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J. R. R. Tolkien
- Study Guide
The Hobbit is a novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was that was first published in 1937 .
Read one-minute Sparklet summaries, the detailed chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, or the Full Book Summary of The Hobbit .
- Sparklet Chapter Summaries
Summary & Analysis
- Chapters 2 & 3
- Chapters 4 & 5
- Chapters 6 & 7
- Chapters 8 & 9
- Chapters 10 & 11
- Chapters 12 & 13
- Chapters 14 & 15
- Chapters 16 & 17
- Chapters 18 & 19
- Full Book Summary
See a complete list of the characters in The Hobbit and in-depth analyses of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and Thorin Oakenshield.
- Character List
- Bilbo Baggins
- Thorin Oakenshield
Here's where you will find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in The Hobbit .
Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of The Hobbit .
- Important Quotes Explained
Test your knowledge of The Hobbit with these quizzes.
- Full Book Quiz
- Chapters 2-3
- Chapters 4-5
- Chapters 6-7
- Chapters 8-9
- Chapters 10-11
- Chapters 12-13
- Chapters 14-15
- Chapters 16-17
- Chapters 18-19
- Plot Overview
- Analysis of Major Characters
- Themes, Motifs & Symbols
Get ready to ace your The Hobbit paper with mini-essays, a sample A+ student essay, and suggested essay topics.
- Sample A+ Essay: How The Hobbit Fits and Doesn't Fit Epic Traditions
- Mini Essays
- Suggested Essay Topics
Go further in your study of The Hobbit with background information about J. R. R. Tolkien and the novel, as well as suggestions for further reading.
- J. R. R. Tolkien and The Hobbit Background
- Suggestions for Further Reading
The Hobbit SparkNotes Literature Guide
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Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives in a large, comfortable underground house in the Shire and has no interest in adventures. One day, he encounters Gandalf , a wizard who knew Bilbo’s scandalously adventurous grandfather. Though he's uncomfortable that Gandalf talks about Bilbo joining an adventure, Bilbo invites Gandalf to tea the next day. At tea, Gandalf brings with him thirteen dwarves, lead by Thorin Oakenshield , who are trying to reclaim their ancestral home and treasure under the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug . Gandalf and the dwarves offer Bilbo one-fourteenth of their treasure in return for his serving as their burglar. Bilbo doesn't explicitly consent to this agreement, but he's excited by the dwarves' stories of treasure.
The next day, Gandalf tells Bilbo that he must meet the dwarves at the local tavern; Bilbo rushes there, and finds himself traveling with Gandalf and the dwarves on their quest to the Lonely Mountain. Shortly thereafter, Gandalf goes missing, it starts to rain, and the dwarves see a light in the distance. Bilbo goes to investigate the light, and finds three trolls eating their supper. The trolls catch Bilbo, but he slips free; then, the trolls capture the thirteen dwarves. Gandalf imitates the sounds of the trolls' voices, leading them to fight for so long that the sun rises and turns them to stone. The dwarves free themselves and find two swords. Bilbo finds a large knife that will work as a sword for him, too.
The group rests in the Elven city of Rivendell under the care of the elf-lord Elrond. While there they learn that they will be able to enter a secret passageway in the side of the Lonely Mountain on the first day of the dwarf New Year. They travel through the Misty Mountains, where they are all imprisoned by goblins, except for Gandalf who escapes. Bilbo and the dwarves are taken before the Great Goblin , but Gandalf reappears, slays the Great Goblin, and frees Bilbo and the dwarves. In the ensuing flight from the goblins, Bilbo falls down a cavern and loses consciousness.
Bilbo reawakens in a dark cavern and finds a ring lying on the ground. Not long after he encounters a treacherous creature, Gollum , with whom he holds a riddle-telling competition: if Gollum wins, he eats Bilbo; if Bilbo wins, Gollum shows him the way out. Bilbo wins the competition, but Gollum goes to find his ring, which makes the wearer invisible, so that he can kill Bilbo. When Gollum discovers the ring is missing he is enraged and plans to kill Bilbo. But Bilbo accidentally puts on the ring and realizes that the ring makes him invisible when Gollum, searching for him, ends up rushing right past him. Bilbo follows Gollum out of the cave and eludes goblins to escape from the Misty Mountains.
