Character Comparison is a group of articles about the people one meets in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Starting with The Fellowship of the Ring and ending with the Return of the King, we will go through each major (and many minor) characters as they appear. We will compare the book character with their movie and LCG counterparts and possibly discuss some lore along the way. With a story as long as The Lord of the Rings, it is quite possible that I might skip a character by accident a few times. Hopefully, that will scarcely happen, but, if it does, please correct me and I will remedy it.
The first character that we meet in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End. This hobbit sets the wheels of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in motion with the finding of the One Ring. It is appropriate that he should have the first article in this series.
We first meet this hobbit of unimpeachable reputation (as Gandalf put it) as a rather stodgy middle-aged bachelor. Quite comfortable with no adventures, he is suddenly swept up into one against his wishes by that meddlesome busybody Gandalf the Grey. Having tangled with trolls, run from goblins, found a magic ring and stung some spiders, this stay-at-home hobbit becomes an intrepid adventurer. Finally, he creeps into the Lonely Mountain to beard the dragon in its lair and, having his hair singed instead, must fight (or whatever) in a terrible battle that kills many of his friends. Since he helped his friends retake their treasure and homeland he is rewarded and returns home.
He spends most of the rest of his long life at Bag End. Unfortunately the ring that he found happens to be the One Ring and he must give it to his nephew before he goes into retirement at Rivendale. He spends the rest of his days translating ancient manuscripts, writing poetry, and sleeping. He finally goes over the sea with his nephew and dies in bliss.
The actors that portrayed Bilbo Baggins in the movies did an excellent job. I may actually like Martin Freeman’s Bilbo more than the book’s. I feel kind of disgusted with myself because of it. Am I not being faithful to the book? Maybe I should go and read The Hobbit again. Anyway, even if the Hobbit Trilogy fell somewhat flat, one can be comforted by the fact that they got Bilbo right. Of course, you don’t have to agree with me. You many even think I’m totally nuts (I might even agree with you). Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if you think that the Bilbo Baggins of the book can beat Martin Freeman’s portrayal standing on one foot, one hand tied behind his back, and covered with spiderwebs then don’t hesitate to comment.
The Lord of the Rings LCG
To date, we have four different versions of Bilbo Baggins to play around with and three of them are hero cards. Of course, two of those hero cards are…um…not. Kind of. They technically are, but they can only be play with the Hobbit expansions.
The intrepid adventurer
The stodgy middle-aged one
The Bilbo to the left is the picture of comfort and contentment while the Bilbo to the right is the Barrel-Rider, the Luckwearer, and the Ringwinner. The other hero version of Mr. Baggins, however, is the lore master. With a book and quill in hand, he is scrounging up ancient tid-bits which translates into an extra card during the refresh phase. Or, if you want him to be a bit younger, he could be resourceful and lucky which also translates into an extra card. Of course, he is not as useful as the other Hobbit heroes. His high starting threat compared to his stats is rather pitiful. Threat-wise he is on par with, say, Legolas and Gloin who are *ahem* superior to my mind.
The latest Bilbo we have gotten is the ally version. This ally is essential if you want to build a pipe deck. I rather like this Bilbo myself. I don’t really know why (Maybe it’s the purple sweater).
As far as I can remember, Bilbo Baggins is the only character who can claim to have four cards all to himself. Aragorn will catch up, though, as soon as The Treason of Saruman and The Lost Realm hits the stores. Frodo, with his three versions of himself, comes close.
I hope you have enjoyed this first Character Comparison article. Not all of them will be this long. It all depends on the character’s importance to the story and whether they were featured in the movies or card game. Bilbo Baggins was a very important character to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and he merited this article. May the hair on his toes never fall out!