Course Hero Logo

The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Hobbit Study Guide." Course Hero. 25 Aug. 2016. Web. 8 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, August 25). The Hobbit Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 8, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "The Hobbit Study Guide." August 25, 2016. Accessed June 8, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Hobbit Study Guide," August 25, 2016, accessed June 8, 2023,

The Hobbit | Chapter 4 : Over Hill and Under Hill | Summary



The journey becomes quite difficult as the group gets caught in a mighty storm—a "thunder-battle" filled will rain, lightning, hail, and giants who are throwing boulders that destroy the forests. The two young dwarves, Fili and Kili, are sent to search for a safe place to lie down, and they quickly return. The cave Fili and Kili select appears to be perfect; in the middle of the night, however, the back wall opens, and out pour goblins who take all the ponies and capture the dwarves and Bilbo Baggins.

Fortunately Bilbo awakes from a nightmare in time to see the ponies being led away; he yells, which gives Gandalf enough time to escape. The Great Goblin plans to enslave or kill them, but then he comes across Thorin's sword, called Orcrist the Goblin-cleaver (which the goblins called Biter), and he becomes enraged. "Murderers!" he shouts, and at that moment, Gandalf reappears in a tower of smoke and sparks. In the chaos, Gandalf grabs the sword and kills the Great Goblin, allowing the dwarves to make off in a hurry. Dori, one of the dwarves, carries Bilbo on his back but falls. Bilbo hits his head and is knocked out.


In this chapter things get intense for Bilbo Baggins. He sleeps fitfully, and whether he is attuned to the supernatural or it is merely a coincidence, he awakens just in time to warn Gandalf of the goblins. The goblins represent all that is evil: they murder, enslave, and pillage. They specialize in making cruel weapons and torture devices. The road of trials continues as the group meets a major enemy in the goblins.

Tolkien was very much opposed to the industrialization of rural England in his day and was very changed by World War I. Almost all of the men in his village died during the war—so one can imagine that the goblins' thirst for war and weaponry represent his dislikes.

Weapons in the world of The Hobbit have power beyond the strength of their blade; they are almost personified. The swords even have names and can evoke powerful emotions, as is evident when the Great Goblin becomes enraged at the sight of Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver (also called Biter).

Shortly thereafter, Gandalf creates a chaotic diversion, and the sword continues its destiny by killing the Great Goblin. It is not certain whether the sword swung magically, but it may be that Thorin takes the opportunity to rid the world of this evil creature. This chapter again questions what force is truly behind this adventure. Who is watching from behind the scenes? What do they know? Gandalf seems to give just enough information to keep the adventure moving forward, but he also grants Bilbo enough freedom to see what the hobbit can do on his own.

Documents for Chapter 4

View all

Questions for Chapter 4

View all
what is the context of "He poked about with a bit of stick that itself was wave-worn and whitened and a vagrant, and tried to control the motions of the scavengers. he made little runnels that the tid
Hebrew Law From your reading, think about the ethical foundations of Judaism. Chapter Four - Discussion Board Option #1 - Hebrew Law Respond in writing to the following questions after reading Chapter
Chapter Four - Discussion Board Option #2 - Buddhism Compartir Buddhism From your reading, recount early Christian, Jewish, and Islamic teachings and early Buddhist teachi
Chapter Four - Discussion Board Option #3 -Judaism, Christianity, Islam Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Reflect on the characteristics and values of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and consider the
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Hobbit? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!