Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of The Hobbit, Bilbo must devise a way to free the dwarves from the Wood-elves. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hobbit.


Bilbo has a lot of fear, apprehensions, and self-esteem issues to work through, and what I find so captivating about The Hobbit is the fact that we get to witness all of this. I’m pretty sold on the general story by itself: it’s a dangerous and violent journey through a mysterious land full of fantastical creatures. That concept alone is enough to capture my attention, but I think the added subtext of this emotional journey for Bilbo makes this all the more interesting to me.

Things really aren’t going so well with the dwarves, as this chapter opens with the Wood-elves capturing the remaining twelve dwarves right off the bat. And let’s just admit that this is not a hard task: even if we ignore how exhausted they all are from the spiders, they’re in a forest with almost no light in it. They’re sitting ducks. However, Tolkien makes things interesting immediately by having Bilbo slip on the ring he stole from Gollum. Instead of putting Bilbo in captivity, Tolkien goes with a different dynamic: he must use his invisibility not only to stay alive, but to find a way to free his friends.

And it’s interesting for a lot of reasons; obviously, now we get to see how Bilbo faces his own fears to help his friends. But from a storytelling perspective, having Bilbo waltz about the palace of the elves is brilliant. Tolkien’s narration can now focus on showing us the physical layout of the setting without separating our view of the main character. On top of that, the tension of chapter nine derives from the fact that Bilbo has to exist in this unnatural state for such a long time, and in order to do so, he has to utilize the talents he possesses as a hobbit.

From the start Bilbo does a whole lot of sneaking just to keep up with the elves without giving away his location. I loved that Tolkien constantly acknowledges the fact that Bilbo still casts a feint shadow and that he’s still going to make noise. So our little hobbit friend does his best to blend in, knowing that he doesn’t want to be left alone at the end of this, and that his friends really need his assistance.

The cave of the elves is unlike anything we’ve seen before and I love my copy of The Hobbit has these tiny ink illustrations in it. I get the sense that the Wood-elves are much more neat and organized than the cave-dwelling goblins. Tolkien also makes a point to show us that they’re not evil, but concerned, perhaps irritated that the dwarves have come upon their forest in such a ridiculous manner. Sure, there are some one dimensional villains in this book, but that’s doesn’t mean that all the antagonistic forces have to be. At heart, I felt sympathetic to what the Elvenking had to say about the dwarves:

“Do you forget that you were in my kingdom, using the road that my people made? Did you not three times pursue and trouble my people in the forest and rouse the spiders with your riot and clamour? After all the disturbance you have made I have a right to know what brings you here, and if you will not tell me now, I will keep you all in prison until you have learned sense and manners!”

It’s an unfortunate situation, but I get it. To the elves, the dwarves’ story simply doesn’t look good. It’s suspicious, and I think they have every reason to think that this shit is sketchy. Still, as I said, it’s unfortunate, but once the dwarves are made prisoners, it falls on Bilbo to figure out how to rectify this situation:

He often wished, too, that he could get a message for help sent to the wizard, but that of course was quite impossible; and he soon realized that if anything was to be done, it would have to be done by Mr. Baggins, alone and unaided.

Thus, we are presented with the main conflict of chapter nine, both the physical problem of imprisoned dwarves, and the emotional core of Bilbo’s growth. If you remember, the last time Bilbo felt good about himself, it was because he realized he could be clever; here, he takes that idea to set about finding a method to free the dwarves in the safest way possible.

Eventually, after a week or two of this sneaking sort of life, by watching and following the guards and taking what chances he could, he managed to find out where each dwarf was kept.

I’M SORRY. A WEEK OR TWO????? Oh holy SHIT. This is not what I expected!!! When I first read this, I thought it seemed ridiculous. THAT SEEMS LIKE AN AWFULLY LONG TIME TO JUST SKIP OVER. But in the passages that followed this, it was clear to me that Tolkien was building up to where this chapter would eventually end up. In truth, there’s no way an escape like the one Bilbo pulls off could happen in the turn of a day. What he does is observe, and this takes a considerable amount of time. Not only does it give Bilbo a chance to find out all twelve locations where the dwarves are being imprisoned, but in the process, Tolkien gets to show us the vastness of the Wood-elves’ lair. It is during this that Bilbo is able to determine a method of escape.

In the lowest part of the palace, Bilbo finds a stream that leads out to the Forest River, and observes how the other Wood-elves will send out the empty wine barrels by dropping them into the stream to float out of the palace. This provides Bilbo with an idea, albeit one that is incredibly risky and dangerous. More than anything else, this is what Bilbo has to face: his own fear of disappointing himself and others, of being unable to do anything or be useful to the dwarves he is traveling. We see that he is getting better at believing in himself and putting aside his fear in order to go about setting up this escape in virtually no time. That’s what’s most impressive to me about this: Bilbo comes up with this plan and executes it in like an hour. This is not like the Bilbo Baggins I met in chapter one, and it’s goddamn gorgeous. 

Even further, when he finally gathers all the dwarves up and tells them his plan, his reaction to the dwarvish derision is so surprising to me because IT IS TIME FOR BILBO TO GET FEISTY:

“Very well!” said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed. “Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan–but I don’t suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try.”

Oh, SNAP. You dwarves just got told. Can you feel the burn??? Yet even when Bilbo is at his maximum level of sassy, I’m just so impressed that he still has room to also be one hell of a gentleman by giving the guard his keys back:

“That will save him some of the trouble he is in for,” said Mr. Baggins to himself. “He wasn’t a bad fellow, and quite decent to the prisoners. It will puzzle them all too. They will think we had a very strong magic to pass through all those locked doors and disappear.”

THIS IS SO ADORABLE. He doesn’t want to get the guard in trouble! BILBO YOU ARE SO WONDERFUL.

From here on, chapter nine is INTENSITY IN TEN CITIES. Because this escape plan is so improvisational, it is not without a whole host of problems, but the group has to smooth them over out of desperation. First of all, the barrels pose a size issue, especially when they’re too large, which would mean that the ride down the river might be far more painful than expected. But Bilbo, determined to set them all free, helps all thirteen dwarves get into their barrels, sealing them all after they climb in, and setting them up to be cast down into the stream.

Which then presents the second problem: WHO IS GOING TO HELP BILBO. Oh god IT IS ALREADY A DISASTER.

It was just at this moment that Bilbo suddenly discovered the weak point in his plan. Most likely you saw it some time ago and have been laughing at him; but I don’t suppose you would have done half as well yourselves in his place.

