The Hobbit


Chapter 5 to Chapter 7

Chapter 5 Summary

Bilbo wakes up on the ground, alone in the dark. Groping about, he discovers a ring and absentmindedly puts it into his pocket. He begins walking in the direction in which he thinks the dwarves and Gandalf may have gone. He comes to an underground lake where he meets Gollum, an unsavory creature who is curious about whether or not Bilbo might be good to eat. Bilbo draws his sword when he hears Gollum’s voice, and the creature challenges him to a game of riddles. If Gollum wins, he will eat Bilbo. If Bilbo wins, Gollum will show Bilbo the way out of the cave.

They exchange several riddles, each of them managing to answer correctly. When it is Bilbo’s turn to propose the tiebreaking riddle, he begins to panic and can’t think of anything. Slipping his hand into his pocket, Bilbo feels the ring he had picked up earlier and says, “What have I got in my pocket?” Gollum takes this as Bilbo’s riddle and cannot answer. Bilbo thus wins the riddle game by sheer luck, but Gollum decides that he wants to eat him anyway. Gollum goes to his island to look for his favorite possession—a magical ring which gives its wearer the power of invisibility, which Gollum calls “Precious” and also refers to as his “birthday present.” He can’t find the ring, however, because of course it is in Bilbo’s pocket. Enraged and beginning to suspect that Bilbo has stolen the ring, Gollum attempts to catch Bilbo. Bilbo slips the ring on. As Gollum runs right by without seeing him, Bilbo realizes that the ring has made him invisible. He then follows Gollum, who inadvertently reveals the exit to the cave. Gollum stops short, fearful of the goblins clustered around the mouth of the cave. At this point, Bilbo sees an opportunity to slay Gollum, but out of pity chooses not to. Instead, he jumps over him and past the goblins, unseen, and finds his way outside.

Chapter 6 Summary

Bilbo is outside at last, but there is still no sign of the dwarves or of...

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