And then he goes on to estimate the mass and coverage of gold, diamonds, and other treasure for a current street value of $8.6 billion. So Bilbo Baggins, having received 1/14th of the treasure, did very well for himself on that little adventure.
Hurm. $615 million isn’t chump change, although assaulting a dragon’s fortress is a chancy enough endeavour even without the long journey through wild territory. The willingness of the relatively prosperous Bilbo to engage in extremely risk-acceptant behavior must be measured against that of the dwarfs, who were both impoverished and had a serious political grievance. Gandalf’s persuasive abilities notwithstanding, it seems to me that Bilbo falls comfortably within the archetype of wealthy, playboy mercenary, willing to sell his skills to the desperate at extraordinarily high cost. That he has only the barest notion of what the mission actually entails only reinforces the irresponsibility of the agreement. And lets be brutally frank; would you really want Erik Prince to be in possession of the One True Ring?