© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...