music samples available:
Over Hill and Under Hill: Act Three Interlude:
Fire and Water: Song of the Wood Elves:
Fire and Water: final scenes:
the relevant passages are highlighted in the text and analysis below
the composer at the time the original score for The Hobbit was completed 
 The vocal score of The Hobbit was originally commenced during the spring of 1970 but the sketches had only proceeded as far as Act Three Scene Two when I broke off composition to begin work on my setting of Diarmuid and Gráinne. After the latter was completed in the summer of 1971 (when the suite from Over Hill and Under Hill was performed in London, using the material as it existed at that time) I returned to my original sketches and recommenced work on the last three Acts, subsequently returning to the beginning and reworking and completing the whole of the first three Acts. The opera was designed to be performed over two complete evenings, with three Acts being given on each evening.

The vocal score was bound into two volumes, one for each evening, and at that time the two volumes were given the independent titles Over Hill and Under Hill and Fire and Water. During the autumn of 1974 I again returned to the scores, and made substantial cuts intended to bring the whole within the scope of one evening. This cut score was then used as the basis for the full orchestral score, of which only the first two scenes were fully completed (although a number of later passages were also fully scored).

There the work rested for some twenty-five years. During that period the only composition which took place was the extraction of the two orchestral suites  from The Hobbit which were published separately. However, during the period 1982-83 the vocal score of Fire and Water was lost, and the only passages preserved were those which had been incorporated into the orchestral suites, those which had already been orchestrated in the complete full score, and one passage from Act One Scene Four which had been photocopied.

During the period 1998-99 I returned to the now incomplete score and concluded work on the full orchestration of the first three Acts, restoring the previously cut passages where necessary from the vocal score. I also reproduced the fragments of Fire and Water which still existed and reconstructed some of the incomplete sections.

The score as at present constituted therefore includes the whole of the completed score of Over Hill and Under Hill and fragments of Fire and Water.

   When The Hobbit was originally intended to form the first two evenings of the massive thirteen-evening cycle on The Lord of the Rings, it was my vision to include an extensive overture which would lay out the themes and argument for the whole work at the beginning of the first evening; since it would be made up entirely of themes subsequently developed in the cycle, its full dramatic significance could only be appreciated by a knowledge of the later action, and it was envisioned that the Overture would be played with the house lights up and a complete analysis of the material provided for the audience. However this Overture was never written, or even sketched; and the score of Over Hill and Under Hill therefore opens with a series of four sharp chords, each one resolving onto a unison C in different registers of the orchestra. The final one of these extends itself upwards onto a high Bb, and then below this a solo cello winds itself through the gently pastoral Shire melody, which extends its leisurely way through two full octaves. Although the melody recurs frequently in its complete form, the opening limb also detaches itself as a separate motif, which for convenience may be regarded as a ‘Shire-motif’:



After this exposition, the clarinet gives out a pert little theme, which will typify the hobbits:



It subsequently undergoes various transformations, both of rhythm and melodic outline, but the basically rising character remains unchanged and distinctive.    After this brief interruption the alto saxophone takes up the cello’s Shire melody, now with arabesques weaving their way around it. Its conclusion is again marked by 2, but now this has itself received a coda, a more solemn conclusion. It is the menacing downward passage of the motif of Adventure:



The Shire melody now returns for the third time, this time in fourths on two bassoons with a delicate flute figuration in fifths rising above it (both these being harmonies of rustic simplicity), and the recurrence of 2 is now taken up excitedly by the woodwind. After a brief silence the curtain rises as the full orchestra again declares the Shire melody, now clad in rich and glowing harmonies.

   The scene disclosed is that outside the door of Bag End, the home of the respectable and wealthy Bilbo Baggins. The latter is sitting outside the door and smoking peacefully, enjoying himself but saying nothing. 2 reappears, and is succeeded by a new whiff of theme, insubstantial as the smoke rising from his pipe:



This theme acts as a binding force during the opening of the scene that follows

   Whilst 4 is being developed pianissimo by the strings in a fleeting fugato, an old man comes along the road—Gandalf, the magician. He is at once proclaimed by his own motif,



the mystery of which is immediately contradicted by 2 and Bilbo’s cheery greeting Good morning!:



Gandalf’s response is ironic. He question’s Bilbo’s good faith in uttering these words, and makes much ironical use of 6 and 4. The latter, indeed, undergoes a transformation into an important theme—the motif of Gandalf’s Humour,



which has a perennial tendency to relapse into 4, until the  two  become  readily  interchangeable.   This       relapse occurs immediately, as Bilbo asks Gandalf to join him for a smoke, throwing in his own ironical version of 5. Gandalf has no time for such trifles; he has important business to attend to. He is looking for someone to share in an Adventure he is arranging: 3 proclaims his intention. Bilbo has no use for such frivolities; his interests are 2 and 6.  To an uneasy combination of 2 and 4 he tries to ignore the old man, and read his letters; but Gandalf does not move, and after some rapid dialogue is compelled to reveal his identity, to a grandiose statement of 5.  Bilbo is flabbergasted, and recites Gandalf’s achievements as known to him in an excited arietta. As he talks about Gandalf’s fireworks, a lively rhythm makes the first of its many appearances:




It is always to be associated with the workings of ‘magic’ in its most ‘social’ sense, and more particularly with Gandalf’s skill with fire. The excited figurations die down to another rhythm (previously heard earlier just before Gandalf’s disclosure of his identity) which acts as a more grandiose version of 8:



But when Gandalf offers Bilbo a part in his Adventure, Bilbo is horrified. To a rapid succession of 2, 3, 6 and 7 he makes his rapid excuses; but reminds the magician that he bears him no ill-will, and even asks him to tea the next day. Having done which, he rushes back indoors, only pausing at the last moment to regret his rash act.

   Gandalf remains alone in the centre of the stage. Slowly he steps up to the door of Bilbo’s home, and gravely marks it with his staff. As he does so the orchestra gives out in full scoring—in marked contrast to the light textures of the preceding scene—firstly the Adventure motif (3) and then twice the theme of Gandalf himself (5), the second time counterpointed by an excited 4 from the woodwind. He pauses to contemplate his handiwork, and then passes from the stage. The flutes take 4 and turn it into a gentle triplet dance rhythm as the light fades. During the interlude this dance rhythm continues over a string statement of the full Shire melody. This is interrupted towards its conclusion by a violent statement of 3, and then 2 and 6 as the curtain rises and the lights go up again.

   The scene is set in Bilbo’s home, where a large table stands towards the back of the room. It is the next evening, and dusk can be seen falling over the country-side through the window. Bilbo himself is sitting by the hearth having tea. We gather that he has forgotten all about his invitation of the previous day, and over a quiet statement of 2 by the strings the piccolo executes a carefree phrase,



itself based on 2 and yet breathing an air of relaxation. But the idyll is rapidly shattered as the front door bell rings. At once 10 is convulsed, and together with 5 provides a frenzied counterpoint to Bilbo’s sudden bustle of preparation for his unexpected visitor. As he answers the door, 6 appears again.

   The function of 6 may perhaps be summed up as a representation of the theme of Social Pressures. Under this guise it attaches itself at various times to various people. It is, as we have seen, the theme of Bilbo’s Good morning!, and will now become the theme of the dwarves’ At your service!; but it will later become equally applicable to the Sackville-Bagginses, and finally attach itself to Saruman, whose treachery is always excused by the watchword and veneer of Social Responsibility. In this sense it is also the theme of Conformity, and it is to be noted that as Bilbo departs more and more from his social norm, so at the same time he ceases to use it.

   It is not Gandalf at the door, but a dwarf. Over a counterpoint of 6 he enters and bows low, and his first greeting to Bilbo—Dwalin at your service!—is itself closely moulded on 6. But beneath it comes the first hint of the phrase that is later to identify itself as the motif of the dwarves:



At first it is scarcely noticed as, to variations of 10 at first excited and then hesitant, Bilbo invites his unexpected guest to stay to tea and makes Dwalin comfortable. No sooner is this end—and calm—again achieved, than again the bell rings. This time it is Balin who enters and bows low, to the same musical background as his brother. Slowly the texture becomes increasingly excited as the other dwarves arrive—at first Fili and Kili, then Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin and Glóin—with a heavy insistence on a dogged figure



which does not recur in later scenes, but may perhaps be called the theme of the Unexpected Party; and with ever-greater prominence the unwelcome Adventure motif 3.  Gandalf’s arrival, together with Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and the immensely important Thorin Oakenshield, unleashes a torrent of themes—his own 5, 6, 12, 11 in both its original slow form and a faster rushing version (Thorin has no personal theme, relying entirely on themes borrowed either from the idea of Kingship or utilising the dwarves’ themes), and finally a variation in quicker time of 9 as the dwarves settle themselves   to   eat.  Thorin   demands   music;     instruments are fetched, and the dwarves embark upon the first of their three set-piece songs.

   The song which follows, Far over the Misty Mountains cold, summarises in its length many of the main themes of the opera, including many which have already been heard. The main melody is a compound triple-time variant on 11, which although it is sometimes used afterwards in connection with Thorin may be better regarded as a theme of the Dwarves’ Hope:



The second and third strophes of the song, in which Fili and Kili sing of the riches of Erebor the Lonely Mountain, are closely founded on this theme, but also include the theme of Adventure (3) and a brief trumpet figure which is a glimpse of the future Sword motif (26). The fourth strophe brings back the material of 13, and then the song turns to matters more serious and more tragic: the sack of Erebor by Smaug the Dragon. Amid the descriptions of fire and pillage there come two vitally important themes: the theme of the Dragon



and the theme of the Kings under the Mountain, Thorin’s ancestors:



And when Thorin describes the death of the dwarves beneath the feet of the dragon, the Adventure theme (3) is given out gently by the unusual colours of the recorders and saxophones. The final strophe returns to the hope of the song’s beginning with 13, but is broken off abruptly as Bilbo rises suddenly (14 tells us of the fear that has suddenly arisen in his mind).

   Thorin begins his exhortation to the dwarves, and the increasing clamour of 3 tells us in no uncertain terms that Bilbo’s worst fears are being immediately realised. He jumps up with a scream and collapses shivering on the carpet. Gandalf is inclined to treat the episode as rather amusing (7), but the others and especially Glóin are more sceptical. Their suspicion stings Bilbo as he recovers consciousness, and 2 mingles surprisingly with 6, 4 and 3 as Bilbo declares his readiness to join their adventure. But his misgivings are not entirely allayed; and to satisfy him it is necessary that Thorin narrate the story of the sack of Erebor in more explicit terms than was possible in the earlier song.

   Most of the themes which are employed are those already     heard  in  the  song—their  significance  is  only now fully realised—but two themes, one now important and one entirely new, should be singled out. The first of these is little more than an ostinato rhythm which accompanies Thorin’s description of the merry town of Dale in the valley beneath the mountain. It is, in fact, the theme of Dale itself:



The other new theme occurs as Thorin describes the treasure found by the dwarves in the Lonely Mountain. Since it only occurs once at this juncture and will not recur until Fire and Water, it is not necessary to remember it; but it is the first appearance of the theme of the Arkenstone,



played in the lowest registers of the vibraphone, marimba and pianoforte—this tuned percussion scoring is to characterise it henceforth. Thereafter the narration follows musically a similar course to the song, until Thorin tells of the escape of his grandfather and father from the dragon. At first this description is accompanied by a slow and mournful variant of 11, and then as he tells of the small side door into the halls beneath the Mountain which only he and his ancestors knew about, a flowing theme appears, which will subsequently recur:



It may be noted that all the themes associated with the Lonely Mountain are closely related; the descending theme of the dwarves is not dissimilar from the descending theme of the dragon, and their respective intervals of a third and a fourth also characterise 3, 18 and in inversion the important Kingship motif 15.

   As Thorin concludes his narration 3 surges through the orchestra in an increasing flood, and all the company rise and sing in chorus the last verse of the dwarves’ song (13). Bilbo, rising and joining his voice with the others in a florid coloratura passage, makes evident his enthusiasm for the adventure, and to a resounding statement of 3 the curtain falls.

   If the first two evenings of the Lord of the Rings cycle were being played as one opera in one evening, it was intended that the First Act should end at this point with a restatement of Gandalf’s motif (5). However in the full version the cadence at the end of 3 is interrupted by a suddenly hushed 11 on the solo violin. At once we are transported  out  into  the  Wilderlands,  to places where the empty hills surround the road with menace. A combination of 2 and 3 is heard, its harmonies shadowed and clouded:



The opening phrase of the Shire melody (1) brings a measure of hope, and the hobbit’s theme (2) is heard as a delicate bass to a filigree version of the Adventure theme (3) descending gently in the woodwind. The material builds to a sonorous climax which also embraces 5 and a hint of 1 (the rising portion of the phrase only) before the opening material of the interlude returns, now a sixth higher. The prominent part played in this interlude by the solo violin leads to a brief cadenza, at first expressive and then turning towards violence, which acts as a link to the next scene.

   The setting is laid out in the Wild some months later, in an evening camp beneath the edges of a wood. It is raining heavily, and the dwarves and Bilbo are huddled under the trees for shelter. The violin cadenza resolves itself into a stormy phrase:



against which the woodwind enunciate in slow harmony the Adventure theme. Bilbo is sitting apart at the front of the stage, and in a quiet monologue sings of his disgust at the weather and at the adventure in which he is so unfortunately involved. His longing for home is expressed by a full version of the Shire melody, but its climax is interrupted by 3 and prosaic remarks from Thorin about finding somewhere dry to sleep.

   It is at that moment Balin sees—not for the last time—a light in the forest. A fire is being lit, and although it is not yet clear who or what has lit it, there is a strong hint from the woodwind in a mysterious phrase—the first of the major configurations of 6 (since, although the trolls do not represent Social Pressures, they epitomise the ultimate freedom from them):



The substitution of the minor for the major third in this theme, although not exclusively adopted, tends to typify this form of the motif.

   After some argument, during which they discover that Gandalf is missing, the dwarves decide that Bilbo, their burglar, is the ideal scout to find out about the light. Thorin pushes him off into the woods, and at the same time the scene begins to change; henceforth the action is to concentrate not on the camp by the riverside, but in the trolls’ clearing in the woods. A short interlude covers this change (it is based entirely on rising repetitions of     21 counterbalanced     by spread descending

repetitions of 2), and as Bilbo arrives at the clearing and hesitates as he sees the trolls, the trumpet fixes the new form of 6 by declaiming 22 fff. The trolls as usual are arguing, and the very first phrase of their argument becomes a distinctive theme:



The argument continues, with an orchestral accompaniment consisting of held bass pedal notes, 21 and occasional orchestral irruptions of 22, especially its opening phrase. Bert and Tom complain that William has brought them down from their native mountains, and since then they have starved. William’s irate response is cut short as he sees Bilbo and grabs him, and 6 returns to its original form as Bilbo, desperately attempting to be polite in spite of his terror, tries to answer their questions. But all they really want to know is if he edible:



Satisfied at last that Bilbo by himself would make a scanty meal, the trolls endeavour to discover if he has any companions. Bilbo prevaricates; and his answers lead to a fight between William (who wants to let him go) and Bert (who wants answers). The fight which ensues is accompanied by the themes already heard, but is interrupted by 11 and the arrival of Dwalin. At once the fight stops, and Dwalin is seized and put into a sack. The trolls begin to realise that supper may be at hand, and slip into the shadows. Their subsequent capture of the rest of the dwarves, as they arrive in small groups, is typified by a restless drum rhythm based on 9.  Towards the end of this sequence 22 recurs with a driving upward surge in the brasses:




 which in its harmonic outline prefigures the later theme of the Ring—the trolls are creatures of Sauron.

   Having subdued Thorin, the trolls can afford to relax and consider the culinary preparation of their captives. But their discussion is continually interrupted by a voice from the trees which fans their arguments and disrupts their agreements. The trolls think that the voice is one of themselves, but the orchestra informs us differently—with 5. At last Bert and Tom put their joint feet heavily down: the arguments must cease, and the preparation of their meal must commence. But dawn comes, and as 5 sounds out in the full orchestra Gandalf steps forward into the clearing, and the trolls freeze as they turn into stone with only a last twitter of 21 remaining like a bird greeting the rising dawn.

