Friday, 13 January 2012

The Hobbit Read-Along, Chapter Eighteen

Previous chapters: Intro | Ch1 | Ch2 | Ch3 | Ch4 | Ch5 | Ch6 | Ch7 | Ch8 | Ch9 | Ch10 | Ch11
Ch12 | Ch13 | Ch14 | Ch15 | Ch16 | Ch17

When Bilbo awakes after the battle is over and no goblins remain. Rather anticlimactic after the build up of our questers being in a hopeless situation. I guess we're going to be told how it ended rather than shown. *sigh*
Bilbo is taken to Thorin who is dying of his wounds and wants to make peace with the hobbit first. 
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!" [Thorins final words.]

Bilbo leaves and has a good cry. 

So the only dwarf  that we really got to know realises his wrongs for exactly two paragraphs, finally grows as a character, becomes a better person, only to die in the next paragraph.
The narrator then deigns to tell us some of what happened since Bilbo was knocked out. Considering what excruciating detail the first chapter was described in, I'm a little sore that the battle has simply been glossed over. I think I would have preferred to know less about a hobbit home and more about how the dwarves, elves and men united and finally won.
The eagles and Beorn (the shapeshifter) turned the tide. Gandalf seemingly was just sitting quietly since he doesn't seem to have figured in the victory at all, though a sling on his arm means that he wasn't totally idle but we don't know what he did or why his arm in injured.
Fili and Kili also died protecting their uncle but the other 10 dwarves survived. We learn nothing of the 10. Did they learn a lesson? Are they better people after the quest? Do they miss Thorin, Fili and Kili? Do they even care? We don't know because we aren't told. 

Dain, is the new king of the dwarves but all we know about him is that he is Thorin's kin and that he led the dwarf party from the Iron Hills to help the other dwarves. It would have been nice if whatever dwarf took over the kingdom was one that we knew a little something about, perhaps even someone who had been on the quest and who we could have seen grow and develop into the leader he would need to be. 

You're right, that probably is asking a lot.

So first we had the huge built up to the mountain and it's dragon, only for the dwarves to do nothing and the dragon to be killed with a single arrow from Bard. Now we have a second build up to an epic battle, only to be told about how it was won rather than seeing it for ourselves.
Right now the whole book feels like one giant anticlimax.

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