I'm trying to translate the sentence below from "The Hobbit" to Russian, but meaning is unclear for me:

But lock nor bar may hinder the homecoming spoken of old.

  • 1
    Can you give more context? (I.e. the sentences around it?) Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 19:44
  • 2
    Neither a lock [on a door] or something barring an entrance [a bar on the entrance ] will stop the homecoming people spoke about in the old days.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


This is from chapter 10 of The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome". (See the link for the context.) The speaker is Thorin, the chief of the Dwarves, and he always speaks with a rather archaic tone and usage. He is addressing the town of the Lake-men at a public event, which makes him more formal than usual, and he is responding to an accusation that he and his companions escaped being held prisoner by the king of the wood-elves, which makes him more formal yet.

Here he has elided the word "neither". The sentence would thus be:

But [neither] lock nor bar may hinder the homecoming spoken of old.

By this he means that locking up the dwarves will not stop them from coming home to the Lonely Mountain, thus fulfilling a prophecy. By extension this means that nothing will stop the dwarves, but he is focusing very much on the fact that the elves did in fact lock the dwarves up.

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