   As the sun rises it has also disclosed the trolls’ cave where they spent the daytime hours sheltering from the deadly rays of the sun. As soon as Bilbo and Gandalf have released the dwarves, they go up and enter this in search of treasure. Gandalf and Thorin remain outside, because Thorin wishes to know what had happened to Gandalf the previous night. Gandalf explains that he had gone on ahead to spy out their road (all the foregoing is accompanied by various themes which are all familiar) when he met two Elves from Rivendell. The orchestra at once simultaneously gives out two themes both associated with the Elves, and both destined to play a major part in the subsequent action (the long phrase 25a will later be split up into several independent components):



It was these Elves, Gandalf continues, who told him about the trolls encamped by the river; and it was this knowledge that brought him back—as it transpired, only just in the nick of time. As he concludes his narrative, the dwarves and Bilbo emerge from the cave. Bilbo has found a large knife (almost a sword) for himself, and Fili and Kili carry two great longswords which they present to Gandalf and Thorin. The sword theme, foreshadowed as long ago as the dwarves’ song in Scene Two, asserts itself:





Gandalf is fascinated by the runes on the blades, but the others wish only to get away. Gandalf leads them back towards their camp and baggage, and amid 26, 7, 3 and finally 5 the curtain falls.

   The Second Act opens without preamble on the floor of the valley of Rivendell. The oboes play a new theme, specifically associated with the valley and its lord Elrond, but which is based upon the opening phrase of 25a:




Immediately the curtain rises to show the scene, shrouded in dusk. Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves wait silently on the valley floor, and a chorus of elves mock them from trees in the wings, accompanied purely by harps playing various forms of 25b. The elven chorus, shadowy and fleeting, leads back to 27, which now takes on a more extended form henceforth to be used interchangeably with the original:



(it is quoted here in its definitive form; the final triplet figure does not appear initially). A tall young Elf steps forward from the trees to greet them, and Gandalf reproves the elvish voices for their levity. As their guide leads them to cross the river, the light fades as the harps ruminate on 25b, expanding it in a gigantic fantasia on 27, a massive series of harp arpeggios in Bb. The final phrase of 27 turns itself into the definitive form of 28 as the lights rise again, to disclose the moonlit river terrace.

   Elrond is examining the swords, to 26, and proclaims them to be ancient and famous blades. Thorin promises to keep his in honour, in the hope that it may soon live up to its name—Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver. Elrond has little comfort for him; it is likely all too soon to be needed in the mountains. Once again the mocking voices of the elves are heard, but their jollity is interrupted by thunder as the scene fades and the inner curtain falls.

   Lightning flashes across the scene, and a clamorous new theme thunders through the bass:



The tritonal harmony is typical of the Orcs; the chromatic modulations are the bearers of more sinister import. A great storm is raging, and as it slowly dies down the lights rise to disclose the second scene.

   The dwarves and Gandalf are sleeping for shelter in a cave high in the mountains; but Bilbo is tossing restlessly. He mutters about a crack in the wall opening to swallow him up, and finally wakes up with a scream (all of this accompanied by the relevant musical themes). At once 29 rises up ferociously, and a great company of Orcs and Goblins rush out of one of the cave fissures, seizing the dwarves and the unfortunate Bilbo. But Gandalf, wakened by Bilbo’s scream, raises his staff—5 and 8—and a flash from it strikes his would-be captors dead. He turns and speeds after the captives, and the scene becomes suddenly totally dark.

   In the darkness there is at first silence, and then suddenly an echoing spoken chorus is heard. For thirty bars there is no note of pitched music in the score; all that the interlude consists of is the laughing and jeering of the Orcs (which is, however, precisely rhythmically notated) and the cracking of their whips—eight of them, lined up stereophonically across the stage. After this extraordinary passage of writing 29 roars out once again, as the lights go up and the dwarves are driven into a large cavern deep beneath the earth.

   The cavern is filled with Orcs, but dominating them is the Great Goblin surrounded by his guards. His first utterance  is  obsequiously  and  ironically    polite—it  is inevitably based closely upon a variant of 6—but its pleasantness is contradicted by an enunciation by the pizzicato strings and harp of a violent harmonic theme:



This theme, harmonically founded upon the same tritone harmony as 29, will reappear many times in significant situations. At present it is only hinted at, because the Great Goblin continues the interrogation of Thorin and the slave driver who captured them in a rougher tone. Thorin’s attempts at explanation, culminating in 15 as he refers to these truly hospitable mountains, are cut short roughly by the slave driver, who draws the Great Goblin’s attention to the sword Orcrist at Thorin’s side. There is a shriek from the assembled Orcs, and the Great Goblin in a rage commands the dwarves to be led away to torture and a slow death.

   At that moment Gandalf steps from the shadows and with one stroke of his sword swipes off the Great Goblin’s head. The fire goes up in a shower of sparks (8), and 30 blares out in the brass as a valediction while Gandalf urges the dwarves to follow him out into the tunnels. It becomes rapidly dark as they pass into the tunnel; Gandalf pauses to ensure that everybody is with him, but that is his undoing. A group of Orcs pursue them along the tunnel and now set upon them with fury—26 conflicts with 29, with the personal motifs of the protagonists laid on top—before Gandalf leads the dwarves rapidly away down the tunnel, pursued finally by fleeting echoes of 29. But not all have followed him. The flute plays a slow 2, and Bilbo raises himself painfully from the ground. Something glints in his hand: the golden ring on which the rest of the opera cycle is to be founded. Its theme is heard for the first time:



He places it on his finger, and then picking up his knife —26—makes his slow and painful way after the dwarves.

   He may not yet realise the significance of his discovery, but the orchestra in the ensuing interlude describe its importance in no uncertain terms, incidentally introducing for the first time two major themes of the cycle. The first of these is a pure rhythm which will henceforth be associated with the notion of Evil: it is delivered now at very slow speed, a brooding menace given out by two bass drums in canon:



The second is the theme of Sauron, the Lord of the Rings himself:



It will be seen that this shares the same chromatic characterisation as 29; this is simply because 29 is a reflection of the power of the Dark Lord, rather than because Sauron is to be identified in the mind with the nature of the Orcs. Even at this stage, however, 33 does not climax the interlude; this honour is given to a theme symbolising the Evil Effect of the Ring. It will later become immediately identified with the words

                One Ring to rule them all,

                one ring to find them,

                one Ring to bring them all

                and in the darkness bind them,

but at present it is merely a psychological theme and a climax leading back into a long fugue for the woodwind upon 31:



After 31 dies away, the richness of the scoring of the interlude falls away to a bare nothing—a high note for the violins held indefinitely over the dry tones of the marimba sounding like a drip of distant water—as the lights rise on the new scene, set by the bank of a deep underground lake at the foot of the mountains.

   The high violin line descends slowly in a series of thirds—echoing the rising thirds of 31—and shortly afterwards a series of slight jerking upward thirds interrupt them. This will become the Gollum theme, which will be quoted for convenience in its definitive form:



Bilbo, vainly trying to follow the dwarves, has found himself by the edge of the water, and is peering out into the darkness when the gentle swish of oars is heard on the lake. Slowly a small boat draws into view, with Gollum (35) rowing. Bilbo, alarmed, threatens the creature with his sword, but Gollum is at first all friendship. In order to gain Bilbo’s confidence, he suggests a game of riddles, to which Bilbo agrees. A short motif, which recurs continually throughout the scene, may be regarded as a Riddle theme:



Gollum then asks the first riddle. Each riddle is a minor closed aria, but their essential unity is demonstrated by the fact that the pattern of the accompaniment to each vocal melody is always identical, a shifting series of arpeggios across the violins’ open strings:



Bilbo guesses the first riddle easily, and at once Gollum is more defensive. He now suggests that they turn the game into a competition: if he cannot answer he will show Bilbo how to escape from the orc-tunnels, but if Bilbo in his turn fails to answer Gollum will eat him—23 returns, and begins to take on its significance as a theme of Hunger, both physical and spiritual. Bilbo, from force of circumstances, agrees; and he presents the second riddle, which Gollum guesses easily. The riddle the latter presents in turn causes Bilbo more difficulty, and Gollum begins to anticipate an easy meal—23 again—but when he steps out of the boat a frightened fish jumps out of the water, and Bilbo at once guesses that the answer is Fish. His riddle in its turn presents Gollum with problems; he has to search through his memories, and these in turn remind him of his life in the outer world—memories he has vainly tried to suppress and which therefore make him suffer and become angry. These memories are the memories of his former self, Sméagol, and have an entirely independent theme:



 The harsh harmonies of the final two chords of this theme pervade his next question: what is it that devours all things, and which nothing can escape? Bilbo is at a loss; he attempts to think—3, 23 and 35 are three of the possible answers which present themselves to his mind—but 23, in conjunction with 35, sends him into a panic, and all he can beg for is more time; and the word time gives him the answer.

   Gollum is disappointed, and comes and sits down beside Bilbo on the bank; a movement of 37 onto notes other than the open strings of the violins hints that this is in breach of the rules. Bilbo is flustered by it; the only question he can think of is What have I got in my pocket?:



It is the ring in his pocket trying to declare itself, as 32 indicates; but Gollum is unable to guess, and when Bilbo finally tells him that his time is up, it is only Bilbo’s   sword   that   saves   his   life.  Gollum has now only one thought—his hunger, 23—and begins to search his own pockets for the ring; but it is lost. Now he leaps to a guess, too late—31 tells us clearly what it is—and rushes at Bilbo with the cry What has it got in its pocketses? Bilbo, alarmed, plunges his hand into the pocket at issue to protect the ring, and immediately vanishes:



In his horror and confusion, Gollum begins to murmur to himself; his old personality, long suppressed by the power of the Ring, comes to the surface again and begins an argument with him; 38 subdues 35, until both subside into the slow drip of water and the hollow dry sound of the marimba. The argument between his two personalities—Sméagol and Gollum—continues, until he decides to set off to the way out of the tunnels, to prevent Bilbo’s escape; 31 declares his intent, and in a rapid rushing interlude 38 is heard again, with the chains of falling seconds repeated constantly, leading to 35; and finally 39 is heard three times in succession.

   The new scene is laid in the passage leading towards the way out of the tunnels. 3 sounds in the strings, tremolo and sul ponticello, as Gollum peers down the tunnel; Bilbo is following behind him. Gollum is suspicious—he smells the goblins guarding the exit, but he smells also Bilbo following him. As the latter tries to step past him and continue on down the tunnel, Gollum detects him. He screams and tries to grab at him, but it is too late; Bilbo has escaped and flees on down the tunnel, pursued by Gollum’s curses.

   As Bilbo continues down the tunnel 32, 31, 2, 3 and 29 make shadowy appearances, until he suddenly runs into the guards at the door. The moment they see him—he has removed the Ring from his finger—they rush down upon him. At once he puts the ring on again (40), and amid 2 makes his way gingerly to the door, finally escaping amid 3 and leaving the goblin captain staring and amazed.

   The inner curtain slowly rises during the ensuing interlude. Bilbo has escaped, but he believes the dwarves to be still behind him; 11 is played as a fugue by the horns and strings, and over it the saxophone plays a gentle lament based upon 13, which is taken up by the woodwind; then a gloom falls over the scene, and the piccolo plays a piercingly high theme like the howl of a wolf:




After a while this leads into a flute cadenza as the lights rise. The scene is dominated by five tall fir-trees under which there is a cluster of bushes. In these bushes Gandalf and the dwarves sit arguing. 11 continues as Gandalf tries to convince the dwarves that the loss of Bilbo   is   an   irretrievable  disaster,  a   contention      the dwarves are inclined to doubt. Bilbo’s unexpected arrival surprises them considerably, and Thorin is especially concerned to learn how he escaped. At once 38 rises from the bass, and 34 threatens warningly as Bilbo fails to disclose his possession of the ring to his comrades. Instead he pretends that his escape was due entirely to his own skill, an assurance that Gandalf (as 7 reveals) is sceptical about. But 29 mutters in the bass, and 41 rises above it, as Gandalf urges the others that they must press on.

   It is too late. 41 transforms itself into a genuine wolf-howl, and it is horribly apparent to Gandalf that the wolves are gathering to the attack already. He urges them to climb the trees, as the chorus howls ever louder; but Bilbo’s inability to scale the trunk of his tree until aided by Dori alerts the wolves to their presence. They surround the trees, howling dangerously, until Gandalf suddenly sends a series of fireballs from the trees at them—the rhythm of 8 flares up ever more violently. As the wolves flee back in terror, the flames catch at the bushes beneath the trees, and it is now the refugees rather than the wolves who are menaced by the fire.

   At this moment the Orcs arrive, heralded by a furious storm of triadic harmonies in the style of 29. In a menacing chorus, now sung rather than spoken, the Orcs gather round and mock the dwarves while others of them fetch brushwood to stoke the fires that Gandalf has so injudiciously started. It culminates in a leaping phrase:





which will later recur as one of the Mordor themes: that of Joy in Wickedness.

   Gandalf climbs up to the top of his tree as the flames leap higher up towards him. At that moment the Lord of the Eagles sweeps down over the clearing, seizes Gandalf in his talons, and bears him away:




Despite the screams and yells of the threatening Orcs, further eagles sweep in across the scene and bear away the dwarves, with Bilbo last of all, as the trees erupt into great torches of fire. As mists veil the scene, the orchestra takes up 43 vigorously and develops it in a volatile interlude, interspersed with 3. A variant of 2, here an almost typically Eagles theme, is heard in the bass:




After two statements of the main theme, the mists disperse to reveal the eagles’ eyrie high in the mountains.

   The eagles bring the dwarves and Bilbo in to the eyrie, where the Lord of the Eagles and Gandalf are already deep in discussion. Bilbo is terrified—2 perpetually leaps up anxiously in the bass—but Dori’s attempts to reassure him lead him to keep silent if only to hide his embarrassment. The Lord of the Eagles, addressing Gandalf, tells him that his subjects will be willing to take the Company out into the plains, for which Gandalf is greatly gratified.  The dialogue here is set over a solemnly descending chromatic scale over which hovers a recurrent tremolo pattern which perhaps may be cited as a motif of Flight:



This theme grows increasingly louder as the dwarves prepare to depart. As the eagles and their passengers rise into the air against the rising morning sunlight, 43 ring out heroically once more, with 44 continuing in the bass—and these two motifs bring the act to a close, 45 alone remaining and slowly dying into the distance.

   This same material also forms the prelude to the Third Act, but it is preceded by an uneasy introduction which introduces another variant of 6, now symbolising Bilbo’s unease:



As the eagles set their passengers down they sing a duet of farewell to which Gandalf responds (5). He then tells them that he is shortly to leave them, because “after all, this is not my adventure” (15). Thorin offers him rewards to stay, but Gandalf proceeds to tell them of “a very great person…who lives not far away” and from whom they will be able to seek help:



He tells them to come after him in pairs, and leaves with Bilbo. The rhythm of 47 is taken up with increasing acceleration during the following orchestral interlude, then calms down to a humming figure in the strings suggestive of a swarm of bees. The return of 47 leads to a broad dotted version of 3 followed by 5 as Gandalf and Bilbo enter Béorn’s hall.

   The scene in which Béorn is introduced progressively to the dwarves is a light-hearted scherzo which recapitulates in abridged form much of the material of the preceding Acts. Great play is had with 6 as the company greet their reluctant host, and as Gandalf concludes his narrative 47 returns in a broad and nobly welcoming manner. Béorn now offers his assistance. He offers to lend them horses:



which will take them to the edges of the forest of Mirkwood to their east:



The forest is inhabited by elves, although we do not know this yet; and 49 is therefore a mutated and subdued version of 25a.  Béorn goes on to warn them of the dangers of the Enchanted River:



As Thorin thanks him for his aid, 47 spreads in an ever more grandiose manner throughout the orchestra.

   An interlude follows, the second of the three set-piece songs for the dwarves.  It is opened by a plaintive oboe theme:



and all the dwarves then declaim the opening line of their song. The second line, but in the forest stirred no leaf, brings a new theme which will be of significance later:



This theme is taken up by the orchestra while Balin continues alone with the next strophe of the song. 51 returns as an accompaniment to Dwalin in the next strophe and continues below the rather more agitated verse given to Óin; but in the strophe allocated to Glóin a reference to the Dragon brings an ominous reference to 14 before all the dwarves take up the final verse with 52 prominent. As Béorn smiles his appreciation of the song, the orchestra follows a final restatement of 51 with 52 as the music sinks down to a gloomy return of 49.

  The scene now revealed is the entry to the forest path through Mirkwood, and 49 is taken up as a slow fugato in the lower strings. As Gandalf reveals that he is now leaving, 49 transmutes subtly into a reminiscence of 33 which discloses the nature of his “pressing business”. But when he turns to their path through the forest, and his hope that they will emerge safely at the other side, a new theme unwinds:



which will recur at the relevant later point in Fire and Water. 48 returns as Gandalf mounts his horse and rides off, to the despair of Thorin and the dwarves; 11  lurches violently in the bass  and  leads to a new version of itself which moves upwards:


finally leading to a new series of ruminations on 49 as the curtain falls on the first evening.




