The Hobbit: CHAPTER 1 Summary: An Unexpected Party

The Hobbit begins with a description of Bilbo’s hobbit-hole and a little background of his family history: the staid Baggins side and the adventurous Took side. Gandalf then appears and after an awkward conversation and Bilbo’s reminiscence of Gandalf, Gandalf informs Bilbo that he is sending him on an adventure. Flustered, Bilbo says a hasty goodbye and retreats into his hobbit-hole, but invites Gandalf for tea the next day before he disappears.

The next day arrives, but instead of Gandalf showing up for tea, it is dwarves, lots of dwarves (Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin Oakenshield), thirteen of them to be exact—and Gandalf as well in the end. They demand food and drink and leave Bilbo flummoxed. But after helping to clean up, they call for music, and it is here that the Took side of Bilbo begins to stir. But the thought of dragons and seeing a light start up somewhere out in the dark brought him back to earth and he called for a light. 

After this interruption (he didn’t get a light), Thorin began his speech about the task at hand—retrieving their gold from the dragon, which was soon interrupted by a squeal of fright from Bilbo. He was set in an adjacent room while the planning went on. After reviving a little, he crept back to the meeting of the dwarves and heard himself disparaged among the gathering and decided he needed to stand up for himself. 

They all learn that Gandalf is the one who put the mark on the door announcing that Bilbo was a burglar, and Gandalf stands by his choice of the 14th member of the party. A map is soon produced—and later, a key—of the mountain; we learn the story of how the dragon came to the mountain; and the chapter ends with everyone ordering breakfast and Bilbo determined to sleep in to spite the dwarves. 

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