THIS IS MY FAVORITE INTERJECTION FROM THE AUTHOR. Because he’s totally right, isn’t he? This plan is pretty damn fantastic for something he came up with on the spot, and most of the dwarves had already been pushed out to float downstream before Bilbo figured out what he should do. I at first worried that this stream might be made of the same substance that was in that terrifying river in the last chapter, but it turns out that Bilbo really only has to worry about two other things: keeping afloat and not freezing to death.

I honestly love what Tolkien does with this, and it’s the uncertainty of this plan that not only makes it suspenseful, but compelling as well. Bilbo may very well die from this, but he does it anyway, shivering from the cold, attempting to keep his balance so that his head is above water, all the while thinking more about the well-being of his dwarf friends than of himself. Again, this is not the same hobbit I met at the beginning of the book. BLESS YOU, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. BLESS YOU. I mean, he steals food at one point when he is able to wade to shore. And I’m not judging him for doing so. He can’t starve! But it’s entirely inconceivable that the Bilbo Baggins back in that hobbit-hole would ever have done such a thing. He’s becoming a new person throughout this. (Wait, can I even use the term “person” anymore? He’s not human.)

The chapter really ends on a great note, too. By not telling us how on earth Bilbo is going to get all thirteen dwarves to a safe spot and release them from their barrels, we get the sense that these characters are now way beyond the point of no return. This isn’t just shit getting real; we are seeing that the journey they are on is legitimately dangerous and frightening, and the horrors they face are here to stay.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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156 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hobbit’: Chapter 9

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    One thing I'm surprised you haven't really commented on is the portrayal of Bombur. Given your reservations about "Fat Lee" from BSG, it seems the portrayal of the one fat guy in the group as a literal load they have to drag around would be even more problematic.

    As a kid, I actually had a hard time reading through this chapter. Gandalf as the safety net is gone, and it's completely up to milquetoast little Bilbo to get everyone out of this. At the time, I was actually worried he'd fail horribly, not having really gotten to the age of knowing how stories work.

    • earis the istarwen says:

      Yeah, the portrayal of Bombur is kind of fail.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Agree. Fat characters always get slated. If I ever write one, I want one who isn't the 'heavy' guy (as in, carries loads of weapons, etc), isn't thick, and isn't a jerkass, which seems to be their main characterisations.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Not all fat characters. For instance, fat characters jub ner pnyyrq Fnz are always badass. 😉 Fnzjryy Gneyl, Fnzjvfr Tnztrr… 😉

    • Nerdfoxy says:

      I agree that Bombur is pretty offensive. In his instance, I think his weight is meant as a symbol of his character failings of laziness, which, is pretty disturbing.

      HOWEVER, I do think that on a whole, to a hobbit, being overweight is not the same as it is to a human, and the word fat doesn't have the same emphasis and probably hardly any negativity. If you are in a culture that values eating multiple versions of each meal per day, your weight is more of a sign of cheerful prosperity than anything else?

      Hobbits always seem pretty sad to lose any weight, actually.

    • ladysugarquill says:

      Hmm, I think his portrayal of Bombur is realistic. If he really s overweight, he is going to have problems doing things in an adventure like this. The other dwarves aren't nice about it, but then again they aren't nice about anything.

  2. tethysdust says:

    No new creatures this chapter :(. I still think its awesome how the dwarves are looking more and more to Bilbo as kind of a Gandalf replacement. It's like in the last chapter, when they all looked to Bilbo to ask what they should do next. Tolkien pointed out that they weren't picking on him, they just genuinely believed he would come up with some brilliant plan to save them all. It's such a dramatic transition from their opinion of him earlier in the book! And at the same time, its proving to us that Gandalf was, in fact, right about Bilbo's worth. And what a cliffhanger… are the dwarves even still alive?!?

    • earis the istarwen says:

      I like to imagine that when Bilbo was talking to Thorin in his cell, somewhere Gandalf took a break from what he was doing (probably smoking 'leaf' and trolling) and bellowed 'I TOLD YOU SO.'

    • flootzavut says:

      V ybir guvf gurzr, pbagvahrq va YBGE, gung gur yvggyr uhzoyr uboovgl "rirelzna" perngherf xrrc gheavat bhg gb or oenire, pyrirere, naq nyy ebhaq zber njrfbzr guna nalbar tvirf gurz perqvg sbe, naq znlor zber fb guna nyy gur bgure zber rkbgvp perngherf nebhaq gurz. Whfg guvax bs Sebqb naq Fnzjvfr!

      • tethysdust says:

        Lrnu, V qb gbb. Vg'f npghnyyl xvaq bs bccbfvgr bs gur pheerag trarevp snagnfl ureb. Ovyob/Fnz/Sebqb nera'g obea jvgu nal 'fcrpvny novyvgvrf' be znwbe nqinagntrf, gurl qba'g unir nal cebcurpvrf nobhg gurz, gurl nera'g 'obhaq sbe terngarff'… gurl'er whfg beqvanel crbcyr jub evfr gb gur bppnfvba. Naq gurl svaq bhg gung gurl ner npghnyyl vaperqvoyl njrfbzr jura vg pbzrf qbja gb vg!

        • flootzavut says:

          Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

          The more I think about it, gur zber V guvax Znex vf tbvat gb NQBER guvf cnegvphyne gurzr. EBG-13'q orpnhfr V guvax "rkcrpgngvba fcbvyref" ner sebjarq hcba :Q

        • flootzavut says:

          FOTR movie – Jngpuvat gur zbivr, V pna'g erpnyy rknpgyl ubj vg vf va gur obbx, ohg va gur zbivr, Tnaqnys gryyf Sebqb whfg ubj qnatrebhf vg nyy vf naq gung Tnaqnys pna'g qb nalguvat nobhg vg naq gung gur evat zhfg yrnir gur Fuver, naq Sebqb unf orra orttvat Tnaqnys gb gnxr vg gura ernyvfrf ur pna'g… naq Sebqb gura nfxf, "Jung zhfg V qb?" Vg'f n zbzrag gung npghnyyl znxrf zr rlrf jryy hc, vg'f n zvpebpbfz bs whfg ubj njrfbzr naq uneql uboovgf ner jura gur puvcf ner qbja. Jbaqreshy!

  3. Clamarnicale says:

    Perhaps someone has pointed this out before, but the ink illustrations in the Kindle edition (which I seem to remember is the one that you are reading, Mark?) is actually Tolkien's own drawings. If there's one thing I like, it's authors who illustrate their own works. Especially when it comes to these books, because there is always so much arguments on what everything is supposed to look like.

    • cait0716 says:

      Can anyone post these illustrations? My edition has some ink illustrations (the one in this chapter is of the Elvenking's gate) and I'd be interested to know if they are the same.

      Sadly I do not have access to a scanner or I'd post the drawings from my book. Though they aren't as pretty as the other artwork that's been posted here.

