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* * The Clouds Burst * * 1: Thorin wrong-footed


Oct 29 2012, 8:15am

Views: 1081
* * The Clouds Burst * * 1: Thorin wrong-footed

Hello - today is going to be insanely busy but I didn't want anyone to think I'd forgotten. I'll be back to do this properly, but just for now I'll take the first section down to 'bidding him come with wary speed' and throw in one question:

Thorin: this is such a key scene for him. What's his thinking and his attitude at the start, when he sees the runner - what is he expecting and how does it make him act? And how does he change when he realises what has really happened?


Oct 29 2012, 4:29pm

Views: 573

It seems to me that Thorin is actually not bad at his game.

At the first parley with Bard, he gained two important points: he made Bard waive the claims of the Lake-town folk, and made him admit that he really had no idea what to do upon finding Thorin alive. Also, he presistently calls attention to the fact that the Elvenking is there not for his own war. but his mere presence is a provocation. The elves might wonder what they are really doing there; and the Men why they are staying.
In short, Thorin is counting on disaffection settling in, while being pretty sure that apart of Bombur and Bilbo, his own followers are steadfast.

This is also the logic behind his words to Roac in the previous chapter regarding the effect of winter upon elves and men; and it is only to be expected that the news of Dain might be the last straw. Bard, perhaps wisely, perhaps not, did not assault the Mountain on the first days, and now it is stronger, and better fortified; and now his followers are up against another army, another bloody battle which even if they are victorious is probably only the first - and by now, Bard's is the only standing claim.

Are there murmurs within Bard's camp? His reaction to the news of Dain's approach is quite fierce towards Bilbo - is he really worried? We never know.

However, I think this is Thorin's strategy, and he's pretty good at it.

But of course, once the besieging army has the Arkenstone, the whole picture is different. Thorin must either ransom it (possibly with a curse on the treasure he surrenders, so that it would do Bard no good) or sieze it back; he can be no King without it. It also stands to reason that the besieging army lifts its spirit, while the dwarves would be downcast.
And while this opens new possibilities of internal strife within Bard's camp, such as an officer with the gumption trying to steal it and cut the best deal for himself (after all, if Bilbo could, why not others?) - Thorin has no control over this, and no reason to expect even such a scenario would help him in any way. And now that Gandalf has returned, but is on Bard's side, his prospects look even more glum.

"With all the various Dwarves of different Mansions that we see being excellent Smiths in the Silmariilion and TLOR, why is it only Dain's faction of the Longbeard's who hold the secret to making the metal mesh?"
- Tolkien Forever

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Oct 29 2012, 6:17pm

Views: 677
Further to Sador's comments

Perhaps it takes a long time for things to sink in, but perhaps Thorin's quest all along has been to discover that riches and stones do not make a king, nor even shrewdness. Blood plays a part, yes, (inheritance or covenant) but there are virtues, such as having a servant's heart (as well as Bard's forbearance for instance), that must be mined and brought to the surface.

I think Thorin has such virtues and therefore is a true king; but for whatever reason -- perhaps from confusing wealth and real estate (as he was dispossessed of both for so long) with lordship, or because the hoard and his own legend has him under some sort of spell -- said virtues are hard to detect except in the most fleeting of glimpses.

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Oct 29 2012, 6:18pm)


Oct 30 2012, 8:00am

Views: 532
The hoard spell is certainly there....

"And already, so strong was the bewilderment of the treasure upon him, he was pondering whether by the help of Dain he might not recapture the Arkenstone and withold the share of the reward."

And as this seems to be precisely what he does, I think I'd question how good his strategy is after he has seen the Arkenstone. Up to that point, yes - I like Sador's reasoning about his attempt to divide Elf from man and spread doubt among them. My reading of this is that when he sees the runner coming he is confident - too confident, perhaps, that he has the situation under control. Once he realises he does not, the strength of his reaction is all the greater because he was so sure he had it right. And then there's the treasure... I love the use of that word 'bewilderment' - 'the bewilderment of the treasure'.

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Nov 12 2012, 1:35am

Views: 925
Mining virtues!

"...but there are virtues...that must be mined and brought to the surface."

What a way to state that, for a Dwarf! Smile

And Thorin has not yet begun to "dig within himself"!


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"