A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 2

B is for — Bilbo Baggins and Belle — from The Hobbit and Disney’s animated film, Beauty and the Beast.

Bilbo Baggins, the unlikely hero from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has always been one of my all-time favorite characters. The way he goes from timid, complacent stick-in-the-mud to spider-slaying, dragon-braving adventurer inspires those (like me) who hesitate, and encourages us to go forth out our doors and into the wild.

Many times I watched the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated Hobbit, living Bilbo’s journey with him, persevering even though I’m arachnophobic and not nearly as good with riddles. One of my favorite moments from this movie is when the Dwarves are singing — “Far over misty mountains cold…” — and Gandalf and Bilbo speak:

Gandalf: “There’s a magic in that music.”

Bilbo: “And it moves through me.”

Gandalf: “You feel the love of beautiful things.”

Bilbo: “To go and see the great mountains and hear the pine trees and waterfalls.”

Gandalf: “To wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”

Bilbo: “Just once…”

Another favorite moment is when Bilbo climbs the tall tree in the middle of Mirkwood and sees all the butterflies fluttering in the sunshine and feels the breeze on his face. He doesn’t speak, but shares his thoughts: “There are moments which can change a person for all time, and I suddenly wondered if I would ever see my snug hobbit hole again. I wondered if I actually wanted to.”

Those moments always stir in me a yearning to take that step out my door and go.

Belle, from Walt Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, is another such inspiration. The “odd” girl with her nose in a book could so be me. I admire her spunk, her courage, and her cleverness. She’s not afraid to stand against the crowd.

When I first saw this movie when it came out in 1991, I was entranced. Everything about it was magical — the exquisite colors in the opening sequence, the engaging heroine, the wonderfully quirky denizens of the enchanted castle, the rousing and romantic songs, and the Beast — a cursed prince who needed someone to find enough good in him to love. Add to that the scary scenes with the wolves, a frighteningly charismatic antagonist in Gaston, and the hilarious battle between the ensorcelled castle servants and the villagers and you get a movie that immediately became my #1 favorite Disney movie, ever. It still reigns today. Not even the excellent Tangled or Frozen could knock Beauty and the Beast from its pedestal.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's Hobbit Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit
Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

The Hobbit!

The Hobbit!

Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, 1991 Photo Credit: Disney Wikia

Belle from Disney’s
Beauty and the Beast, 1991
Photo Credit: Disney Wikia

B_2b_BeautyBeast

20 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 2

  1. As a Tolkien fan, I’m loving your A to Z posts! Reminds me of another favorite quote from him. “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the path and if you don’t keep your feet there’s no telling where you might get swept off to.” Not a direct quote, but I bet you know the one I’m referring to. 🙂

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  2. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched the movie The Hobbit, because I worried it would contradict or somehow ruin the beautiful experience I had reading the book. (My hubby watched the movie but never read the book–oh, how opposites attract.) I did watch Beauty and the Beast, many times! Loved it! I’m glad to be a follower of your blog, because I know I’m going to enjoy it.
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  3. Bilbo is a great choice for favorite characters. I like him most in LOTR–but that’s probably because I read those first, before ever hearing of The Hobbit, and his persona there is so infused with the mystery of what that earlier journey was all about, that when I did read The Hobbit it felt more anticlimax than satisfaction. But he’s a wonderful character either way.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  4. I hate to confess that I read the Lord of the Rings so long ago (and saw the movie when it first came out), that the magic of that story escapes me. Your post brings it back. I especially loved Bilbao’s feet and size; yet he persevered, a true hero.

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  5. I am a Belle fan all the way! Beauty and the Beast has always (and probably always will be) my favorite Disney movie. It’s a classic! Thanks for highlighting this beautiful tale of love and sacrifice.

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  6. I love both characters 😀 For The Hobbits, I’ve never read the books, but I’ve watched the movies and Bilbo has to be one of my favourite characters. And Belle, well she’s basically my childhood 🙂

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