"The land about them grew bleak and barren, though once, as Thorin told them, it had been green and fair. There was little grass, and before long there was neither bush nor tree, and only broken and blackened stumps to speak of ones long vanished. They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year."
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Answered by jill d #170087
This excert portrays evil as a "spreading" desolation that will not end unless the forces behind it are eliminated.