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Chapter Abstracts - The Hobbit by dongdh123


									                      Brief Summaries – The Hobbit
Chapter 1 Abstract

* Gandalf selects the respectable and seemingly unadventurous hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, to take part in an
adventure, knowing that he has adventurous ancestry.
* Bilbo invites Gandalf to tea in an attempt to avoid involvement in the adventure.
* In response to a secret sign made by Gandalf on Bilbo's door, thirteen dwarves arrive unexpectedly and
without invitation at Bilbo's house. As a good host, Bilbo makes them all welcome and shows them great
* The dwarves sing about their history and lost treasure; their song awakens Bilbo's desire for adventure.
* Stung by the dwarves' dismissal of him as unsuitable, Bilbo asks to join the adventure.
* Gandalf gives Thorin a map of the Lonely Mountain, which reveals a secret entrance into the dragon's lair,
along with a key to the secret door.
* Thorin recounts the history of how they were driven from their home where Thorin's grandfather was king and
robbed by Smaug of all their treasures.

Chapter 2 Abstract

* Bilbo is introduced as an unlikely hero, which is typical of the quest-adventure genre.
* Tolkien describes unfamiliar aspects of his imaginary world - hobbits and Gandalf - in great detail.
* The style or tone of this chapter is kept informal and the reader/listener is addressed directly by the author as
if they are children listening to a father-figure or familiar and well-loved storyteller (Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as
a bedtime story for his children).
* The informal tone of this chapter makes the lengthy description easy to read.
* One of the themes of this book - the desire to return to one's true home - is introduced via the dwarves - they
do not merely wish to recover their treasures but also to return to their long-lost home after ages of exile.

Chapter 3 Abstract

* Bilbo, finding the dwarves have gone ahead and are waiting for him, rushes out of his house to join the
* At first, the journey is pleasant.
* On a rainy night, the dwarves and Bilbo find themselves without a fire, without Gandalf and with very little
* Bilbo is sent ahead to investigate a fire in the distance and finds three trolls eating and drinking.
* Bilbo tries his first act of burglary and is caught by the trolls.
* The dwarves come to find Bilbo and are caught.
* The trolls argue about how to cook the dwarves; Gandalf returns and manages to keep the trolls arguing until
dawn breaks and the trolls turn to stone.
* The adventurers raid the troll's store of plunder, finding food and weapons.

Chapter 4 Abstract

* Bilbo begins developing courage and bravery. The dwarves had not sent him to rob the trolls, but he chose to
make his first attempt at burglary.
* We see the characters of the dwarves and of Bilbo at the outset of the journey - the dwarves are complaining
and quarrelsome; Bilbo is soft and unused to hardship.
* The "not for the last time" refrain is introduced. This phrase is used to indicate Bilbo's love of home.
* Quest adventures involve many obstacles. This is the first obstacle (or "preliminary adventure") in the quest.
Chapter 5 Abstract

* After crossing mountainous terrain, the travelers arrive at Rivendell, an enclave of elves governed by Elrond,
a master of ancient lore and wisdom.
* The travelers rest and enjoy Rivendell, replenishing their provisions and preparing to cross the Misty
* Elrond reads the runes on the swords taken by Gandalf and Thorin from the trolls' hoard, and discovers these
swords were made by the High Elves of long-lost Gondolin (Gandalf's sword, Glamdring, once belonged to the
King of Gondolin).
* Elrond also investigate Thorin's map and finds moon-letters on it that tell the reader where and when the
keyhole to the secret door can be found.

Chapter 6 Abstract

* Quest adventures often involve comic relief and/or respite from hardship for the questers; the Rivendell
episode has this function.
* In this chapter, Tolkien lets what he would call "higher matters" creep into a children's story. These are
references to his private mythology (outlined in the Silmarilion) such as Durin, Gondolin and Elrond.
* The high level of detail given in the description of the road to Rivendell, along with the hints of a complex
history, combine to make Middle-earth a realistic and believable "secondary world."

