Guide to The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/Chapter 8

The Hobbit - Chapter 8 - Flies and Spiders


Bilbo and the dwarves trek through the forest of Mirkwood. They come across the enchanted stream Beorn warns about and use hooks from their packs to pull a boat toward them. One dwarf Bombur sets the boat adrift and falls into the stream. They pull him out, enchanted by the stream to sleep.

Bombur wakes up, without his memory of the journey. They see elves, but the elves disappear when Bilbo approaches. Bilbo sleeps. he wakes up find himself bound by threads spun by a spider. He manages to free himself and kills the spider with his sword, naming it Sting.

Bilbo finds the dwarves bound as well. He throws stones to scare them off and cuts the webs. Meanwhile, Thorin was taken captive by the Wood-elves feasting in the woods. They take him to their king, who throws him in the dungeon.


This is the first time they are in real trouble wihout the wisdom and guidance of Gandalf. They had expended all their arrows in their attempt to kill deer for food.

Despite this, Bilbo is more useful than the dwarves thought so. When Bilbo kills the spider, it marks a step of evolution for him. He is conscious of feeling braver than he led to himself to believe.


baying barking. hart male red deer, usually over five years old. hind female red deer. short commons minimal rations. confusticate flabbergast. mirth joy, playfulness. watercourse any waterway, such as a stream or river. quoits a game in which a ring of iron or rope is thrown at an upright pin; similar to the game of pitching horseshoes. thongs a strip of leather or hide.