I recently wrote a whole fanfic that revolved around Thorin Oakenshield, viewing the story in The Hobbit from his perspective. In the story, I pretended that Tauriel the elf was the catalyst for his growth–the one who brought him to the point of saying, at the very end, that if more people valued food and cheer over hoarded gold, the world would be a merrier place.
In my story, Thorin is barely listening to Bilbo as the hobbit makes his final speech. As I re-read that passage, I felt kind of bad, but then I told myself, Oh, come on, this is Thorin’s deathbed! He’s probably got a whole lot of things on his mind. Mostly (in my mind) he’s thinking about Tauriel.
But it just made me see that The Hobbit ought to focus on, well, the hobbit. That deathbed scene should be a big reconciliation between Thorin and Bilbo, a moment where their prickly bromance comes to a sweet resolution. As much fun as it was to write, my story shoved Bilbo out of his rightful place as the one responsible for Thorin’s transformation into an heroic character who dies a noble death.
Now I hope that this relationship between Thorin and Bilbo will be a central element of the film version of The Hobbit. No doubt it will be–I’m sure the filmmakers have been thinking about this stuff longer than I have. But we’ve been hearing a lot about Gandalf, and Thorin, and the dwarves generally, and it would be nice to hear more about Bilbo.
It is a tricky thing, though. Bilbo is modest, self-effacing and possesses no obvious heroic traits. He’s little, he’s fussy, and he’s kind of silly. He doesn’t even want to go on a big quest. Hmmm…