We were surprised to start out chapter four with a “thunder-battle” and “stone-giants”, both of which are entities not encountered in LOTR. Z-baby asked what stone giants were, to which I replied that my annotations indicate that “it seems probable that they can be interpreted as a type of troll.” Tolkien himself said that the thunder-battle and the stone-giants throwing their boulders about carelessly were “based on a bad night during his 1911 walking tour in the mountains of Switzerland.”
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something (or so Thorin said to the young dwarves). You certainly find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after. So it proved on this occasion.”
What the dwarves are looking for is safety from the storm and the stones, but what they find, of course, are goblins. They are all captured by goblins, their poor ponies most likely eaten by goblins, and then Gandalf comes to the rescue again with a bit of fireworks and blue smoke and then later, the sword Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, or simply, Biter.
In the course of the action, the company more or less escape from the goblins, and Gandalf kills the Great Goblin king. However, the chapter ends with Bilbo being knocked off of Dori’s shoulders by a sneaky goblin into the darkness with a head bump that renders him unconscious.
Z-baby begged me to continue reading, but my voice was tired, and Bilbo “remembered nothing more” for the moment. So it was a place to leave him, if not exactly safe, at least not knowing his predicament. Resolution and rescue would have to wait for another day and chapter five.
I’m so excited: we’re about to meet Gollum.