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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa on January 3rd 1892. With the next few years, his family moved back to England and his father died in South Africa. Eight years later, his mother died, and he and his brother became the charges of a catholic priest. He earned a scholarship to school and a degree in Classics before he enlisted for World War 1. Within a year, he married his childhood sweetheart and lost many friends in the war. He eventually became a professor of philology and English, focusing on the language and literature of Northern Europe in the early middle ages. During his tenure at Oxford University, he was a part of a group called the inklings, which also included the author C.S. Lewis. His first fantasy novel, The Hobbit, was published in 1937, and his trilogy The Lord of the Rings wasn't published for another twenty years. Tolkien had three sons with his wife Edith, who died in 1971. Two years later, Tolkien died in Oxford.
Tolkien maintains what is still a shaky place in literature. Fantasy had little readership in the first half of the twentieth century. While he also published occasionally as a scholar (His edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is still in use), he was not as active or achieving as his colleague, Lewis. Together, however, they represent a new breed of scholar-writers. Both of them were deeply religious men who created visions of other fantastic worlds.
The Hobbit was Tolkien's first book, first published in 1937. It was originally dismissed as juvenile by many of his friends. It had evolved from stories he told his children into a full-length tale he shared with his discussion group. Former Oxford students encouraged the professor to complete his work with his own illustrations. As shown years later, Tolkien felt a certain kinship with his characters: "I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated)..." The Hobbit was a financial success, although it was panned by many critics. His publishers wanted him to pen many more editions, in much the same way that C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.
Almost twenty years after the publishing of The Hobbit, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was published in the form of a hardback trilogy. It was well received, but not as well as the initial sales of The Hobbit. Ten years later, however, an unauthorized edition was printed in paperback in the U.S. Within six months, Tolkien issued an authorized edition. Tolkien mania had hit the States. All over, Tolkien fan clubs sprouted up. His books had become a phenomenon. Before Tolkien died, his son promised that he would finish the editing of Tolkien's longest labored-over work The Silmarillion. In 1977, this collection of histories and legends became an international best seller.
The effects of the Tolkien phenomenon are still felt in the modern era. The fantasy genre has grown exponentially since the publishing of The Hobbit, an occurrence that may have been all but impossible without Tolkien's work. While Tolkien's standing in the ranks of literature continues to be debated, his books continue to sell every year. As William Dowie said, "Other writers achieve popularity and admiration as well as critical acclaim; but the Tolkien books breed a kind of fierce discipleship that seeks to proselytize the unenlightened."
Dowie, William. The Gospel of Middle-Earth according to J.R.R. Tolkien. from J.R.R. Tolkien, Scholar and Storyteller. Salu and Farrell, eds. London: Cornell University Press, 1979.
Pearce, Joseph, ed. Toklein: A Celebration. Great Britain: HarperCollins, 1999.
Rogers, Deborah and Ivor. J.R.R. Tolkien. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine Books, 1937.
Bilbo, a simple hobbit, is smoking his pipe one day when the wizard Gandalf appears and asks him to go on an adventure. He is confused and tells the wizard to come back the next day. The wizard does show up the next day, but only after thirteen dwarves have knocked at his door first. Bilbo is very frustrated by this, but he acts the part of the gracious host. The dwarves eat, speaking of their imminent journey to an old home beneath Lonely Mountain. Long ago, a dragon named Smaug chased their forefathers from the mountain and stole their treasure. The group now wants Bilbo to come along as their thief.
Bilbo wakes late the next morning, and is hurried along by Gandalf to join his fellow travelers. They begin their journey. Before long, they have gone further from Hobbiton than Bilbo ever has before. One night, Gandalf disappears and they cannot make a fire because it is too wet and cold. However, they see a fire in the distance. Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, sends Bilbo ahead to investigate. There are three trolls eating mutton around a fire. Bilbo tries to pick a pocket but is captured. Soon, all of the dwarves are captured. Gandalf returns and causes trouble between the trolls, until the suns rises and the trolls turn to stone.
The party travels for a while and arrives at a magical place called Rivendell. They stay here for a while and get fresh supplies. They leave and enter the mountains. Their path is dangerous and it begins to rain very hard. They take shelter in a cave and fall asleep. Bilbo wakes to see the ponies being stolen. They are all grabbed by goblins, except for Gandalf, who makes himself disappear. In the great hall of the goblins, Gandalf reappears and kills the chief goblin right before the dwarves are to be killed. The party flees into the tunnels. Bilbo is dropped and is knocked out in the darkness. When he wakes, he finds a ring and wanders until he runs into a creature named Gollum. Gollum challenges him to a riddle contest, and Bilbo wins. Bilbo realizes that the ring is Gollum's lost ring, and it makes him invisible. Gollum thinks Bilbo stole his ring, so he runs out of the caves to find Bilbo, while the invisible Bilbo actually follows Gollum out of the caves. Bilbo is reunited with his friends on the outside, but he doesn't tell them about the ring.
The party travels further, until they are forced to climb up trees to escape giant wolves. They cannot fight them off and are in more danger when goblins arrive. Giant eagles notice the scene, and rescue the travelers. They take them near a dark forest called Mirkwood. Here, they stay with a man named Beorn who helps them by providing them with food and ponies. When they get to the edge of the forest, however, they must send the ponies back. Gandalf does not enter the forest with them.
The forest is dark and terrible. One of the dwarves falls into a stream that makes him fall asleep. They have to carry him. After many days, they are near the end of their food and they leave the path, against Gandalf's advice, when they see lights in the trees. Giant spiders capture them but Bilbo escapes and helps his friends escape. He reveals to them the secret of the ring and they get away from the spiders.
Thorin is missing. He was captured by wood-elves. Soon, the rest of the group, except for Bilbo, is captured also. Bilbo spends weeks wandering through the wood-elves' home invisible, and he comes up with a plan. The dwarves escape in empty wine barrels tossed into a river. In this fashion, they float all the way to Esgaroth, the last town before their destination.
In Esgaroth, they are treated like royalty, and after a week, they set off towards the mountain. When they get there, they search for the secret entrance and find it after a lot of trouble. They cannot open the gate, until days later, when they discover the hidden keyhole. Bilbo enters the dragon's lair, and steals a golden cup for them. Smaug, the dragon, wakes and kills their ponies. Bilbo reenters the lair and has a conversation with the dragon; he discovers that the dragon has a weak spot over its left breast. The dragon attacks them, but cannot reach them because they've closed themselves in the narrow tunnel. Smaug goes off to destroy the nearby town of Esgaroth.
In Esgaroth, the dragon destroys the town but is killed by a man named Bard, who was told of its weak point by the thrush from the mountain. The men begin to rebuild their city, but some of them join a passing elf army in search of Smaug's treasure.
The dwarves are informed of the coming armies by a raven, and they decide to fortify the mountain and send a bird to Thorin's cousin. When the armies arrive, Thorin refuses to compromise. Bilbo steals a valuable stone and gives it to the armies as a means of bargaining, but Thorin will not bargain. His cousin arrives with an army of dwarves and the sides prepare to fight, until Gandalf stands between them to warn that a great army of goblins is soon to arrive. The armies fight the goblins, and would have lost, if an army of eagles and a man in the form of a bear, named Beorn, had not helped them. Thorin dies, and asks for Bilbo's forgiveness. Bilbo heads home with Gandalf and Beorn.
After a very long journey, Bilbo makes it home to find his stuff being auctioned off. He gets most of his things back and settles down again, happy to be living a simple life after so long a tale.
Bilbo Baggins: The main character and protagonist of the tale. For unknown reasons, it is Bilbo that Gandalf chooses to be the fourteenth member of the journey to Lonely Mountain. Although the tale is about a journey, it is also about the slow change of Bilbo from a provincial hobbit into a world-weary hero. It is his bravery and wisdom that rescues the dwarves on multiple occasions and makes it possible for them to make it to the end of their journey. Early in the tale, he finds a magic ring that makes him invisible. This ability helps Bilbo become brave. He frees the dwarves from the spiders and wood-elves. He is the only one of the party with the gall to face the dragon. Although he lapses momentarily into greed, his thoughts ultimately return to serving his friends in the best way he can, even if it is against their wishes. Bilbo is profoundly altered by his journey, but when he returns home again, he is happy to live a simple life.
Gandalf: Gandalf is the wizard of the tale. He is an enigmatic figure and the conductor of the entire affair. He not only gives Thorin the map and the idea to return to the mountain, but he also strangely couples thirteen dwarves with a hobbit who has never left his region before. Gandalf saves the group when they are in trouble, until he leaves them for other missions. Even though he is strong, he is not invincible. He cannot fight all the wards and goblins alone. At the end of the tale, he stops the dwarves from fighting the men and elves and turns their attention to the coming hoards. They tale ends as it began, with Bilbo and Gandalf alone.
Thorin Oakenshield: Thorin is the leader of the dwarves and heir to the title 'King under the Mountain.' He has not seen Lonely Mountain since his people were pushed from it when he was but a child. Although the dwarves look to him for leadership, he really provides very little until the end. It is Gandalf and Bilbo that lead the group across the world to Lonely Mountain. Thorin shows himself to be nothing but stubborn. He refuses to make good with the Elvenking. When they get to the mountain, he wants Bilbo to go in first and does not enter the lair himself until he sees that everyone else is all right. His worst moments come near the end of the tale, when he refuses to make a treaty with the men and elves, and he threatens Bilbo. It is only in death that he sees the error of his ways and apologizes.
Smaug: Smaug is the dragon of Lonely Mountain and the antagonist of the tale. He is the feared end of the journey. Although he is not present for most of the story, his existence looms. His attack on Lonely Mountain displaced an entire people and several towns. His death comes at the hands of Bard, a noble descendant of the people of Dale. His conversations with Bilbo expose him as an arrogant and hateful beast who loves treasure only for the sake of having it.
Dwalin: The first of the fourteen dwarves to come to Bilbo's house. He is the third most important of the dwarves after Thorin and Balin.
Balin: Balin is the second in command of the dwarves. Whenever Thorin is not present, he makes the decisions.
Kili: One of the two youngest dwarves, Kili is almost always shown doing something alongside Fili. The pair are practically inseparable. They die together in the battle at the end of the novel.
Fili: Another of the two youngest dwarves, Fili is almost always shown doing something alongside Kili. The pair are practically inseparable. The die together in the battle at the end of the novel. Fili has the best sight of all the dwarves. He is the one who throws the hook at the end of the rope when they must cross the stream in Mirkwood.
Dori: Another of the dwarves, Dori is the on who drops Bilbo while carrying him in the tunnels of the misty mountains. The rest blame Dori for losing Bilbo. When they are caught by the Wargs in the trees, it is Dori's legs that Bilbo grabs.
Nori: Another of the dwarves.
Ori: Another dwarf.
Oin: Yet another dwarf.
Gloin: One of the thirteen dwarves.
Bifur: One of the thirteen dwarves who is almost caught by Smaug when he bursts from Lonely Mountain.
Bofur: Another of the dwarves who is almost caught by Smaug when he bursts from Lonely Mountain.
William the Troll: William is the leader of the trolls that the travelers encounter early on in the tale. Bilbo tries to steal something from his pocket and is caught. Unlike the other trolls, William wants to release Bilbo. He dies when the dawn comes early.
