BILBO BAGGINS: The Hobbit who led the Dwarves to the Lonely Mountain to recla im their treasure from the dragon Smaug. He found the One Ring in Gollum's cave GANDALF: The Wizard that accompanies Bilbo and the dwarves on their quest. He is well versed in magic spells and often calls upon them to save his comrades. THORIN OAKENSHIELD: Son of the King of Dwarves who were driven from the Lonel y Mountain by Smaug. With the aid of Gandalf and Bilbo he seeks regain his trea sure and the throne. When Smaug died he truly became King under the Mountain, t hough he was killed in combat in the battle of five Armies. SMAUG: The dragon of the Lonely Mountain who hordes the treasure he stole from the dwarves of Dale. GOLLUM: He is perfect example of the evil powers of the One Ring. He was born a Hobbit but had the ring too long. It made him into a slimey little creature who only lives to possess the ring. BARD: The archer who killed Smaug. He shot the dragon in the one spot it had no protection. The towns people later considered him a hero. What the people didn't know it was Bilbo who discovered the weak spot in the dragon's iron scales. BEORN: An enemy of orcs, he becomes friends with Bilbo and Gandalf. He has th e ability to change forms from human to bear. It is he who determines the outco me of the battle of five Armies. STORY SUMMARY The book begins with Bilbo Baggins enjoying a pipe after breakfast. Th is is one of his favorite pleasures and he feels quite content in doing so. He is middle-aged, and resides in a clean warm burrow in the ground. One morning Gandalf, a wizard stops by to chat with Bilbo. He informs Bilbo that he is looking for someone to go on an adventure with him. Although Bilbo is tempted he declines, but not before inviting Gandalf for tea the next morning. The next day Bilbo hears his doorbell and he recalls inviting Gandalf for tea, but instead of the wizard at the door, there is a group of dwarves... thirteen in all. Thorin son of the dwarf king starts to outline a plan on how to regain the tr easure stolen by the dragon Smaug. Bilbo is shocked to realize these plans involve him! He then realizes that Gandalf has tricked him by inscribing on his doo r that he was a burglar seeking a job with lots of excitement. With all this talk of quests and glory Bilbo decides to join the party after all. Gandalf reveals a key and a map of their journey which ends at the Lon ely Mountain. It is there that the treasure of Thorin's ancestors are kept-guar ded by Smaug. The quest begins and the party meets at the Green Dragon Inn. From there they venture into the Lone-lands. As heavy rains begin to fall, Bilbo notice s that Gandalf is missing. When it starts to pour they stop to investigate a light. There Bilbo finds three trolls grumbling about food. Bilbo decides to live up to title of burglar and attempts to pick one of the trolls pocket. However they quickly capture him. The dwarfs see what's going on and try to save poor Bilbo... yet all of them except Thorin is caught. Thorin formulates a plan of freeing them but fails. Gandalf returns and occupies the trolls till dawn, then the turn into stone. They group take the two swords and a knife the trolls were carrying. The travelers come across the Secret Valley. There they stop at Elrond 's Last Homely House. Elrond tells them the only way to use the key that Thorin possesses is to wait where the thrush knocks and the setting sun will shine up on the keyhole. The next morning the group heads toward the Misty Mountains. A storm has caused them to seek shelter in a cave. The cave however turns out to be an entrance to the goblin kingdom. Once again the group is captured. Only Gandalf is free, and he slays the Goblin King, and once again free the party from impend ing doom. During the escape Bilbo is knocked unconscious and is left behind. He awakes to find himself power which makes it's wearer invisible - the ring which Bilbo found. Bilbo slips the ring upon his finger and disappears. He follows Gollum stealthily toward the entrance to the outside world. He then bounds over Gollu m's head to freedom. Outside he is reunited with his dwarf friends. Later they encounter Wargs (large savage wolves). The Wargs chase the party into the trees. High in the branches Gandalf uses a spell to turn the pine cones a fire, in order to drive the wolves away. However the plan backfires and the very trees they took refuge in are now ablaze! Luckily for them the king of the eagles spotted them. He and his eagles swooped out of the sky and whisked our adventures to safety. The eagles dropped them off near Mirkwood Forest. This is where they come across Beorn, a bear like man who can indeed change into a bear. He puts them up for the night and outfits them with supplies for th eir trip into Mirkwood. He also warns them not to stray from the path in the fo rest. When they are ready to enter the forest, Gandalf announces he will not be accompanying them in this part of the journey. The group feels lost without him but yet they press on. They come across a black river. It is here that Bombur, one of the Dwarves falls in and is thrust into a sleep from which he cannot awake. Food is scarce now and the hungry travelers are lured off the path by visions of elves feasting in the forest. To their surprize every time they announce their presence to the elves...they elves vanish! Once again Bilbo finds himself seperated from the group. He stops for a short nap and awakes to find himself tied down by a giant spider. He uses his sword to cut himself free. He then attacks the spider and kills it. Feeling proud of his deed, he decides to name his sword "Sting". Bilbo finds his friends deep within the forest. They too were captured by spiders, but did not have the good fortune of escaping. Bilbo puts on his m agic ring and implements a plan to rescue his companions. It is a success and t he party (once again) gets out of an awful predicament. The celebration of escaping the spiders is short lived since the dwarf s are yet again captured...this time by the Wood Elves. Bilbo however dons his ring and escapes capture. He followed the elves to there home in the forest. There he formulated a plan to free his friends. He opens their cells and seal them in barrels. He then floated the barrel up the river to Lake-town and free dom. In Lake-town they get more supplies and venture to the Lonely Mountain. On the mountain they heard a thrush drop a snail to the rocks. Recalling what Beorn told them about the thrush and sunlight, they quickly found the hidden b ack entrance to Smaug's lair. / Bilbo puts on his ring and goes to confront the dragon. It is there he notices that in Smaug's underbelly there is a place that is not covered by his iron like scales. After conversing with the dragon Bilbo returns to the party. Smaug however is thoroughly angry about his little invisible visitor and heads to destroy Lake-town. When the dragon attacks, a thrush told Bard (the captain of the archers) that Smaug has a weak spot in his breast. Bard used his black arrow to slay the beast. Then the towns people made him king of Lake- town. With smaug dead the men and elves go to claim his horded treasure. Dwarf troops under Thorin's kinsman Dain also appear. There bickering was soon changed to alliance when the Wargs and Goblins approached... and so began The Battle of the Five Armies. During the battle Thorin is hurt and Bilbo gets knocked unconscious by falling rocks. The eagles as well as Beorn, in bear form join the fray. The Wargs and goblins were vanquished. Bilbo later returned to his burrow under the hill with a chest of trea sure, a ring of power, and heart full of adventure. BOOK REVIEW I liked this book alot. The author uses characters that appear only in fairy tales, yet gives them a personality that shows maturity. I especialy liked the way Bilbo changed from a tea drinking home maker to a swash buckling adv enturer. I would highly recommend this book for children of all ages as well as adults. It has a certain appeal that makes the reader want to continue reading the book all day. I am certainly going to read the other books about the Hobbits by J.R.R. Tolkien.