Scene One

The front garden of Bag End in Hobbiton.  Bilbo is seated on a bench in front of the door smoking a small clay

pipe.  He sits and puffs, evidently enjoying himself but saying nothing.  Then down the road appears Gandalf, an old

man leaning on a staff, clad in grey.  Bilbo looks up, rather startled

BILBO   Good morning!

GANDALF   What do you mean?  Do you mean that is a good morning, whether I like it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?

BILBO   All of them at once; and a very good morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain!  If you have a pipe about you, sit down and have a fill of mine!  There’s no hurry, we have all the day before us!

He sits back and breathes deeply on his pipe.  The smoke rises, gently drifting, into the air; both he and Gandalf

contemplate it in silence for a while

GANDALF   Very pretty!  But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning.  I am looking for someone to share in an adventure I am arranging, and it is very difficult to find anyone.

BILBO   I should think so—in these parts!  We are plain quiet folk who have no use for adventures.  Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!  I can’t see what anybody sees in them!

He fishes in his jacket pocket and draws out some letters, which he ostentatiously prepares to read.  Gandalf does

not move; he just stands there and stares at Bilbo who, after a moment, puts down his papers and continues in a

sharper tone

Good morning!  We don’t want any adventures here, thank you!  You might try over the Hill or across the Water.

GANDALF   What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!  Now you mean that you want to be rid of me, and it won’t be good till I move off.

BILBO   Not at all, not at all, my dear sir! Let me see...I don’t think I know your name?

GANDALF   Yes, yes, my dear sir! And I do know your name, Mr Bilbo Baggins.  And you do know my name: I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!

BILBO   Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me!  Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a magic pair of diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone until ordered?  Not the fellow that used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and the unexpected luck of widow’s sons?  Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks?  I remember those!  Old Took used to have them on Midsummer Eve.  They used to go  up  like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the sky all evening!  Dear me!  Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the blue for mad adventures!  Bless me, life used to be quite inter...I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time.  I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business.

GANDALF   Where else should I be?  All the same, I am pleased to find that you still remember something about me.  Indeed, for your old grandfather Took’s sake, I will give you what you asked for.

BILBO   I beg your pardon, I haven’t asked for anything!

GANDALF   Yes, you have!  Twice now.  My pardon.  I give it you.  Indeed I will go so far as to send you on this adventure.  Very amusing for me, very good for you—and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it.

BILBO   Sorry!  I don’t want any adventures, thank you!  Good morning! But please come to tea—come tomorrow!  Goodbye!

He turns and scuttles towards the front door.  As he reaches the doorstep he hesitates for a moment

Now what on earth did I invite him to tea for!

He runs in and shuts the door.  Gandalf stands outside, laughing quietly to himself.  At last he stirs, steps up to the

door and marks it with his staff.  He pauses to look at his markings and then, still laughing, he moves off.  The inner

curtain falls slowly


Scene Two

The inner curtain rises again to disclose the interior of Bag End, the next afternoon.  A large table stands towards

the back of the room, with several chairs around it.  Towards the left, by the hearth, which is to  the  front  of  the

stage,  there is a small table with two chairs by the fire.  Across the back a large window looks out across the

countryside, which is shrouded in dusk.  As the curtain rises, Bilbo is seated at the small table sipping a cup of tea

and finishing off a small cake.  He picks up another cake from the table and continues to eat in silence for a while,

when suddenly there is a loud ring at the front doorbell.  He looks horrorstricken for a moment; then he leaps to his

feet, dashes off left and returns with a plate of cakes, which he places on the table.  He hesitates for a moment,

checking that all is well, and then rushes off to the door, which is just offstage right.  As he opens the door, quite out

of breath, he begins to pant out a word of greeting.

BILBO   I am so sorry...oh!

For it is not Gandalf, but the dwarf Dwalin who hops inside, just as if he had been invited, and hangs up his cloak

on a row of pegs by the door.  He turns and bows

DWALIN   Dwalin at your service!

BILBO   Bilbo Baggins at yours!...

There is an uncomfortable silence for a moment, both waiting for the other to speak.  Then Bilbo turns to the dwarf

with an air of rather forced joviality

I am just about to take tea; pray come and have some with me.

DWALIN   Thank you!

Bilbo leads him to the small table and settles him down by the fire, pushing the plate of cakes towards him.  Dwalin,

apparently rather surprised by this reception, takes one.  He is about to speak when there is another ring at the

door bell

BILBO   Excuse me! [He goes off right to the door]  So you have got here at l...oh!

This time it is Balin who hops inside in the same manner, and bows low

BALIN   Balin at your service!—I see they have begun to arrive already.

BILBO [completely thrown by the latter remark] Thank you!...Come along in, and have some tea!

BALIN [rather reprovingly]  A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you.

BILBO   Of course!

He scuttles off left. Balin hangs up his hood and moves to the fore, sitting down by Dwalin and pulling up a chair

from the big table.  They are immersed in deep conversation when Bilbo returns, puts the beer not very graciously

on the table and is about to resume his seat.  The doorbell rings again

BILBO [to himself]  Gandalf for certain this time!

But it is not, for when he opens the door it is Fili and  Kili who enter, as before

What can I do for you, my dwarves?

KILI   Kili at your service!

FILI   And Fili!

BILBO   At yours and your family’s!

KILI   Balin and Dwalin here already, I see!

FILI   Let us join the throng!

BILBO [aghast]   Throng!...

Fili and Kili rush across to greet Balin and Dwalin, and pull up chairs for themselves.  There is almost at once

another ring at the doorbell

BILBO   Someone at the door!

FILI   Some five, I would say—they were coming along behind us.

As soon as Bilbo opens the door, all five enter: Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin and Glóin

DORI   Dori at your service!

ORI   Ori at your service!

NORI   Nori at your service!

ÓIN   Óin at your service!

GLÓIN   Glóin at your service!

BILBO   Come along in!

The new arrivals move across to the table.  Bilbo stands and stares open-mouthed, when suddenly there is a loud

knocking at the door.  Bilbo, now totally confused and extremely angry, rushes to the door and tears it open. 

Thorin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur fall face-first onto the doormat.  Gandalf, who is behind them, helps them up and

ushers them in

GANDALF   Carefully, carefully!...Bilbo, let me introduce Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and especially Thorin!

BIFUR, BOFUR and BOMBUR   At your service!

BILBO [as Thorin struggles up]  I say, I am most awfully sorry!

THORIN   Pray don’t mention it.

GANDALF   Now we are all here!  Quite a merry gathering!  A little red wine, I think, for me.

THORIN   And for me.

BIFUR   And raspberry jam.

BOFUR   And apple tart.

BOMBUR   And pork pie.

DORI   And salad.

NORI   And mince pies.

ORI   And cheese.

FILI [from the table]  And more cakes.

BALIN   And ale.

DWALIN   And coffee.

KILI   If you don’t mind!

GANDALF   Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!  And just bring out the cold chicken and tomatoes!

Bilbo  stumps  off,  very  annoyed.   Thorin  and Gandalf seat  themselves  at  the  head  of  the  large  table, and

light  their  pipes.  Fili  and  Kili  dash  out  to  help Bilbo, and return laden with plates and dishes of food.  Dori,

Ori and Nori rearrange the chairs about the table, with help from Balin and Dwalin; Óin and Glóin go out left, and

return with more chairs.  Bifur, Bofur and Bombur go out right and  bring  into  the  room  two  large  viols  with  a

large drum.  These they leave by the door, and Bombur takes the drum across the table.  As Bifur and Bofur bring in

a great golden harp, Thorin looks up

THORIN   Now for some music!

The harp is placed before him, and Bombur stands by the drum.  Balin and Dwalin take the viols and stand by the

door.  The others group themselves around Thorin: Fili and Kili with two small fiddles, Dori, Nori and Ori with f

lutes, Óin and Glóin with recorders, and Bifur and Bofur with clarinets.  When all have settled themselves, Thorin

strikes the harp and the music begins


           Far over the Misty Mountains cold

           to dungeons deep and caverns old

           we must away, ere break of day,

           to seek the pale enchanted gold.

FILI [accompanied by Kili  on the violin]

           The dwarves of yore wove mighty spells,

           while hammers fell like ringing bells

           in places deep, where dark things sleep

           in hollow halls beneath the fells.

KILI    For ancient king and Elvish lord

           there many a gleaming golden hoard

           they shaped and wrought, and light they caught

           to hide in gems on hilt of sword.


           Far over the Misty Mountains cold

           to dungeons deep and caverns old

           we must away, ere break of day,

           to claim our long-forgotten gold.


           The pines were roaring on the height,

           the winds were moaning in the night.

           The fire was red, it flaming spread;

           the trees like torches blazed with light.


           The bells were ringing in the vale

           and men looked up with faces pale;

           the dragon’s ire more fierce than fire

           laid low their towers and houses frail.


           The Mountain smoked beneath the moon;

           the dwarves, they heard the clamp of doom.

           They left their hall to dying fall

           beneath his feet, beneath the moon.


           Far over the Misty Mountains grim

           to dungeons deep and caverns dim

           we must away, ere break of day,

           to win our harps and gold from him!

    Bilbo rises hastily, and the music suddenly stops

THORIN   Where are you going?

BILBO   How about some light?

ÓIN   We like the dark.

GLÓIN   Dark for dark business!

BILBO   Of course!

He sits down again by the fire, knocking a plate off the table as he does so

GANDALF   Hush! Let Thorin speak!

Thorin rises imperiously at the head of table

THORIN   Gandalf, dwarves and Mr Baggins!  We are met here together tonight to discuss our ways, means, plans, policy and devices.  We shall soon, ere break of day, set out upon our long journey, from which some of us may never return.  It is a solemn moment—

He is rudely interrupted as Bilbo leaps up with a sudden scream

BILBO   Ah, struck by lightning, struck by lightning!

GANDALF and Thorin leap up and hurry over to him.  They carry him over towards the right and place  two

chairs  together as a couch.   They lay him down on them and then turn back towards the table

GANDALF   Funny queer fellow; gets excitable little fits, but he is one of the best.

GLÓIN [sceptically]   Humph!  I think it sounded more like fright than excitement!  He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!

Gandalf is about to make some sarcastic retort, when Bilbo suddenly raises himself from his couch

BILBO   Pardon me.  I think I am right in believing that you think I am no good.  I will show you.  [He stands up, adopting a conscientiously heroic posture]  Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East.  [Suddenly nerves overcome his resolve, and he tries once again to discover once more what this is all about]  But first I should like to know a bit more about things.

THORIN  Oh, very well!...Long ago, in my grandfather Thrór’s time, our family was driven out of the far north, and came with all their wealth and tools to Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.  There they mined and tunnelled and made huge halls and great workshops, and my grandfather was King Under the Mountain, and was treated with great reverence by the mortal men, who lived in the merry town of Dale in the valley beneath the Mountain.  So my grandfather’s halls became full of armour and jewels and carvings and cups, and his fame spread far abroad.  Undoubtedly that was what brought the Dragon.  One day, the great Dragon of the North, Smaug, came south.  The first we heard of it was a noise like a hurricane coming from the north, and the pine trees on the mountains cracking and groaning in the wind.  Some of the dwarves   who  happened  to  be  outside—I was one, luckily—saw the Dragon settle on our mountain in a spout of flame.  Then he came down the slopes and when he reached the woods they all went up in fire.  The dwarves rushed out of their Great Gate; but there was the Dragon waiting for them.  None escaped that way.  The river roared up in flame and a fog fell upon Dale, and in the fog the Dragon came upon them and destroyed the town.  The few of us that were outside sat and wept in hiding, and cursed Smaug; and there we were joined by my father and grandfather with singed beards.  They looked very grim but said very little.  When I asked how they had got away, they told me that they had a side entrance that only they had known about.  [The dwarves murmur in confirmation of his story]  After that, we went away; but we have never forgotten our stolen treasure.  And now, we mean to get it back!

Bilbo stares at Gandalf and Thorin in great excitement, as the wizard and dwarves gather round him in



           Far over the Misty Mountains cold

           to dungeons deep and caverns old...


           We must away, ere break of day!


           ...we must away, ere break of day,

           to find our long-forgotten gold!

There is great excitement.  The inner curtain falls


Scene Three

Slowly the area in front of the inner curtain is illuminated, and we see dimly a river which flows to the left, and a

thick forest on its banks.  We are out in the Wild, some months later.  As the scene lights up further we see the

encampment of the dwarves by the river bank.  It is a night of heavy rain; the dwarves huddle beneath the trees, and

Óin and Glóin are unsuccessfully attempting to light a fire.  Bilbo sits apart towards the front

BILBO   To think it will be June the first tomorrow!  Oh, bother adventures and everything to do with them!  I wish I were at home, with the kettle just beginning to sing!

THORIN [towards the back]  Where on earth are we going to get a dry patch to sleep on?

BALIN [looking out into the forest]  There’s a light over there!

THORIN [leaps up]  Where?

BALIN   There!

The inner curtain has risen again, although a gauze still covers the back of the stage.  To the right of the stage  a 

fire may be seen growing  in a clearing of the forest, although the light is still not enough to see clearly.  Beyond

this, hidden in the darkness and invisible, there is a high cliff with a cave in it

BOMBUR   Well?  Shall we go and see?

DORI   Yes.

NORI   No!

ÓIN   These parts are none too well known, and are too near the mountains.

ORI   The less inquisitive you are as you go along, the less trouble you find.

BIFUR   After all there are fourteen of us.

THORIN   Where has Gandalf got to?

There is a sudden stop to the arguments as they realise that Gandalf is not there

BALIN   Gandalf?...

DWALIN [calling into the darkness]  Gandalf!

NORI   Just when a wizard would have been most useful, too!

GLÓIN   After all, we have got a burglar.

BOFUR   Let him go on and find out all about that light.

THORIN   Yes!...Scuttle off, and come back quick, if all is well!  If not, come back if you can!

He pushes Bilbo off into the woods.  At once the light in the river encampment fades and vanishes into obscurity.  At

the same time the gauze rises and the light of the fire in the clearing slowly grows.  The hobbit creeps carefully

along through the tree towards  the  fire.   In  the  growing  light  the  three trolls, Bert, Tom and William, are seen

sitting around the fire, chewing at hunks of meat, pulling at mugs of beer, and wiping their mouths on their sleeves.

Bilbo peers through the trees and starts at the sight of the monstrous creatures.  He turns as if to make off, but

remains hesitantly on the edge of the clearing

BERT   Mutton yesterday, mutton today, and blimey if it don’t look like mutton again tomorrer!

TOM   Never a blinking bit of manflesh have we had for long enough.  What the ’ell William was a-thinkin’ of to bring us into these parts at all, beats me—and the drink runnin’ short, what’s more!

WILLIAM   Shut yer mouth!  Yer can’t expect folk to stop here for ever just to be et by you and Bert.  You’ve et a village and a half between yer, since we come down from the mountains.  How much more d’yer want?  Blimey!...

He has suddenly seen Bilbo, who turns to run but is collared by William before he has even moved two paces

BILBO   !!

WILLIAM   Bert!  Look what I’ve copped!

TOM   What is it?

WILLIAM   Lumme, if I knows!  What are yer?

BILBO [shaking all over]  Bilbo Baggins, a bur...a hobbit.

BERT [rather startled]  A burrahobbit?  

TOM   Can yer cook ’em?

BERT   Yer can try.

WILLIAM   He wouldn’t make above a mouthful, not when he was skinned and boned.

BERT   P’raps there are more like him round about, and we might make a pie.  Here, you, are there any more of your sort a-sneakin’ in these here woods?

BILBO   Yes, lots!, none at all!

BERT   What d’yer mean?

BILBO   What I say!—and please don’t cook me, my dear sirs!

WILLIAM   Poor little blighter!  Let him go!

BERT   Not till he says what he means by lots and none at all!  Hold his toes in the fire, till he talks!

WILLIAM   I won’t have it!

BERT   Fat fool!


They immediately forget Bilbo, and Bert and  William start a brawling fight, with Tom rushing round on the outside

trying to separate them. Bilbo  ducks back into the shadow of the trees.  In the middle of the fight, Balin looks

anxiously into the clearing. Bilbo sees him and starts to edge his way around the fighting trolls.  He has just edged

behind a tree, when Tom suddenly sees Balin

TOM  A sack, Bert, quick!

Bert  grabs  a  sack;  Tom  collars  Balin  and  pushes him inside it, rapidly tying the neck of the sack

Lots and none at all, it is.  No burrahobbits, but lots of these here dwarves.

WILLIAM   That’s the shape of it.

BERT   We’d better get out of the light.

They all creep behind the trees, when Dwalin  comes up

DWALIN   Balin?  Bilbo?...

