18729Re: The Hobbit - Chapter Eleven Summary
- Feb 5, 2008We see the fulfilment of the prophesy of the moon-letters on Thorin's map:
...... "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks," read Elrond,
"and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine
upon the key-hole."
...... "Durin, Durin!" said Thorin. "He was the father of the fathers
of the eldest race of Dwarves, the Longbeards, and my first ancestor:
I am his heir."
...... "Then what is Durin's Day?" asked Elrond.
...... "The first day of the dwarves' New Year," said Thorin, "is as
all should know the first day of the last moon of Autumn on the
threshold of Winter. We still call it Durin's Day when the last moon
of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together. But this will not help
us much, I fear, for it passes our skill in these days to guess when
such a time will come again."
All that they had to do was wait for the right second of time, and
they could get in. If they had been a day later they would have missed
the opportunity. If they had given up sooner they would never have
found the door. If they had not been delayed in Mirkwood and the Elven
halls and the city of men.... It was all about timing. They should
have been keenly watching the Moon and paying attention to the date
all along in order to make sure that they were at the door for the
last moon of Autumn.
Anyway, not a terribly interesting chapter as they are mostly skulking
around or waiting. I think more time could have been given to
describing the desolation, the main gates, and so on.
I wonder if the Thrush was a Maiar or perhaps a messenger of Manwe or
Yavanna or perhaps was Gandalf himself. Who knows!?
--- In TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com, steveseg@... wrote:
> 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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