The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Wealth Quotes in The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
These songs promising that Thorin son of Thrain would come back and "gold would flow in rivers" to Lake-town seems sort of reminiscent of the King Arthur legend. Part of the whole mythology of King Arthur is that he's lying in an enchanted sleep, but will come back to England one day. At any rate, it seems to be a consistent theme throughout The Hobbit that songs keep legends alive. Perhaps this explains why there are so many songs in this novel.
"Very well! We'll see! No treasure will come back through Mirkwood without my having something to say in the matter. But I expect they will all come to a bad end, and serve them right!" [The Elvenking] at any rate did not believe in dwarves fighting and killing dragons like Smaug, and he strongly suspected attempted burglary or something like it – which shows he was a wise elf and wiser than the men of the town, though not quite right, as we shall see in the end. (10.41)
The Elvenking realizes that Thorin has escaped and guesses that there will be "attempted burglary or something like it" at work. On what grounds could the Elvenking possibly block anyone bringing treasure through Mirkwood? We also like this quote because it shows something interesting about the narrative voice in The Hobbit. Because it often seems to imitate oral storytelling (check out our section on "Narrator Point of View " for more on this), the narrator is always throwing in these little notes of commentary and foreshadowing. In this passage, his promise that "we shall see in the end" how the Elvenking is a not quite right amps up the suspense and keeps us interested in the plot's development.
Bilbo had heard tell and sing of dragon-hoards before, but the splendour, the lust, the glory of such treasure had never yet come home to him. His heart was filled and pierced with enchantment and with the desire of dwarves; and he gazed motionless, almost forgetting the frightful guardian, at the gold beyond price and count. (12.15)
When Bilbo first gets a glimpse of the "gold beyond price and count," he suddenly feels "the lust, the glory of such treasure." How does Bilbo manage to move past the "enchantment and [...] desire of the dwarves"? Which other characters are less successful at getting past dragon-sickness? And what seems to be the cause of this bewitchment?
From that the talk turned to the great hoard itself and to the things that Thorin and Balin remembered. They wondered if they were still lying there unharmed in the hall below; the spears that were made for the armies of the great King Bladorthin (long since dead), each had a thrice-forged head and their shafts were inlaid with cunning gold, but they were never delivered or paid for; shields made for warriors long dead; the great golden cup of Thror, two-handed, hammered and carven with birds and flowers whose eyes and petals were of jewels. (12.94)