The Hobbit


Chapter 14 to Chapter 16

Chapter 14 Summary

As Bilbo and the dwarves sit wondering where Smaug has gone, the narrator takes the tale back in time to tell us what has been happening with the dragon and the people of Lake-town. After Smaug’s conversation with Bilbo, he had cleverly deduced from Bilbo’s riddles that the hobbit was in some way involved with the people of Lake-town. Therefore, he had flown away to that city to wreak his vengeance. Fortunately, the people of Lake-town had clearly seen the great bolts of flame Smaug had unleashed upon the Lonely Mountain, so they were able to prepare somewhat for battle. The Master of Lake-town proves an ineffectual and cowardly leader, and the people follow Bard, a stoic, grim-faced archer with natural leadership abilities. As Smaug devastates the city, burning it more or less to the ground, Bard manages to hold out against the dragon with his bow and arrows. The surviving townspeople clamber into boats to save themselves. A thrush—presumably the thrush who had been listening to Bilbo’s conversation with the dwarves—whispers into Bard’s ear that Smaug has a chink in his armor near his heart. Bard shoots an arrow straight into this weak spot, and the dragon falls, dying, into the lake, never to return.

The people wish to elect Bard as their new Master, but the Master points out that it is no good changing leaders suddenly when they still have the dwarves to deal with. It is the people’s intention to go up to the mountain and demand some recompense—a portion of the treasure—for their losses. Bard agrees to remain loyal to the Master in this troubled time, but says that he may yet change his mind. In the meantime, he will lead a foray to the mountain to confront Thorin. Talking birds, meanwhile, have flown the news of Smaug’s death all around the area, and the Elvenking arrives with soldiers in support of Bard and the people of Lake-town.

Chapter 15 Summary

Back at the Lonely Mountain, a thrush and a raven inform Bilbo and the...

Sign up to continue reading Chapter 14 to Chapter 16 >

Essays About The Hobbit