Bilbo reunites with Gandalf and the dwarves, who are impressed with his talent for deception and concealment. As they travel down from the mountains, they're forced to hide in some trees from some wargs (talking wolves); when a fire breaks out, Gandalf summons the giant eagles, who agree to take the group to the Carrock, where they stay with the shape-shifter Beorn .
Gandalf reveals that he must leave Bilbo and the dwarves as they begin the next stage of their quest through the dangerous Mirkwood forest. Despite Gandalf and Beorn's advice to stay on the path at all costs, Bilbo and the dwarves are lured off the path by the sight of wood-elves eating a feast. When the group is then captured by giant spiders, Bilbo uses his ring to free himself, kill many spiders, and free the dwarves; unfortunately, angry wood-elves capture and imprison them all, except for Bilbo who is still invisible, shortly thereafter. Bilbo uses his ring to free his friends from their cells and transports them out of the forest via barrels, which the elves use to send wine in trade down the river to the human town of Lake-town.
Bilbo and the dwarves arrive in Lake-town, where they're welcomed as heroes who will vanquish the dragon, Smaug, and bring prosperity to the cities of men once again. They travel to the Lonely Mountain, where the last ray of sunshine on the dwarf New Year reveals the keyhole to a secret passageway. Bilbo alone is brave enough to enter the mountain, and manages to sneak into Smaug’s lair and steal a cup from the pile of treasure. Smaug is enraged. Later Bilbo sneaks again into Smaug’s lair, but this time Smaug is only pretending to sleep: Bilbo speaks to Smaug in riddles, saying that he is a barrel-rider and learning in the process that Smaug has a weak point on his belly. Bilbo later gives this information to the dwarves, and to a talking thrush who overhears them. Smaug, during that same conversation, poisons Bilbo’s mind with suspicion that the dwarves will not uphold their promise to give him one-fourteen of the treasure; when he raises his doubts to Thorin, Thorin insists that Bilbo can take whatever fourteenth of the treasure he wants. Bilbo secretly takes the Arkenstone, the most beautiful jewel in the dwarves’ treasure.
Interpreting Bilbo’s self-given name of “barrel-rider” to mean that he has been sent by men, Smaug flies to Lake-town and devastates it. But as he does so, an archer named Bard , a descendant of the Lord of Dale (a city that used to thrive as a hub of trade of dwarven gold and crafts before Smaug arrived), learns from the thrush about Smaug’s weak point, and uses the information to shoot and kill him with a black arrow that had long been in Bard’s family line. News of Smaug’s death spreads across Middle Earth, and the men led by Bard ally with the wood-elves and march to the Lonely Mountain to claim some of the treasure, as repayment for the destruction Smaug leveled against them. Thorin refuses these requests, and it seems fighting between men, elves, and dwarves is imminent. Eager to end this conflict, Bilbo secretly gives the Arkenstone to Bard and the elves; when Bilbo admits what he’s done, Thorin expels him from the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo reunites with Gandalf, who has returned from his other business.
Thorin summons his cousin, Dain , to help him defend their regained city and treasure. At the same time, goblins and wolves ride to the Lonely Mountain, eager to avenge the Great Goblin’s death. Gandalf encourages men, dwarves, and elves to from an alliance, and at the Battle of the Five Armies, they unite against the goblins and wolves, defeating them with the help of Beorn and the Eagles. Bilbo uses his ring to hide during the fight. When he meets up with the survivors of the battle, he finds that Thorin has been fatally wounded. Thorin tells Bilbo that he regrets expelling him. Bilbo returns to hobbit-town with two chests of treasure (having given up the claim to the even larger one-fourteenth that had originally been promised to him), enough to make him a wealthy man. A year later, he’s visited by Gandalf and one of the dwarves, Balin , who tell him that Bard is now the master of Lake-town, goblins have been largely killed off, and dwarves, elves, and men now coexist peacefully.
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The hobbit study guide.