Chapter 7 Abstract

* The travelers take the road through the Misty Mountains and are caught by a thunderstorm.
* They take shelter in a cave which seems small and safe, but proves to be the goblins' "Front Porch."
* Goblins take Bilbo and the dwarves prisoner (but not Gandalf) and drag them before the Great Goblin. The
Great Goblin is enraged when he discovers Thorin's elvish sword.
* Gandalf creates confusion with smoke and light, kills the Great Goblin, and leads the dwarves and Bilbo away
through the tunnels. Bilbo has to be carried on the backs of the dwarves because he cannot run as fast as
* After a surprise attack by the goblins, Bilbo is knocked unconscious.

Chapter 8 Abstract

* Quests usually focus on the conflict between good and evil. Here, we see the forces of evil clearly: the
goblins are full of hatred and cruelty, in contrast to the dwarves, the elves and the hobbits.
* Bilbo does his first useful thing: he wakes up in time to give the alarm, which allows Gandalf to free himself
and not be taken prisoner. However, this is done by chance and not from deliberate choice. But he is beginning
to prove his worth.

Chapter 9 Abstract

* Bilbo regains his senses and finds himself alone in the dark. He tries to find his way out of the tunnels.
* Bilbo stumbles on a ring and slips it into his pocket. He also discovers that his sword is an elvish blade.
* Bilbo encounters Gollum and agrees to a riddle contest with him: if Gollum wins, Gollum will eat him. If Bilbo
wins, Gollum will show him the way out.
* Bilbo wins the riddle contest but Gollum does not intend to keep his word. In a brief scuffle, Bilbo discovers
that the ring confers invisibility on its wearer.
* Gollum believes Bilbo knows the way out and "follows" him; Bilbo creeps behind to the exit.
* Gollum blocks the way out of the tunnels. Bilbo considers killing him but decides not to out of honor (it would
not be a fair fight as Bilbo is armed and invisible while Gollum is not) and pity.
* Bilbo escapes out of the tunnels.
Chapter 10 Abstract

* The finding of the ring is "a turning point in [Bilbo's] career" - a stroke of luck that proves necessary for later
* In a traditional quest, the hero receives a gift or tool that will help him/her achieve the quest.
* Bilbo has to rely on himself for the first time. He is helped by luck rather than skill.

Chapter 11 Abstract

* Bilbo discovers that he is on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains and rejoins the dwarves and Gandalf,
who have also come through the mountains.
* The adventurers flee through the woods away from the mountains, knowing that the goblins will hunt them at
* They hear the howls of a pack of wargs (evil wolves) and take refuge in trees. Gandalf attempts to drive away
the wargs by setting pinecones on fire and hurling these at the wargs.
* The goblins arrive for a meeting with the wargs and find the woods on fire and the adventurers up trees. The
goblins put out all the fires except the ones near to the adventurers, planning to set the adventurers' trees on
fire and kill them.
* The Lord of the Eagles hears and sees the goblins and wargs at work. He and his followers fly in to rescue
Gandalf and the dwarves. Bilbo is nearly left behind, but catches hold of Dori's legs.
* The adventurers are guests of the eagles overnight, although Bilbo is at first afraid that the eagles intend to
kill and eat them.

Chapter 12 Abstract

* Bilbo's account of his adventures alone with Gollum, along with his ability to creep past Balin unseen, help
the dwarves to start seeing him as a worthy member of the adventure.
* Bilbo does not tell the dwarves about the ring and its powers. It is interesting to speculate about his motives
for doing this (although in The Lord of the Rings, the psychological/spiritual effects of the ring on its wearer are

Chapter 13 Abstract

* The Eagles take the adventurers to the territory of Beorn, who is a skin-changer capable of taking the shape
of a man or a bear.
* Gandalf and Bilbo intrigue Beorn with the tale of their adventures so far, cleverly introducing the dwarves
gradually so that the large party is accepted by the normally suspicious and reclusive Beorn.
* The travelers are guests at Beorn's house. Beorn, meanwhile, travels in bear form to the mountains to
investigate the truth of their tale. He finds that the goblins and wargs are on the warpath hunting for the
* Beorn provisions the dwarves and Bilbo and gives them advice for traveling through Mirkwood. He lends
them ponies and guarantees their safety to the edge of Mirkwood.
* Gandalf leaves the dwarves and Bilbo on the outskirts of Mirkwood, giving them some final advice and telling
Bilbo to look after the dwarves.

