Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of The Hobbit, Bilbo and the dwarves are puzzled by the apparent disappearance of Smaug and the method in which they’ll escape from inside the mountain. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.


Oh, this is so much fun. I’m truly starting to understand why this book is beloved by millions of people. There are so many things that fantasy and science fiction must have borrowed from The Hobbit! I don’t even know how sure I am of this, but the way that Tolkien uses suspense and physical geography/arrangement to build that is just brilliant. This was published in 1937. And I am still entertained by it!

Make no mistake, though; this shit is creepy. There are no new creatures introduced in this chapter, though I became anxious at the thought that there might be something else down in Smaug’s lair or perhaps on the path out of it. Of course, that sort of doesn’t make any sense. Smaug is a lonely creature by choice; he doesn’t seem to want to share his lair with any other living being. His own greed prevents that.

It seems that Smaug isn’t concerned with any of that right now. He must care about revenge a lot, because he doesn’t return to the cave as quickly as the group expected. I am worried that if these characters do make a clean escape, they’ll discover that the Lake men were obliterated. That’ll be awkward, right? Even so, what makes this chapter so thrilling is that the idea of Smaug returning at any point hangs over these characters. I simply waited for it to happen, expecting the next paragraph to begin with, “And then, to their dismay, they heard a terrifying roar…”

Hell, that’s what I anticipated from this! The dwarves thought they were trapped in the cave, and Bilbo ends up venturing down into Smaug’s lair with the ring on, only to trip and fall right down into the treasure pile. Ouch, by the way. That can’t feel good at all. In the pitch-black, the only thing that Bilbo can see is a faint glowing in the distance. He ends up getting a small “pine-torch” from the dwarves to continue searching about the place. One of my favorite parts of chapter thirteen is each point when Tolkien slightly shifts the perspective of the narration. Up until he gets the pine-torch, we see everything through Bilbo’s eyes, but then Tolkien switches to the dwarves as they watch Bilbo’s tiny light get smaller and smaller. It’s a great affect, one that detaches us from the action in a way to make us uncertain of what happens next.

Bilbo discovers that the glow he’d seen is from the Arkenstone, the gem that Thorin had spoke about lovingly in the last chapter. It’s just as splendid and magnificent as Thorin described, so of course Bilbo decides to take it. That’s a good idea! The dwarves certainly won’t notice this at all! Hell, it’s even acknowledged in the text:

“Now I am a burglar indeed!” thought he. “But I suppose I must tell the dwarves about it–some time. They did say I could pick choose my own share; and I think I would choose this, if they took all the rest!” All the same he had an uncomfortable feeling that the picking and choosing had not really been meant to include this marvelous gem, and that trouble would yet come of it.

Dude, your own narrator thinks this is a bad idea. Okay, I jest, but seriously. That’s not going to end well. In the meantime, though, Bilbo continues to explore the space after pocketing the Arkenstone. After a little bat fright, the dwarves all come down to help Bilbo (ABOUT TIME GOD), and are immediately distracted by the piles of treasure. Look, I won’t apologize for thinking this is one of the funniest things in this whole book, even if this isn’t what Tolkien wanted. Honestly, though, think about it: Bilbo cries out for help, the dwarves arrive, and they start digging through treasure. Just like that. Nevermind about Bilbo! Okay, so it isn’t exactly like that, but I was amused. And I admit that it was kind of adorable that Thorin gives Bilbo a coat of mail, even if it probably won’t be of any help to him.

This tiny moment of joy only served to make me more nervous than ever before, though. The dwarves were distracted. Even when Bilbo suggest that they should figure out what to do next, Thorin is just a bit too confident about knowing exactly where to go. To be fair, this palace used to belong to him and his fellow dwarves, so I understand his familiarity. But I felt that Tolkien was setting up these characters to be distracted to the point of vulnerability. So with every step they take on their way out of the old palace, I went back to believing that Smaug would arrive in the next paragraph.

