- The Company sat in darkness for days waiting for Smaug to return.
- Again, Bilbo’s spirits were strangely more uplifted just as the Dwarves’ sank low.
- They tried, Bilbo’s third and at his suggestion, for the treasure room where he was sure there was an exit.
- Bilbo went first, and finders keepers when he stumbled upon the Arkenstone.
- There were bats in the treasure room.
- Once the coast was ascertained to be clear, or rather as soon as the Company saw treasure, the mood turned jolly and partying began. They also bedecked themselves in finery.
- Bilbo got his first payment in Mithril shirt, from Thorin himself, woh was presumably feeling uncharacteristically cheerful and generous despite not locating the Arkenstone.
- Bilbo, having “kept his head more clear of the bewitchment of the hoard than the dwarves did”, saved the day again by pressing the Dwarves to remember their purpose was to look for an exit.
- Thorin still remembered his way through Erebor, and the company exited through the Front Gate in daylight upon the new winter season.
- Actually, it’s only been 2 days (nights) since Smaug smashed through Erebor’s Front Gate.
- Bilbo’s mood turned bad upon learning it was five hours before it was safe to eat. In contrast, Thorin’s mood was high, his pockets jingly with the jewels in them.
- Where was Smaug indeed?
“We are trapped!” they groaned. “This is the end. We shall die here.”
But somehow, just when the dwarves were most despairing, Bilbo felt a strange lightening of the heart, as if a heavy weight had gone from under his waistcoat.
“Come, come!” he said. “’While there’s life there’s hope!’ as my father used to say, and ‘Third time pays for all.’ I am going down the tunnel once again. I have been that way twice, when I knew there was a dragon at the other end, so I will risk a third visit when I am no longer sure. Anyway the only way out is down. And I think this time you had better all come with me.”
In desperation they agreed, and Thorin was the first to go forward by Bilbo’s side.
Bilbo’s ability to keep up cheerful spirits in contrast to the Dwarves was probably what helped the Company got to where they were.
It was the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain. So Bilbo guessed from Thorin’s description; but indeed there could not be two such gems, even in so marvellous a hoard, even in all the world. Ever as he climbed, the same white gleam had shone before him and drawn his feet towards it.
Slowly it grew to a little globe of pallid light. Now as he came near, it was tinged with a flickering sparkle of many colours at the surface, reflected and splintered from the wavering light of his torch. At last he looked down upon it, and he caught his breath. The great jewel shone before his feet of its own inner light, and yet, cut and fashioned by the dwarves, who had dug it from the heart of the mountain long ago, it took all light that fell upon it and changed it into ten thousand sparks of white radiance shot with glints of the rainbow.
Suddenly Bilbo’s arm went towards it drawn by its enchantment. His small hand would not close about it, for it was a large and heavy gem; but he lifted it, shut his eyes, and put it in his deepest pocket.
Being the burglar, and the first one habitually nominated to explore. it was no surprise that Bilbo came across the Arkenstone before anyone else. The question is: what drove him to keep it without showing it to anyone else, much like he did when he first found the Ring? was it merely merely general treasure enchantment… influence of the Ring?
Now the dwarves took down mail and weapons from the walls, and armed themselves. Royal indeed did Thorin look, clad in a coat of gold-plated rings, with a silver-hafted axe in a belt crusted with scarlet stones.
“Mr. Baggins!” he cried. “Here is the first payment of your reward! Cast off your old coat and put on this!”
With that he put on Bilbo a small coat of mail, wrought for some young elf-prince long ago. It was of silver-steel, which the elves call mithril, and with it went a belt of pearls and crystals. A light helm of figured leather, strengthened beneath with hoops of steel, and studded about the brim with white gems, was set upon the hobbit’s head.
Mithril! It was certainly a fine shirt. One has to wonder what elf-prince it was meant for. Also, Thorin’s good mood and generosity in the midst of plenty was interesting.
Generally, a chapter showcasing some prudence in the procession, which was rare for Dwarves. A few key notes here: Bilbo finding the Arkenstone, and of course attainment of the Mithril shirt.