Out of all the characters in The Hobbit movies, it’s Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins who receives the most development of the bunch. At the journey’s beginning, the hairy-footed halfling has no desire for an adventurous life. Instead, like most introverts, he enjoys the comforts and delights of a quiet, domestic life. Life in the slow lane, as it were.
However, Bilbo has seen some serious stuff by the journey’s end. From evil goblins to rocky giants to giant spiders and beyond, Gandalf is right when he says Bilbo won’t be the same guy who left Hobbiton. Heck, Bilbo is so fond of his adventures that, by the time the events of Lord of the Rings come around, he’s dying to get back into the adventuring game.
That said, to celebrate the coming of Amazon Prime‘s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series, let’s look back on the best cinematic moments from Middle-Earth’s iconic hero:
10. Bilbo Remains Conscious During The Battle of the Five Armies
This is a rather less obvious example of Bilbo’s badassery, but it’s significant enough to make it on this list. You see, in the original novel, Bilbo gets knocked unconscious and misses most of the Battle of the Five Armies. However, the movie has the halfling hero hold his own pretty well throughout the scrap. Indeed, the very fact that Bilbo determinedly chooses to stay for the battle instead of leaving as Gandalf advises, shows how far he’s come since An Unexpected Journey.
9. Bilbo Figures Out the Lonely Mountain Riddle
Bilbo already proved himself an invaluable member of the Company while fighting Azog, the spiders of Mirkwood and rescuing the dwarves from Elven captivity. However, Bilbo really, really shows his worth once the group reach the Lonely Mountain and he figures out the answer to the riddle. This, in turn, gives the gang the location of the hidden door that allows them to get inside Erebor. Just at the point where everyone decides to give up, Bilbo comes through. The excitement he expresses at his discovery makes you realize how perfect Martin Freeman is in playing Bilbo Baggins.
8. Bilbo vs. The Goblin
This moment may seem insignificant compared to the others on this list, but it still remains a prominent example of Bilbo Baggins badassery. What many forget is that this is actually Bilbo’s first real swordfight and he surprisingly holds his own pretty well for a first-timer. It’s a vital part of his development, even if it does lead to him falling down a chasm, straight into his encounter with Gollum.
7. Bilbo Tackles Azog the Defiler
Thorin Oakenshield was due to meet his demise before Bilbo bravely tackles Azog to the ground. It’s a small but significant moment in a couple of ways. Doing so buys more time for Gandalf to summon the eagles to fly them to safety elsewhere. More importantly however, it’s Bilbo’s moment of truth that proves to Thorin that he is worthy of being in the Company. It’s also a stern reminder not to judge a person by their size…
6. Bilbo Fools the Trolls
Bilbo’s first big act of bravery has him outwit the trolls. Seeing that Gandalf is sneaking around to rescue them, Bilbo decides to buy his friends some time. He attempts to convince the trolls that the dwarves are not all that tasty to eat. The quick-witted halfling manages to muddle the mentally-handicapped monsters for long enough until the sun rises. At this point, Gandalf pushes some rocks out the way, exposing the trolls to the sun. Cue some petrified trolls.
5. Bilbo Rescues the Dwarves from the Elves
Bilbo is late to the party when Tauriel and Legolas arrive to save the dwarves from the spiders (and subsequently capture the dwarves themselves). This is fortunate because while the dwarves are locked away, Bilbo is able to slip on his ring and stealthily infiltrate the structure. The hobbit proceeds to grab the set of prison keys and release his dwarven friends before convincing them to hide in the wine barrels to escape the elves in one of Bilbo Baggins’ most witty movie moments.
4. Bilbo vs. Gollum
Gollum is a murderous wacko with multiple personality disorder. So, it’s fair to give props to Bilbo Baggins for one of the best moments of his burgling career. Down at the bottom of the goblin caves, Bilbo and Gollum have a ‘riddle battle’, whereupon the winner gets their desire. If Gollum wins, he eats Bilbo. But if Bilbo wins, Gollum must show him the way out of the mountain. Of course, Bilbo wins his freedom via his wits, but he also wins something else – the One Ring. This invaluable artifact helps Bilbo for the rest of the trilogy.
3. Takes On The Spiders of Mirkwood
Mirkwood is an intensely creepy part of the Hobbit trilogy. Not least because its home to a bunch of large man-sized spiders! While this is every arachnophobe’s nightmare, they don’t faze Bilbo for long. The young hobbit stabs his eight-legged captor upon waking in his cocoon and gradually offs the others while wearing the One Ring. He even reveals himself before killing one spider, just to rub it in his face. Martin Freeman somehow succeeds in making Bilbo Baggins look naïve, innocent, and badass at the same time.
2. Steals the Arkenstone and Tells Thorin
Late 19th century/early 20th century philosopher Lord Acton famously said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are filled with such examples, Thorin Oakenshield being one of them. Bilbo Baggins realizes that Thorin has grown desperate and greedy for the Arkenstone (which entitles him to rule Erebor) and so he steals it and gives it to Bard. That’s ballsy enough, sure. But Bilbo really shows courage when he outright admits his theft to Thorin. Given that this is Thorin freakin’ Oakenshield we’re talking about, that’s some move.
1. Taking On Smaug
An eye-to-eye confrontation with a large dragon-like Smaug takes serious balls. Indeed, by the time Bilbo reaches the dragon’s lair, he’s evidently developed big, brass ones. Sent inside to recover the dwarves’ precious ‘Arkenstone,’ the young hobbit is forced to match wits with his scaly assailant. He does so by flattering his ego (which, as we know, goes before the fall) while he feverishly attempts to get the Arkenstone.
But that’s just our take. What do you think are the most badass Bilbo Baggins moments in The Hobbit movies?