The book is divided into nineteen chapters, and I am going to make a summary of these chapters.
In the first chapter, called An Unexpected Party, we meet several characters, but the main character is Bilbo Baggins.
Bilbo is home making tea when several dwarves show up at his front door. To be exact, thirteen dwarves came one by one to his door. Bilbo let all the dwarves inside and gave them drink and food. The names of the dwarves were: Thorin, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Kili, Fili, Bofur, Dori, Bombur, Nori and Ori. Thorin was their leader, and his full name was Thorin Oakenshield. The last person who showed up, was a wizard called Gandalf. Thorin had brought a map that showed the way to The Lonely Mountain where a great treasure was guarded by a big, red dragon called Smaug. The treasure was in general a big mine filled with gems, emeralds, gold, silver, diamonds and many other valuable items. The cave used to belong to Thorin’s ancestor, Thror, and Gandalf gave Thorin a special key that he needed when he was going to open a secret entrance in the mountain shown on the map. The reason why they were at Bilbo’s place was because they should invite him along on their journey. Gandalf recommended Bilbo, because he said that he was a useful burglar. After much discussion, they managed to get Bilbo with them in their party. They made plans and went off the very next day.
In the second chapter, Roast Mutton, the party rested in the woods of Lonelands and caught sight of a bonfire. Bilbo was sent to investigate who had lit the fire in the wood, and discovered that it was three trolls who were eating a meal. Bilbo was now going to try his skills as a burglar. One of the trolls, whose name was William, had a magic purse that squeaked when Bilbo tried to steal it. The trolls caught Bilbo and were planning to eat him for supper. The rest of the dwarves got anxious, and wondered what had happened to poor, little Bilbo. The trolls also caught the dwarves after a struggle, and the trolls were about to eat them all when suddenly Gandalf who was hiding in the bushes started to confuse the trolls by imitating their voices. The trolls started to quarrel until the break of dawn, and when the sun came over the hillside, the trolls were turned into stone. The party were hungry, and followed a path that led to a big cave. The trolls had used the cave, and Bilbo had found a key that could open the cave. Inside the cave they found weapons, gold and food. Thorin found a sword called Orcrist (Goblin-Cleaver), Gandalf found a sword called Glamdring (Foe-Hammer) and Bilbo found a sword that he called Stinger. They buried the gold in a safe place in the woods.
In the third chapter, A Short Rest, The dwarves and Bilbo arrived at Rivendell for a rest. The place is also called The Last Homely House of the West. Rivendell is a place where elves live and their leader is Elrond. Elrond reads some moon-letters (letters which can only be seen in the proper moonlight) on Thorin’s map of the Lonely Mountain, which say where the secret entrance is. After fourteen days, they leave Rivendell heading towards the Misty Mountains.
In the fourth chapter, Over Hill And Under Hill, the party went up into the Misty Mountains. They experienced hard weather conditions, and Fili and Kili were sent off to find a place to shelter. They found a cave after a while and went to sleep. Suddenly, Bilbo woke up because he heard some strange sounds. Suddenly, one of the walls in the cave cracked and out came many goblins. The goblins captured the whole party except Gandalf and brought them inside their tunnels in the mountain. They carried them to their leader, the Great Goblin. The goblins had a powerful and bad smell and the goblins hated Thorin’s people because they’d had wars with them in the past. The Great Goblin got angry when he saw Thorin’s sword, Orcrist (the goblins called the sword Biter), because that sword had killed many goblins many years ago. Suddenly Gandalf shows up and kills the Great Goblin, cuts the chains off the dwarves with his sword, the Glamdring, and the dwarves escape. Bilbo, who was being carried by Dori, falls off in panic and gets knocked out and left behind in a tunnel.
