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Word Count: 898
The protagonist and title character of The Hobbit Bilbo is by far the novels most important figure Bilbos thoughts feelings and actions form the focus of the novel and shape its plot Bilbos central role is underscored by his appealhe is not only the most important but also the most likable and honorable character Even as the other participants in his quest become corrupted by greed Bilbo maintains his common sense courage and eagerness to please As Gandalf says there is more to Bilbo than first meets the eye Bilbo is a Baggins the heir of a thoroughly respectable and conventional family but his mother was a Took an eccentric clan of hobbits noted for their love of excitement and adventure When Gandalf enlists Bilbos help in Thorins quest for the treasure under the mountain Bilbo begins a process of gradual development transforming from a cautious homebody at the beginning of the novel to a brave and confident hero at the end As the quest progresses Bilbo shows a vast reserve of inner cunning and strength and slowly becomes the dominant force holding the group of hapless dwarves together He saves them from the goblins by shouting for Gandalf he rescues them from spiders and wood elves in Mirkwood he finds the way into the mountain he leads them to the treasure he discovers Smaugs weak spot and he attempts to thwart Thorins greed and to bring peace to the feuding dwarves elves and humans Bilbos heroic deeds are all the more remarkable because they fail to change him He discovers capabilities that had been unknown to him but he does not become arrogant or relinquish his values In his final conversation with Bilbo Thorin acknowledges the value of the simple lives of hobbits even in a world marked by grim heroism and danger Though Bilbo learns to thrive in this outer world he draws strength from the simple source that guided his
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