Suddenly Tom pulls a sack over his head and pulls him into the shadows.  Almost at once Fili  and Kili come up,

looking rather suspicious.  At the sight of the empty clearing and fire they halt. Fili  goes over towards the cliff,

when Tom  grabs Kili

KILI   Look out!

Fili  turns round to help him, but as Tom  drags him into the shadows William  comes up behind Fili and seizes him. 

Both are bundled off into the shadows, but William  is still in the light when Dori, Ori and Nori come up.  They too

are quickly seized and pulled behind the trees.  The trolls come forward into the wood, just as Óin, Glóin, Bifur,

Bofur and Bombur come up in a group.  They are at first puzzled as to how to deal with such a large number, but at

last creep out as the dwarves are gathered around the fire, discussing the situation in low voices.  Tom grabs Óin,

William grabs Glóin and Bert takes Bofur,  but Bifur and Bombur turn on them and start to hit them.  However, the

trolls, having subdued their chosen victims, have no difficulty in knocking them over and tying them up in a pile at

the edge of the clearing.  They are still completing the binding when Thorin appears at the edge of the light

THORIN   What’s all this?

BILBO [from behind a tree]   Trolls!

THORIN   Oh!  Is it?

He jumps forward to the fire, seizes a branch from it, and thrusts it into Bert’s face. Bilbo  comes out from the

shadows and grabs Tom’s leg, throwing him backwards into the fire, but William comes up behind Thorin  and

seizes him, rapidly binding him. Bilbo slips back into the trees

BERT   That’ll teach them!

GANDALF [from the trees at the far right]   No good roasting them now, it’d take all night.

BERT   Don’t start the argument again, Bill, or it will take all night.

WILLIAM   Who’s a-arguin’?

BERT   You are!

WILLIAM   You’re a liar!

TOM [trying to quell the argument]  Well, then, we’ll mince them fine and boil them!

GANDALF   No good boilin’ them!  We ain’t got no water, and it’s a long way to the well an’ all.

WILLIAM [to Bert]  Shut up, or we’ll never have done!

TOM [to Bert]  And yer can fetch the water yerself, if yer say any more.

BERT [to William]   Shut up yerself!  Who’s arguin’ but you, I’d like to know.  We’ll sit on them

WILLIAM  and squash them

TOM  —and boil them one by one!

GANDALF   Which shall we sit on first?

BERT   Better sit on the last fellow first.

TOM   Which is he?

BERT   The one with yellow stockings.

GANDALF Nonsense, the one with green stockings.

BERT   I made sure it was yellow.

WILLIAM   Yellow it was.

BERT   Then what did you say it was green for?

WILLIAM   I never did.  Tom said it.

TOM   That I never did.  It was you.

BERT   Two to one, so shut yer mouth!

WILLIAM   Who are you a-talkin’ to?

TOM   Now stop it!

BERT   Night’s gettin’ on, and dawn comes early.  Let’s get on with it!

GANDALF   Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!

The trolls turn round in amazement towards the trees: and the sun rises.  As they look at Gandalf coming out into

the clearing, all three freeze into stone


Bilbo creeps out into the clearing and begins to untie the dwarves, who creep slowly out of their sacks and stare at

Gandalf, who has walked up to the cliff where in the morning light the door can be seen of a cave.  The dwarves, as

soon as they are released, go up to the cave and inside.  As the final ones vanish into the cave, Thorin walks up to

Gandalf and delays him

THORIN   Where did you go to, if I may ask?

GANDALF   To look ahead.

THORIN   And what brought you back in the nick of time?

GANDALF   Looking behind.

THORIN   Exactly!...but could you be more plain?

GANDALF   I went on to spy out our road, but I had not gone very far before I met a couple of Elrond’s folk from Rivendell.  They told me that three trolls had come down from the mountains and camped in the woods by the river.  I immediately had a feeling that I was wanted back.  Looking behind, I saw a light in the distance and made for it.  So now you know.

THORIN   Thank you!

The dwarves have come out from the cave, Bilbo carrying a small dagger with jewels on the hilt, and Fili and Kili

with two great swords which they present with ceremony to Thorin and Gandalf

GANDALF   These look like good blades.  If we could read the runes on them...

FILI   But let’s get out of this horrible smell!

Gandalf laughs slightly, and leads the way back towards the camp by the river.  The curtain falls






The Curtain rises.  The dwarves are gathered on a grassy valley floor, with trees clustered thick around them.  From

the trees there comes the sound of music

Voices of ELVES

           Oh!  What are you doing,

           and where are you going?

           Your ponies need shoeing!

           The river is flowing!

           Oh tra la la lally

           down here in the valley!

           Oh! What are you seeking,

           and where are you making?

           The faggots are reeking,

           the bannocks are baking!

           Oh tril lil lil lolly

           the valley is jolly

                           ha ha!

             Oh! Where are you going

           with beards all a-wagging?

           No knowing, no knowing

           what brings Mister Baggins

           and Balin and Dwalin

           down into the valley

                           in June, ha! ha!

           Oh! Will you be staying,

           or will you be flying?

           Your ponies are straying,

           the daylight is dying!

           To fly would be folly,

           to stay would be jolly

           and listen and hark

           to the end of the dark

                           to our tune, ha! ha!

At last a tall young Elf steps out of the trees to welcome them

ELF   Welcome to the valley of Rivendell!

THORIN   Thank you!

ELF   You had best go on foot to the house across the stream.

Voices of ELVES   Mind Bilbo doesn’t eat all the cakes!  He is too fat to get through keyholes yet!

GANDALF   Hush, hush! Good people! And good night!

He leads the party off to the left.  The light fades and in the darkness the inner curtain rises


Scene One

The exterior of the House of Imladris.  Elrond is sitting out at night beneath the stars.  With him are Gandalf and

Thorin, with Bilbo sitting below them.  Elrond is looking at the swords of Gandalf and Thorin, inspecting them with


ELROND   These are old swords of the High Elves of the West, my kin.  They were made in Gondolin for the Goblin Wars.  This, Thorin, the runes name Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver; this, Gandalf, was Glamdring, Foe-hammer, that the King of Gondolin once wore.

THORIN   I will keep this sword in honour.  May it soon cleave goblins once again!

ELROND   A wish that is likely soon enough to be granted in the mountains!

He hands back the swords to Gandalf and Thorin, bowing low to them.  Bilbo too has taken out his sword and is

looking at it with interest and an intense expression on his face.  The light grows dim

Voices of ELVES [from behind the scene]

           To fly would be folly,

           to stay would be jolly

           and listen and hark

           to the end of the dark

                           to our tune, ha! ha!

The inner curtain falls quickly.  There is a rumble of thunder, which draws nearer


Scene Two

A high pass in the Misty Mountains, a few weeks later.  A violent thunderstorm is slowly dying away.  The light

before the inner curtain shows a high rock wall, in which     the company are sheltering and trying to sleep.  Behind

them there are dark shadows in the wall; through one of these the goblins will enter.  All the dwarves lie deep in

slumber; only Bilbo is tossing restlessly in a nightmare, and muttering to himself

BILBO   The crack...the opens...wider...wider ...we are falling...falling...falling...ach!

The last scream wakes him and Gandalf up at once.  Out from the rock wall emerge goblin guards, who seize at

once on the sleeping company.  But Gandalf grabs his staff, which has lain by his side, and immediately a violent f

lash of lightning strikes dead the guards who are capturing him.  The rest bring out whips and drive their captives

rapidly into the stone crack.  The light at once goes out and total darkness descends, in which only the sound of the

whips and the voices of the guards can be heard

Voices of ORCS

           Clap! Snap! The black crack!

           Grib! Grab! Pinch! Nab!

           And down to Goblin Town

                           you go, my lad!

           Clash! Crash! Crush! Smash!

           Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!

           Pound, pound, far underground!

                           Ho! ho! my lad!

           Swish, smack! Whip crack!

           Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!

           Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,

           while goblins quaff and goblins laugh

           round and round far underground

                           below, my lad!

The inner curtain rises and the lights go up rapidly


Scene Three

There is disclosed a large underground cavern with a great fire burning in the centre, and shadowy passages

leading off in all directions.  In this cavern there is a vast number of goblins and Orcs, and above the fire on a large

stone there sits the Great Goblin, an Orc with an enormously enlarged head, and armed guards about him with

axes.  As the lights rise the dwarves and hobbit are driven into the cavern; they are now chained and running

before the whips.  The Great Goblin beckons and they are brought before him

GREAT GOBLIN [whining] Who are these miserable creatures?

SLAVE DRIVER   Dwarves...and this!

He pulls at Bilbo’s chain, so that the hobbit falls to his knees

GREAT GOBLIN [obsequiously] What are you doing in my mountains?  Up to no good, I’ll warrant!  Come! What have you got to say?

THORIN   Thorin Oakenshield at your service!  We are on a journey to visit our relatives, our nephews and nieces, first, second and third cousins, and the other descendants of our grandfathers, who live on the east side of these truly hospitable mountains.

SLAVE DRIVER   He is a liar, O truly tremendous one!  For he has not explained this!

He holds Thorin’s sword out to the Great Goblin; the latter takes one look at it, and rises from his seat in a

towering rage

GREAT GOBLIN   Murderers and Elf-friends!  Slash them, beat them, bite them, gnash them!  Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!

As he stands alone in the centre, speechless with fury, the fire suddenly goes up in smoke.  The goblins in the cavern

scream; Gandalf rushes in, with his sword drawn, and transfixes the Great Goblin with one thrust.  He then knocks

the Slave Driver aside, and rushes off into the tunnel

GANDALF   Follow me, quick!

The lights at once go out and the inner curtain falls.  Gandalf leads the dwarves on through the tunnel, when he

rapidly halts, cutting through the chains with his sword without difficulty and counting them as he does so

GANDALF   Are we all here?  Let me see: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven—where are Fili and Kili? Here they are! Twelve, thirteen!—and here’s Mister Baggins: fourteen!

Almost at once a group of goblins carrying torches erupts onto the stage along the tunnel

Draw your sword, Thorin!

Thorin draws his sword, which Gandalf had handed back to him having snatched it from the Slave Driver, and he

and Gandalf rush forward to meet the enemy.  After a few moments more goblins arrive, and Gandalf suddenly turns

Follow me, everybody!

He runs rapidly off along the runnel, followed by the others and with Thorin bringing up the rear.  The goblins

pursue them, and as their torches die away the light grows very dim.  In the darkness something moves; and at last

Bilbo is seen, alone.  Slowly he struggles to his feet, and in his hand there is seen to be a golden ring which seems to

shine with its own internal light.  Slowly he looks at it, and then places it in his pocket.  Then he draws his sword

and, holding it out in front of him, trots off along the tunnel.  The light goes out and darkness envelops the stage


Scene Four

Light now slowly begins to filter from the ceiling of the cavern above.  It discloses a still lake of water stretching out

into the distance.  Bilbo hesitates on the edge of it, peering out and trying to see the far side.  There is the sound of

water dripping.  Suddenly a gentle swish, as of oars in the lake, is heard offstage right.  A small boat slowly comes

into view, with Gollum paddling.  Bilbo suddenly sees him and jumps, thrusting his sword in front of him

BILBO   Who are you?

GOLLUM   What iss he, my precious?

BILBO [recovering from his fright]  I am Mister Bilbo Baggins.  I don’t know where I am.

GOLLUM   What’s he got in his handses?

BILBO   A sword, a blade which came out of Gondolin!

GOLLUM   Ssss!...p’raps we sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my precious.  It likes riddles, does it?

BILBO   Very ask first.

GOLLUM            What has roots as nobody sees,

                           is taller than trees,

                           up, up it goes,

                           and yet never grows?

BILBO   Easy!  Mountain, I suppose.

GOLLUM    Does  it  guess  easy?  It  must  have a competition with us, precious!  If it doesn’t answer, we eats it; if we doesn’t answer, we shows it the way out, precious!

BILBO   All right!...

                           An Eye in a blue face

                           saw an Eye in a green face.

                           That Eye is like to this Eye,

                           said the first Eye,

                           but in low place,

                           not in high place.

GOLLUM precious...Sun on the daisies, it means, it does.

                           Alive without breath,

                           as cold as death,

                           never thirsty, ever drinking,

                           clad in mail never clinking.

    Bilbo is silent

Is it nice, precious?  Is it juicy?

BILBO   Half a moment!

GOLLUM   It must make haste!

Suddenly, as Gollum comes to land, a fish jumps out of the water

BILBO [startled]  Ach!...Fish, fish, it is fish!

                           A box without hinges, key or lid,

                           yet golden treasure inside is hid.

GOLLUM [clambering back into his boat]  Ss!...

BILBO [rather harshly, after waiting]  Well?

GOLLUM   Give us a chance...Eggses! eggses it is!

                           This thing all things devours:

                           birds, beasts, trees, flowers,

                           gnaws iron, bites steel,

                           grinds hard stones to meal,

                           slays king, ruins town,

                           and beats high mountains down.

Bilbo is silent lost in thought.  Gollum slowly draws in his boat and clambers up beside him on the bank

BILBO   Give me more time...more time...time...Time!

GOLLUM   Ss!...

He climbs up the bank towards Bilbo, who draws back; but Gollum sits down beside him and whimpers

Just one more question to guess, yes.

    Bilbo shudders, but is silent

Ask us! Ask us!

    Bilbo’s hand strays to his pocket and he stiffens

BILBO   What have I got in my pocket?

GOLLUM   Not fair!  Not fair!

BILBO   What have I got in my pocket?

GOLLUM   Ss!  Three guesses, my precious!

BILBO   Very well, guess away!

GOLLUM [quickly]  Handses!

BILBO   Wrong!  Guess again!

GOLLUM  Ss!...Knife!

BILBO   Wrong! Last guess!

GOLLUM   Ss!...

BILBO  Come on!

GOLLUM   Ss!...

BILBO   Time’s up!

GOLLUM   Sstring, or nothing!

BILBO   Both wrong!

He jumps up, drawing his sword as Gollum leaps at him.  At the sight of it Gollum shrieks and collapses

Well?  I want to go.  Show me the way.

GOLLUM   Yes, yess.  But...what has it got in its pocketses?

BILBO   Never you mind.

GOLLUM [begins to feel hastily in his own pocket]   It must wait, it must.

BILBO   Well, hurry up.

GOLLUM [suddenly shrieks]  Where is it?  Lost, curse us and crush us, lost!

BILBO   What have you lost?

GOLLUM   It musn’t ask us!

BILBO   Come along!

GOLLUM   Not yet, precious!

BILBO   But you never guessed, and you promised...

GOLLUM   Never guessed!...Ss! [he rounds on Bilbo with an evil light in his eyes]  What has it got in its pocketses?

BILBO   I asked first!  What have you lost?

Gollum rushes at him with a shriek; Bilbo springs aside and rushes towards the tunnel

GOLLUM   What has it got in its pocketses?

Bilbo is trapped against the rock wall.  He feels in his pocket wonderingly; as he does so, Gollum starts and stares

Curse it!  Curse the Bagginses!  What has it got in its pocketses?  Oh, we guess, yes, we guess, my precious!  He’s found it, yes he must have!  My birthday present!  How did we lose it?  Curse it!  It’s gone from us, after all these ages and ages!  It’s gone, gollum, gollum!...The Baggins has got it, we says.  But it doesn’t know what the present can do, does it?  It doesn’t know the way out.  It said so.  It said so, yes; but it’s tricksy.  It knows a way in, it must know a way out.  It’s off to the Back Gate, it is.  Then goblinses will get it, gollum!  They’ll find out what it does.  One of them will put it on, and then no one will see him; and he’ll come tricksy and catch us, gollum, gollum!...Then we must find the Bagginses!  Make haste!

He rushes off at great speed, and Bilbo follows him, looking closely at his finger on which the golden ring is now

glinting.  It becomes dark


Scene Five

A slow light grows from within the tunnel.  In it Gollum is seen, lying in the tunnel.  Bilbo is still behind.  Another

tunnel leads off to the back; Gollum is lying across the entrance

GOLLUM   Seven right, six left, yess!  This is it!  This is the way out, yess!  But we durstn’t go on, precious!  No, we durstn’t.  Lots of goblinses.  We smells them, ss!...

Bilbo slowly edges towards the tunnel entrance.  Gollum stiffens and listens closely.  As Bilbo gingerly tries to step

over him, Gollum grabs at his leg.  As his  hands  close  on  the  leg,     he screams and tries to grab at the hobbit but

cannot find him; Bilbo struggles desperately, and with one final pull breaks free.  As he does so Gollum gives a

horrible cry

Thief, thief, thief, Baggins!  We hates it, we hates it, we hates it for ever!