In the fifth chapter, Riddles In The Dark, Bilbo woke up and can’t see anything. Bilbo knew evil creatures were near, because his sword would glow as a warning. Bilbo reached out in the dark, and finds something, which he put in his pocket. He stumbled forward and met a nasty, slimy creature called Gollum who lived by an underground lake. Gollum rowed about the lake in a little boat using his big feet as paddles. Gollum was hungry, and wanted to eat Bilbo. Gollum and Bilbo made a deal: If Bilbo could answer some riddles, Gollum would show him the way out. If Bilbo failed, he would become dinner for Gollum. Bilbo and Gollum asked and answered lots of riddles until Bilbo asked: “What have I got in my pocket?” Gollum couldn’t guess, but still wanted to eat Bilbo. Bilbo ran away. He felt in his pocket and realized the thing that he found was a ring. It slipped onto his finger. Suddenly, Bilbo fell, but Gollum didn’t notice and continued to run. He ran past him, because the ring made Bilbo invisible. Bilbo followed Gollum to an exit and Bilbo escaped past some goblin guards by using his ring.
In the sixth chapter, Out of the Frying-pan Into the Fire, Bilbo caught up with the company, but soon they were found in a clearing in the forest by wargs (huge, evil wolves). Everyone climbed trees to escape the wargs. The wargs couldn’t climb or chop trees, but they were waiting for the goblins to arrive, because they had both of the abilities. The wargs and the goblins were working together. Gandalf began to shoot fire at the wargs, but then the goblins came, and they were nearly all killed, but the giant eagles of the Misty Mountains saved them. The leader of the giant eagles was called the Lord of the Eagles, and he was an enemy of the goblins and the wargs. They were carried up to the eagles’ eyries (nests) and rested there for a while. After they woke up, they were given food and they were flown down on Carrock, a large rock hill.
In the seventh chapter, Queer Lodgings, they went on in the direction of Beorn’s house. Beorn’s house was located in a forest of oak trees. Gandalf said that it would be best if the party was divided into groups by two and two, and walk to Beorn’s house in intervals every five-minute. Bilbo and Gandalf went first. The reason for the dividing of the group was because Beorn didn’t like strangers. If they all arrived simultaneously, Beorn wouldn’t be very delighted. Beorn was a huge man who could turn into a bear’s shape. They stayed at Beorn’s house for a while, and he gave the party some ponies and food. He gave the party advice about Mirkwood, and also told them to return his ponies before they entered the forest. The Company left and proceeded to Mirkwood. At the edge of Mirkwood, Gandalf left them. The last thing he said was: “Make sure you stay at the path all the time, because if you don’t, the chance for finding it again is one to thousand”.
In the eight chapter, Flies and Spiders, the Company entered Mirkwood, a dark and gloomy forest. Everyone hated the forest of Mirkwood. It was always dark and at night and lots of shining eyes would watch them. At their journey through the wood, Bombur fell into a magic river and fell asleep for a long time. The party were starving in the woods, because of their lack of food and there wasn’t anything eatable in the whole forest. Bombur had a dream that some woodelves had a party in the forest, and this dream turned out to be true, but Thorin was unlucky and got caught by them while they were exploring the chance to get some food and aid from them. The woodelves lived just at the edge of Mirkwood and they disliked dwarves. They thought Thorin might be after their treasure. The rest of the party had lost the path, and got caught by giant spiders, all except Bilbo. He slipped on his magic ring and irritated the spiders. Attercop and Lazy Lob were insults Bilbo used on the spiders. He misled and killed several of these spiders and set the dwarves free.
In chapter nine, Barrels Out of Bond, the rest of the dwarves got captured by the woodelves and were taken to the woodelves palace. Bilbo didn’t get captured and used his ring to secretly follow the elves and the dwarves into the palace. The dwarves were put in dungeons and fed. The king of the woodelves, Thranduil, would hold them in capture until they told what their businesses were in the woods, but he had some hospitality and gave the prisoners food. In the meanwhile, Bilbo explored and got to know all the hallways and routines of the guards. One night, there had come a shipment of wine to the palace, and two of the guards had to try it out. They passed out, and Bilbo stole the keys from the Chief of the Guards. Then he unlocked all the cells and put the dwarves in empty barrels and let the guards throw the barrels into the Forest River, on their way to Lake-town. Bilbo then put the key back in the Chief of the Guard’s belt, so the whole thing would look more mysterious. Bilbo rode the barrels as they floated downstream. The elves traded with the humans who lived in Lake-town, which the Forest River flowed into.
