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Author Topic: Chapter Twelve  (Read 922 times)

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May 20, 2013, 02:49:21 AM

HealerOne

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Chapter Twelve
Inside information

Bilbo is the designated thief, so the Dwarves send him into the tunnel to spy on the dragon. Bilbo is smart enough to put in the ring as he goes into the tunnel following the red light of the dragon’s lair. The dragon is sleeping so Bilbo grabs the first treasure he can, a golden cup, and runs back to the others. The dragon awakens and, aware something has been taken, flies around to find the thief. Bilbo convinces the dwarves to flee into the tunnel and just as they pull up Bofur and Bombur, the dragon comes. The door to the tunnel is open a crack but it stays hidden from the dragon. Smaug stays watchful all the night. They are trapped!  The dwarves are useless in devising a plan to kill the dragon so they rag on Bilbo again, who is a bit tired of them depending on him. After some in-fighting Bilbo agrees to go back and see if the dragon has a weak spot they can take advantage of. He uses the ring to hide himself but the dragon knows he is there. Bilbo flatters the dragon and talks in riddles to confuse the dragon. Eventually he is able to convince the dragon to show his belly and Bilbo discovers Smaug’s weak spot is over his left breast. As Bilbo runs into the tunnel the dragon sticks his head into the tunnel, sending a scorching fire after Bilbo, but the dragon is too big to follow him. Bilbo tells Thorin that Smaug is planning to destroy the lake town. Bilbo feels guilty for having told the dragon about riding a barrel as the dragon realized the lake town people had collaborated with the dwarves, but Thorin tries to reassure him that it isn’t his fault. The talk then turns to the treasure and the greatest gem of the all, the Arkenstone. As Bilbo listens he becomes more afraid and begs them to shut the tunnel door. Despite realizing they are unsure as to how to open it from the inside Thorin does comply and not a minute too soon! Smaug has begun to smash the side of the mountain to rain rocks down the side of the mountain, permanently trapping Thorin and company! Smaug yells to the thief that he will show the lake people who the King under the mountain is!

~The narrator says that Bilbo “was a very different hobbit from the one who had run out without a pocket handkerchief from Bag End long ago.” What changes do you see in Bilbo from this chapter?
~Why did Bilbo take the risk to steal the cup?
~Bilbo uses flattery and riddles to talk to the dragon. What does this say about Bilbo? And what does it say about Smaug?
~Bilbo feels guilty about indicating that the Lake people helped them out. Should he have been? Was there anything he could have done differently?


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May 25, 2013, 10:45:32 AM
Reply #1

Evreka

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Finally a chapter with some real action!  :madeye:

Faced with the job he was hired to do, Bilbo overcomes his deep uneasiness for the job and wanders off to find the treasure. I loved that there was one dwarf who accompanied him for a bit, but I think it's odd that they didn't bring a burning branch or something else that could spread a light with them. Of all the things Bilbo might have taken he chose a golden cup. Wouldn't it have made more sense if he'd taken one of the weapons? Maybe they weighed too much or were too far from his escape route...

Anyone else who is reminded of  Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus:hogwartsc:

Once back with the dwarves, it is Bilbo who thinks of hiding in the mountain when Smaug hunts the thief, not the dwarves! It's also interesting that the dwarves don't have the slightest plan for what to do next!

I love Bilbo's conversation with Smaug, it's one of the funniest parts of the book! And nice how Smaug willingly displays where his weekness (which he probably is unaware of) is.  :draco:

This conversation proves to be a blessing though, as the dragon flows off to haunt the people by the lake. Now is the dwarves and Bilbo's chance to act! Will they use the God send opportunity to steal what they can carry or use the absence to reach a safer place? Only time (and further reading) can tell...

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May 31, 2013, 11:02:07 PM
Reply #2

merrythought

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I thought I would share a passage from the Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, which inspired Tolkien to write the scene of Bilbo stealing from the dragon.  This excerpt is from Burton Raffel's translation.  I enjoy the parallels between the poor Anglo-Saxon thief and Bilbo!

