Summary and Analysis
Chapter 17 - The Clouds Burst
Bard comes to Thorin and produces the Arkenstone. Bilbo explains how it has come into his possession, which enrages Thorin. Gandalf then appears. Thorin promises Bard to redeem the stone with one-fourteenth of the hoard. Bard goes out to meet Dain, approaching with his five hundred dwarves, and refuses to allow him to pass.
Elvenking wants a reconciliation, but the dwarves strike. Gandalf warns of the Wargs and Goblins that may attack. The Battle of Five Armies takes place: the Goblins and wild wolves (Wargs) oppose the elves, men, and dwarves. The eagles who earlier saved Bilbo and the dwarves from the Wargs approach. Bilbo is struck with a stone and passes out.
In this chapter, the Battle of Five Armies occurs, and Bilbo reprises some of his former hobbit behavior when he is knocked unconscious by a stone, which puts an end to any further heroism on his part. Thorin's greed and his anger over the theft of the Arkenstone put into motion the many alliances and enmities among the different creatures of this world. These relationships had developed over time, some without understandable cause, some maintained simply because historically they have always been. The message seems clear, in this book written in the years before World War II: Peacekeeping is endangered by those motivated by personal and material gain and the unquestioning allegiance to longstanding political relationships.
helm a position of control.