Guide to The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/Chapter 15

The Gathering of the Clouds is the fifteenth chapter of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit.


Bilbo and the Dwarves learn of Smaug's death, and of the approaching hosts of the Mirkwood Elves and the lake-men, from Roäc the Raven. The Dwarves send messages via ravens to Dáin of the Iron Hills requesting aid, and the dwarves have the ravens report the movements of any who approach the Lonely Mountain. Bard comes before the front gate of the mountain and requests a parley, but Thorin refuses. After another attempt at parley, the Elves and men declare the mountain besieged.


The thrush returns to the Company in Ravenhill. Finding that they cannot understand its speech, the thrush brings an old raven that can speak in the common tongue, and the raven informs them of Smaug's death. Their rejoicing is short-lived, as the raven goes on to describe the army of humans and elves marching toward them, as well as the suffering of Lake-town’s people, who feel they deserve some share of the treasure in the mountain. Thorin regards the treasure as his inheritance and plans to fight for it, regardless of what the people of Lake-town have suffered.

Under Thorin’s orders, the Company retreats to the mountain and fortifies it by building a wall at the main gate. From there, they watch as Bard and representatives of the elves approach. Bard informs them that he killed Smaug and Lake-town has been destroyed, and asks that the dwarves be generous in sharing the treasure, since they benefited so much at the expense of the humans. Thorin flatly refuses, and feels that he owes them nothing since the gold belonged to his people originally. Bard gives Thorin time to reconsider, but Thorin will not change his position. The mountain is then declared besieged: no one will be let in or out without being captured or killed. Bilbo, for his part, would gladly share the treasure, and is entirely discouraged by the whole turn of affairs. However, no dwarf questions Thorin, and Bilbo has no say in the matter.



Main CharactersEdit

Other charactersEdit