The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Why do you tell us [about the arrival of Dain and five hundred dwarves]? Are you betraying your friends, or are you threatening us?" asked Bard grimly.
"My dear Bard!" squeaked Bilbo. "Don't be so hasty! I never met such suspicious folk! I am merely trying to avoid trouble for all concerned." (16.32-3)
When Bilbo sneaks down to Bard's camp with the Arkenstone in hand, he's "merely trying to avoid trouble for all concerned." What do you think of Bilbo's plan? Would it have worked to avoid war in the long run if the goblins and Wargs had never turned up?
When Gandalf saw Bilbo, he was delighted. "Baggins!" he exclaimed. "Well I never! Alive after all – I am glad! I began to wonder if even your luck would see you through. A terrible business, and it nearly was disastrous." (18.14)
Up until Gandalf's surprise that Bilbo has survived the Battle of Five Armies, we don't think we've ever seen Gandalf be wrong before. Can you think of other examples? What are the limits on Gandalf's wisdom? How does Gandalf use his knowledge as a tool earlier in The Hobbit?
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell! (18.19)
As Thorin is dying, he gives Bilbo credit for "Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure." Of these two virtues – courage and wisdom – which do you think Bilbo values more? How about Thorin himself, or Gandalf? Why?