The Hobbit


Chapter 11 to Chapter 13

Chapter 11 Summary

They row for three days and disembark in the grim shadow of the Lonely Mountain, where they meet up with ponies and more provisions for the final leg of the journey. The land is desolate and burnt, scarred and lifeless from Smaug’s flames, though Thorin tells them that it was once fertile and green. They travel gloomily through this desolation to the foot of the mountain and discover the main entrance on the south side. This entrance is obviously the one Smaug uses; therefore, they decide that they should not. Remembering Thorin’s map, Bilbo convinces them to search on the western side of the mountains for a secret door. After a long search they are successful, but they cannot find any way to open the door. They remain at this impasse for several days, camping on the “door-step” and trying in vain with axes and other tools to open the door.

One afternoon, Bilbo observes a thrush bashing a snail against a rock and suddenly recalls the message written in moon-letters on Thorin’s map, which Elrond had deciphered for them. The runes had said, “Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.” Then Bilbo notices that a pale winter moon has appeared in the sky, even as the sun is setting—meaning that it is, indeed, Durin’s Day. Excitedly, he gathers the dwarves at the door. A rock suddenly falls away, and the last ray of the setting sun shines upon the revealed keyhole. Thorin successfully uses the key that had come along with the map to open the door. As evening takes the light out of the sky, the company gazes into the black depths of the Lonely Mountain.

Chapter 12 Summary

Nobody is eager to rush into the dark depths of the mountain. Thorin elects Bilbo to go in alone and see what he can find, based on the fact that Bilbo is their hired burglar and he has a magic ring. Bilbo makes his way down a long, dark and twisting corridor until he comes to...

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