Summary – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Summary – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Quick summary and verdict

The Hobbit is the story of the adventures of the gentle and quiet Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit of The Shire who prided himself on living an existence in which nothing dangerous ever happened. After the appearance of the wizard Gandalf, his life is turned upside down and he faces goblins and other dangers such as a mysterious and gigantic dragon. In addition, he will find a mysterious ring, although that is perhaps another story…

The Hobbit is the tale that started the Lord of the Rings universe and is a great adventure to be enjoyed at any age.

Extended summary

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who values peace and comfort, lives in the Shire without any surprises. One day, for no reason and unexpectedly, he receives a visit from Gandalf, an unknown wizard announcing the arrival of some strange visitors. A few hours later, a group of thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield will appear in his house. 

They seek Bilbo’s help as a thief on their mission to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug. Bilbo, at first, is reluctant to undertake such a dangerous adventure. However, when the dwarves and Gandalf leave the next morning, he ends up joining them, moved by the strange feeling of wanting to immerse himself in such a mysterious quest.

The unusual company’s first conflict will occur when they encounter three trolls. These huge rivals outnumber them in size and are hungry. They capture the dwarves to eat them, but thanks to Bilbo’s ingenuity and the help of Gandalf, who tricks them, they end up turned to stone thanks to the appearance of the morning sun. 

After that, the group discovers the hidden cave of the trolls where they find fabulous treasures and powerful weapons, which they take for themselves to face new dangers.

After a few days of travel, the group manages to reach Rivendell, the mythical home of the elves, where they receive food, rest, and guidance from the elf lord Elrond, who rules the place. There, Bilbo is happy and meets the wonderful creatures with pointed ears that fascinate him with their knowledge and kindness, so different from the rudeness of the dwarves. In addition, they learn to read the moon letters on the map Thorin has to find the hidden door to Erebor.

The party continues their journey from Rivendell through the Misty Mountains but is trapped in a cave by a group of goblins intent on wiping them out and stealing their treasures. Bilbo manages to escape and breaks away, ending up in a dark cave where he finds a strange gold ring. It is not the only thing he finds, for near the ring lives a creature called Gollum. They set up a strange game of riddles in which Bilbo’s own life is at stake. Bilbo unknowingly uses the power of the ring to make himself invisible to escape and join the dwarves just as they are rescued by the eagles after escaping from the cave and the goblins. 

Bilbo continues to carry the ring in secret as they arrive at the home of Beorn, a shapeshifter who helps them. He does not even tell Gandalf of his little discovery, even though the wizard suspects something. Dwarves, a wizard, and a hobbit travel through Mirkwood Forest, where they face new dangers and difficulties in an inhospitable and dark place. 

After overcoming them they finally arrive at the halls of the Elf King, where Thorin is taken prisoner when confronted by the king of the elves, the dwarves’ immemorial enemies.

After further ingenious action by Bilbo, the party escape from the Elf King’s halls in barrels but are captured again, this time by the men of the City of the Lake. Finally, after making a series of promises, they are allowed to continue their journey. Arriving at the Lonely Mountain, they find the hidden door but are unable to open it. It is then that Bilbo’s chance to prove himself appears. 

He secretly uses the ring to make himself invisible and enter the mountain, where he meets the mighty and terrible Smaug. He strikes up a conversation with the dragon, learns of his vulnerability to Smaug, and escapes with a valuable item.

Bilbo meets with the dwarves and shares information about Smaug’s weak spot. The party returns to the City of the Lake, where the men prepare to face Smaug, who has decided to leave the mountain to wipe out the humans.

Smaug attacks Lake-town in a rage, but Bard, a skilled archer, kills the dragon with an arrow, fulfilling the prophecy. The villagers hail Bard as a hero and hope to share the dragon’s treasure. The company returns to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their treasure but finds that the treasure is occupied by the besieging men of Lake-town and the wood elves. Bilbo, using his wits and the Ring, helps negotiate a peaceful settlement.

Thorin becomes increasingly obsessed with the treasure, the product of a curse related to the gold that affected his family, which causes tensions with the other factions, as Thorin does not want to divide it either. Bilbo tries to avoid war but is unsuccessful.

War breaks out between dwarves, elves, and men, all wanting to take the treasure and the city under the mountain. The Battle of the Five Armies begins but suddenly an unexpected army of goblins and warg appears in the fray and tries to annihilate them.

