Study Guide

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 16

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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Chapter 16

A Thief in the Night

  • Roäc the raven asks Thorin how he plans to make it through the winter alone in the mountain.
  • Thorin reminds Roäc that it will be equally cold for the armies on the plain.
  • Bilbo realizes Thorin is never going to change his mind without outside prodding.
  • So Bilbo hatches a plan.
  • He takes the Arkenstone (which he still has in secret) and goes to relieve Bombur of his watch duties.
  • As soon as Bombur is asleep, Bilbo sneaks down to the human/elf camp.
  • He meets with both the Elvenking and Bard.
  • Bilbo explains that absolutely nothing will change Thorin's mind.
  • What's more, the humans and the elves don't know that Thorin is waiting for reinforcements from Dain, Thorin's cousin.
  • Bilbo wants peace and to save his friends.
  • So Bilbo gives Bard the Arkenstone of Thrain.
  • He wants Bard to use the Arkenstone to negotiate peace with Thorin.
  • Bilbo heads back to the dwarves.
  • On his way out of the human/elf camp, an old man in a dark cloak tells him, "Well done! Mr. Baggins!" (16.43).
  • It's Gandalf! He's back!
  • Gandalf promises Bilbo, "There is an unpleasant time just in front of you; but keep your heart up! You may come through all right" (16.45).
  • Bilbo is confused but cheerful as he climbs back up the side of the mountain to his friends.

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