Chapter 18 Summary
Bilbo wakes up where he fell and is surprised to find himself alone among the rocks. He lost consciousness while wearing his ring, and nobody has been able to find him. When a man comes looking for him, Bilbo takes off his ring and learns that his side has won the battle. The man carries the aching Bilbo to camp. There he speaks to Thorin, who is lying on his deathbed from battle wounds. Thorin says he wants to “part in friendship,” and he and Bilbo forgive each other. Just before he dies, the dwarf says:
If more of use valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
After Thorin dies, Bilbo cries alone for some time. Later, people tell him about the end of the battle. The eagles helped turn the tide, along with Beorn, who also arrived near the end and killed the goblin leader.
The dwarves bury Thorin deep in the mountain, along with the Arkenstone and his sword. Dain becomes King under the Mountain, and he honors Thorin’s promise to give Bilbo’s share of the treasure to Bard. One fourteenth of the treasure is an enormous fortune. Even after sharing some of it with the townspeople and the elves, Bard is a wealthy man. He offers to give much of his gold to Bilbo, but Bilbo refuses; he says carrying it will make his return journey too hard. In the end he accepts only the amount of gold and silver that one pony can carry.
After the funeral, Bilbo bids good-bye to the dwarves and sets out toward home. At the beginning, he and Gandalf and Beorn travel with the wood-elves, but only the wood-elves enter Mirkwood. Now that the goblins are defeated, Gandalf and Beorn feel that it is safe enough to skirt the forest to the south, and Bilbo goes with them. Bilbo gives the Elvenking a pearl necklace as a good-bye present because he feels he should pay for the food he stole while in the wood-elves’ castle.
By this time, Bilbo is extremely lonely for his hobbit hole and desperate to get back to the quiet life he left behind. Gandalf accompanies Bilbo throughout the journey. They travel with Beorn to his home before pressing on to the Misty Mountains. As they cross the highest point, Bilbo looks back at the lands where he met Beorn, the wood-elves, and Smaug.