Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of The Hobbit, the dwarves ascend the Lonely Mountain to try to find the secret entrance. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: ON THE DOORSTEP

Until the final moments of chapter eleven, this is one of the bleakest sections of all of The Hobbit. Tolkien uses the oncoming change in season to drape the story in a sense of dread and gloom, and even when something positive does happen, we can’t forget the impossible odds that these characters have stacked against them.

It was easier to believe in the Dragon and less easy to believe in Thorin in these wild parts.

It’s such a simple sentence, but it communicates just how difficult this is. I don’t think that Bilbo lacks trust in the dwarves, but the reality of their mission is more apparent than ever. They can’t ignore what they’re about to do because they’ve actually made it to the Lonely Mountain and can literally see smoke coming out of the cave entrance. IT’S SMAUG OH MY GOD. It makes it all the more daunting that the dwarves have stopped singing, that most of the last bit of travel to the mountain is done in silence. The dwarves are a talkative bunch, but there’s not a line of dialogue for a huge chunk of pages in chapter eleven:

There was no laughter or song or sound of harps, and the pride and hopes which had stirred in their hearts at the singing of old songs by the lake died away to a plodding gloom. They knew that they were drawing near to the end of their journey, and that it might be a very horrible end.

THIS IS REASSURING. On cue, Tolkien shows us how the very landscape supports the mental state of the characters, and it’s one of the things he does well in this chapter. So much of the world of The Hobbit is this ever-changing geographical wonder and I’ve loved the different climates we’ve seen in the past ten chapters. Add in how much time has passed since they started their journey and I can get a better grip on how large Middle Earth is.

Which is why it’s so unsettling that the land is so barren around the Lonely Mountain, taking the name of the landmark and ascribing a psychological and geographical sense of vacancy to the story. This mountain is so distant from everywhere else in the story, and the separation causes the group to feel the effects of this desolate location. It’s even worse for some of the dwarves, such as Thorin and Balin, who remembered when Dale was a vast, rich valley full of prosperity and nature. God, I can’t even imagine returning to a place like this and seeing it scorched and destroyed and knowing that some goddamn dragon is hoarding your wealth in a cave just because it can. It’s not like Smaug is going to go out for a nice stroll on the Long Lake and do some shopping with the gold! God, WHAT A BIGOT.

With eight chapters following this one, I worried that this seemed to rush into a confrontation with the dragon inside the mountain, but Tolkien spaces things out to force the group to deal with find the secret entrance to Smaug’s lair. Overcome with dejection and fear, it’s not an easy prospect, and they all feel daunted by the sheer absurdity of the entire mission. It doesn’t help that before they are even inside the mountain, they face danger in ascending the tiny trails on the western slope for the hidden entrance.

I don’t think that Tolkien wrote The Hobbit to be some exercise in realism, but I’m constantly impressed by how grounded this feels. It would have been convenient for the group to find the secret door on the first day, but these characters are continually delayed on their quest. What good is a secret door if it can be located in just a few hours? Again, we are reminded just how much time it’s been since they left Bilbo’s home because the threat of winter hangs over them. OMG WINTER IS COMING.

Even when they do find the entrance, or what they think is the secret door, it’s not as simple as opening it and waltzing into Smaug’s hiding spot. There’s no indication of how the stone slab acts as a door, which stumps the dwarves and Bilbo for days on end. Unfortunately, the dwarves don’t make an effort to try to translate the runes or the moon-letters that might give them clue, choosing instead to focus entirely on physical means to open the secret door. Silly dwarves, when does that ever work?

I must admit that I found the scene following this where Bilbo simply sits in the doorway, staring off into the distance, to be kind of depressing. He’s so far away from home, away from things that are familiar and comforting to him, and even with all the success he and the dwarves have experienced, he is now stuck outside of a door that won’t open and he has not one idea how he’s going to get inside. So he just sits and thinks, rarely about the door, watching the snails scoot around the place. SWEET CHRIST. Goths, you ain’t got shit on Bilbo Baggins.

And all of this bears down heavily on the dwarves, who once again lapse into their familiar sense of feeling disappointment and frustration with Bilbo. To be fair, they are trying to get the door to open and Bilbo is literally sitting in the same spot for hours on end. And to be fair to Bilbo, he overhears the dwarves’ plan to send him straight through the front gate with just his invisible ring on. THAT SHOULD GO WELL.

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen, though I must admit I am not entirely sure what does happen. That night, as the sun sets and the new moon appears in the sky, a tiny ray of sunlight pokes through the clouds, shines on a smooth rock (where a large thrush is just hanging out, eating a snail), and a small keyhole appears on the stone door.

what

So….they just had to wait for a specific time? The door opens only at that moment in the year? So….what?

Okay, only if this is not further explained in the book, I am, for once, totally fine with someone explaining this. DID I NOT GET THIS. And I will not count it as a spoiler if you reply with, “KEEP READING, MARK.”

oh god must read on

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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193 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 11

  1. cait0716 says:

    Smaug is clearly the 1% of Middle Earth.

    • Saphling says:

      The dwarves and Bilbo should have signs, and picket outside the mountain, shouting "We are the 93.33333%!" (There being 14 of them.)

    • notemily says:

      RAISE TAXES ON SMAUG!

    • flootzavut says:

      ILU 😀

    • Appachu says:

      OCCUPY THE LONELY MOUNTAIN – wait, that’s exact what they’re doing.

      • ChronicReader91 says:

        I’m so sick of hearing about these “Occupy the Mountain” people. What do they want anyway?

        Um, they made it pretty clear that they want their treasure back.

        But what is the point of going to the mountain and camping out there? What do they think it will accomplish?

        Their point is, they want their treasure back.

        It seems to me that they’re blaming the dragon for all their problems. They could have a treasure of their own, if they just worked for it.

        They did have a treasure of their own. That they worked for. In the mountain. That the dragon took. He’s the one who didn’t work for it. They did. And they want it back.

        I think this whole “journey” thing is just an excuse to not do any work.

        Yes, they’re so lazy, they travelled on foot across Middle Earth, spent long periods of time without shelter or food, and prepared to face a dangerous dragon.

        Why does this whole dwarf generation feel so entitled?

        Because they ARE entitled to the treasure that was rightfully theirs to begin with!!!!

        But I still don’t understand what they want.

        *bangs head against wall* I give up.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      UGH THIS COMMENT IS SO PERFECT.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    So I found this book that I forgot I had that's basically the maps and geography of Middle Earth, as related to all the books. Someone did a very detailed and thorough mapping of all the specific stages of the journey, and I am going to maybe scan in pages. I wish I'd found it earlier because I could have done it along with each chapter. However, I should hopefully be able to do that with LOTR.

    Bilbo is the original goth kid. He should hang out with the goths on South Park. Who are not vampires.

  3. Mandy says:

    I don't know why, but I always loved those trips that last for MONTHS. They walk, just walk, I just can't imagine myself doing this stuff.

