The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien
Contributed by Machelle Schuler
Chapter 17
Summary

As the siege of the Lonely Mounain wears on, Thorin continues to seek the Arkenstone, speaking of his desire for it: "to me it is beyond price." Upon hearing these words, Bilbo begins to form a plan by which the stone might become an occasion for peace-making. Under cover of night, and wearing the Ring, Bilbo takes the Arkenstone to the seigers’ camp. He reveals himself and asks elf guards to be introduced to the archer. He shows Bard the Arkenstone and gives it to him as an aid in negotiations. As he leaves, he meets Gandalf, who has returned and who congratulates Bilbo on a job well done. Bilbo has no time to ask Gandalf any questions about the wizard’s absence, for, as Gandalf says, "Things are drawing towards the end now." He does, however, allude to news that not even the ravens know.

Analysis

Although Bilbo states that his only motivation in giving the Arkenstone to Bard is to be done with a tiresome affair, readers may not be far off the mark in suspecting that Bilbo-who, as we will see, has grown genuinely fond of Thorin-truly wishes to do what he can to bring about peace between the dwarves, the elves, and the men as well.

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