Guide to The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/Chapter 17

The Clouds Burst is the seventeenth chapter of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit.


Bard and Thranduil use the Arkenstone to try to negotiate with Thorin. Furious, Thorin acquiesces, but declares Bilbo a betrayer and has him thrown from his walls. Dáin arrives with his army of Dwarves, and Gandalf warns of the coming of Bolg and his army of Goblins, Wargs, and Bats. The Dwarves, Elves, and Men join forces and the Battle of Five Armies begins. When the battle seems to be lost, Bilbo spots the coming arrival of the Eagles, before becoming knocked out.


Bard and Thranduil use the Arkenstone to try to negotiate with Thorin. Furious, Thorin acquiesces, but declares Bilbo a betrayer and has him thrown from his walls. Dáin arrives with his army of Dwarves, and Gandalf warns of the coming of Bolg and his army of Goblins, Wargs, and Bats. The Dwarves, Elves, and Men join forces and the Battle of Five Armies begins. When the battle seems to be lost, Bilbo spots the coming arrival of the Eagles, before becoming knocked out. Synopsis In the morning, Bard returns with two messengers to entreat Thorin to accept a peaceable agreement. When the dwarf again refuses, Bard reveals the Arkenstone, the one part of the treasure that Thorin values above all else. Thorin is crushed, and turns to Bilbo in rage when the hobbit reveals that he gave Bard the treasure. Thorin is about to turn violent, but one of the messengers throws off his cloak and reveals himself to be Gandalf.

The wizard commands Thorin to let Bilbo speak. Bilbo claims that, in taking the Arkenstone, he only took his fair share of the treasure, as his contract as burglar had specified. Thorin reluctantly agrees, and he angrily offers to pay a fourteenth part of the treasure to regain the stone, which satisfies the Men and the Elves. Thorin, however, secretly hopes that before they make the exchange, his relatives, who are marching toward the mountain with an army under the leadership of Dain, will be able to capture the stone by force.

The Dwarf army arrives and threaten the Elves and Men, and they are about to engage in battle when darkness takes over the sky from the west. Gandalf tells them that a new danger has come: an army of goblins and Wargs who intend to take the treasure for themselves. The Dwarves, Elves and Men unite against the goblins and Wargs, and the Battle of the Five Armies begins.

The forces of good fight fiercely, but the goblins and Wargs are just as fierce. Bilbo stays on the mountain, removed from the fighting, and watches as the Elves and Dwarves first send the goblins fleeing but then are forced to retreat from the vicious Wargs. Thorin fights alongside the Men as mightily as any. However, the goblins slowly gain ground, and Bilbo is forced to retreat to the Elves’ camp, which is nearly surrounded. The end seems close at hand when the hobbit’s keen eyes spy something in the distant skies: the Eagles are flying toward the battlefield. At that moment, however, a stone falls from the mountain and hits Bilbo on the head, and he loses consciousness.


Dramatis personaeEdit

Bilbo Baggins Thorin Oakenshield Gandalf Bard the Bowman Elvenking

Other charactersEdit

Dáin II Ironfoot Bolg Roäc Great Goblin (Mentioned only)

Species and creaturesEdit