70 pages 2 hours read

J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1937

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Chapters 14-19

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 14 Summary: “Fire and Water”

Down in Lake-town, also known as Esgaroth, the inhabitants had seen a faint glow on the mountain, not knowing precisely what it was. Before long, however, the town realizes what is happening: Smaug is awake and is now bearing down on the town. The alarm is raised, “warning trumpets were suddenly sounded” (204), and the town prepares for the incoming wrath of the great beast. Determined to conquer the men of the town, Smaug is in a rage, and “[n]o fireworks you ever imagined equalled the sights that night” (204). The townspeople—led by the man, Bard—attempt to return fire with flights of arrows as Smaug sets the town ablaze.

Doing everything in his power to rally the townspeople to his aid, Bard realizes he is down to his last arrow. Raising his bow to take one last shot, he hears a voice from the thrush—the large bird that overheard the conversation between Bilbo and the dwarves upon the mountain: “’Wait! Wait!’ it said to [Bard]. ‘The moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as [Smaug] flies and turns above you!’” (206). As Smaug dives, Bard releases his last black arrow, piercing the one vulnerable spot on the entire breadth of the dragon, who spins and crashes into the remains of the town and the waters.