The Hobbit: Chapter 18 Summary: The Return Journey

Bilbo wakes alone, but the movement he sees below from dwarves and the lack of Goblins makes him think they have won. Yet there is neither song nor cheer. Bilbo is found by someone sent to look for him and is carried back to the camp to Thorin’s tent. Here Bilbo finds Thorin on the edge of death. They exchange kind words before Thorin dies. Bilbo weeps and reprimands himself for the mess he made of things with the stone (299–301).

The narrator then retells the end of the battle. The Eagles had been wary of the Goblins and knew of the approaching battle. But it was Beorn in the last hour that really saved the day and took Thorin out of the fray, wounded though he was (301–302).

Bilbo is sorry he did not get to see the Eagles and hopes he might on the way home, which he hopes will happen soon. It is several days before he actually leaves. They bury Thorin in the heart of the mountain, and Bard places the Arkenstone on his breast. The Elvenking places Orcrist on his tomb. It is said that it gleams whenever foes approach. Dain then becomes King under the Mountain. Of the rest of the dwarves all remain except Fili and Kili who fell defending Thorin. The treasure is divided as was promised, even to Bard in exchange for the Arkenstone, who gives generously to the Master of Lake-town and to the Elvenking, returning the jewels of Girion. He offers Bilbo treasure as well, but Bilbo is relieved not to have to worry about getting it all home. He does agree to take two small chests. Bilbo then bids them all farewell and leaves (302–305). 

The elves leave, accompanied by Gandalf and Bilbo and Beorn. Bilbo and Gandalf do not stay and intend to go around north rather than through Mirkwood since most of the Goblins have been defeated and since Beorn is going that way as well. As they part, Bilbo offers the Elven-king a necklace of silver and pearls for the Elven-king’s “hospitality” while Bilbo lurked invisible in his halls. By mid-winter they return to Beorn’s house (305–307). 

The narrator tells of Beorn’s later days and his descendants and the peace that reigned in that area as men began to repopulate the area more and more. It is spring before Bilbo leaves. And as they go over the pass where they were captured by the Goblins, he wishes again to be in his own chair (307). 

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