Spoilers for An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit book (even if it is seventy-five years old) follow.
So, part one of Peter Jackson’s ever-so-slightly overstuffed Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey is finally out, and after nearly three hours of movie, guess where we were in terms of the book? Page 103. Yep, as we left a miraculously healed Thorin, the dwarvers, Bilbo and Gandalf (and an angry Smuag whose alarm clock had gone off as the movie ended), we were pretty much exactly a third of the way through the book. So, what happens in part two, The Desolation of Smaug? Will anyone die? Will Gandalf run off again for no reason? Will it be hot? Will it be cold? How many breakfasts will the company eat this time? Well, using my state-of-the-art prediction software (i.e, I went through the plot synopsis on Wikipedia), I can answer (most, no guarantees about the breakfasts) those questions:
Having been left off at the top of a mountain at the end of An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug should begin with the company making their way to the house of Beorn, a normal bloke who just happens to be able to turn into a bear when convenient. Expect this to be a fairly leisurely half-hour opening (in the vein of An Unexpected Journey’s opening) where the company slowly discover about Beorn’s ability.
After that. Gandalf wanders off again (it isn’t mentioned where in the book, but he’ll probably be at the White Council and maybe even fighting the Necromancer), and Bilbo and the dwarves enter the forest of Mirkwood, where they’re attacked by giant spiders near the exit. Fortunately, Bilbo saves the dwarves, but they’re captured by elves (including, probably, Legolas and the new female elf, Tauriel) pretty much instantly after. Bilbo escapes with by using the Ring’s invisibility and follows the dwarves to their prison.
Freeing the dwarves, he sends them down the hill they’re on by packing them in barrels and shoving them down the river that runs down the side, and escape from the prison. Still Gandalf-less, they make their way to Lake-town, near the Lonely Mountain, where they meet Bard (a master bowman, because there aren’t enough of those in the Lord of the Rings saga) and the Master of Lake-town, who help them with their quest. Finally fulfilling his side of the bargain at Erebor, Bilbo discovers the chink in Smaug’s armour, and makes his way out with a golden cup.
It’s all looking fine, as the dwarves prepare to besiege the mountain and take back Erebor, but Smaug, deducing that the residents of the nearby Lake-town helped the company, escapes the mountain and razes Lake-town to the ground…
And that’s where it’s probably going to end. Of course, the dwarves’ raid on the mountain could form the climax of film two, but it’s more likely that’ll be saved for There and Back Again, which will include the climatic Battle of Five Armies (hopefully not skipping it out, as in the book) and Bilbo’s surprisingly tricky route back home…
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is released on December 13, 2013.