In chapter ten, A Warm Welcome, the Company finally got to Lake-town. Bilbo was cold and excited to see if the barrels would be sufficient for the dwarves, and that they didn’t leak any water. All of the dwarves had bruises, but they all survived. They all went into Lake-town and got aid and food. Thorin told everyone in Lake-town that the King Under the Mountain had returned, and everyone was enthusiastic about him being there. The people wanted to believe Thorin, because they all knew the legends of the good old days before the dragon came to the mountain, when the dwarves ruled from the mountain. Well, all except The Master of Lake-town who didn’t want Thorin to take control over Lake-town. The woodelves who had guided the barrels told The Master of Lake-town that Thorin was not to be trusted, because he had escaped from the dungeon. The Master of Lake-town finally gave Thorin supplies and ponies to help the Company continue to the Lonely Mountain. He hoped Smaug, the dragon, would kill Thorin.
In chapter eleven, On the Doorstep, the Company finally arrive at the Lonely Mountain (the proper name for the Lonely Mountain was Erebor) after being taken up the Running River by people from Lake-town. They made their first camp halfway up Ravenhill. After a lot of searching, Fili, Kili and Bilbo found the secret door. After a while, a beam of light from the setting sun showed where the keyhole was. Thorin used his key to open the door. They all pushed, and the door swung open. The door was three feet wide and five feet high. Inside was a pitch-black tunnel leading down, into the mountain. A long time ago, there was a town at the foot of the mountain, called Dale.
In chapter twelve, Inside Information, Bilbo stole a two-handled cup from Smaug, which made Smaug angry. Smaug killed the Company’s ponies when he found out that his cup was missing. Next, Bilbo went down to Smaug, and Smaug pretended to be asleep, but smelled the invisible hobbit. Bilbo started to talk with Smaug and riddled with him. Bilbo noticed a bare spot by Smaug’s left breast, which is the only place Smaug’s armoured body is uncovered. Smaug guessed that Bilbo came from Lake-town or had been helped from the inhabitants there, and he flew off to teach them a lesson. Smaug smashed the mountainside where the secret door was, thinking to kill the Company, before he flew off to attack Lake-town.
In chapter thirteen, Not At Home, Smaug was away attacking Lake-town. Bilbo and the dwarves explored the caves and corridors of the old dwarfish palace under the mountain. They found armour, jewels and weapons. Bilbo found a valuable stone, called the Arkenstone, and hid it deep in his pocket without telling anyone. The Arkenstone was the most valuable treasure in the whole mountain, according to Thorin. Thorin gave Bilbo a suit of mail armour made of mithril, a very special silvery-steel material which weapons found hard to cut. The Company left the halls of the dragon back to Ravenhill just in case Smaug came back.
In chapter fourteen, Fire and Water, Smaug burned Esgaroth (the Lake-town). Smaug planned to land on the bridge connecting Lake-town to the land and lash the town with his tail, but the people had already destroyed the bridge. A thrush (a bird who could deliver messages) told a warrior called Bard (Bard was descended from Girion, the last king of Dale, before Smaug destroyed that town) about the bare patch on Smaug’s left breast. Bard killed Smaug by shooting the dragon in the left breast with his lucky arrow. The birds went to the woodelves and told them what had happened. The woodelves then brought an army and supplies to help the people of Lake-town rebuild their town. The people of Lake-town wanted Bard to be the King after he killed Smaug. The rumours of the death of Smaug were spreading quickly.
Chapter fifteen: The Gathering of the Clouds, Roac, leader of the Great Ravens of the Mountain, told the Company of the death of Smaug. Roac told Thorin that the armies of the woodelves and Lake-towners are coming. Thorin told Roac to get the ravens to ask dwarves from everywhere for help – especially his cousin, Dain, from the Iron Hills. The armies of the woodelves and the people from Lake-town marched up to the Lonely Mountain to get the treasure. They were surprised to see Thorin and Company still alive. Woodelves and Lake-towners asked for a share of the treasure, but Thorin refused. The armies of Lake-town and the woodelves put the mountain under siege until Thorin should change his mind. They camped before the Front Gate of the mountain.
