"A pretty fine burglar you make, it seems, when the time comes."
I am participating in the "The Hobbit" Read-a-Long instigated by Unputdownables. (I know the two the's seem redundant, but the title has one!) As I previously mentioned, this is my first time reading The Hobbit! Some of my observations may seem like no-brainers, but I hope you can forgive my naive perspective.
This week we read chapters 9 and 10, from where the spiders leave off, to the wood-elves taking the dwarves hostage. This is where Bilbo learns to be the leader. I didn't expect this to happen. When Thorin disappears, the dwarves look to him, and he is the one to figure out how to escape and what to do. Not too shabby for a breakfast-loving hobbit from the shire!
I feel a little nervous for Bilbo though. I'm taking mental note of how much he has been wearing the ring, and knowing the effect it had on Frodo, I'm practically holding my breath for something negative to happen. After all, in chapter 9 he wears it the entire time the dwarves are imprisoned, sometimes not even sleeping in order to keep his location a secret.
However being invisible allows him to be the voice at the keyhole, carrying messages from Thorin to the other dwarves and lifting everyone's spirits.
After the wine barrels reach the mountain, they come into view of the Long Lake. You may remember my fascination with the fairytale place names in this book, and this description does not disappoint:
"Only from the map did Bilbo know that away up there, where the stars of the Wain were already twinkling, the Running River came down into the lake from Dale and with the Forest River filled with deep waters what must once have been a great deep rocky valley. At the southern end the doubled waters poured out again over high waterfalls and ran away hurriedly to unknown lands."Once the dwarves clear the barrels, we discover that Thorin is "Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror King under the Mountain." It took me a while to figure out that he actually was this legendary creature, and wasn't just telling a story to get some food to eat. The dwarves are cared for in the Lake-Town by the Master, who isn't sure if he believes their story but indulges them (to his loss). By the time chapter 10 ends, the dwarves are healthy and energetic and ready to return to their adventure. Tolkien ends with this sentence: "The only person thoroughly unhappy was Bilbo."