This is a list that finally answers the question of how do we rank hobbits according to their levels of badassery? This is an objective list, a matter of empirical fact.
Of course, the problem with sorting out a list of these hobbits is that the top five are going to be the obvious lot from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; they can't be excluded, but their inclusion skews the rankings a little. So we know who's in the top five, so they can almost be considered two distinct lists: the five most badass non-protagonist hobbits, and the five most badass protagonist hobbits. However you like it to be arranged.
10. Hamfast 'Gaffer' Gamgee
Father of the evergreen Samwise Gamgee, he clearly has a hell of a lot of parenting skills (so clearly does Sam's mother, Bell Goodchild, but she doesn't get to enter into the main story unfortunately, not forgotten by this hobbit ranker though!). This hobbit's badassery manifests itself mainly with his extensive knowledge. Apart from being a master of potatoes (who doesn't want that on their CV?) he knew what was going down in the Shire at any time, putting any others in order. This is a hobbit that wouldn't take any of Ted Sandyman's shit about the Baggins, always standing up for decent folk, like a decent hobbit ought to. This is a hobbit who turned away a ringwraith, with only words. He just up and told the ringwraith to get lost. Only the work of a badass.
9. Farmer Maggot
This poor farmer got only a throwaway part in the film, little more than a scythe and a shout to propel the cheeky chaps of the story down the hill to the black rider, as well as giving up the direction of Hobbiton to the wraith that pressed him on the name, 'Baggins'. Of course, in the book, he commands a great amount of respect, from Merry and the Brandybucks, and even Tom Bombadil himself. What this tells us is that Maggot is not against going into the Old Forest, probably on multiple occasions. That is a very big deal for a hobbit. When our plucky heroes go into that forest, there's three damn chapters devoted to it. Does Maggot get even one chapter for his many visits? Nope. Cause he's a badass and doesn't run into trouble inside. He just gets the fuck on with it.
He also commands a sense of fear in Frodo 'look at me' Baggins, who's never been near his farm since being caught stealing mushrooms as a young halfling. He was scared away from a patch of land for literally decades. Because Farmer Maggot is a badass. A hobbit who thought nothing of taking out three of our main characters in a wagon with a potential clash against an evil, as yet unknown, foe, one he had already told to piss off in similar fashion to the Gaffer. What a fucking badass.
8. Lobelia Sackville-Baggins
One of the few women in Middle Earth that had the luxury of being both named and having anything to do in the story, Lobelia actually ends up with the most defined character arc. Starting off as selfish and miserable, loathing Bilbo for not dying and leaving Bag End (and its many silver spoons) to her and her husband, she makes up for it at the end, during the Scouring of the Shire.
Saruman, going by the alias of 'Sharkey' just strolled into the SHire and took it for his own. Lobelia was wise and badass enough to resist this from the start, seeing the ruffians for what they were. She marched up to the leader, took him on armed with nothing more than her umbrella. Such badassery was noted by all the other hobbits, and they roundly applauded her efforts when she was freed from her imprisonment in Michel Delving after the scouring had ended. So touched was she that she gave Bag End back to Frodo and the rest of her money away to help hobbits who had lost their homes. Find another badass hobbit with such a strong arc, I dare you, I double dare you mother fucker.
7. Fredegar 'Fatty' Bolger
Poor Fredegar, known by his moniker that mocks his weight. A badass deserves more, especially a badass who volunteers to stay behind in the Crickhollow house when our team of four departs for the Old Forest. He does this knowing that unsavoury characters will be coming, will try to break down the door and kill him. When the ringwraiths come, with murder their main objective, he may turn tail and flee – a strategic withdrawal. There's no point being a dead badass, after all. He ran a fucking mile in roughly the time it took the ringwraith to knock down the door. Not only that, he helps set off an alarm call that sends the ringwraith fleeing from the Shire. Fleeing, not strategically withdrawing. Badass.
6. Bandobras 'Bullroarer' Took
The original badass in the world of hobbits. His sheer size (four foot five!) meant he could ride a horse. Not a cute lil pony, a god damn horse. Can you ride a horse, ya urban dweller? Possibly? Probably? Maybe? Is it a definitely? Well, maybe, I'm not sure who's actually speaking out loud to their computers in response to my inane questions.