      • pennylane27 says:

        I have this in my edition

        <img src="'s_Gate_(II).jpg">

        I love these illustrations.

        • cait0716 says:

          Sweet, that's the one I have, too!

          These are cool illustrations, but they focus on locations rather than characters. I think that's why I like some of the other ones better.

          • Clamarnicale says:

            That's really what I like the most about them. By focusing on locations instead of characters, our mental image of what everyone looks like isn't in the way of appreciating the painting or drawing. Though admittedly, if a painting or drawing is well done (as so many of them are), it usually doesn't matter that much.

            As for mental images of Tolkien's characters, my own is a weird mixture of my own imagination, with a good dose of the 1978 Ralph Bakshi film (my first introduction to Middle-Earth – I believe I was four or five years old), with a hint of the Peter Jackson movies (particularly Sir Ian McKellen, Zvanf Gvevgu and various other cities and buildings). Thankfully the Rankin/Bass films has never managed to penetrate too deeply into this mixture. Though I do find myself humming "Where there's a whip – there's a way" from time to time…

        • monkeybutter says:

          Me, too. My favorite so far is this one of the trolls:

          <img src=""&gt;
          But I also love the detail in Beorn's Hall.

        • SporkyRat says:

          That's the one I have in my edition on my Nook! These are Tolkien's drawings? I am in awe!

        • notemily says:

          According to The Annotated Hobbit this was Tolkien's final illustration for the scene but he went through two earlier ones, showing it from different angles and without as many trees in the way. I like the final one though–it gives you the sense of still being in the forest.

      • earis the istarwen says:

        The third picture – Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves – is the cover of my copy of the Hobbit!!!!!!!!!

        • kristinc says:

          It made me sit up and pay attention, too, because it was the cover of the first copy of the Hobbit I ever read, which before I read it on my own my mom read to me. It was a paperback copy and I held on to it as long as I could but it fell apart almost ten years ago. Now I have something in my eye.

          • earis the istarwen says:

            Whenever I go into a used bookstore I am on the look-out for copies of the publications that utilize Tolkien's original artwork. I reread them every year, and I take notes in them, so my copies generally fall apart but I love this printing so I want to always be able to read it.

          • Dent D says:

            My father had the same paperback copy. The cover was really worn (to the point of almost falling off) and the pages were badly yellowed. But the cover was so distinctive, I was really excited to see that picture posted here.

      • cait0716 says:

        Thanks so much for posting these! I like them a whole lot better with color. And I'm pretty excited to have learned that these were Tolkien's own illustrations. So awesome

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Hopefully this works the third[ish] time. And I tried to make these all click-through links for larger images, but for some reason none of my link codes are working even though I know I've used them on this site before.

        Color versions of the above, plus another from this chapter (though I don't know why Bilbo wouldn't be wearing his ring in that picture):

        <img src=" Trolls.jpg">
        Larger image here.

        <img src=" Elvenking's Gate.jpg">
        Larger image here.

        <img src=" comes to the Huts of the Raftelves.jpg">
        Larger image here.

        Images are from here. Most are from previous chapters, but there are spoilers for Ynxr Gbja, Ovyob'f pbairefngvba jvgu Fznht, naq gur sebag tngr bs Rerobe (juvpu V jnfa'g noyr gb cebcreyl ivfhnyvmr orsber frrvat guvf abj).

        • monkeybutter says:

          Wow, these are gorgeous, and I especially like "Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raftelves." Thanks for that link! V ybir gur Sebag Tngr!

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          Wow, those are so much more beautiful!

          I look forward to the days that e-readers have colour.

        • knut_knut says:

          These are sooooooo beautiful! Thank you for posting them! I actually like the one of the trolls better in black and white, but whatever! nunun V ernyyl yvxr gur cvpgher bs Fznht- ur xvaq bs ybbxf yvxr n qbt? Vg'f phgr!

        • flootzavut says:

          These are gorgeous – thanks for posting them.

        • stefb says:

          The last one is the cover for my Ballantine edition 🙂

        • notemily says:

          The last one was supposedly Tolkien's favorite painting he ever did. The only problem is it doesn't match the book–this scene takes place at night in the story, with the reflections of "clouds and stars" being visible in the river.

  4. cait0716 says:

    They're getting so close! They actually floated through the corner of Thror's map in this chapter, which was rather exciting. Aside: I like that the map has an arrow pointing to Mirkwood with the caption "There are spiders". It really doesn't even capture the half of it.

    I was a little worried that you would be upset Bilbo was using the ring to become invisible again. I know it became an issue in Harry Potter that Harry could always just throw on his cloak and conveniently be invisible. But I think Tolkien handles it really well. Being invisible solves almost none of Bilbo's problems, since he still has to be quiet and has no way of making the dwarves invisible, too. All it really does is buy him time. [rot-13] Nyfb, fgbc hfvat gur evat, Ovyob! Jrnevat vg sbe n zbagu vf whfg abg tbvat gb raq jryy. Lbh'er tbvat gb ghea vagb Tbyyhz! Vg'f npghnyyl xvaq bs shaal pbagenfgvat Ovyob'f pnfhny rkgraqrq hfr bs gur evat urer jvgu gur vzzrqvnpl bs gur qnatre va gur YbgE zbivrf. Sebqb chgf gung evat ba bapr naq Fnheba svaqf uvz (vg'f abg dhvgr gung qnatrebhf va gur obbxf vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl). V'z ernyyl vagrerfgrq gb frr ubj guvf nyy trgf unaqyrq va gur Uboovg zbivrf. [end rot-13]

    Mark, you need to read faster so I can stop rot-13ing half of what I want to talk about.

    • pennylane27 says:

      V guvax vg'f fgvyy qnatrebhf va YBGE gur obbxf (Jrnguregbc naq Jenvguf pbzr gb zvaq), naq Fnheba vfa'g ybbxvat sbe gur Evat urer va Gur Uboovg, ohg rirel gvzr Ovyob chgf gur Evat ba V'z yvxr AB OVYOB GNXR VG BSS VG'F ONQ ONQ ONQ.

      LOL, "there are spiders".

      • cait0716 says:

        Gung'f gehr. V jnf zber guvaxvat bs gur snpg gung rira Sebqb jnf pnfhnyyl hfvat gur evat sbe n srj lrnef orsber Tnaqnys pnzr onpx naq fnvq vg arrqrq gb or qrfgeblrq. Vg frrzf yvxr vg pbeehcgf snfgre va gur zbivrf, ohg vg zvtug whfg or gung vg pbeehcgf snfgre bapr Fnheba fgnegf ybbxvat sbe vg.Sweet, that's the one I have, too!

