The Hobbit :: Week Five

Welcome to the The Hobbit read-a-long! We’re reading this book through November and December. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.

Week Five: Read to Chapter XI


Bilbo Baggins, you are a brave little man, aren’t you? All it takes is knowing Gandalf believes in you and you can do anything!

Really, wasn’t he quite clever once he got his act together? And who wouldn’t have left the dwarves to go get a bite to eat. It’s not like he could let them all out easily, or tie them back up again when it was time to float down the river… no sense in starving oneself just because others can’t eat. Well done, Bilbo!

That magic ring sure is coming in handy, isn’t it?

I’m expecting we see Gandalf sometime soon since he was mentioned and since we have now gotten to the part where I think we might get some dragon action. I 100%, seriously cannot remember the ending of this book and can’t wait to find out what happens. I still think Tolkien is a genius storyteller (I admit I’m a tad jealous of his marvelous talent… he really was meant to do this wasn’t he?), and no one can make up a word like him either. Southerly? I only paused once half a page past that upon realizing that no, Wallace, that’s not an actual word to describe direction (though, apparently it is an actual word I’ve found). Well played, Mr. Tolkein… I would have (and maybe will) gladly tell people I’m on the Southerly Westerly corner of the street.

P.S. Was I the only one feeling quite claustrophobic on behalf of the dwarves? Had I been there, I would still be in the cell waiting for some other type of rescue… there is no way my brain could handle being stuffed in a barrel and rolled out to water.

Who’s Reading Along:

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Wuthering Heightsdiscussion (see below for more information).**

Melissa Caldwell
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Sarah D
June @So_Meow
Emma S.
Brittany M
Jenny Colvin (@readingenvy)
kai charles (@YogiKai)

Friendly Reminders:

  • If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
  • Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
  • Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
  • If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
  • If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!

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47 thoughts on “The Hobbit :: Week Five

  1. I really liked chapter 11, especially the beginning.
    Who doesn’t love a good river metaphor? I’ll share some snippets:
    “Paths had vanished, and many a rider and wanderer too, if they tried to find the lost ways across. The elf-road through the wood which the dwarves had followed on the advice of Beorn now came to a doubtful and little used end…So you see Bilbo had come in the end by the only road that was any good”

    The only way that was any good–via his bravery, a bit of luck and an idea/belief. Life.

  2. After his clever and successful plan to free the dwarves from the Wood-elves, Bilbo is “thoroughly unhappy” to be at the final stage of his journey. Why? Does he feel let down because the adventure may soon end (although he frequently longs to be back in his warm home), or is he sorry that Thorin has taken over as leader of the dwarves? He (Bilbo) has been a superhero as of late. I’m sure Gandalf will be happy with his recent performance, which Gandalf predicted.

    I, too, got the heebie jeebies thinking about being inside one of the barrels as it was shoved into the water. Guess it’s the fear of the great unknown!!! Will it float? Will I be upside down? Will it leak? It really was a risky escape for the dwarves, but I didn’t see any other way.

    I guess we’ll soon see how brave they all are as they continue to the mountain and the dragon.

    • I must have been tired when reading the ending of this week’s reading because I didn’t catch the river metaphors that Amber mentioned, and I didn’t catch Bilbo being unhappy. I do wonder what that’s about? The only thing I can think of is that feeling you have when you’ve accomplished something great, but then realize you have a very short time to celebrate because something else, that is pressing, is waiting for you to take care of it?

    • I think Bilbo is afraid and his fear is overshadowing any other emotions. He felt that his surroundings were almost a tangible kind of sinister, and I think he his experiencing a sense of foreboding about this last leg of their adventure. That was what I gathered, anyway.

      • I agree…the others seemed so relieved to get out of the barrels (and rightly so!) that they seem to have forgotten the danger that is ahead – Smaug!!

  3. I feel like I owe Peter Jackson an apolgy after reading these chapters. I couldnt conceive how he could get three movies from such a slim volume but after everything that went down in these chapters I could see how it could dramatically play out! I’m so in love with Bilbo. He is such a testament to how tough times can nourish a courageouse spark into a full blown bonfire! I seriously was so stressed for the dwarves and poor Bilbo.

