The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Lee

Trapped in the dark, our party is forced into action by necessity.

Bilbo and the dwarfs spend days in the darkness, waiting on the dragon's return, and it's again Bilbo who takes the lead.

"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."

The Dwarfs, making quite the dwarfish racket too, follow the hobbit's lead to some extent.  These dwarfs are cautious, worried about their own skins, even when all signs indicate that Smaug is no where in residence.  Most notably is the lack of light.  They're in the middle of a mountain, and Smaug himself gave off a burning glow.

Ultimately I think it's guilt more than anything that makes the dwarfs step forward.  Balin is the one who points out that it is "about our turn to help," though once they are among the treasures a sort of bravado fills each dwarf.

"Though they were much relieved, they were inclined to be grumpy at being frightened for nothing; but what they would have said, if he had told them at that moment about the Arkenstone, I don't know.  The mere fleeting glimpse of treasure which they had caught as they went along had rekindled all the fire of their dwarvish hearts; and when the heart of a dwarf, even the most respectable, is wakened by gold and by jewels, he grows suddenly bold, and he may become fierce."

Their proud bravery sends them searching, and in particular Fili & Kili find "golden harps strung with silver" to play, long ignored by Smaug.  It seems that dragons have no interest in music, which may be one of the most marked differences between dragons and dwarfs?  Though perhaps the other difference is dragons are creatures of appetites, while dwarfs become overcome by theirs to their detriment.

What follows next highlights the scale of this fortress within the mountain.  After arming themselves, they travel for five hours to the old look-out post.  This under-ground domain is a marvel.

I clearly got a little ahead of myself when critiquing the movie in the last chapter review.  In my defense, three chapters were jumbled together for various reasons.  The short version is that all of my bitching about the extra content in Laketown should have waited until next week.  On the bright side, I'll probably try to keep it short for next week.

Also, the bit about finding the remains of their ancestors was in the book all along, I just forgot about it.  So that wasn't a neat addition, that was a detail from the text.

Alright, so let's just ignore how everyone was outside to witness Smaug's fall, be it because they were stupidly left behind, or because they were taking some fresh air.  The good news is, we're all back in one place.

I am happy that Bilbo is attempting to be the voice of reason, but Thorin is sliding pretty hard into evil overlord territory.  I feel like the decision was made to combine all of the dwarven love of gold into Thorin himself.

I can't go too much into direct relation of chapter to movie, at this point it's too shattered with too much added in.  The focus on reunion of the party, of Thorin's growing paranoia and "dragon-sickness," and on the demoralization of the dwarfs under Thorin's increasingly unstable rule.  We do get a few moments of Martin just being Bilbo, which I still find enjoyable and a highlight of this experience.