Elrond: Elrond is an old elf who lives in Rivendell. In this tale he always plays the part of a gracious host. Elrond reads the moon letter on the map that no one detected previously. These instructions make it possible for the dwarves to enter the mountain.
Great Goblin: Great Goblin is the leader on the goblins in the Misty Mountains. He allegedly imprisoned and killed Thorin's father. Gandalf kills the goblins king and helps the travelers escape from an almost certain doom. It is this murder that causes the goblins to gather and plan to pursue the dwarves.
Gollum : The underground creature Bilbo meets after he gets lost in the tunnels of the Misty Mountains. It is Gollum's ring that Bilbo finds on the ground when he first wakes up. Bilbo wants Gollum to show him the way out, but Gollum gets increasingly more interested in eating Bilbo. He tells the Hobbit that he received the ring as a birthday present. The two have a riddle contest and Bilbo wins. He follows Gollum out of the caverns.
Beorn: The skin-changing man who lives near the edge of Mirkwood. He gives the travelers shelter and supplies when they show up at his home. He investigates their story and when he finds out that it is true, he offers them more help. He appears at the end of the tale and bursts into the battle to kill Bolg, the leading goblin. Bilbo and Gandalf travel east with him at the end of the tale.
Bombur: Bombur is the fat dwarf who is often messing things up. In Mirkwood, he falls into the stream of forgetfulness and falls to sleep for many days. His companions must carry him. When he wakes, he has forgotten everything since they left the home of Bilbo. He is almost caught by the dragon when it bursts from the mountain.
Elvenking: He is the king of the wood-elves. He has a natural distrust of dwarves and refuses to release the travelers until they tell him exactly why they are traveling through Mirkwood. At the end of the tale, he helps the lake-men after Smaug has destroyed their city, and he leads an army to Lonely Mountain to claim a part of the treasure. He wants to delay the battle when Bard wants to begin. In the end, he wants Bilbo and Gandalf to come and stay at his home, but Bilbo does not want to re-enter Mirkwood.
Master of the town: He is the leader of Esgaroth. He doesn't really believe Thorin's tale, but he humors him to make the people happy. When the dragon has destroyed the town, he tries to shift the blame onto the dwarves. He ends up dying with a great amount of treasure that he had stolen from the Lake-men.
Bard: Bard is a descendant of the royal line of Dale. He does not appear until Smaug attacks the town, but he makes a brave stand with a small group of townspeople. He understands the words of the thrush, and slays the dragon. Afterwards, the people want to make him king, but Bard does not want to start trouble, so he stays quiet. He leads an army of men with the Elvenking to Lonely Mountain He fights well in the war, and ends the tale by re-establishing Dale.
Roac: The old Raven who carries the message to Thorin that Smaug has died. For the rest of the tale, Roac serves as a messenger for the dwarves, even though he vocally disagrees with their plans. He is the chief of many messenger Ravens.
the Old Thrush: The bird that fulfills a part of the omen read by Elrond. It is with his knocking that Bilbo realizes it is the time to find the keyhole and open the tunnel door. He also observes Bilbo telling the dwarves about the dragon's weak spot. He carries this information to Bard in Esgaroth. Alter on he tells Roac that Smaug is dead and Roac tells the dwarves.
Dain: Thorin's cousin who leads an army of dwarves from a week's march away to help the other dwarves. His entrance changes Bard's thoughts on the state of the conflict. Without the dwarves, the goblins may have overcome everyone else. Dain becomes king after Thorin dies, and is a very gracious leader. He gives a portion of the treasure to the men and elves.
Lord of the Eagles: The leader of the eagles who helps the travelers escape from the Wargs. He also brings them as far as the Carrock. At the end of the tale, he appears with an army of eagles to help them fight the goblins.
Bolg: The son of the Great Goblin, he seeks revenge against Bilbo and party, who killed his father. He comes with an army of goblins seeking treasure and revenge. Despite being grossly outnumbered, the party is saved at the last minute by Beorn, the skin-changing man who lives near the edge of Mirkwood.
Hobbit: A Hobbit is a small creature half the size of a man. They have no beards and hairy feet with a tendency for rotund stomachs. They tend to be farmers and rarely go on adventures. Beyond the borders of their people, few have ever heard of them
the Hill: A wealthy section of Hobbiton in which the Baggins family has lived for many generations. It is an enviable place to live. So enviable, that Bilbo's relatives rush to auction his possessions and take his home after he has been gone a year.
Hobbiton: The name of the region in which the hobbits live.
Took: Bilbo's mother's maiden name. The Took family is a more adventurous and daring family than the Baggins. The family has old ties with Gandalf.
Dwarf: Dwarves are swarthy and stocky people about 75 percent as tall as humans. Their features are more thick and in different proportions than men. They live for hundreds of years and grow very long beards. They are known for their ability in forging jewelry and weapons, as well as mining.
Lonely Mountain: The mountain in which Smaug makes his lair. It was once the palace of a dwarf king. This is the goal of their journey. Inside is a great hoard of treasure stolen from the region around it.
Mirkwood: A great forest over the Misty Mountains. It is thick and dark and full of evil creatures. There are two paths through it: an old road that is no longer passable, and a dark elf trail. Mirkwood represents the darkest part of the traveler's journey. They almost starve and die in it. It is so unpleasant, that Bilbo refuses to pass through it on his return journey.
Dragons: Dragons are great serpentine beasts with wings. They shoot fire from their mouths. They are capable of speech and are known to be fairly intelligent. A dragon's goal is to accumulate a large amount of treasure and sleep on it.
Dale: The town in the shadow of Lonely Mountain. It was a prosperous trading community until Smaug came and destroyed it. Bard, a heir to the city, rebuilds it after the death of Smaug.
Key: Gandalf gave Thorin a key with the map to Lonely Mountain. The key opens the secret entrance that leads to the dragon's lair.
Goblin: A goblin is a hideous creature that is a head or two taller than a man. It has mottled skin with vicious claws and teeth. They lurk in tunnels and mountains. As a general rule, they make treaties with no creatures but wargs.
Misty Mountains: A mountain range that runs north-south. It must be passed over in order to approach Mirkwood, a forest that must be passed though to get to the Lonely Mountain.
Rivendell: A valley near the Misty Mountains where elves have made a sanctuary. It is warmer and prettier than the land around it. In it, Elrond resides with many others. Bilbo stops here twice during the book to rest.
ring: Bilbo finds a magic ring in a cave in the Lonely Mountains. It figures into the rest of the tale. It is the instrument of his increased bravery. Gollum lusts after its return.. It is the main object in Tolkein's trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.
Wargs: Wargs are intelligent and oversized wolves with generally evil intentions. They have rough treaties with goblins to help them raid and terrorize other species.
Carrock: The Carrock is a large freestanding and flat topped stone constructed in the middle of a forest by Beorn.
Long Lake: The lake that extends from Esgaroth to a day or so walk from Lonely mountain.
Esgaroth: The town at the southern end of Long Lake that is destroyed by Smaug. It is here that the dwarves get fed and outfitted before the last leg of their journey.
Arkenstone: An immense white gem, treasured by dwarves and guarded by Smaug, the dragon. Bilbo finds this gem and stores it in his pocket; after Smaug's death the dwarves search all over the mountain for this famous gem. Bilbo sneaks out and gives the Arkenstone to Bard and the Elvenking to use as barter with the stubborn Thorin, who refuses to give up any treasure or leave the mountain.
Quote 1: "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
Quote 2: "'Dark for dark business.'" Chapter 1, pg. 16
Quote 3: "'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
Quote 4: "'[P]lease don't cook me, kind sirs!...I'll cook beautifully for you!'" Chapter 2, pg. 37
Quote 5: "'You are come to the very edge of the Wild, as some of you may know. Hidden somewhere ahead of us is the fair valley of Rivendell where Elrond lives in the Last Homely House. I sent a message by my friends, and we are expected.'" Chapter 3, pg. 46
Quote 6: "'[S]tay by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's day will shine upon the key-hole.'" Chapter 3, pg. 53
Quote 7: "'Smash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to the dark holes full of snakes and never let them see the light again!'" Chapter 4, pg. 64
Quote 8: "'A box without hinges key or lid/ yet golden treasure inside is hid.'" Chapter 5, pg. 75
Quote 9: "No great leap for a man, but a leap in the dark. Straight over Gollum's head he jumped, seven feet forward and three in the air; indeed, had he known it, he only just missed cracking his skull on the low arch of the passage." Chapter 5, pg. 86
Quote 10: "'We must be getting on at once, now we are a little rested, they will be after us in hundreds when night comes on.'" Chapter 6, pg. 95
Quote 11: "Poor little Bilbo was very nearly left behind again! He just managed to catch hold of Dori's legs, as Dori was borne off last of all; and they went together above the tumult and the burning, Bilbo swinging in the air with his arms nearly breaking." Chapter 6, pg. 107
Quote 12: "a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs knotted with muscles." Chapter 7, pg. 117
Quote 13: "There were no more deer; not even rabbits were to be seen. By the afternoon they had reached the eves of Mirkwood, and were resting almost beneath the great overhanging boughs of its outer trees. Their trunks were huge and gnarled, their branches twisted, their leaves were dark and long. Ivy grew on them and trailed along the ground." Chapter 7, pg. 134
Quote 14: "the black emperors for a long time and enjoyed the feel of the breeze in his hair and on his face." Chapter 8, pg. 148
Quote 15: "Somehow the killing of a giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of a wizard or the dwarves or anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath." Chapter 8, pg. 155
Quote 16: "They wondered what evil fate had befallen him, magic or dark monsters; and shuddered as they lay lost in the forest." Chapter 8, pg. 166
Quote 17: "One day, nosing and wandering about, Bilbo discovered a very interesting thing: the great gates were not the only entrance to the caves. A stream flowed under part of the lowest regions of the palace, and joined the Forest River some way further to the east, beyond the steep slope out of which the main mouth opened." Chapter 9, pg. 175
Quote 18: "'Well! Here we are!...And I suppose we ought to thank our stars and Mr. Baggins. I am sure he has a right to expect it, though I wish he could have arranged a more comfortable journey. Still- all very much at your service once more, Mr. Baggins. No doubt we shall feel properly grateful when we are fed and recovered.'" Chapter 10, pg. 193
Quote 19: "He had never thought that the dwarves would actually dare to approach Smaug, but believed they were frauds who would sooner or later be discovered and be turned out." Chapter 10, pg. 199
Quote 20: "There was excitement in the camp that night." Chapter 11, pg. 205
Quote 21: "Smaug came hurtling in from the North, licking the mountain-sides with flame, beating his great wings with a noise like a roaring wind. His hot breath shrivelled the grass before the door, and drove in through the crack they had left and scorched them as they hid. Flickering fires leaped up and black rock-shadows danced. The darkness fell as he passed again." Chapter 12, pg. 217
Quote 22: "'My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane and my breath death.'" Chapter 12, pg. 224
Quote 23: Though they were much relieved, they were inclined to be grumpy at being frightened for nothing; but what they would have said, if he had told them at that moment about the Arkenstone, I don't know. Their mere fleeting glimpses of treasure which they had caught as they went along had rekindled all the fire of their dwarfish hearts; and when the heart of a dwarf, even the most respectable, is wakened by gold and by jewels, he grows suddenly bold, and he may become fierce." Chapter 13, pg. 237
Quote 24: "'The king beneath the mountain!...His wealth is like the sun, his silver like a fountain, his rivers golden run!'" Chapter 14, pg. 246
Quote 25: "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
Quote 26: "'Your own wisdom must decide your course, but thirteen is a small remnant of the great folk of Durin that once dwelt here and now are scattered far. If you will listen to my counsel, you will not trust the Master of the Lake-men, but rather him that shot the dragon with his bow.'" Chapter 15, pg. 257-8
Quote 27: "'that stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.'" Chapter 16, pg. 266
Quote 28: "'You are not making a very splendid figure as King under the Mountain.'" Chapter 17, pg. 275
Quote 29: "'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
Quote 30: "'So snow comes after fire and even dragons have their ending! I wish now only to be in my own arm-chair!'" Chapter 18, pg. 294
Quote 31: "'Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.'" Chapter 19, pg. 300
Greed 1: Although the dwarves try to claim that their journey is to reclaim their heritage, their real motivation is greed. They have spent over a hundred years in the mines working, not trying to reclaim their heritage. They are not interested until a wizard confronts them with a map and a key. The journey is for gold and treasure. At first, Bilbo is not impressed by their greed, but the idea of treasure becomes attractive to him, and it is one of the major reasons for his significant change of heart.
