What is a short summary of The Hobbit?

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laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Bilbo, a peaceful hobbit, is approached by the wizard Gandalf and asked to accompany a group of dwarves to take back their kingdom from a dragon, he agrees reluctantly and faces many dangers as they approach the Lonely Mountain, defeat Smaug, and finally join five armies together to defeat an army of goblins and wargs.

There are many events that take place in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The most important center on Bilbo's journey away from and back to Hobbiton.

When Gandalf the Grey arrives at Bilbo's and tricks him into hosting a party for a group of dwarves, it upsets Bilbo's quiet, orderly life. Nonetheless, he agrees to accompany the group the next morning to take back the lost dwarven kingdom from Smaug the dragon.

The journey is fraught with peril, including an encounter with Gollum, the keeper of a mysterious ring that Bilbo steals. It makes him invisible when he puts it on. He uses it to rejoin the group of dwarves, which is led by warrior Thorin Oakenshield.

When they arrive at the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug lives, they're greeted by people from nearby Lake-town, who want the dwarves to kill Smaug. When the party arrives at the mountain, Bilbo steals a cup and manages to spot a weakness on Smaug where a projectile could strike him. Once Smaug realizes what happened, he attacks Lake-town for aiding the person who stole from him.

A thrush that overheard Bilbo's discovery of Smaug's weakness reports it to a Lake-town defender who shoots an arrow at Smaug, slaying him.

The dwarves take back their mountain kingdom, but the men and elves who assisted on their journey come to demand compensation, reparations, and treasure they believe they're owed. When the dwarves refuse, the armies prepare to fight. Bilbo argues with Thorin and asks him to give compensation, but Thorin refuses.

Gandalf returns and warns of an emerging threat: goblins and wargs. The men, elves, and dwarves band together to defeat them. Thorin and Bilbo make up, but Thorin dies from a wound he received in the battle. Bilbo, now rich with a small portion of the treasure he was offered, goes home.

marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


The Hobbit is an adventure story involving Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, Gandalf, a wizard and several other creatures including dwarves, elves, and a dragon.

This book is the precursor and introduction to Middle Earth where The Lord of the Rings trilogy takes place.

They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards….They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly); have long clever brown fingers, good-natured faces, and laugh deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get it). (The Hobbit, prologue)

A short summary is that Gandalf, the wizard proposes an adventure to Bilbo. Bilbo is a "stay-at-home" Hobbit and refuses to have anything to do with adventures.

Gandalf scratches a secret sign on Bilbo's door.

Shortly, a troop of 13 dwarves arrives at Bilbo's house with a treasure map. The map piques Bilbo's curiosity, and he is off on an adventure in search of the evil dragon Smaug who has stolen the Dwarve's treasure.

On this adventure they are accosted by trolls and orcs. In the caves of the Misty Mountains, Bilbo meets Gollum and acquires a ring.

A great battle ensues in which the dragon is deafeated, the dwarves regain their treasure. Thorin Oakenshield accuses Bilbo Baggins of treachery, later forgives him and commends Bilbo's bravery and courage. Thorin dies in this novel.

The dragon is defeated, and they return home. Bilbo returns to the Shire and settles in for a nice retirement.