It becomes dark.  Bilbo alone is seen hurrying forwards along the tunnel.  Slowly the light grows and a great gate

appears at the right.  Bilbo sighs with relief, and takes off the ring.  Suddenly there is a shout from within the door. 

Orcs are seen, silently guarding the gate; Bilbo puts his hand back in his pocket, and vanishes

GUARDS [variously]  Ha!...Where is it?...Gone back up the passage!...This way!...That way!

ORC-CAPTAIN   Look out for the door!

Bilbo slowly creeps through the door, by which the Captain is standing.  He makes his way through into the

sunlight outside, when suddenly the Captain gives a great shout

There is a shadow by the door!  Something is outside!

The Orcs charge back up the passage, yelling, but Bilbo is already outside.  The Captain stands at the door and

stares uncomprehendingly into the sunlight.  The scene grows dark once again


Scene Six

The inner curtain again rises, disclosing a woodland glade at the foot of the mountains.  Five fir trees stand starkly

outlined against the sky to the right; below these bushes cluster.  In the bushes sit Gandalf and the dwarves,

arguing in low voices

GANDALF   After all, he is my responsibility.  I wish to goodness he hadn’t got lost.

THORIN   I don’t know why you brought him at all.

BIFUR   He’s been more trouble than use so far.

ÓIN   If we’ve got to go back and look for him, then drat him, I say.

GANDALF   I brought him, and I don’t bring things that are no use.  Either you help me, or I go and leave you here.  Why on earth couldn’t you pick him up, Dori?

DORI   Good heavens, can you ask!  Everybody ought to have followed.  There was no time to count, as you know, till we were down here—without the burglar, confusticate him!

BILBO [stepping out suddenly from behind the trees]  And here’s the burglar!

THORIN [startled]  How did you get out?

BILBO   Oh, just crept along, you know...slowly and quietly.

The dwarves look at each other in surprise and frank disbelief, but Gandalf is not at all displeased by the

exhibition his protegé has just given of his skills

GANDALF   What did I tell you?  Mister Baggins has more about him than you guess...But we must be getting on.  They will be out after us even now.

A howling of wolves offstage left, very distant

Wolves!  The wild Wargs!  Up the trees, quick!

The dwarves rapidly scramble up the trees and perch in the branches.  Only Bilbo is unable to reach high enough

to gain a hold, and scuttles rapidly from tree to tree

NORI [to Dori, from a tree]  You’ve left the burglar behind again!

DORI   I can’t always be carrying burglars!  What do you think I am?  A porter?

    The wolf voices grow nearer

THORIN   He’ll be eaten if we don’t do something!  Dori!  Be quick, and give Mister Baggins a hand up!

Dori scrambles quickly down and helps Bilbo up.  As he does so, the first wolf trots into the clearing.  Dori and

Bilbo scramble up quickly, just as the wolf makes a bound at the tree.  The wolves come pouring in and cluster

round the trees, howling horribly.  Suddenly from Gandalf’s tree comes a streak of fire, which catches one wolf on

the muzzle.  At once the wolves turn and run; but, as one flees offstage left, the flames catch the scrub around the

trees, which promptly flares up.  The wolves run off to the left of  the clearing, howling at  the  trees but not daring

to come nearer.  Suddenly down from the mountains a large company of Orcs comes rushing

ORCS   Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!...

The wolves rush to meet the goblins, and the Orcs at once go off to the trees.  Some go off and come back carrying

brushwood, with which they feed the fires.  While they do this, the rest stand around and sing

First Group

           Fifteen birds in five fir-trees,

           their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!

           But funny little birds, they had no wings!

           Oh, what shall we do with the poor little things?

           Roast ’em alive, or stew ’em in a pot,

           fry ’em, boil ’em and eat ’em hot?

Second Group [carrying brushwood]

           Burn, burn, tree and fern!

           Shrivel and scorch, a fizzling torch

           to light the night for our delight,

                           ya hoy!

First Group

           Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!...

The flames are licking round the lower branches of the trees.  The dwarves begin to clamber upwards.  The Orcs

laugh at this; all now return to the clearing

Both groups

           Bake and toast ’em, fry and roast ’em!

           Till beards blaze, and eyes glaze;

           till hair smells and skins crack,

           fat melts, and bones black

           in cinders lie beneath the sky!

                           So dwarves shall die,

           and light the night for our delight,

                           ya hoy!

           ya harri hoy!

                           ya hoy!

Gandalf is now at the top of his tree, with the flames licking up towards him.  From on high he raises his staff, which

flashes with lightning, and prepares to hurl himself forward.  Suddenly from above a great Eagle sweeps down upon

him and bears him off.  Many other eagles also come swooping down and bear the dwarves away; the Orcs stand

and shout, the   wolves   howl, but   the     eagles   sweep       forward   over the clearing and begin to drive them away.  The

inner curtain falls as Bilbo is borne away last of all, and the trees erupt into great blazing torches of fire


Scene Seven

The light slowly discloses the eagles’ eyrie, high in the mountains.  Precipitous cliffs and chasms appear to rise and

fall away on all sides.  Gandalf is standing on the flat ledge of the eyrie; facing him is the Lord of the Eagles,

Gwaihir the Windlord, a great golden eagle with a crown.  Other eagles are standing around

EAGLE   The Lord of the Eagles bids you to bring your prisoners to the Great Shelf!

Other eagles fly in, carrying the dwarves.  Last of all Bilbo arrives and slumps onto the flat rock

BILBO   Now I know what a piece of bacon feels like when it is suddenly picked out of the pan and put back on the shelf!

DORI   No, you don’t! because the bacon knows it will get put back into the pan sooner or later, and it is to be hoped we won’t.  Also eagles aren’t forks!

BILBO   Oh no! not a bit like storks...forks...

He looks round nervously, but the eagle takes no notice

GWAIHIR   Well, Gandalf, in gratitude for your past services, I will do what you ask.  I will carry you and your company well on your journey, and away from the mountains.

GANDALF   Very well!  Take us where and as far as you will!  We are greatly obliged to you.

GWAIHIR   Then hence in haste!

The eagles allow the dwarves to clamber onto their backs, and Gandalf climbs up on the neck of Gwaihir.  Bilbo

clambers onto his eagle with severe misgivings which are only too apparent

EAGLE [to Bilbo]  Don’t pinch! You need not be frightened like a rabbit, even if you look a bit like one!

With slow wingbeats the eagles rise into the air.  They are silhouetted against the rising sun as the Curtain falls





Scene One

As the Curtain rises, the scene is shrouded in mist, through which the eagles and their passengers are seen flying. 

Quickly, however, the mists disperse and the eagles settle to the ground.  There is a suggestion of open grassland

and trees in the distance, but most of the scene is taken up by a high rock pinnacle on the left, with a branch of the

shallow river winding about its feet.  The eagles rapidly set down the dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo, on the near side

of the river and rise into the sky

GWAIHIR and EAGLE   Farewell, wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at your journey’s end!

GANDALF   May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.

The eagles disappear.  Gandalf leads the dwarves to the stream, where they sit down and drink

 I meant to see you safely over the Mountains, but now we are a good deal further east than ever I meant to come with you; after all, this is not my adventure.  In the meantime, I have some other pressing business to attend to.

Thorin, who is drinking at the stream, leaps up with a spluttered exclamation

Don’t worry!  I am not going to disappear this very instant.  I need a little help myself.  There is somebody that I know of, who lives not far away; we must go and find him.  And, if all goes well, I shall be off.

THORIN   But do not go!  I offer you dragon-gold and silver and jewels!

GANDALF [laughing]   We shall see, we shall see!

BILBO [nervously]  Who is this somebody?

GANDALF   A very great person; and you must be careful not to annoy him.  He can be appalling when he is angry.  I shall introduce you slowly, two by two.  His name is Béorn, and he is a skin-changer.  Sometimes he is a huge black bear, and sometimes a great man with huge arms.  I think you had better all wait here, and when I begin to whistle come after me; but only in pairs, about three minutes between them.  Bombur is fattest and will do for two, so he can come last.  Come on, Mister Baggins!

He sets off at a brisk stride, with the hobbit struggling to keep up.  The dwarves look at each other in perplexity. 

The light fades quickly


Scene Two

The inner curtain rises.  There is disclosed a great wooden hall in the house of Béorn.  Low tables and stools are

spread across the back; in the foreground there are a few stools on a high veranda.  On one of these stools sits

Béorn, a great man with muscular legs and arms.  Gandalf and Bilbo enter nervously behind.  As they enter, Béorn

turns scowling road

BÉORN   Who are you, and what do you want?

GANDALF   I am Gandalf...

BÉORN   Never heard of him; and who’s this little fellow?

GANDALF   This is Mister Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit of good family and unimpeachable reputation.  I am a wizard.

BÉORN   H’m!  Well, now I know who you are, or who you say you are.  What do you want?

GANDALF [confidentially]   To tell you the truth, we are rather in need of help.  We have had rather a bad time with goblins in the’s a long tale.

BÉORN   Then you’d better sit down and tell me some of it.

GANDALF   I was coming over the mountains with a friend or two...

BÉORN   Or two?  I can only see one, and a little one at that.

GANDALF tell you the truth, I didn’t want to bother you with a lot of us, if you were busy.  I will call, if I may.

BÉORN   Go on, call away!

Gandalf gives a shrill whistle, and almost at once Thorin and Dori appear with low bows

BÉORN   One or three you meant, I see!  But these are dwarves!

THORIN   Thorin Oakenshield at your service!

DORI   Dori at your service!

BÉORN   And what are you up to?

GANDALF   They were on their way to visit the land of their fathers, and we were crossing the mountains when we were I was telling you.  There was a terrible storm; and at the head of the pass we took refuge, the hobbit and I and several of our companions...

BÉORN   Do you call two several?  Where are the others?  Killed, eaten, gone home?

GANDALF  Shy, I expect.  You see...

BÉORN   Go on, whistle again!

Gandalf does as he bids, and at once there enter Nori and Ori, bowing low as Thorin and Dori had done

NORI   Nori at your service!

ORI   Ori at your...

BÉORN   Thank you!  When I want your service I will ask for it.  Sit down, and let’s get on with this tale.

GANDALF   As soon as we were asleep, goblins came out and grabbed us and our troop of ponies...

BÉORN   Troop?  Do you always call six a troop?

GANDALF   As a matter of fact there were...well...

Balin and Dwalin have entered.  Béorn starts up angrily, and the two dwarves collapse almost to the floor.  They

rapidly rise and start bowing deeply to Béorn, who sits down and laughs

BÉORN   Troop! A fine comic troop! And what are your names?

BALIN   Balin...

DWALIN   Dwalin...

BÉORN   Now go on again!

GANDALF   Oh, yes...I was not grabbed.  I slipped inside and followed down into the main hall.  The Great Goblin was there, and I thought what could a dozen do against his guards?

BÉORN   A dozen!  That’s the first time I’ve ever heard eight called a dozen...

GANDALF   Well, there’s another couple here now...Fili and Kili, I believe.

BÉORN   That’s enough!  Sit down!  Now go on, Gandalf!

GANDALF   So I sent the fire up in flames and killed the Great Goblin...

BÉORN [chortling gleefully]   Killed the Great Goblin, killed the Great Goblin!

GANDALF   ...and rushed out down to the Back Gate.  We counted ourselves and found that there was no hobbit.  There were only fourteen of us left!

BÉORN   Fourteen!  You mean nine, or else you haven’t told me yet all your party.

GANDALF   Well, of course you haven’t seen Óin and Glóin yet...and bless me! here they are!

These two appear and bow to Béorn, at once taking their seats on the floor

BÉORN   Oh, hurry up!  Come along and sit down!  But now, Gandalf, please get on with the tale!

GANDALF   Anyway, Mister Baggins joined us and we     were     going     on,      when     the     wolves     forced   us  to    take refuge up the trees.  Then the goblins came down and sang songs making fun of us: Fifteen birds in five fir trees...

BÉORN   Good heavens! Don’t pretend that goblins can’t count.  They can.  Twelve isn’t fifteen and they know it.

GANDALF   And so do I.  There were Bifur and Bofur as well...

These two enter, and are at once followed by a breathless and much hurried Bombur

BOMBUR   And me!  I’m not waiting by myself!

BÉORN   Ha ha! Well, there are fifteen! Ha ha!  And now...perhaps we can finish this story without any more interruptions.

GANDALF   Fortunately Gwaihir the Windlord and his eagles heard the clamour and drove the goblins and wolves off.  They set us down not far from here, at the Carrock.  And so here we are.

BÉORN   A very good tale! The best I have heard for a long while.  Well, Gandalf, this is what I will do for your party.  I will provide steeds for each of you for your journey to the great forest of Mirkwood, which lies four days to the east; and food to last you weeks with care.  But your way through Mirkwood is dark, dangerous and difficult; for I doubt very much whether anything you find in the forest will be safe to eat or to drink.  There is one stream there, I know, black and strong, which crosses the path.  That you should neither drink of, nor bathe in: for I have heard that it carries enchantment and a great drowsiness and forgetfulness.  And in the dim shadows of that place you must never stray from the path, for any reason.  I wish you all speed.

THORIN   We are at your service, O master of the wide wooden halls!

Béorn now bows to him with a renewed respect,  and the inner curtain falls quickly



The inner curtain rises to disclose the same scene.  Béorn is sitting in a great chair.  Around him the dwarves sit,

each with their instruments as in the First Act.  Gandalf and Bilbo sit to one side, also listening to the music


           The wind was on the withered heath,

           but in the forest stirred no leaf;

           there shadows lay by night and day,

           and dark things silent crept beneath.


           The wind came down from mountains cold,

           and like a tide it roared and rolled;

           the branches groaned, the forest moaned,

           and leaves were laid upon the mould.


           The wind went on from west to east;

           all movement in the forest ceased,

           but shrill and harsh across the marsh

           its whistling voices were released.


The grasses hissed, their tassels bent,

           the reeds were rustling; on it went

           o’er shaken pool under heavens cool

           where racing clouds were torn and rent.


           It passed the Lonely Mountain bare

           and swept above the dragon’s lair;

           there black and dark lay boulders stark

           and flying smoke was in the air.


           It left the world and took its flight

           over the wide seas of the night.

           The moon set sail upon the gale,

           the stars were fanned to leaping light.

Béorn smiles his appreciation, and once again the inner curtain falls.  Total darkness spreads across the stage


Scene Three

There slowly becomes discernible the entrance to the path through the thick forest of Mirkwood.  Day dawns gently,

and it is still twilight as Gandalf comes on, leading the dwarves with Bilbo last.  He turns to the dwarves

GANDALF   Well, here is Mirkwood!  The greatest of the forests of the Northern World.  I hope you like the look of it.  Now, I must leave you.  I have, as I have told you, pressing business away south; we may meet again before all is over, and then again of course we may not.  Stick to the path, keep your spirits up, and one day you may come out and see the Lonely Mountain where dear old Smaug lives, though I hope he is not expecting you.

THORIN   Very comforting you are to be sure!  If you won’t come with us, you had better get off without any more talk!

GANDALF   Goodbye then, all of you!  Straight through the forest is your way now.

He strides rapidly off and the sound of his horse is heard in rapid retreat.  The dwarves remain in sullen silence

GANDALF [his voice heard from the far distance] Goodbye!  Be good, take care of yourselves...and don’t leave the path!

THORIN [in dismay] O goodbye and go away!...

He slowly stands up and gives a signal to the company.  They pick up their packs and begin to follow him into the

forest.  The curtain falls


   As is explained above, the music for Fire and Water is fragmentary because the completed vocal score is missing. This musical analysis therefore confines itself to the currently extant portions of the score.  The numbered examples continue on from the musical analysis of Over Hill and Under Hill. The text which follows gives the whole of the originally set matter, but those sections for which the music is missing are given in reduced type.

   The First Act opens with a long fugato statement of the Mirkwood theme (49) given out by ten solo double-basses and then decorated by recorders with the figuration (50) associated with the Enchanted River.  The Curtain rises on that scene, but the music for most of the crossing of the River is one of the passages deleted when the opera was cut to fit into one evening and was not therefore orchestrated; it is one of the passages therefore missing from the score. As the music takes up again the crossing is more or less completed, and 49 is played expressively as the last boatload of dwarves comes to shore. Yet again Balin sees a light in the forest, and a high eerie statement of 11 accompanies his vision and leads through flickering figuration to a distant chorus singing the opening phrase of 25a. This merges with 49 during a choral interlude during which the dwarves abandon the path and plunge into the trackless forest, finally emerging as a grandiose statement by full chorus with harp accompaniment of 25a as the elves are seen at feast. Thorin steps out into the circle (25a with 11 in the bass) and at once darkness falls. The dwarves run around calling out each others’ names, and 11 tumbles down in a crazy helter-skelter pattern:



and a whisper on xylophones of the theme of the spiders who will capture them:



Finally only Bilbo is left alone, and the gloomy phrases of the Mirkwood theme 49 mingle with a downtrodden version of 3 to express his dejection.  But a spider is wrapping him in her threads, and to a rapid upburst of 2 Bilbo rouses himself, drawing his sword (26). He stabs the spider, which jerks up and down in frenzy before falling dead; as it does so there appears in the bass the definitive form of the Spider theme:



and this is succeeded by a grandiose series of statements of 26 as Bilbo names his sword Sting. As he disappears into the forest in pursuit of the dwarves, 49 returns in a fugato as at the beginning of the scene.

