The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Home Quotes in The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Here," said Balin, "in the old days we used always to keep watchmen, and that door behind leads into a rock-hewn chamber that was made here as a guardroom. There were several places like it round the Mountain. But there seemed small need for watching in the days of our prosperity, and the guards were made over comfortable, perhaps – otherwise we might have had longer warning of the coming of the dragon, and things might have been different." (13.66)
Balin is one of the only characters besides Thorin who shares direct memories of the Lonely Mountain before Smaug came. Balin is also one of the few dwarves who seems to have a separate personality from the other dwarves (can you tell the difference between Bifur, Bofur, Oin, or Gloin? We certainly can't!) How does Balin's sharing of his memories give him a sense of character and individuality that the other dwarves might not have? What kind of a person is Balin?
Upon [Thorin's] tomb the Elvenking then laid Orcrist, the elvish sword that had been taken from Thorin in captivity. It is said in songs that it gleamed ever in the dark if foes approached, and the fortress of the dwarves could not be taken by surprise. There now Dain son of Nain took up his abode, and he became King under the Mountain, and in time many other dwarves gathered to his throne in the ancient hills. (18.32)
Even though Thorin has died, his body has been buried at the heart of his grandfather's old kingdom and his people have taken control of the Lonely Mountain once more. So, we guess that's a happy ending for him. What does Thorin seem to value about his home? How do Thorin's visions of home differ from Bilbo's? Why do you think Thorin is so stubborn about letting go of even a piece of his treasure to Bard or the Elvenking? What might have happened if the goblins and the Wargs hadn't come to interrupt their negotiations?
"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!" said Bilbo, and he turned his back on his adventure. The Tookish part was getting very tired, and the Baggins was daily getting stronger. "I wish now only to be in my own armchair!" he said. (18.54)
Bilbo imagines himself sitting comfortably "in [his] own armchair"; his less adventurous side is finally winning out by the end of the novel. But how has Bilbo's feeling for (or appreciation of) home changed over the course of The Hobbit? Does his hobbit-hole look the same in Chapter 19 as it did in Chapter 1?