        • pennylane27 says:

          Znlor vg ybbxf yvxr vg pbeehcgf snfgre va gur svyz orpnhfr nyzbfg ab gvzr frrzf gb cnff orgjrra Ovyob'f cnegl naq jura Tnaqnys pbzrf onpx. Va gur obbx znal lrnef cnff, naq va gung gvzr Tnaqnys qvfpbiref jung gur Evat ernyyl vf, naq gung Fnheba vf ybbxvat sbe vg, naq gur Evat jnagf gb tb onpx gb vgf znfgre.

        • earis the istarwen says:

          Lrnu, Wnpxfba'f zbivrf unq gb hc gur vzzrqvngr qnatre bs gur evat, naq cbegenl vg ivfhnyyl, fb Sebqb'f vaivfvoyr fgngr vf xvaq bs abg ng nyy jung Gbyxvra jnf jevgvat. V guvax gurl'er tbvat gb tb sbe gur (irel yrtvgvzngr) rkcynangvba gung orpnhfr Fnheba vf pheeragyl ernyyl jrnx (orvat qevira bhg bs Zvexjbbq ol gur Juvgr Pbhapvy) naq vfa'g ybbxvat sbe Gur Evat, gur qnatre vfa'g irel vzzrqvngr. Naq gur Rlr bs Onenqhe vfa'g bcra evtug abj, fb, gurer jvyy or ab mbbzvat vagb vg va gur Uboovg zbivr, V ubcr.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      V jbaqre whfg ubj zhpu jnf punatrq sebz gur svefg rqvgvba nsgre Gbyxvra qrpvqrq Tbyyhz'f evat jnf gur Bar Evat. Gur bayl bar V ernyyl xabj nobhg vf gung abj Tbyyhz qbrfa'g fvzcyl npprcg uvf qrsrng naq yrg Ovyob tb, qhr gb Gbyxvra'f oevyyvnag va-havirefr rkcynangvba sbe gur punatr. V yvxr gb guvax gur erfg bs Ovyob'f pnfhny hfr bs gur evat jnf yrsg vagnpg, whfg gb tvir yngre ernqref pbaavcgvbaf.

      • cait0716 says:

        V'q gubhtug gur bayl erny punatr jnf gung bar puncgre. Gubhtu V qvq nyfb ernq gung gur choyvfuref unq Gbyxvra hcqngr gur grkg sbe gur guveq rqvgvba va beqre gb rkgraq gur pbclevtug (V jnf n ovg qvfnccbvagrq gung V pbhyqa'g trg n pbcl sebz Ohg gung hcqngr zvtug unir orra gur punatrf gb Evqqyrf va gur Qnex.Sweet, that's the one I have, too!

      • notemily says:

        Gurer jrer ab punatrf va guvf puncgre. Zbfg bs gur punatrf jrer va "Evqqyrf va gur Qnex." Tbyyhz bevtvanyyl bssrerq gur Evat gb Ovyob nf n "cerfrag" vs ur jba gur pbagrfg.

    • flootzavut says:

      Lrnu, univat ernq YBGE lbh ybbx onpx naq guvax, penc Ovyob, whfg gnxr gur qnza guvat bss nyernql, VG'F ABG FNSR!

    • notemily says:

      V guvax Fnheba vf jnl zber cbjreshy va YBGE naq npgviryl ybbxvat sbe gur evat. Nyfb V guvax Uboovgf ner trarenyyl yrff pbeehcgvoyr guna zbfg, naq Tbyyhz'f zheqre gb gnxr gur evat pbeehcgrq uvz cerggl zhpu vafgnagyl, juvyr Ovyob cerggl zhpu bayl hfrf vg gb trg bhg bs gebhoyr urer.

  5. Jenny_M says:

    I love that there were so very many things that could have gone wrong with the plan, but none of them did. I was most worried about an elf opening up one of the heavier barrels to discover a dwarf inside. I mean, there's no way the Bombur barrel felt like an empty one – Gandalf did call him the fattest.

    • cait0716 says:

      Yeah, it's a good thing the elves got a bit tipsy first. Bilbo was definitely born with more than his fair share of luck.

      • drippingmercury says:

        V jbaqre ubj gurl ner tbvat gb qb qehax ryirf va gur uboovg nsgre gur jubyr Tvzyv/Yrtbynf qevaxvat pbagrfg va gur YBGE svyzf gung vaqvpngrf ryirf ner oneryl fhfprcgvoyr gb nypbuby'f rssrpgf. Gubfr ryirf zhfg or qevaxvat fbzr qnza fgebat jvar vs gurl'er npghnyyl gvcfl! Znlor gurl oerj gurve bja fhcre-sbegvsvrq jvar gb birepbzr gur ryivfu gbyrenapr?

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Its the miracles of alcohol.

  6. bearshorty says:

    I do like that Bilbo is on his own again and has to rescue the dwarves for the second chapter in the row. And he has to be clever. Seriously, dwarves, you are going to grumble at Bilbo's plan because it is uncomfortable? I liked Bilbo telling them off for it. Dwarves do grumble a lot, don't they? And then depend on others to rescue them. They really did not think through their adventure plan.

    Illustration for Chapter 9:

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

  7. pennylane27 says:

    I always feel really anxious reading this chapter, so many things could go wrong! But Bilbo is getting more and more awesome in each chapter. I love his little outburst at the dwarves when they don't like his plan. He's the burglar, you do what he tells you if you want to escape!

    Ah, I love this book.

    • earis the istarwen says:

      This chapter is incredibly anxiety inducing. Although I do like Bilbo's simile about he he feels like a burglar who has to rob the same house everyday.

    • flootzavut says:

      Yeah I love Bilbo basically saying, This is the plan, deal with it!

  8. nanceoir says:

    I just read this chapter while eating my breakfast of a lovely Belgian waffle, and I think I might go make some variety of egg something and possibly a cup of tea.

    I hope Bilbo would approve.

  9. Darth_Ember says:

    There really is something heart-warming about his being classy enough to give the keys back. Too many modern so-called heroes would have been a lot more callous, likely even physically knocking out the drunken pair just to 'make sure', just for the hell of it and because they're trying for 'badass', but Bilbo's a genuinely nice person. He wants out, but he doesn't want people to be hurt by what he does, when there is another way.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I love that the most about Bilbo, he is such a truly good character that for him other people will always come first.
      It's also a really clever idea to give the keys back, after all the Elves will wonder how the dwarfs could escape from locked cells (as Bilbo also locked them again after freeing his companions).
      Bilbo is simply brilliant to manage this without magic or any experience, it seems he was born for this!