Dwarves, elves, and men decide to forget their troubles and unite in the face of the new threat, suffering many losses, among them Thorin, who dies without being able to regain his family’s throne.

The factions separate and Bilbo prepares to return to the Shire, his mission accomplished. He bids farewell and leaves with a small part of the treasure, a small gift from the dwarves. The journey back is a perilous one, as the company faces challenges in the Black Forest and terrible creatures such as giant spiders.

Finally, they reach the safety of Beorn’s home. Bilbo and the company arrive in Rivendell again and are greeted with the kindness of Elrond’s elves.

Gandalf departs on urgent business and the rest of the party continues on to the Shire. The adventure ends when Bilbo returns to the Shire, his home. He discovers that his belongings have been auctioned off and his fellow hobbits regard him as a stranger. 

The long journey has transformed him, and changed him forever, both physically and mentally, he can never be the same, nor will he pretend to be. The adventure is over, but only for the moment…

The tone of the book

Despite being a work written almost a century ago, The Hobbit has not aged badly. Its narrative style remains fresh, modern, and capable of continuing to engage millions of readers of all ages. 

We find a tone and style typical of the best adventures in a world of fantasy with entrancing characters and formidable enemies. In The Hobbit, we will find the essence of a master of literature and we will enjoy each of its pages and we will know magical locations such as The Shire, Rivendell, or The Lonely Mountain. 

What do readers say about The Hobbit?

With over 3.5 million reviews on one of the world’s leading reading platforms, The Hobbit has a score of 4.3/5, indicating what a magnificent work it is. Readers all over the world have enjoyed Tolkien’s work and regard it as one of his finest productions, being the initiator of a universe that has conquered the hearts of millions of people for almost 100 years. Only time will allow us to become aware of what this work has meant and how it has established itself in the collective unconscious.

Bilbo is an unusual hero

Bilbo Baggins is a very particular hero who undergoes a profound change in his personality, his way of acting, and his lifestyle. Throughout his adventures in The Hobbit, we are made aware of his growth and his hidden qualities only because they have not been tested. He is brave, wise, merciful, and generous, both to his friends and his enemies. He takes his friend Gandalf as a role model and learns to stand on his own two feet, becoming central to Thorin Oakshield’s company.

The Hobbit stands the test of time

Decades after its publication in 1937 The Hobbit remains relevant as a modern work, ahead of its time, that continues to engage thousands of readers, attracting new ones to Middle-earth. Its influence on the genre of fantasy literature has been palpable in recent years in other successful sagas such as Game of Thrones.

Fantasy in between the century of wars

Tolkien, who took part in the First World War’s Battle of the Somme, always claimed that his experience during the conflict enabled him to shape the Middle-earth universe that we begin to see in The Hobbit. Yet, despite the painful memory, Tolkien wanted to imprint a message of light in the darkness, the possibility of redemption even in the darkest of times where hope seems to languish. In The Hobbit, we find some of that light in the character of Bilbo and his mercy even to his enemies.

Audiobook review

The narration of the audiobook scores 4.9/5 on Audible and it lasts for 10 hours and 24 minutes.

Read by BAFTA award-winning actor, director, and author Andy Serkis, who plays the character of Gollum in Tolkien’s filmic universe, The Hobbit audiobook is considered one of the masterpieces of the format due to the incredible performance of Serkis who, thanks to his superb use of voice, manages to give form to a multitude of characters, including Gollum himself.

Getting to know The Hobbit through the audiobook format is a new opportunity to enjoy Tolkien’s fantasy world and a magnificent complement to the book and the films.

What type of reader would enjoy this book? 

Many people are unaware that The Hobbit was a story written by Tolkien to entertain his children before bedtime.

He tried to create a story in which a character from a new race would have adventures with dwarves, wizards, and dragons. Afterward, the story grew and grew into the magnificent work we all know. 

Because of this initial idea, The Hobbit is a work that any reader of any age can enjoy, from a child who is just beginning to enjoy reading to an adult with an extensive library. Tolkien and his stories will not disappoint any of them.

Should I read The Hobbit?


  • The book that started The Lord of the Rings universe and introduced some of the main characters of the saga
  • Magical first approach to The Shire and the charming Hobbits
  • A fantasy masterpiece


  • Introduction of so many new characters
  • Complex style in fantasy terms

The Hobbit is a tale of growth, courage, bravery, and the power of unexpected heroes in a world filled with magic and danger. Bilbo’s transformation from a shy and peaceful hobbit into a brave adventurer is at the heart of this timeless story.