In chapter sixteen, A Thief in the Night, Bilbo wanted all the problems to be solved between Thorin and the woodelves and Bard so he sneaked away one night and gave the Arkenstone to Bard. Bilbo used his magic ring to pass from the Mountain to the camp of the elves and men. He told Bard to use it in his bargaining with Thorin. Suddenly, Gandalf reappeared and congratulated him on his actions. Bilbo returned to the dwarves because he was still their loyal friend. Dain and his troops were now only two days away.
In chapter seventeen, The Clouds Burst, Bard, the wood-elf king and Gandalf used the Arkenstone to bargain with Thorin. Bilbo admitted that he gave it to them. Thorin got furious. He promised to share the treasure, but told Bilbo to go away and never return. Thorin sent a message to Dain to approach carefully and be ready for battle. Eventually, a battle began. Two armies, one of goblins, the other of wargs, had sneaked up on them and soon began the Battle of the Five Armies: elves, people and dwarves vs. wargs and goblins. Bilbo put on his ring almost immediately to stay safe during the battle, but a stone fell down from the mountain and struck his head, so he was unconscious during almost the whole battle. The good ones nearly lost, but were saved in the end by Beorn and the Giant Eagles. Thorin led an attack against the bodyguard of the leader of the goblin army, Bolg (Bolg had killed Thorin’s ancestor Thror).
In chapter eighteen, The Return Journey, Bilbo woke up and found out that the goodies had won. Thorin was dying so Bilbo went to see him. Thorin forgave Bilbo and when Thorin finally died, they had become friends again. Fili and Kili had also died. Dain became King Under the Mountain. Bilbo took only two small chests, one full of silver, and the other full of gold. Beorn and Gandalf travelled with Bilbo most of the way home. They spent Christmas time with Beorn and left Beorn’s house in spring. Gandalf took Bilbo the rest of the way.
Chapter nineteen: The Last Stage
After staying with Elrond at Rivendell again for a while, and digging up the trolls' gold, Bilbo finally got home to Bag-end, Hobbiton again just in time to stop an auction of his house and belongings. He was no longer respectable because of his adventurous nature, but he is now very, very rich. Many years later, Balin and Gandalf visit. Balin tells him news. Bard has become King of Dale, and Dale is now a rich town again. Dain is King Under the Mountain and the whole area around the Lonely Mountain is rich and prosperous again.
Bilbo later wrote his memoirs, detailing his adventures in a book called, “There and Back Again, A Hobbit's Holiday.” Tolkien is said to have translated this book and called it The Hobbit!
The setting in this book is not dated, but the readers get the impression that this happened long ago. You can for example guess by the weapons the characters uses. In these modern times, people use guns and rifles for weapons, but in this book, the characters use swords, daggers, bows and arrows. The environment is clearly not from this world, but from a fantasy world. The author has created a brand new world with items and creatures and landscape that doesn’t exist in our world. Magic rings that turn you invisible and goblins are two examples of this.
The setting is an element that is important to the conflict, and in itself an important conflict. The terrain was rough, the distance was long, and the surroundings were dangerous. The group has to travel through the treacherous Misty Mountains, being hassled by goblins. It almost dies while going through the Mirkwood forest by having gruesome spiders chase them. It has a big problem when Bilbo gets separated from the group. He gets lost in a system of caves where he encounters Gollum, a mean creature that wants to eat him. This awful setting shows what a great conflict the group has. Not only is the setting an important element to the conflict, it is one of the things I liked most about the book.
What message does the author of the book want to give his readers and what is the conflict (and theme)?
The theme of the play is lust. The cause of conflict, which is lust, is the perfect lesson for us all. The motivation of lust is what kept the group going. Themes such as this are hard to come by in adventure books. The group of friends overcome numerous difficult and deadly obstacles in their quest for their heart's desire. This shows how one can overcome anything if his motivation is strong. An important question to ask oneself is, "What are my goals, and what is my motivation to reach these goals?" Usually there is one major motivation that will lead one on, just like the “The Motivation of Lust”.
