: Even when he is helping the heroes he is ultimately after his own selfish interests.
- Dirty Coward: He tries fleeing the city in his guided boat when Smaug attacks Lake-town, despite the cries of his own people in danger.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": No name given. But he is called "Moneybags" by the people.
- Greed: His Fatal Flaw.
- Harmless Villain: He hardly even qualifies as a villain.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His attempt to run away with the gold of his people leads to his Karmic Death. But he was succeeded by a better Master.
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: See Sleazy Politician below.
- Sleazy Politician: When the people of Lake-town berate him for fleeing the scene too soon when Smaug attacks, he successfully shifts the blame on the dwarves for rousing the dragon in the first place (and he's not half wrong either).
Also see Sauron's character sheet in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
- Cryptic Background Reference: All that the reader learns of him during the book, and yet he is the link that connects The Hobbit to the earlier The Silmarillion and the yet-to-come The Lord of the Rings.
- Darker and Edgier: Mentions of him hint of even greater dangers and older evils than what is seen on-page.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sauron had somehow kept his true identity quiet for a long time - it was during one of Gandalf's mid-book absences that he discovers the truth.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Lives in one, later named Dol Guldur in The Lord of the Rings.
- The Ghost
- Greater Scope Villain: He definitely exists and will later be revealed as the canonical ultimate evil, but has no direct role in the story's plot, except as a device to give Gandalf a reason to leave the group for chapters at a time to go get information on him.
- Necromancer: Obviously. Not of the zombie-master type, necessarily: Tolkein was referring to older myths of necromancy - the transfer of souls, the creation of a Soul Jar and such...