The famous director Alfred Hitchcock coined a term that is still widely used today: the MacGuffin. A MacGuffin is the thing that the hero or heroine of a film is looking for. It could be anything: a murder weapon, some stolen jewels, the letters of transit, whatever. The important point about the MacGuffin is that it's what keeps the plot going. And that is what treasure is in The Hobbit – it keeps the dwarves on their quest and generates tension between Thorin and Bilbo (and Bard and the Elvenking, and pretty much everyone else in the world). Wealth is what makes the plot of The Hobbit move. But the odd thing about the dwarves' treasure is that everyone desperately wants a piece of this MacGuffin except Bilbo. He is genuinely not greedy. So we have to ask ourselves, what is Bilbo in this adventure for?