Greed 2: Elrond knows that the dwarves are making the journey in search of gold and treasure. He frowns on this because he does not think that it is a noble pursuit. This is the first time in the novel that a character criticizes the dwarves' motivation for making such a long and dangerous journey.
Greed 3: Elves do not like dwarves because they think that dwarves once stole treasure from them. Thorin refuses to tell the elf king why they are traveling to Mirkwood for two reasons. One, he fears that the elves will stop them from going because they don't want them to have the treasure, and two, they will ask for some portion of the treasure. The elves don't believe their claim that they are going to visit relatives, because they know that dwarves are often only motivated by greed.
Greed 4: The Master of Esgaroth is sure that Thorin is not who he claims to be. He is just a fraud using his status as a dwarf to get the royal treatment from the people of the lake town. The people are ready to believe him because they associate dwarves with wealth and the gold days of the past.
Greed 5: The Dragon is the epitome of greed. It collects treasure. It kills for treasure and has no use for it except as a mound to lie upon. Smaug knows that dwarves are greedy and that the thief in his chamber is motivated by money. He tries to manipulate the Hobbit by creating worries about whether or not the dwarves are going to be able to carry enough treasure away to make the entire journey profitable. Bilbo starts doubting his friends, but not enough to betray or abandon them. He does, however, question them later.
Greed 6: Bilbo pockets the Arkenstone, a gem that Thorin values more than anything else. The dwarves stop worrying about the dragon once they get their hands on part of the treasure. Even tough they are running out of food, and Smaug could return at any moment, their worries seem to be blinded by the fact that they now have the treasure they traveled so many months to find.
Greed 7: When the dwarves hear that the men and elves are coming to the mountain, their first instinct is to find a way to protect the treasure. The raven advises them not to fortify against the armies, or to call Dain to bring a dwarf army, but they do it anyway. When the armies arrive, they refuse to negotiate with them and eventually refuse to talk to them at all.
Greed 8: Thorin continues to refuse to compromise with the elves and men. Bilbo knows that the Arkenstone is the only thing that Thorin can think about, so he gives it to Bard and the Elvenking to use to bargain with the dwarves. While Bilbo may have been greedy for a moment when he took the stone, he decides to use the stone, and Thorin's greed, to prevent a battle.
Greed 9: Gandalf criticizes Thorin for being so unabashedly selfish as a new king. Thorin is unwilling to make any sort of compromise and starts to choke Bilbo when he finds out that he took the Arkenstone. Thorin dies as a result of his greed and he knows this. He repents right before his death.
Greed 10: When Bilbo returns to his home, it is only with two small chests of gold and silver. Although he went on the journey with the promise of treasure, he spends most of it on relatives and others. It has no real meaning for him, and he does not miss it later in life.
Luck 1: Just when the dwarves are about to be sat upon by the trolls, Gandalf appears and starts to create strife between the trolls. While he later reveals that he heard from his friend Elrond that trolls were in the area, and that is why he turned around and came back for them, it still doesn't account for the fact that he arrived just in time to prevent their deaths.
Luck 2: The luck in this section is a mixture of good and bad. The travelers just happen to rest in the cave that the goblins use as their main entrance to the outside world. This is terrible luck, but fortunately Bilbo wakes just as the goblins are stealing the ponies, so he has enough time to warn the others. If Bilbo hadn't cried out, Gandalf may have been captured along with the others.
Luck 3: The first thing that Bilbo finds when he wakes from his fall is the ring. Without this ring, the tale might have been very different. When he is playing the riddle game with Gollum, he just happens to yell for time when 'time' is the correct answer to Gollum's question. Because Gollum thinks that Bilbo knows more than he actually does, Bilbo is able to follow the creature through the tunnel and rejoin his friends.
Luck 4: Bilbo ends up on the other side of the mountains, shortening his journey significantly. He also happens to find his friends pretty quickly. When they are all stuck in the trees and it looks as if they are going to die, the eagles appear and they rescue them. They have had no contact with the eagles prior to this. If the eagles had not appeared, they surely would have perished at the whim of the goblins and wargs.
Luck 5: The companions have generally bad luck in the forest. Bombur falls into the stream of forgetfulness that has no bridge over it. When Bilbo climbs a tree to see how much further the forest extends, he cannot see anything but trees because they are in a small valley. Despite the bad luck, Bilbo wakes before he is poisoned by a spider and is able to help his friends.
Luck 6: In this section, the dwarves have two primary problems: they can't find the secret entrance and they don't know how to open it. Bilbo has the good luck to solve both of these problems. He finds the entrance at the top of a ledge and remembers the omens, predicted by Elrond, that will allow them to open the door. He does this just in time to alert the dwarves to the keyhole that is exposed in the ground.
Luck 7: The thrush happens to be around when Bilbo speaks of the dragon's weak spot. Bilbo also gets the dwarves to close the door to the tunnel right before the dragon rounds the side of the mountain and almost kills them. The same thrush flies to Esgaroth and tells Bard how to kill the dragon right at the moment when Bard is about to shoot his last arrow.
Luck 8: The dwarves would not have known of the death of Smaug and the advancing armies if Roac and the ravens didn't still live around the mountain. They are even more fortunate, because the ravens are still willing to obey the dwarves even if they don't agree with them.
Luck 9: Gandalf warns them about the coming attack just in time for them to set the armies in motion. The eagles appear when it looks as if the goblins are about to overthrow the other armies. When four armies cannot overcome the goblins, Beorn appears and rushes into the melee. He kills the leader and causes disarray among the goblin ranks. Bilbo is knocked out and he does not get seriously wounded throughout the battle, as he lies on the ground.
Luck 10: When Bilbo happens to tell Gandalf that he has been very lucky, Gandalf laughs for he does not think that there is such a thing as luck. He tells the Hobbit that everything that happened turned out that way because it was meant to, not because of some odd sort of circumstance.
Magic 1: Gandalf disappears, while the dwarves get themselves into trouble with the trolls. So far, the only evidence of his magical powers is the light he made come from his staff in Bilbo's home. Gandalf hides and uses his voice to cause trouble between the trolls. It is not clear whether dawn comes early because Gandalf bids it, or whether the trolls just were not paying attention. Either way, it is the sun that defeats the trolls and Gandalf who delays them.
Magic 2: The swords that Gandalf and Thorin took from the cave of the trolls are magic in a certain way. Since they were crafted by elves, they have distinct personalities and names. They also glow slightly in the dark. The map to Lonely Mountain is also magical. It is inscribed with letters that show themselves only in the light of the moon at a certain time of year. Elrond reads these words to the travelers. Without these instructions, they may never have gained entrance to the mountain.
Magic 3: Gandalf uses his magic to disappear when he hears Bilbo's cry. He stays hidden in the shadows and sneaks along to the chamber of the great hall. When the Great goblin decides to have the dwarves killed, Gandalf extinguishes the fire that lights the hall and kills the Great Goblin with a sword. Then, he shouts to the dwarves and Bilbo, and leads them into the deep tunnels with a pale light from his staff.
Magic 4: The ring that Bilbo finds is undoubtedly magic. Its makes the wearer invisible. There are tacit side effects, however. The ring also makes people very upset when they lose it. Gollum is enraged when he cannot find it, and Bilbo feels an unexplained pang of loss when he thinks that he has misplaced it.
Magic 5: Gandalf's magic fends off the more aggressive of the wolves, but he can do nothing to keep them away from the trees. The wargs remain below the trees, preventing their departure. When the goblins arrive, they laugh because some of the wargs are on fire and they begin to set the trees on fire. Gandalf can do nothing to stop this, and prepares to fight to the death.
Magic 6: Beorn's grove of trees and home is full of magic. The animals talk to him and do his bidding. Beorn, in fact, is also very magical, for he is able to turn from a man into a bear at will. When the travelers approach Mirkwood, Gandalf leaves them and turns south. They are very nervous to enter the forest without him to protect them. Beorn won't let his animals enter the forest.
Magic 7: Mirkwood is rife with magic. The stream of forgetfulness is an example of evil magic. Bombur forgets about all of the journey before his 'dip.' The elves thwart the dwarves with their magic. Each time they approach their banquet scenes, the elves disappear and reappear elsewhere. In the forest, the dwarves are confused and lost. The magic of Bilbo's ring, however, helps to rescue them and lead them to safety.
Magic 8: The magic ring is the only thing that makes it possible for Bilbo to rescue his friends. He stays invisible for weeks and wanders around the elves' caverns until he comes up with a plan. He cannot leave the caverns to find help because all the doors are magic and they only open for elves.
Magic 9: It is very hard for the dwarves to find the secret entrance to the mountain. When they finally do find it, however, it is not possible for them to open it. the magic door prevents them from breaking it or opening it by any other means. It is not until the moonlight shines at the right day and time that they are able to see the keyhole.
Magic 10: The thrush flies all the way to Esgaroth and tells Bard how to kill the dragon. It can only do this because it is a magic thrush and Bard can only understand it because he is part of a family line that was endowed with those capabilities. If the thrush had not told him about this, he would have wasted his last arrow and the dragon would have survived.
Metamorphosis 1: Bilbo starts the tale not even interested in Gandalf's adventure. In fact, he is somewhat repulsed by the idea of traveling beyond the range of his knowledge in the face of incomprehensible danger. Gandalf is unwilling to take no for an answer. He returns with the dwarves the next day and they all tell Bilbo about the journey. Although he faints when he first thinks of it, he ends the first chapter planning to go with them and meaning to make an early start. He thinks that this is just his adventurous side surfacing.
Metamorphosis 2: Bilbo has never tried to steal anything in his life. When the dwarves force him to approach the trolls and see what is going on, he feels obligated to try to bring something back. Instead of stealing food, he dares to try to pick the pocket of the lead troll. He gets caught when he tries this.
Metamorphosis 3: In a short space of time, Bilbo has seen two creatures he had only heard of in stories before Gandalf appeared at his door: goblins and trolls. He sees the great hall of the goblins and witnesses the death of their leader. Because he cannot keep up, he is carried by Dori and dropped when a goblin attacks. He passes out and is alone in a strange place.
