The Hobbit | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit | Chapter 19 : The Last Stage | Summary

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Summary

The final stop before Bilbo Baggins reaches home is Rivendell, where the elves greet him with a song to celebrate the dragon's death. Gandalf also tells Elrond of his activities when he left the hobbit and the dwarves to continue their quest alone. The wizard has traveled to the North to vanquish the evil Necromancer and restore normalcy to the region.

Feeling rested, the hobbit continues recalling some of their adventures. Following Gandalf's advice, Bilbo recovers the buried gold from the trolls' storeroom. When the duo arrives at Bag End, they discover a crowd of hobbits rapidly auctioning off Bilbo's possessions, as he was assumed dead.

The troll gold is used to buy back as many items as possible, but his silver spoons have disappeared. The hobbit burglar finds he is now treated with suspicion by most of the community except for some younger nieces and nephews on the Took side. Years later, as Bilbo is writing his memoirs, Gandalf and Balin stop to visit and report that peace and prosperity have been restored to the lands and people once oppressed and destroyed by Smaug.

Analysis

It is fitting that Bilbo's next-to-last stop is Rivendell—it was his first stop on his way to Lonely Mountain. He is able to rest and transition from war and grief to a calmer, more serene Bilbo. The elves again sing to him and remind him that all is well and that he should let go of the things he has seen. Bilbo is worried that his "old self" and "new self" will conflict. But it is in Rivendell that he can assimilate to his simple life. This visit during his homeward trek represents a hero's journey step called the crossing of the return threshold. This step deals with how the hero can integrate knowledge and experiences from the journey into everyday life and also the manner in which friends and family accept the changed hero.

Make no mistake, Bilbo will always have his Took side, and it is that Took side that causes the hobbits to mistrust him when he arrives home. Even though he had great adventures and was a great hero, the hobbits have no use for his skills or accomplishments. As he finds his fellow hobbits avidly auctioning off his possessions at Bag End, Bilbo is also made aware that greed isn't just limited to the elves, men, and dwarves.

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