In honor of Peter Larson, a word much-loved by Gandalf. I have included all forms of “fool” including “foolish” and “folly”. For the fun of it, I am including who said it and of whom.
• 01.096 you were a fool; – Bilbo, of himself
• 02.002 “Don’t be a fool, – Bilbo, of himself
• 02.067 “You’re a fat fool, – Bert, of William
• 03.017 To fly would be folly, – The Tra-la-la-lally elves of the whole party
• 03.018 and his friends think them foolish – Dwarves of elves
• 03.018 (which is a very foolish thing to think), – the narrator of Dwarves
• 07.022 Don’t be a fool Mr. Baggins if you can help it; – Gandalf of Bilbo
• 07.136 but the wizard told them they were fools. – Gandalf of the dwarves
• 10.021 Some of the more foolish ran out of the hut – the narrator of the people of Laketown
• 12.009 what a fool I was – Bilbo of himself
• 12.077 Old fool! – Bilbo of Smaug!!
• 12.080 Bilbo you fool!’ – Bilbo of himself
• 14.009 The dragon is coming or I am a fool!’ – Bard of himself
• 14.011 and not the most foolish doubted – the narrator of the people of Laketown
• 14.035 Fools!’ said Bard. – Bard of the people of Laketown
• 16.028 Such a fool deserves to starve.’ – Bard of Thorin
• 17.036 Fools!’ laughed Bard, – Bard of dwarves
• 18.020 You are a fool, – Bilbo of himself
Well, then! Bilbo uses it most in this story and 5/6th of the time he is speaking to himself. Bard uses it next, and seems willing to spread the word widely, and the narrator next, who seems to have a low opinion of the people of Laketown. If we recall that it was Bilbo who wrote this book, we can pump up his total to nine uses of the word, and examine the Laketoen scenes through his mature book-writing eyes as well as through his perspective as the tale unfolded.