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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 4 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Over Hill and Under Hill

  • They climb up and up and up, and the weather gets colder and more uncertain.
  • One night, a truly terrific storm breaks out and they try to find shelter crouched against a sheer cliff.
  • The dwarves send the two youngest, Fili and Kili, to scout for shelter.
  • Quick as anything, Fili and Kili return with good news: there's a cave nearby!
  • They promise they've explored the cave thoroughly, even though they haven't been gone nearly long enough for that to be true.
  • Everyone is relieved to be in out of the rain and falling rocks and thunder, though.
  • That night, Bilbo has strange dreams that prevent him from sleeping.
  • This turns out to be lucky, because Bilbo is awake when a crack opens at the back of the cave.
  • Bilbo yells and wakes Gandalf, who disappears in a flash of light.
  • Suddenly, a bunch of goblins jump out of the crack.
  • They grab Bilbo and all the dwarves and carry them into their mountain passages.
  • The goblins shake their prisoners and laugh and sing threatening songs: "Crash, crash! Crush, smash! / Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs! / Pound, pound, far underground! / Ho, ho! my lad!" (4.18)
  • The goblins arrive with their prisoners in a big chamber lit with fires.
  • The Great Goblin sees that Thorin is carrying an elvish sword – Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver – and freaks out.
  • The goblins call this sword Biter, and they hate it in memory of the Goblin-wars back in the day.
  • The Great Goblin calls them "Murderers and elf-friends!" (4.31) and rushes at Thorin to kill him.
  • Just then, the lights go out and another sword starts to flash: it's Glamdring, the Foehammer, which the goblins call Beater. In other words, it's Gandalf's sword. Gandalf's back!
  • With Gandalf's help, Bilbo, Thorin, and the other dwarves escape.
  • They rush along the dark mountain halls as quickly as they can.
  • But goblins are fast, quiet, and they know the way better than the dwarves do, so eventually they manage to ambush the dwarves.
  • In the confusion, Bilbo knocks his head on a rock and loses consciousness.

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