Metamorphosis 4: Bilbo's isolation marks a big step in his development. He is able to function alone and he is not disabled by his fear. When he meets Gollum, he defeats him in a game of riddles, and follows the creature through the tunnels. The ring gives Bilbo a new sort of confidence. When he is invisible, he is willing to attempt feats of daring that he would balk at otherwise.
Metamorphosis 5: Bilbo rejoins his friends and tells them the story of his departure from the mountain. He excludes everything about the ring. This is the first time that Bilbo lies in the tale, but not the last. His companions are impressed with his escape, and they begin to look at him in a different way. This is one of the first times that they think him to be competent.
Metamorphosis 6: In the forest, Bilbo begins to assume the role of leader more frequently. It is his keen sight and advice that gets them over the river of forgetfulness. When he wakes and kills the spider, it is truly a milestone in his development. He is brave and daring. He attacks all the spiders and leads them away. After he frees his friends, when bravery will not defeat the spiders, he tricks them and taunts them. Without Bilbo, the dwarves would surely have died in the forest.
Metamorphosis 7: Bilbo comes to the rescue of the dwarves once again. He spends weeks wandering the halls of the elves until he comes up with a plan. At first he is frustrated with himself because he can think of no way to get his friends out. He comes up with the barrel plan after careful thought. The dwarves are beginning to look to Bilbo for all answers and solutions, just as they once looked to Gandalf.
Metamorphosis 8: The dwarves continue to look to Bilbo for advice and leadership. When he does not know the answer or solution to something, they get very frustrated with him. He ends up remembering the omens that Elrond read from the map, and alerts the dwarves to the fact that they must look for the moonlight and put the key in the keyhole. Without Bilbo, once again, the dwarves would most likely be lost.
Metamorphosis 9: Bilbo is the only member of the expedition brave enough to enter the cave. He does this aided by his magical ring. He steals a cup and takes it to the dwarves. He hears the sound of the dragon coming, and gets the dwarves to go back into the tunnel, and because of him, they survive. He also reenters the lair of the dragon and keeps his wits about him enough to speak to the dragon and find its weak spot.
Metamorphosis 10: Bilbo is still the only one brave enough to enter the hall of the dragon even after the dragon has left. He finds the Arkenstone and pockets it, knowing how much Thorin values it. The dwarves begin to look to Thorin once the dragon is gone. Thorin takes command and Bilbo just sort of follows around not wanting to be there anymore and worrying about the dragon.
Metamorphosis 11: Bilbo changes from the group leader to a quiet malcontent as the armies approach. He thinks that this behavior over the treasure is absolutely foolish and he is unwilling to put up with it any longer. He knows that peace would be the best outcome for his friends, so he betrays them and takes the Arkenstone to their enemy. He refuses to join the enemy, however, because he thinks he should stand with his companions.
Metamorphosis 12: Bilbo at first tries to make peace by offering his share of the treasure to Bard and the Elvenking, but Thorin will not accept this. Bilbo tries to hide from the battle, but ends up fighting in it anyway. When he goes to Thorin's side, he cries at his death. Thorin's plea for forgiveness shows that he underwent a change right before his death. After so long, Bilbo wants only to go home. Nothing weighs heavier on his mind than his need to travel home.
Metamorphosis 13: Bilbo's journey changes him profoundly. The other hobbits sense this and are no longer comfortable with him. This does not bother him. He occupies his time with his memoirs, poetry, and an occasional visit to the elves. He is also entertained by his pipe. The need to journey never comes over him again and he is happy to live a simple life in his hole.
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
Bilbo wakes late and his kitchen is a disaster with the signs of a large breakfast. He is relieved because he thinks that the dwarves have left without him. He begins to wash up. Before long, Gandalf appears and asks what happened to his early start. He points to a letter on the mantlepiece that Bilbo did not notice. It sets the terms of his involvement with travel expenses and his share of the treasure. It also tells Bilbo to meet them at their inn at 11. It is ten minutes before 11 and Gandalf sets Bilbo running without a hat or money. He arrives just in time to find the dwarves all prepared to leave. Dwalin gives him a hood to wear and Gandalf appears with his pipe, tobacco, and three handkerchiefs. They begin to travel and stop only for meals, which are not as frequent as Bilbo would have liked. They pass through the hobbit lands and beyond. The landscape begins to get darker and gloomy. It is cold and wet and Bilbo cannot believe that it will soon be June.
They look for a dry patch to sleep and suddenly realize that Gandalf has disappeared. They camp in a grove of trees, but it is too wet to make a fire. The pony carrying the food runs away and falls into a river. Just when they are the most depressed, they see a light in the trees. At first they argue about who should go to investigate, but when they remember that they hired a thief, they decide to send Bilbo. They move ahead with him, but they send Bilbo out alone for the last dozen feet or so. Fortunately for Bilbo, hobbits are skilled at moving silently. He sees three large trolls eating mutton around a fire. Their leader's name is William. They are large and grotesque. One of them complains about having to eat mutton every day of the week and another complains of being led by William into barren terrain. William barks for them to shut up as he bites into a lamb shank. Bilbo is too shocked by the sight to warn the dwarves, steal some mutton, or kill the trolls (even if he could). He stands in the shadows and then tries to pick William's pocket. William snaps around and grabs the hobbit. The other two trolls want to eat Bilbo, but William argues that he wouldn't be more than a mouthful. They ask him if he has any companions and he says yes, but thinking better, then says no. He begs, "'please don't cook me, kind sirs!...I'll cook beautifully for you!'" Chapter 2, pg. 37. William wants to let him go, but the other will not let him. They begin to fight. Bilbo is dropped and he lies on the ground. Balin runs into the melee. The trolls stop fighting each other and start to stuff the dwarves into sacks. Thorin tries to fight them but eventually ends up in a sack too. Bilbo hides in the brush.
Gandalf has returned, but he is also hiding. One of the trolls wants to roast the dwarves immediately but a voice says that this will take too long. They compromise and decide to sit on the sacks one by one. The voice asks which sack they will sit on first and two of the trolls think that the other is talking to himself. They fight again, but soon dawn breaks and all three of them turn to stone. Gandalf is pleased with this, because he was the voice that caused them to fight. He and Bilbo untie the dwarves. Gandalf reminds them that there should be a treasure hoard nearby. They find a cave with a door that is locked. At first they are dismayed, but Bilbo takes out a key that he stole from William's pocket. In the cave there is gold as well as weapons and the stench of dead bodies. Gandalf and Thorin take new swords. Bilbo takes a dagger that is long enough to be a short sword for him. They take the trolls' mutton and have plenty of food. After they eat, they sleep for a while. Gandalf tells them that he had been looking ahead and rushed back when he heard there were trolls in the area. He warns the travelers to be more careful in the future.
Topic Tracking: Magic 1
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 2
Topic Tracking: Luck 1
They stop singing as they travel. The food is running out and they feel danger all around them. The landscape becomes more treacherous. Mountains loom in the distance and Bilbo thinks they must be near their destination. The mountains they see are the Misty Mountains, a range they must pass over before they enter Mirkwood. Their journey is not yet half over. Gandalf leads the way over the dangerous paths. He states that they must rest before they attempt to cross the mountain range:
"'You are come to the very edge of the Wild, as some of you may know. Hidden somewhere ahead of us is the fair valley of Rivendell where Elrond lives in the Last Homely House. I sent a message by my friends, and we are expected.'" Chapter 3, pg. 46
They travel throughout the morning and afternoon and still have not arrived at Rivendell. The land is wild and dotted with dark ravines and mysterious bogs. Gandalf follows odd stones in the ground and suddenly they come to a steep drop off. They begin to descend into a warm valley. Elves sing songs in the beeches and oaks around them. Dwarves and elves do not traditionally get along. In their songs the elves poke fun at Thorin and Bilbo. It is almost dusk as they near the house of a tall elf named Elrond. The narrator states that good times often make for boring tales, but Bilbo would have stayed in Rivendell for many months.
They feast and their supplies are refilled. Their clothes are mended and they tell great stories to one another. Elrond reads the swords that Thorin and Gandalf took from the troll hoard. The swords are of elvish make and they were used in the Goblin Wars. The swords have names. Thorin hopes to kill goblins again. Elrond asks to look at their map and he shakes his head because he does not approve of the dwarves' lust for gold. On the map there are moon letters that can only be viewed in the light of the moon. Elrond reads it to them "'stay by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's day will shine upon the key-hole.'"Chapter 3, pg. 53. Durin's day is the dwarf new year. Thorin is at once excited and upset by the prophecy. There is no more writing and they all decide to go to sleep. In the morning they ride away into the mountains.
Topic Tracking: Greed 2
Topic Tracking: Magic 2
There are many paths in the mountains, but Gandalf leads them safely. Bilbo looks back west to his home and shivers because he is so far away. Occasionally small boulders come rolling down from the slope above. It is cold and there might be snow soon. Bilbo thinks of the summer spreading over his home and feels more gloomy. Gandalf is worried as unexpected storms whip up and drench them. Bilbo shrinks from the bolts of lightning and Thorin complains about the conditions. Gandalf tells him he can lead if he thinks he can do a better job. They send Fili and Kili ahead to find some shelter. They come back with news of a dry cave. Gandalf asks them if they checked it out thoroughly but everyone is too weary to worry about it. They all go into the cave and Gandalf lights his staff. The cave is a good size with room for everyone including the ponies. They all drift off to sleep.
Bilbo dreams about the cave floor cracking. He wakes and sees an opening in the wall of the cave. The last of the ponies is being pulled into it. Bilbo cries out and Gandalf disappears in a flash. Goblins rush in and grab everyone. They carry them deep into the caverns of the mountain. After a long time they come into a large cavern lit by a fire in the middle. All of their baggage and the ponies are piled in the corner. In the center sits a goblin with massive head. He is the Great Goblin. The Great Goblin asks what they were doing in the goblins' entrance, thinking they were planning something devious. Thorin introduces himself and tries to tell the Great Goblin that he meant no harm. The Great Goblin has heard his family name and he doesn't believe him. Thorin claims that they are traveling to visit relatives and a goblin says that he is lying, claiming that Gandalf killed Goblins in the cave. Then, the goblin gives Thorin's sword to the Great Goblin. It had killed a great many goblins. The Great Goblin freaks out: "'Smash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to the dark holes full of snakes and never let them see the light again!'" Chapter 4, pg. 64. Suddenly, the fire goes out and sparks appear everywhere, burning holes through some of the goblins. A sword flashes and strikes down the Great Goblin. A voice tells the dwarves to follow. They stumble along into a dark tunnel. Gandalf lights his staff after a little while. He gives Thorin back his sword and counts them to make sure all are present. They have neither transportation nor food. When they hear goblin sounds in the tunnel behind them, they begin to run. Dori carries Bilbo because he can't keep up. Gandalf and Thorin draw their swords to fight off some of the goblins. One of the beasts grabs Dori and Bilbo falls, hits his head hard, and is knocked out.