    • Saphling says:

      This website (BEWARE: SPOILERS FOR LOTR) is really good to give an idea of just how freaking far they travel, in both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It makes my feet hurt, thinking about it.

  4. Dent_D says:

    As I understand it based on what we've been told in previous chapters, the keyhole to the door only opens on that specific day in the dwarven calendar. Whether this is by Thrain or Thror's design or by somebody older I don't know. While it is incredibly inconvenient to have a door that is only accessible once a year, it's also a pretty neat secret. Additionally, it's a cool bit of magic, something I never really associated with dwarves before.

    Tolkien's description of the landscape gives such a sense of bleakness. The presence of Smaug is an overwhelming psychological cloud of doom over the party's heads. On the whole, this chapter was so dreary I found myself wanting to continue reading just in hope of a change in tone.

    Also, poor Bombur, being left alone with the ponies. He gets no love.

    • MelvinTheBold says:

      "Also, poor Bombur, being left alone with the ponies. He gets no love."

      … but, ponies!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      The ponies love him.

    • notemily says:

      Yeah, it sucks if you need to get through the door on any OTHER day of the year, but maybe they enchanted the door specifically for the occasion of coming back later on that specific day to try and get their gold, and they never got to pass on the secret except in cryptic moon-runes.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Yeah, think of what would have happened had they been delayed a couple days more… They'd probably just blame Bilbo for not saving them all sooner back by the Elves or something. 😛

    • flootzavut says:

      Wouldn't "just keep reading" be a better response as Mark will find out? Surely this is a spoiler?

      • msw188 says:

        I'm pretty sure this was explained by the runes Elrond read, and I don't think it's explained any more or brought up any more in the book, so it doesn't seem like a spoiler to me.

        The interesting question is, "why would you design a door to work this way?" At first it seems incredibly silly, until you remember that the maker of the map would have known the secret. Then this becomes a nearly full-proof method of having a door that only the maker can ever use, or even know about. At least from the outside. It seems to have also served as an emergency exit on whatever day Smaug originally came. But anyways, the maker seems to have considered: if there was ever a need to use this door from the outside, it could only mean that the Lonely Mountain had been infiltrated by an enemy. Getting back inside in secret would not be a hasty affair, and the method to do so would necessitate reliability and secrecy over convenience.

        The mistake, if there was one, was in Thrain not explaining the idea to Thorin before leaving to try it on his own and ending up with the Necromancer (oops).

  5. pennylane27 says:

    I honestly don't remember how the keyhole thing worked exactly, I guess I always accepted that's just how it is.

    The description of the Lonely Mountain and its surroundings always depresses me a bit, and I understand why the dwarves take it out on Bilbo, everyone's getting a bit desperate, but poor thing couldn't have done anything anyway!

    John Howe's mastery continues to amaze me:

    <img src="http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/1/The-Lonely-Mountain.jpg"&gt;

    Also "vg’f abg nf fvzcyr nf bcravat vg naq jnygmvat vagb Fznht’f uvqvat fcbg."

    BAR QBRF ABG FVZCYL JNYX VAGB ZBEQBE BZT

  6. BetB says:

    Mark, reread the part where Elrond and Gandalf look at the moon letters in Rivendell. That portion talks about the door on Durin's day, the last day of autumn, which marks the Dwarves beginning of the new year. Pay attention young man!!

    • earis the istarwen says:

      I do love that Bilbo is the only one who gives a shit. It goes back to the riddles and the cleverness of Bilbo. Tolkien makes Bilbo a totally BAMF, without ever leveling him up beyond character recognition.

  7. Ginger says:

    Mark, you have become part of the culture of my friend group.

  8. knut_knut says:

    Is Bombur really napping while everyone else is trying to get the door open? He is truly my spirit dwarf <3

    I’m not entirely sure why the secret door only opens on a specific day at a specific time other than I guess it’s a whole new level of protecting their hoard (do dwarves have hoards?). Not only must the intruder have the key, but they’d have to know about the moon-runes, and when Durin’s Day is, and then he’d have to get there on time and wait for juuuuuuuust the right moment.

  9. Ryan Lohner says:

    I strongly suspect that Smaug, and especially the description of the smoke cloud here, was the inspiration for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode Dragonshy. Huge dragon hoarding gold just for its own sake, and sending what's basically nuclear winter smoke into the air? I'm definitely picturing Smaug as that dragon now; if only he could be defeated with a good talking-to.

    • BornIn1142 says:

      Yeah, but then again, that's sort of the traditional image associated with dragons, isn't it? It dates back further than The Hobbit. Then again, the creator of the series has mentioned that Canterlot is based on Zvanf Gvevgu, pnyyvat vg n "Tbaqbe sbe tveyf." So the Tolkien influence is there.

  10. earis the istarwen says:

    In my opinion, one of Tolkien's greatest strengths as a writer is his ability to describe and animate landscape. Whether it's the bucolic quiet of the Shire or the gray drudge of the Desolation of Smaug and the sorrowful ruins of Dale, the landscape is perhaps the most important character here. It almost seems musical. I can't wait for the movie, to hear the music and watch the dwarves and hobbit struggle over the harsh mountains and cower under the hidden crag, as their spirits fall lower and lower.

    And then the moment when the light sinks and the last ray of the sun falls on the secret door – it is one of the tensest, most cinematic pieces of the hobbit. The way Tolkien writes, I can see the dying red light and hear the drawn out quaver of a violin, as all the dwarves and hobbit hold their breathes, watching light travel across stone. Any other author, and it would be contrived. Here, it's majestic.

    There was another moment like this back in Chapter 10, when Bilbo is on the river and the landscape opens up into the marsh. Tolkien builds up to the moment with short sentences of monosyllabic words (The shores sank. The trees ended. Then BIlbo saw a sight:), and then all of a sudden we get the wide open richness of the marsh and the grandeur of the Lonely Mountain. He has such a feel for how words can be so strikingly visually evocative, one that I've rarely, if ever, seen in other writers.

    Tolkien, I believe, is striving for emotional realism here. That's the brilliance of Tolkien's writing, he takes absurd things (hobbits, dragons, magic rings, bitchy dwarves) and makes them utterly normal and believable.

    Anyway, long comment is long. Sorry.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Never apologise for long comments. They're what make meta great.

    • flootzavut says:

      Awesome comment. Do not apologise!

      And I totally agree – V guvax vg fnlf vg nyy, gb zr, gung bar bs zl pbafgnag srryvatf ba ernqvat nyy gur obbxf vf fnqarff gung V pna'g tb naq ivfvg Ynxrgbja, Zvanf Gvevgu, Uboovgba, Rqbenf, Snatbea… V nyfb guvax gung gur frafr bs trbtencul naq ernyvfz vf creuncf bar bs gur fgebatrfg nfcrpgf bs gur zbivrf. Jngpuvat vg vg vf rnfvre gb oryvrir gung nyy gurfr cynprf ner erny guna gung gurl ner whfg perngvbaf sbe gur GI fperra. Ornhgvshyyl qbar. Bu! Naq gur Ryirf' cynprf, Eviraqryy naq Ybguybevra… gurer vf cneg bs zr gung vf whfg cynva thggrq V pna'g whzc ba n cynar naq tb naq frr.