    • kristinc says:

      Hobbit spoilers:
      Guvf pbzcyrgryl svgf va jvgu uvf npgvbaf gbjneq gur raq bs gur obbx — Ovyob qbrfa'g frr gur frafr va arrqyrff npevzbal be crbcyr trggvat uheg jura gurl qba'g unir gb or. Ur jnagf rirelbar gb trg nybat, naq va fbzr jnlf guvf tvirf uvz n pynevgl gung gur ryirf jvgu gurve greevgbevny angher naq gur qjneirf jvgu gurve terrq whfg qba'g unir.

      LOTR spoilers:

      V guvax jr frr vg va Sebqb gbb — va Eviraqryy, gur inevbhf ercerfragngvirf ner fb urg hc gurl'er nyzbfg ernql gb pbzr gb oybjf, ohg gb Sebqb vg'f boivbhf gung gur cbvag vf gurer'f n wbo gb or qbar. Fb ur'yy ibyhagrre sbe vg.

      • flootzavut says:


        I said up there somewhere ^ that I love that. Gur uboovgf ner irel zhpu gur beqvanel perngherf va Zvqqyr Rnegu, gurl qba'g rfcrpvnyyl unir zntvp, gurl qba'g jvryq zhpu cbjre, gurl yvxr gurve sbbq naq gurve avpr ubhfrf, naq nyy gung… naq gurl whfg xrrc gheavat bhg gb or urebrf. V ybir vg. Tb Gbyxvra.

        • kristinc says:

          LOTR movie spoilers:

          Crgre Wnpxfba znqr n cbvag bs rkcerffvat, va gur pbzzragnel, gung vg jnf vzcbegnag gung jr frr gur Fuver naq snyy va ybir jvgu vg fb gung jr pna haqrefgnaq jung vg vf gung Sebqb naq uvf sevraqf ner jvyyvat gb evfx gurve yvirf sbe.

          Uboovgf ybir gurve ubzrf, naq gurl ybir gurve sevraqf, naq gurl orpbzr urebrf abg sbe vqrbybtvpny ernfbaf be ernfbaf bs ubabe, abg orpnhfr gurl unir nalguvat gb cebir, ohg gb cebgrpg gurve ubzrf naq gurve sevraqf.

  10. Geolojazz says:

    "From here on, chapter nine is INTENSITY IN TEN CITIES."

    I've never heard that phrase, and it is awesome. That is all.

  11. MidnightLurker says:

    "Person" is fine. It should be applicable to sentients of any species, and not assume human-ness.

    Anyone who disagrees may feel free to exit via the egress on the port bow. 😛

  12. Alexis says:

    So….I'm really weird and I keep thinking about what these various creatures(peoples?) would do for a living had they been real/alive today. I think Goblins would make really good record producers/song writers….They are clearly good at improv song writing and are greedy.
    The Wood Elves are people who enjoy polluting(since it's "lol just dump these used barrels in the river, lol" , maybe corporations alla CAptain Planet?
    The dwarves….I originally made them hosts of reality tv, particularly survivor type shows, because they enjoy treasure but also eating each others food/mocking those who's food they ate….but now I am not so sure….Plus, I don't know why I keep thinking of Hollywood jobs…..

    • kristinc says:

      I'm not so sure dumping the barrels in the river is their way of disposing of said barrels. It seems to be a circular system: towns fill the barrels and ship them to the palace, palace empties the barrels and then sends them downriver back to the town, town fills barrels again. It's recycling really.

    • stefb says:

      The Wood-elves "dump" their barrels in the river so they can be refilled with wine. They're not polluting. In fact, I would say Wood-elves would be the least likely to pollute.

      …also I honestly wouldn't think barrels would be detrimental to the environment–they're made of wood and would probably make a nice animal home before it eventually rots back into the earth. Like dead branches.

  13. VoldieBeth says:

    I loved this chapter! It's cool to see the differences between the elves of Rivendell and the elves of Mirkwood. And of course Bilbo being a BAMF!!! I can't with for more!

  14. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Parts of this chapter may seem to be rushed. Much more could be said about Bilbo finding all dwarves and talking to Thorin, or about Bilbo’s adventures in the rafter’s camp. But after more than a full week of story-telling, everybody is impatient and wants to hear about the dragon and the Battle of the Five Armies.

    Yes, I like Tolkien’s way to narrate this story as if it is told by a bard who has to earn his bed and breakfast, and if he is lucky his lunch and dinner as well. (At each chapter’s end there is hope somebody would say: “But now it’s time to go to bed, because we have to rise early, and a lot of work is to be done before we can gather at this cosy fireplace again to hear the rest of your story.”) So the narrator actually has no time to expand on all his asides, and in early chapters there was a real possibility he would never reach the end of the story, because, you know, fishes and guests start to smell at the third day.

    But since he did his advertising well, the bard will not be allowed to leave now, and he will be very welcome when his way leads him back to the same place at another day to tell another story. If he is very lucky he may even be asked to stay forever and teach the kids (and some adults) everything he knows about Gondolin, Elrond, Dorthinion, the King of all Birds, the great division of the elves that occured when neither sun nor moon existed, ancient wars, the rise of mankind <rot13>naq gur snyy bs jr-xabj-jub-ohg-lbh-qba’g.

    Ab, guvf vf abg Ovyob’f fpubyneyl obbx Gurer naq Onpx Ntnva, juvpu jbhyq cebonoyl ernq zhpu zber yvxr guvf bgure obbx fgnegrq ol Ovyob, pbagvahrq ol Sebqb naq svavfurq ol Fnz. Guvf vf gur cbchyne irefvba gung pnzr ba hf ol beny genqvgvba.</rot13>

    This style has been preserved in children’s bedside stories, but once upon a time it was far more in use.

    • earis the istarwen says:

      Lots of good points here. Tolkien is pretty referential (and reverential) to (of) Beowulf in this book, so it makes sense that he's tying the child's bedtime reading style popular at the time back to the oral history/recitation of poetry that was THE way to tell stories before the upswing in literacy and access to writing after the invention of moveable type and the printing press.

      Na vagrerfgvat pbzcnevfba vf gur inevrgl bs zrqvn sbe fgbel-gryyvat va Gbyxvra'f jbex. Vg'f vagrerfgvat gung gur Ryirf eryl ba beny uvfgbel naq fhat cbrgel, juvyr gur qjneirf, zna, naq gur uboovgf hfr n zvkgher bs jevgvat naq fcrnxvat.

      Should more of the text be rot'13ed? I don't know if Mark knows about the Onggyr bs gur Svir Nezvrf?

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        Gur aneengbe naabhaprq gung Ovyob jbhyq frr ur Ybeq bs Rntyrf ntnva va gur Onggyr bs gur Svir Nezvrf, fb gur bayl cbffvoyr fhecevfr vf gung Ovyob znl or va zber guna bar fgbel naq gur onggyr znl abg or va guvf bar.

