In J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins play central in the fate of Middle-earth, a fate surprising to some given their ancestry. Hobbits aren’t seen by many others in Tolkien’s world as remarkable beings; they're described in the first chapter of The Hobbit as “about half our height” with “little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort.” That seeming deficit makes the journey through The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series quite extraordinary, as readers and the rest of Middle Earth alike how even hobbits can make a difference. Bilbo and Frodo were, in the end, strong enough to bear the massive burden of the one ring. These family members share a bravery, kindness, and sense of adventure. They also happen to share a birthday.
While separated by many years, Bilbo and Frodo were both born on September 22. This has earned the day the title of Hobbit Day from fans, who celebrate each year by looking back at Tolkien’s work and these two classic characters. It’s a holiday where we can revisit the incredible actions of these hobbits and the difference they made. It's impossible to forget their adventures, what they did, and what they said along the way. That’s why we decided to look back at some of the best sayings from these birthday hobbits for Hobbit Day this year!
Here are eight of our favorite Baggins quotes from the books and Peter Jackson’s films.
“We must all keep together, and not risk getting separated. All of us must escape or none...” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
Bilbo and the dwarves have been through quite a bit by the time they must escape the Wood-elves in chapter nine, “Barrels out of Bond.” Bilbo has become a bit more confident in himself and has already been a huge help on the journey in many different ways. When the dwarves need to be rescued, it feels like a turning point for the hobbit. So much again depends on him and even though he doesn’t like that, he comes up with a plan and saves everyone. His growing confidence is never clearer than when he puts his plan in motion and frees Balin.
Balin wants to ask Bilbo many questions, but Bilbo interrupts by saying “no time now! You just follow me! We must all keep together and not risk getting separated. All of us must escape or none, and this is our last chance.” Not only does this show him taking charge, but we see how he is resolved not to leave any of his friends behind and so into the barrels they go!
“You don’t have one. A home. It was taken from you...” - Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
In the first Hobbit film, after escaping the goblins, Thorin demands to know why Bilbo returned to them at all instead of just leaving. Things have not been great between the hobbit and Thorin in particular since they came together as a group. Bilbo though offers this heartfelt explanation. He acknowledges their doubts about him and what he says shows a bit of a realization on his part. He wants to go home. Bilbo misses it and he knows it’s there waiting for him. The dwarves though don’t have that luxury and it’s that is why he re-commits to the team. They deserve a home to return to as much as Bilbo and that's why he'll stay.
“I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
When Bilbo talks to Smaug, the small hobbit is excellent at thinking on his feet and knows just what to say. His names for Smaug and himself are quite impressive in the chapter “Inside Information.” Bilbo refers to the dragon as “Smaug the Tremendous” and “Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities.” He also offers some good titles and descriptions for himself, which lead to a few of his best quotes like “I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number” and “I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.”
My favorite though is this one about being ringwinner and lick wearer. It not only pleases Bilbo to have come up with it, but it even gets a fun response from Smaug. He tells the hobbit they are better titles than the others he's told the dragon though Bilbo shouldn’t let his imagination run away with him! This scene is also in the movie, but it leaves out many of these classic quotes.
“Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils – that has been more than any Baggins deserves.” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
When the battle at the end of The Hobbit is done, Bilbo gets the chance to say goodbye to Thorin Oakenshield before the dwarf dies. It is a chance for the two to tell each other they are truly friends. It is a sad moment and Bilbo makes sure that Thorin knows he is glad to have been through so much with him. It's a powerful thing for Bilbo to say after being so reluctant to get into trouble at the start of it all. The quote also made it into the final Hobbit film Battle of the Five Armies though the circumstances of the conversation were changed.
“If ever you are passing my way, don’t wait to knock! ...” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
It is bittersweet for Bilbo to say goodbye to the dwarves after everything and head back to the Shire. Yes, he wants to return home, his experiences and self-discoveries will be etched in his memory forever. It all began when they showed up at his hobbit hole and while that was unwelcome at the time, now it's something Bilbo wouldn't mind so much! To have Bilbo offer this invitation is quite sweet and meaningful as parting words. Gladly the line made it into the last film as well, allowing for a great scene.
“The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began…” – Frodo and Bilbo Baggins
A version of this song first appears in The Hobbit, though I think the versions in The Lord of the Rings are my favorite because of how it changes over the series. We first see it towards the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. Bilbo starts singing this when leaving Bag End: "The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”
It's a moment that made it into the film version as well, though it's slightly different. Then the song appears again when Frodo says it when talking to Pippin, only the word eager becomes weary.
The last time we hear it is in Return of the King. Bilbo in Rivendell says “The Road goes ever on and on, out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, let others follow it if who can. Let them a journey new begin, but I at last with weary feet will turn towards the lighted inn, my evening-rest and sleep to meet.” The song is really a perfect description of this journey of the hobbits that Tolkien has taken us on.
“He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river...” – Frodo Baggins quoting Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
After Frodo sings the above song for the first time in The Fellowship of the Ring book, Pippin asks him about it and Frodo admits it just came to him, though he may have heard it a long time ago from his uncle.
He then adds that Bilbo onde told him "There was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. It’s a dangerous business Frodo, going out of your door... You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even further and to worse places?' He used to say that on the path outside the front door at Bag End, especially after he had been out for a long walk.’”
This is a lovely quote because it’s quite true. Every adventure begins with just stepping out the door and who knows exactly where and how far it might take you!
“I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” – Frodo Baggins, Return of the King
This is one of the most well-known of Frodo’s quotes and takes place at an emotional moment at the end of Return of the King as Frodo and Sam have achieved their goal, but it doesn’t seem to them that they’ll be getting out of the situation alive. Frodo tells Sam this though and just how close as friends they've become is clear. The quote of course made it into the movie version as well leading to an emotional moment no one can forget.
"He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him...” – Frodo Baggins, Return of the King
Even after everything they have been through and the horrors they've seen, Frodo is still a kind soul who wishes the best for all. When the hobbits return to the Shire, they free it from Saruman. After the wizard’s defeat, Frodo won’t let anyone kill him. Frodo says “Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.”
He wants to offer the once good wizard a chance. Though Saruman dies in the end, this shows the heart of the hobbit. It's commendable that after so much he at least still wanted to offer a chance to someone like Saruman despite the wizard's actions.