      • In re your rot13'd comment, I could not agree more. My dream from about age 7-13 was to somehow find a way to get to MIddle Earth. Literally it was all I wanted from life. And if I was to find out it was possible now- I still think I'd go in a heartbeat, university and career be damned.

        • flootzavut says:

          I'd go, no questions asked… I'm just watching the start of FOTR, and oh! But it's so beautiful… Want!

          Zl snibhevgr ovgf ner Eviraqryy, juvpu qbrf gehyl ybbx yvxr fbzrjurer lbh'q unccvyl fgnl sbeRIRE, naq rvgure Rqbenf be Zvanf Gvevgu, orpnhfr gurl whfg obgu ybbx fb ornhgvshy. V nyfb jnag gb unir n obeebj sebz Rbjla be Nejra'f jneqeborf… <3 (V nz fhpu n tvey!)

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            V xabj – V nofbyhgryl ybir Nejra naq Rbjla'f ornhgvshy qerffrf!! Cnegvphyneyl Rbjla'f juvgr qerff va gur fprar whfg orsber Tnaqnys & pb. pbzr gb frr Gurbqra, naq Nejra'f ORNHGVSHY qrrc erq naq oyhr qerff va EbgX. V whfg ybir nyy nfcrpgf bs gur zbivrf – gurl'er gur orfg, zbfg qrgnvyrq zbivrf V'ir rire jngpurq.

            • flootzavut says:

              Bu lrf! Rbjla'f juvgr qerff vf bar bs zl nyy gvzr snibhevgr zbivr pbfghzrf rinu. Gur sebpxf! Gur sebpxf!

        • flootzavut says:

          (thought actually, arguably I grew up and indeed still live in what is or at least once was one of the kinds of bucolic places Tolkien was thinking of when he created the Shire… farms, farmers, country accents (V xabj crbcyr jub fcrnx va zhpu guvpxre nppragf guna gurl tnir gb Fnzjvfr va gur zbivrf! ;)), small fields surrounded by hedgerows, and I grew up in a black and white thatched cottage in a small village 🙂 so I guess I can count myself fortunate that I have more idea of Hobbiton than most people :))

        • Dent_D says:

          I'm still not convinced that Arj Mrnynaq isn't Middle Earth. Someday I will visit!

  11. Robin says:

    Keep reading=)

  12. monkeybutter says:

    Bombur hangs out with ponies and continues to be the greatest character in Western literature.

    OMG WINTER IS COMING.

    And not taking its sweet time, unlike some other winters I could mention. Nope, not bitter at all.

    I can't really explain it, but I'm glad I'm reading The Hobbit during the fall. It's my first time reading all the way through, and I'm enjoying the humorous narrator and how cozy the story feels (even during the more tense and bleak moments.) It's even better now that the story is at about the same point in time. It just feels right to be able to read about Bilbo and the dwarves, and look out the window at the bright leaves and low sun. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I think it's put me in a perfect mood for this book.

    • And not taking its sweet time, unlike some other winters I could mention. Nope, not bitter at all.

      Amen. I laughed very, very hard reading that. (I'm assuming you're talking about ASoIaF. If not, I'll creep back into my corner in shame and maybe do some work on my NaNo.)

    • rabbitape says:

      Agreed 100% with every sentiment expressed in your comment. Especially after returning from a weekend roadtrip, where the highway was lined in autumn color. I'm so happy to curl up in my reading chair with my mug of cider to read each night's chapter.

    • Meltha says:

      There really is something autumnal about the whole story, yes. 🙂

  13. VoldieBeth says:

    These books just keep getting realer and more in depth. Tolkien has created one of the most detailed and realistic world ever and I love him for it! I can't wait for more!

  14. Elexus Calcearius says:

    Mark, its like in Avatar- the light has to be right! They instructions could only be seen in (certain types of) moonlight, so it makes sense the door would open at night, or the last night of autumn, as they mentioned earlier. The characters should just be happy that they don't have to wait until a solstice for it to open, cause that would have been a while.

    Yeah, this was a depressing chapter, but I enjoyed it for that. I've got to say that I'm very impressed with Bilbo's character development. He feels like something of a war veteran now, but even that's not quite the right word….he feels like a strategist, a general controlling troops. Its such an impressive change.

    • Dent_D says:

      Oh, perfect explanation on the door! In the end, they really only needed a shiny sword. 🙂

    • earis the istarwen says:

      Speaking of Avatar – this song has been in my head as soon as we learned about the secret tunnel.

      Secret tunnel! Secret tunnel! Through the mountain! Secret, secret, secret, secret tunnel! Yeah!

  15. settlingforhistory says:

    I really liked the secret door, it's such a complex secret: you have to read a secret message on a map at the right day and then be there at the right time (just one moment in the whole year!), the right place and even then you still need a key. I wonder if there are more secret entrances, accessable at other important days in the dwarf calendar.
    Also, is the magic of this door dwarf magic or wizard magic or even elven magic?
    This is so interesting and exciting; how could I have missed this book as a kid?

  16. Sarah says:

    I'm really annoyed with the dwarves here. It seems like all they do is blame Bilbo for EVERYTHING. When all he's done this whole time is save their asses over and over. Seriously?! What have the dwarves actually done to help out their own quest? To me, since this is my first time reading this, the dwarves seem quite lazy and full of excuses. I'm not really a fan of dwarves. When this is all over, they better show Bilbo some goddam respect!

    Ok, I'm done getting angry at fictional characters who don't exist! lol 🙂

    Also: V'ir frra gur YbgE zbivrf naq V nyjnlf gubhtug bs Tvzyv nf bar bs gur orfg punenpgref. Ur'f n onq nff jneevbe! Naq ur'f n qjnes, evtug? Vg frrzf yvxr Tvzyv naq gurfr qjneirf urer ner gjb qvssrerag fcrpvrf. Zr=pbashfrq.

  17. flootzavut says:

    "It was easier to believe in the Dragon and less easy to believe in Thorin in these wild parts."

    Tolkien really says such a lot in that short sentence.

    "It’s even worse for some of the dwarves, such as Thorin and Balin, who remembered when Dale was a vast, rich valley full of prosperity and nature. God, I can’t even imagine returning to a place like this and seeing it scorched and destroyed and knowing that some goddamn dragon is hoarding your wealth in a cave just because it can."

    I don't remember if I ever thought about that, but you're so right – returning home only to find your house has been squashed and all your belongings stolen and there's a damn great dragon going, "Yeah, so what ya gonna do about it?"

  18. Yeah, so my laptop was basically dead all of last week and I had to keep going to the library to check my emails. But I now have a charger and you now can be subjected to more of my blathering! Woohoo!

