The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit | Chapter 3 : A Short Rest | Summary



The dwarves, Bilbo Baggins, and Gandalf continue their journey to Lonely Mountain and come to the edge of the Wild. Gandalf suggests they try to get to the Last Homely House west of the mountains—a perilous journey through ravines on narrow, slippery paths.

Finally they make it into the secret valley of Rivendell. As they come down into the valley, their hearts are lightened, and soon they hear the singing of elves. The songs seem a bit nonsensical, but the narrator warns that it's wrong to think of the elves as foolish. The elves appear to know a lot about Bilbo, and he wants to accept their invitation for supper. The dwarves, however, want to get to their destination.

While the chapter title certainly implies only a brief stop, the group actually stays at the Last Homely House for two weeks. The master of the house, Elrond, a noble, wise, and kind elf, welcomes them in and fills their bags with food and other provisions. He also is quite brilliant in reading runes; he discovers that the swords the dwarves took from the trolls are very old and made for the goblin wars. Elrond also discovers the moon letters that are on the back of the map. He tells the dwarves that there is an important clue in the New Year's Eve sunset: it will light the keyhole to the dragon's lair. Feeling rested after their two-week stay, they are off in search of their next adventure.


As the group enters Rivendell, the land of the elves, the elves start singing a song that appears quite frivolous; however, the odd thing is that some of the song lyrics mention Bilbo by name and describe the dwarves and their journey. It seems as though the elves have somehow been clued into the adventure and the group's goal or they have a gift of prophecy.

The elves seem to like to tease, especially the dwarves, but Bilbo isn't immune, as they tease him about his size and ability to fit in the keyhole at Lonely Mountain. A great deal is related about the elves indirectly. They are mystical and alluring. Tolkien doesn't describe any of the elves except for Elrond. He is presented as "noble" and "fair in face," and he is both a mighty warrior and as intelligent as a wizard. Most importantly the elves are kind. Within the hero's journey, the step of the road of trials often contains a meeting with the hero's allies or enemies. The High Elves of the Last Homely House are important allies for Bilbo and the rest of the group.

The adventurers are provided with everything they need, and they seem reluctant to leave the Last Homely House. It is clear to them that this might be the last pleasant experience they will have for the rest of the journey.

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