So, yeah. Hobbits. I’ve actually been contemplating them for a while now. I've been playing LEGO Lord of the Rings on the Xbox 360, and the new Hobbit movie in December prompted me to ask on Facebook: Bilbo or Frodo? The response was pretty much unanimously in favor of Bilbo, with disparaging comments about Frodo to the extent that he is a weak character who perhaps should not have been included in the book at all. I’ve seen several places online where folks argue that Frodo is not the main character of The Lord of the Rings, and even my own husband has voiced his belief that Sam Gamgee is actually the hero of those stories. All of this puzzles me, because up until a few years ago, to my knowledge, Frodo was almost universally beloved. Like all Hobbits who feature prominently in Tolkien’s stories, Frodo is an ordinary little fellow who was thrust unwillingly into an extraordinary series of events. However, Frodo actually did something that no one else did: He saved the world. I hear you critics now: “No, he didn’t! He wanted to keep the Ring at the end! It’s only by accident that … (spoiler removed)” I would just like to point out that Frodo kept faithfully to his purpose through the entire story, and it was only at the last critical moment, when faced with the unrelenting pressure of Sauron’s power expressed through the Ring, that he wavered. It is my opinion that Frodo is the only person in all of Middle-Earth who could have successfully carried the Ring to the fire of Mount Doom without giving in to the temptation to claim it for his own. Which is why the Ring came to him in the first place. Because he was the hero.Now, on to Bilbo for a moment. Bilbo is a delightful little Hobbit. He’s crafty, creative, can talk his way out of just about any situation, but when talking fails, he’s handy in a fight. When compared to Frodo, it’s not surprising that we tend to like him better. We sympathize with Frodo, we admire Frodo, we applaud Frodo, or perhaps we criticize Frodo, but we like Bilbo. He’d be much more fun to have a conversation with, I think. There’s all this drama that surrounds poor Frodo. All Bilbo had to do was sneak into a dragon’s lair and steal something. Saving the world was not on the agenda for his adventure, so he could come home relatively unscathed. Frodo came home broken. Bilbo’s story is fun. Frodo’s is epic, with all the triumph and tragedy that tends to go along with epic heroes.
So, Bilbo or Frodo? Or for that matter, Sam, Merry or Pippin? I don’t know that I could pick one if I had to. I will just say that I love Hobbits. They are one of the most intriguing little races of people that have ever been introduced into literature, and further proof that Tolkien was an absolute genius.Feel free to comment with all your anti-Frodo feelings here. He’s not a real person. He won’t be offended.