Reader: The Hobbit. Chapter 4 “Over Hill And Under Hill”

The Hobbit Book CoverSummary Points

  • After Rivendell, the journey across the Misties to get to the Wilderland on the side was a difficult itinerary to handle unless one has a deeply experienced guide in tow. It was full of winding twists and and deceptive pathways.

  • All members of the company were getting homesickness or depression when they started climbing.
  • Experiencing a storm at high altitude is something else altogether. Stone giants play there when it’s storming too. Gandalf didn’t like them.
  • Fili and Kili were the youngest among the Dwarves, by at least fifty years, and often got tasked with search missions. As with youngsters, they were hasty and quick to confirm things even when they hadn’t thoroughly checked them out.
  • Dwarves were prone to believe information, prima facie, if it seemed to lead to a potentially better situation.
  • Bilbo’s danger alert dreaming was awesome.
  • Gandalf disappeared once again in a pinch.
  • Goblin-town was the orcs’ pride of urban development, with creative entrances full of surprises for visitors.
  • Goblins were of many kinds, but they were civil engineering and handicraft adepts, though they wouldn’t necessarily score in the aesthetics department. They were also equal opportunity haters of all things, and all things with anything elvish on them were “elf-friends”.
  • Gandalf saved the day once again, in a pinch. The Great Goblin wasn’t so great after all.
  • Dori was a nice dwarf who didn’t minded giving Bilbo a shoulder to ride on in a crunch. Bombur was Dori’s tag-team partner and his help with the Bilbo baggage was a pleasant surprise, considering his own baggage.
  • Glowing Elven-blades could be blessing or curse, depending on the situation. It earned the Company an attack in the dark which caused them to lose touch with their Burglar.


Key Notes/Quotes

“The summer is getting on down below,” thought Bilbo, “and haymaking is going on and picnics. They will be harvesting and blackberrying, before we even begin to go down the other side at this rate.” And the others were thinking equally gloomy thoughts, although when they had said good-bye to Elrond in the high hope of a midsummer morning, they had spoken gaily of the passage of the mountains, and of riding swift across the lands beyond. They had thought of coming to the secret door in the Lonely Mountain, perhaps that very next last moon of Autumn —“and perhaps it will be Durin’s Day” they had said.Only Gandalf had shaken his head and said nothing. Dwarves had not passed that way for many years, but Gandalf had, and he knew how evil and danger had grown and thriven in the Wild, since the dragons had driven men from the lands, and the goblins had spread in secret after the battle of the Mines of Moria. Even the good plans of wise wizards like Gandalf and of good friends like Elrond go astray sometimes when you are off on dangerous adventures over the Edge of the Wild; and Gandalf was a wise enough wizard to know it.

Bilbo truly missed home, but more importantly, Gandalf’s true identity was peeking through a little here too.


“Thorin the dwarf at your service!” he replied—it was merely a polite nothing. “Of the things which you suspect and imagine we had no idea at all. We sheltered from a storm in what seemed a convenient cave and unused; nothing was further from our thoughts than inconveniencing goblins in any way whatever.” That was true enough!

“Um!” said the Great Goblin. “So you say! Might I ask what you were doing up in the mountains at all, and where you were coming from, and where you were going to? In fact I should like to know all about you. Not that it will do you much good, Thorin Oakenshield, I know too much about your folk already; but let’s have the truth, or I will prepare something particularly uncomfortable for you!”

Goblins had their eyes and ears outside their homes too.


Then Gandalf lit up his wand. Of course it was Gandalf; but just then they were too busy to ask how he got there. He took out his sword again, and again it flashed in the dark by itself. It burned with a rage that made it gleam if goblins were about; now it was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the great lord of the cave. It made no trouble whatever of cutting through the goblinchains and setting all the prisoners free as quickly as possible. This sword’s name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it worse than Biter if possible. Orcrist, too, had been saved; for Gandalf had brought it along as well, snatching it from one of the terrified guards. Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.

Once again, Gandalf saved the day, though how he disappeared before that when the Company was being captured was not clear.



A long distance covered, and a lot of action taking place. Pity the goblin scrimmages were all so short.

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