Topic Tracking: Magic 3
Topic Tracking: Luck 2
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 3
Bilbo opens his eyes and it is dark all around him. He gropes the edge of the tunnel as his head spins. On the floor he finds a small metal ring and he puts it into his pocket. As he searches over the floor of the tunnel some more, he finds his pipe unbroken and his tobacco. Unfortunately, he cannot find any matches. His knife, when drawn, glows slightly because it is of elfish make. Without any viable options, he just travels forward. His passage heads down significantly. Soon he hears water dripping and steps into a pool. He listens carefully and cannot hear any movement; Bilbo figures that the water is part of a pond or underground lake rather than a stream or river. He stops because he is afraid of what might lurk in the water.
In this pond, there is a rocky island in the middle. There, Gollum lives. Gollum is a pale eyed creature who lives off of fish and the stray goblin who may wander near the lake. He paddles around on a small boat and approaches Bilbo. Gollum whispers to himself that this creature would make a nice feast. He calls himself 'my precious' repeatedly. Speaking up, he asks Bilbo what he is. Bilbo says that he is a hobbit and asks how he can get out of the caverns. Bilbo senses Gollum getting closer in the darkness, and he warns him that he has his sword drawn. Gollum becomes more polite and asks if Bilbo likes riddles. Bilbo answers his first riddle easily and Gollum challenges him to a riddle contest. Bilbo asks the creature a riddle about horses and he answers easily. Gollum asks a question about the wind and Bilbo answers correctly because he has heard the riddle before. Gollum is getting more frustrated. Bilbo's next question is answered easily, but Gollum is getting hungry. Bilbo answers the next riddle and asks Gollum to answer his: "'A box without hinges key or lid/ yet golden treasure inside is hid'" Chapter 5, pg. 75. Gollum pauses for a while, but eventually answers correctly with 'eggs.' He asks Bilbo another question and when Bilbo pauses, he starts to think about eating the hobbit. As Gollum gets closer, Bilbo comes up with the answer and disappoints him. Bilbo's next riddle is answered but he has trouble with Gollum's. He can't seem to figure it out and Gollum gets closer to him, almost salivating. Bilbo yells for more time, and 'time' happens to be the answer to the riddle! Gollum thinks that he figured it out. Gollum demands to be asked a question and when Bilbo cannot think of anything else, he asks him what he has in is pocket. Gollum is enraged. He guesses three times and is wrong.
Now that he has won, Bilbo asks Gollum to lead him out of the tunnels, but Gollum says he has to go back to his island to get his birthday present. This present is a ring that makes the wearer invisible. He usually wears it to hunt goblins. Bilbo waits on the side of the lake. He hears Gollum cursing and screaming in the middle of the lake. Gollum screams about having lost something and Bilbo demands to be led outside. Suddenly, Gollum is interested anew in the contents of Bilbo's pocket. Gollum complains about the last riddle and demands to know what Bilbo has in his pocket before he leads him out. Bilbo reaches his hand into his pocket and puts the ring on. He hears Gollum's hiss and runs away only to trip. He is surprised when Gollum passes over him in pursuit. He doesn't understand, but he follows Gollum through the tunnels anyway. Gollum argues with himself about Bilbo and thinks that the hobbit knows the way out, so he plans to get there before he does. The beast is worried that the goblins will find him first and take the ring. Bilbo realizes the power of the ring and follows Gollum as he turns this way and that through the labyrinthine caverns. Near the opening to the outside, Gollum stops because he hears goblins, and he sits on the floor hissing. Bilbo thinks about killing him, but instead he leaps.
"No great leap for a man, but a leap in the dark. Straight over Gollum's head he jumped, seven feet forward and three in the air; indeed, had he known it, he only just missed cracking his skull on the low arch of the passage." Chapter 5, pg. 86
Gollum misses as he grabs for what he cannot see. He shrieks as Bilbo moves towards the goblins. When Bilbo sees a bit of light, he realizes that the ring had slipped off and he puts it back on. The goblins are confused because they saw a creature appear from the tunnel and then disappear. Bilbo crawls between the legs of one of the goblins. One of them sees his shadow as he gets stuck in the crevice. With one great push, he bursts his buttons, but makes it through the opening. Once he is outside, the goblins search for him but can find nothing.
Topic Tracking: Luck 3
Topic Tracking: Magic 4
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 4
When Bilbo looks around, he realizes that he has emerged on the other side of the Misty Mountains. He is now on the western side, closer to Mirkwood. He decides, with difficulty, that he should go back and rescue his companions. As he turns, he hears non-goblin voices. He creeps near the sounds and passes by Balin who cannot see him because he still has the ring on. Gandalf is in the process of telling the dwarves that they cannot proceed without Bilbo. The dwarves want to leave and they all blame Dori for dropping the hobbit. Dori blames Gandalf for rushing them. Then, Bilbo steps into the middle and pulls off his ring. Gandalf is happy and Bilbo's reputation with the dwarves increases immediately. He tells no one about the ring. Balin is amazed that the hobbit got by him. Bilbo tells them the story of what happened to him, leaving out ony the details about the ring. He asks Gandalf what happened in the cave. Gandalf tells them that he disappeared when Bilbo shrieked and followed them through the shadows. He had known of the back exit and led the dwarves there through the tunnels. They laugh and the wizard interrupts "'We must be getting on at once, now
we are a little rested, they will be after us in hundreds when night comes on.'" Chapter 6, pg. 95. He tells them that it has been a couple of days since they were captured and they came out of the mountains too far north.
Bilbo is very hungry. Gandalf tells him sarcastically that he should go to the goblins and ask them for food. As they continue, Bilbo searches the bushes for anything edible. As they move on down the slope, the vegetation gives way and they are caught in a minor avalanche. They catch themselves on trees that hold in the landslide. They get down and keep walking. The sun sets and there is no wind.
At dark, Bilbo asks if they must continue and Gandalf insists. They come to a clearing and they hear wolves howling in the distance. Gandalf shouts for them to climb trees. Bilbo cannot find a way up and must be helped by Dori again. The wolves rush to the clearing in scores. They are not normal wolves, but the considerably larger and more intelligent wargs. Wargs continue to enter the clearing, and a of couple wargs are stationed at each tree to keep an eye on the out-of-reach intruders. The clearing is some sort of warg meeting place. A lead wolf addresses the rest and Gandalf can understand their language. They are discussing raiding a nearby community. The goblins were supposed to meet them. They think that Gandalf and the dwarves are spies. Gandalf begins to fear what the wargs are going to do next. He throws out pine cones flaming in different colors. He strikes many wargs and they run away yelping.
The Lord of the Eagles hears this as he looks down from the mountains. He is a member of a giant race of eagles that is noble. He summons his brethren and they circle around the wolves' clearing. Wargs are crying out everywhere, but Gandalf cannot handle all of them. As the eagles look on, goblins appear and rush into the clearing, expecting some sort of battle. They laugh at the burning wargs and start to put out the fires. The goblins light the trees on fire and sing a hideous song about eating the dwarves in the trees. Gandalf tries to taunt them into retreating, but they are not intimidated. Just as Gandalf is about to leap down to fight to the death, the eagles descend and snatch up the travelers. The wards and goblins are enraged.
"Poor little Bilbo was very nearly left behind again! He just managed to catch hold of Dori's legs, as Dori was borne off last of all; and they went together above the tumult and the burning, Bilbo swinging in the air with his arms nearly breaking." Chapter 6, pg. 107
They continue to fly, as both Bilbo's arms and Dori's legs wear out. Bilbo hates heights and gets dizzy. They fly back to the mountains and the journey ends on the eagle's roost. All the eagles gather again and unite the travelers. The Lord of the Eagles speaks to Gandalf. Bilbo listens as the Lord promises to take the travelers part of the way on their journey, but refuses to fly near men. The eagles bring firewood and food for the group and they feast on the high cliff. Bilbo sleeps more soundly that night than ever before.
Topic Tracking: Magic 5
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 5
Topic Tracking: Luck 4
Bilbo wakes to the rising sun and they eat a breakfast of cold mutton and rabbit. He climbs onto an eagle's back and closes his eyes. He opens them for a minute, but panics when he sees how high up they are. The eagle tells him that flying is the best thing in the world, but Bilbo does not agree. After a while, they near a great flat rock in the middle of the woods, and the eagles begin to circle around it. They drop their passengers off, and Gandalf thanks them. The party gathers to speak and Gandalf tells them that the stone is called the Carrock and it was constructed by a man named Beorn. They bathe in a nearby river and then leave again. They go out to find Beorn, who is a skin-changer. He can change from a man into a bear. They move off and the day gets hotter. They enter a flowered field and Gandalf tells the crew that it is Beorn's flower patch where he keeps his bees. They enter a grove of oaks and Gandalf says they must go in two by two so they don't overwhelm the man.
Bilbo and Gandalf proceed. Horses see them and run off to tell their master. As they get closer, they find "a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs knotted with muscles."Chapter 7, pg. 117. Beorn rests on his ax and asks them what they want. He says he doesn't recognize Gandalf's name, so the wizard mentions the name of a cousin Beorn does know. Gandalf explains their trouble and tells Beorn that they need help and advice. Beorn invites them inside his wide hall and Gandalf informs him that there are more of their companions outside. First he calls in Thorin and Dori. He continues to tell the story of their journey and refers to several companions. Beorn is confused, because he doesn't think of four as several, so Gandalf calls in two more. The wizard begins his story again and talks about their troop of ponies. Beorn does not think that six is a troop, so Gandalf calls in two more dwarves. This amuses Beorn, and as Gandalf continues to tell the tale, he refers to the band as a dozen. Beorn sighs as two more dwarves enter. Gandalf comes to the end of the tale; they count themselves and find that there are only fourteen. Two more dwarves appear, but Beorn mentions that they still do not add up to fourteen. When he gets to the part when they are in the trees and surrounded by goblins, he calls for the last three dwarves. When the story is finished, Beorn thinks it is a good tale, but he doesn't believe it.
It is dark when Beorn claps his hands; the animals light his fires and set the table. Ponies bring in chairs and tables for everyone. As they eat, Beorn tells his tales of the countryside and the terrible Mirkwood. After the meal, the dwarves begin to tell their own tales, but everyone is very sleepy. Bilbo drifts off and Beorn leaves. The dwarves sing for a while until Gandalf tells them to sleep and not wander outside. Bilbo hears a great noise in the night, but stays in bed. In the morning, he is woken by one of the dwarves. They have been looking all over for Beorn, and Gandalf is also missing. After a while, Gandalf returns and tells them he has been following bear tracks. He tells them that there were many different types of tracks gathered around the Carrock, and they all went off towards the Misty Mountains. Bilbo fears that the bears will lead the goblins and wargs their way. Gandalf tells him not to be foolish. The next morning they wake to Beorn's return. Beorn laughs and pokes Bilbo's stomach. They all eat breakfast together. Beorn went to the clearing where they met the wargs and found a warg for himself. From the beast, he learned that the story was true. He also found out that the goblins and wargs were searching for other wargs and planning some sort of great attack. After finding out their story was true, he hurried home to offer them help. He is happy that they killed the Great Goblin. He promises them ponies to carry them to the edge of the forest and provisions for their journey. He asks that they send the ponies back once they reach the edge of the forest. They worry about the dangers ahead of them as they prepare to leave.
The party moves north and crosses a river, according to Beorn's advice. Sleep on the first night back on the road is uneasy. Bilbo is sure that he sees a giant bear prowling around their camp. After a couple of days, they near the dark beginning of Mirkwood.
