Wealth Quotes in The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of the dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick. (1.83)
Listening to the dwarves' songs, Bilbo feels "the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic." Why might gold be connected to Bilbo's "Tookish" side, to the part of him that wishes "to go and see the great mountains"? How do wealth and adventure go hand-in-hand?
Then they brought up their ponies, and carried away the pots of gold and buried them very secretly not far from the track by the river, putting a great many spells over them, just in case they ever had the chance to come back and recover them. (2.112)
The thing we find funny about this passage is the matter-of-fact way in which the narrator talks about the "great many spells" cast over the trolls' gold. It's as though the dwarves are setting a magic burglar alarm. While we do know that there's magic in the world of The Hobbit, it's generally only mentioned in passing, as in this passage.
In ancient days [the Wood-elves] had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay. If the elf-king had a weakness it was for treasure, especially for silver and white gems; and though his hoard was rich, he was ever eager for more, since he had not yet as great a treasure as other elf-lords of old. His people neither mined nor worked metals or jewels, nor did they bother much with trade or with tilling the earth. All this was well known to every dwarf, though Thorin's family had had nothing to do with the old quarrel I have spoken of. Consequently Thorin was angry at their treatment of him, when they took their spell of him and he came to the senses; and also he was determined that no word of gold or jewels should be dragged out of him. (8.129)
But men remembered little [of the old wealth of Dale and Lake-town], though some still sang old songs of the dwarf-kings of the Mountain, Thror and Thrain of the race of Durin, and of the coming of the Dragon and the fall of the lords of Dale. Some sang too that Thorin son of Thrain would come back one day and gold would flow in rivers, through the mountain-gates, and all that land would be filled with new song and new laughter. But this pleasant legend did not much effect their daily business. (10.9)