That’s really the trick of a good story, especially one like this. The author has to get you to believe something will happen, or at least anticipate a specific outcome. This all feels like a set-up, doesn’t it? The group ascends stairways, walks quickly down long passages, and Thorin proves that he really does remember every turn out of the palace. And I still believe that disaster is just ten seconds behind them. They make it to the chamber of Thror, where a bunch of bones and skulls (which I can only imagine belong to the dwarves who used to live her, which jesus christ) are spread about the space.

But no Smaug. They find the Running River. Actually, the very start of it. But no Smaug. They find the road that leads out the Gate to Dale. And they take it. And there’s still no Smaug.

Whoa. They…they made it out? Holy shit. WELL-PLAYED, TOLKIEN. I don’t feel like this is anti-climactic, either, because of what happens after this. The group plans to march five hours to an old lookout post to rest and eat so as not to be in direct danger from Smaug. The walk itself is rather uneventful, too, even with the threat of Smaug’s return haunting them all. It’s when they arrive at the lookout to make camp for the night that Tolkien reminds us that this journey is far from being over:

In all their talk they came perpetually back to one thing: where was Smaug? They looked West and there was nothing, and East there was nothing, and in the South there was no sign of the dragon, but there was a gathering of very many birds. At that they gazed and wondered; but they were no nearer to understanding it, when the first cold stars came out.

It is perplexing that Smaug would stay away from his cave for such a long time, especially since he knows that Bilbo and the dwarves were there.

IT’S A TRAP. oh god it has to be, RIGHT?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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157 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 13

  1. Jenny_M says:

    Hee hee hee. This made me giggle so much:

    "Naq V nqzvg gung vg jnf xvaq bs nqbenoyr gung Gubeva tvirf Ovyob n pbng bs znvy, rira vs vg cebonoyl jba’g or bs nal uryc gb uvz."

    Uvf ARCURJ ba gur bgure unaq…

  2. Ryan Lohner says:

    Vg'f cerggl sha gb tb onpx gb guvf puncgre xabjvat gung Fznht vf QRNQ ol guvf cbvag. Nyy gung fhfcrafr bire abguvat!

  3. cait0716 says:

    Thorin, did you grab a coat of gold chain mail for yourself? That seems like a poor choice. Like, why did that get made?

    Imagining them all digging through the treasure was fun. I can't wait to see this scene brought to life on the screen.

    • MidnightLurker says:

      It could be gilded mithril or some such…

    • earis the istarwen says:

      I've always assumed it was gold-washed mail – pretty and functional!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Yeah, gold does not good protection make.

      You know, if I ever make a video game, I'm gonna make some armour of pure gold, and give people a choice to have it over their traditional armour, and laugh so much when they find out its crap. XD

      • cait0716 says:

        It could be a lesson in the malleability of metals! They could experiment with various weight to strength ratios and learn about chemistry!


      • Dent_D says:

        Minecraft does this, it's pretty amusing. Gold is a semi-rare material in the game. During the alpha/beta stages you couldn't craft much with it except for gold tools and armor. All of which have poor durability. Plus your character looks like a stick of butter when he/she's wearing gold armor.

        • claretstock says:

          But if you pair it with different kinds of armor, you get more variety ;). Like shiny gold pants with leather boots and shirt. 😛

      • arctic_hare says:

        Hilariously, I have actually equipped Gold Armor in games like some of the Final Fantasies, and it's decent for a short while. Makes no fucking sense, but amuses me.

        (They also use mithril, though in more recent localizations changed the spelling to "mythril". Copyright reasons, I guess.)

      • claretstock says:

        There is a game where you can do this. It's Minecraft(which I highly recommend :P), and the gold armour really is crap, although it makes for a pretty shirt. =)

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          I've played minecraft before, actually, although only once. I got killed three times, although the first time was partly because my 'friend' decided it would be funny to kill me just before night fell, so I'd be stuck in the wilderness with the monsters.

          • claretstock says:

            Heh, yeah the first couple "nights" in the game are pretty rough, especially when friends don't have your back… 0_0

            Once you get better materials for armor and weapons(and a home for night times!), it's pretty addicting, and the monsters aren't as damaging.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Linguistics time! 🙂

      Mithril is a word of Sindarin origin and is a combination of:

      mith – grey (compare: Zvguenaqve – Terl Jnaqrere)
      ril – brilliance (compare: Fvyznevy, Naqúevy)

      Mithril was also called Zbevn-fvyire, because that was its largest source.