    • flootzavut says:

      Good points all. It does also hearken (harken?? neither way looks right…) back to the fact that Tolkien envisaged the books as a mythology for England. So it makes a lot of sense how he wrote it.

  15. (Wait, can I even use the term “person” anymore? He’s not human.)

    • enigmaticagentscully says:


      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Hmm, I didn't know you were a hobbit!

        Can I out myself as a dragon, then?

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          The feet usually give me away. And my tendency to eat about 7 meals a day.

          It's true what they say, on the internet, nobody knows you're a hobbit. That's an old hobbit saying, that is.

    • Meltha says:

      I believe Tolkien actually said that hobbit was a blending of the words human and rabbit, so person is applicable. Actually, in a fantasy setting, I'd say that anything sentient could qualify as a person, unless maybe it's a talking creepy spider that kill people, because there does need to be a line somewhere. I think Potter used "being" as the catchall term.

      • notemily says:

        Tolkien actually (according to the Annotated Hobbit) denied any association between "hobbit" and "rabbit," but then he goes on to have several characters in The Hobbit liken Bilbo's appearance to that of a rabbit. Go figure.

  16. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I think you can use the term 'person'. Throughout fantasy, sci-fi, and indeed, philosophy, 'person' tends to denote any being with a sense of self and 'human-level' intelligence, be that higher or lower than ourselves. Heck, even in the real-world, governments have discussed whether or not giving various apes and dolphins person-hood and basic 'human' rights. I think Bilbo should be able to use the term.

    I really loved this chapter. That must have been stressful; you can never relax if you're hiding in an enemy base. Bilbo really was so clever (although that last little part of his plan he missed was amusing and sad at the same time). I think its adorable how self-less Bilbo is. He didn't leave his companions- although, admittedly, he probably wouldn't have gotten very far without them- but he takes so much time making sure they're comfortable instead of securing himself. He even helps the guard! That's more than a lot of heroes, I can tell you.

  17. enigmaticagentscully says:

    I love sassy!Bilbo so much. I like how at the the start of the book he'd just think these things inside his own head, but now he's built up the confidence and the repartee with the dwarves to be able to say them out loud.

  18. Smurphy says:

    OK I have internet access! Kind of. I like this chapter. I dont hate Bilbo during this chapter and the "well then let me lock you back up and never rescue you again" comment made me literally laugh out loud.

    Love this book.

    V sbetbg ubj ybat vg gbbx gb trg gb gur ybaryl zbhagnva. Gur wbhearl raqf hc gnxvat n lrne be fbzrguvat qbrfa'g vg. Orphnfr gurl jrer ubcvat gb qb vg orsber gung zbba-l guvat naq gurl raq hc trggvat gurer evtug orsber gur arkg zbba-l guvat? Evtug? — V'z abg fher vs guvatf ner pbzvat onpx gb zr be vs V'z whfg gnyxvat bhg bs zl nff.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      V guvax gurl fgneg fbzrgvzr va Ncevy (be ng yrnfg, vg'f nobhg gjb zbaguf bs geniry orsber gurl ernpu Eviraqryy ba Zvqfhzzre'f Rir, V guvax?), naq gura gurl ernpu gur frperg ragenapr ba Qheva'f Qnl va gur ynfg jrrx bs snyy va gung fnzr lrne.

    • flootzavut says:

      Naq Ovyob vf njnl n ybg ybatre guna nalbar raivfntrq – urapr Yboryvn naq pb gelvat gb nhpgvba bss uvf orybatvatf jura ur trgf onpx…

  19. arctic_hare says:

    Just one today, but I love it.

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

    Oh man, this chapter.

    “Very well!” said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed. “Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan–but I don’t suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try.”

    OH SNAP indeed! I see Bilbo has not only leveled up in badassery, but in sass and Not Taking Shit From Anyone, and it is beautiful. You go, Bilbo! His plan is so awesome, and he doesn't let the dwarves backtalk him, and he gives the keys back and then finds his own way on and just… wow. This really is not the same hobbit we saw way back in the first chapter, he's grown so much from his experiences already. I love it. <3 This is why Bilbo is one of my all-time favorite protagonists, because of his journey. He's fantastic.

  20. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Every so often, WordPress likes to say, "Hey, did you have formatting in this post that you spent time perfecting? Haha, FUCK YOU, I'll just forget it."

    damn it

    • arctic_hare says:

      It's a right little shit sometimes, isn't it? I've had that happen in comments I've made, where I want to italicize something and I get the tags right and yet they decide not to do it and leave the opening tag in plain view for everyone. And editing never fixes it. :S It's so bizarre.

  21. Kelsey says:

    This chapter was definitely one of my favorites. I remember being very excited reading this, hoping that this worked. When watching the production videos of the hobbit I remember watching them look at locations, then when they got to a river, hey were saying "just imagine what it will look like when a bunch of barrels come floating down." I laughed so hard 🙂

    • stefb says:

      I remember that video! I think they were all laughing because the river was flowing dangerously fast haha (or I'm thinking I remember this, but I'm pretty sure!)

      • Kiryn says:

        LOTR movie spoilers (more behind the scenes, really, but I do make reference to events of the movie):

        Hu bu. V ubcr gurl qba'g unir gur fnzr ceboyrz gurl qvq juvyr svyzvat Gur Gjb Gbjref. Ivttb Zbegrafra arneyl qebjarq qhevat gung fubg bs uvz sybngvat qbja gur evire nsgre ur sryy bss gur pyvss va gur Jnet onggyr.

        Gura ntnva, vawhevrf frrz gb sbyybj Ivttb nebhaq dhvgr n ybg, va gung zbivr rfcrpvnyyl. Ur nyfb oebxr uvf gbr juvyr xvpxvat gung uryzrg, jura gurl gubhtug Zreel naq Cvccva unq qvrq va gur Ebuveevz envq ba gur Hehx-unv.

        Naq V guvax Beynaqb Oybbz unq oebxra evof be fbzrguvat ng fbzr cbvag, juvyr fubbgvat. Nccneragyl gur pnfg jbhyq tb fhesvat naq qbvat nyy xvaqf bs fghss.

        • notemily says:

          Bu lrnu naq bar bs gur Uboovgf tbg n ynetr sbbg vawhel bs fbzr fbeg, V jnag gb fnl vg jnf Frna jura ur jnqrf bhg vagb gur jngre ng gur raq bs Sryybjfuvc–gurer jnf n cvrpr bs tynff ba gur evireorq V guvax. Ivttb puvccrq n gbbgu qhevat Uryz'f Qrrc. Naq bs pbhefr Wbua Eulf-Qnivrf jnf ubeevoyl nyyretvp gb gur znxrhc naq fghss gurl chg ba uvf snpr gb znxr uvz vagb Tvzyv. Vg jnf xvaq bs na nppvqrag-cebar zbivr fubbg nyy nebhaq.

