Fire and Water

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Fire and Water refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Fire and Water (disambiguation).
Fire and Water
Chapter of The Hobbit
EventSmaug descends upon Esgaroth; Bard the Bowman slays him with his Black Arrow.
Preceded byNot at Home
Followed byThe Gathering of the Clouds

Fire and Water is the 14th chapter of The Hobbit.


This chapter tells the story of the fall of Smaug. It begins when some the people of Lake-town saw a brief glow in the Lonely Mountain. Some reacted, believing that the King under the Mountain was forging gold, but a grim-voiced man rightly believed it to be the fire of Smaug. The others noted how he was always foretelling evil things. Soon the news of activity spread and people were looking toward the Mountain in hope. But the grim-voiced man, Bard the Bowman, alerted the people, including the Master of Lake-town, that the dragon was coming. The warriors soon were ready, and the rest were either preparing for the fire with vessels of water or readying their boats to escape. Smaug first destroyed the bridge to land, leaving the people of Lake-town stranded on the island. The archers, led by Bard, attempted to slay the dragon, but were unable to do so. Suddenly, a thrush came to Bard, whose companions were abandoning him. The thrush told Bard of the bare patch on Smaug's breast, which was illuminated by the light of the rising moon. Bard then took his Black Arrow, which he had saved from his ancestors, and shot down the dragon. Smaug let out one final shriek and fell directly on Lake-town.

The remaining people of Lake-town lamented for the loss of their town, and much of their supplies. Many of them mourned about the seeming loss of Bard. They said that Bard may have made a good king. But as they spoke of him, he returned, having survived Smaug's fall. Despite the Master of Lake-town's attempts at persuading the people into supporting him, the people began a chant:

"Up the Bowman, and down with the Moneybags!"

But the Master of Lake-town reminded the people that Thorin and Company had brought the ruin upon them. In spite of Bard's reasonable declarations that becoming angry with Thorin and Company would not be helpful, many of the people still wished for retribution against them.

Throughout Middle-earth, news of Smaug's defeat was spreading. Bird messengers arrived in the Elvenking's halls, Goblins were readying for a battle, and Beorn had heard the news before long.

Messengers from Lake-town met Elvenking as he marched with his folk. When he met Bard, they turned toward the Mountain and devised a plan. The women, children, old, and unfit, as well as the Master of Lake-town and some men and elves, would stay behind and collect wood for fires, while the able-bodied men, with the rest of the Elvenking's array, would march north to Erebor. Thus, eleven days after the ruin of Lake-town and the fall of Smaug, the host arrived at the desolation of Smaug.