   The next scene is set in the spiders’ lair, bedecked with cobwebs and decorated by xylophone shiverings. 57 rises and falls as the spiders converse between themselves of the dwarves they have captured and hope to eat shortly. As one of them goes to check on Bombur (11), the dwarf kicks out and knocks it off the branch; but as the spider prepares to take its revenge, the voice of Bilbo is heard from the trees. His phrase Attercop! Attercop! down you drop! becomes a motif in its own right:



When the spiders have set off in pursuit of his voice, Bilbo comes back and cuts the dwarves down with his sword (26 interspersed with 2 and 58). The spiders return and in a fugato take up the Attercop theme over a roaring accompaniment of 57 but Bilbo retaliates with a second song while the dwarves make good their escape to a variant of 55. But they are immediately captured by the wood-elves (variations on 49 and 25a) and as darkness covers the scene the recorders take up a long fugato on a new variation of the elvish theme:



This in the next scene becomes the theme specifically associated with the Elvenking Thranduil, and accompanies his interrogation of the captured dwarves. There are a few bars missing in the following interlude (which leads back to a restatement of 59) and the music for the beginning of the following scene is missing altogether.

   The next passage of score which survives is the setting of the elven porters as they push the barrels into the stream. The main theme is a restatement of the main elvish theme in a forthright version of 49:



and this finally dies away with restatement of 11 as the dwarves  are   borne  off   downstream.   The  following orchestral interlude is missing, but consisted of a restatement of the material heard at the end of Over Hill and Under Hill where Gandalf described the coming of the company to the end of the forest; similarly the music for the final scene, also missing, contained the first statement of a theme for the song The King beneath the Mountain which was preserved because it was restated in a later interlude which became part of the first orchestral suite. It may for convenience be given here:



The music for the opening of the Second Act was preserved because it was orchestrated before the vocal score was lost. It opens with a statement in canon of the Dragon theme 14 first on three tubas, then on three bassoons and finally on strings as the curtain rises. Thorin stands on the mountainside searching for the hidden door, and 18 returns from the passage when he was describing the escape of his father and grandfather from the destruction of Erebor using this same door. He then moves on, and Bilbo appears (1 describes his depression). He looks up as a thrush sings to him:



As the thrush flies off, 1 returns and is stated at length before Bilbo realises the significance of the thrush’s actions. As he rises and calls to the dwarves, this fragment of the music comes to an end.

   The only other music to survive from the Second Act is the interlude which follows the destruction of the Dragon. This opens with a theme which is the motif of Bard, the bowman who kills Smaug with the aid of the thrush:



and is then followed by the theme that is associated with the Master of Lake-town:



The middle section of this march, which in the suite is entitled The banners of Lake and Wood, is a restatement of the song given above as 61.  The whole material is then repeated with different orchestration before the arrival of the Elvenking to the aid of the refugees (59).

   Much more of the music for the Third Act was orchestrated and survives for that reason. As the curtain rises a fanfare is sounded by three offstage trumpets, and this is the theme associated with the army of Elves and Men which will shortly be arriving to claim the Dragon’s treasure from the Dwarves of Erebor:



The dwarves sing their third set-piece song; the opening theme consists of an inverted statement of 15 (the Kingdom under the Mountain has been restored, but not in the expected manner):



As the Dwarves anticipate the battle that is to follow, a new warlike theme erupts:



The next verses are an elaborated version of similar material from the first of the set-piece songs, but the final verse brings back 66 in counterpoint with its original form 15, as the fanfares of 65 sound ever more insistently on the offstage trumpets. As Balin enters to warn that the armies have arrived outside the Gate, Thorin rises to meet them in a hasty restatement of 11.

   As Bard and the Elvenking come forward to parley, and 65 is sounded once again, Thorin hails them to a formal statement of 15 establishing his credentials as King under the Mountain. Bard’s response is accompanied by 63 but a mutter of 67 underpins his words. As he states his descent from the former Lords of Dale 16 returns from Over Hill and Under Hill, but his claims are brushed aside by Thorin to a violent upsurge of the warlike 67 and a contemptuous headlong rush downwards based on the second phrase of 59.

   Bard renders his thanks to the Elvenking to a more placid restatement of 59 and a brief reference to 61. As he declares the Mountain besieged, the fanfares of 65 are given in a more confused and belligerent tone. As Thorin and the Dwarves go back into the Mountain, Thorin declares his intention to search for the Arkenstone of Thráin (17), unaware of the fact that Bilbo has already found and pocketed this gem. Bilbo, left alone to watch, takes a torch and signals (a resolute statement of 2) and Bard appears to talk with him (63). Bilbo gives him the Arkenstone (17); Bard expresses his thanks and offers him sanctuary, but Bilbo declines (the last words of his reply are missing from the musical score).

   The next section of music was incorporated into the orchestral suite Fire and Water and survives for that reason. Bard’s theme 63 is restated as he goes back down the Mountain, and then 1 returns in a long-drawn atmospheric restatement as Bilbo shivers in the cold dawn. As the melody dies away, the theme of the Elvenking 59 is heard on solo violin and then the distant trumpets ring out again with 65, now as a call to battle and war, finally dying away with an echo of Bard’s 63.

   Thorin and the Dwarves emerge from the Mountain (11) with a gift for Bilbo, a coat of mithril mail:



but the scene of Bilbo’s robing is interrupted again as the trumpet fanfares 65 ring out again. The Dwarves’ theme 11 is combined with that of the Kingdom under the Mountain 15 to produce a new phrase which will subsequently recur:



 At this point the music preserved in the full score comes to an end.

   The final scenes of Act Three are however preserved complete, both in the orchestral score and in the suites extracted from this. One short section which was missing was a complete restatement of material from Over Hill and Under Hill, and has been restored from that source.

   As Thorin dies a long funeral march begins with a series of rocking chords over a slow drumbeat:



and this is progressively overlaid with other themes associated with Thorin and the Kingdom under the Mountain: 11, 15 and 69.  A long-limbed string melody recalls the phrase to which Thorin has originally sung his final words There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West:



This melody is in its own turn overlaid with the same other themes as earlier, and is then followed by a new statement of 11 interrupted by increasingly massive reiterations of the theme of the Arkenstone (17) before the opening material returns.

   The next scene returns us to the valley of Rivendell, and the opening chorus of elves is an exact echo of that heard in the first scene of Act Two of Over Hill and Under Hill. As Elrond enters 25a returns (25b has been heard in the preceding chorus) to greet Bilbo, and they stand and listen to a second chorus of offstage elves. This is somewhat different, a reflective hymn to the falling evening, and dies away in a chromatic series of harmonies.

   The final scene depicts Bilbo’s return to his home, and the music was subsequently detached to form the last of the Seven Tolkien Songs. The opening theme should be cited, as it was subsequently used as a motif in later settings of The Lord of the Rings:


and at the end of the first verse the opening limb of 1 returns to lead into the second verse. This however is interrupted halfway through its course and a full restatement of 1 takes over.  At the end this dies away in brief echoes of 72 and a quiet final chord.



Scene One

The stage is in almost total darkness as the Curtain rises. Gauzes cover the whole scene. Slowly there becomes

visible towards the right of the stage a black river flowing between two tree-covered banks. Then there is seen the

company of dwarves with Thorin and Bilbo in the lead, standing on the river bank and peering across it in the


BILBO   There is a boat against the far bank!

THORIN   How far away do you think it is?

BILBO   Not at all far. Can we throw a rope?

THORIN   Dori is the strongest, but Fili is the youngest and still has the best sight. Come here, Fili, and see if you can see the boat Mister Baggins is talking about.

FILI [after peering forward] I think I can…

He is handed a rope and throws it across the river. Slowly there appears, moving out into the light as it is drawn across the river by the rope, a small boat. Finally it is drawn to the far bank and Fili releases the rope

BILBO   Who’ll cross first?

THORIN   I shall, and you shall come with me, and Fili and Balin. After that, Kili and Óin and Glóin and Dori; next Ori and Nori, Bifur and Bofur; and last Dwalin and Bombur.

BOMBUR   I’m always last and I don’t like it. It’s someone else’s turn today.

THORIN [stepping into the first boatload] You should not be so fat.

Silence descends again, as the first three boatloads cross and recross the river 

As soon as he lands on the other side, Balin takes up a position as lookout; and as Dwalin and Bombur come to

land he gives an exclamation

BALIN   What’s that? I thought I saw a light in the forest.

They all look, and a longish way off it seems a small red light glints through the trees; but it is some way off the path

THORIN   A feast would be no good, if we never got back alive from it.

BOMBUR   But without a feast we shan’t remain alive much longer anyway.

KILI   And hark! the music of the singing and the harps!

They listen, and distant voices are heard in song, with a rushing music of harps intermingled with it. At once

Bombur plunges off into the forest; after only a moment’s hesitation Thorin and the rest follow him. At once it grows

dark, and the river disappears. The light in the forest grows steadily brighter. In it there is seen a great gathering of

Wood-Elves; at their head is Thranduil the Elvenking, with his butler Galion at his side. The singing and harping

are brilliant, and the feast is at its height. All the scene is decked with flowers. And then suddenly Thorin steps from

the shadows into their midst. At once the lights go out and the music ceases. A deathly silence envelops the forest;

and then the dwarves all cry out in terror

The DWARVES [variously] Bilbo!—Balin!—Dwalin! —Fili! Kili! Dori! Ori! Nori! Óin! Glóin! —Bifur!—Bofur!—Bombur!—Thorin Oakenshield!...

Slowly in the total darkness these voices die away. And then, suddenly in the distance they change

The DWARVES [very distant] Help, help! Help, help! Help, help!...

And then silence envelops the forest once more. In the darkness there is a flicker of light. This resolves itself as a

lantern, held by an Elf. He stops, and looks around; and sees in the light the body of Thorin lying on the ground. He

beckons into the trees, and two other Elves come and bear the sleeping dwarf away. Darkness again falls. Light

then begins to grow in the same place; in it there is seen Bilbo, also lying on the ground. And then it is seen that

something is on top of him: an enormous spider, busily typing him up. Suddenly the prisoner stirs. He sees the spider

and jumps up, drawing his sword. With one stroke he stabs the spider between the eyes. It jerks up and down in

frenzy until he stabs it again, when it suddenly lies still. He looks at his sword with a new wonder

BILBO   I will give you a name, and I shall call you Sting.

He sheathes the sword and slowly sets off in pursuit of the dwarves. As he passes out of the circle where the feast was

held, the light fades and the stage returns to darkness


Scene Two

Light now grows in yet another part of the forest. When the light reaches its greatest extent, there will be dimly seen

a large clearing in the forest, bedecked with cobwebs which hang between the trees. At first, however, most of this

clearing is not visible: all that can be seen is a large tree at the far right of the stage. From this there hang twelve

bundles, with hands and feet sticking out: these are the twelve remaining dwarves—Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Ori, Nori,

Fili, Kili, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur at the end of the branch. On the trunk of the tree there are clustered

four spiders

First SPIDER   It was a sharp struggle, but worth it. What nasty thick skins they have to be sure, but I’ll wager there is good juice inside.

Second SPIDER   Aye, they’ll make fine eating, when they’ve hung a bit.

Third SPIDER   Don’t hang ’em too long; they’re not as fat as they might be. Been feeding none too well of late, I should guess.

Fourth SPIDER   Kill ’em, I say: kill ’em and hang ’em dead for a while.

First SPIDER   They’re dead now, I’ll warrant.

Fourth SPIDER   That they are not. I saw one a-strugglin’ just now. Just coming round again, I should say, after a bee-autiful sleep. I’ll show you.

    It runs out along the branch and goes towards Bombur. It hovers over the limp body for a moment, and then the

    dwarf gives a muffled yell and kicks out at the spider, which falls off the branch on its thread

Second SPIDER   You were quite right!

Third SPIDER   The meat’s alive and kicking!

Fourth SPIDER [climbing back onto the branch] I’ll soon put a stop to that.

   Suddenly from the darkness comes a burst of song

BILBO      Old fat spider sitting in a tree!

                    Old fat spider can’t see me!

                                Attercop! Attercop!

                                won’t you stop,

                    stop your spinning and look for me?

                    Old Tomnoddy, all big body,

                    old Tomnoddy can’t spy me!

                                Attercop! Attercop!

                                down you drop!

                    You’ll never find me up your tree!

At the sound of the voice all four spiders freeze. Then there comes a stone flying out of the dark, and the Fourth

Spider falls off the branch dead, with all its legs curled up. At once the other three scuttle off into the shadows. Bilbo

comes into the light and climbs up the tree. He comes to the first bundle and releases Fili; at once the young dwarf

springs up to the branch and begins to cut the others loose. But no more than four have been released when a

sudden hiss makes those four swing round. The light grows much brighter, and in the clearing there is seen a great

gathering of spiders crawling rapidly towards them

SPIDERS   So now we see you, you nasty little creature! We will eat you and leave your bones and skin hanging on a tree.  Ugh!  he’s got a sting, has he?  Well, we’ll get him all the same, and then we’ll hang him head downwards for a day or two.

Fili and the other three dwarves begin hastily to release the other prisoners; Bilbo looks on with despair for a

moment, and then turns to Balin who stands beside him

BILBO   I am going to disappear. I shall draw the spiders off, if I can; and you must keep together and make off in the opposite direction.

He draws out his ring and suddenly vanishes. Balin stares for a moment, and then gathers the dwarves for a final


BILBO [his voice from the distance]

                Lazy Lob and Crazy Cob

                are weaving webs to bind me.

                I’m far more sweet than other meat,

                but still they cannot find me!

                Here am I, naughty little fly;

                you are fat and lazy.

You cannot catch me, though you try,

                in your cobwebs crazy.

The spiders, at the sound of his voice, swarm off towards him. The dwarves make good their escape. But no sooner

are they leaving the clearing when a sudden cry brings them to a halt. A troop of elven guards emerge from the trees

and bend their bows on the dwarves. Balin at once stops, and the dwarves are quickly bound and marched off as

prisoners. The scene is much darker again. Bilbo suddenly emerges from the shadows, still wearing the ring, and

starts as he sees the dwarves led away. After a moment’s hesitation he follows them. The inner curtain falls as total

darkness covers the scene


Scene Three

The lights rise before the inner curtain to show the great judgement hall of the Elvenking Thranduil. The King is

seated on his throne, crowned with a pattern of golden leaves. Around him stand his courtiers, with Galion and the

Captain of the Guard. The Captain signs to one of the guards, and Thorin is brought in. The King looks sternly at him

The ELVENKING   Why did you and your folk try to attack my people at their merrymaking?

THORIN   We came to beg food, because we were starving.

The ELVENKING   What were you doing in the forest?

THORIN   Looking for food and drink, because we were starving.

The ELVENKING   But what brought you into the forest at all?

Thorin is silent. The King turns to the Captain of the Guard

Very well! Take him away and keep him safe until he feels inclined to tell the truth, even if he waits for a thousand years.

Thorin is taken out. At once the other dwarves are brought in; they look at Thorin with wonder, and then Balin

turns angrily to the King

BALIN   What have we done, O King? Is it a crime to be  lost  in  the  forest,  to  be  trapped  by  spiders, to be hungry and thirsty?

The ELVENKING [even more angrily]  It is a crime to wander in my realm without leave. After all the disturbance you have made I have a right to know what brings you here; and if you will not tell me now, and I will keep you all in prison until you have learned sense and good manners!

He signs to the Captain of the Guard, and they are taken out. At once Bilbo enters, alone, still wearing the ring. He

crosses the stage and follows the dwarves out. By their manner the King and his court make it quite clear that he is

unseen. As Bilbo passes through the door towards the dungeons, the light fades quickly


Scene Four

The cellars of the Elvenking’s palace. At the back is the row of dungeons. Around them are stacked many barrels containing butter,

apples, fruits, wine and other commodities; also many empty barrels. At the far left of the stage is a trap-door down into the river

below. On one of the barrels, wearing the ring, sits Bilbo with his head despondently in his hands. On the other side of the room,

working with blind disregard to his presence, is Galion the butler. He is inspecting wine barrels, and finally rolls one forward. At

that moment the Captain of the Guard comes along, inspecting the cells. Galion hails him as he walks past

GALION  Hi, captain!  Come here, and taste the new wine that has just come in. I shall be hard at work tonight clearing the cellars of the empty wood, so let us have a drink first to help the labour!