    Anyhow, I think you're right about the description being one of the best parts of this chapter. The way the dwarves just have to sit and wait in the middle of this horrible place, which for some of them has really bad memories, without knowing if they'll ever be able to do anything, is really powerful. It would be such a horrible thing to have to do- just sitting and waiting. And I love that Tolkien takes the time to show us the more tedious part of a journey like this, and somehow make it compelling.

    My favorite part of this chapter, though? This:
    "… What is our burglar doing for us? Since he has got an invisible ring, and ought to be an especially excellent performer by now, I am beginning to think he might go through the Front Gate and spy things out a bit!"

    Bilbo heard this-the dwarves were on the rocks just above the enclosure where he was sitting- and "Good Gracious!" he thought. "So that is what they are beginning to think, is it? It is always poor me that has to get them out of their difficulties, at least since the wizard left."

    Well, yes Bilbo. Saving them from spiders and captivity with nothing other than your ring to help is going to have some affect on how your usefulness is perceived. And I LOVE that Bilbo isn't happy about the fact they rely on him so much. No warm fuzzy feelings there because they need his help- he's just a lost little hobbit who wants nothing more than to be back in his hobbit hole. It's brilliant, because even though Bilbo is now so much stronger than he was at the beginning, he's still consistent. Just a little hobbit who wants his tea and seedcakes.

    • earis the istarwen says:

      Just goes to show, as soon as you step up and accept responsibility – people expect you to keep doing it.

      Also, I totally had tea and seedcakes for lunch today.

  19. flootzavut says:

    Ooooh I've heard of books like that, could you say who it's by and what it's called? Because I would love to get it – or maybe just put it on my wishlist for future reference. I love maps… and weirdly, I think I enjoy maps of imaginary places like Discworld and Middle Earth even more than real maps!

      • flootzavut says:

        Thank you 😀 look forward to seeing your maps – I've been tempted by that before but with something like that, I would hate to be disappointed, so it's good to have someone who actually has it, ISWIM

        • Jenny_M says:

          When the movies were in the process of coming out, there was a deluge of Tolkien related materials – and sales on such things – and my parental units went on a bit of a spree for Christmas one year! It was brilliant, every package I opened up had another bit of Middle Earth lore. There's one fantastic book that basically traces the origins of Tolkien's stories back to the literature he loved and drew from, complete with John Howe illustrations. It's all LOTR heavy so it won't work to discuss here, but I'm looking forward to rereading and bringing it into the LOTR discussions!

          • flootzavut says:

            Oooooh fantastic!

            I'm watching FOTR just now… Fgevqre unf whfg nccrnerq (lhz!) naq gur Jenvguf ner nobhg gb qvfpbire gung gurl unir fgnoorq orqf shyy bs cvyybjf… V'z nyzbfg fnq gung Znex jvyy ernq gur obbxf orsber frrvat gurfr zbivrf nf V pna'g uryc guvaxvat gung n YBG bs urnqfcybfvbaf naq xrlfznfurf jbhyq erfhyg!

            I have put it on my wishlist, I'm a bit poor at the moment *sadface* but I shall look forward to perusing it at some point. I was a bit behind the curve when the movies came out, but I do have the extended versions and I LOVE the extras and stuff. So you can imagine how I feel about things like bookfulls of maps… <3 A friend of mine calls me a stealth nerd because apparently I don't come across as very nerdy in real life, but underneath I am an absolute sucker for all the little details that are for the obsessive fans 🙂

            • chikzdigmohawkz says:

              I may, possibly, have spent the last couple of weeks watching the appendices and the extended versions of the movies over and over again, with the various commentaries. (And I haven't been bored even once. How do those movies do that?)

              • flootzavut says:

                I am a big fan of extras, commentaries etc anyway,but my – these movies have the best extras ever! Is this the time to admit that I bought the theatre versions alongside the extended versions, not because I wanted to watch the theatrical versions particularly, but because I wanted to have all the extras from those as well! *grin*

                Ahhh these movies really satisfy my inner nerd <3

                • chikzdigmohawkz says:

                  Wait, the theatrical versions have different extras? ::must update Christmas wishlist (hmmm…I think my brother would be the easiest to con into buying these for me)::

                  • flootzavut says:

                    Eeep I hope I am not advising you wrong – but yes, I think so. I don’t think they were nearly so exciting as the EE extras, obviously, but if memory serves they had a few different bits. I think fbzrguvat nobhg Tbyyhz on one of them, and maybe even a preview of one of the computer games?

                    Glad I am not the only irretrievable nerd round here 😀

                    • UnstrungZero says:

                      (cross-replying to you as well, thought you might be interested.) Weeks late comment is weeks late, but there is also a Limited Edition LotR set that has both the TE & EE versions of the films along with an hour and a half long behind the scenes documentary with EACH FILM In the trilogy. That's roughly 4.5 hours of never before seen behind the scenes footage. HOWEVER, they have none of the extras or commentaries from either of the other releases, so they're really only for the extreme fans like me who owns all 3 versions. 🙂 EE still has the best comprehensive extras, in my opinion. I have what I think are the best clips from the LE documentaries up on my YouTube channel if you're interested! (link obviously spoilery for LotR) I need to update with better quality clips for TT and RotK someday.

                    • flootzavut says:

                      Ooooh DID NOT KNOW THAT. Ohai overdraft…I will bear this in mind for the future, although too poor to indulge at the moment. But will check out your youtube channel and Thank You 😀

                    • UnstrungZero says:

                      Most people don't know about the Limited Editions, it kind of slipped in under the radar of the average fan somehow. At the time I only owned TT and RotK in Theatrical, so I had no problem buying the LEs when they came out in 2006, I for some reason thought they'd have the movie commentaries at least with the extended cuts. But they don't, solely the two versions and one documentary per movie. So last Christmas my sister and her husband finally bought me the EEs so I could stop checking them out from the library, and I splurged the $5 to get FotR in Theatrical, so now I own all 3 in all 3 editions. *giggles* I hope you enjoy the videos, feel free to ask if you have any questions or requests! 😀

                  • UnstrungZero says:

                    Weeks late comment is weeks late, but there is also a Limited Edition LotR set that has both the TE & EE versions of the films along with an hour and a half long behind the scenes documentary with EACH FILM In the trilogy. That's roughly 4.5 hours of never before seen behind the scenes footage. HOWEVER, they have none of the extras or commentaries from either of the other releases, so they're really only for the extreme fans like me who owns all 3 versions. 🙂 EE still has the best comprehensive extras, in my opinion. I have what I think are the best clips from the LE documentaries up on my YouTube channel if you're interested! (link obviously spoilery for LotR) I need to update with better quality clips for TT and RotK someday.

              • notemily says:

                That's why they're the best movies ever.

            • Jenny_M says:

              Stealth nerd, I love that! I am kind of the same way, and I was out with some friends and we were discussing something and a random question came up and the answer ended up being "Vyhingne" and I knew it off the top of my head and they were like…HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?