"There were no more deer; not even rabbits were to be seen. By the afternoon they had reached the eves of Mirkwood, and were resting almost beneath the great overhanging boughs of its outer trees. Their trunks were huge and gnarled, their branches twisted, their leaves were dark and long. Ivy grew on them and trailed along the ground." Chapter 7, pg. 134
Gandalf tells them to send back the ponies, and as they grumble, he warns them that Beorn has been following them. Gandalf does not send his horse back, and they realize slowly that he does not intend to enter the forest with them. He tells them that he must go south to attend to other business, and that Bilbo will help them. Gandalf says his farewell and warns them not to stray from the path in the forest. Thorin grumbles a goodbye as Gandalf rides away. From the distance, he again warns them to stay on the path.
Topic Tracking: Magic 6
They walk single file into the tunnel the path makes in the dark trees. As they get used to the darkness, they can make out black squirrels moving through the underbrush and thick cobwebs stretching from tree to tree. Before long, they hate the forest as much as they hated the goblins. The stillness of the place is suffocating. At night it is pitch dark and they all huddle together, taking turns at the watch. During the night, Bilbo can only see other eyes staring back at him. When they light a fire, it is worse because thousands of black moths appear and even more eyes pop up in the shadows. The days pass by, and before long they begin to worry that their food is going to run out. Their water runs out; they had been warned by Beorn not to drink any water in the forest. There is a stream in the middle that makes anyone who drinks from it fall asleep with forgetfulness.
They arrive at the black stream and find there is no bridge across it. There is a boat on the other side. The stream is twelve yards wide and no one wants to ford it. Bilbo doesn't think that the boat is tied, so they have Fili, who has the best sight of the dwarves, throw a hook on the end of a rope after it. On the third try he makes it but the boat won't pull easily. A couple of the dwarves pull, and eventually it comes rushing towards them and they fall back. The boat had been tied to the other side, but they had broken its rope. They argue about who will go across first, but then realize that there are no oars. Fili throws the rope across again, and gets the hook caught in a tree. They use this to pull themselves across. As Bombur, the last one to cross (because he is so fat), nears the shore, a great deer jumps over the stream. Thorin quickly grabs a bow and arrow and wounds the deer. Before anyone can pursue it, however, they realize that Bombur has fallen in the water. They pull him out and he is fast asleep. They wait some time, but he does not wake up. Just as they are about to leave, a white deer appears and Thorin yells at his men as they waste their last arrows shooting in vain.
They must carry Bombur, which adds to the difficulty of the journey. After traveling four days from the stream, the forest begins to change. Bombur still doesn't wake, and they all grow tired. Repeatedly, they hear singing and laughing around them. Thorin thinks that Bilbo should climb to the top of the tree and see if he can see any end to the forest. Bilbo reluctantly climbs up a tree and breaks through the canopy to the bright light of the sun. He sees thousands of butterflies and looks at "the black emperors for a long time and enjoyed the feel of the breeze in his hair and on his face." Chapter 8, pg. 148. He cannot see the end of the forest because they are in a valley. The truth is that they are near the end of this part of their journey. When Bilbo gets down, he tells the dwarves that he could see only trees in every direction.
It begins to rain and Bombur wakes up. He is very upset because he says he was having a dream about an elf king and a feast. The food supplies are gone and their water skins are empty. They keep traveling, but after some time, Bombur falls to the ground and refuses to budge. They decide to sleep. Balin keeps seeing a flickering through the woods. They all want to leave the path to find out what is going on. They argue and decide that everyone should go together. They find a clearing filled with elves feasting on meats and other things, but as soon as they step into the clearing, everything disappears. They are lost in the darkness. After a while, Dori sees the lights again, and Thorin sends Bilbo ahead to investigate. When he gets to the clearing, the same thing happens, and Bilbo is separated from his companions. They find him sleeping on the ground. He tells them that he was dreaming of dinner. Later, the lights appear yet again and they cannot resist approaching them. There is the great feast that Bombur described from his dream. Thorin steps out and it disappears. The dwarves run around blindly, and Bilbo calls out his comrades' names as their cries fade into the darkness. He is miserable, but decides to wait until morning to continue searching. He is deep in thought when he feels a sticky string against his arm. He realizes that he is tied up to the waist in spider web under the legs of a giant spider. He beats it away with his hands and then cuts himself free. He pierces the spider with his sword and then passes out. He wakes up a little later.
"Somehow the killing of a giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of a wizard or the dwarves or anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath." Chapter 8, pg. 155
He names the sword 'Sting' and sets off to explore, regretting the fact that they had left the path to begin with. He guesses at the direction of the cries he heard the night before. He finds a great number of spiders in the center of a myriad of webs. The dwarves are hanging upside down, wrapped in webs. The spiders are discussing how they will eat their prey. Bilbo knows that he has to do something, so he begins to throw stones at the spiders near the dwarves. He kills a couple of them. They cannot see him because he put the invisible ring on, and he leads the spiders away from the dwarves by yelling at them and mocking them. He keeps doing this, but the spiders start to make an enclosing fence with webbing. He cuts down Fili and they start to cut down the other dwarves, but they are all groggy with spider poison. The spiders begin to return and the dwarves draw their weapons. They fight off many spiders, but there are just too many of them. Bilbo decides to let the dwarves in on the secret of the ring. He had taken it off before he released Fili, and now he tells them that he is going to disappear and lead the spiders away. In the commotion it is hard to relay this information, but he manages to get it across. He leads many of the spiders away, and then returns to the dwarves. As the dwarves move away from the spider clearing, more of the beasts come after them. Bilbo doubles back and attacks the spiders from behind. Eventually the spiders give up and turn back.
The group gets to a greener clearing and rest. They all want to hear more about the ring and Balin insists that he tell the whole Gollum story again. They want to know where they are and they look to Bilbo for leadership. They are thankful for his wits and good luck. There is nothing to eat, and Balin mutters to himself long into the night. In the middle of their sleep, Dwalin wakes and wonders aloud where Thorin is. They realized that they have not seen him since before the spiders captured them. "They wondered what evil fate had befallen him, magic or dark monsters; and shuddered as they lay lost in the forest." Chapter 8, pg. 166. They fall into an uncomfortable sleep.
After the light went out at the last banquet scene, Thorin had been captured by wood-elves who were feasting there. Wood-elves do not like strangers, especially dwarves, and are more dangerous than other elves. They dwell at the edge of deep forests. Their king lives in a great cave in the woods and most of his subjects live near him. They took Thorin to the king's dungeon. When Thorin woke, the king asked him why his friends tried to attack the feast three times. Thorin told him they were not trying to attack it. The king wanted to know why they were trying to travel through Mirkwood. When Thorin told him that they are going to visit relatives, he doesn't believe him. Thorin was sent back to the dungeon until he would be willing to tell the King the truth. In his cell he thinks only of his companions.
Topic Tracking: Luck 4
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 6
The travelers get up the next day and walk in a random direction. After they have gone some distance, wood-elves burst from the trees around them and order them to halt. The elves bind all of the dwarves and lead them off. Bilbo had put on his magic ring and escaped detection. He follows the elves at a safe distance. The dwarves are led blind-folded over a swift river and into the cavern of the Elvenking. Bilbo hustles behind them just as the magical doors close. The tunnels are brighter and better built than the goblin tunnels. In the great hall, the Elvenking orders the dwarves to be unbound so he can question them. The dwarves are impolite and Balin makes the king angrier. The king orders the dwarves to be imprisoned until they tell him what he wants to know. Bilbo wanders around the caverns for many days, barely getting any sleep. After a week, Bilbo finds out that Thorin is being held in a deeper prison cell. He eventually finds that cell. He speaks to a down-hearted Thorin through the keyhole. He tells the other dwarves that Thorin is all right and they all agree to come up with a plan for escape.
Bilbo does not like being so heavily depended on. He thinks long and hard, but nothing occurs to him. Until,
"One day, nosing and wandering about, Bilbo discovered a very interesting thing: the great gates were not the only entrance to the caves. A stream flowed under part of the lowest regions of the palace, and joined the Forest River some way further to the east, beyond the steep slope out of which the main mouth opened." Chapter 9, pg. 175
Elves throw empty wine barrels through a trap door into this stream. They float down the Forest River to the Long Lake where the men of Esgaroth gather them and send them to be refilled. Bilbo observes this and begins to form a plan.
One night, a butler asks the chief of the guards to try some of the wine before it is taken to the king's banquet. Bilbo recognizes this as his opportunity to steal the keys. He follows the elves and watches as they drink too much and fall asleep. Bilbo creeps in and steals the keys. He releases Balin, and they go off after Thorin. Bilbo is upset because the keys are making too much noise, rattling against each other. All the dwarves are reunited but they balk when Bilbo proposes that they get inside empty wine barrels. Eventually, they realize that there is no other option, and they follow Bilbo to the cellar. Balin watches the sleeping elves as the others find the right size barrels. Bilbo gets the thirteen dwarves closed in their barrels, just as one of the elves comes to look for the butler. He wakes the butler and the chief and they all begin to drink some more. After a while, the butler yells for the barrels to be thrown into the river. Bilbo realizes that he hasn't figured out how he is going to go with them. He jumps and grabs the last barrel just as it is thrown into the stream.
In the underground tunnel, Bilbo struggles to stay above water. The barrels float around and start to smash into each other in the current. Bilbo worries about the dwarves and hopes that he sealed all of their barrels well enough. The barrels surface in the river and get stuck around a bend. While they are stuck, Bilbo climbs on top of several of them and manages to stay on top of them once they float back into the current. He is cold and drenched. He floats down river in this fashion and before long, the trees begin to thin. The barrels stop against a shallow stone wall. Bilbo sneaks off to get food, as people on shore lash the barrels together into a raft. In the morning, he wakes and gets on the raft right before some elves start to push it down river again. He stole a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread during the night. They are out of Mirkwood finally, but Bilbo doesn't think that they are out of danger.
Topic Tracking: Magic 8
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 7
Topic Tracking: Greed 3
The day grows warmer and the land clears near the river. In the distance, Bilbo can see the Lonely Mountain. He listens to the raftsmen talk about the ways in which the river has changed and how the land has been altered. The river remains the only safe way out of Mirkwood. All the paths and the old road have become overgrown or forgotten. In a way, Bilbo and his companions were fortunate to come out of the forest at all, but this does not comfort the hobbit. The river goes on and on and the mountain in the distance seems to frown down on him. Before long, the mountains recede from view as they travel south on the river. The river opens up into Long Lake, near the town of Esgaroth. Bilbo is amazed by the length of the lake; he cannot see its end. A calm bay forms in front of the lake town that is partially built over the water. Esgaroth is a bust wooden town that was once rich from the trade between Dale, a town up the lake near the mountain, and the wood-elves. Now, however, the town is making a subsistence living and most people have forgotten the good days. Some of the older people still sing songs of dragons and dwarves, but it has been many years since the townspeople have seen either. The boatmen tie up the raft for the night and leave. Bilbo cuts one barrel open and releases a very disgruntled Thorin. After a few moments, the dwarf clams down and they begin to release the rest of their group. They find everyone and Thorin speaks:
"'Well! Here we are!...And I suppose we ought to thank our stars and Mr. Baggins. I am sure he has a right to expect it, though I wish he could have arranged a more comfortable journey. Still- all very much at your service once more, Mr. Baggins. No doubt we shall feel properly grateful when we are fed and recovered.'" Chapter 10, pg. 193
They decide to go into the town in a small group first. Fili, Kili, Bilbo and Thorin go first. The towns' guards are sitting drinking and laughing at a fire, and are very surprised when Thorin steps into their building. He regally announces himself as the King under the Mountain and asks to be taken to the master of the town. They tell him that the master is at a feast, but Thorin demands to be taken anyway. Thorin adds that this will work out well because they are so utterly famished. The guards lead them into a great wooden hall, and without pause, Thorin re-introduces himself with the same flair. Many rise in surprise and the wood-elves present tell the master that Thorin was a prisoner of their King. When the master asks Thorin about this, the dwarf responds that not even the Elvenking can keep him from his destiny. He also asserts that he is free, since he has left the elves' realm. The master doubts their tale, but the rest of the people applaud and are ready to believe that a legend has come to life. The town is filled with song and households erupt with excitement. Old people of the community say that a new golden age will begin. The master pretends to believe Thorin to humor his people and he offers the four seats of honor. The other dwarves enter the town to the same excitement.
