Heroes Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Moses had a speech impediment but persuaded Pharaoh to set the Israelites free. Hans Solo was a smuggler and a scoundrel but risked his life to defeat the Empire.  Dorothy was just a “good, little girl” but destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West.  This and any self-respecting list of reluctant heroes would not be complete without Bilbo Baggins of Bag End.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

Post Format:  QUOTATIONS 

In 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, introducing the world to Middle Earth and its collection of dwarves, elves, goblins, etc.  I admit (ashamedly) to having only just read it as a grown up.  And so, while Bilbo’s travels through Mirkwood Forest, his run-ins with Gollum and Smaug, and a quite well-written battle with goblins did entertain me, I found myself most drawn to Bilbo himself.  To be sure, Bilbo is the hero of the tale.  But he is also the ultimate homebody who reluctantly leaves his cozy hobbit hole at the start of the journey . Here are a few of my favorite Bilbo quotes/passages:

“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures.  Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”

“This is the dreariest and dullest part of this wretched, tiresome, uncomfortable adventure!  I wish I was back in my hobbit-hole by my own warm fireside with the lamp shining!”

“He was soon fast asleep forgetting all his worries till the morning.  As a matter of fact he was dreaming of eggs and bacon.”

And finally, a quote from Gandalf, the wizard who handpicked Bilbo for the adventure much to the dwarves’ dismay:  “Well done! Mr. Baggins!” he said, clapping Bilbo on the back. “There is always more about you than one expects!”

Question:  Can you add others to the list of reluctant heroes in literature and/or life?

*Click on comment button at the top of the post to reply.

2 thoughts on “Heroes Come in All Shapes and Sizes

  • February 25, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    My very first thought is Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird. What do you think?

    (I just found you. This looks like a lovely site. I live in Atlanta and I’m friends with your brother.)

    • February 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      So nice of you to reply. I think he fits perfectly in the reluctant hero category!. By the way, that’s one of my favorite books. I’m thinking of using it for another post I have in mind about unlikely friendships.


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