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18728The Hobbit - Chapter Eleven Summary

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  • steveseg@aol.com
    Feb 4, 2008
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      It took three days for the dwarves, Bilbo and their escort of townsmen to row up the Long Lake and Running River as the eleventh chapter, "On the Doorstep" begins. Once the party disembarked to begin the overland trek, the men returned to Esgaroth, in fear of Smaug.

      By the end of the following day, they arrived at the Desolation of Smaug, by the skirts of the Lonely Mountain. Here, their first camp was made, by the great southern spur. Their plan was to then set out for the western spurs, whereon the hidden door to Smaug's lair was located. But first, Balin, Kili and File are sent to scout southward, where stood the Front gate. Bilbo joins them, whether by choice or not, is unclear. Their path led by the heights of Ravenhill and the ruins of Dale.

      Disheartened by the sight of what was left of Dale, the company soon espies the Front Gate from whence the Running River sprang. Crows are only birds about and they are perceived as dark and possible spies of evil. These ill birds of omen and the dark steamy vapor, emitted from the Front Gate are enough to nudge the party to end their scouting mission and return to their camp. The harsh croaking of the crows accompany their dispirited retreat.

      The questers had left Hobbiton in June and Autumn was now drawing to a close. The weight of Smaug's presence left the dwarves in a funk and it was Bilbo who prompted the active search for the secret door. Camp was moved westward as the desolation of the dragon was noticeably less and it was the area that needed to be searched for the concealed entrance to the Lonely Mountain.

      It was Mr. Baggins, along with Fili and Kili who finally discovered the very well hidden door. But opening it was not to be as easy, despite the combined efforts of all (except Bofur and Bombur), to solve the riddle. These two had been left back at their latest camp, with the ponies, while the balance trudged on up to the secret door where their third camp on the mountain was made.

      The map was perused often, the runes discussed, tools of attack used, but none of these means availed. Gloomily, their initial enthusiasm waned while they sat on the "doorstep." Even Bilbo was dispirited as he often gazed toward Mirkwood and the distant Misty Mountains as the local giant snails slowly meandered by.

      With the last week of autumn upon the and the realization of winter's approach has soured the easily soured dwarves, on the worth of their formerly esteemed burglar. aware of their thoughts, a subdued Bilbo stares moodily toward Mirkwood as the sun drops down and its last rays are slowly directed at the door as an enormous thrush catches a snail and cracks it open. Sudden realization galvanizes the hobbit to frantic action as he hurriedly gathers all the dwarves and they assemble on the "doorstep." Here they wait, their beards wagging impatiently, for the absolute last ray to strike the door, which it soon does and reveals the key hole in which Thorin frantically inserts his key, just in time. The thrush observes all as with a turn of the key, the five feet tall by three feet broad door opens inwards, revealing nothing, as darkness reigns supreme!

      Steve S.

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