Even if you can ride a horse, can you ride it into battle? Because that's what the Bullroarer did. In the only battle of note in the borders of the Shire before the Battle of Bywater, Bandobras roused the hobbits against the marauding orcs of the vile chieftain Golfimbul. In the Battle of Greenfields, at the edge of that small village, this badass among hobbits stopped the pillaging before it could spread to the rest of the northern counties of the Shire. The two met in combat, and the Bullroarer lopped Golfimbul's head clean off, inventing the game of golf in the process. He invented a sport, through unadulterated violence, on a horse. Badass.
5. Frodo Baggins
Now we move into the main characters section, none more so than the literal protagonist of the Lord of the Rings himself, Frodo, son of Drogo Baggins. This is a hobbit who, while slightly blank in that main character way, carried the ring all the way to Mordor. While that is technically the most badass thing ever, it's more of a nicely thematic and literary thing and less suited to individual acts of awesome and visual badassery, thus consigning his place in fifth, rather than first.
However, he still chose to take the ring, after knowing exactly what it was, how big of a deal it was, seeing what it did to Gollum, what it had started to do to his uncle Bilbo, what it would do to anyone who carried this object. He squared up to the ring, squaring up to motherfuckin' Sauron in the process, and said, 'Fine, whatever.' That's a badass in my books.
And, long before even reaching Rivendell, Frodo had saved his friends' lives from the barrow wights, hacking off an arm that was trying to get at them. What's a badass to do when confronted with an undead lil bitch?
4. Peregrin 'Pippin' Took
Pippin is the heir of Paladin Took, the Thain of the Shire, the closest thing they have to a leader. So we already know that he is not to be messed with. He proves this tenfold on his return from his adventure by rousing all the lands of the Tooks into action in the Battle of Bywater, leading a hundred hobbits of that name in that conflict, delivering a famous victory. During his travels, he and his best friend Merry even managed to surpass his ancestor in height, thanks to Treebeard's Ent draughts, reaching the unheard of height of four and a half feet. My goodness me, you can trust a Took to be badass.
That's certainly what he is most remembered for in the borders of the Shire, but he was knighted by Aragorn in mark of all his widespread badassery in Gondor. After being made a guard of the citadel, he helped save Faramir from his demented father (we can all relate...right?) and, in the book, went to the Black Gate to kill a troll, just because he had to catch up with Merry's score in the kill count. It wasn't just Legolas and Gimli who had contests of death, but they could only manage a load of orcs. They don't even count as 'one' for hobbits, ringwraiths and trolls only count.
Also, he decided their trip through Moria wasn't interesting enough so he got the interest of approximately a million billion goblins by chucking stuff down a well. Just because he was bored, thought they needed some action. Sociopathic, maybe. Badass, definitely.
3. Meriadoc 'Merry' Brandybuck
We move onto a different surname, though they're all cousins of each other, they all have a bit of Took in there somewhere. Merry, with his best friend Pippin, came back to the Shire and went about undoing all the damage Saruman had wreaked on the place, essentially taking on the mantle of a general. This is after he'd already almost died in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He must have been knackered.
It was here, outside the gates of Minas Tirith, where he stabbed the witch king in the back of the knee, losing his sword and nearly his arm in the process, and wrote himself into the history books. Not that the hobbits back home were bothered about those books. This is a being who 'no man can kill'. It took a hobbit and a woman to do it, and to prove the prophecy too, because they're the real badasses, and they nearly bloody died for it too, that's how hard it was. Heroes, the pair of them. And why were they even on the battlefield? Because they snuck in, under the nose of king Théoden who had forbade them. Knighted by the newly kinged Éomer after the battle, he went on to write books in his retirement, as all badasses do, such as Herblore of the Shire and became an expert of Rohan's language and traditions, discovering the surprising overlap with the early history of hobbits.
