From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 1 Summary How It All Goes Down
An Unexpected Party Bilbo Baggins is a well-to-do, well-respected hobbit living in a cozy hole in The Hill. (Hobbits are about half the size of humans. They enjoy eating, drinking, and generally being happy and comfortable at home. Sounds plenty human to us!) One day, Bilbo is sitting outside his front door smoking when a wizard comes by: Gandalf. Gandalf comes to The Hill every now and again and stirs things up by telling wild stories and bringing young hobbits on adventures. Bilbo is uncomfortable and flustered so he panics, asks Gandalf to come to tea the following Wednesday, and runs inside. Gandalf laughs and makes some kind of strange mark on Bilbo's door. Bilbo totally forgets that Gandalf is coming over for tea on Wednesday, so when the doorbell rings, he's surprised. He is even more surprised when thirteen dwarves show up on his doorstep: Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Oin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin Oakenshield, their leader. Gandalf also turns up. So now Bilbo has an unexpected party of fourteen strangers on his hands: how will he feed them all?! The evening goes on and, eventually, it comes out that the mark Gandalf put on the door was an ad. Gandalf is the one who told all the dwarves to turn up at Bilbo's home for tea on Wednesday. The mark on the door means, "Burglar wants a good job, plenty of Excitement and reasonable Reward" (1.98). The dwarves hesitate to believe that Bilbo would be a good addition to a treasure quest. But Gandalf insists that Bilbo is "as fierce as a dragon in a pinch" (1.93). He also promises: "There is a lot more in [Bilbo] than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself" (1.104). Bilbo feels proud (and frightened) at Gandalf's recommendation, so he sticks around to find out what Gandalf and the dwarves want him to do. Thorin's grandfather Thror set up a huge, fine hall underneath the Lonely Mountain. Their family prospered, and they made lots of armor and jewelry and other fine things. All of this wealth attracted a dragon from the North, Smaug. When Smaug attacked the mountain under cover of night, these thirteen dwarves (along with Thorin's grandfather and father) barely escaped with their lives. They all vowed to return to the Lonely Mountain one day to take back the treasure from nasty old Smaug. Gandalf has a map showing a secret side door to the Lonely Mountain. He also has the key. He got both of these items from Thorin's father, Thrain, who was dying in the dungeons of the Necromancer when Gandalf found him. With this map and key in hand, the dwarves want to go to the Lonely Mountain. Then they want Bilbo, their professional burglar, to steal the treasure from the dragon Smaug. It's now late at night and everyone goes to sleep. Bilbo is still on the fence about whether he's going to go on this adventure or not. But he falls asleep listening to Thorin singing, " Far over the misty mountains cold / To dungeons deep and caverns old / We must away, ere break of day, / To find out long-forgotten gold" (1.143).
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...