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The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit | Chapter 13 : Not at Home | Summary



The expedition is trapped in the secret passage for several days. The group realizes Smaug has disappeared from his lair and sends Bilbo Baggins out to explore the situation. Bilbo finds the fabled Arkenstone and conceals it as his share of the treasure. Thorin also gives Bilbo a chain mail coat created by the elves. The dwarves explore the treasure and finally occupy an old watchman's tower to detect Smaug's return.


There are indications that Bilbo has some sort of sixth sense. He feels a lightness, even though they are trapped. He also takes comfort in sayings from his father: "While there's life there's hope" and "Third time pays for all."

In this chapter the dwarves' main concern goes from dying a dark and airless death to a life filled with gold. While greed is prevalent in the chapter, so is sentimentality. It is sweet to see the dwarves reconnect with items from their ancestors, such as the instruments.

On the other hand Bilbo is more concerned with the dragon's return and thinks they should escape to find food. The dwarves are concerned only with the gold. As Tolkien has been developing Bilbo, he has shown him to be loyal, moral, and trustworthy. In this chapter, however, we see the burglar side come out. Bilbo finds the Arkenstone, and its "enchantment" almost forces him to pick it up. He hides it deep in his pocket, almost as if to hide it from himself because he knows it doesn't belong to him. A moral dilemma is at play for Bilbo in this segment of the road of trials.

As in other chapters, Anglo-Saxon tradition is present when Thorin gives Bilbo a chain mail coat, something Anglo-Saxon kings did to reward loyal subjects. It is an instance of dramatic irony that Thorin gives Bilbo a chain mail coat as a reward for his loyalty when Bilbo actually betrays Thorin by pocketing the Arkenstone.

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