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The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 14 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Fire and Water

  • Meanwhile, back in Lake-town, they observe a red glow from the Lonely Mountain.
  • They think it's a good thing: "The King beneath the Mountain! [...] His wealth is like the Sun, his silver like a fountain, his rivers golden run! The river is running gold from the Mountain!" (14.8).
  • But one grim-voiced guard warns them: it's actually the dragon coming!
  • This grim fellow is Bard, and he's a descendent of the old lords of Dale. We'll be coming back to him in a second.
  • Smaug flames the town from a distance while the men of Lake-town pepper him with arrows.
  • Because Bard's ancestors were the lords of Dale, he can understand the language of thrushes. (...Right.)
  • So when a thrush flutters up and starts talking to him – the same thrush that showed Bilbo where the side door's keyhole was – Bard understands the bird.
  • The thrush explains, "The moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as [Smaug] flies and turns above you!" (14.20).
  • The thrush tells Bard everything that he's heard from Bilbo and the dwarves.
  • So Bard takes his great bow and his finest arrow and shoots Smaug in his weak spot as he flies overhead.
  • Smaug's body falls directly on Lake-town. So Smaug and Lake-town are both dead.
  • The people are so impressed with Bard that they want to make him king of Lake-town.
  • The Master of Lake-town doesn't want to let go of power, though.
  • The Elvenking, meanwhile, has heard the news of what's going on in Lake-town from his own messengers.
  • The Elvenking travels quickly to Lake-town to help the people rebuild their home.
  • All of the able-bodied soldiers from Lake-town and the troops of the Elvenking march to the Lonely Mountain to see if Thorin is still alive.

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