Bilbo may not have told anyone about going away, but Gandalf did lock the door after him. (At least that's heavily implied.)

About one year is not a very long time. What kind of society is Hobbiton where you have show yourself every day outside or else people presume your home is abandoned and sell off your stuff?

  • he probably wasn't gone more than a few weeks before Lobelia and Otho were petitioning to have him declared dead so they could take over his estate :D
    – NKCampbell
    Nov 17, 2020 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


This isn’t the modern world. Most people in Middle-Earth don’t just randomly go off traveling great distances without telling anyone. This is even more true of Hobbits, who almost never leave the Shire (or Bree for the ones living there). On the contrary randomly disappearing without explanation is in fact very unusual and doing so for a year is a rather long time in this setting, and even more so for a Hobbit.

  • Especially without letting anyone else know
    – Mary
    Oct 13, 2021 at 23:44
  • Yes, and in the modern world if you disappear for a year without anyone knowing what's happened you may well get someone breaking down the door - whether relatives or police looking for you, or some kind of bailiff or court officer or debt collector wondering why you've not paid your bills and taxes. Middle Earth isn't 20th century England, but Tolkien's audience was, and would accept some principles to carry across.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 20, 2021 at 11:08

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