Barrels out of Bond, The Hobbit Read a Long: Chapter 9

Have you seen this read a long… Let’s catch up first and let me warn you, if you have not yet read the hobbit or the chapters please note that there are spoilers. Some chapters even discuss what is to come next in the book!

And on to today! Chapter 9: Barrels out of Bond!

Once again let me remind you this is my first time reading The Hobbit! And I have immensely enjoyed every word but this chapter and yes the last, Flies and Spiders, were so much fun that I was quite delighted to be able to review it!

As you know, the poor Hobbit Bilbo and his merry troop has just dealt with many foreboding and horrible spiders, NOT the kind I allow on my blog, I assure you! They were able to get rid of the many spiders with Bilbo’s brilliant thinking but were still on the brink of starvation and were still lost in Mirkwood. A dreary place indeed! When of course they are yet again captured!! But this time it is by Elves. J.R.R. Tolkien lets us know straight away however that these Elves are not the Elves we met previously, these are not the friendly sort.

Bilbo having the ring, hides when the dwarfs are captured and follows them and watches as the Elf King questionsΒ  the prisoners.

What have we don, O King?” said Balin, who was the eldest left. “Is it a crime to be lost in the forest, to be hungry and thirsty, to be trapped by spiders? Are the spiders your tame beasts or your pets, if killing them makes you angry?”

Now since Bilbo has helped them escape a horrible death from the spiders he is starting to think that he could save them but is in no mind to think of what to do. He stays and watches and overhears that they have also captured Thorin. He is able to take a message to each dwarf, which is to keep their mouths shut about the treasure! Of course, who would want to share their hard earned treasure with yet MORE people? And Bilbo finds yet again that he is being depended on to rescue everyone.Elves as portrayed in the 1977 Rankin-Bass ver...

With all this time on Bilbo’s hands he is able to search even more and finds a cave that is not used often but does get used to send the old barrels down the river. And Bilbo starts to formulate a plan. It seems to work perfectly when the king’s butler tells the chief of the guards to come down and have a taste of the new wine. Unfortunately for them the wine is quite strong and Bilbo notices that soon they are sound asleep. He rushes to grab the keys and release all of the dwarves, just in time for another argument to break out between them all.

“We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned too, for certain!” they muttered. “We thought you had got some sensible notion, when you managed to get hold of the keys. This is a mad idea.”

“Very well!” said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed. “Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan – but I don’t suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try.”

This and of course when Bilbo is killing the spiders, is when I see a new Bilbo. He is going to stand up for what he knows is the best for all of them. This is their way out and he is going to take it with or without them. I think he’s grown an enormous amount in just a little time and it’s amazing to see. Even as he is fearful of what will happen and of course hasn’t thought the entire strategy all the way through, he knows this is their only chance and he has to be the one to say it.

He soon does discover that the plan does have one flaw in it. All the dwarves are snug as bugs in their barrels but just as the men are coming in he realizes he has no one to help HIM into a barrel. He decides on the spur of the moment to just jump into the water with a barrell and try his best to stay with it, which he does. This chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger which makes me want to continue this journey with this odd group!

The elves that were standing in the shallow water heaved and shoved. The barrels now all lashed together creaked and fretted.


“This is a heavy load!” some grumbled. “They float too deep – some of these are never empty. If they had come ashore in the daylight, we might have had a look inside,” they said.

“No time now!” cried the raftman. “Shove off!”

And off they went at last, slowly at first, until they had passed the point of rock where other elves stood to fend them off with poles, and then quicker and quicker as they caught the main stream and went sailing away down, down towards the Lake.

They had escaped dungeons of the king and were through the wood, but whether alive or dead still remains to be seen.


  1. I love Balin! I think he is my favorite dwarf in The Hobbit.

    It is amazing and entertaining to watch Bilbo grow. By this time, his old self would hardly recognize him (and certainly would not invite him to tea!).

    I am so glad you are enjoying your first read-through!

    1. Hahahah! No he would not invite himself to tea! Love that πŸ˜€

      1. If he did, that would be a teatime to remember! πŸ˜‰

  2. Bilbo does, indeed, grow up in this tale. The goblins just wine and whine. (Sorry.)

    1. Hahah!! I did start noticing that they whine quite a bit! I think it’s funny though πŸ˜€

  3. Reblogged this on WanderLust and commented:
    Geronimo! (Or whatever the Elvish equivalent is.)

  4. It is a fun chapter, isn’t it? Especially for Bilbo. Truth be told, it’s not the Elves’ finest hour, what with their suspicious nature, laxness of guard, and the ease with which they let themselves get drunk, but it’s fun to see Bilbo take more initiative and be the main mover and shaker in the group.

    1. I know! I’m so excited for Bilbo and can’t wait to see what happens next!

  5. […] The Hobbit Read a long ( – November 27th) […]

  6. […] The Hobbit Read a long ( – November 27th) […]

  7. Sorry–I’m behind reading (to my son–it takes longer than you think!) and behind reading this. But I appreciate your article, which has a great levity that contrasts the challenges in the chapter but not the writing of it.
    I am struck to with the phrase, “the New Bilbo.” I think this is why I try to write fantasy ( or children’s literature: it is the best genre to allow for the hidden nature of my characters to shine through. Hopefully, it creates new Sallys and new Nicolases and new Matsukos as the children (and adults) find new things in themselves as they read. I suspect by the time I finish the Hobbit I will be better able to slay dragons in my own world.

    1. It’s the fun that counts! πŸ˜€ You’re not behind, you’re at the perfect place. I wish I could read this to my niece. I feel like she would love it!

      Can’t wait to stop by and see what you wrote last year. Are you doing nanowrimo for 2012 also? Good luck!!

      1. I linked my notes for 2012–I didn’t try it last year (too intimidated!). We’ll see how it goes.
        I read Series of Unfortunate Events with my niece, keeping up with her over a year (and distance of 1000s of kms).

      2. Ahhh! Good luck for 2012 then! πŸ˜€ Don’t be intimidated! You’ll get lots of support I’m sure!

        My daughter and I read that, she was so much more into it that she just read it on her own without me!

      3. It was tough to keep up with my niece. I had to find ways to slow her down.

      4. That’s so awesome! My daughter didn’t like to read and then we got into Harry Potter together. Now she’s into Shakespeare!!! πŸ˜€

      5. I’m thinking Dickens next. Do you have a suggestion? He’s 8.

      6. Ohh! Dickens is fantastic! Sadly she didn’t start until late and she’s much, much older now. But I just kept taking her to the bookstore and we would see what she would pick up, if anything. One book at a time! πŸ˜€

        My niece reads a ton but she’s only 4! Well, more we read to her. LOL

  8. […] The Hobbit Read a long ( – November 27th) […]

  9. […] The Hobbit Read a long ( – November 27th) […]

  10. […] The Hobbit Read a long ( – November 27th) […]

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