The CAPTAIN   Very good!  I'll taste with you, and see if it is fit for the King's table. There is a feast tonight, and it would not do to send up poor stuff!

The butler draws out two great flagons, and pours wine from the tap into them. He hands one to the Captain, and both drink deeply.

The Captain sits down on an empty barrel behind Bilbo; the butler sits down opposite him. Both drink again. Bilbo very gingerly

steps down beside the Captain and gently draws his keys from his belt. The butler stops and stares, and then, shaking his head,

drinks again. He goes off and draws two more flagons. He looks at the keys hanging to him apparently in mid-air, and again

shakes his head. Both drink deeply again. But almost at once the Captain falls asleep. The butler looks at the keys again, shakes his

head, and falls asleep in mid-yawn. At once Bilbo darts across and opens the nearest cell doors. The dwarves come out quickly and

group themselves round Bilbo

THORIN   Upon my word!  Gandalf spoke true, as usual! a pretty fine burglar you make, it seems, when the time comes. I am sure we are all forever at your service. But what comes next?

BILBO [indicating the barrels]  These barrels are to be floated down tonight to Lake Town; this trap door leads straight to the river. If I packed you each inside them—

THORIN  We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned too, for certain!  I thought you had got some sensible notion; this is a mad idea!

BILBO   Very well!  Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there 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.

Thorin, with a gesture of resignation, goes  and chooses a roomy barrel for himself. The dwarves help each other in, and  place the

lids on.  Bilbo meanwhile goes over and puts the keys back in the Captain’s belt

BILBO [to himself]  That will save him some of the trouble he is in for. It will puzzle them all too. They will think we had a very strong magic to pass through those locked doors and disappear. Disappear!  We've got to get busy, very quick, if that is to happen!

He turns to find Thorin, who nods to him that all the others have been packed in their barrels. Then he gets in his large barrel,

Bilbo places the lid, and all is quiet for a moment. Distant voices are heard along the corridors


First ELF   Where's old Galion, the butler?

Fourth ELF  I haven’t seen him at the tables tonight.

Sixth ELF   He ought to be here by now to show us what is to be done.

Third ELF   I shall be angry if the old slowcoach is late. I have no wish to be wasting time down here while the song is up!

Six Elves come on, ready to roll the empty barrels into the river. As they see the butler, they rush forward with shouts of laughter

and derision

Second ELF   Ha ha! here’s the old villain with his head on a jug!  He's been having a little feast all to himself with his friend the Captain.

Fifth ELF   Shake him!  Wake him!

GALION [waking up] You’re all late. Here I am waiting and waiting down here, while you fellows make merry and forget your duties. Small wonder if I fall asleep from weariness!

First ELF   Small wonder, when the explanation lies close at hand in a jug!

Fourth ELF   No need to wake the turnkey yonder. He's had his share by the look of it!

They go over to the barrels and begin to roll them down through the trapdoor

First ELF   Save us, Galion! you began your feasting early and muddled your wits!  You have stacked some full casks here instead of empty ones, if there is anything in weight.

GALION   Get on with the work!  There is nothing in the feeling in an idle tosspot’s arms. These are the ones to go and no others. Do as I say!

Fourth ELF   Very well, very well!  On  your head  be it,  if  the king’s full butter-tubs and  his best wine is pushed into the river for the Lake Men to feast on for nothing!

All the ELVES

            Down the swift dark stream you go,

            back to the lands you once did know!

Leave the halls and caverns deep,

leave the northern mountains steep

where the forest wide and dim

stoops in shadow grey and grim!

Float beyond the world of trees

out into the whispering breeze,

past the rushes, past the reeds,

past the marsh’s waving weeds,

through the mist that rises white

up from pool and mere at night!

Follow, follow, stars that leap

up the heavens cold and steep;

turn when dawn comes over land,

over rapid, over sand,

South away! and South away!

seek the sunlight and the day!

Back to pasture, back to mead

where the kine and oxen feed!

back to gardens on the hills

where the berry swells and fills

under sunlight, under day!

South away! and South away!

Down the swift dark stream you go,

            back to the lands you once did know!

The scene grows rapidly dark. The inner curtain falls as the last barrel is pushed through the door



Scene Five

By the lake shore. Water is seen lapping against a wooden hall; this is the Great Hall of the Master of Lake Town. It is dusk, and a

group of guards led by Bard stand on the door of the hall. At first all is still; but soon the waves and current bring the barrels to

land. Bilbo is seen riding on one of them. As soon as he comes ashore he sets to work and frees about six dwarves, including

Thorin, Fili, Kili, Balin and Dwalin. As soon as these are free he leaves Balin and Dwalin to unpack the other dwarves from their

barrels, and he and Thorin, Fili and Kili go up towards the hall. Bard suddenly sees them and his surprise is immense

BARD   Who are you and what do you want?

THORIN [at once] Thorin son of Thráin, son of Thrór King under the Mountain! I have returned. I wish to see the Master of your Town!

BARD   And who are these?

THORIN   The sons of my father's daughter, Fili and Kili of the race of Durin; and Mister Baggins who has travelled with us out of the West.

BARD   Follow me then.


He leads them to the door of the Hall. At once the inner curtain rises to disclose the Master presiding at feast. Many people are

gathered around the side-tables. The Master rises in surprise as Bard enters, but before he can speak Thorin steps forward past



THORIN   I am Thorin son of Thráin, son of Thrór King under the Mountain, who returns!

At once there is a great stir. The Master looks at Bard with some vehemence; and then turns towards Thorin. The sounds of people

singing are heard from outside


MEN and WOMEN [outside]

            The King beneath the Mountain!

           The Lord of carven stone!

           The Lord of silver fountains

           shall come into his own!

MEN [outside]                                                       

His crown shall be upholden,                                                 

his harp shall be restrung,

           his halls shall echo golden

           to songs of yore resung.

WOMEN [outside]                                

The woods shall wave on mountains

            and grass beneath the sun;

           his wealth shall flow in fountains

           and the rivers golden run.

MEN AND WOMEN [both inside and outside]  

The streams shall run in gladness,

           the lakes shall shine and burn,

           all sorrow fail and sadness

           at the Mountain King's return!

The MASTER [with sudden resolution] Certainly, O Thorin Thráin’s son Thrór’s son!  You must claim your own. The hour is at hand, spoken of old. What help we can offer shall be yours, and we trust to your gratitude when your kingdom is regained.

Although this last remark is spoken with too much insinuation for even Thorin in his mood of elation, he bows low to the Master. All

the people rise and sing in chorus

The PEOPLE                                                        

            The King beneath the Mountain!

The Lord of carven stone!

           The Lord of silver fountains

           shall come into his own!

The MASTER [to himself]  Let them go and bother Smaug, and see how he welcomes them!

    The Curtain falls swiftly




Scene One

The Curtain rises on a high part of the Mountain side. There is a large rock wall which spreads across the stage. In

the face of this, there is one corrugation: a deep niche set into the wall. The end of this wall will be the small door

leading down into the heart of the Mountain—the Dragon’s lair. As the curtain rises Thorin is looking at the bay,

and muttering to himself. He is alone

THORIN   Stand by the grey stone where the thrush knocks, and the setting sun of the last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the keyhole…

He looks up into the sky where the sun is setting slowly, and sighs. Slowly he walks on. Bilbo appears from above

the rocks, and sits down in the alcove. He is tired, weary and depressed. There is a long silence. Suddenly a large

Thrush flies over the mountainside towards the alcove. It perches upon a grey stone and looks at the hobbit. It sings

to him. The two look at each other a long time, and then the thrush flies up above him. It finds a large snail upon the

rocks, and then flying down beats it upon the stone. Bilbo suddenly starts and then, running to the path, calls down

BILBO   Thorin! all of you! come quickly! quick!

The Thrush, with a sudden shrill of alarm, flies up above him and perches on a high rock. There it watches as the

dwarves come scrambling up to Bilbo

Quick, Thorin!...the grey stone where the thrush knocks... Durin's Day...the setting sun!

Thorin catches his sudden excitement. The sun is westering quickly. All the dwarves stand and wait. The light becomes redder and

redder and grows dim. And then suddenly a bright beam of light breaks  through  and   focuses  upon  the  rock-face.  The thrush

gives a sudden trill. There is a loud crack. A flake of rock splits from the wall and falls, and a hole appears suddenly about three

feet from the ground

The key! the key!  Try it now while there is still time!

Then Thorin steps up and puts the key around his neck to the hole. It turns with a click. The dwarves all push, and the entrance to

the Hall of the Mountain is disclosed, a dark yawning mouth leading in and down. There is a long silence

THORIN   Now is the time for our esteemed Mister Baggins, who has proved himself a good companion on our long road, to perform the service for which he was included in our Company; now is the time for him to earn his Reward.

BILBO [interrupting crossly]  If you mean you think it is my job to go into that hole first, O Thorin Thráin’s son Oakenshield, may your beard grow ever longer, say so at once and have done!  I might refuse. I have got you out of two messes already, so that I am, I think, already owed some reward. But third time pays for all, and somehow I don't think I  shall  refuse.  I  am  going  to  have a peep at once and get it over. I have got my ring, and every worm has his weak spot—as my father used to say, though I am sure it was not from personal experience.

At once he turns and ducks into the tunnel. Thorin stands rigidly at the tunnel mouth. It grows suddenly totally dark. In the

darkness the inner curtain rises


Scene Two

Out of the darkness there grows slowly visible the shape of the vast dragon, Smaug, seemingly asleep; from his nose and mouth

there comes a flicker of red fire which illuminates the enormous cavern about him. Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge

coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lie countless piles of precious things, gold, gems

and jewels, and silver stained red in the fiery light. Bilbo slowly creeps down a high tunnel at the back and draws nearer across the

floor. Suddenly he stops and withdraws a step

BILBO [to himself] Now you’re in for it at last, Bilbo Baggins. You went and put your foot right in it that night of the party, and now you've got to pull it out and pay for it. Dear me, what a fool I was and am!  I have absolutely no use for dragon-guarded treasures, and the whole lot could stay here for ever, if only I could wake up and find this beastly tunnel was my own front hall at home!

Suddenly there is a brief spark of fire from Smaug's eye; Bilbo gasps at his indiscretion and steps back

SMAUG [in a vast tone]  Well, thief! I smell you and I hear your breath. Come along and help yourself; there is plenty and to spare!

BILBO   No thank you, O Smaug the Tremendous!  I did not come for presents. I only wished to have a look at you and see if you were truly as great as tales say. I didn't believe them.

SMAUG   Do you now?

BILBO   Truly songs and tales fall utterly short of the reality, O Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities.

SMAUG   You have nice manners for a thief and a liar!  Who are you and where do you come from, may I ask?

BILBO   You may indeed!  I come from under the hill, and under hills and over hills by paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen.

SMAUG   As I can well believe, but that is hardly your usual name.

BILBO   I am the clue finder, the web cutter, the stinging fly.

SMAUG [sneering]  Lovely titles!

BILBO   I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.

SMAUG   That doesn’t sound so creditable.

BILBO   I am Ring-winner and Luck-wearer; and I am Barrel Rider.

SMAUG   Very well, O Barrel Rider!  You may walk unseen, but you did not walk all the way. In return for the excellent meal I made of your ponies last night I will give you one piece of advice: leave my gold alone!

BILBO [rather startled]  You don't know everything, O Smaug the Mighty. Not gold alone brought us hither. We came over hill and under hill, by wave and wind, for revenge.

SMAUG [laughing furiously]  Revenge!  Revenge!  The King under the Mountain is dead, and where are his kin that dare seek revenge?  Girion Lord of Dale is dead, I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me?  I kill where I wish and none dare resist. My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, my wings a hurricane, my tail a thunderbolt, and my breath death!

BILBO   I had always understood that dragons were softer underneath, especially in the region of the—er—chest; but doubtless one so fortified has thought of that.

SMAUG    Your  information  is  antiquated.  I  am  armoured above and blow with iron scales and hard gems. No blade can pierce me. [He rolls over to display this part of his anatomy]  There!  What do you think of that?

BILBO Dazzlingly marvellous! Perfect! Flawless!  Staggering! [to himself]  Old fool! why, there is a large patch in the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell! [aloud]  Well, I really must not detain your Magnificence any longer, or keep you from some much needed rest. Ponies take some catching, I believe, after a long start. And so do burglars!

At once he turns and rushes back up the tunnel. Smaug rears from his bed of jewels and roars furiously. This roaring continues

even after the inner curtain falls


Scene Three

Outside on the hill again. Darkness is quickly relieved by light as Bilbo staggers out into the dawn light where the dwarves are

waiting. But the roaring of Smaug still continues

BILBO [on the verge of collapse]  His left breast... the hollow ...unpro...tec...ted...             

He collapses. At once the Thrush sweeps down across the mountain with a shrill cry, and disappears. At the same time the roaring

of Smaug behind the scene reaches an articulate point

SMAUG   Barrel Rider!  Your feet came up the waterside and up the water. I don't know your smell, but if you are not one of those Men of the Lake, you had their help. They shall see me and remember who is the real King under the Mountain!

His shadow passes across the stage, flying through the air, and the roars are terrifying. They continue throughout the following

interlude, during which the stage is dark


Scene Four

As in Act One Scene Five. It is a moonlit night, and a view is now opened across the Lake with the Lonely Mountain visible in the

far distance. Bard is again on guard with his men

First SOLDIER  Look! the lights again!  Something is happening up there.

Second SOLDIER   Perhaps the King under the Mountain is forging gold. It is long since he went North. It is time the songs began to prove themselves again.

BARD   Which King?  As like as not it is the marauding fire of the Dragon, the only King under the Mountain we have ever known.

First SOLDIER  You are always foreboding gloomy things! Anything from floods to poisoned fish.

Second SOLDIER   Try to think of something cheerful!

They look away north again, when suddenly a great light appears and the end of the Lake turns golden

SOLDIERS   The King beneath the Mountain!

First SOLDIER   His wealth is like the sun, his silver like a fountain, the rivers golden run!

Second SOLDIER   The river is running gold from the Mountain!

MEN and WOMEN [behind the scenes]             

The streams shall run in gladness,

            the lakes shall shine and burn,

           all sorrow fail and sadness

           at the Mountain King's return!

BARD [shouting them down]  The Dragon is coming, or I am a fool!  Cut the bridges!  To arms!  To arms!

The inner curtain rises fully and suddenly Smaug appears, flying high in the air and breathing great fires about him. The rejoicing

of the chorus is cut abruptly short, and a great cry goes up from them. The roaring of Smaug rises higher and higher. The great

halls of the town, seen standing  out  into  the  lake,   catch  ablaze  and  rise  with increasing brightness. The guards and Bard

shoot at the dragon with arrows, but the effect is nought. As the fight continues, all except Bard move further towards the back. The

fire rises to its height. Bard plucks another arrow from his quiver, when he starts. Silhouetted against the flames, the Thrush flies

down quickly to his side, singing to him as it comes

The THRUSH   Wait! wait! the moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as he flies and turns above you!

BARD [draws the arrow on the bow and looks at it] Arrow! black arrow!  I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true King under the Mountain, go now and speed well!

The dragon swoops once more lower than ever, and as he turns and dives down his belly glitters white with gems reflecting the

moonbut not in one place. Bard fires his arrow. There is a moment’s pause and then, with a shriek of deafening intensity and

horror, Smaug turns over and crashes down from on high full upon the town. The lake roars in and a great steam rises. With the f

all of Smaug, the scene is covered in darkness. The smokes cover the stage. Slowly there appears a grey light along the lake shore;

in it is seen the Master of Lake Town and many of the people, watching the ruin of their town. Among the people who have fled are

the two soldiers

Some of the PEOPLE   Praise the courage of Bard, and his mighty shot!

Others of the PEOPLE   If only he had not been killed, we would make him a King.

Yet others of the PEOPLE   Bard the Dragon shooter of the Line of Girion!

All the PEOPLE   Alas! that he is lost!

And then the tall figure of the bowman appears from the shadows, drenched in water, with black hair hanging wet over his face, but

with a fierce light in his eyes

BARD   Bard is not lost! he dived from Esgaroth, when the enemy was slain. I am Bard, of the Line of Girion; I am the slayer of the Dragon!

