Study Guide

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

A Short Rest

  • Things are starting to get more classically adventure-y: "They camped under the stars, and their horses had more to eat than they had, for there was plenty of grass, but there was not much in their bags" (3.1).
  • At last, a large mountain comes into view.
  • Bilbo has never seen anything so big before, but it's only the first of the Misty Mountains.
  • They have to get over or under this mountain range before coming close to the Lonely Mountain where Smaug is waiting.
  • Before they reach the Misty Mountains, they rest briefly in Rivendell.
  • Rivendell is a secret valley lined with pine forest and filled with elves.
  • The dwarves aren't totally happy to be hanging with elves because the two groups don't get along that well.
  • But Bilbo and Gandalf have a grand old time.
  • The head of the Last Homely House in Rivendell is Elrond, who is "as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves and as kind as summer" (3.28). So, he's pretty great, we guess.
  • He's the one who tells Gandalf and Thorin that their swords are elvish ones dating back to the Goblin-wars.
  • Thorin shows Elrond his map of the Lonely Mountain.
  • The moon happens to be shining on the map in just the right way to expose moon-letters, special secret runes that say, "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks [...] and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole" (3.39).
  • Durin is Thorin's first ancestor, and his Day is the first day of the dwarves' new year.
  • But there's a problem: no one can calculate exactly when Durin's Day falls anymore.
  • Elrond gives Thorin his map back.
  • The next morning, Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves all set off for the Misty Mountains.

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