We’re back to the story with this chapter, so that’s a relief. We’re back with Bilbo and the dwarves. This is really a transitional chapter, so there isn’t a lot to talk about. Up until now, the dragon has been the big threat. But, with the dragon gone, there are still plenty of problems.
First, the company needs to learn of the dragon’s death since it happened off camera (except it was on camera, but it shouldn’t have been). The thrush is back. But he can’t communicate with the dwarves. So, he finds an old raven named Roac who knew the dwarves when they lived in the mountain. The thrush relays the story of Smaug’s demise through the raven. And they also learn that the elves and the men of Lake Town are on their way to the mountain.
The dwarves get to work fortifying their position in the mountain. Dwarves are not likely to give up their treasure in the best of circumstances, but certainly not if an armed host shows up at their door. They also ask the ravens to send a message to Thorin’s cousin, Dain, asking for reinforcements. Clearly trouble is brewing.
The dwarves get themselves into a pretty solid position before the men and elves arrive. Bard speaks for the host, and there is justice in his speech, but Thorin is so overcome with greed for the dragon horde that he refuses to listen. All Bard asks for is repayment for the gifts his people gave the dwarves and aid in rebuilding their town which was destroyed by the dragon. Neither side is ready for warfare, but neither side is willing to give ground.
And that’s where things stand at the end of the chapter. There is a host of men and elves camped in front of the entrance to the mountain which is occupied by thirteen dwarves and a hobbit. You might have noticed that I’ve barely mentioned Bilbo in this chapter. That’s because he has very little to do. He doesn’t like what’s happening one bit. He thinks the dwarves are being stubborn and greedy, but he doesn’t have any way to convince the dwarves that they are mistaken. It’s an uncomfortable situation all around.