Oct 3 2012, 3:27am
Thorin, in the book, acts incredulously when Bilbo asks him for more details after they had already sung the song. See the quote I cited above, where he essentially criticizes Bilbo for not listening, or not comprehending. He then says "O very well" when Bilbo asks for more details, etc. That exasperation could be replaced, at this point, with: "Give him the contract," followed by a sarcastic suggestion by Thorin that Bilbo might understand that better. How, exactly is that a throwaway gag? How is it even a gag? Whatever it is, it would be infinitely better than the suggestion that the contract is a particularly dwarvish thing (though not better than what's already in the book).
The contract is not part of Thorin's "long-windedness," and PJ would be misinterpreting the Hobbit if he played it as such. The contract is a mockery of hobbitish ways, and, on a simpler level, merely Thorin's way of giving Bilbo what he asked for. After all, Bilbo did ask for it:
"All the same, I should like it all plain and clear," said he obstinately, putting on his business manner (usually reserved for people who tried to borrow money off him), and doing his best to appear wise and prudent and professional and live up to Gandalf's recommendation. "Also, I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth" - by which he meant: "What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?"
(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Oct 3 2012, 3:29am)