    I’m really curious about all the ring usuage. Its been shown in the Ring books the effects the ring has on the user I’m wondering if we will see any ill effects to Bilbo from using it.

    I agree Tolkein is a master writer. You get the impression a good friend is reading the story to you. Often I find myself saying yes yes, but get back to the current scene( he digresses much) Anxious to read the next chapters.

    • Ugh, all I can keep thinking about is the torture it will be to have to wait for each next installment!! And entire year between them, I think, right?

      • Oh I hate the wait! I prefer reading/watching a series after it is all said and done. Instant gratification. :)

    • I love Bilbo, too! I’m so happy to see how he has developed as a character. I know I keep saying it, but his development has been a main interest of mine. When we first started reading, I just couldn’t see how the Bilbo of the beginning of The Hobbit could ever turn into the Bilbo of The Lord of the Rings without a lot of growth, and I’m super happy that Tolkein has allowed him to become quite the adventurer in such a well-thought out way.

    • Do you think that Tolkien had it in his mind that this ring would be sinister yet? I remember somebody mentioning during a previous week that Tolkien didn’t really have LOTR in mind when he was writing this and had no idea yet where he was going with the ring. So I wonder if we should expect much from it at all?

      • I hadn’t thought about whether or not he had a pre-conceived notion about how the ring would later play out in LOTR. Interesting!

      • I’ve wondered about that myself. So far, the ring has made Bilbo invisible, and that’s been it’s only function.

  4. I really look forward to what new characters we’re going to meet in each installment of this read-along. This time I was delighted to meet “The Master” who rules Lake Town. It’s funny to see that politicians have changed exactly not at all since Tolkien’s time. The Master’s blatantly self-serving and two-faced reaction to the arrival of our band of misfits cracked me up, and was a welcome bit of fun after enduring the stress from Chapter IX’s escape from the Elvenking. I hope we finally meet the dragon next!

    • I really liked this about Tolkien’s portrayal of The Master, too. The book has a bunch to say about wealth, the distribution of, what is true wealth, etc. I am finding. This book has many serious themes, yet is so much fun — he does it all with a light touch (then you sit there pondering life after you close the book :)

      • I noticed that too, Jackie (about the wealth); mostly because JK Rowling’s newest does something similar and so many people complained saying she was getting too political. It’s amazing what time does to temper readers’ takes on a story.

  5. My favourite line this week was “he wished he had the wizard at hand”. Come on, that’s how I always feel, especially at the end of every semester! =) I really enjoyed Bilbo wandering around the elf city all invisible. The idea of an invisible person’s ubiquitousness is not new, but I completely like how Bildo uses his super-power!

  6. I love the songs…. I make up tunes to go with them! I am starting to like my own versions well enough that I am almost worried to see what interpretations of the songs will be offered in the movie.

    About Bilbo’s statement that he is unhappy, could it be that he is unhappy because now that there journey is at an end, the real problem and the most difficult part of the journey can no longer be ignored? While they were traveling, he didn’t have time to worry about what would happen when they arrived at the mountain, but now there are no more delay is possible: Bilbo has to face the dragon!

  7. This story really is action packed and moving quite quickly! I was so certain that someone was going to realize that the barrels weren’t empty when they put them into the water and I was terrified for the party when the elves said something about it, but thought it was hilarious that the head elf in charge (I forget what he was called and don’t have the book on me) was too proud to admit it and told them to push the barrels into the water anyway. I get really uncomfortable in water over my head and am somewhat claustrophobic, so I was a bit of a mess worrying for the dwarves when they were making their journey down the river. How clever, though, was Bilbo in getting them all out? And in convincing them to go along with his plan! He’s turned into quite the strong character.

