The Hobbit – Chapter XIV – Fire And Water

I need to start this chapter with a little rant.  This is my least favorite chapter in the book.  That’s because it is the only chapter that doesn’t have anything to do with Bilbo, aka The Hobbit.  Any way you look at it, this is Bilbo’s book.  The narrator may be third person omniscient, but the point of view is Bilbo’s.  Everyone else is only important as they relate to Bilbo.  And nothing in this chapter relates to Bilbo.  The chapter itself, taken completely out of context, isn’t bad.  It’s well written and exciting.  Bard seems like an interesting character.  The problem is that it has no business being in this book.

That being said, I suppose I should at least recap the chapter.  Basically, as we learned earlier, Smaug believed that the men of Lake Town were somehow responsible for the burglar showing up in his lair.  So, he flew to Lake Town to punish the people.  He was doing a very good job of it.  Almost the whole town was burning and he was having a grand old time destroying the town.  Unfortunately for him, there’s this guy named Bard who lives in the town who can talk to thrushes.  And the thrush that overheard Bilbo’s conversation with the dwarves tells Bard about the unprotected patch on Smaug’s chest.  Just when all hope appears to be lost, Bard fires his last arrow and kills Smaug.  Then Bard organizes the townspeople to set up shelters.  Finally, the Elven King, who had been heading towards the mountain to see what was happening with the dwarves, turned aside to help the people of Lake Town.

That’s really about it.  Like I said at the top, it has nothing to do with the characters that we care about.  It does tell us what happened to the dragon, but that could have been reported to Bilbo in some way.  It just doesn’t fit.  Luckily, the next chapter brings us back to things we actually care about.

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