  4. whovianforever says:

    haha. I literally could not put down the hobbit, lol!

  5. Saphling says:

    Oh Mark. ^_^ Bless your little cotton socks.

    There are so many things that fantasy and science fiction must have borrowed from The Hobbit!

    One day when you've finished both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and have an entire day to kill (no siriusly), check out the TV Tropes page for them, and see how many of the storytelling tropes still in use today that Tolkien's works provide the name for.

    • Zoli says:

      I don't know about sci-fi so much, but fantasy, yes. Let me stress this again: These books essentially INVENTED the genre. Tolkien's work was that influential.

      On the other hand, that's always not the best thing, since it means a lot of fantasy is super derivative and tries to use the same formula without the same skill.

      • Saphling says:

        Yeaaaah. Play any fantasy-based RPG or adventure game, and you're going to see a lot of Tolkien.

      • Ryan Lohner says:

        Particularly ironic is that The Lord of the Rings started the whole "thing" about making stories, especially fantasy ones, into trilogies, when Tolkien himself hated splitting up the book and only did it so people could actually afford it.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      So true. As someone who's only read the Hobbit and caught snippets of the movie on TV, even I know how influential this stuff is. Although, in some ways, it makes me a bit sad that we're just breaking free of it now. (I'm not saying that these tropes are bad, but that I really love subversions and deconstructions.)

  6. earis the istarwen says:

    Can we talk about how awesome Balin is? Thorin is getting really fond of Bilbo because Bilbo's plans have been working, but Balin is the one who seems to really care about Bilbo and wants to make sure that Bilbo is okay.

    Balin – Dwarf of the Year!

    • pennylane27 says:

      LOTR spoilers: Urer yvrf Onyva, fba bs Shaqva, Ybeq bs Zbevn. *pevrf*

      • knut_knut says:

        …fuvg, V sbetbg gung gung Onyva vf guvf Onyva. V jnf rira yvfgravat gb gur genpx “Onyva’f Gbzo” ba gur YBGE fbhaqgenpx tbvat uzzz…Onyva fbhaqf ernyyl snzvyvne, V jbaqre jul -_-

      • ChronicReader91 says:

        Bu gung'f evtug. 🙁 Gur svefg gvzr V ernq guvf zl snibevgr qjneirf jrer Xvyv naq Svyv. Guvf gvzr nebhaq Onyva vf. V pubbfr jryy, uhu?

      • flootzavut says:

        I watched that two nights ago. V pevrq…

      • ladysugarquill says:

        I completely missed this. Maybe because I read the Hobbit *after* LotR 🙁

    • BumblebeeTuna says:

      BALIN IS MY FAVOURITE DWARF! I'm glad to see someone else out there giving him love <3
      He's like a kindly old grandad. Really, he's the only one who is actually nice to Bilbo. Except for Dori, of course. Dori's a decent fellow.

  7. monkeybutter says:

    The underlying tension of WHERE'S SMAUG is great, but I love the image of them excitedly rummaging through the treasure.

    <img src=""&gt;
    Can't you just see them running around, trying on armor, grabbing the most ridiculous axes and mail? I love Thorin's gold-plated mail, it reminds me of Jaime's armor — absurd yet useful! And Fili and Kili grabbing gold and silver harps? Adorable! And even though Bilbo keeps a clearer head than the others, it's great that he gives into the moment a little as well, and wishes that he had a mirror. It was nice seeing them have a small payoff for the journey, even though they've still got Smaug on their minds.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I stand by what I said before: Sokka would be so awesome with this group. And he could bring along the show's girls, too, they'd give a bit of diversity to the cast.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Toph would be the best addition by FAR. She'd love it in the caves and would Earthbend them new doors and block off stuff when they needed to, like when Smaug was coming for them.