The PEOPLE  King Bard!  King Bard!

BARD   Girion was Lord of Dale, not King of Esgaroth. Let me then go back to my own kingdom; Dale now is freed, and nothing hinders my return. And any that wish can go with me, if they prefer the cold stones under the shadow of the Mountain to the green shores of the Lake.

The MASTER   But who aroused the Dragon from his slumber, may I ask?  Who obtained of us gifts and rich help, to ease our fancies?  What sort of gold have they sent down the river to reward us?  Dragon-fire and ruin!  From whom should we claim recompense of our damage?

BARD   I then will go North to my kingdom; and may all that will follow me.

He strides away along the lakeside, and many follow him. The inner curtain falls quickly, cutting off the scene. Darkness falls totally


Scene Five

When the light rises, the mountain side is seen again, and the dwarves and Bilbo crouched against the rock-face

THORIN   This is the end.

BALIN and GLÓIN   We shall die here.

BILBO [cheerfully]  Come, come!  While there’s life, there's hope!  I am going down again. I’ve been that way once, when I knew the dragon was at the other end, so I will risk another visit when I am no longer sure. And I think this time you had better all come with me.

The dwarves groan, but Thorin slowly nods his accession to Bilbo. They turn and go down the tunnel


Scene Six

In the darkness the inner curtain has risen, to disclose the stage as in Scene Three. The dwarves, led by Bilbo, creep down the

tunnel. Smaug is nowhere to be seen. Óin carries a torch, which he hands to Bilbo. Bilbo steps out from the tunnel and walks

forward across the floor, lighting his way by the torch. Suddenly he stops

BILBO   Confound you, Smaug, you worm!  Stop playing hide-and-seek!  Give me a light, and then eat me, if you can catch me!

Faint echoes run round the unseen hall, but there comes no answer

BILBO  [to himself]  Now I wonder  what on earth he is playing at?

He steps forward, and suddenly stops. At his feet he sees a large gem, shining from within like a moon-gem. He bends down to look

at it more closely, and then picks it up and puts it in his pocket

BILBO [turning and calling to others]  Come along and help!

THORIN   Well, then!...

He steps forward, and the others follow. Thorin comes quickly forward and begins to search through the treasure

BILBO [to Balin]  What is he looking for?

BALIN   The white gem which we found beneath the roots of the Mountain, the Heart of the Mountain: the Arkenstone of Thráin.

THORIN   The Arkenstone!  The Arkenstone!  It was like a globe with a thousand facets: it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain under the moon!

Bilbo is about to speak, when a sudden shaft of light comes through the hall. Down it there flies the Thrush

FILI   Look! there is the thrush again!

The THRUSH   O Thorin son of Thráin, and Balin son of Fundin! the birds are gathering back to the Mountain and to Dale, for the word has gone out that Smaug is dead!

The DWARVES   Dead?  Dead?

KILI   Then the treasure is ours!

The THRUSH   Yes, dead: I saw him fall.

BALIN   Smaug is dead!...

The THRUSH   But others gather here beside the birds. Men come from the Lake, for Smaug has destroyed their town; and they think to find amends from your treasure. And Elves come from the Forest. If you will listen to my counsel, you will trust only him that shot the Dragon with his bow: Bard is he, of the Line of Girion, a grim man but true.

THORIN   My thanks, O worthy bird. You shall not be forgotten. But none of this gold shall the violent carry off while we are alive. Also I would beg you that you would fly at once to my cousin Dáin in the Iron Hills, and tell him of our plight.

The THRUSH   I will do what can be done.

He flies up the beam of light and vanishes

THORIN   Forward to the Gate!  We have little time to lose!

The DWARVES   Forward to the Gate!

All prepare for a state of siege and defence as the Curtain falls




Scene One

The scene is by the Great Gate which enters into the Mountain. Thorin is seated, and before there stand all the

dwarves except Balin, with their instruments. Bilbo sits apart, looking totally dismal and depressed. Beyond the

Gate the land is shrouded as night begins to fall


                Under the Mountain dark and tall

                the King is come into his hall!

                His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,

                and ever so his foes will fall!

                The sword is sharp, the spear is long,

                the arrow swift, the Gate is strong;

                the heart is bold that looks on gold;

                the dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.


                The dwarves of yore wove mighty spells

                while hammers fell like ringing bells

                in places deep, where dark things sleep,

                in hollow halls beneath the fells.

                On silver necklaces they strung

                the light of stars, on crowns they hung

                the dragon-fire, from twisted wire

                the melody of harps they wrung.


                The Mountain Throne once more is freed!

                O wandering folk, the summons heed!

                Come haste! Come haste! across the waste!

                The King of friend and kin has need!

BALIN [enters hastily] They have come! and their camp is very great.

Thorin rises from his seat and the dwarves at once put away their instruments. At the same time a herald climbs up

above the Gate at the back and Bard joins him

THORIN [calling to them] Who are you that come as if in war to the gates of Thorin son of Thráin, King under the Mountain, and what do you desire?

   The herald blows his trumpet

BARD   Hail, Thorin! Why do you fence yourself like a robber in his lair? We are not yet foes, and we rejoice that you are alive beyond our hope. I am Bard, and by my hand was the Dragon slain and your treasure delivered. Moreover, I am by right descent the heir of Girion, Lord of Dale. And we here wish to parley.

THORIN   I will not parley with armed men at my doors. Nor at all with the people of the Elvenking, whom I remember with small kindness. In this debate they have no place.

BARD   The Elvenking is my friend, and he has succoured the people of the Lake in their need, although they had no call but friendship on him. We will give you time to repent your words. Gather your wisdom ere we return!

He and the Herald go down. Thorin turns to the dwarves

THORIN   We must set a watch. Mister Baggins will take the first.

Bilbo moves along and takes up his position as watch on the Gate. Thorin and the other dwarves go within the Mountain, but as they go Thorin halts

We go to seek for the Arkenstone of Thráin, for it is worth more than a river of gold in itself, and to me it is beyond price. That stone of all the treasure I name to myself, and I will be revenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it.

They go within. Bilbo walks up and down, but finally sits down unhappily

BILBO   Now I am a burglar indeed! But my mind is made up.

He goes back to the Gate, and takes a torch from the wall lit by Óin as he passed in. He waves it three times and

replaces it on the wall. It casts a flickering light as he stands in silence looking out across the landscape. Bard

appears in the gateway and Bilbo looks at him

Bard! I must speak to you. I must avoid conflict. I have an offer to make to you.

BARD   I will hear it.

BILBO   You may see it. It is this!

He stands up and draws the Arkenstone from beneath his cloak

This is the Arkenstone of Thráin, the Heart of the Mountain; and it is also the heart of Thorin. He values it above a river of gold. I give it you. It will aid you in your parley.

He hands it to Bard, who holds it in his hand as though dazed

BARD   Bilbo Baggins! You are more worthy than I. But I wonder if Thorin Oakenshield will see it so. I advise you to come down with me, and there you will be honoured and thrice welcome.

BILBO   Thank you very much, I am sure. But I really cannot desert my friends like this, after all we have been through together.

Bard looks at him in amazement, and finally presses the hobbit’s hand and passes down the mountainside. Bilbo

looks out into the night and shivers


Scene Two

The inner curtain rises: the scene is as before, save that it has turned through a quarter circle so that it is seen from

outside rather than from within the Gate. Dawn is breaking and Bilbo is still on watch. Day breaks: a cold grey

morning. Thorin comes out onto the wall, with Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Óin and Glóin at his side. He bears in his

arms a coat of silver mail

THORIN   Mister Baggins! Here is the first share of your reward! Cast off your old coat and put on this!

Bilbo rises and the dwarves help him off with his jacket and put the mail on him. He remains totally impassive. As

the robing is complete, the trumpet sounds again from below

That will be Dáin! They will have got wind of his coming! I thought that would soften their mood.

Up towards the Gate there come Bard and the Elvenking, side by side. Behind them comes an old man bearing a


BARD   Hail, Thorin! Are you still of the same mind?

THORIN   My mind does not change with the rising and setting of a few suns. Did you come to ask me idle questions?  Still the elf-host has not departed as I bade!  Till then you come in vain to parley with me.

BARD   Is there then nothing for which you would wield any of your gold?

THORIN   Nothing that you and your friends have to offer.

BARD   What of the Arkenstone of Thráin?

At once the old man opens the casket and holds aloft the jewel. The light of it leaps from his hand, bright and white in the morning.

There is a long silence

THORIN   That  stone  was  my  father's,  and  is  mine.  Why should I purchase my own?  But how came you by such an heirloom of my house—if there is need to ask such a question of thieves?

BARD   We are not thieves. Your own we will give back in return for our own.

THORIN   How came you by it?

BILBO [suddenly]  I gave it them!

THORIN   You!! miserable hobbit!  By the beard of Durin!  I wish I had Gandalf here!  Curse him for his choice of you!  May his beard wither!  As for you, I will throw you to the rocks!

He advances on Bilbo, ready to throw him over the wall onto the stones, when the old man steps forward, throwing aside his


GANDALF   Stay!  Your wish is granted!  Here is Gandalf! and none too soon, it seems. If you don't like my burglar, please don't damage him. Put him down, and listen first to what he has to say!

THORIN [releasing Bilbo in surprise]   You seem all in league!  Never again will I have dealings with any wizard or his friends. What have you to say, you descendant of rats?

BILBO   Dear me, dear me!  I am sure this is all very uncomfortable. Is this all the service of you and your family that I was promised, Thorin?

THORIN   Aye; and may we never meet again!  I am betrayed. It was rightly guessed that I could not forbear to redeem the Arkenstone, the treasure of my house. For it I will give one tenth of the hoard in silver and gold; but with that reward shall this traitor depart, and you can divide it as you will. Take him, if you wish him to live; and no friendship of mine goes with him.

BILBO   What about the gold and silver?

THORIN   That shall follow after, as can be arranged. Get down now to your friends!  You have mail upon you, which was made by my folk, and it is too good for you. It cannot be pierced by arrows; but if you do not hasten, I will sting your miserable feet. So be swift!

BARD   Not so hasty!

GANDALF   You are not making a very splendid figure as King under the Mountain; but things may change yet.

THORIN [with sudden triumph]  They may indeed!

The others look round with surprise. Behind them on the hillside the light suddenly falls on Dáin and his army of dwarves, with

great axes

BARD   Who are you?

DÁIN   I am Dáin son of Nain, hastening to my kinsmen in the Mountain, since I learn that the kingdom of old is renewed. But who are you that sit in the plain before defended walls?

BARD [to the Elvenking] Fools! to come thus beneath the Mountain's arm!  There are many of our archers and spearmen now hidden in the rocks upon their flank. Dwarf-mail may be good, but they will soon be put hard to it. Let us set on them now from both sides!

The ELVENKING   Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold. Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation.

DÁIN   Make way!

His archers step forward with bows drawn. Suddenly there is a roar of thunder, and the sky grows dark

GANDALF [stepping forward]  Halt! halt!  Dread has come upon you all!  Alas! it has come more swiftly than I guessed. The Goblins are upon you!  Bolg of the North is coming, O Dáin! whose father you slew in Moria. Behold! the bats are above his army like a sea of locusts. They ride upon wolves, and Wargs are in their train!

Amazement and confusion falls upon the darkened scene. Mists rise quickly from the ground. There is a crying of many voices.   

Dáin comes quickly forward to Gandalf's side and Thorin and his companions go quickly within. The smokes cover the stage

totally as the battle begins. Towards the front Bilbo and Gandalf sit. Through the mist appear a group of elves and goblins fighting;

many of the elves are slain, and the goblins pursue them towards the left. There appears a group of men of the Lake and dwarves

of the Iron Hills, who attack them from the back. There is a sudden cry from the back, and the goblins pour in to the counter-attack.

The allies are driven back towards the position of the Gate. Suddenly there comes a trumpet call, and Thorin appears. He is clad in

golden armour, and a red glow follows him

THORIN   To me! to me! Elves and Men! To me! O my kinsfolk!

The goblins retreat as many more men and elves come to the dwarf's aid. But soon the tide of battle turns again. Dimly through the

mist Thorin is seen to be wounded. Goblins and wolves run howling towards the Gate. Bilbo has risen and looks out to the North.

Suddenly he gives a great cry

BILBO   The Eagles are coming! the Eagles are coming!

Many ELVES [through the mists]  The Eagles!  The Eagles! the Eagles are coming!

BILBO   The Eagles!...

One Orc turns on him and aims a spear at him. It strikes him full in the chest and, although it is deflected by the hidden coat of

mail, the hobbit falls to the ground unconscious. At once the light fades and the mists begin to disperse


Scene Three

The same scene, as the lights rise, is still covered with mists but these are now slowly dispersing. But at first all that may be seen is

Bilbo lying on the hillside. Slowly he raises himself up and peers into the mists. After a moment Gandalf appears, coming towards


BILBO   Hullo!  Hullo!  What news?

GANDALF   Baggins!  Well, I never!  Alive after all—I am glad!  A terrible business, and it was nearly disastrous.

BILBO   Where are the Eagles?

GANDALF   Some are pursuing the goblins, but most have gone back to their eyries. It was a great victory; three parts of the goblin warriors of the North have perished on this day. But news can wait. Come!  You are called for.

The mists disperse more as Gandalf and Bilbo walk towards the back. Through the mist is seen once more the Gate, and on a bier

before it lies Thorin, wounded with many wounds, and his rent armour and notched axe are cast upon the floor. He looks up as

Bilbo comes beside him

THORIN   Farewell, good thief. I go now to the Halls of Waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed. Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth, I wish to part in friendship from you, and I would take back my words and deeds at the Gate.

BILBO   Farewell, King under the Mountain!  This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils—that is more than I have deserved.

THORIN   No!  There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more men valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!

He dies. Bilbo turns away, overcome with emotion. Dáin steps forward from the shadows, clad in armour and

crowned as King under the Mountain. The bier is borne off in a solemn march as the inner curtain falls


Scene Four

    The light rises slowly to disclose a grassy valley floor with trees clustered thick on every side. The valley of

    Rivendell is seen again, but this time all that stand in wait on the valley floor are Gandalf and Bilbo, the latter with

    two ponies carrying gold

Voices of ELVES

            The Dragon is withered,

his bones are now crumbled!

his armour is shivered,

his splendour is humbled!

Though sword shall be rusted

and throne and crown perish

with strength that men trusted

and wealth that they cherish,

here grass is yet growing

and leaves are yet swinging,

the white water flowing

and Elves are yet singing

Come tra la la lally,

come back to the valley.

The stars are far brighter

than gems without measure,

the moon is far whiter

than silver in treasure;

the fire is more shining

in hearth on the gloaming

than gold won by mining,

so why go a-roaming?

O tra la la lally,

come back to the valley.

O where are you going,

so late in returning?

The river is flowing,

the stars are all burning!

O whither so laden,

so sad and so dreary?

Here elf and elf-maiden

now welcome the weary

with Tra la la lally,

come back to the valley.

Ha ha!

From the trees Elrond comes forth and bows to Gandalf and Bilbo

ELROND   Hail, O Gandalf!

GANDALF   Hail, Master Elrond!

ELROND   Hail, O Bilbo the magnificent! I name you Elf-friend and blessed. May your shadow never grow less, or stealing would be too easy!

   They stand together as the light fades

Voices of ELVES

      Sing, all ye joyful, now sing all together!

      The wind’s in the treetop, the wind’s in the heather,

      the stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,

      and bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

      Dance, all ye joyful, now dance all together!

      Soft is the grass, and let food be like feather!

      The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;

      merry is May-time, and merry our meeting.

      Sing we now softly, and dreams let us weave him!

      Wind him in slumber, and there let us leave him!

      The wanderer sleepeth. Now soft be his pillow!

      Lullaby, lullaby, alder and willow!

      Sigh no more, pine, till the wind of the morn!

      Fall, moon! Dark be the land!

      Hush! hush! oak, ash and thorn!

      Hushed be all water, till dawn is at hand!

The lights rise. Bilbo and Gandalf are alone on a long road. Bilbo sings softly to himself


Roads go ever ever on,

under rock and under tree,

by caves where never sun has shone,

by streams that never find the sea;

over snows by winter sown,

and through the merry flowers of June,

over grass and over stone  

and under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,

under cloud and under star,

yet feet that wandering have gone

turn at last to home afar.

At the end of the road there appears the familiar door of Bag End. Bilbo turns and walks towards it, his voice

growing fainter as he approaches it. Gandalf alone remains at the front of the stage

Eyes that fire and sword have seen

and horror in the halls of stone

look at last on meadows green

and trees and hills they long have known.

As Bilbo approaches his home, the curtain falls very slowly