The pass over the mountains was long and treacherous. At one point Bilbo looks back into the west longingly, dreaming of his comfortable hobbit hole. The dwarves were equally miserable after spending cold and uncomfortable nights out.
Gandalf foresaw impending doom, knowing that danger lurked in the mountains. One day they were caught in an enormous thunderstorm and were forced to shelter under an overhanging rock. Bilbo caught sight of mountain giants hurling boulders at one another and tossing them into ravines to smash the trees far below.
Rain and hail set in and there was soon no protection from the weather.
Thorin and Gandalf are at loggerheads with regard to the situation - Thorin expressing that he feels it is untenable and Gandalf becoming impatient with his complaints. Fili and Kili are sent off to find suitable shelter as they are described as having the sharpest eyes of the company. (Being 50 years younger than the rest). They discover a cave which appears to be ideal shelter. Unfortunately it was the Front Porch to the halls of the Great Goblin and Bilbo and the dwarves find they are prisoners.
MAP FROM "The Atlas of MIddle-Earth" by Karen Wynn Fonstad 1997 p 103
Karen Wynn Fonstad has published a wonderful "Atlas of Middle-Earth". She has drawn a map of the Company's journey through the Misty Mountains and their journey in the goblin realm and tunnels (above). She has estimated that it took them 2 days to reach the "Back Door".
Initially the dwarves and Bilbo (without Gandalf) are taken down a convoluted system of tunnels from the front porch to the Great Cavern where they are brought in front of the Great Goblin. The discovery of Thorin's Orcrist enrages the goblins and it is fortunate that Gandalf creates a diversion of sparks and light flashes to allow them to escape down the tunnels. The Great Goblin is killed by Gandalf's Glamdring. They are pursued through tunnels by the angry goblins, Bilbo having to be carried by the dwarves. (Much to Bombur's resentment). Thorin and Gandalf at one point remain behind to fight off the goblins (see map), but the goblins soon learn that they need to move in complete darkness and stealth so as not to be detected. In this way, they catch up with the dwarves and grab Dori who is carrying Bilbo. Bilbo falls and is knocked unconscious and when he wakes discovers he is on his own.
Characters at this point in time:
1. Gandalf: Leader and protector; wise; able to predict the perils of the journey ahead of the company and is cautious of any risk taking. Can become grumpy when in discomfort (eg: mountain storm/mountain trolls) and inclined to argue with Thorin. Brave and uses magic of light/sparks and darkness to help fight the goblins. He was good at helping friends in a "tight corner". Good fighter.
Sword - Glamdring: Also known as "Foe-hammer" and "beater" by the goblins who hated it more than Orcrist. Shines cold and bright in the presence of goblins and orcs.
2. Bilbo: Misses his comfortable hobbit-hole and life in the Shire. Is frightened easily and is made miserable with the cold, rain and ice. He proves to be useful in that he alerts the dwarves and gandalf to the trap the goblins have laid for them, but once captured has great difficulty running fast and keeping up with the dwarves. At times he has to be carried by them.
3. Thorin: Leader and in charge of his dwarves. Capable of arguing with Gandalf. Good fighter and brave when confronted and questioned by the Great Goblin.
Sword - Orcrist: Also known as Goblin Cleaver or "Biter" by the goblins. shines cold and blue in the resence of goblins. It had killed hundreds of goblins when the elves of Gondolin had hunted them.
4. Fili & Kili: Youngest by 50 years. Use their sharp eyes to find shelter. (Not particularly reliable shelter - Gandalf is dubious abut their thoroughness in searching).
5. Oin & Gloin: Good at lighting fires and wanted to light a fire in the cave to dry their clothes. Discouraged by Gandalf.
6. Goblins: Can see in the dark. Had "horrible stony" voices. Mean and rough with their prisoners using whips to move them along. Described as ......
"cruel, wicked and bad hearted. they make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. They can tunnel and mine as well as any but the most skilled dwarves, when they take the trouble, though they are usually untidy and dirty. Hammers, axes swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work until they die for want of air and light ......
They did not hate dwarves especially, no more than they hated everybody and everything and particularly the orderly and prosperous; in some parts wicked dwarves had even made alliances with them. But they had a special grudge against Thorin's people ..." (J.R.R. Tolkine: The Hobbit)
7. Dori: Takes pity on Bilbo who is too slow to escape the goblins and takes him on his back. Bombur also helps carry Bilbo although has great difficulty because he is fat.
Next chapter: "Riddles in the Dark"