Just got through with all that plotzing, and the next hunk of the story is a head-scratcher.
First of all, Gandalf leads his trusted peers to the woods and proclaims that he's not going in there with "you people". He YP'd them! His own crew!
"It is no use arguing. I have, as I told you, some pressing business away south; and I am already late through bothering with you people. We may meet again before all is over, and then again of course we may not."Who called this mission to order? Gandalf. And he's ditching the crew. Sup with that? What about wolves? What about trolls or goblins? He took the wicked swords AND the horse from bear-man and made everyone else return their ponies, and now he wants them all to march into a deep dark forest and maybe he'll see them on the other side. Can they walk around? Yeah, but its hundreds of miles, Gandalf says. Hmmm, how does that phrase go, again? "F*** you. No smiley." I think that's it.
Okay, okay, okay. So the fearless 14 here are walking through the forest, and when trying to cross a creek, one of them falls in the water. They help him out, he's all wet, he's shook up about the whole thing, and it turns out that the guy goes into a coma because the water was cursed! Terrible. His friends carry him and continue into the woods, and, then the guy wakes up, and what happens next? Fellow dwarf Thorin snaps at a man who just woke up from a coma.
"In fact, if you can't talk about something else, you had better be silent. We are quite annoyed with you as it is. If you hadn't waked up, we should have just left you to your idiotic dreams in the forest; you are no joke to carry even after weeks of short commons."
Oh, and by the way, what's with the way they address Bilbo? When I write about him, I use his name, because that's how our society addresses beings that speak -- by name. When the dwarves are frustrated with him, though, they call him "hobbit". Thorin is the only dwarf that consistently calls him "Mr. Baggins". Combined with the earlier YP of this scene, I think it's time we talk about Tolkein's racist undertones. I know, I know. Tolkein? Racist?? Well, do you consider James Cameron and his treatment of blue people to be along the same lines? I haven't Gotten Blued, so to speak, but feel free to spoil movie that for me.
So, they walk on, they get hungry and super cranky and they stray from the path Gandalf said not to, and there are mysterious little bonfires that appear and magically disappear when they get close, and all of a sudden...SPIDERS! Big ones! Big ones who want to eat dwarves! SNAP! One tries to enclose Bilbo in a web, but, being the resourceful and hopeful Babe the Pig character, Bilbo uses his pocket knife to cut through the webs and, get this, duel with an effing spider! Then he lunches forward and stabs the thing right between the eyes.
Pretty impressive. A turning point, one might say. But what he goes on to do next is just kind of sick.
"Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the hep of the wizard or the dwarves or anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath. 'I will give you a name,' he said to it, 'and I shall call you Sting.'"So at this point, Bilbo is high off of his latest kill, and he's looking for another taste of blood. He runs into a few spiders, and, get this, they're talking (spiders talk!) amonst themselves about eating some dwarves. So what does Bilbo do? He puts on his magic ring, unsheaths his murderous sword, starts singing creepy chants to confuse the spideys, kicks his gruesome killing spree into the next gear, and, last but not least, frees all of the dwarves stuck in webs.
Yeah, right, you're saying the spiders were going to eat everyone! And they looked super scary! But the common theme of The Hobbit so far is "When In Doubt, Slash The Hell Out Of It", especially after that whole goblin/cave massacre, so this continues that theme. I mean, the spiders spoke English! Bilbo could have at least talked to them, held them hostage, or not killed every single last one of them. I had no idea he had so much pent up murderous rage; can children grasp this glorification of war and violence, or can they relate because they find spiders megacreepy and therefore not fit to live?
So....now that everything is dead....the dwarves know that the ring turns Bilbo invisible, and they're all looking to get back on their forest path. Kind of awkward. I kind of wish they stayed on that path, because as an innocent bystander to all of that, I now know we have a killer on our hands.