Bilbo Baggins Hobbit; the protagonist of the story. Bilbo is invited by Gandalf to join him and the dwarves on their journey to the Lonely Mountain, home of Smaug the dragon, to reclaim the treasure that belongs to the dwarves. Often torn between his love of the comforts of home and his desire for adventure, he contributes to the successful accomplishment of the group's purpose and discovers within himself unsuspected resources of courage and ingenuity.
Gandalf Wizard; teacher, mentor, and protector of Bilbo; directs the dwarves' expedition to reclaim their treasure from Smaug.
Thorin The leader of the dwarves; grandson of Thror, descendent of Thrain the Old who was King under the Mountain when Smaug seized the treasure. The treasure and the throne are his birthright, and Gandalf gives him a map and a key to the Lonely Mountain left to him by Thror. He dies fighting in the Battle of Five Armies.
Balin, Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin The other twelve dwarves who go with Thorin, Gandalf, and Bilbo on the long journey.
Bert, Tom, and William Trolls from whom Bilbo takes the key to a cave from which he and the dwarves take gold and the swords they use in battle with the Goblins and in the Battle of Five Armies. The trolls are crude and violent and capture the dwarves in order to roast and eat them; the dwarves are rescued by Gandalf, who confuses the trolls into staying out past dawn and turning into stone.
Elrond An elf; the proprietor of the Last Homely House at the Edge of Wild and is a leader of the elves. He translates the runes on the swords taken from the trolls to reveal that they were originally used in the Goblin-wars and translates the moon-letters on Thorin's map to reveal the importance of Durin's Day.
Goblins Ugly, wicked creatures who live in a cave in the Misty Mountains. They capture Bilbo and the dwarves and eat their ponies. A number of them, including their leader the Great Goblin, are slain by Gandalf and Thorin using the swords taken from the trolls.
Gollum The slimy creature who guards the mouth of the cave. He is completely self-centered and talks to himself. He owns the ring of invisibility that Bilbo steals.
Wargs Wild wolves from whom Bilbo and the dwarves hide in trees after they escape from the Goblins. Gandalf sets the Wargs on fire and chases them away, but they return, joined by the Goblins, and try to set fire to the forest. Bilbo and the dwarves are rescued from the trees by eagles.
Lord of the Eagles The chief eagle who rescues Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves from the Wargs and flies them to his nest perched on the mountain. The eagles also fly over during the Battle of the Five Armies.
Beorn Also called a skin-changer because of his power to change into a bear, which allows him to attack Goblins and Wargs. He is hospitable to Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves on their way to the Lonely Mountain and gives them ponies and provisions for their journey. He appears at the Battle of Five Armies and fights the Goblins. Gandalf and Bilbo spend Yule-tide with him on their way back to the hobbit-lands.
Elvenking King of the elves who imprisons Thorin and the other dwarves in his dungeon, from which they are rescued by Bilbo who hides the dwarves in barrels and floats them down a river to Lake-town (also called Esgaroth). Elvenking appears at the Battle of Five Armies.
Master of Lake-town The ruler of Esgaroth, the town of men also called Lake-town, to which Bilbo and the dwarves escape from the palace of the Elvenking. The Master's power is challenged by Thorin, and the Master is ultimately replaced by Bard when the Master is corrupted by a share in the dwarves' treasure.
Smaug The dragon who lives underground in the Lonely Mountain, where he keeps watch over the treasure hoard that rightfully belongs to Thorin.
Bard The archer from Lake-town who kills Smaug the dragon and eventually becomes Master of Lake-town.
Dain Cousin of Thorin; with an army of dwarves, he comes to aid Thorin's band in the Battle of Five Armies.