The Best of Thorin’s Company
Oh, good. This is an easy one - Dori, of course! He is, in Tolkien's own words, "really a decent fellow".
The Hobbit is a funny sort of story. Bilbo is the main character, and Gandalf, for all he spends half the book away on mysterious business of his own, is a more fully developed character than any of the dwarves, even Thorin Oakenshield. For all that, the two of them are really outsiders in a very dwarvish company, on a very dwarvish mission, marching towards a very dwarvish destination. The dwarves do not have a lot of time or patience for the non-dwarvish members of their company. Gandalf, being a wizard of great power, is useful to them. Furthermore, he gives them courage, even if they grumble about is leadership and advice.
Bilbo, on the other hand, for the first part of the story, is someone they merely tolerate. He is Gandalf's choice for burglar, and since it is Gandalf that found him, they put up with hobbit. They doubt his usefulness as a member of the company. They doubt his ability to burgle anything at all, but will still hold him to the terms of his contract, whether they think he can do it or not. Dori, alone of the company, seems genuinely concerned about his welfare. He save's Bilbo's life three times in the book. The first time is when the dwarves, led by Gandalf, are fleeing from the trolls of the Misty Mountains. Bilbo cannot keep up with the rest of them, and is in great danger of being left behind, but Dori takes the time to set Bilbo on his back and runs off with him. Later on, when they have gotten through the Misty Mountains, and are set upon by warg, poor Bilbo nearly gets left behind again, since he is too short to climb trees like the rest of them. Dori climbs down out of the tree to help him up. And last of all, when the Eagles wave the company from fire and wargs, Bilbo is only saved by grabbing on to Dori's leg as he is carried away. Dori does grumble a bit about it. "I can’t always be carrying burglars on my back, down tunnels and up trees! What do you think I am? A porter?" But that doesn't keep him from going out of his way to help.
Of course, Bilbo eventually proves his worth, by single-handedly getting the dwarves out of various troublesome situations, largely brought on by themselves, and earns their respect and admiration. But Dori it was who looked out for him when he was just a silly hobbit, morning the loss of a soft bed, and hot meal, and a pocket handkerchief.
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