Chapter 14 Notes from The Hobbit

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The Hobbit Chapter 14

After Smaug smashed in the side of the mountain where the dwarves were hiding, he flew toward the lake town of Esgaroth. During the night, watchmen in the town watched lights flicker all over the mountain in the distance. They were not sure what to make of this. A glowing light appeared in the hills, and toward the lake the next day, and some of the people of the town shouted: "'The king beneath the mountain!...His wealth is like the sun, his silver like a fountain, his rivers golden run!'" . A man named Bard knew that it was the dragon, so he called for the bridges of the town to be cut and for the people to prepare themselves for the onslaught. The dragon descended on the lake town and swept over the arrows bouncing off his scales. Bard rallied the men brave enough not to flee, and kept the volley of arrows constant. Houses were bursting into flames and their inhabitants fled to the lake in boats. Smaug smiled at this because he enjoyed the sport of hunting them down. Bard, who is a descendant of the noble line of Dale, stood his ground with a bold group of companions. He set his last arrow and prepared to release it just as the old thrush from Lonely Mountain landed on his shoulder. Because Bard was of the race of Dale, he could understand the thrush. The bird related the dragon's weak spot over his left breast. Bard said a little prayer to his arrow, and released it as the dragon flew over him. It flew straight into the weak spot and Smaug crashed down into the burning ruins of the town. Esgaroth was no more. The moon rose high over the boats and over the lake. The townspeople lamented the loss of their homes.

The people of Esgaroth were fortunate, however. Over 3/4 of them survived and their lands and cattle were unharmed. They shivered in the cold and also mourned Bard, because they saw him fall into the lake with the dragon. Suddenly, Bard appeared. He survived because he dove into the water and escaped the burning town. The people of the town wanted to make him king. The Master felt threatened, so he proposes that Bard be king of Dale, not Esgaroth. He told the people that everyone who supported Bard should leave and rebuild Dale. The people cried out for Bard again and the Master pleaded with them not the blame him for the destruction. He told the people that the dwarves were really at fault for disturbing the dragon. Bard tried to dismiss this, but then thought of the treasure in the mountain and the ruined city of Dale. He turned to the master and asked that they not argue with each other, but tend to the wounded.

Everywhere, people thought of the treasure. Many of the survivors got sick in the cold night and eventually died. Bard ordered things as he liked, but used the name of the Master for authority. He sent a messenger to the wood-elves to ask for assistance, but they already knew of the event because all of Mirkwood was abuzz with the news. Bard's messengers found the wood-elves already approaching with a small army intending to get some of the treasure of the mountain. The Elvenking took pity on the people and sent them food and supplies. A large number of lake men took up arms and went toward the mountain with the elves. Others remained behind to begin the arduous task of rebuilding the town.

"They removed northward higher up the shore; for ever after they had a dread of the water where the dragon lay. He would never again return to his golden bed, but he was stretched cold as stone, twisted upon the floor of the shallows. There for ages his huge bones could be seen in calm weather amid the ruined piles of the old town." Chapter 14, pg. 254

Topic Tracking: Magic 10
Topic Tracking: Greed 7
Topic Tracking: Luck 7

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