Chapter 14 Abstract

* Bilbo has now developed his character to the point that Gandalf is confident that he can complete the quest
without any further assistance.
* This chapter has a slower pace, allowing the travelers (and the reader) to rest and recover after the intense
danger in the mountains and before the potential dangers of Mirkwood.
* Beorn's house is a picture of peace and contentment and another depiction of "home" that is similar to, but
also different from, the peace and contentment of Hobbiton or Rivendell.
Chapter 15 Abstract

* The dwarves and Bilbo travel for many days through the dark forest of Mirkwood. Their supplies of food and
water begin to run low, and they begin to wonder if they will ever get through the forest to the other side.
* Most of the party cross the enchanted stream in Mirkwood safely, but Bombur tumbles in and falls into an
enchanted sleep, requiring the others to carry him.
* After an encounter with a white deer, they begin to hear the presence of other folk in the wood.
* Bombur wakes up from his enchanted sleep just as their supplies of food run out, and they have given up all
hope of reaching the end of the forest. Bombur recounts his dream of seeing an elvish feast in the woods.
* The dwarves and Bilbo leave the path to follow some strange lights in spite of Gandalf's warnings. Three
times, they break in on the Autumn Feast of the Wood Elves. After the third time, the dwarves and Bilbo are
scattered in confusion.
* Bilbo wakes alone to find a giant spider attempting to wrap him up and sting him like a fly. He fights and kills
the spider, then names his sword Sting.
* Bilbo is encouraged by his slaying of the spider and sets out to rescue the dwarves from the spiders. Using
his ring, his wits and his sword, he frees them all and kills the spiders. However, Thorin is missing.
* Thorin, meanwhile, has been taken prisoner by the Wood Elves. The King of the Wood Elves is angered by
Thorin's refusal to say what he and his companions are doing in the Wood Elves' domain.

Chapter 16 Abstract

* Bilbo recognizes his own courage and strength when he kills the spider alone by skill rather than luck. This
gives him confidence and he begins to believe in himself.
* The dwarves now see Bilbo as being a vital and useful member of their party rather than a useless nuisance -
he is the one who is sent up the tree as a scout; he finds the way to cross the enchanted stream, and he
rescues them all from the spiders, saving their lives.

Chapter 17 Abstract

* The Wood Elves take the rest of the dwarves prisoner. Bilbo escapes with the help of his ring but follows
them into the underground palace of the Elvenking.
* Balin also refuses to tell the Elvenking why they are traveling through Mirkwood; the dwarves are put in
prison separately, not knowing that Thorin is also held prisoner there.
* Bilbo remains invisible within the palace, stealing food where he can. However, he finds Thorin and passes
news from one prisoner to another, keeping their morale (and resolve to remain silent about their quest) intact.
* Bilbo discovers that the Wood Elves trade with the men of Laketown, transporting goods in barrels along the
river, then returning the empty barrels via the same route. He makes a plan of escape.
* When the chief guard and the butler "sample" a new batch of wine that has just arrived and fall into a drunken
sleep, Bilbo steals the guard's keys and frees his friends. He explains his plans and packs them into empty
barrels ready to be floated back to Laketown.
* Bilbo suddenly realizes the weak point in his plan: he is not inside a barrel. Hastily, he catches hold of a
barrel and rides it.
* The barrels float downstream to Laketown. Bilbo, still invisible, rides the barrels with the convoy, dodging the
elves and men steering the barrels. He catches a bad cold.
Chapter 18 Abstract

* Here, Thorin and the other dwarves acknowledge that they are dependent on Bilbo for the success of their
quest. They have complete confidence that he will be able to get them out of prison.
* Bilbo is not completely happy about being a hero upon whom everyone depends. He still longs to return
* The song of the Wood Elves as they send the barrels downstream is significant - the barrels are returning
"back to lands you once did know" and carrying dwarves to their long-lost home.