              My nerdiness shows up in weird places, like seeing a poster of all the characters in the Simpsons universe and being able to name every one (my friend pointed to a random person, and I was like "oh, that's Hank Scorpio. Obviously." Another "HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?" moment.)

              So I totally get your stealth nerdiness – my nerdiness is as hidden away as Gollum, but it will surprise you!

              • flootzavut says:

                Heehee, yes I am just like that 😀 the friend who says that, I am always telling her random things (especially in movies) and she just *looks* at me, you can almost see her thinking "But… what??" I just don't look like a nerd, apparently…

                Bit like Chandler is a stealth heterosexual in friends, really…

            • notemily says:

              V'z nyzbfg fnq gung Znex'f ernqvat gur obbxf svefg gbb, whfg orpnhfr gur zbivrf ner ubj V tbg vagb Gbyxvra snaqbz naq V'q ybir gb frr uvz rkcrevrapr gurz gur jnl V qvq. Ohg V guvax gurer jvyy or whfg nf znal urnqfcybfvbaf naq xrlfznfurf jvgu gur obbx! Gurl'yy whfg gnxr ybatre gb trg gb. 🙂

              • AmandaNekesa says:

                Yeah, I also watched LotR movies before reading the books, so V'z fhcre phevbhf gb frr Znex'f ernpgvbaf gb YbgE orpnhfr vg'yy or dhvgr qvssrerag sebz zl bja rkcrevraprf. Ol gur gvzr V orpnzr n sna, gur svefg gjb zbivrf jrer bhg, naq V jnf va gur cebprff bs ernqvat gur obbxf jura EbgX pnzr bhg. Naq…jryy V jnfa'g gung sne lrg naq fb va zl vzcngvrapr V jrag gb frr gur ynfg zbivr va gur gurngerf. V qvqa'g jnag gb zvff bhg ba frrvat vg va gur gurnger.

                Naljnlf…nf jvgu Uneel Cbggre, zl cneragf jrer rkgerzryl bccbfrq gb zl yvxvat bs YbgE & Gur Uboovg orpnhfr: BZT, gurer'f jvmneqf, naq rivy guvatf… Gubhtu, hayvxr Uneel Cbggre, V jnf noyr gb riraghnyyl pbaivapr zl cneragf gb jngpu YbgE…abj gurl bja gur Rkgraqrq Rqvgvbaf!

                Mission accomplished. 🙂

                • notemily says:

                  V nyfb fgnegrq ernqvat gur obbxf orgjrra GG naq EBGX, naq V nyfb jrag gb frr EBGX jvgubhg univat ernq gur obbx'f raqvat orpnhfr V jnagrq gb frr vg svefg 🙂 V jbaqre vs gung jnf n pbzzba rkcrevrapr.

                  Zl cneragf qba'g guvax fghss yvxr gung vf rivy, gurl whfg qba'g ernyyl trg gur nccrny. Zl zbz jnf gur bar V npghnyyl fnj SBGE jvgu, orpnhfr fur jnf yvxr "yrg'f tb frr n zbivr," naq gung jnf jung fbhaqrq tbbq. Ohg fur jnfa'g ng nyy vagrerfgrq va gur frdhryf–hagvy EBGX jba rirel Bfpne rire, naq fur jnf yvxr "znlor V fubhyq frr gung… qb V unir gb frr gur frpbaq bar orsber V frr gur guveq bar?" V ybbxrq ng ure nyy ubeevsvrq yvxr LRF BZT ZBZ LBH PNA'G QB GURZ BHG BS BEQRE. Fb fur whfg arire fnj vg. Snvy. :C

                  • AmandaNekesa says:

                    Lrnu vg znxrf zr jbaqre jung bgure crbcyrf' rkcrevraprf unir orra jvgu Gbyxvra, naq ubj vg'f nssrpgrq gurve rkcrevrapr bs gur obbxf/zbivrf. Gur zbivrf jrer zl svefg rkcrevrapr jvgu Gbyxvra'f jbex, naq V xabj vg'f nssrpgrq ubj V vzntvar Zvqqyr Rnegu va zl zvaq nf V'z ernqvat. Abj, fvapr V'ir ernq Gur Uboovg orsber gur zbivrf, vg znxrf zr jbaqre vs zl rkcrevrapr jvyy or irel qvssrerag sebz YbgE. V thrff V'yy frr arkg lrne.

                    Gung fgvaxf gung lbhe Zbz fgvyy unfa'g jngpurq gur erfg bs YbgE, gurl'er fbbb jbegu gur gvzr. V pna or n engure frevbhf zbivr-jngpure, rfcrpvnyyl jura vg'f gur svefg gvzr V'z jngpuvat vg. Jurarire V urne sevraqf be snzvyl gnyx nobhg jngpuvat zbivrf be n GI frevrf bhg bs beqre, vg whfg yvxr, "lbh jnaan qb junn?" Lbh pna'g whfg fxvc gur zvqqyr bs gur fgbel…vg'f whfg abg cebcre!

                    Zl zbz vfa'g ernyyl n uhtr sna bs gur zbivrf be nalguvat, ohg fur'f jngpurq gurz. Fur zbfgyl pna'g fgnaq nyy gur tebff ybbxvat perngherf, rfcrpvnyyl gur fprarf ng Vfratneq jvgu gur "ovegu" bs gur Hehx-unv. V qba'g oynzr ure, gubfr fprarf tebff zr bhg yvxr abar bgure. :S

                    • flootzavut says:

                      That scene that your mom and you both hate, I totally agree. Didn't see that movie in the cinema and was almost grateful…

                • flootzavut says:

                  I find the antipathy to things purely because they have wizards in them most weird – ahh well, takes all sorts right?? 🙂 And well done for converting the parental units!

                  • AmandaNekesa says:

                    Thanks! 🙂 I felt quite accomplished to have converted them!

                    My parents are quite conservative Christians, and they were (and are still) against Harry Potter, mostly because they believed the mass of biased and untrue articles that were circulating among Christian circles at the time. Since then they've been biased against anything relating to wizards, sorcery, magic, etc. They applied this opinion to The Hobbit/LotR as well as Narnia (ironically), until I introduced them to the stories. Unfortunately, I doubt my parents will ever be ok with Harry Potter. I think they believe it's morally wrong to even check it out, because of their strong beliefs that the story is evil or something. When I told them I was a Harry Potter fan, they seriously asked me if I was now into the occult. Parental reasoning fail.

                    • flootzavut says:

                      I think why it dumbfounds me so is because I am a Christian, and it would never have occurred to me to judge a book as anti-Christian *because it has magic*. Maybe it's because I grew up on Narnia… I have just never seen it as a problem, and am always surprised when others do. I mean… it's a book… it's fiction! Vs nalguvat, gur obbxf tybevsl gur beqvanel (nyy gubfr jbaqreshy uboovgf) bire zntvp naq cbjre.

