The Hobbit, a tale of heroism and transformation

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a classic example of a hero’s journey. It is a tale of transformation and heroism, where the main character, Bilbo Baggins, ventures out of his comfortable home to embark on a dangerous quest. Through his travels and challenges, Bilbo transforms into a hero, ultimately returning home a changed and wiser hobbit.

At the start of the story, Bilbo is portrayed as a conservative and cautious hobbit who loves the simple pleasures of life. He is introduced as having safe and serene background: “This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighbourhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable . . . because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected.”

However, when the wizard Gandalf seeks his help in a quest to help a group of dwarves reclaim their stolen treasure ‘Arkenstone’ from the dragon Smaug, Bilbo’s transformation starts. Gandalf shows full confidence in Bilbo’s potentials by commenting, “Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.” Initially reluctant to leave the safety of his home, Bilbo is eventually swayed by his innate curiosity and desire for adventure.


Bilbo’s journey is filled with challenges and obstacles that test his courage and resourcefulness. He is confronted with hostile creatures, dangerous environments, and treacherous enemies. Bilbo’s transformation from a timid hobbit to a brave adventurer begins with his overcoming of these obstacles. Bilbo’s turning point of heroism comes when he realizes he has just killed giant spider: “He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath. ‘I will give you a name,’ he said to it, ‘and I shall call you Sting.”

We are told about his heroism at the most critical juncture when he hands over Arkenstone to Bard: “Then Bilbo, not without a shudder, not without a glance of longing, handed the marvelous stone to Bard, and he held it in his hand, as though dazed.”

Bilbo’s transformation is the result of both his determination and his exposure to new experiences and people. His success in the quest is made possible by his growth as a character. The transformation is evident in the way he adapts to the challenges he faces, shedding his fears and doubts and gaining the courage to confront even the most daunting foes.

Along his journey, Bilbo acquires a magical ring that confers invisibility, making him more resourceful and able to evade his enemies. The ring also symbolizes his newfound confidence and ability to navigate the unknown. Bilbo’s transformation becomes more apparent as he faces the dragon Smaug and ultimately emerges victorious.

Bilbo’s transformation into a hero is also demonstrated in his willingness to put himself in danger to save others. He risks his life to rescue his companions from giant spiders and evil goblins. He also uses his wit and cunning to outsmart his enemies, demonstrating that intelligence and cleverness can be just as powerful as brute strength.

Bilbo’s heroism is especially evident in his confrontation with Smaug. He employs all of his resources to outwit the dragon, ultimately finding a way to destroy him. This feat requires bravery, intelligence, and quick thinking, all of which are qualities Bilbo acquires as he grows as a character.

The Hobbit is a story of heroism and transformation. Bilbo’s journey from a cautious and timid hobbit to a brave and heroic adventurer is a classic example of the hero’s journey. Through his trials and challenges, Bilbo learns valuable lessons about courage, determination, and the importance of facing one’s fears. His encounters with new cultures and experiences reveal the diversity and richness of Middle Earth, expanding his understanding of the world and making him a wiser hobbit. Overall, The Hobbit is a timeless tale that teaches us about the transformative power of adventure and the potential within each of us to become a hero.