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Calling all dwarves, wizards and cave-dwelling goblins

The Hobbit's original (published) dust jacket.

Can you tell a lonely mountain from a misty one? Are you good at solving riddles in the dark? Are you as proud as Thorin Oakenshield when it comes to your hobbit knowledge?

In honor of the 75th anniversary of publication of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, we asked Marquette Associate Archivist Bill Fliss to develop 12 trivia questions to test your Shire-smarts.

The answers are provided below.

  1. How many dwarves go on the quest to the Lonely Mountain?

  2. What is the name of the dragon that the dwarves and Bilbo set out to defeat?

  3. How does Gandalf defeat the trolls that have captured Bilbo and the dwarves?

  4. Bilbo finally wins the riddle game with Gollum by asking what riddle?

  5. What kind of animal does the shape-shifter Beorn transform into?

  6. During the journey through Mirkwood, one of the dwarves accidentally falls into the enchanted stream and enters into a magical sleep. What is the dwarf’s name?

  7. At what point in the story does Bilbo name his sword Sting?

  8. By what means do Bilbo and the dwarves escape from the halls of the Elvenking in northern Mirkwood?

  9. What great treasure does Thorin Oakenshield desperately want to find among the dragon’s hoard?

  10. Name the five armies that take part in the climactic Battle of Five Armies.

  11. How many of the dwarves who accompany Bilbo on the quest are killed at the Battle of Five Armies?

  12. When Bilbo Baggins returns home to the Shire, what does he find happening at his hobbit hole?

Did you know?

Marquette’s Raynor Memorial Libraries is home to the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection, which includes multiple working drafts for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and an original watercolor rendering by Tolkien of the dust cover for The Hobbit, Thror’s map, and a host of published and unpublished materials relating to Tolkien’s life and fantasy writings.

To celebrate the anniversary of The Hobbit, Marquette will host several events, including a lecture on the art and creation of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth on Thursday, November 8, and a roundtable discussion about Peter Jackson’s cinematic interpretation of The Hobbit on Thursday, February 21. Both events are open to the public. In addition, archive staff members will conduct a viewing of selected originals manuscripts from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on Friday, October 26 and Friday, November 16 both beginning at 2:30 p.m.


  1. Thirteen one of the reasons Gandalf selects Bilbo Baggins to accompany them is to be the “lucky number.”

  2. Smaug.  (The au is pronounced as in how, not haw.) Tolkien’s original name for the dragon was Pryftan, but he later switched it to Smaug.

  3. He gets them arguing among themselves until the sun rises, which turns them to stone.

  4. “What have I got in my pocket?”

  5. A Great Bear.

  6. Bombur. He then has to be carried around by the others until he finally awakes; unfortunately for everyone involved, Bombur is an immensely fat dwarf.

  7. Immediately after he uses the sword in Mirkwood to kill a great spider that is trying to tie him up with webs.

  8. They hide in empty barrels and float down the river to Lake Town. Bilbo actually rides on top of his barrel.

  9. The Arkenstone of Thrain.

  10. Elves, Men, and Dwarves on one side against the Goblins and Wild Wolves on the other.

  11. Three. Thorin Oakenshield and his two nephews, Fili and Kili.

  12. An Auction. Because Bilbo has been away so long, he is presumed dead.  His possessions are being sold at auction, and Bilbo’s relatives the Sackville-Bagginses are preparing to take possession of Bilbo’s hobbit hole.


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