Then Thorin burst forth in anger: "Our thanks, Rošc Carc's son. You and your people shall not be forgotten. But none of our gold shall thieves take or the violent carry off while we are alive. If you would earn our thanks still more, bring us news of any that draw near. Also I would beg of you, if any of you are still young and strong of wing, that you would send messengers to our kin in the mountains of the North, both west from here and east, and tell them of our plight. But go specially to my cousin Dain in the Iron Hills, for he has many people well-armed, and dwells nearest to this place. Bid him hasten!"
"I will not say if this counsel be good or bad," croaked Rošc; "but I will do what can be done." Then off he slowly flew.
How would dwarves reward sentient ravens?
Does anyone want to defend Thorinís reaction?
Did the thrush let Bard know what the dwarves were doing? Why or why not?
Why is the first time we have heard about Thorinís cousin Dain and his many people well-armed? Why didnít the dwarves consult Dain or all the other dwarves in the area before challenging Smaug? Are they going to share the treasure with Dain?
"Back now to the Mountain!" cried Thorin. "We have little time to lose."
"And little food to use!" cried Bilbo, always practical on such points. In any case he felt that the adventure was, properly speaking, over with the death of the dragon -- in which he was much mistaken -- and he would have given most of his share of the profits for the peaceful winding up of these affairs.
"Back to the Mountain!" cried the dwarves as if they had not heard him; so back he had to go with them. As you have heard some of the events already, you will see that the dwarves still had some days before them. They explored the caverns once more, and found, as they expected, that only the Front Gate remained open; all the other gates (except, of course, the small secret door) had long ago been broken and blocked by Smaug, and no sign of them remained. So now they began to labour hard in fortifying the main entrance, and in remaking the road that led from it. Tools were to be found in plenty that the miners and quarriers and builders of old had used; and at such work the dwarves were still very skilled.
Why wasn't the adventure over, properly speaking? Why didn't Tolkien just wind things up quickly? What point is he trying to make?
The tools are still in good shape? How so? Why havenít they rusted?
What was Bilbo thinking while the dwarves were fortifying the entrance? What was he doing?
How did the dwarves go about building a stone wall so quickly? How strong would the hastily-built wall have been?
As they worked the ravens brought them constant tidings. In this way they learned that the Elvenking had turned aside to the Lake, and they still had a breathing space. Better still, they heard that three of their ponies had escaped and were wandering wild far down the banks of the Running River, not far from where the rest of their stores had been left. So while the others went on with their work, Fili and Kili were sent, guided by a raven, to find the ponies and bring back all they could.
Are other birds bringing the Elvenking constant tidings, or Bard? Why or why not?
They were four days gone, and by that time they knew that the joined armies of the Lake-men and the Elves were hurrying towards the Mountain. But now their hopes were higher; for they had food for some weeks with care -- chiefly cram, of course, and they were very tired of it; but cram is much better than nothing -- and already the gate was blocked with a wall of squared stones laid dry, but very thick and high across the opening. There were holes in the wall through which they could see (or shoot) but no entrance. They climbed in or out with ladders, and hauled stuff up with ropes. For the issuing of the stream they had contrived a small low arch under the new wall; but near the entrance they had so altered the narrow bed that a wide pool stretched from the mountain-wall to the head of the fall over which the stream went towards Dale. Approach to the Gate was now only possible, without swimming, along a narrow ledge of the cliff, to the right as one looked outwards from the wall. The ponies they had brought only to the head of the steps above the old bridge, and unloading them there had bidden them return to their masters and sent them back riderless to the South.
Where did they get their cram? It didnít come from Lake-town, did it? Didnít they lose all their other supplies when they were captured by the elves?
Where did they get their ladders? If they made them, what did they use for materials? Isnít the area barren?
Does the wide pool blocking the entrance remind anyone of anything?
Any other comments about these passages?