    • Dent_D says:

      I will always smile at Sokka's excitement for shopping. I can always hear his happy voice too! Hmm, maybe I should go rewatch that episode…

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Sokka could compare his space sword to Gúeva'f oynpx fjbeq Thegunat. 🙂

      And Elrond vf gbgnyyl n jngreoraqre – erzrzore ubj ur pnhfrq gur sybbq gung jnfurq njnl gur Anmtûy?

      And Gandalf vf boivbhfyl n sveroraqre – ur graqf gb snibhe sver-onfrq fcryyf (naq ur'f snzbhf sbe uvf sverjbexf) – cyhf ur'f pneelvat Aneln, gur Evat bs Sver.

  8. Genny_ says:

    Watching you warm up to this book has been really satisfying, you know that? Hee.

    I found this chapter really unbearably tense, and then at the end even though they've actually gotten out against all expectations, it's STILL tense. Tolkien did really well on that one- he keeps the sense of threat sort of hovering over them very effectively without being too blatant. My stress levels aren't thanking him, though.

  9. knut_knut says:

    I never understood this, but is the Arkenstone essentially a very large diamond? Does it do anything?

    I hope in the movie this scene will be like a shopping montage- Dwarves carrying huuuuge piles of treasure, trying on all sorts armor in front of the changing room mirror, telling one another to “treat yourself”, etc.

  10. stellaaaaakris says:

    I love this book. Once the action gets started, I can ignore all the little style quirks that don't really jive with the writing style I enjoy. Either Tolkien's interjections are getting fewer and less obvious, or I'm just way too into the story to care. Or both.

    Fili, Kili, and Balin are my favorite dwarves. Balin is just a sweetie. Kili is being played by a Hottie McHot-Hot in the movie (which certainly helps make me love him more), and he and Fili are just so whimsical. All the other dwarves are understandably busy filling their pockets with treasure, as I would be too, but these two are making music. Who cares about a dragon? It's time for a song! I would deal with another Tolkien song if it was sung by Fili and Kili on magic harps about recovering treasure. That seems like a mood lifter.

    • earis the istarwen says:

      I've always had a soft spot for Oin and Gloin and their apparent pyromania!

      But Balin really is the most awesome of all the dwarves.

  11. I don't think I've ever smiled so much at just how unprepared you are. And I love the little scene where Thorin gives Bilbo the mail coat. It's a nice gesture, and I've always thought Bilbo's reaction was great: "I expect I look rather absurd. All the same, I wish there was a looking glass handy!"

    Seriously, I just want to cuddle him, mail coat and all. He's so great.

    And- gah, there are so many things I want to say and I CAN'T SAY ANY OF THEM. I'll just sit tight till the next chapter…

  12. pennylane27 says:

    I'm running out of ways to express the level of your unpreparedness, and since everything else I could say is either a spoiler or me laughing maniacally at said levels, I'm going to go with a good old-fashioned YOU ARE NOT PREPARED

    Here, have Smaug by Alan Lee so you don't forget the tension of this chapter:

    <img src=""&gt;

  13. Dreamflower says:

    There are so many things that fantasy and science fiction must have borrowed from The Hobbit! I don’t even know how sure I am of this, but the way that Tolkien uses suspense and physical geography/arrangement to build that is just brilliant. This was published in 1937. And I am still entertained by it!

    JRRT knew that great storytelling is timeless– and he proved it so well that he's been imitated ever since.

    Dude, your own narrator thinks this is a bad idea.

    That made me giggle so much.

  14. bearshorty says:

    Illustration for Chapter 13 – all about the treasure!

    <img src="; alt="treasure" border="1" height="300"/>

    • Jenny_M says:

      "Oh boy, a harp!"

      These illustrations are my favorite. I love the one dwarf in the front savoring the smell of the gold like it's a big bowl of stew or something.

      • t09yavosaur says:

        "I love the one dwarf in the front savoring the smell of the gold like it's a big bowl of stew or something."

        I can actually relate to this. I realized today that I love the smell of brass.

    • msw188 says:

      I'm a big fan of the dwarf on the right holding up the sword by the blade-end. Especially with the huge open-mouth smile. "Wow, look at this thing! Anyone know which side's the front and which side's the back?"

    • flootzavut says:

      Hobbit po-russki! <3

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Are you Russian?

