Bilbo Baggins is Frodo’s eccentric uncle and guardian and he is crucial to the text for two key reasons. He is narratively important because he inadvertently generates much of the novel’s plot. When the text opens, Bilbo is in possession of the Ring after he found it in his youth during the events of The Hobbit. At Gandalf’s suggestion, he gives the Ring to Frodo before departing for Rivendell on his 111th birthday. If Bilbo had not gifted the Ring to Frodo, or found it in the first place, it is possible that none of the events in the trilogy would have taken place. 

Bilbo also plays an important thematic role in the novel. He is different from his fellow Hobbits because he has a thirst for adventure which sets him apart from the other residents in the Shire who value tranquility. Tolkien explains that Bilbo has a habit of regaling younger Hobbits like Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry with tales of his many adventures. This aspect of Bilbo’s character is crucial to the text because one of its main themes is the power of myth. Tolkien emphasizes this theme through Bilbo because Bilbo’s stories have the power to inspire his four young protégés to set out on their quest in the first place.