The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, chapter 3: A Short Rest

Chapter 1, An Unexpected Party
Chapter 2, Roast Mutton.

In chapter three, Bilbo and the dwarves and Gandalf have a brief respite in Elrond’s country, the Last Homely House west of the Mountains, or Rivendell.

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway. They stayed long in that good house, fourteen days at least, and they found it hard to leave. Bilbo would gladly have stopped there for ever and ever—even supposing a wish would have taken him right back to his hobbit-hole without trouble. Yet there is little to tell about their stay.”

So this chapter really is a rest and a sort of a bridge to the next adventure (goblins). And yet, a few things happen that will be important later on in the story. Gandalf and Thorin learn that the swords that they took from the trolls’ treasure trove are “very old swords of the High Elves of the West,” made to cleave goblins. And the entire company learns that Thror’s map has runes that can only be seen on a midsummer’s eve in a crescent moon:“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the keyhole.”

Z-baby keeps trying to connect the places and people we read about in The Hobbit to the places and people and events in the LOTR movies. She asked if Elrond was the same Elrond who presided over the Council in LOTR. She connected Gloin, one of the dwarves who is in Bilbo’s company, with Gimli, son of Gloin, one of the Nine in LOTR. We looked at a map to try to distinguish Bilbo’s journey to the Lonely Mountain from Frodo’s journey to Mordor. They both started out from Hobbiton and went across the Wilderlands to Rivendell. After that, I believe they parted ways, with Bilbo headed more directly east or a bit northeast across (under) the Misty Mountains and through Mirkwood toward the Lonely Mountain and Frodo going more south and then southeast to the mines of Moria and then to Rohan and eventually to Mordor.


We are very much enjoying our Hobbit-time each day, or at least each day that we can manage to work it into the schedule. And I would very much like to spend a fortnight in Rivendell, if anyone knows how that could be arranged.

“All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. Their bags were filled with food and provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to midsummer eve, and they were to go on again with the early sun on midsummer morning.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *