Frodo Baggins is the most well-known hobbit in mainstream pop culture, largely thanks to Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, his uncle Bilbo was the first Baggins ring bearer, and he appeared in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Seeing the large gap between the stories, how old was Bilbo in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings?
Bilbo Baggins celebrated his ‘eleventy-first’ birthday at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings and the Fellowship of the Ring, meaning he was 111 years old. The events of the Hobbit happened 60 years earlier, meaning Bilbo was 51 years old, which is the perfect young adult age for hobbits.
Now, you might wonder how a 51-year-old hobbit is considered a young adult. Also, you might wonder how long has passed since Bilbo’s 111th birthday to his and Frodo’s venture to the immortal lands at the end. And when was Bilbo born? Keep reading to find all the answers that might interest you.
How long do hobbits live?
Before we get into Bilbo’s age, it’s important to understand how hobbits age and how long they live. It slightly changed over the years, of course – for instance, Harfoots from the Rings of Power could live slightly shorter than their successors, which are Frodo, Bilbo, and the Shire hobbits of the Third Age.
A hobbit’s average life expectancy is around 100 years old, although numerous hobbits lived even longer. For instance, Gerontius Took lived for 130 years without any magic or any influence from the One Ring.
The oldest hobbit, however, is Smeagol, aka Gollum, who lived for 598 years. Granted, you can’t really consider him a hobbit anymore due to the One Ring’s influence, but still, he was once a hobbit, so it’s fair to mention him, at least.
Seeing that hobbits have a longer expected life than, for instance, humans, their coming of age also takes longer. While humans are considered ‘of age’ when they are 18, a hobbit’s coming of age happens at 33. A 50-year-old hobbit is, therefore, considered a young adult.
Bilbo was now a ring-bearer for a while – not for centuries like Smeagol, but still – meaning he likely had a prolonged life span compared to other hobbits. Now that we know more about hobbits and their usual lifespan, let’s dive into Bilbo’s age throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies.
When was Bilbo born?
Bilbo was officially born in TA 2890, meaning Third Age. His birth date was on September 22 by Shire Reckoning, a calendar developed and kept by the hobbits of the Shire. By our calendar, that would be somewhere between September 12 and 14, but that’s less relevant for our topic today than the year.
The Shire Reckoning also counted years differently. For instance, The Fellowship of the Ring ventured onto their quest in TA 3018 by the regular calendar, whereas it was the year 1418 by the Shire Reckoning. We’ll keep it simple and track only the regular calendar, but I thought it’s a nice piece of trivia for all the hardcore Tolkienheads like myself.
How old was Bilbo at the beginning of The Hobbit trilogy?
Bilbo Baggins left the Shire to join Thorin and the party of thirteen dwarves on their quest to the Lonely Mountain on April 27, TA 2941. That means Bilbo was now 50 – almost 51 years old.
It might sound like Bilbo was already slightly over that middle-aged man’s age, but he wasn’t. By hobbit standards, Bilbo was at his peak physical age – right on the brink between being a young adult and an adult hobbit. Think of a human between the ages of 25 and 30.
Now, I say The Hobbit trilogy, referring to the movies where Martin Freeman embodied the role of the young, adventurous hobbit. There’s actually only one book about The Hobbit, unlike the three The Lord of the Rings books. The Hobbit was adapted into a trilogy to give more details from the book and to follow the same pattern as The Lord of the rings trilogy before.
How old was Bilbo at the end of The Hobbit trilogy?
By the end of The Hobbit trilogy – or the book, whichever you prefer – Bilbo is 51 years old, exactly three months short of his 52nd birthday. The brave hobbit’s journey from the day he left the Shire to the day he returned after the Battle of the Five Armies took exactly 421 days, as he returned home on June 22, TA 2942.
We also know it took him more than thirteen months because Bilbo’s things were being sold at an auction by the time he got home. By Shire law, if you’ve been missing for more than 13 months, you’re officially declared dead – hence, your stuff is being sold off.
At this moment, Bilbo had the One Ring in his possession, and although time continued to pass by as it always did, Bilbo likely started aging a bit slower.
How old was Bilbo at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
At the very beginning of The Lord of the rings and the Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins is celebrating his ‘eleventy-first’ birthday – that is, his 111th birthday. It happens on September 22, TA 3001, and on that exact day, he leaves the Shire once again.
A 17-year and one-day hiatus ensues before Frodo, and Samwise Gamgee leave the Shire to join the Fellowship of the Ring, eventually taking the One Ring to Mordor to burn it in the fires of Mount Doom. Meaning by the time Frodo’s journey begins, Bilbo Baggins is already 128 years old.
Bear in mind Bilbo was the ring-bearer no more, and as soon as he was separated from his Ring, his age and health started catching up to him. That’s why he looks so old and silky by the trilogy’s end.
How old was Bilbo at the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
Bilbo’s journey in The Hobbit took him 421 days – right around 14 months. Well, Frodo’s journey was only slightly shorter. He left the Shire on September 23, TA 3018, and returned to Hobbiton on November 1, TA 3019. It took Frodo and Sam 404 days to complete their journey, a little more than 13 months.
Bilbo was 129 at the moment, but we wouldn’t see him for the next two years. It was October 6, TA 3021, when Sam, Merry, and Pippin bid farewell to Frodo and Bilbo, who sailed together from Grey Havens to the Immortal Lands.
Doing the math, Bilbo was exactly 131 years and 14 days old the last time he was seen. It is unknown how long after did he and Frodo live. Bilbo looked very old and frail by the time, but that doesn’t mean he died soon after.
He lived a long, adventurous life – longer and more exciting than almost any other Hobbit may say.