        If yes, don't you think that the film Bofur looks a bit like a bandit from "Morozko"? 😀 Because that was totally my first impression! 😀

        • flootzavut says:

          I'm not Russian, but I have seen Morozko (I did Russian at uni :)) – a very very long time ago so I can't say for sure that I remember what the bandits looked like, but LOL actually that pic of film Bofur does have a very definite Russian air about him somehow and I am definitely going to be thinking of him as a Russian bandit from now on 😀

        • flootzavut says:

          actually the more I think about it the more I think this is sparking memories and the more amused I am by the resemblence…

          • Tauriel_ says:

            They broadcast Morozko in Slovak TV every Christmas. It's one of those fairy tale films without which Christmas just isn't Christmas. 😀 It's very aged now, and pretty silly, but still has a special place in my heart.

            And it has Ragf! Rivy Ragf, V fhccbfr, ohg Ragf abarguryrff. 😀

  15. ChronicReader91 says:

    I'm among those who can think of nothing to say that isn't a spoiler.

    And, You Are Not Prepared. B)

  16. notemily says:

    Yeah Bilbo, stealing the Arkenstone sounds like a HORRIBLE IDEA. Why you do this.

    I do like that Bilbo gets all decked out in jewels and shit and then is like "I feel great! But I bet I look ridiculous." Hee hee.

    Not much interesting from the Annotated Hobbit today unless you're interested in the specific etymology of "Arkenstone." (SURPRISE! It's Anglo-Saxon!)

    • monkeybutter says:

      I am interested in the specific etymology. Does it mean the ark-like stone, is it broken down from hearken, or something else?

      • notemily says:

        Haha, OK! The Anglo-Saxon is "eorclanstan," which means "precious stone," and it's found in Beowulf. Jacob Grimm in his four-volume Teutonic Mythology pointed out the corresponding Gothic form "airkna-stains," where "airknis" means "holy." And of course it's mentioned in the Edda as well, as "iarkna-steinn" (or "jarknasteinn" if you're fond of your Js).

        (There are accents and such over some of these letters but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get a straight line to appear above a letter…)

      • notemily says:

        Also apparently the "arken" root "does not exist in modern English," so it's not related to either of those words.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I am fond of my "J"s and have long lamented the lack of a J Street in DC. Thanks for answering, it's neat seeing how he developed this entire world and its languages.

          Yeah, I realized after typing that "ark" is probably Latin. Silly.

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            I hate the DC streets, they make no sense. No J Street, I Street does this weird thing where it breaks off for a bit and the restarts a block from where it logically should be, and it feels like there's about 15 K Streets. Might be why I always took public transportation/walked when I lived there (also, I didn't have a car).

            But someone told me the streets were designed that way long ago to confuse any invading British forces. Don't know how true that is, but it at least gives an interesting reason as to why DC was designed with so many flaws and confusion. Ha, locals could even tell any invading armies that the President lives on J Street and they would never find the real location. Maybe it wouldn't occur to them to look for the big white building. Or something like that. I like the idea even if it isn't true and also makes little sense.

            • flootzavut says:

              If you ever watch NCIS, the delectable Ducky teaches his med student all about the streets in DC. It's kind of adorable <3

              • stefb says:

                Oh Ducky 🙂 And Jimmy Palmer is all kinds of adorable too. He should start wearing a bow tie and then he and Ducky could be bow tie buddies or something.

                • flootzavut says:

                  <3 <3 <3 They are one of my all time favourite non-romantic-fictional-couples. And Ducky! Oh Ducky… I want him as my grampa. Or David McCallum. Whichever. I am not fussy. He's adorable in and out of character!

                  • ChronicReader91 says:

                    Ducky and Palmer are the main reasons I watch that show every week. Well, and Abby too. They're my main three. <3

                    • flootzavut says:

                      I want Abby to be
                      1. real and
                      2. my best friend
                      though Pauley P does seem like a very cool chick too.

                      one of my favourite moments was s.6 I think… Abby says something to
                      Ducky which helps him solve a problem and he kisses her forehead… and
                      has to go on tippy toe to do so!

                      the more I think on it the more I am convinced David McCallum must be a

                  • stefb says:

                    David McCallum is almost 80! He looks REALLY good!