                      I'm also in the UK, and wonder if that link of magic=evil in fiction is just not a pervasive assumption here. Some of the best Christian literature out there uses magic as part of its mythology. It is indeed ironic about Narnia – and well, even about the others, as Tolkien was RC and I believe Jo Rowling is also a churchgoer. So I do find it most odd – also infuriating when people say it's about magic therefore must be evil, but no of course I have not read it it's evil. Condemning something from a position of ignorance irritates the wotnots off me, whatever is being condemned and whoever is doing the condemnation.

                      Anyway, sorry, I kind of went off on one there didn't I? Oops! I do think it's terribly sad that people have this knee jerk "argh! magic! evil!" reaction and never find out that the messages woven into these books (intentional or otherwise) are generally so damn wonderful! Rira gur fznyyrfg crefba pna punatr gur pbhefr bs gur shgher…

                      *sigh*

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      I'm Christian too (though not conservative like my parents) and I also tend to go off on a tangent about this topic. I had a similar discussion on MRHP, and it seems to me that it's mostly the people that have never read the books that that tend to condemn them. I've had so many lengthy debates with my Mom, and as far as content and message goes, she couldn't give a good reason why the story is bad or evil besides it being witchcraft. Most of my Mom's evidence is hinged on some story she heard from some fellow conservative Christian friends that a child they knew apparently read Harry Potter and decided to dabble in the occult/witchcraft. My question to that was: how do we know HP really was the cause of their interest in witchcraft? We don't know the situation. Is this something the parents were opposed to, or just this friend of the family? I think it's unfair to make such a blanket statement without knowing more about the people and the situation involved.

                      I had originally held the same opinions as my parents because, well…I was young and ignorant, and didn't really think it through myself. It's when I went to college, away from home and my usual bubble, that I realized how varied Christians can be. You have the fringe outspoken few that tend to create more issues than solutions, but from my experiences, the core of Christians tend to be opposed to a lot of those drastic opinions.

                      As far as I can tell, I think this magic=evil belief is a very conservative Christian perspective. A lot of Christians don't hold this belief; I just happened to grow up in one of those conservative families.

                      I also agree it's more sad than anything that people allow their biases to keep them ignorant, without investigating it first-hand. I'm so happy I didn't allow my parents' biases to become my own, because all these stories have great messages! (naq znal bs gurz fhccbeg Puevfgvna vqrnyf gbb!) OGJ, V YBIR gung dhbgr lbh unir va ebg-13!! Nabgure bs zl snibevgrf:

                      Qb abg or gbb rntre gb qrny bhg qrngu naq whqtzrag. Rira gur irel jvfr pnaabg frr nyy raqf.

                      Long comment is long. :p

                    • flootzavut says:

                      PHEW! I'm glad it's not just me then. I wonder if it is at least partly a US vs UK culture thing as I don't know if there is a single person in my Real Life that I can think of who is a Christian and opposes any of those books on principle… in fact the only people I can think of who are a) Christians and b) read those books, love Harry Potter, Narnia, Middle Earth, and indeed HDM, which let's face it are if anything anti-Christian.

                      And I say good on you for being willing to learn and realise that those prejudices are indeed exactly that, prejudices 😀

                      LOVE that quote too <span class="idc-smiley"><span style="background-position: -12px 0pt;"><span>:D</span></span></span>

                      And I say YAY for long comments heehee <span class="idc-smiley"><span style="background-position: -12px 0pt;"><span>:D</span></span></span>

                    • AmandaNekesa says:

                      I do think a lot of this magic=bad belief is pretty heavily a US trend, but that goes with a lot of other "pagan" related cultural events. For example, Halloween is pretty popular in the US, and the majority of Christians participate in it, but my family never did, on the principle that it originated as a pagan holiday, and is associated with evil spirits. My parents also pretty strongly rejected the ideas of Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. The thing about these strong beliefs about magic and "pagan"-related topics is that once there's enough people that believe these things are bad, there's a stigma that develops among those Christians that any opinion outside this general consensus equates to faithlessness or something. It's terrible. That's why, when I told my parents about HP they thought I was no longer a Christian.

                      I don't mean to go on and on, it's just this stuff really intrigues me. My college degree is in Intercultural Studies, so the contrast of cultures and sub-cultures really gets me going. 🙂

                      YAY for long comments, good discussions, and awesome quotes! 😀

                    • flootzavut says:

                      Oh wow, it sounds like you definitely did the right degree! That must be fascinating 😀 😀 😀

              • flootzavut says:

                True! But yes, me too, movies first. V'z er-jngpuvat gurz naq erzrzorevat ubj znal fubpxf V unq jura V fnj gurz sbe gur svefg gvzr! EBGX vf gur bayl bar jurer V ernq gur obbx svefg. V ernq naq ybirq gur uboovg nf n puvyq, ohg V nyjnlf tbg fghpx va gur sbejneq jura vg pnzr gb YBGE, cneg bs zr jvfurf fbzrbar unq gbyq zr gb fxvc gung ovg ohg vg jnf nyfb xvaq bs jbaqreshy gb rkcrevrapr gurz sbe gur svefg gvzr nf na nqhyg! V fnvq vg ryfrjurer, ohg V qvqa'g ernyvfr ubj zhpu V ernyyl ernyyl jnagrq Znex gb ybir gurz nyy gvyy ur fgnegrq gb snyy va ybir jvgu Gur Uboovg naq V jnf eryvrirq!

                Jngpuvat gur zbivrf ntnva unf nyfb erzvaqrq zr gung V nz n yvggyr ovg va ybir jvgu Ovyyl Oblq/Cvccva…

      • notemily says:

        Oh hey, I think my roommate has that! I totally have to take a look.

        • Jenny_M says:

          It's a leeeeetle dry but the maps are really informative if you can get past the tone. (By "leeeetle" I mean…"oh God, and I thought JRR was wordy…")

  20. Lugija says:

    Winter is coming!

    Except that the temperature has been just over zero for a couple of weeks now. Come on snow, make world bright again, it's not cool going to school when it's dark and coming back when it's dark again. I promise I won't complain about ice on walkways, all I want is not to live in Mirkwood!

    This chapter was like a one long waiting moment from horror films. Something is going to happen, that swimming girl is already dead, they can open doors, he's just behind you and we can't do anything about any of it!

  21. ravenclaw42 says:

    I like that the keyhole is essentially a monolith aligned with celestial movements, much like the ruins England has in abundance. Since Tolkien's conceit was to tvir Ratynaq n zlguvpny uvfgbel yvxr gur Abefr gnyrf (is that still a context spoiler? I'm so lost about what is or isn't a spoiler in the context and background material), I love that he possibly borrowed the reality of all these astonishingly well-constructed, perfectly measured stone ruins (some of which align so perfectly to a solstice or equinox sunset/sunrise that the sun only shines into them for the same 18 minutes per year) and gave his dwarves the ability to construct the same sort of things. Nyfb, "qjneirf qvq vg" vf nobhg nf tbbq na rkcynangvba V'ir urneq nf nal sbe gur zvaq-obttyvat angher bs fbzr bs gubfr ehvaf, naq abg whfg va Ratynaq.

