Reader: The Hobbit. Chapter 3 “A Short Rest”

The Hobbit Book CoverSummary Points

  • The encounter with the trolls put a definite damper on the Company’s spirits. No song or tale-weaving since.

  • It took a few days for them within a day’s ride of the Misty Mountains, that is, to close the gap between them and the edge of the Wild.
    • Bilbo’s first glimpse of MOUNTAIN
    • Before they got to the range, they would visit Rivendell (“the Last Homely House west of the Mountains”) on the way, according to Gandalf. But it was not an easy place to find or get to, even with Gandalf leading them.
  • Elves could seem flighty, with a penchant for silly ditties, widely regarded as foolish by more worldly races, among them Dwarves. Clearly racial branding was not a strong suit of Elves.
  • Elves have ears to the ground even if they seemed care-free and care-less of the world at large.
    • They knew Bilbo and about him.
  • Elves have keen sense of smell and talent for singing, even if it is just nonsense singing.
  • Thorin didn’t fancy being on a narrow bridge with swift water running under it.
  • Rivendell, aka Imladris, was Elrond’s pad. He ran a tight ship, despite the Elves’ general reputation, but here he was simply “Elf-friend” as seemed to be bestowed on non-elves. Still he was recognised as a leading master of lore, runes and learned, as he would be in LotR. He helped the company revise their plan and deciphered the moon runes on Thror’s map. But even he knew not everything, especially if it concerned Dwarves (thus giving truth to the conceit of Dwarven secretiveness). Thorin though thought it ought to be common knowledge Durin’s Day is the first day of the Dwarven new year.
  • The company stayed fourteen days in Rivendell.

 

Key Notes/Quotes

The master of the house was an elf-friend—one of those people whose fathers came into the strange stories before the beginning of History, the wars of the evil goblins and the elves and the first men in the North. In those days of our tale there were still some people who had both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors, and Elrond the master of the house was their chief.

He was as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer. He comes into many tales, but his part in the story of Bilbo’s great adventure is only a small one, though important, as you will see, if we ever get to the end of it. His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley.

Elrond’s pedigree was hinted at already, even though he was accorded elf-friend status, rather than being known as “Half-Elven”.

Elrond knew all about runes of every kind. That day he looked at the swords they had brought from the trolls’ lair, and he said: “These are not troll-make. They are old swords, very old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin. They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars. They must have come from a dragon’s hoard or goblin plunder, for dragons and goblins destroyed that city many ages ago. This, Thorin, the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver in the ancient tongue of Gondolin; it was a famous blade. This, Gandalf, was Glamdring, Foe-hammer that the king of Gondolin once wore. Keep them well!”

“Whence did the trolls get them, I wonder?” said Thorin looking at his sword with new interest.

“I could not say,” said Elrond, “but one may guess that your trolls had plundered other plunderers, or come on the remnants of old robberies in some hold in the mountains. I have heard that there are still forgotten treasures of old to be found in the deserted caverns of the mines of Moria, since the dwarf and goblin war.”

And here was the answer as to how the trollsome threesome got their horde, but not how the treasures came to be in such state they could be gotten by such as they.

 

Thoughts

It seemed like Elrond, though himself not an Elf, operated a bed and breakfast for Elves, who accorded him much respect as lord of the manor.

More interesting: “…These are not troll-make. They are old swords, very old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin. They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-wars….”

It seems the Goblin-wars here refer to the Wars of Beleriand, before Gondolin was lost of course.

Again the mention of great deeds in the Dwarves’ history prior to the quest.

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