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The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Courage Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

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. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet. (1.104)

How exactly does Gandalf know that there "is a lot more in [Bilbo] than [the dwarves] guess"? Do we get a sense of what exactly Gandalf's supernatural powers are? Do they have any limit? Is Gandalf ever wrong?

Quote #2

Thorin looked and walked as if his kingdom was already regained and Smaug chopped up into little pieces.

Then, as he said, the dwarves' good feeling towards the little hobbit grew stronger every day. There were no more groans or grumbles. They drank to his health, and they patted him on the back, and they made a great fuss of him; which was just as well, for he was not feeling particularly cheerful. He had not forgotten the look of the Mountain, nor the thought of the dragon, and he had beside a shocking cold. For three days he sneezed and coughed, and he could not go out, and even after that his speeches at banquets were limited to "Thag you very buch." (10.39)

While Thorin and the dwarves hang out in Lake-town, they feel as though their goal of recapturing Thorin's treasure has already been achieved. So they "[drink] to [Bilbo's] health, and they [pat] him on the back, and they [make] a great fuss of him." But when the dwarves are sitting in the cold by the side door of the Lonely Mountain, they start grumbling and blaming Bilbo for lack of progress. The dwarves seem like the definition of fair-weather friends: they respect Bilbo when things are going well, and they criticize him when the going gets tough.

Quote #3

A sound, too, began to throb in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him.

It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. he fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. (12.12)

Bilbo's decision to go into the dragon's lair alone is the bravest thing that he has ever done, he feels. Do you agree? Are there other moments in the novel that stand out to you as equally (or even more) brave? What is it about this particular moment that requires all of Bilbo's courage?

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