    Only two illustrations today…

    <img src="http://pics.livejournal.com/ravenclaw42/pic/00147zra"&gt;

    <img src="http://pics.livejournal.com/ravenclaw42/pic/00149aw2"&gt;

    Their hood colors are all still accurate, bless. <3

  22. notemily says:

    I love what you say about the landscape, Mark, and I can't wait to see what bit of New Zealand they come up with for this scene in the movie. The LOTR films are like one huge advertisement for New Zealand, as I believe Flight of the Conchords made fun of. And then when I found out there were MULTIPLE airplanes (spoilers at the link!) with the LOTR actors' faces painted on them, I was like I WANT TO GO TO THERE.

    It's also fun to watch the behind-the-scenes stuff for LOTR, because the sheer NUMBER of people who worked on the films makes it seem like the entire population of New Zealand was involved. (NZ's population is roughly the same number of people who live in the Bay Area.) Which makes me want to get a TARDIS, go back in time to before they started filming, move to NZ, and get a job in the film industry. Then I'd just have to wait.

    Anyway, this chapter is pretty awesome. The Dwarves are definitely not Genre Savvy, or they'd know that only the magic from the map will open the door and all their pushing and prodding isn't going to work. Bilbo gets it. Ovyob fubhyq unir orra nebhaq va YBGE jura Tnaqnys jnf gelvat gb bcra gur Zbevn qbbe.

    • flootzavut says:

      Heehee, yeah I love the extras on the movies, and if I had a TARDIS? For sure, I would do the exact same thing, just looks like it was such an amazing thing to be part of!

    • ChronicReader91 says:

      Once I had to do a paper about an industry in another country. I decided to do the New Zealand film industry.

      As for your rot-13 part: my thoughts exactly. Ng yrnfg Sebqb vaurevgrq Ovyob'f vaghvgvba.

      • notemily says:

        OK first of all that sounds like the best paper ever.

        V qvqa'g ernyvmr ubj zhpu Gbyxvra ybirf erhfvat uvf bja gebcrf hagvy V fgnegrq guvf er-ernq. Ovyob naq Sebqb obgu tb ba na harkcrpgrq wbhearl rnfg, jvgu n fgbc ng Eviraqryy nsgre n qrngu-qrslvat rkcrevrapr. Gurer ner frperg qbbef gung pna bayl or bcrarq ol zntvpny zrnaf naq zbba-yrggref. Tvnag fcvqref znxr na nccrnenapr. Abj, V jbhyq ernq gra zber obbxf frg va Zvqqyr-rnegu ab znggre ubj zhpu ur er-hfrq gebcrf, ohg V guvax vg'f shaal. V jbaqre vs Znex jvyy cvpx hc ba vg gbb.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Oh yeah that's a good point – I wonder if Mark will notice that too.

          Abg gb zragvba, sbe Sebqb & Fnz, nf jryy nf Ovyob, gur tbny bs gur wbhearl vf onfvpnyyl gb ernpu n zbhagnva ng gur raq.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      I know, I feel the same way too! Whenever I watch the DVD extras, it makes me want to transport myself to that place and time. It would have been such an amazing experience to be a part of that.

      about the rot13 part – Haha yeah I'd like to see his reaction to that scene. Ernyyl, Tnaqnys? Qb lbh errrnyyl guvax gung'f tbvat gb jbex?

  23. readerofprey says:

    This chapter has my favorite sentence in the whole book:

    They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.

    I love that sentence. It's so atmospheric. "The waning of the year" is such a great, melancholy way to describe the autumn. And Desolation of the Dragon is a phrase that has doom about it. It's so bleak.

    Desolation of the Dragon is my new band name.

  24. stellaaaaakris says:

    Your description about the landscape of the Lonely Mountain, particularly Thorin and Balin's reactions made me think of Pompeii. You can see so much of it's history and what it was like, but it's all ruins now and that makes me sad, without even mentioning all the loss of life.

    Tolkien's style of hinting at the future (for example, that bit about Bombur in the chapter) is reminding me of Death in The Book Thief. It also annoyed me there because I don't like to know what's going to happen (I cover my eyes when they give flashes of the episode in the beginning of BSG and, seriously, knowing Rudy's fate made it very hard for me to appreciate or feel any joy in any of his scenes). In this instance, it was more of a little tease and it's not that bad, but it reminded me of Death.

    This may have been asked answered before, but I don't remember: Vf Tvzyv eryngrq gb Svyv be Xvyv? Gurve anzrf ner fvzvyne ohg abg nf pybfr nf zbfg bs gur snzvyl yvar anzrf ner.

    • cait0716 says:

      Tvzyv vf Tybva'f fba

    • hpfish13 says:

      Tvzyv vf npghnyyl gur fba bs Tybva. V thrff gur qjneirf cersre nyyvgrengvba gb eulzvat

    • Sarah says:

      I had asked a similar question, and had it answered above by notemily: Jryy, gurl'er qrsvavgryl abg gjb qvssrerag fcrpvrf, fvapr Tvzyv vf Tybva'f fba.

      I completely agree, too, with the future "hints." Sometimes I feel like the author is spoiling me and it can be very frustrating! I hadn't thought about comparing the style to Death; so true.

    • ChronicReader91 says:

      V qba'g xabj- nyy V xabj vf gung Tybva vf uvf sngure, ohg V tbg gur vzcerffvba gung gur n ybg bs qjneirf ner eryngrq (Obzohe naq Obshe orvat Ovshe'f pbhfvaf, Svyv naq Xvyv orvat Gubeva'f arcurjf) fb ur pbhyq or.

      • notemily says:

        Jryy gurl'er nyy qrfpraqrq sebz Qheva'f yvar, evtug? Be zbfg bs gurz? Unat ba, V fubhyq ybbx guvf hc. Nu lrf, gurer jrer bevtvanyyl frira Snguref bs gur Qjneirf (frira qjneirf? V frr jung lbh qvq gurer, Gbyxvra), naq Qheva jnf bar. Gubeva, Svyv, Xvyv, Tybva, Bva, Onyva, naq Qjnyva ner nyy qrfpraqrq sebz uvz. (Nyfb, Tybva'f sngure jnf anzrq TEBVA. SBE FREVBHF.) Qbev, Abev naq Bev ner fhccbfrqyl qrfpraqrq sebz Qheva gbb, nygubhtu gurl jrera'g va gur snzvyl gerr V sbhaq. Ovshe, Obshe naq Obzohe ner qrfpraqrq sebz bar bs gur bgure Qjnes snguref.

        Source

  25. readerofprey says:

    The contrast of Dale before and Dale now always makes me think of Happy Valley from Mickey and the Beanstalk before and after the magic harp is stolen. The world goes from Pixar-levels of bright and colorful to dull gray and lifeless in a matter of seconds.

