HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Beorn's House

Type: Buildings, Halls, Houses

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Location: A home in the Vales of Anduin, between the Carrock and Mirkwood.

Description: [Said Gandalf to Thorin Oakenshield's company,] 'He lives in an oak-wood and has a great wooden house' ...

It was the middle of the afternoon before they noticed that great patches of flowers had begun to spring up, all the same kinds growing together as if they had been planted. Especially there was clover, waving patches of cockscomb clover, and purple clover, and wide stretches of short white sweet honey-smelling clover. ...

'We are getting near,' said Gandalf. 'We are on the edge of his bee-pastures.' ...

After a while they came to a belt of tall and very ancient oaks, and beyond these to a high thorn-hedge through which you could neither see nor scramble. ...

They soon came to a wooden gate, high and broad, beyond which they could see gardens and a cluster of low wooden buildings, some thatched and made of unshaped logs; barns, stables, sheds, and a long low wooden house. Inside on the southward side of the great hedge were rows and rows of hives with bell-shaped tops made of straw. The noise of the giant bees flying to and fro and crawling in and out filled all the air.

The wizard and the hobbit pushed open the heavy creaking gate and went down a wide track towards the house. ...

Soon they reached a courtyard, three walls of which were formed by the wooden house and its two long wings. In the middle there was lying a great oak-trunk with many lopped branches beside it. Standing near was a huge man ...

'Then you had better come inside...' said the man leading the way through a dark door that opened out of the courtyard into the house.

Following him they found themselves in a wide hall with a fire-place in the middle. Though it was summer there was a wood-fire burning and the smoke was rising to the blackened rafters in search of the way out through an opening in the roof. [see Note] They passed through this dim hall, lit only by the fire and the hole above it, and came through another smaller door into a sort of veranda propped on wooden posts made of single tree-trunks. It faced south and was still warm and filled with the light of the westering sun which slanted into it, and fell golden on the garden full of flowers that came right up to the steps.

Here they sat on wooden benches while Gandalf began his tale, and Bilbo swung his dangling legs and looked at the flowers in the garden, wondering what their names could be, as he had never seen half of them before. ...

Gandalf gave a long shrill whistle, and presently Thorin and Dori came round the house by the garden path and stood bowing low before them. ...

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Inside the hall it was now quite dark. Beorn clapped his hands, and in trotted four beautiful white ponies and several large long-bodied grey dogs. Beorn said something to them.... They went out again and soon came back carrying torches in their mouths, which they lit at the fire and stuck in low brackets on the pillars of the hall about the central hearth. ...

Quickly they got out boards and trestles from the side walls and set them up near the fire. ...

Then ... in came some snow-white sheep.... One bore a white cloth embroidered at the edges with figures of animals; others bore on their broad backs trays with bowls and platters and knives and wooden spoons, which the dogs took and quickly laid on the trestle tables. These were very low, low enough even for Bilbo to sit at comfortably. Beside them a pony pushed two low-seated benches with wide rush-bottoms and little short thick legs... while at the far end he put Beorn's big black chair of the same sort.... These were all the chairs he had in his hall, and he probably had them low like the tables for the convenience of the wonderful animals that waited on him. ... The other ponies came in rolling round drum-shaped sections of logs, smoothed and polished... so soon they were all seated at Beorn's table, and the hall had not seen such a gathering for many a year. ...

The light of the torches and the fire flickered about them, and on the table were two tall red beeswax candles. ...

When dinner was over they began to tell tales ... of gold and silver and jewels and the making of things by smith-craft, [but] Beorn did not appear to care for such things: there were no things of gold or silver in his hall, and few save the knives were made of metal at all.

They sat long at the table with their wooden drinking-bowls filled with mead. The dark night came on outside. The fires in the middle of the hall were built with fresh logs and the torches were put out, and still they sat in the light of the dancing flames with the pillars of the house standing tall behind them, arid dark at the top like trees of the forest. ...

The great door had creaked and slammed. Beorn was gone. The dwarves were sitting cross-legged on the floor round the fire, and presently they began to sing. ...

Suddenly up stood Gandalf. 'It is time for us to sleep,' he said, '-- for us, but not I think for Beorn. In this hall we can rest sound and safe, but I warn you all not to forget what Beorn said before he left us: you must not stray outside until the sun is up, on your peril.'

Bilbo found that beds had already been laid at the side of the hall, on a sort of raised platform between the pillars and the outer wall. For him there was a little mattress of straw and woollen blankets. He snuggled into them very gladly, summertime though it was. The fire burned low and he fell asleep. Yet in the night he woke: the fire had now sunk to a few embers; ... a splash of white on the floor came from the high moon, which was peering down through the smoke-hole in the roof. There was a growling sound outside, and a noise as of some great animal scuffling at the door. ...

Up jumped Bilbo. 'Breakfast!' he cried. 'Where is breakfast?'

'Mostly inside us,' answered the other dwarves ... 'but what is left is out on the veranda. ...

At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug -- he had eaten two whole loaves (with masses of butter and honey and clotted cream) and drunk at least a quart of mead and he took out his pipe. ... Indeed for a long time ... he was ... busy sending smoke-rings dodging round the pillars of the hall, ... and setting them at last chasing one another out of the hole in the roof. ...

As soon as they left his high hedges at the east of his fenced lands they turned north ...

'The goblins,' Beorn had said, 'will not dare to cross the Great River for a hundred miles north of the Carrock nor to come near my house - it is well protected at night!' ...

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Anyway by mid-winter Gandalf and Bilbo had come all the way back ... to the doors of Beorn's house; and there for a while they both stayed. Yule-tide was warm and merry there; and men came from far and wide to feast at Beorn's bidding. ...

It was spring ... before Bilbo and Gandalf took their leave at last of Beorn, and though he longed for home, Bilbo left with regret, for the flowers of the gardens of Beorn were in springtime no less marvellous than in high summer.

The Hobbit, Ch 18, The Return Journey

Note

Beorn's Hall is a typical example of a Germanic hall, an example of which is also found in the poem Beowulf. It is an oblong hall built of timber, with rows of wooden pillars dividing the inside into a central nave and side aisles. Such halls usually had doors at both ends, but windows in the modern sense were unknown. A hearth-fire would burn in the middle, and the smoke would escape through shutters in the roof, which were also used to provide light in the day. The raised floor in the side aisles served as a sitting place during the day and at night as a place for beds.

The Annotated Hobbit, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings, Note 7

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 7Oct04, 12Oct04

Related Library Entries

Places Search

   

Places

No related places

Go to Places

Full Text Search


Search runs slowly