Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 20:00, 25 June 2012 by Morgan (Talk | contribs)
Merge-arrows.gif This page should be merged with Riddles.

Riddle-game was an ancient game of the Hobbits, used as a means of settling disputes.[note 1] The players continued to ask each other riddles until one failed to provide a correct answer.


The origins of the game are not known, save that it was very ancient and its rules were respected as sacred.[note 2]

The most famous riddle-game was the one in which Bilbo Baggins and Gollum competed. If Gollum failed to answer a riddle, he would show Bilbo out of the Misty Mountains. However, if Bilbo lost, Gollum would eat him. The two exchanged several riddles, and Gollum's knowledge of the answers suggested to Gandalf years later that he had possibly been a hobbit once. At last, strapped for riddles to ask the loathsome creature, Bilbo, touching the ring he had found in the tunnels, asked "What have I got in my pocket?". Gollum failed to answer correctly, despite being given three guesses. Reneging on his promise, Gollum plotted to use his "Precious" to murder and eat Bilbo, but when he found it missing, he too late guessed the right answer to Bilbo's "riddle".[1]


  1. Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth says that the game was used throughout Middle-earth, although the narrative is not clear on that matter.
  2. Foster interprets this by saying that the rules "were held among the guardianship of the Valar"


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Riddles in the Dark"