Today's Date in the Shire
The Fellowship of the Ring remains in Lothlorien.
Fun and Games
Walk to Rivendell
Malbeth the Seer
The next morning, Bilbo, the Dwarves and Gandalf begin their trip, which soon turns dismally rainy. Gandalf unexpectedly disappears, and the company seeks shelter from the rain. But instead of shelter they find trolls camped around a comfortable fire. Bilbo blunders his first attempt at 'burgling' and the Dwarves are captured by the trolls who spend the rest of the evening arguing how best to prepare and eat 13 dwarves and one frightened hobbit. In the nick of time, Gandalf returns and tricks the dull-witted trolls into arguing on past daylight when, as trolls of their sort do, they turn to stone. They find ancient swords in the trolls' treasure cave, one of which is small enough for Bilbo.
The group is again forced to seek shelter from the weather, and they rest in a cave which turns out to be the Front Porch of the underground Goblin kingdom. Goblins soldiers attack them in the middle of the night, and all but Gandalf are captured and rushed deep into dark caverns where they are brought before the Goblin King. Again, in the nick of time Gandalf reappears to rescue the dwarves and Bilbo from their captors. They rush headlong through the confusing tunnels trying to escape the pursuing goblins. At a turn in the path, Bilbo falls and becomes separated from his friends and lies unconcious in the darkness.
The creature is Gollum, a sad but treacherous creature who has lived on an island in the middle of the lake for many, many years. He insists on playing a riddle game, gambling Bilbo's freedom for his life. But Gollum is angered when the hobbit wins the game by luck and a bit of creative riddle asking. His prize was to be shown the way out, but Gollum decides that he will eat poor Bilbo instead. The creature returns to his unseen island to get his magic golden ring that will make him invisible. When he finds that he has lost it, he believes that Bilbo must have it (the ring that Bilbo found!!) and he quickly returns to kill the hobbit. But Bilbo slips the ring on just in time, and Gollum runs past without seeing him. The hobbit follows the wicked creature who unknowingly leads him to a door to the outside world. Bilbo escapes into sunlight!
Gandalf takes Bilbo and the dwarves to visit Beorn, a suspicious but honest man who lives at the edge of Mirkwood Forest. Beorn aids them and helps them find the correct path to take through the dark forest. As they enter the wood, Gandalf says farewell, claiming more importants duties far away. They clamor that they will never make it through the dreadful forest without the wizard's help, but in the end, muttering and dejected, the Dwarves and Bilbo enter the forest without Gandalf.
Bilbo manages to slip into the elven halls and find the poor Dwarves who are locked deep in the dungeons. After weeks of hiding with the aid of his ring, the hobbit manages to free the Dwarves. But to escape the elven caverns, he must stuff each of them into an empty barrel which is rolled into the river. He jumps in after the last barrel and rides it like a raft all the way to Laketown on the Long Lake.
Bilbo creeps quietly down the dark, narrow tunnel hidden by the secret door. At the end, it opens onto a huge treasure-filled cavern. Atop the treasure, snoring loudly, lies Smaug the Magnificent. Shaking in his boots, the hobbit grabs the closest item to him and runs back up the passage to show his friends a beautiful golden cup.
The Dwarves and Bilbo huddle in the dark for hours. Finally, Bilbo decides to go back down the tunnel to see if the dragon has returned.
Once again he finds Smaug atop his pile of stolen treasure. But this time the dragon is awake, and he immediately senses the hobbit though he cannot see him (because of the ring). Smaug is still angry but also curious to see who has the audacity to steal from him. He is a bit tired from having eaten all of the company's ponies. So, instead of attacking the hobbit, the dragon has a conversation with him.
The dwarves huddle for hours and hours until it becomes obvious that the dragon may not be coming back. They slowly develope the courage to go down the tunnel to see the treasure lost so long ago. They light torches to find their way in the darkness and run through the gold, silver and gems like children in a toy store. Bilbo's sharp eyes catches a glint far across the great chamber, and he goes to investigate. Amid a pile of treasure he finds the Arkenstone, the greatest jewel ever to be delved from the mountain. He knows that Thorin covets it above all other things, but Bilbo decides to keep his discovery secret for moment.
The dragon is dead! And while the Dwarves explore their ancient home, the armies of the Men of Laketown and the Elves of Mirkwood march to the mountain to demand a portion of the treasure. But when they arrive, Thorin and Company refuse to part with the treasure and block the entrance to their newly regained home. Bilbo proves again to be a wise choice as the last member of the journey when he gives the Arkenstone to the Men and Elves as a way to stop the Dwarves from beginning a battle they cannot hope to win. But still war is not averted, for Thorin stubbornly refuses to yield one coin to the sieging armies. He knows that his cousin Dain from the Iron Mountains is on his way with an army of Dwarven warriors.
The army of Dwarves approaches, and it looks as if war will not be averted. But the battle of three armies turns into a battle of four armies when a huge mass of goblins approaches. The Men, Elves and Dwarves quickly join forces and turn to face the new threat. The battle lasts for hours, and it does not go well for the three joined armies. Just when it seems that all was lost, a fifth army joins the battle. The Eagles of the Mountains arrive and save the day, killing most of the goblins and chasing the few survivors far away.
After many weeks of relatively uneventful riding, Biblbo and Gandalf arrive back in Hobbiton only to find that the people of his town consider him 'Presumed Dead' and are auctioning off his home and all his belongings. His dreadful relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses, were not at all happy to find their presumptions incorrect. In the end, Bilbo's home is brought back into normal order and the hobbit settles down and enjoys blowing smoke rings and chatting with his friend Gandalf.