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|−|On their long journey to [[Erebor]], [[Thorin II Oakenshield|Thorin]] and his companions were captured by [[Wood- elves]] as they neared the eastern edge of [[Mirkwood]], and imprisoned in their halls. It was [[Bilbo Baggins]] who engineered their escape, concealing them in barrels that the [[ Elves]] unknowingly released into the [[ Forest River]], which then carried them down to the [[Long Lake]]. Wearing his [[One Ring| Magic Ring]] , [[Bilbo]] himself clung to one of the barrels, and so made his way with the [[ Dwarves]] to [[Lake-town]]. |+|
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|−|Some weeks later, [[Bilbo Baggins|Bilbo ]] found himself confronted by the Dragon [[Smaug]], and needing to distract the great Dragon, he invented a series of riddling names and titles for himself, including 'Barrel-rider' from his adventures on the river. The name 'Barrel-rider' seemed harmless at the time, but it was actually the trigger for the great events that followed. [[Smaug]] immediately saw the connection between barrels and the Lake, and it caused him to attack [[Lake-town]], an act which gave [[Bard]] the chance to destroy the Dragon. So, if Bilbo had never called himself 'Barrel-rider', [[Smaug]] might still have held the [[ Lonely Mountain]] at the time of the [[War of the Ring]]. |+|
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Latest revision as of 19:55, 11 May 2013
Barrel-rider was one of the names Bilbo Baggins gave to Smaug in the dragon's lair in the Lonely Mountain.
In late T.A. 2941 Bilbo descended into the depths of the Lonely Mountain to look upon the Smaug and view his treasure. On his first visit he found Smaug asleep, but the second time the great dragon was awake and waiting for him. Bilbo though had taken the precaution of wearing his ring and was invisible so Smaug could not locate him precisely. However he could smell the hobbit and feel his air so he spoke to the intruder.
Smaug asked his visitor for his name. Knowing that it would be unwise to reveal his true name or stay quiet, Bilbo replied with a series of riddles, which no dragon can resist puzzling out. Bilbo gave himself a series of names such as "Ringwinner" and "Luckwearer", referring to his adventures on the way to the Mountain. Becoming pleased with his riddling, one of the names Bilbo conferred upon himself was 'Barrel-rider'.
This last epithet confirmed Smaug's belief that Bilbo's coming was a scheme of the Lake-men of Esgaroth. Of all Bilbo's names Smaug referred to the "thief" as Barrel-rider and Bilbo regretted making up that name, fearing that the Lake-men would suffer for it. The people of Esgaroth did lose their town to Smaug's flames when he attacked, but in the end Bilbo's use of "Barrel-rider" produced a fortunate result: at the height of the attack Smaug was killed by an arrow shot by Bard the bowman.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"