Time Travel (The Hobbit)

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Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresEveryone Lives (The Hobbit), Time Travel, Canon Divergence AU (The Hobbit)
See alsoAlternate Universe, Canon Divergence AU
Related articles on Fanlore.

Time Travel is a common and early form of fix-it in The Hobbit fandom.[1][2] It's goal is usually an Everyone Lives outcome, achieved by at least one character having foreknowledge of the Battle of Five Armies. A few works focus on ensuring that Erebor Never Fell instead.

Use in Fanworks

Generally (though not always), the travel is backward from the future, and it's usually a member of Thorin's Company who goes. Much of the time, the company member is also returned to their original age at the time of the quest, though this isn't always the case.

Some time travel works only return the character to right before the Battle of Five Armies. However, many retell part or all of the quest, often with changes that add up as the quest continues and the company member tries to affect the final outcome (such as by trying to prevent Thorin Oakenshield's gold sickness). Therefore, this trope is related to the Alternate Quest for Erebor trope, but is unique in that it's usually the second trip for one or more characters. Works tend to blend movieverse and bookverse quest elements because many works in progress were started after the first or second movie and took years to complete, due to the length required to retell the original quest. Often the movies came out while such works were still in progress, further encouraging a hybridization of canon.

The trope became so well-known that Antarctica_or_bust parodied it using a mix of Groundhog Day and video game style in Round and Round Again. The story is told from the point of view of Ori, who is forced to relive the quest over and over until he can keep the entire company alive through the whole process. Scenes in the story are presented in non-sequential order, but quest-based works are so common in the fandom that readers can still follow the plot easily.

Example Fanworks

Archives and Resources


  • A Shot in the Dark by Silver_pup (Bilbo travels back from sailing to Valinor)
  • Out of the Troll Cave by silverneko9lives0 (Half the Company time travels to pre-Smaug Erebor)
  • Comes Around Again by scarletjedi (Gimli travels back to his childhood and joins the quest)
  • An Expected Journey by MarieJacquelyn (Bilbo dies in Valinor and is brought back to the beginning of the quest)
  • A Second Chance by honeybearbee (Dwalin dies at age 340 and finds himself back at Bilbo's door)
  • Desiderium by Laora (Fíli and Kíli travel to the future mid-quest)
  • Round and Round Again by Antarctica_or_bust (Ori must relive the quest over and over again until the entire Company survives it)
  • Once More by ISeeFire and Lady_Juno (Thorin dies and returns to midway through the battle)
  • The Twice-Told Tale of Thorin Oakenshield by TheLadyZephyr ("Thorin wakes up after the Battle of Five Armies the day the company is due to meet their new burglar in Hobbiton.")


  1. ^ The Hobbit - All Media Types had 83 Time Travel works by March 17, 2015. This was about 0.5% of all Hobbit works tagged on the archive.
  2. ^ The first work posted to AO3 for this trope was probably Silver_pup's A Shot in the Dark, which was started January 12, 2013.