The main conflict in this novel is ultimately the acquisition of the lost
treasure of the dwarves hoarded by Smaug (the great dragon under the mountain).

This treasure actually has great physical and sentimental value. The dwarves to
which most of this horde belonged to loved gold and all fine physical things
such as jewels and precious metals, but they also were very emotionally attached
to this cache once kept by Thrain the great king under the mountain. It seems
that as the author of the novel Tolkien is attempting to reveal that the dwarves
are very fond of this treasure but also feel almost a since of need for this
great legendary horde. As a whole the conflict is developed over a time period
of a year or so. The main way that it is developed is by the ingenious use of
small side quests and troubles dotted until the final conflict is over. In this
novel Tolkien uses many smaller conflicts to add to the already heaping portions
of adventure and intrigue contained within the covers. Some are very thrilling
such as the time all of the dwarves and the hobbit are captured and taken down
to the goblinís lair, or the time Bilbo comes in contact with that strange
creature Gollum.