The party lingers in the town for a week and they begin to look healthier and stronger. With every day that passes, the dwarves feel warmer towards the hobbit. Bilbo, however, is suffering from a cold and can't seem to enjoy anything. The wood-elves return to the king and swear that the party will never pass back through Mirkwood. The Elvenking sends out spies to check on their progress.
Thorin begins to think of departure. He tells this to the master who is at once surprised and concerned. "He had never thought that the dwarves would actually dare to approach Smaug, but believed they were frauds who would sooner or later be discovered and be turned out." Chapter 10, pg. 199. The master is not exactly sorry to see them go. They climb into boats piloted by lake men and are rowed up the lake. When they get out of the boats two days later, they are met with ponies and supplies sent by the town.
Topic Tracking: Greed 4
After they get their provisions, the dwarves are left by the lake men, who are too afraid of a dragon they have never seen, to stay on the far side of the lake. The night is cold; autumn has begun. Their spirits, high from a week as heroes, fall pitifully. The next day is hard because there are no paths and they must pick their own way towards the mountain. They no longer sing because their journey looks like it is going to have an abrupt end, sooner rather than later. The closer they get to the mountain, the more desolate the landscape becomes. They set a camp in the foothills. still seeing no trace of the dragon. Thorin sends a search party to look at the front gate of the mountain. The front gate is a lower face of the mountain from which a stream flows, passing all the way to the Long Lake. Bilbo goes with the search party, and near a bend in the river, they come upon the ruins of the city Dale. The sneak up to the side of the mountain and look at the gate. The gate is actually an enormous opening. Smoke trails out from its dark depths. Balin does not think this definitely means the dragon is still around, but he is not going to take any chances. The party makes its way back. Everyone is weary as they move their camp closer to the mountain. Bilbo frequently looks at the map and longs for his home.
They spend the next few days searching for the secret passage on the slopes of the western side of the mountain. After a few days, they become very discouraged. Finally, Kili, Fili, and Bilbo happen upon it. Near a standing stone, Bilbo discovers a path that leads to a hidden ledge. Once they get to the ledge, they see that the opening of the tunnel was hidden by the outcropping. There is a flat smooth door in the tunnel. There is no visible key-hole or handle. When they try to smash it with tools, the metal of their instruments just shatters. Despite the failure, "There was excitement in the camp that night." Chapter 11, pg. 205 Even though they cannot open it, they are not yet discouraged and find renewed energy. The next day, they return to the ledge but nothing will open the door. When they strike it, there is a deep echo that makes them nervous. Bilbo is afraid of sitting on the doorstep of such a mountain. Their spirits sink as they realize that they do not know how to open the door. Bilbo spends several days just staring westward, while the dwarves search all over the mountain for some clue. When the dwarves ask him what he is doing, he says he is sitting and thinking.
One day Thorin announces that it is the last week of autumn. Their food consists almost wholly of a dense bread-like material called cram. Dwalin suggests that Bilbo put on his ring and go in through the front entrance. Bilbo freaks out and becomes very nervous. He does not sleep very well that night. The next day, he sits and watches the sky all day long wishing for Gandalf to appear. He sees a thrush cracking a snail on a stone, and remembers the words read from the map by Elrond. He calls the dwarves to him and they wait for nightfall. A moon opens on the horizon, and the old thrush shrieks as the light beams down. It illuminates a keyhole on the ground. Bilbo tells Thorin to put his key in the hole. They all push and the door opens. A dark tunnel appears.
Topic Tracking: Magic 9
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 8
Topic Tracking: Luck 6
The dwarves debate over the next course of action, until Thorin speaks eloquently suggesting that since Bilbo is the hired thief, he should proceed forward first. Bilbo is very upset at this, and tries to tell them that he has already earned his reward by saving them twice. He gives in, and tells them that he will go in and take a look. None will accompany him any further than a few feet into the tunnel. They tell him that they really do intend to pay him well. The narrator interjects that dwarves really aren't the heroic type. The stars begin to come out as Bilbo enters the smooth tunnel. He slips on his ring, and is careful not to make even the slightest sound as he loosens his dagger and trembles in fear. He tells himself he is done for and wishes he could wake up and find out that all of this is just a dream. He continues down the tunnel toward a growing red light. The heat begins to increase, and he hears a sound that he soon identifies as the snoring of a very large creature. Bilbo halts and fights to make himself continue. He steps into the giant hall and sees the dragon Smaug sprawled over a huge pile of gold and treasure. His wings are folded like a gigantic bat. Coats of arms line the walls. Bilbo staggers and loses his breath, enchanted by the beast and its treasure. He gazes at the mound for a while, then rushes towards it, and grabs the first thing he sees: a two-handled cup. He runs back down the tunnel and takes off his ring. Balin sees him and is happy that he came back. The others are delighted as they pass around the cup. As they do this, they hear the mountain rumble.
Smaug knows every ounce of his treasure, even though it is so large. He was woken from his nap by the feeling that something was stolen. In a half-conscious sort of way, he had heard pounding from a little hole near the floor. Now he has been feeling a draft. All he can think of is the word 'thief'. He tries to fit his head into the tunnel but cannot. He flies out through the front gate and around to the western side, to find the thief.
The dwarves would have been killed had Bilbo not screamed and pushed them into the tunnel. Bifur remembers that Bofur and Bombur are down near the ponies. He refuses to abandon them. Thorin calls for ropes and they haul the two dwarves up. Just as the dragon appears, they pull into the tunnel.
"Smaug came hurtling in from the North, licking the mountain-sides with flame, beating his great wings with a noise like a roaring wind. His hot breath shrivelled the grass before the door, and drove in through the crack they had left and scorched them as they hid. Flickering fires leaped up and black rock-shadows danced. The darkness fell as he passed again." Chapter 12, pg. 217
They hear the ponies break their ropes. Smaug pursues and kills the pack-animals. When dawn comes, the dragon returns to his mound of gold, vowing never to forget the thief. He reasons that the thief must have come from Esgaroth.
At dawn, the dwarves are still terrified. They cannot leave and can think of no way of slaying the dragon. They begin to grumble at Bilbo again. Bilbo gets angry and tells them that he is only supposed to steal things. He yells and they apologize. They ask him again if he knows what they should do. He tells them that they should wait in the tunnel and that he will creep back to the dragon's lair later to see if the beast has a weak spot. They accept his offer. At noon, he goes into the tunnel and moves silently after putting on his ring. He sees that the dragon is sleeping and thinks that he is safe.
When Bilbo steps into the room, the dragon's eyes snap open. Dragons know how to sleep lightly when they are expecting company. Smaug tells the thief to come out because he cannot see Bilbo. Bilbo speaks and tells him that he only came to look on the impressive size of such a great dragon. Bilbo remembers, from tales he heard from his father, that dragons love flattery. He praises the beast, and Smaug tells him he has nice manners for a thief. He asks Bilbo who he is and where he is from. Bilbo starts to speak in riddles, because he thinks it will either entertain or confuse the dragon. He calls himself things like spider-slayer and barrel-rider. Smaug becomes interested in this game, although he doesn't understand everything that the thief is referring to. He thinks that Bilbo must be from Esgaroth because they use barrels there. Smaug warns him not to have too much to do with dwarves, and tells him that he can smell them in the tunnel. The dragon laughs and tells Bilbo that the dwarves are making him do all the hard work. Bilbo gets uncomfortable and tries to claim that they came not only for the gold, but to get revenge. Smaug laughs at this. He tells Bilbo that he knows there are fourteen of them. He asks the hobbit how they plan to carry enough treasure away with them to make the journey worth it. Bilbo begins to doubt himself, because the dwarves have said nothing of these things. Smaug laughs and says that there will be no revenge, because everyone he took property from is dead. He adds "'My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane and my breath death.'" Chapter 12, pg. 224. Bilbo tells him that he heard that dragons have a soft underbelly. Smaug laughs at this and rolls over so that Bilbo can see his scale-covered stomach. Bilbo praises his strength as he sees a bare spot over the dragon's left breast. Bilbo wants to leave, so he bids the dragon a farewell and then starts to run. The dragon spouts flame down the tunnel and singes the hobbit. When his head does not fit in the hole, he thunders.
A scorched hobbit collapses on the doorstep and the dwarves make him relay the story. The old thrush is still around them, making noise. Bilbo curses it and Thorin tells him that thrushes used to be trained by the men of Dale to pass messages. Only the men of Dale could understand their language. Bilbo tells Thorin that he knows Smaug plans to destroy the lake town. Balin pauses and tries to tell Bilbo that it isn't his fault. They talk about killing dragons and stories they have heard of such difficult affairs. Bilbo is worried that the dragon will attack, so he convinces the dwarves to go back into the tunnel. He panics and makes them close the door. The dwarves try to assuage his fears about the transportation of the treasure. Balin and Thorin reflect on their memories of the mountain and the things that were stored there. They talk about an immense gem called the Arkenstone. Bilbo only half listens to their talk and before long he is begging them to shut the door. They hesitate, because they don't know how to open it once it is closed. Thorin gets frustrated and kicks the door shut. Suddenly they hear a smash on the side of the mountain. They flee in to the tunnel. Smaug had snuck out of his lair and over the mountain planning to surprise them. He yells that he will go to Esgaroth and show them who the real king is.
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 9
Topic Tracking: Greed 4
They sit in the tunnel for a very long time. The silence is so disconcerting, that they would almost rather hear the dragon. After a very long time, Thorin suggests that they try the door. The outer part of the tunnel was smashed in by Smaug, so the door is totally immobile. The dwarves are very upset, but Bilbo tells them that as long as they have their lives, they have hope. Then he adds that the only way out is through the dragon's lair; there is no way that is going to change. They move down the tunnel in its total darkness. When they reach the great hall, there is no red glow and no sign of the dragon except for the lingering stench. Bilbo yells a taunt to the absent dragon to encourage the nervous dwarves. There is no sound, only his echo, as the dwarves huddle in the tunnel's mouth. Bilbo goes out over the mound with a torch. He looks around as the dwarves wait behind. He reaches down and finds a very large white gem. From Thorin's descriptions, he recognizes the Arkenstone. Without any real plan, he hides the stone in his pocket. As he descends to the other side of the treasure mound, a bat flies past him and puts the torch out. He yells for a light and eventually a couple of the dwarves come out led by Balin and they join him. Bilbo finds them and tells them that he was only yelling about a bat:
"Though they were much relieved, they were inclined to be grumpy at being frightened for nothing; but what they would have said, if he had told them at that moment about the Arkenstone, I don't know. Their mere fleeting glimpses of treasure which they had caught as they went along had rekindled all the fire of their dwarfish hearts; and when the heart of a dwarf, even the most respectable, is wakened by gold and by jewels, he grows suddenly bold, and he may become fierce." Chapter 13, pg. 237
The dwarves begin to explore the cavern and Kili and Fili play golden harps. They all begin to fill their pockets and their bags with treasure. They put on new coats of mail and choose the finest weapons. Thorin gives Bilbo a coat of Elvish mail and a leather studded helmet. Bilbo laughs, but before long he becomes wary of the treasure and the extent of time they are spending in the lair. He wonders how the journey can possibly end well.