     But the thief had not come to steal; he stole,
And roused the dragon, not from desire
But need.  He was someone's slave, had been beaten
By his masters, had run from all men's sight,
But with no place to hide; then he found the hidden
Path, and used it.  And once inside,
Seeing the sleeping beast, staring at it
Yawned and stretched, not wanting to wake it,
Terror-struck, he turned and ran for his life,
Taking the jeweled cup.

                                  *

                                                       [King] Beowulf
Knew, by then, what had woken the monster,
And enraged it.  The cup had come to him, traveled
From dragon to slave, to master, to king,
And the slave was their guide, had begun the Geats'
Affliction, and now, afraid of both beast
And men, was forced to lead them to the monster's
Hidden home.
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June 01, 2013, 11:46:53 PM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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Oh thanks merrythought for that great reference. If we can 'pay it forward' in literary allusions ... one wonders if Beowulf or The Hobbit is where JKR got the Hogwarts motto of "Draco Dormiens Numquam Titillandus ".  (Never tickle a sleeping dragon!) Isn't it fun to uncover these references that authors put in their books to 'tip their hat' to those who came before them?
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June 02, 2013, 02:23:13 AM
Reply #4

ss19

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~Why did Bilbo take the risk to steal the cup?

He had to bring back proof that he made it that far.  Plus it helps encourage the dwarves to have something in their hands they can see and touch, since they didn't get to see the whole hoard.  I wasn't surprised at all that Bilbo took that cup.


~Bilbo uses flattery and riddles to talk to the dragon. What does this say about Bilbo? And what does it say about Smaug?[/color]

When Bilbo started talking to Smaug in riddles, I thought that his experience with Gollum worked out so well that he now uses riddles as a strategy! 

I'm not so sure where the flattery came from, but it does seem like a reasonable thing to do when you know you don't have a fighting chance against the dragon and might be better off not making him angry, especially when you already made him angry by stealing something from him and plan on stealing even more.


I loved that there was one dwarf who accompanied him for a bit, but I think it's odd that they didn't bring a burning branch or something else that could spread a light with them.

Reading this, a thought just occurred to me.  Most wild animals are afraid of fire and you can use a burning torch to keep them away, but a dragon uses fire as its chief weapon!  Anyway, Bilbo wouldn't want to bring light with him because he needs to stay invisible as part of his survival strategy, and having light right next to him would cast a shadow and announce his location to the dragon.


Thank you for sharing the poem, merrythought. :)  I hadn't seen that before and it's a very interesting reference.
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June 02, 2013, 06:45:36 AM
Reply #5

Evreka

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~Why did Bilbo take the risk to steal the cup?
He had to bring back proof that he made it that far.  Plus it helps encourage the dwarves to have something in their hands they can see and touch, since they didn't get to see the whole hoard.  I wasn't surprised at all that Bilbo took that cup.
This does seem like the only way for Bilbo to prove he actually did see the treasure and Smaug and yet escaped with his life - and unhurt to boot!


When Bilbo started talking to Smaug in riddles, I thought that his experience with Gollum worked out so well that he now uses riddles as a strategy! 

I'm not so sure where the flattery came from, but it does seem like a reasonable thing to do when you know you don't have a fighting chance against the dragon and might be better off not making him angry, especially when you already made him angry by stealing something from him and plan on stealing even more.
It sure is a fun thought that Gollum's riddles which were intended as a prelude to kill Bilbo, but have some fun first, on his victim's expense, now proves to have been something of a rehearsal to speak with Smaug!  ;D

And I think it is very wise not to upset Smaug if you can help it, so if some flattery will keep him at bay, I'm all for it!  :fredgeorge:
 

I loved that there was one dwarf who accompanied him for a bit, but I think it's odd that they didn't bring a burning branch or something else that could spread a light with them.
Anyway, Bilbo wouldn't want to bring light with him because he needs to stay invisible as part of his survival strategy, and having light right next to him would cast a shadow and announce his location to the dragon.
Maybe... but I think he is less worried about his shadow showing - as it only shows sometimes in bright sunlight, and a torch in the dark can't possibly match the sun - than for a lightness in the dark to point Smaug in the general direction of where he is.
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