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The Hobbit Book Summary

There and Back Again

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

There and Back Again

J.R.R. Tolkien


Bilbo Baggins, a peace-loving hobbit, is unexpectedly swept into an epic adventure when he joins a company of dwarves to reclaim their stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, he encounters trolls, goblins, elves, giant spiders, and the enigmatic Gollum, who possesses a mysterious ring.

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Author & Writing Background

J.R.R. Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University and a fellow of Pembroke College. Tolkien’s academic career and his interest in philology and folklore heavily influenced his writing. He created elaborate fictional languages and mythologies, which formed the foundation of his Middle-earth legendarium.

Key Takeaways

An Unexpected Journey

Bilbo’s comfortable life in the Shire is disrupted when the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves arrive at his doorstep, seeking a burglar for their quest to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug.

Riddles in the Dark

Lost in the goblin tunnels of the Misty Mountains, Bilbo stumbles upon a strange ring and encounters Gollum, a creature who engages him in a game of riddles with high stakes.

Flies and Spiders

The company is captured by giant spiders in Mirkwood forest, and Bilbo must use his newfound courage and cunning to save himself and his companions.

Barrels Out of Bond

The dwarves are imprisoned by the Wood-elves, but Bilbo, using the invisibility power of the ring, helps them escape in barrels down a river.

A Warm Welcome

Reaching Lake-town, the company finds support from the townspeople and prepares for their final confrontation with Smaug.

Inside Information

Bilbo scouts the dragon’s lair and discovers a chink in Smaug’s armor, which later proves crucial in the dragon’s defeat.

The Gathering of the Clouds

Smaug, enraged by the theft of a cup, attacks Lake-town but is ultimately slain by Bard the Bowman.

The Return Journey

Bilbo returns to the Shire a changed hobbit, carrying not only his share of the treasure but also a deeper understanding of the world and his own capabilities.

FAQ about The Hobbit

What is the significance of the ring Bilbo finds?

The ring Bilbo finds is the One Ring, an instrument of great power created by the Dark Lord Sauron. It plays a central role in The Lord of the Rings, where its destruction becomes the ultimate quest.

How does Bilbo change throughout the story?

Bilbo starts as a homebody who dislikes adventures. Through his experiences, he grows in courage, resourcefulness, and self-confidence.

What is the main theme of The Hobbit?

The Hobbit explores themes of courage, friendship, greed, and the transformative power of adventure.

The Hobbit Quotes

  • ”There is more in this world than good eating and sleeping,” said Bilbo, “and even more in it than singing. There is also the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile."
  • "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
  • "Go back? No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”