            • monkeybutter says:

              lol I think whoever told you that made it up, but it's as good an answer as any. But since the Capitol's at the center of the whole thing, it'd be pretty easy to find. It's the grid + diagonal streets + circles + landmarks + outer parts of the city developed much later that make it so much fun to drive! And, you know, terrible drivers enraged and befuddled by those aspects of the city.

              So, yeah, Metro and walking forever!

            • notemily says:

              The story about Milwaukee is that there were three rival founders, each of whom had their own area of the city, and they designed the roads so that it was really hard to get from one to the other. I don't know if that's true, but it's neat to think about 🙂

    • knut_knut says:

      tell us more, tell us more!

  17. Darth_Ember says:

    Such incredible tension in this chapter. You're just waiting and waiting for Smaug to come back.
    It's like in movies, you hear the creepy music, and you're sitting there, tense, waiting for the monster.
    Tolkien's writing managed something akin to that music, and it means even when you're reading about them delighting in the treasure, you feel that strange dread – which is right and proper for something taking place in the lair of a dragon.

  18. Appachu says:

    I can't think of anything to say that isn't SPOILERS, so I'mma just sit over here in the corner and giggle at the mental image of the dwarves playing around in a great big pile of treasure.

    V pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb trg gb YbgE naq svther bhg whfg ubj vzcbegnag gur zvguevy pbng naq Fgvat orpbzr. Bu naq znlor gur evat gbb. *cackles evilly*

  19. Elexus Calcearius says:

    How awesome would it be if your could hear your own narrator?

    Narrator: And so our hero set out for the day, ready for an uneventuful day at work, with no idea of what she'd truly find…
    Me: Well, that's a bit ominous, isn't it?
    Narrator: What? No its not!
    Me: Yeah, it kind of is. What am I going to find? I mean, is it an epic adventure where I'll gain lots of power and stuff, or catty co-worker, or someone breaking into the shop?
    Narrator: You think I'm just going to tell you this story's genre?
    Me: Well, you seem way too stuffed up and formal for some quirky modern comedy, and I sure hope I ain't in a romance.

    It would be glorious, I'm telling you. Almost as awesome as having your own sound-track.

    But yes, this is a very nice chapter. I love the building of suspense, and the descriptions of the jewels. Even if I would probably have no use for most of it, that would be a site to see, just for the sight of it, don't you think?

    • stefb says:

      This would be glorious…as long as it was narrated by Jim Dale.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      True story: I had a friend who asked me if I could follow her around and narrate her life. Apparently I have a really descriptive way of talking some times. I think she would have requested her life to be an adventure romance though. Maybe I could record some standard lines and she could play them when appropriate since I don't think being someone's personal narrator is a great living…besides, who's going to narrate the life of a narrator? Got to have my own life to live!

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        You know, I once read a Doctor Who fanfic where they landed on the planet of the narrators, and every sentient visitor got their own narrator. Including the giant blue box, the TARDIS. There would be entire sections which went:

        "The blue box sat their. And sat some more. Do I really have to do this?"

    • flootzavut says:

      Characters hearing their narrator: Stranger Than Fiction, 2006, starring Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman amongst others.

    • Zoli says:

      It can be difficult to nail these things effectively. I'm doing NaNoWriMo, and totally set out to write a lighthearted superhero adventure story… and 30k in I'm finding it has much more of a mystery/dramatic feel to it. o_o

    • Lugija says:

      Narrators for me: Stephen Fry, sir Christopher Lee and, when necessary, Snape from Snape's Diary.
      Soundtrack would be a mix from John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Sumio Shiratori (composer from Moomins, or Tanoshii MÅ«min Ikka) because genre would change often.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        I approve of your choice of narrators, especially Stephen Fry and Sir Christopher Lee. I'd probably also add Benedict Cumberbatch…

  20. arctic_hare says:

    <img src="; border="0"/>

    The front door! Gosh, that's lovely. <3

    This chapter is super creepy, I agree. You're always waiting for Smaug to come back, or to see them as they hustle out of there with their goodies, and history repeats itself. Plus that description of the dining hall with all the bones is YEEEEEARGH. Do not want. Sorry, Thorin, but I'm with Bilbo on this one, wouldn't want to be down there right now. I love that the dread is just built up and maintained and everything just ends on an ominous, mysterious note.