  22. Mauve_Avenger says:

    What happened is that the original printing of the first UK edition had something like ten black and white illustrations made by Tolkien. He did colored versions of all of them in the hopes that they would use those instead, but they stuck with the black and white ones. For the second printing, I think they swapped one of the b&w drawings for the colored version, and added three new colored illustrations he'd made, and then for the US editions they added more/different colored illustrations, etc. I think when I looked it up I counted fifteen different published illustrations in total, but the site I linked to has eleven and I can only think of three that aren't accounted for there, so I may have miscounted somewhere. EDIT: there are only fourteen, so I was right about only three being missing. They are: Mirkwood, The Fair Valley of Rivendell, and The Hall at Bag End. The last one also has a colored version.

    Apparently, Tolkien also originally designed five maps for this book, including one with runes printed on back in reverse so if you could hold it up to the light and read it through the map, just like the moon-runes that Elrond found. Obviously the publishers didn't take to that idea.

    • knut_knut says:

      I would have loved the extra maps! Especially the moon-runes one! My copy of The Hobbit doesn’t have any illustrations, although it does have the maps (thankfully). Now I feel like I’ve missed out 🙁 I think it might be time to update my copy of The Hobbit and the LOTR.

    • flootzavut says:

      He was a strange and wonderful chap, old JRR. I can well imagine him coming up with a way to make moon-runes work, though I can understand why the publishers weren't too keen…

  23. Whaaat?? ! When did Mark start reading The Hobbit! I have nine chapters of reviews and comments to catch up on! Even though I have a presentation to write. Also a report to write. And an awful lot of programming to do. And a laser cavity to align. It's good to be back 🙂 Virtual hugs!

  24. bugeye says:

    I love the sense of time in Tolkien stories. You travel by foot or maybe horse, your forward motion may be no more that a few miles. You really can get lost, really, totally lost forever. "Off the beaten path" may not be a good idea. Daily chores take time, build fire, heat water, cook food. It can take weeks to understand the full routine of a large group. And information takes as long as a horse ride or maybe a cooperative bird to a bear. Nothing is instantaneous. You have no way to know what is going on behind you and no idea of what is ahead. You really are on your own. You have to both rely on the kindness of strangers and be very suspicious of anyone or anything. How many of us could take that step out of our Hobbit Holes.

    • flootzavut says:

      Yes, totally. Nothing is easy, and nothing is quick. Which I think is why some people dislike his writing, but I really appreciate that.

      V nyfb ybir gur frafr bs gvzr naq gbvy va YBGE, naq gur pbafgnag qnatre… gurer vf erny tevg va gubfr fgbevrf, rira gubhtu gurl ner uvtu snagnfl NAQ jryy bire n praghel byq. V nyfb guvax Gbyxvra'f rkcrevraprf va gur jnef ernyyl nqq gb gung srryvat bs ernyvgl.

      Zna, V abj whfg unir gb ernq gurz nyy ntnva…

  25. flootzavut says:

    Damnit, Mark, you made me want to read The Hobbit again, which I have not done for some years now. And I have no idea where my copy is (I've owned it since I was about 9, wow, that was 24 years ago… I feel olllllllld) so I had to invest in it on my Kindle… Oh who am I kidding, I have been looking for an excuse!

    Loving your reviews by the way – I didn't realise how much I hoped for you to enjoy Tolkien till the relief at realising you did 😀

    • Majc says:

      I was also worried that Mark would hate the writing style too much to actually review anything from Tolkien, especially the Hobbit.

  26. ravenclaw42 says:

    I love that the narrator plants the idea that Gandalf might have gone off and left them partly just to push Bilbo into stepping into the role of the clever, trustworthy one who comes up with escape plans in sticky situations – previously Gandalf's role. It reminds me very much of the way chessmaster!Dumbledore plays Harry to help shape him into a curious, observant, problem-solving person who doesn't hesitate to take action without recourse to an authority figure (traits which eventually push Harry into Dumbledore's role).

    I do love how Bilbo tries not to cause any extra trouble for the guard. Naq V nyfb qrneyl ybir gung va gur raq, Ovyob vafvfgf ba cnlvat gur ryirf sbe gur sbbq ur fgbyr. V pna'g vzntvar nal bgure punenpgre va gur obbx rira erzrzorevat gung gurl'q fgbyra fbzr sbbq zbaguf ntb, orsber qentbaf naq onggyrf naq ybgf bs qenzngvp abafrafr.

    This chapter's pictures! I love the detailing on these tree roots; they almost look like Celtic knots.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Ohg bapr V svanyyl ernq YbgE V qvq svaq gurfr vzntrf bs na rys pbheg gb or n ovg bhg bs yvar jvgu bgure ryivfu frggyrzragf, rfcrpvnyyl Ybguybevra, gur bayl bgure bar va gur zvqqyr bs n sberfg. V'z ernyyl phevbhf gb frr ubj vg'f qrfvtarq va gur arj zbivrf, orpnhfr vg'f gur bayl Gbyxvra ybpngvba gung V pbhyq arire vzntvar gb zl fngvfsnpgvba.

    • flootzavut says:

      V thrff gur jubyr fjrrc bs YBGE jnf abg va uvf urnq jura ur jebgr Uboovg?

      Gubhtu V guvax (vs V haqrefgnaq guvatf evtug…) gung gurer ner fbzr pbafvqrenoyr phygheny qvssreraprf orgjrra gur inevbhf ryira "gevorf" (sbe jnag bs n orggre jbeq…) fb V qba'g svaq vg nyy gung vapbatehbhf crefbanyyl. V'z tbvat gb unir gb fgneg n er-ernq naq pngpu hc jvgu Znex, gubhtu, nf V pbasrff vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V ernq GU. Gurl ner qrsvavgryl dhvgr qvfgvapg sebz gur bgure ryirf, ohg gura gurer vf n qvssrerag srry orgjrra gur Eviraqnyr ryirf naq gur Ybguybevra ryirf, gbb.

      Ybbxvat ng nyy gurfr cvpgherf erzvaqf zr bs bar guvat gung V nofbyhgryl nqberq nobhg gur zbivrf: gur frggvatf jrer nyy fb nznmvat. V qrneyl jvfu V pbhyq ivfvg Rqbenf, Zvanf Gvevgu, Uboovgba… gurer vf nyjnlf n cneg bs zr gung vf thggrq gung Zvqqyr Rnegu qbrfa'g npghnyyl fgvyy rkvfg qbja va AM. Vg jnf nyy whfg fbbbbbb tbetrbhf <3

  27. BornIn1142 says:

    As it happens, my English Linguistics course mentioned The Hobbit in today's lecture – even used an excerpt from chapter 1 to make a point.

