The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 14
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Fire and Water
- Meanwhile, back in Lake-town, they observe a red glow from the Lonely Mountain.
- They think it's a good thing: "The King beneath the Mountain! [...] His wealth is like the Sun, his silver like a fountain, his rivers golden run! The river is running gold from the Mountain!" (14.8).
- But one grim-voiced guard warns them: it's actually the dragon coming!
- This grim fellow is Bard, and he's a descendent of the old lords of Dale. We'll be coming back to him in a second.
- Smaug flames the town from a distance while the men of Lake-town pepper him with arrows.
- Because Bard's ancestors were the lords of Dale, he can understand the language of thrushes. (...Right.)
- So when a thrush flutters up and starts talking to him – the same thrush that showed Bilbo where the side door's keyhole was – Bard understands the bird.
- The thrush explains, "The moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as [Smaug] flies and turns above you!" (14.20).
- The thrush tells Bard everything that he's heard from Bilbo and the dwarves.
- So Bard takes his great bow and his finest arrow and shoots Smaug in his weak spot as he flies overhead.
- Smaug's body falls directly on Lake-town. So Smaug and Lake-town are both dead.
- The people are so impressed with Bard that they want to make him king of Lake-town.
- The Master of Lake-town doesn't want to let go of power, though.
- The Elvenking, meanwhile, has heard the news of what's going on in Lake-town from his own messengers.
- The Elvenking travels quickly to Lake-town to help the people rebuild their home.
- All of the able-bodied soldiers from Lake-town and the troops of the Elvenking march to the Lonely Mountain to see if Thorin is still alive.