Study Guide

The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 7

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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Chapter 7

Queer Lodgings

  • The eagles fly Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves to a place near the Carrock.
  • The Carrock is the home of "the Somebody [Gandalf] spoke of – a very great person" (7.18).
  • Gandalf comes up with a plan: he and Bilbo are going to introduce themselves, and then the dwarves can follow two-by-two at decent intervals.
  • So Gandalf and Bilbo approach the house of this Somebody.
  • Somebody is "a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs with knotted muscles" (7.34).
  • He is Beorn, and he's a skin-changer – a shape-shifter.
  • He has a large, spacious house with lots of beehives and gets waited on by smart, alert little horses.
  • Gandalf settles in with Beorn and starts talking about the adventures of Bilbo, Thorin, and the dwarves.
  • Every now and again, two more dwarves will turn up and introduce themselves, thus interrupting the story.
  • Beorn gets irritated by the interruptions, but Bilbo finally realizes that the interruptions are also keeping Beorn interested in Gandalf's tale.
  • Beorn hates goblins, so he gets really excited when Gandalf describes how he killed the Great Goblin with his sword.
  • When all the dwarves have arrived, Beorn is so delighted by the story that he offers them dinner.
  • After supper, Beorn leaves the house. He warns the dwarves to stay inside the hall.
  • Late at night, Bilbo hears the growl of a bear outside.
  • The next morning, Gandalf tells them all, "There must have been a regular bears' meeting outside here last night [...] I should say there were little bears, large bears, ordinary bears, and gigantic big bears, all dancing outside from dark to nearly dawn" (7.111).
  • The bear tracks go in the direction of the Misty Mountains.
  • They don't see Beorn again for another day. When he arrives the next morning, he seems very cheerful.
  • In his bear shape, he has traveled all the way to the Misty Mountain and found that Gandalf's story is true.
  • Beorn warns that the goblins and the Wargs are angry, and are gathering huge armies to go after their little band.
  • Beorn provides the dwarves with provisions and directions for how to get through the dangerous forest of Mirkwood.
  • He warns them not to go off the path into the forest.
  • They all arrive at the edge of Mirkwood.
  • There, Gandalf leaves the dwarves and Bilbo behind. He has "some pressing business away south" (7.136).
  • The dwarves are disappointed to see Gandalf go (of course – if you're on an expedition, you don't want to lose your wizard!).
  • Gandalf's last words to them are: "Good-bye! Be good, take care of yourselves – and DON'T LEAVE THE PATH!" (7.147).
  • (Three guesses about what they're all going to do in the very next chapter.)

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