  26. readerofprey says:

    I was talking about the Hobbit with my uncle recently, and he mentioned that he'd like an illustrated Hobbit that's almost like a coffee-table book that has the pictures from all the big illustrators included. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?

  27. Kelsey says:

    "I am, for once, totally fine with someone explaining this. DID I NOT GET THIS. And I will not count it as a spoiler if you reply with, “KEEP READING, MARK.”"

    ok…
    KEEP READING, MARK!!!!!! 🙂

  28. ChronicReader91 says:

    They can’t ignore what they’re about to do because they’ve actually made it to the Lonely Mountain and can literally see smoke coming out of the cave entrance. IT’S SMAUG OH MY GOD.

    I just realized something. Smaug= Smog. Maybe that’s how he got his name.

    I always thought the keyhole appearing in the door worked the same way as the moon letters mentioned in an earlier chapter.

  29. arctic_hare says:

    <img src="http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/5016/017jux.th.jpg&quot; border="0"/>

    That picture gives me the willies on behalf of whoever's shimmying up the mountainside. EEEEEK. Could not pay me to do that. I don't blame Bombur one bit for not wanting any of that, quite frankly. Fuck that shit. My fear of heights sympathizes, Bombur. Chilling and napping down in the valley sounds much better than climbing along a dinky ledge or being hauled up on a rope (AIEEEEEEEEEEEE).

    Dread is the operative word for this chapter. Dread, and gloom. I love the way Tolkien builds it up and it just hangs over everything.

    It was easier to believe in the Dragon and less easy to believe in Thorin in these wild parts.

    It's like that tag over at Reasoning with Vampires says: simple sentences do not make you simple-minded. On the contrary, I think that a simple sentence done right is far, far superior to beating a point into the ground. Using fewer words to effectively convey so much is to be applauded, IMO. This line is one of my favorite examples of that.

    It’s not like Smaug is going to go out for a nice stroll on the Long Lake and do some shopping with the gold! God, WHAT A BIGOT.

    IKR? He doesn't even wear any of the jewelry or anything! He just sits on it! ASSHOLE.

    What good is a secret door if it can be located in just a few hours?

    Yeah. This reminds me of a funny part in a second season episode of the Slayers anime, where the main characters is complaining that whoever drew the map they're following should've made it easier, and another character says "There's no point to a treasure map that lets you find things easily." ULTIMATE TRUTH.

    Man, you are just not prepared in any way. 😀 Even though this chapter tried to prepare you. Nope, still not.

    • flootzavut says:

      ROTK spoiler: Gur ovg gung ernyyl trgf zr vf jura gurl ner pyvzovat gur cngu hc naq bire vagb Zbeqbe. Gur svyz irefvba bs gung fpnerf gur penc bhg bs zr, Fnzjvfr jbhyq unir gb pneel zr orpnhfr V jbhyq yvgrenyyl or pngngbavp jvgu srne, V'ir sebmra ba fgrcf naq abg-gung-fgrrc uvyyf, gubfr fxvaal fgrrc yvggyr fgnvepnfrf jvgu gur furre qebcf ner avtugzner sbqqre rira whfg gb jngpu, xabjvat vg'f bayl n zbivr. Rhetu!

      • knut_knut says:

        NTU ZR GBB!!! Gur fgrcf jrer fb aneebj naq gurl ybbxrq xvaq bs jrg, gbb. V qba'g rira guvax V jbhyq unir gehfgrq Fnz gb pneel zr- nyy gur rkgen jrvtug zvtug znxr uvz snyy bire onpxjneqf. YBGE jbhyq unir raqrq evtug gura naq gurer naq Fnheba jbhyq unir jba.

        • flootzavut says:

          *laughs* yeah that is the other option. Either way, no way on earth I could do that voluntarily. I actually am feeling a little dizzified just thinking about it… 😮

  30. bugeye says:

    Desolation of Smaug. I am a NW Cascade Mountians girl I took my newborn from the Seattle area to Portland on May 17th 1980 and had to stay with the Grandmas extra days until the ash settled and it was safe to drive home. In my youth I hiked, fished and just sat at the foot of the perfection that was Mt St Helen's. Even to this day over 30 years later, desolation. A strangely compeling desolation but still a true viseral defination of the word.

    I started reading Tolkien back in the 60's (first Ballentine authorized editon Yeah!) and am still reading him today. I took out the books after the eruption and wallowed in all the desolation parts of the Hobbit and LOTR. This chapter always grabs me, always.

    • Starsea28 says:

      Wow, I'm shocked that even now, the landscape's still desolate. 🙁 You know more than most of us what it would look like.

  31. Starsea28 says:

    It's a bit like Harry's situation, isn't it? (Actually, I should say Harry's situation is like this, since Bilbo came first.) Dwarves doubt Bilbo; Bilbo is a badass and proves them wrong; dwarves doubt Bilbo; Bilbo is a badass and proves them wrong. And so on and so forth. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the part which inspired the Trio's wanderings after acquiring the locket. It has that similar sense of desperation and depression.

    I really like that Tolkien emphasises the correct description of the Lonely Mountain. It's not called lonely because of poetry or because it isn't in a mountain range. It's desolate. The landscape is barren. Not for nothing is this called 'the Desolation of Smaug' on the map. And it really makes you understand just how hard it will be for the dwarves to get back their treasure.

    KEEP READING, MARK.

  32. Becky_J_ says:

    "It’s not like Smaug is going to go out for a nice stroll on the Long Lake and do some shopping with the gold! God, WHAT A BIGOT."

    Not gonna lie, when I read this, I all of a sudden pictured Smaug walking… no, prancing , across the water like Jesus or something, holding a handbag aloft, with many great jewels strung all over him, excited about his day of shopping!

    HE REALLY NEEDED SOME NEW SHOES OK.

  33. Lady X says:

    Don’t really have anything clever to say but Mark, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. Yeah and the whole secret door thing was kind of slightly a little un-understandable. Just a little bit 😉

  34. Tauriel_ says:

    Mark, an important question:

    Do you consider information on the cast of the Hobbit film a spoiler?

    I'm asking because there's a particularly awesome bit of casting for a certain character that's going to appear in the upcoming chapters, and I need to know whether we can flail openly or in rot13. 🙂

  35. Lurkatrix says:

    After lurking for ages and loving MarkReads (and especially having recommended MarkReadsTwilight to so many people, in various countries and walks of life, including for example both of my aunts!) this one little sentence forces me [briefly?] out of the Desolation of Lurkerdom and into a completely different place altogether*:
    "And to be fair to Bilbo, he overhears the dwarves’ plan to send him straight through the front gate with just his invisible ring on."
    Really? Just his invisible ring on, eh? Well maybe it's not that exciting since he'd be invisible, right, and maybe it wouldn't be exactly exciting anyway, at least unless you're a hobbit, but still, I'm just going to have to invoke Rule 34 upon this sentence! And then dash…

    *aka the Gutter, aka my second home

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