Great Goblin slain by Gandalf in the Quest of Erebor
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards
Date: July 17, 2941
An event in the Quest of Erebor, and the first event in the prelude to the Battle of the Five Armies:
There in the shadows on a large flat stone sat a tremendous goblin with a huge head, and armed goblins were standing round him carrying the axes and the bent swords that they use. Now goblins are cruel ... But they had a special grudge against Thorin's people, because of the war which you have heard mentioned ... and anyway goblins don't care who they catch, as long as it is done smart and secret, and the prisoners are not able to defend themselves.
'Who are these miserable persons?' said the Great Goblin.
'Dwarves, and this!' said one of the drivers, pulling at Bilbo's chain so that he fell forward onto his knees. ...
'We were on a journey to visit our relatives ... who live on the East side of these truly hospitable mountains,' said Thorin, not quite knowing what to say ... when obviously the exact truth would not do....
'He is a liar, O truly tremendous one!' said one of the drivers. 'Several of our people were struck by lightning in the cave, when we invited these creatures to come below; and they are as dead as stones. Also he has not explained this!' He held out the sword which Thorin had worn, the sword which came from the Trolls' lair.
The Great Goblin gave a truly awful howl of rage when he looked at it.... They knew the sword at once. It had killed hundreds of goblins in its time ...
'Murderers and elf-friends!' the Great Goblin shouted. '... Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!' He was in such a rage that he jumped off his seat and himself rushed at Thorin with his mouth open.
Just at that moment all the lights in the cavern went out, and the great fire went ... into a tower of blue glowing smoke ... that scattered piercing white sparks all among the goblins.
The yells and yammering ... that followed were beyond description. ... The sparks were burning holes in the goblins, and the smoke that now fell from the roof made the air too thick for even their eyes to see through. ...
Suddenly a sword flashed in its own light. Bilbo saw it go right through the Great Goblin as he stood dumbfounded in the middle of his rage. He fell dead, and the goblin soldiers fled before the sword shrieking into the darkness.
The sword went back into its sheath. 'Follow me quick!' said a voice fierce and quiet; and before Bilbo understood what had happened he was trotting along again, as fast as he could trot, at the end of the line, down more dark passages with the yells of the goblin-hall growing fainter behind him. A pale light was leading them on. ...
Then Gandalf lit up his wand. ... He took out his sword again, and again it flashed in the dark by itself. It burned with a rage that made it gleam if goblins were about; now it was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the great lord of the cave. It made no trouble whatever of cutting through the goblin-chains and setting all the prisoners free as quickly as possible. ...
'Are we all here?' said he, handing his sword back to Thorin with a bow. ... 'Well, well! it might be worse, and then again it might be a good deal better. No ponies, and no food, and no knowing quite where we are, and hordes of angry goblins just behind! On we go!'
The Hobbit, Ch 4, Over Hill and Under Hill
[A note on the date: the year is canon, but the day is derived from an estimate by Fonstadt from her book: The Atlas of Middle-earth, Revised Edition, by Karen Wynn Fonstad, Section 5, The Hobbit: Introduction. One day is added to the estimated date of capture, July 16, since the capture was at night.]
Elena Tiriel 1Aug04