    "V nz jbeevrq gung vs gurfr punenpgref qb znxr n pyrna rfpncr, gurl’yy qvfpbire gung gur Ynxr zra jrer boyvgrengrq. Gung’yy or njxjneq, evtug?"

    YBY, lbh unir ab vqrn. Jryy, gurl jba'g or pbzcyrgryl boyvgrengrq, ohg fuvg vf fgvyy tbaan or njxjneq nf uryy.

    You are not prepared.

  21. feminerdist says:

    I love how unprepared Mark is, but also, I'm unprepared. I haven't read The Hobbit in like 15 years. I haven't had time to do a re-read, though, I clearly need to, since I can't for the life of me remember what comes next!

  22. stefb says:

    I am actually a chapter behind and have to read this when I get home, but just wanted to drop in and say "Thou art not prepared."

    (did i use 'art' right? i used the our father as the example)

  23. Starsea28 says:

    "And I admit that it was kind of adorable that Thorin gives Bilbo a coat of mail, even if it probably won’t be of any help to him."

    It's their equivalent of a bullet proof vest so it's actually a pretty thoughtful gift. 🙂

    "V arire gbyq Ovyob, ohg vgf jbegu jnf terngre guna gung bs gur Fuver!" vaqrrq. KQ

  24. MKD says:

    I love how you pionted out how many things have been norrowed or inspired by Tolkien – the last book I read involving a dragon and a pile of treasure was fantastically creepy, mostly because it followed Tolkien's version of greedy, intelligent, violent dragons that can talk!

  25. PrefectSarah says:

    I'm reading this for the first time too, and this chapter is definitely my favorite so far! So much tension!

    "And I still believe that disaster is just ten seconds behind them."

    Siriusly!! Every time I turned the page I almost cringed because I thought I just KNEW something bad was going to happen. Where the hell is Smaug?

    I also find myself constantly thinking "why haven't I read this before?!"

  26. David says:

    Hehe, Mark went all Admiral Ackbar on us . . .

  27. Becky_J_ says:

    I have to say, I get more and more annoyed with the dwarves with each chapter. They send Bilbo to do all the work, he saves them multiple times, and yet they're hesitant to go help him with a light?? SO FRUSTRATING.

    Dudes. Bilbo is the reason you are here. He is the reason you aren't eaten by giant spiders and stuck in the dungeons of the Elvenking and he's the one that went to see Smaug first… and second…. all the times, really, and SO MANY MORE THINGS. give him a damn light!

    I submit my vote for Bilbo as King Under the Mountain. Though I suspect Thorin would be quite displeased at my suggestion.

  28. Chris Lucas says:

    Years of watching Scrooge McDuck sliding down and swimming through mountains of gold have clouded my judgment on how much falling along such a pile really would hurt.

    Damn you, Scrooge McDuck!

    • t09yavosaur says:

      When Mark was describing the Treasure Party all I was picturing was Scrooge McDuck back-stroking by.

  29. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    I love the part after Bilbo gets frightened by the bat and loses his torch. He calls for help, and the dwarves hesitate until he actullay starts screaming angrily for a light. A pi$$ed-off Bilbo just amuses me no end. 🙂

  30. elyce says:

    It's cliche but, Mark, you are so not prepared.

    Mithril! I want a mithril coat thing. I guess it's a vest? And Bilbo, how very naughty of you to take the Arkenstone when Thorin wants it so badly and you know this. Bad things are sure to come of that little thievery. Tsk tsk.

  31. Quincy Morris says:

    Okay, Mark, I just went through your suggestions, and you dismissed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as having too much rape.


    So, essentially, a man named Mikeal Blomkvist, boarman of Millenium magazine has recently been tried and imprisoned for publishing a story about a millionaire's criminal finiancial empire. Facing a huge loss in subscribers, Mikeal must discover a way to discredit that man.

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