The Hobbit


Significant Quotations

1. “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. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet.” (Gandalf, Chapter 1)

Gandalf’s speech about Bilbo, given to the dwarves before they begin their adventure, foreshadows the hero’s journey that Bilbo is about to embark upon. Gandalf knows that although Bilbo may appear an unlikely hero at the outset, his role in the adventure will be crucial for all involved. Not only will the quest lead Bilbo to discover his own inner reserves of courage and heroism, but the dwarves will in fact come to need him more than they can imagine. Bilbo is not only deeply courageous and clever—he also possesses an ethical moral center which will never allow him to abandon his friends, and which will be instrumental in creating peaceful alliances in spite of the dwarves’ greed. It may appear that Gandalf has the power to see into the future, but it must be noted that he says, “You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet,” indicating that he does not know for certain the outcome of events. Rather, Gandalf is so profoundly intuitive that he can see qualities in Bilbo which even Bilbo, as yet, cannot.

2. “He must fight. He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sword. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him, or tried to yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost. A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart; a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped.” (Chapter 5)

By slipping on the ring of invisibility, Bilbo has just...

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