In terms of Tolkien's literary context, we should look to his twin focuses: philology (the study of languages) and philosophy (moral, rather than political ethics). The Hobbit is a literary exposition of Tolkien's personal grappling with the "big ideas" that have long engaged the great minds of Eastern and Western civilizations. Without straying into Tolkien "lore," we briefly note Tolkien's career as a Professor at Oxford, the site of Tolkien's well-documented and highly-intellectual relationship with the well-read Professor C.S. Lewis, a close friend and fellow author (think: Narnia). Tolkien's relationship with Lewis is significant because it helps to establish Tolkien's understanding of good and evil in the world, repeatedly represented through the old archetypal binaries: Light = good, white, God, truth, etc.; darkness = evil, black, devil, deception, etc. The Hobbit is a good preparation for a reading of the LOTR trilogy (or a reading of Lewis' 7-part Chronicles of Narnia) because Tolkien's traditional and Christian world-view has to become flexible enough to incorporate magic, benevolent wizards (biblical outlaws) and non-human thinkers. Here is an example of a potentially sticky question: if Bilbo has compassion, then within Middle Earth, does Bilbo have a soul? Lewis and Tolkien both explored issues of religious and moral philosophy in their literary works, texts that are, arguably, works of fantasy. And one thing to always keep in mind is that Tolkien created "Middle Earth" over a period of decades, and most of his works were published after his death?much like The Hobbit, originally published in 1937.
In considering other writers, C.S. Lewis' slim non-fictional volume, The Problem of Pain , is an interesting insight for readers who are looking to make a fuller context of works like Lewis' and Tolkien's. Chapter 5, "Riddles in the Dark," is not as rigorous as " The Grand Inquisitor ," the oft-compared and highly dramatic scene of religious debate and moral philosophizing, presented as a chapter of Dostoevsky's " The Brothers Karamazov ." Tolkien wants to recreate mythology and make these epics relevant to his contemporary society. His problem is a fact of history: the Greek myths, Norse epics and Anglo-Saxon sagas may be a safe and academic pursuit for philologists who enjoy studying ancient languages. But a 20th century Oxford Professor has to grapple with the essential paganism of these ancient writers, characters and themes. Tolkien does not have to be fearful of censorship, or the Spanish Inquisition, but Tolkien's quest?or one of them?is an attempt to write something old and magical that might re-affirm Tolkien's Christian understanding of good and evil. Tolkien wants to turn those old pagan Anglo-Saxon sagas into something that will edify and morally gird an increasingly slack, confused and frightened society.
As one reads more and more of The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings trilogy, one finds the characters will diverge into good and evil groups, their individual magical powers become comparatively insignificant, the "conflict" emerges as a battle between One Good and One Evil, and the allusions and archetypes drift away from old pagan types and into Christian ones. As a final note on context and history's irony, cultural relevance is very much a part of what we consider old and new. For a philologist, a "dead language" may have arrived well after a language that is still spoken. Similarly, a student of philosophy and literature will probably realize that ?those old pagan Anglo-Saxon sagas' were written well after the time period attributed to the Biblical scriptures. And of course, those sagas and myths never lost their ability to strike moral chords and teach lessons without striking the wrong chords and ruffling religious feathers.
The Hobbit Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Hobbit is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I think this is Thorin who says this.
What two items did Bilbo forget in his rush to meet the dwarves
Bilbo forgets his hat and handkerchief . By forgetting these items he is leaving his hobbit respectability behind when he joins the dwarves on their adventure.
Chapter 10, A Warm Welcome
From the text:
Its nearest neighbours to the North-East and the tumbled land that joined it to them could not be seen. All alone it rose and looked across the marshes to the forest. The Lonely Mountain! Bilbo had come far and through many...
