Notes on The Hobbit Themes

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The Hobbit Topic Tracking: Magic

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.

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