Chapter 17 Notes from The Hobbit

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The Hobbit Chapter 17

The Elvenking and Bard return to the front gate the next morning and Thorin refuses to listen to their reasoning. They show him the Arkenstone, and he is enraged. He asks them how they got it and Bilbo admits that it was his doing. Thorin grabs a hold of Bilbo and shakes him, yelling that none of this would have happened if Gandalf had been around. Gandalf throws off his cloak and yells for Thorin to release the hobbit and listen to him. Thorin gets more angry at what he thinks is a conspiracy. He tells Bilbo to leave and promises that his share of the treasure will be sent after him. Gandalf speaks to the dwarf: "'You are not making a very splendid figure as King under the Mountain.'" Chapter 17, pg. 275. Thorin is too enamored with the stone to think of anything else. He tells Bilbo to leave. Bard tells him that they will return the next day to get Bilbo's share.

Thorin sends reluctant ravens to Dain to bid for him to hurry up. The dwarf army of 500 arrives the next morning after marching all night long. His dwarves are veterans of many wars and are outfitted with the best armor and weapons. The men and elves arm themselves for battle. Bard goes to meet the host with Bilbo by his side. Dain says that they are going to join the others at the mountain. Bard will not allow this. The dwarves each carry enough food to last for weeks and months in the mountain. He knows that the siege will be endless if the two parties join. He sends messengers to the mountain to get Bilbo's share, but Thorin just shoots at them.

Bard is enraged, and is eager to begin the battle, but the Elvenking thinks that they should delay it as long as possible. Without signal, the dwarves form ranks and begin to move against the human and elf camps. Just as the armies are about to meet, Gandalf jumps in the middle and hollers for them to halt. He tells them that Bolg, the son of the Great Goblin, is just about to arrive with a great army of goblins and wargs. He calls the leaders in for a council.

He tells them that the goblins have been gathering in great numbers for the past several months. They moved towards the west in search of the Great Goblin's murderer. Now they rush forward with lust for the treasure as well as a desire for revenge. Dain, the Elvenking, and Bard plan to lure the goblins into the valley before the mountain, where their great numbers won't have the same advantage. The elves set their forces on an eastern hill, with the dwarves and men on the west. The mountain is at the north. Bard sees the black hoards racing forward in the distance. They pour into the valley in countless numbers. Early on in the battle, Bilbo dons his magic ring and hides. The elves charge, and slay many goblins with their rampage before bring halted by the sheer numbers of their enemy.

As the elfish onslaught slows, the dwarves and men empty into the valley to reinvigorate the battle. For a short moment, the goblins look defeated, but soon they begin to flank the others by climbing over the side of the mountain. They now surround the two other armies. The battle rages through the day. At dusk, Bard struggles to hold the eastern point. Suddenly, Thorin breaks from the front gate with his dwarves, and many others rally around him. They rush into the center of the enemy and begin to push back the tide of goblins. They have initial success, but their force is just too small to sustain such momentum. They are soon surrounded. Bilbo is in the midst of this battle, and he is sure that they are going to die soon:

" 'Misery me! I have heard songs of many battles, and I have always understood that defeat may be glorious. It seems very uncomfortable, not to say distressing. I wish I was well out of it.'" Chapter 17, pg. 28

The sun is turning a deep red. Bilbo cries out because he sees a host of eagles descending from above. Suddenly, a stone crashes against his helmet and knocks him out.

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