Chapter 1 Notes from The Hobbit

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The Hobbit Chapter 1

A hobbit is a creature that lives in holes in the ground. These holes are not dirty tunnels, but clean houses outfitted with all the furniture and clothing of a civilized individual. A hobbit is rare and about half the size of a normal man. They possess no beard on their good-natured faces and their stomachs are usually rounded.

A particular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, lives in the Hill portion of Hobbiton. He is well off as most members of his family are. Bilbo is standing at the door of his hobbit hole when Gandalf appears. Bilbo recognizes the wizard because he has heard many stories told of the days of old, when Gandalf would appear and make his famous fireworks. He wishes the man good morning and Gandalf replies enigmatically, that to bid someone good morning could mean many things. Bilbo says Gandalf can interpret it however he likes, but he thinks it is a good morning for a pipe. Gandalf asks Bilbo if he would like to go on an adventure with him and Bilbo laughs. As the wizard lingers, Bilbo pulls out letters and reads them, pretending he has left. When Gandalf doesn't leave, Bilbo says good morning again with a tone of finality. Gandalf is amazed by this and he introduces himself officially. Even though Bilbo suspected it, he is surprised that the wizard has come back to the region. He remembers that Gandalf gave his grandmother Took earrings and that people used to disappear on adventures with him. Gandalf accepts an apology for Bilbo's gruffness, and then offers to send him on a grand adventure. Bilbo panics and asks Gandalf to return for tea the next day. He runs inside as the wizard laughs.

"The next day he had almost forgotten about Gandalf. He did not remember things very well, unless he put them down on his Engagement Tablet: like this: Gandalf Tea Wednesday. Yesterday he had been too flustered to do anything of the kind." Chapter 1, pg. 6

There is a knock on the door and Bilbo opens it to Dwalin the dwarf. After a silence, he invites the dwarf in. There is another knock and it is another dwarf, Balin. Bilbo is frustrated as Balin asks for beer instead of tea. On the third knock it is still not Gandalf, but Kili and Fili. They join the others to Bilbo's consternation. He has a drink and listens to the dwarves speak of fantastic things. There is yet another knock at the door and in walk Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin. They ask for coffee, porter, and ale. There is a bang at the door and Bilbo shuffles over, annoyed. Gandalf is standing there with more company. Gandalf introduces Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin Oakenshield, the most important of them all. Gandalf announces that everyone is present and asks for some red wine. The dwarves ask for many different types of food. Bilbo complains that the dwarves aren't helping him and Fili and Kili spring up to help. Bilbo asks if the dwarves will be staying for supper and Thorin tells him that they will be. He calls for the other dwarves to help clean up and they sing a song about breaking plates and spilling drinks to torment Bilbo. When the cleaning is done, Thorin and Gandalf blow smoke rings and the other dwarves take out flutes, fiddles, clarinets, and a harp to make music. Bilbo gets swept away in the song as Gandalf's shadow stretches across the room. The dwarves sing of their former beautiful home that was filled with gold. Bilbo is overcome by the content of their song. The adventurous part of him, the Took part, begins to take over, until he thinks of his house in flames and recants.

The music stops and he offers to light a torch, but Thorin warns they need "'Dark for dark business'" Chapter 1, pg. 16. Gandalf asks for silence and Thorin calls the meeting to order, referring to Bilbo as their audacious conspirator. Thorin speaks with bombast about their plans, until Bilbo interrupts with a shriek of fear about the adventure to come. Gandalf makes a flame with his staff and Bilbo repeats maniacally that he was struck by lightning, even though nothing has really happened. Gandalf tries to tell the dwarves that Bilbo really is fierce. According to the narrator, fierce would be hyperbole for even the bravest of hobbits. When Bilbo feels better, he comes back into the room to hear Gloin wondering aloud if Bilbo is suited for the job. Bilbo is angry to hear this and tells him that he can be brave. Gloin tells him that they need a thief or 'treasure-hunter' for their expedition. Gandalf heartily asserts that Bilbo is an excellent burglar. He asks for a light as they look over a map of Lonely Mountain, beyond the vast forest Mirkwood. Gandalf gives Thorin a key that he got from Thorin's grandfather. Gandalf points to a secret entrance on the side of the mountain that is too small for a dragon. At five by three feet, Bilbo thinks the tunnel must be large.

They discuss routes to the mountain. Thorin doesn't want to go through the dangerous forest, but the way south or north would be too difficult. Bilbo is confused by everything that is going on and asks for explanations. Thorin tells him that his grandfather ruled other dwarves in the mountain where they had tunneled, and built a beautiful home. There they crafted many things from gold and accumulated a good amount of treasure. Treasure, however, attracts dragons, and their great hoard attracted one called Smaug. Smaug slaughtered the dwarves and most of the men in the nearby city Dale. Afterwards, the dwarves who survived made a meager living mining. Gandalf was given the map and key for safe keeping until Thorin could be found. Thorin's father died as a prisoner of a goblin whom Thorin vows to kill. Bilbo speaks out loud, accidentally, and says:

"'Well I should say that you ought to go East and have a look around. After all there is a side-door, and dragons must sleep sometimes, I suppose. If you sit on the door-step long enough, I daresay you will think of something.' "Chapter 1, pg. 26

Bilbo takes their breakfast orders for the next day and is upset they do not say please and thank you. As Bilbo falls asleep, he hears Thorin singing.

Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 1
Topic Tracking: Greed 1

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