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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room: **A Thief in the Night** I - an introduction: Edit Log


Oct 21 2012, 10:16pm

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**A Thief in the Night** I - an introduction

This is a really short chapter (6 pages in my edition, the 1987 Allen & Unwin), but I like how it's really short and punchy. It's one of my favourite chapters, I think because of the way that Bilbo really shines. He's shone before, perhaps most memorably in Barrels out of Bond but in this chapter he seems to take the fate of more people than himself and small group of cranky dwarves into his hands and tries valiantly to work for good.

This week I will be breaking the discussion into small, one a day chunks. Monday (Today) is about the broader themes of the chapter (and its place in the book), then we will talk about the three 'acts' of the chapter, with Bilbo formulating his plan, the execution of that plan, and his return. Finally I'll open a thread so that we can discuss anything else that you want to raise in the chapter. I'll try and post mornings, Australian Eastern Time.

As mentioned, this is a short chapter.
When reading this chapter, because of its (lack of) length, do you find that you want to continue on to the next chapter straight away?

A Thief in the Night interrupts a cloud themed title sequence: coming between The Gathering of the Clouds and The Clouds Burst. The dwarves have discovered that Smaug is dead, but that a whole host of folk are coming for the treasure, and so they fortify the gate. After this chapter, war brews with the gathered host of men and elves.

What 'feel' does this break give to the story?


Now the days passed slowly and wearily. Many of the dwarves spent their time piling and ordering the treasure; and now Thorin spoke of the Arkenstone of Thrain, and bade them eagerly to look for it in every corner.

Wait, days?

without reading carefully, how long did you think this action took?

What kind of piles and order for the treasure?

I'm struck by how not-suspicious Thorin is here. I was skimming the chapters before and found in
Not at Home:

Bilbo was climbing the great mound of treasure. Soon he stood upon the top, and still went on. Then they saw him halt and stoop for a moment; but they did not know the reason.
It was the Arkenstone, the heart of the Mountain.

Surely Thorin would begin to put two and two together?

Back in A Thief in the Night

'For the Arkenstone of my father.' he said, 'is worth more than a river of gold in itself, and to me it is beyond price. That stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.'

In Thorin's shoes, would you begin to suspect your fuzzy footed burglar?

One of the theories floated around this board is that the bare patch on Smaug's marvelous waistcoat is Arkenstone-shaped.

Do you think that Thorin might begin to worry that the stone has gone down with the dragon? (remembering that they do know the story of Smaug's demise, via the Thrush)

Is the Arkenstone The One Ring of The Hobbit ? (of course the one ring is in The Hobbit, but not to the same effect as in LOTR.)

How is the Arkenstone important to Thorin? Is it the monetary value?

How is the Arkenstone important to Tolkien, and to the novel?

The focus has shifted from the dragon-bed of treasure, concentrated now onto one stone.
Do you think this is a useful plot device, or would you do it differently?

Is the Arkenstone a macguffin?

Enough from me, over to you.

Tomorrow: Bilbo's plan.

Hobbit firster, Book firster.

Have you explored all of TORN's forums?

(This post was edited by titanium_hobbit on Oct 21 2012, 10:17pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by titanium_hobbit (Rohan) on Oct 21 2012, 10:17pm

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