Chapter 19 Abstract

* The barrels arrive at Laketown. Bilbo releases the dwarves from their barrels and finds that they have all
arrived safely, although hungry and battered.
* Thorin proclaims himself to be the grandson of Thror, the former King Under the Mountain, who has returned
to reclaim Thror's kingdom.
* Thorin and the other dwarves (and Bilbo) are well received by most of the people of the town, who have
heard the stories about the former prosperity of their town during the reign of Thror and believe these times are
* The Master of Laketown, who cares little for songs and legends, believes Thorin and company to be frauds,
but humors them. He is surprised when they actually set off for the Lonely Mountain.
* Throughout all the celebrations, Bilbo is preoccupied and concerned about the Lonely Mountain and the
dragon waiting there.
* The Elvenking learns of their escape and the true nature of their quest.


* This chapter provides another "rest" before the final obstacle of the quest is faced.
* Bilbo demonstrates that he has more common sense and wisdom than the dwarves. While the dwarves are
enjoying the accolades and songs of the townsfolk, and are becoming (over)confident about recovering their
treasure and their kingdom, Bilbo is aware that the most difficult obstacle still lies in front of them.

* Bilbo and the dwarves travel to the Lonely Mountain and begin to scout around it. They see the devastation
created by the dragon, including the ruined city of Dale.
* The search for the hidden door begins. Most of the dwarves begin to lose heart, but Bilbo remains hopeful
and pores over Thorin's map continually.
* Bilbo, Fili and Kili discover the narrow mountain path to the hidden door and the small grassy patch they call
"the doorstep."
* They make a camp on "the doorstep," but Bombur and the ponies remain at the lower camp, unwilling or
unable to negotiate the narrow path or the ropes.
* The dwarves attempt to open the door by force or magic; their attempts are unsuccessful.
* The dwarves are considering sending Bilbo in by the Front Gate when Bilbo realizes that it is Durin's Day and
their one chance for unlocking the secret door has come.
* At Bilbo's prompting, Thorin unlocks the door into the mountain.

* Bilbo is now almost a fully-fledged "hero" - he keeps his spirits up, finds the path, and solves the riddle to find
the keyhole.
* Rather than relying on just courage and wits, Bilbo also listens to his inner guidance, which helps him be in
the right place at the right time to find the keyhole.

* Bilbo enters the mountain and sees Smaug and the vast treasure he guards.
* Bilbo steals a cup from Smaug's hoard. The dragon reacts in extreme rage and begins to scour the mountain
for the thief. Bilbo and the dwarves hide inside the secret door. They successfully haul Bombur up, but the
ponies are driven off and some are eaten.
* Bilbo returns to the great hall, where Smaug sleeps on the treasure to find out more about Smaug.
* Smaug is awake and talks with Bilbo. Bilbo exercises his wits to conceal his name from the dragon and to
discover Smaug's one weak spot - a patch on his left side (near his heart) that is unprotected by either scales
or an encrusting of diamonds.
* The dwarves begin discussing how to kill the dragon but soon turn to talk of their treasures within the hoard.
* The dragon strikes, blocking the door and trapping the dwarves inside. He then decides to attack Laketown,
as he deduces that the Lake-men have helped the dwarves.

* In the darkness and silence, Bilbo decides to enter the treasure chamber a third time, unsure whether Smaug
is there or not. The others are afraid.
* Bilbo finds and takes the Arkenstone, the most precious gem in the hoard. He keeps it secret.
* When they realize that the dragon is elsewhere, the dwarves enter the treasure chamber. They begin to take
the treasures and the obsessive love that dwarves have for gold is awakened.
* At Bilbo's urging, the dwarves arm themselves and reluctantly leave the treasure chamber. They occupy an
old guard tower at Ravenhill.

