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In The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey the 50 year old Bilbo Baggins is played Martin Freeman and when he gets to his 100's (at the start of the movie and in The Lord of the Rings) Ian Holm plays a older grey haired version of Bilbo. In the LOTR book it is said

Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as fifty. At ninety-nine they began to call him well-preserved ; but unchanged would have been nearer the mark.

So, Shouldn't Bilbo still be the same young hobbit he was at 50?

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It would have made sense after he gave-over the ring to Frodo, but yeah- not before. –  Solemnity Jan 13 '13 at 23:48
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I remember vaguely Gandalf mentioning that Bilbo doesn't look like he has aged at all in the fellowship of the ring. I think the only confusion is that the actors in real life are relatively differently aged. –  Jared Jan 13 '13 at 23:50
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I'm not clear if this is asking about any aging or if it's actually asking why Martin Freeman doesn't look like Ian Holm. –  Tango Jan 14 '13 at 0:38
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I think that was more of a casting mistake of Peter Jackson but I realize that's not a good enough answer here with the genius quotes I've seen on this forum. –  Jason Sebring Jan 14 '13 at 3:55
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this question doesn't make much sense. If anything, Jackson made the mistake of casting a too old Bilbo in LOTR –  flq Jan 14 '13 at 13:31

3 Answers 3

Your quote seems to answer itself.

The casting of Bilbo in Lord of the Rings actually didn't fit with the book.

I can't say for sure that it was a mistake however. In a movie, it's a little bit harder to just clarify details such as "Bilbo is 100 years old even though he looks young"

If The director did that for Bilbo's age and all the other like details, you would have too much narration. Which would have changed the overall style of the movie.

Casting him as an older character makes it clear to the audience that this character is Frodo's elder by far, and it does it in a way that doesn't require a lot of narration.

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Shouldn't Bilbo still be the same young hobbit he was at 50? No. If you read what the book has to say again, and I'll provide the quote with some added emphasis:

Time wore on, but it seemed to have little effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was much the same as fifty.

The two important things to note are:

  • Tolkien does not say "no effect", he says "little effect".

  • Tolkien does not say "the very same", he says "much the same".

Therefore Bilbo did change, he did show signs of age, but just not as much as would have been expected. So it's valid to show a changed Bilbo in the movies.

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Because Peter Jackson got it wrong. Also, in the movie we see Bilbo rapidly age after he passes on the Ring to Frodo. There is no textual evidence to support this idea. Bilbo's rapid aging in the movie leads to te question "Why didn't Gollum age as well?" Well that answer need by be asked at all if you go only by what is in the book.

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Gollum did age as well. The aging process for him is what turned him from Hobbit to Gollum creature. Had Bilbo continued down the same path, he would have ended up like Gollum. –  dkuntz2 Jan 17 '13 at 3:07
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I think italia means, "why didn't Gollum age as well AFTER he lost the One Ring?" In the movies, Bilbo becomes a doddering blue-hair pretty quick, but Gollum, who's had the Ring for quite a long time, keeps on keepin' on. –  Thom Brannan Jan 21 '13 at 4:43

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