I think the author tries to tell that there is more than the importance of money and wealth in this world. In the end of the book, Thorin doesn’t want to share his gold with anyone. He sits on top on his treasure and would rather starve than to share it with the other people. Thorin dies in the end, and this is maybe a symbol on what greed can lead to.
This story proves that one can overcome the impossible if he has strong motivation, understanding that lust does not have to be the motivation. People in society need to learn that to succeed they need motivation. The author shows the importance of sharing. I also think that he tries to bring the same message as in the bible: “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”
Even though the conflicts on their journey are not as important as the main conflict, they are what make this book interesting. Tolkien's choice of the main conflict is not the most creative. It is based upon the traditional story of "going out and taking back what is yours." If I had to choose something I didn't like about the book, it would be this simple plot. It is a good thing he added such adventurous conflicts to this story, otherwise it would not be a good piece of literature.
Who will have pleasure reading this book?
This book should be recommended to people that like to daydream and have an active imagination. Those who would appreciate The Hobbit the most, would be people that like adventure and fantasy books. Readers who like action should read this novel. Also people who like explicit detail would like reading this. Some people, on the other hand, would not care for this book that much. A realist or a person with an inactive imagination would not find this book to be enjoyable because it is filled with things of fantasy, such as finding a ring with powers of turning someone invisible. Realism will take all the fun and enjoyment from this fairytale. Having all the fantasy and adventure in this book is one of the things I liked most about it.
The most important characters in the book
- Bilbo Baggins: The Hobbit who led the Dwarves to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug. He found the One Ring in Gollum's cave. He is very low, about half the size humans are. He doesn’t have beard and is actually smaller than dwarves. He is fat in the stomach and dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow), wear no shoes, because his feet is hard like a leather sole. He has also very hairy feet with the same kind of hair he has on his head (which is curly). He has long, clever brown fingers, a good-natured face and has a weakness for food. He doesn’t like adventures and is easily scared if some trouble shows up. Eventually, he gets braver after some adventuring.
- Gandalf: The Wizard that accompanies Bilbo and the dwarves on their quest. He is well versed in magic spells and often calls upon them to save his comrades. He is tall with long beard and very wise. He enjoys blowing smoke rings in many different colours.
- Thorin Oakenshield: Son of the King of Dwarves who were driven from the Lonely Mountain by Smaug. With the aid of Gandalf and Bilbo he seeks regain his treasure and the throne. When Smaug died he truly became King under the Mountain, though he was killed in combat in the battle of five Armies. He is low with much beard and wears a hood.
- Smaug: The dragon of the Lonely Mountain who guards the treasure he stole from the dwarves of Dale. He is very dangerous and spits fire. He is golden red and has a good sense of smell.
- Gollum: He is perfect example of the evil powers of the Magic Ring. He was born a Hobbit but had the ring too long. It made him into a slimy little creature that only lives to possess the ring.
- Bard: The archer who killed Smaug. He shot the dragon in the one spot it had no protection. The town’s people later considered him a hero. What the people didn't know it was Bilbo who discovered the weak spot in the dragon's iron scales.
Beorn: An enemy of goblins and wargs. He becomes friends with Bilbo and Gandalf. He is very big and strong and is a dangerous enemy, but a good friend to have in case of emergency. He has the ability to change forms from human to bear. It is he who determines the outcome of the battle of five Armies.
What is my personal opinion about this book?
I enjoyed reading this book very much. I liked the characters the most, having Gollum as my favourite. I especially liked it when he calls himself "my precious". This book was very appealing to me because of the surprising adventures. I liked how it kept my attention the whole way through, and also that it is a fairly short novel (approximately 300 pages). The dialogue is also something I liked. It was not just chitchat, but interesting. An example of interesting dialogue is Bilbo's riddle contest with Gollum. That is my favourite part in the whole book. I also liked the way Tolkien described different situations. He can describe the environment so well that you actually can feel that you are a part of the adventure.