This article refers to the chapter. For other namesakes, see Flies and Spiders (disambiguation).

Flies and Spiders is the eighth chapter of J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Synopsis Edit

Bilbo and the Dwarves begin their journey through Mirkwood. Later, they see a group of wood-elves having a feast. Spiders capture twelve of the Dwarves, while Thorin is captured by the Elves. Bilbo is nearly eaten by a spider, but wakes in time and kills it; he then names his sword StingMeanwhile, Thorin is questioned by the Elven king Thranduil, and, when he refuses to disclose his reasons for being in Mirkwood, he is thrown into a dungeon.

Plot Edit

Bilbo and the dwarves make their way through the dark forest of Mirkwood. They arrive at the enchanted stream Beorn them warned about, and Bilbo spots a boat on the other side. With great difficulty, they use iron hooks to reel the boat in. After crossing the stream, they are startled by a deer jumping over them. Thorin fires an arrow at him, as they need the meat, and in the confusion Bombur sets the boat adrift and falls into the stream. When they pull him out, he is asleep — enchanted by the waters of the stream. More deer appear, and the dwarves waste all their arrows in a failed attempt to kill one.

The Company travels on, hungry and discouraged, carrying the sleeping Bombur. Bilbo tries to find where the forest ends by climbing a tree to survey, but they are in a valley and he cannot see above the tops of the surrounding trees. They eat the last of their food that night.

The next morning, Bombur finally wakes up and tells the others he dreamt he saw a giant feast in the woods, and he remembers nothing since leaving the Shire. Later, Bilbo and the dwarves see a light in the distance and follow it to find a party of feasting elves. Starving, the Company decides to leave the path to beg for food, but the elves disappear when the dwarves approach. They spot the feast two more times in other parts of the forest, but the elves continue to disappear. Bilbo dozes off, dreaming of dinner.

Bilbo awakes to find himself bound up by the sticky threads spun by a giant spider. With some difficulty, he frees himself and kills the spider with his sword. He passes out from the exertion and when he regains consciousness, he feels much braver and names his sword Sting. He puts on the ring, becoming invisible, and goes looking for the dwarves. He finds the dwarves hanging in webs guarded by giant spiders. Bilbo throws stones to scare off the spiders and frees the dwarves. He reveals the secret of the ring to the dwarves and lures the spiders into a battle, killing some and frightening the others. After the spiders are gone, the dwarves quiz Bilbo about the ring and he tells them how he obtained it from Gollum, as well as the riddle game. Suddenly, the dwarves realize that Thorin is missing.

Meanwhile, Thorin has been captured by the elves who were feasting in the forest. They take him to their cavern stronghold and deliver him to their king, who has him thrown in the dungeon when he won't reveal what he was doing in Mirkwood.

Appearances Edit

By type 
Characters Species and creatures Locations Factions, groups and titles
Events Objects and artifacts Miscellanea


Dramatis personae

Other characters

Species and creatures



  • Thorin and Company enter Mirkwood
  • The Dwarves are arrested by the Elvenking

Songs and Verses Edit

  1. Old fat spider!
  2. Lazy Lob and crazy Cob