Study Guide for The Hobbit
The Hobbit study guide contains a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About The Hobbit
- The Hobbit Summary
- Character List
- Chapters 1-4 Summary and Analysis
Essays for The Hobbit
The Hobbit essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Tolkien's Hobbit: From Children's Story to Mythic Creation
- Heroes and the Hobbit
- Sting and Bilbo: Significance of the Small in The Hobbit
- Archetypes of Englishness in The Hobbit and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- The Impact of Setting in The Hobbit
Lesson Plan for The Hobbit
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to The Hobbit
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- The Hobbit Bibliography
Wikipedia Entries for The Hobbit
- Concept and creation
- My Preferences
- My Reading List
- Literature Notes
- Book Summary
- About The Hobbit
- Character List
- Summary and Analysis
- Character Analysis
- Bilbo Baggins
- Thorin Oakenshield
- Character Map
- J.R.R. Tolkien Biography
- Critical Essays
- Major Themes
- Full Glossary
- Essay Questions
- Practice Projects
- Cite this Literature Note
Chapter 1 opens as the wizard Gandalf visits the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and invites him to join in an adventure. Bilbo declines, reluctant to leave the safety and comfort of his hobbit-hole. The next day, he is visited by dwarves who believe Bilbo can be of use to them in their journey to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim their ancestral treasure, now in the possession of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo realizes that Gandalf had represented him to the dwarves as a burglar. He reluctantly agrees to go, but he changes his mind the next morning. Gandalf urges him to join them, however, and they depart — a band of fourteen.
Chapters 2 through 10 depict Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves traveling out of the hobbit-lands toward the Lonely Mountain far to the east. As the landscape becomes less hospitable and the group faces hunger, bad weather, and attacks from hostile creatures, Bilbo often thinks fondly of home and questions his decision to come on this journey. In the Lone-lands, the travelers encounter trolls who capture the dwarves and tie them up in sacks, planning to roast and eat them later. They are rescued by Gandalf and Bilbo, who produces a key he found nearby. The key unlocks the trolls' secret cave, where the travelers find gold and weapons, to which they help themselves. They travel on to the valley of Rivendell at the edge of the Wild, and stay at the home of Elrond, a hospitable elf leader. Elrond translates the runes on the swords that Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, king of the dwarves, took from the trolls' cave; they are ancient swords called Orcrist and Glamdring that come from dragon plunder or the Goblin-wars. Elrond also translates Thorin's map, which clarifies the importance of Durin's Day, the first day of the dwarves' New Year.. After two weeks, Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves resume their journey. Approaching the Misty Mountains, they take shelter from a storm in a cave that turns out to be the Great Goblin's cavern. The Goblins capture Bilbo and his companions and take their ponies. Using Glamdring, Gandalf kills the Great Goblin and frees Bilbo and the dwarves. The travelers try to find their way out of the cave as the Goblins retreat, but Bilbo falls on his way out and loses consciousness.
When Bilbo regains consciousness and tries to make his way out of the cave, he finds a ring that he absentmindedly pockets. This incident, in Chapter 5, marks a dramatic moment in his adventures, for the ring confers powers of invisibility on whomever wears it. Bilbo encounters old Gollum, a slimy, murderous creature who kills and eats Goblins and others who stray into the cave. They exchange riddles, and Gollum discovers that Bilbo has the ring, which is Gollum's favorite possession. At the same time, Bilbo puts on the ring and discovers its magical power. Pursuing the invisible Bilbo, Gollum inadvertently shows him the way out of the cave. Bilbo has the opportunity to kill Gollum, but decides his invisibility is an unfair advantage and, instead, leaps over his head through the mouth of the cave.
After he is outside, Bilbo plans to go back and rescue his friends but finds they have escaped, too. He tells his tale and gains their respect. Then they all run away from the Mountains, fearful of the Goblins. They are chased up into trees by Wargs, menacing wild wolves. Gandalf chases the Wargs away, but the Wargs soon return with Goblins and try to smoke Bilbo and the dwarves out of the trees by setting fire to the forest. Bilbo and the dwarves are rescued by eagles, who fly them to their nest. After spending the night in safety, they resume their travels east and Gandalf takes them to the house of Beorn, the skin-changer, who outfits them for the next leg of their journey, through the forest of Mirkwood. At the end of Chapter 7, Gandalf leaves them at the edge of Mirkwood, warning them not to stray from the path. Gandalf does not reappear until the Battle of Five Armies near the end of the book.