Both these best friends in arms were laid to rest among the kings of Gondor in the Rath Dínen. Buried with kings, these badasses would settle for nothing less. Ordinarily, they'd top one of these lists. It's just unfortunate for them that there are still two more badass hobbits out there in the annals of history.
2. Bilbo Baggins
Another ringbearer, he started off the trend of petty theft of jewellery that his nephew would carry on, to devastating effect. In Gollum's cave though, the true nature of the ring was not yet revealed to him. Still, this does not diminish his badassness, not one bit.
Although its written in a more delightful and whimsical way, the Hobbit throws a lot at this Baggins. Straight away the company encounters trolls, and Bilbo is forced into spying action. Then, in Goblin Town, he gets separated from his cumudgeonly companions, engages Gollum in a game of riddles under threat of being eaten, does the most badass bit of cheating ever with his riddle-that-definitely-wasn't-a-riddle, turned invisible to escape Gollum, and didn't even kill him when he had the chance. He then went and lied about the whole escapade to Gandalf. Who lies to Gandalf? Badass Baggins does.
The dwarves start off unumpressed at their 'burglar' but learn respect for him after he saves their necks in Mirkwood, first from spiders in the trees, then from the prisons of the elitist elves, before he single-handedly sneaks into the gold hoard of Smaug in the mountain to steal a cup, before actually conversing with a dragon. This is a beast that destroyed a legacy of an entire people, and Bilbo goes and talks with him like he's a block-headed Bracegirdle from Hardbottle. And he's not even done yet. He goes and steals the Arkenstone, the best jewel in the mountain, because he has the taste of jewellery theft now and this is all knowing that Thorin wouldn't think twice of killing him if he found out. He then sneaks out to give it to Bard as a negotiating chip, risking his life in the brave endeavour. He may get knocked out almost instantly in the battle that follows, but that's just a relief for the orcs, because they'd have been up against a badass if he'd been awake.
And why did he do all this? For a laugh. He has no reason to go on the quest to Erebor. Gandalf singles him out because that's just the wizard's sick sense of humour, but it came down to Bilbo's own choice to go fuck some shit up to pass the time.
1. Samwise Gamgee
You knew from the outset that he was going to be number one. We all knew. Congratulations, you're so clever.
The most humble of gardeners rises up from relative obscurity to become the most baddassest of all hobbits, so the tales and songs will tell. Testing the wrath of Gandalf by dropping eaves on his and Frodo's important exposition conversation, he's sent into the fray, and he has staying power. Samwise is the most devoted friend you could ever have. While Frodo suffers while carrying the ring, he'd never have got out the front door without a Gamgee making sure his prosthetic hairy feet were on straight.
After being the main conspirator that was looking out for Frodo and the legacy of the ring, he's absolutely instrumental in guiding the ringbearer to Rivendell. In Bree, he challenges Strider, thinking him to be a rogue, and then he lobs an apple at Bill Ferny on their way out of the village, so sick is he of that disgusting man's shit, while he laments the waste of a good apple.
Sam is to Frodo as Hermione is to Harry, except not a smartypants. Without him, where would the quest have ended? He is tenacious and has an endless well of perseverance, demonstrated right at the start of their journey. When they encounter Elves on their way to Bree, Gildor tells him to just give up and go home. Great encouragement there, thanks a lot. Luckily for Frodo, Sam isn't put off by a stupid elf like that, and he never, ever gives up, having to physically carry Frodo up a mountain because Frodo won't let him just take the ring and do it all himself. Sam was willing.
And of course, this is all after he confronted and wounded Shelob, a giant fucking evil spider, took the ring briefly on the edges of Mordor after he thought his master was dead and the fate of the world might be solely in his hands, and then walked into an orc stronghold and rescued the ungrateful Baggins, sacrificing food and water to keep Frodo alive and on track. All by himself, all the while having to put up with Gollum's shit. Bloody hell, what a badass.
At least the elves recognised the badassness of this hobbit, allowing him to come to the Grey Havens at the very end of his life, after he had a successful career in politics and raised about a hundred children with Rosie Cotton, and restored the Shire back to its former beauty through the power of his gardening. A true badass just wants the quiet life, like our dear Sam.