  8. Tolkien is indeed a MASTER writer, which is why you’re all going to VOTE ME OFF THE ISLAND for calling him on a grammatical glitch! No really!! Very first sentence of Chapter 9 tells us Bilbo and the dwarves died of hunger and thirst! Oh, never mind–shouldn’t go there–
    SPEAKING OF WHICH, “going there” MUST be why our hero is thoroughly unhappy at the end of chapter 10, weighted down by what looms directly ahead. Poor Bilbo–the burden of being the brains of the group. What a relief when Thorin practically swashbuckles in and takes the reins in Lake-town, right down to determining when it’s time to move on. (Thorin & Co.’s enthusiastic reception and pampering by the Wood-elves reminded me of Dorothy & Co. in Oz!)
    COULD Bilbo’s thorough unhappiness be lamenting his loss of limelight in Lake-town? You’d think he’d be entirely too exhausted for an ego eruption. And that cold in his nose! His sacrifice for spending a chilly night in dripping clothes. “Thag you very buch.” How dear was THAT of our master writer? (Was there no chicken soup in Lake-town?)

    My family’s been given the word, btw–our pantry has now become our “larder.”

  9. Whoa. I’m behind lol. Wallace last week will be my “free” week. Was working WAY too many hours to keep up! Gonna have a nice sit down tonight to get caught up :)

  10. Wallace, I too couldn’t help hyperventilating when thinking about the dwarves in the barrels! When I went camping it was really cold so we had the tent zipped up, and I had a total 3am freakout thinking I was going to die as I clawed my way out in the pitch dark. I had a good hour where I could not convince myself I would EVER get back in the tent!! (I compromised with my brain by leaving the tent half unzipped and we had to wear our coats as well as sleeping bag but it was the only way!) So, long story short — yeah. I would not be able to get in that barrel. Even if I was tiny like a dwarf.

    • I bet you could get into that barrel if you had no choice! That is what I love about this adventure story…it is all about one leaving their comfort zone and doing whatever needs to be done!

      • I’ll amend my statement to say I may have gotten in the barrel, but my screaming and pounding freakout would have given everyone away and the story would have been different ;)

        • I’m not sure I would have gotten in if I had no choice. I think I would have waited in the shadows and taken a running leap straight into the water when the chute opened (and hoped that I magically escaped their radar)!

  11. Mr. Baggins really is coming into his own, isn’t he? I was thoroughly creeped out when the poor dwarves were all wrapped up awaiting rescue. As someone who is extremely claustrophobic, Mr. Tolkien’s storytelling skills hit a little too close for me to enjoy the story. I would have been in trouble!

  12. My favorite part this week was when Mr. Baggins told the dwarves they could go back to their cells if they didn’t like his escape plan with the barrels!! He continues to surprise me every week with his increasing confidence!

    I do admit though, the barrels would have freaked me out too!!!

  13. Oh! I just saw this – I realize I’m late to the party, and I just started the book, so I’m about 140 pages behind. But I will follow the discussion, as I am soooo looking forward to the movie (and I’ve read the book before anyway). This is a great, Wallace!

  14. Bilbo escape plan = brilliant!! Dwarves over the waterfall. Those poor dwarves, first they’re tied up in sacks by trolls, then they’re wrapped up in web by spiders, and now stuffed into barrels! It’s enough to make anyone claustrophobic.

    Master Baggins has certainly proved his worth. I love how Tolkien portrays the elves. In LOTR they seem much more regal, and almost flawless. Here they have flaws and, dare I say it, personalities! That was mean, I do love many of the elves in LOTR, but they seem kind of cookie cutter, each one like the next, with a few exceptions. The elves here seem much more…human!

  15. I am wondering if the Mountain refers to Mount Mordor; based on what I watched with the LOTR trilogy, I can’t help but think in that vain.

    Sorry for the short post, but its the only thing that I could think of that stuck out to me.

  16. Bilbo is such an inspiration! See what someone can accomplish if they have someone else’s faith in them (i.e. Gandalf). Bilbo makes me believe that anything is possible and anyone can do anything they set their mind to if they can muster the courage. I’m really appreciating this book so much. It’s a good read for me during a trying time in my life. Plus, I am appreciating it more than when I read it before. I was quite young when I read it the first time.

    I’m going to see the movie on Saturday. Like Wallace said above, I’m going to have a hard time waiting for the subsequent installments.

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