Bilbo and the dwarves travel through the forest and use a boat to cross an enchanted lake. They rescue Bombur, one of the thirteen dwarves, from a fall into the lake. Hungry, they approach a party of feasting elves, but to no avail. Bilbo is captured by a spider, but fights his way free with the sword he took from the trolls; he names it Sting. Wearing the ring of invisibility, he frees the dwarves who have been bound in spiders' webs and reveals to them the secret of the ring. At the end of Chapter 8, Bilbo and the dwarves find that Thorin has been captured by elves, and in Chapter 9, all the dwarves are captured and thrown into the dungeon under the palace of the Elvenking. Bilbo escapes this fate because he is wearing the ring that makes him invisible, and he wanders around the Elvenking's palace until he has developed a plan to free the dwarves. He hides them in empty wine barrels that are dropped through the floor of the palace and float down the river to Esgaroth or Lake-town. Bilbo and the dwarves spend some time in Lake-town, a town of men, but then move on and disembark near the Lonely Mountain.
Chapter 11 depicts the encounter with Smaug the dragon, the object of the journey. The travelers can see the door to Smaug's lair in the side of the Lonely Mountain, but they can't open it until Bilbo suddenly understands the clues in Thorin's map. On Durin's Day, using the key from Thorin's grandfather, Bilbo enters the Lonely Mountain. He sees Smaug the dragon sitting on the treasure hoard and, despite great fear, engages him in conversation and emerges with a cup he has stolen from the hoard. At this point, Bilbo becomes, in effect, the leader of the group. He re-enters Smaug's lair and steals the Arkenstone, the precious gem of the hoard. In a vengeful rage, Smaug comes out of his lair and destroys the town of Esgaroth. Bard, a Lake-town archer, kills Smaug.
At this point, in Chapter 14, various groups begin to converge on the Lonely Mountain, because the treasure Smaug had guarded is now up for grabs. Thorin refuses to ally with Bard or the elves, and Bilbo gives Bard the Arkenstone to use in bargaining with Thorin. Gandalf reappears. The Battle of Five Armies ensues — dwarves, men, and elves fighting against Goblins and Wargs. After the battle, Bilbo is taken to see Thorin, who is dying. He is buried with Orcrist and the Arkenstone; his inheritance, the hoard, is divided. Bilbo leaves with Gandalf, Elvenking, and Beorn to go back to the hobbit-lands. They stay with Beorn over Yule-tide and return to Elrond in the spring. When Bilbo arrives home, he finds that his house and its contents are being auctioned, because he is presumed dead. He recovers most of his possessions and leads an eccentric life, sometimes visited by his travel companions.
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The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lives in Hobbiton. He enjoys a peaceful and pastoral life but his life is interrupted by a surprise visit by the wizard Gandalf. Before Bilbo is really able to improve upon the situation, Gandalf has invited himself to tea and when he arrives, he comes with a company of dwarves led by Thorin.
Summary Full Book Summary Bilbo Baggins lives a quiet, peaceful life in his comfortable hole at Bag End. Bilbo lives in a hole because he is a hobbit—one of a race of small, plump people about half the size of humans, with furry toes and a great love of good food and drink.
The Hobbit is a novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was that was first published in 1937 . Summary Read one-minute Sparklet summaries, the detailed chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, or the Full Book Summary of The Hobbit . Sparklet Chapter Summaries Summary & Analysis Chapter 1 Chapters 2 & 3 Chapters 4 & 5 Chapters 6 & 7 Chapters 8 & 9
The Hobbit Summary Next Chapter 1 Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives in a large, comfortable underground house in the Shire and has no interest in adventures. One day, he encounters Gandalf, a wizard who knew Bilbo’s scandalously adventurous grandfather.
Plot Summary The Hobbit is a tale of high fantasy that recounts the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who is one day pressed and cajoled into joining up with a party of dwarves—13 of them to be exact—who are venturing out into the wilderness to the far North in order to take back their ancestral home and kingdom under the Lonely Mountain.
The Hobbit is a good preparation for a reading of the LOTR trilogy (or a reading of Lewis' 7-part Chronicles of Narnia) because Tolkien's traditional and Christian world-view has to become flexible enough to incorporate magic, benevolent wizards (biblical outlaws) and non-human thinkers.
The Hobbit Book Summary Book Summary Chapter 1 opens as the wizard Gandalf visits the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and invites him to join in an adventure. Bilbo declines, reluctant to leave the safety and comfort of his hobbit-hole.
The hobbit tells the dwarves that he has seen a whole in Smaug’s skin where he can get injured. They then hear the roar of the dragon once more and shut the door to the passage just before the dragon comes . They are now trapped inside the mountain. Summary: Chapter 13