    As it turns out, the professor giving the lecture was taught by a guy who was taught by Tolkien himself. Apparently, for all his strengths as an academic, the man wasn't very good at giving lectures. He liked to talk to himself and make jokes in languages nobody would understand and such. So, a bit of an eccentric.

    • flootzavut says:

      Heehee, you know I can so imagine that from Tolkien. He basically created Middle Earth as a place for his languages to live, after all 😀

    • stefb says:

      Oh god he's like my Shakespeare and World Lit to 1500 professor (the same guy…there's not many English professors at my university since it's a small one). He just sits on the table in front of the room and spouts off knowledge that only vaguely have to do with the stories and then mumbles and laughs to himself. He's a terrible lecturer despite being incredibly intelligent (and one of the nicest people ever).

  28. ABBryant says:

    I finally got a hold of a copy of "Game of Thrones" a couple days ago and I just got to arq fgnex'f qrngu…

    I'm sorry, but WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!!!!!

    <img src=""&gt;

    • ABBryant says:

      Oh, and is the first season of the show the first book only or does it have pieces of other books in it?

      • cait0716 says:

        Get ready for that feeling throughout the series 🙂

        The first season is basically the first book, though the last episode includes a few scenes from the beginning of the second book. There are also a couple of scenes that got moved up from later in the series, but I didn't realize it until I actually got to those scenes in the books. They're more about character development than moving plot forward, so there's nothing all that spoilery about seeing them a bit early.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Haha, welcome to the club! The sad, unprepared club!

  29. Tauriel says:

    Wait, can I even use the term “person” anymore? He’s not human.

    SPECIESISM!!! 😛 Just because he’s not human, doesn’t mean he’s not a person. 😉

  30. Dent_D says:

    I finally created a real login instead of just typing my name every time. Woo hoo!

    I forgot to point out yesterday how much I loved the conversation between the Wood Elf king and Thorin. It is absurdly funny to me, and I am hoping dearly we will get to see it in the upcoming movie adaptation. (I hope the formatting goes correct here, sorry if it does not.)

    "Why did you and your fold three times try to attack my people at their merrymaking?" asked the king.

    "We did not attack them," answered Thorin; "we came to beg, because we were starving."

    "Where are your friends now, and what are they doing?"

    "I don't know, but I expect starving in the forest."

    "What were you doing in the forest?"

    "Looking for food and drink, because we were starving."

    For some reason Thorin's responses just drip with irritation and obstinacy and it is HILARIOUS to me. ^_^

    Anyway, Bilbo continues to impress with his clever quick thinking and good sense. I love that the ring is not a get out of everything free tool, he still has to work very hard to escape his current predicament. And I feel so sorry for him, thinking that he may become a permanent burglar of the wood-elf king's cave.

    I do kind of wonder how horrible it would be to have to stay in one of those barrels for more than a day. I didn't think immediately of the possibility of drowning or being knocked around. My first thoughts were "OH GOD WHAT IF THEY NEEDED TO USE THE BATHROOM". σ_σ Yikes.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Thorin mentions starving here about as often as Movie!Zhao mentions THE LIBRARY in TLA movie… 😀

      • stefb says:

        But how else would we know about THE LIBRARY if Zhao did not constantly mention it? I'm still wondering if it's important…

  31. stefb says:

    Let me just say that I am so happy you can sympathize with the Wood-elves. You have NO IDEA how many people, especially in fanfiction (although I suppose it's rarer now, and there are actually essays defending the Elvenking), make the Elvenking to be something akin to Satan's spawn, or complain about how mean he was to the dwarves, etc. The Elvenking had a legitimate reason to question these people in his realm, and also he waited until the THIRD time the dwarves interrupted their party before they were taken into custody. The dwarves were politer to the goblin-king than they were to the Elvenking. (Nyfb, vg vf fb jrveq abg pnyyvat uvz Guenaqhvy. V jvfu gung jnfa'g fcbvyrel.) The dwarves were locked up, but they were treated well–they were fed and watered and had a safe place to sleep. I honestly think if the dwarves just stated their business the king would have just sent them on their way and give them provisions.

    Anyway, I love this chapter, and Bilbo's development, and general BAMF-ness. Also those dwarves got TOLD. I just shook my head in disbelief when I read the section where they're complaining on how Bilbo planned that they escape. Also, Bilbo is adorable for not wanting to get the guard into trouble 🙂 I think he's picking up a lot of Gandalfisms. Like trolling.

  32. Genny_ says:

    One thing I really love about this book is that it doesn't rush things too much- a substantial amount of time is passing chapter to chapter, and it makes it feel more harrowing for everyone involved than if everything simply followed in a one-after-the-other pattern. It makes total sense that it should take him a couple of weeks to engineer an escape for thirteen prisoners in an unfamiliar place, and it makes the scene where he finally does it so much more rewarding in my opinion!

    This was actually one of the only chapters I had a clear memory of going in for this re-read. I just have this amazing image of a bunch of squashed, very upset and grumpy dwarves bobbing along in these barrels. Fantastic.

  33. stefb says:

    According to PJ, a new production video is going to be posted soon! :D:D:D:D <3

  34. notemily says:

    From The Annotated Hobbit:

    Elves and arrows have a strong association in fairy lore. Elf-shot was a name given to flint arrowheads that were supposed to pierce the skin without leaving a mark, causing disease in humans. Various afflictions like rheumatism, cramps, and bruising were attributed to elf-shot.

    Unexplained bruise? AN ELF SHOT ME. Arthritis? MUST BE AN ELF. Dysentery? ELVES.

    I don't think I could deal with being packed in a barrel, not being able to see ANYTHING, and being rolled around with no idea when I would get out. I have a touch of claustrophobia when it comes to such things. *shudder*

    Also, poor Bilbo and his sneezing giving him away! Reminds me of Quirrell in AVPM and his turban sneezing… 🙂

  35. wenuwish says:

    New Production Video for The Hobbit (Potential film spoilers)

    These videos are such a fantastic insight into the making of the film, I think it's just going to make seeing even more special. I can't wait to fly down to Wellington for the premiere next year! Excite!

    Also: Alan Lee and John Howe. That is all.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Bilbo's dressing gown looks like the Sixth Doctor's coat! 😀

      Love the psychedelic Mirkwood.

      And there are definitely a few glimpses of the wine cellars in the Elven King's palace! <3

      And Bilbo in the treetop! <3


      And Alan Lee and John Howe are AWESOME.

  36. achristie says:

    I hate this book

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