"Then something Tookish woke up inside him and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine trees and waterfalls, and explore the caves and wear a sword instead a walking stick."
No contest here, folks. Favorite male character, hands down...
Really, peoples? What's not to like? Okey dokey, I'll make this post a little bit longer. *clears throat*
While Ian Holm made Bilbo real to the world, Martin Freeman took that image and multiplied it by a thousand. I will say that before first watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I was very nervous about Martin Freeman taking over the role. Ian Holm had always been Bilbo to me, so I felt as if someone was stealing the character that I admired and running away with it. Watching the trailers a few (or million) times put my mind to rest a little bit, for Martin Freeman seemed like he could pull off a decent Bilbo. But I was still not convinced.
I watched AUJ.
But what is it about Bilbo that makes him my favorite male character? As a hobbit, all he wanted to do was live a normal life and fit in with everyone else. However, there was a little bit of adventure and wanderlust in him from his mother's side, the Tooks. Yes, that is the same last name of a certain, scarf-wearing, foolish, beacon-lighting hobbit in LOTR. If you hadn't guessed, they're related. But, I digress.
The Tooks had a rather wild reputation, and Bilbo being of the same blood, people do expect something Tookish to pop out of him. And it does. When Gandalf and the dwarves appear on his doorstep, Bilbo stubbornly claims that he wants nothing of their adventure, yet after hearing the dwarves sing, something Tookish woke up inside him (absolutely love that line!!!), and he signed the dwarves' burglar contract.
No longer did the little hobbit sit at home and eat his fish in peace. Now he was out on the road, on an adventure, on a journey of epic proportions, going to meet a dragon and reclaim a treasure. He didn't think much of joining the quest from the beginning, save for that little something Tookish that woke up inside him, but as the journey drags on, Bilbo begins to think that he was wrong to go running off into the blue. He realizes that he may not be cut out for adventures after all, and tries to go home. It is here that Bilbo's attempts are foiled by the goblins capturing the company. Or rather, most of the company. Poor Bilbo Baggins was separated from the others and fell (literally) into the lair of Gollum. The two have a game of riddles in the dark and Bilbo's question, "What have I got in my pocket?" won him the game and the honor of Gollum showing him the way out.
And what was in Bilbo's pocket?
The one Ring. Bilbo didn't know how highly important such a little piece of jewelry was at that time; he only knew that it was something precious that Gollum lost and that it made the wearer invisible, the second fact proving extremely useful when escaping the Goblin halls.
But the whole adventure changes Bilbo. Once that initial zeal for the adventure grows dim, Bilbo wishes to go back. He could have used the Ring to escape the mountains and return to Rivendell.
But he didn't.
He overheard the dwarves talking to Gandalf about him; Thorin saying that the hobbit never belonged on a quest like this, and he's right. Bilbo's been lost ever since he left home. This was more than he expected; he's not too proud to admit it. But does he let that get to him? No! He decides to go on with the dwarves, to see the quest to the end.
And that, my friends, is character.
You can't have a whole post about Bilbo without making some mention of the hobbit's wardrobe. After all, hobbits are rather known for their fun, unique clothing styles. Bilbo sports a red coat (very debonair for a hobbit of the Shire) and a vest with acorn buttons. I love the bits about those buttons in the story -- how they initially pop off when he's escaping the goblin tunnels, go pattering around on the doorstep, leaving the goblins horribly confused at the sight, and then how at the end, Tolkien states that if Bilbo noticed that Balin's beard was longer and that the dwarf wore a jeweled belt, Balin also noticed that Bilbo had real gold buttons on his vest. I really like how they kept the continuity between Bilbo's costumes in both LOTR and The Hobbit. Bilbo, though played by two different actors, wears relatively the same color scheme and the same styles; it makes it as though you really were just seeing one character rather than two different people.
Bilbo's also got some of the best and quotable lines out of anyone who ever lived in Middle-Earth. For example...
And we won't even begin with the movie quotes.
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