The chapter opens in a gloomy mood despite the party’s escape from the trolls, for they are ever aware of the increasing danger. Day by day they draw nearer to the first range of mountains they must cross, the Misty Mountains. Bilbo wonders if this was The Mountain they were making for. Upon being told how much farther they still had to go, Bilbo “felt more tired than he ever remembered feeling before” (55) and again wished he were back home in his chair by the fire.
Gandalf led the way as he knew the ins and outs of this wild land, and he was looking for something particular. The way was treacherous with deep gullies and valleys and bogs to avoid. Finally, Gandalf found the place he was looking for, which was the path into Rivendell, the home of elves (56–57). As they descended into the valley, the elves serenaded them with nonsense song. We also learn here that dwarves don’t care much for elves (58–59), but that doesn’t lessen the elves’ hospitality nor the dwarves’ acceptance of food, comfort, and rest (61).
We also meet Elrond (61), the master of the last Homely House, who identifies the swords they picked up from the troll cave: Thorin’s Orcrist (Goblin-cleaver) and Gandalf’s Glamdring (Foe-hammer), both elf-made and very old (62). Elrond also discovers that the map to the Lonely Mountain contains moon-runes, and they learn an important point: “Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole” (63). While it was fortuitous that the moon-rune was visible on this mid-summer’s eve, they were unsure when another Durin’s Day (“when the last moon of Autumn and the sun are in the sky together”) would occur (63–64).
The party departed Rivendell on a beautiful midsummer’s morning (64).