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Free Study Guide-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-Free Online Book Notes
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Chapter 6: Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire

Summary

After his escape, Bilbo discovers that he has crossed the Misty Mountains in the goblins' underground tunnels. Believing his companions are still in the goblins' power, he decides, somewhat reluctantly, to go to their rescue. He soon hears voices and finds is delighted to find that all the others have also escaped. Bilbo, still wearing his ring, slips past the lookout man, Balin, and the company is pleasantly surprised to see him once again. He tells the tale of his adventures without mentioning the ring; everyone is impressed with his tale. In turn, they tell him how they escaped.

Fearing pursuit by the goblins, the group decides to move on. They travel through the woods and foothills, continuing through the evening until the Wargs, evil wolves that live over the Edge of the Wild, smell them out and force them up into trees. Bilbo has to be helped up by Dori and loses part of his cloak to a snapping Warg. As they sit in the trees, surrounded by Wargs, Gandalf, who understands the Wargs' language, listens to their conversation. The Wargs have planned to attack a village that night with the goblins and are puzzled as to why the goblins have not yet appeared.

Gandalf understands that they are in grave danger since the goblins may turn up at any moment. He sets pine cones aflame and tosses them down into the midst of the wolves, who are terrified of fire. The Wargs run around trying to escape the burning cones. By the time the goblins arrive, much of the glade is on fire. The goblins succeed in putting out the fires, except those around the trees in which the dwarves, Gandalf, and Bilbo are perched. Just as things are looking disastrous, the group is saved through the timely intervention of eagles, who pluck them out of the trees and take them to a high rocky ledge. When Gandalf tells the Lord of the Eagles their tale, he agrees to put them down in the morning far from the goblins and the Wargs. Everyone shares a meal of rabbits and a small sheep before sleeping.


Notes

This is another chapter filled with action and violence. The mood again turns dark, as Bilbo and his party is chased up into the trees by the evil Wargs. Disaster seems certain when the goblins arrive on the scene; then suddenly the party is rescued by the eagles.

The clash between good and evil is becoming more frequent and more intense; additionally, the forces of evil unite into a stronger body, as seen in the alliance between the Wargs and the goblins. Though the forces of evil momentarily gain the upper hand, they do not triumph, thanks to the intervention of the eagles.

In this chapter, Bilbo continues to be shown as both a leader and a failure. His companions now look up to him since he has single handedly escaped from the goblins; (of course, Bilbo did not tell them about his magic ring.) Yet he is unable to climb a tree and must be helped by Dori in order to escape from the wolves. His preoccupation with food continues to be stressed, as is his desire for comfort and fewer hardships.

The moral ambiguity of the dwarves is suggested in this chapter. Though they are on the side of good, their love of gold renders them less than noble. The eagles also fall shall of nobility. Although they are willing to assist Bilbo and the dwarves, they are not willing to risk their lives for them and refuse to take them anywhere near where men live.

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