Thorin decides that the time has come when they should leave. He leads because he remembers every stair and turn of the mountain from his long-ago youth. They enter the chamber of Thorin's grandfather, where the natural light still finds its way into the mountain. There are skeletons on the floor. Their weapons are mingled with dust. The river begins in the heart of the mountain and flows into the front gates. They exit into the mid-morning sun and disturb the slumber of hanging bats. A cold wind blows over them, and Bilbo wonders how they ever made it this far. Thorin tells them that there is a lookout point five hours away that would be a good place for them to wait. It is a difficult climb, and Bilbo grumbles because he is hungry. They come to the lookout rock and find the chamber within still dry and safe. The flat summit offers a view every way but north for many miles. Thorin is in good spirits, but Bilbo wonders where Smaug could possibly have gone. Thorin decides that they should stay at the lookout for the night. They move into the cavern and some of them sleep. There is an odd excess of birds around the mountain.
Topic Tracking: Greed 6
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 10
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!'"
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
From the lookout peak, the dwarves watch all night long. Thorin notices that all of the birds lingering are carrion birds. The old thrush appears again, and tries to speak to both Balin and Bilbo. They cannot understand him. Balin wishes aloud that the thrush were a raven. Dwarves used to use ravens to send messages. In exchange, the ravens lived in and around the mountain. Balin speaks of a Raven named Carc who led all of the other ravens and was very brave. The thrush cries out and then flies away. This confuses the dwarves, and they think that he is gone for good. He returns a little while later, leading an old raven behind him. This raven is Roac, and he is the son of Carc, the old raven. He tells them that he is over one hundred years old and is the chief of the remaining ravens. He adds that the thrush has given him news of Smaug's death. Thorin rejoices, but Roac warns that a host of elves and men are on the way to the mountain to claim some of the treasure for their own:
"'Your own wisdom must decide your course, but thirteen is a small remnant of the great folk of Durin that once dwelt here and now are scattered far. If you will listen to my counsel, you will not trust the Master of the Lake-men, but rather him that shot the dragon with his bow.'" Chapter 15, pages 257-8
Thorin is angry at the thought of surrendering or retreating, so he asks Roac to send messenger birds to his cousin Dain who can bring an army from a week or so away. Roac does not think that this is wise, but he obeys the dwarf. Thorin commands that they return to the mountain. Despite Bilbo's resistance, they return and begin to fortify the immense structures. Smaug had blocked up all entrances, except for the front gate. The dwarves immediately start cutting stone blocks and constructing a wall across the front gate. All the materials and tools they need are still in the mountain. The Ravens bring them periodic updates. Four days later, they see that the armies have approached. They have blocked the main gate and left a small arch for the stream. The mountain can only be entered from a narrow path on a ledge.
On the fifth night, they see the multiple fires of the elves and men in the ruins of the city of Dale below. They sleep little that night, and in the morning a company of elves and men make their way around the narrow pass. They are surprised to see the new wall, for they expected the dwarves to be dead. They leave and move the camp below the mountain. The next day, another company comes to the wall. Thorin calls out to them, and Bard hails them. He invites Thorin to come out and be part of a council with them. When Thorin refuses, Bard tells him that he killed Smaug and some of the treasure in the mountain that had been collected by the dragon, was from Dale. Thorin will not admit that they deserve a portion of the treasure for any reason. He tells them he will only give them money for the help that the city gave them, but will give no money as a result of force. He asks the group if they would have given his kin a portion of the treasure if they had found it. He swears that he will not bargain and tells them to go away. Bard tells him to think it over for a couple of hours.
When they return later, a speaker rephrases Bard's offer and Thorin shoots an arrow at him. They vow that they will not attack, but will not let them leave until they agree to bargain. Bard is counting on the fact that they cannot get supplies. All they have to eat is cram, but it will last a couple of weeks.
Topic Tracking: Luck 8
Topic Tracking: Greed 7
The days pass slowly, and the dwarves search all over the mountain for the Arkenstone. Thorin tells them "'that stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.'" Chapter 16, pg. 266. Bilbo is frightened, as he has the stone hidden in a bundle of clothing he uses for a pillow. He does not, however, give up the stone. Roac returns, and tells them that Dain is but two days away. He warns them that snow is coming, and tells them that their plan is bad. Thorin thinks that snow is good, because elves and men are more susceptible to cold than dwarves. Bilbo takes the stone out that night and sits near the watch with Bombur. Bombur is complaining about having the first night watch and Bilbo offers to take his watch for him. Bombur is very grateful as he accepts the offer. After the fat dwarf leaves, Bilbo puts on his ring and descends into the camps below. As he gets nearer, he sneezes and a guard hears this. Bilbo shows himself and is led to the Elvenking and Bard. He is offended, because they think that he is a servant to the dwarves. Bilbo tells them that he thinks the whole affair is a waste of everyone's time. He shows them Thorin's letter from the mantlepiece in Hobbiton, and tells them that they can have the Arkenstone as his share to bargain with. Bard is willing to let Thorin starve. Bilbo tells them that Dain is coming and that it is going to snow. Bard interprets this as a threat. They ask him where he got the Arkenstone, and he says that he stole it. The Elvenking is impressed with Bilbo and he asks him to stay with them. Bilbo does not want to because he thinks he should stand with his friends after such a long journey. He leaves, and is saluted by Bard. He walks outside and moves past an old man wrapped in rags who tells him he did a good job. Bilbo turns and Gandalf shows himself. Gandalf warns the hobbit that there is great trouble brewing and that he should leave. Bilbo returns to the mountain and wakes Bombur to finish the watch. He goes to sleep.
Topic Tracking: Greed 8
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 11
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.
When Bilbo wakes, he is cold. He looks around and can see no living goblins. There is no one else around either. A man comes in Bilbo's direction and he speaks. He takes off his ring. No one had picked him up because they could not see him. The man tells Bilbo that they have been searching for him. Bilbo doesn't feel well so the man picks him up and carries him back to Dale. When Gandalf sees him, he is delighted. He immediately leads him to Thorin. Thorin is lying down and suffering from many grave wounds. He is dying. He begs Bilbo to allow him to take back the terrible things he said to him before. Bilbo accepts his apology, and the dwarf dies. Bilbo weeps and curses himself for the business with the Arkenstone. He aches for his own home.
The eagles had watched the goblins gather in strength for quite some time. They followed the mass movement, expecting trouble. When they arrived at the battle, they began to swoop down, pick up the goblins, and drop them on the ground from a great height. Even with the eagles, however, the numbers were still too great. The tide of the battle stayed the same until Beorn showed up. He rushed into the battle and rescued Thorin from an immediate death. Then he grabbed Bolg himself and killed him brutally. With their leader dead, the goblins fractured and the battle turned against them. Many perished in the valley and the eagles chased after those who fled.
Dain swears friendship with the eagles and buries his cousin with the Arkenstone and his sword by his side. The dwarves crown him the king. Fili and Kili also perished in the battle. The fourteenth share of the treasure is given to Bard. The Elvenking is given a great collection of emeralds. Dain offers Bilbo as much of the treasure as he wants, but Bilbo carries away only a small chest each of gold and silver. He bids farewell to the dwarves and asks them to visit if they ever come near his home.
Gandalf and Bilbo ride alongside the Elvenking as far as Mirkwood. The Elvenking invites them to come back to his palace and then be escorted through the forest. Bilbo refuses to return through Mirkwood. He admits to the king that he stole a great amount of wine and bread while he was wandering through his home. He gives him a pearl necklace as recompense. The Elvenking is impressed with this and he blesses the hobbit. Gandalf, Beorn, and Bilbo travel north of the forest and all the way around until they arrive once again at Beorn's home. They stay there through the winter. With the wargs and goblins all but extinct, the area becomes more peaceful and many men begin to settle in the area. Beorn becomes a chief of these settlers for many years.
In the spring, they leave and return over the Misty Mountains. Bilbo looks back and squints at Lonely Mountain, so very far away. He says "'So snow comes after fire and even dragons have their ending! I wish now only to be in my own arm-chair!'" Chapter 18, pg. 294
Topic Tracking: Luck 9
Topic Tracking: Greed 9
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 12
On May first, they come again to Rivendell. The elves around them are already singing a song of Smaug's fall. They lead the group to the city and welcome them back. Gandalf tells the tale as Bilbo dozes. Bilbo hears what Gandalf was doing while he was away from them. He had joined a council of wizards and they united to depose an evil magician south of Mirkwood. With him gone, the forest should slowly become better. Elrond is very happy about this. Bilbo falls asleep and wakes to the elves singing again. They laugh at him because he snores so loudly. He has slept through the next day and it is night again. He goes back to sleep. He wakes and feels better, stronger. After a week, they leave Rivendell.
It begins to rain and they travel on for many days. The return to the hoard of treasure near the stone trolls. Gandalf says that they should take the gold, because if they don't want it, there is probably someone who needs it. Their progress is slowed by the extra weight. The last few days of the journey drag out. When Bilbo finally sees his home after more than a year, he says,
"'Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.'" Chapter 19, pg. 300
Gandalf is impressed with the deep and profound change that has come over the hobbit in the past year. When he comes around to the door, they are surprised at a commotion in front of his house. The other hobbits are auctioning off his stuff because they presume him dead. Some of his relatives really want to live in his house. Bilbo must argue to convince them that it is really he who has returned. Some of the hobbits never believe him. He never gets all of his stuff back, but he retrieves most of it.
His reputation among the hobbits has changed. Rather than being impressed by his adventures and feats, they find him odd. He is no longer considered respectable, but Bilbo doesn't care. After so long and tumultuous a journey, he is more than happy to sit in his house and blow smoke rings. He starts to write his memoirs after many years. He writes poetry and often visits the elves. He spends most of his treasures on gifts for nieces and nephews who end up liking him very much, to the dismay of their parents.
Some years later, there is a knock on the door and it is Balin and Gandalf. They sit with him and tell him tales of the world he left. Bard eventually rebuilt Dale. Both Dale and Esgaroth prospered from trade. The old Master of the town tried to steal treasure from all of the townspeople. He fled from the town, only to die in the wilderness, alone with his gold. Bilbo laughs because all of the predictions that were made came true. Gandalf tells him he shouldn't be surprised because such things do not happen by luck, they are fated. Bilbo laughs and they smoke their pipes.
Topic Tracking: Luck 10
Topic Tracking: Metamorphosis 13
Topic Tracking: Greed 10