* Smaug attacks Esgaroth (Laketown). The inhabitants have warning of his coming and prepare for his attack
by cutting the bridges (so he cannot come at them on foot and has to remain in the air) and by making sure
they have water on hand to extinguish his fires.
* Archers led by Bard the Bowman try to defend the town, but the majority evacuate.
* A thrush tells Bard, who is descended from the ancient kings of Dale, about Smaug's weak spot.
* With his last arrow, Bard kills Smaug, who falls onto the town and wrecks it. Bard escapes and is hailed as a
hero by the townsfolk, who want to make him their king (except for the Master).
* The townsfolk, left homeless in winter, decide to use the dragon's treasure to rebuild their town. They are
joined by the Elvenking, who is also eager for treasure.

* Thorin, Bilbo and the other dwarves hear of the death of Smaug from an old raven and rejoice. The raven
also tells them that the men of Laketown and the elves are coming to take the treasure. The raven advises
Thorin to share the treasure and to make peace.
* Thorin sends the raven to bring his cousin Dain and his armies to reinforce him.
* Bard greets Thorin and states his various claims to a share of the treasure. Thorin refuses angrily and with
* Bilbo longs for peace and to return home, as he believes the quest to be achieved.

* Thorin searches obsessively through the treasure hoard for the Arkenstone but cannot find it. He remains
stubborn about not sharing the treasure, even though their supplies are running low.
* Bilbo forms and carries out a plan to break the deadlock. He gives the Arkenstone to Bard, saying that he has
a stake in the treasure and is willing to negotiate, but that the Arkenstone is the one thing for which Thorin will
be willing to bargain.
* Bilbo returns to Thorin in spite of what they would consider to be betrayal. He meets Gandalf in the camp of
the elves and men.

* Bard uses the Arkenstone to bargain with Thorin. Thorin nearly murders Bilbo in rage when Bilbo reveals that
he gave the Arkenstone to Bard, but Gandalf speaks on Bilbo's behalf. Bilbo then offers his share of the hoard
to Bard and the Lake-men. Thorin grudgingly agrees and orders Bilbo to leave, naming him a traitor.
* Dwarves from the Iron Hills led by Dain arrive to reinforce Thorin. In an attempt to regain the Arkenstone
without handing over any treasure, the dwarves attack the elves and men.
* A vast army of goblins and wargs arrive, a storm and a bat-filled sky heralding their approach. The forces of
good (dwarves, elves and men) join forces to fight them.
* A terrible battle is fought on the slopes of the Lonely Mountain. The goblin army almost prevails, but at the
last moment, the Eagles arrive from the north and join the battle. Bilbo, making a stand and fighting beside the
Elvenking, heartens the failing forces of good by telling them of the Eagles' approach before being knocked

* Bilbo regains consciousness and is taken to the camp in Dale, where Thorin is on his deathbed from the
wounds he received in the battle. Thorin forgives Bilbo, then dies, praising Bilbo's courage, wisdom and
* Bilbo learns how the battle ended and the goblins were defeated with the help of not only the Eagles but also
Beorn, who fought in the form of a giant bear and killed Bolg, the goblin king.
* The treasure is divided, and Thorin is entombed with the Arkenstone and Orcrist. Dain becomes King Under
the Mountain.
* Gandalf and Bilbo begin the journey home, taking leave of their friends one by one - and Bilbo pays the
Elvenking for the food and drink he stole.

* Bilbo and Gandalf arrive at Rivendell. Bilbo learns that after Gandalf had left them beside Mirkwood, Gandalf
had worked with other white wizards to drive the Necromancer out of his dark stronghold in southern
* Bilbo returns to Hobbiton to find that he is presumed dead, and his goods are being sold by auction and his
relatives are preparing to move into his hobbit-hole.
* Bilbo reclaims his home and lives in peace. He has lost his "respectable" name but is wealthy and admired by
his younger relatives on the Took side of the family. He takes to writing and to visiting the elves frequently and
also receiving dwarves and the like as his guests.
* The book ends with Balin telling of the peace and plenty that has come to the Lonely Mountain, Dale and
Laketown, and Gandalf reminding Bilbo that even though he has been essential to bringing all this about, he is
only one small person in a big world, which Bilbo is content to be.

Various online sources

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