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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Raven wanna cracker?


Oct 18 2012, 3:42am

Views: 250
Raven wanna cracker? [In reply to] Can't Post

A. How would dwarves reward sentient ravens?
I imagine that Thorin foresees a restoration of the Kingdom under the Mountain. In that former time it seems the Ravens were privileged in some way that makes them still loyal to the dwarves after many many years of absence. Easy food? Safety from predators? Someone to talk to who is not a carrion bird?

B. Does anyone want to defend Thorinís reaction?
I donít know about ďdefendĒ, but I think Thorin is acting perfectly in character here. He is who he is, and can do no other, etc.

C. Did the thrush let Bard know what the dwarves were doing? Why or why not?
Bard shows no sign of any knowledge of the dwarvesí doings when he shows up at the gate in the coming scenes, so I would say no.

D. Why is this the first time we have heard about Thorinís cousin Dain and his many people well-armed?
More dramatic? I donít know. This belongs in the same category as the many other questions about the plotting of the latter half of The Hobbit, which are so easily ignored if one is simply enjoying the ripsnorting pace and color of the story itself. Why is Bardís appearance so unforeseen? How did Thorin expect to defeat the dragon, burglar or no burglar? What does Smaug feed on if there is no living thing in his territory?

E. Why didnít the dwarves consult Dain or all the other dwarves in the area before challenging Smaug?
Hoping to succeed without needing help and sharing the wealth afterwards, I guess.

F. Are they going to share the treasure with Dain?
Well, one has to assume that even Thorin would accept the need for that, if Dain shows up and saves the day. But just now Thorin is thinking about kin and clan, not gold and silver, and I bet Dain will feel the same when he gets the summons.

G. Why wasn't the adventure over, properly speaking? Why didn't Tolkien just wind things up quickly? What point is he trying to make?
He is a sucker for tales of cursed treasure, and wars brought about by conflicting fates, as we know from reading the Silmarillion which he was just whipping into shape at the same time he was writing this story. Bilbo has always been in the position of being caught up in something larger than himself. His adventure with Smaug was ultimately not a final test of his quality, because he was not the hero who slew the dragon. To end the story now leaves Bilboís development at an odd place: his courage fully developed, but with no outlet scaled to its size. He is no dragon-slayer, but he is truly a burglar extraordinaire. The coming conflict will give him the chance to end an entire war through stealth.

Frankly, the adventure I could do without is not the siege of the Lonely Mountain by Bard and the Elven King, but the Battle of Five Armies that follows and spoils Bilboís final triumph. Not here, but there in the story is the point where I usually think, ďOh God, more troubleĒ before expiring.

H. The tools are still in good shape? How so? Why havenít they rusted?
ďDwarf tools do not rust.Ē See, I said it, and it sounds good. Why? I donít know Ė why does the hidden door work the way it does? How did those crystal cave lights work that allowed the Dwarves and Elves to live underground for centuries? What is mithril anyway?

I. What was Bilbo thinking while the dwarves were fortifying the entrance? What was he doing?
Probably helping them in some way calculated to involve as little physical labor as possible.

J. How did the dwarves go about building a stone wall so quickly?
They donít work stone with their fingernails, as Gimli points out in LotR. But these dwarves have the proper tools. Merely squaring stone and laying it without mortar might go quite quickly when done by these legendary folk. I kind of like that they donít attempt to build a proper gate Ė thatís what shows, by omission, that what they did do was not all that hard for them in the time and conditions they had.

K. How strong would the hastily-built wall have been?
Strong enough. Stone is quite heavy. I imagine the wall was crafted so it pushed outward a lot easier than inward, since later on the dwarves break their way out so very dramatically.

L. Are other birds bringing the Elvenking constant tidings, or Bard? Why or why not?
As I noted above, we are given no sign that those two have any advance intelligence of Thorinís doings at all.

M. Where did they get their cram? It didnít come from Lake-town, did it? Didnít they lose all their other supplies when they were captured by the elves?
Why not Lake-town? They would have learned a thing or two from the dwarves in the past, and cram is useful for anyone making long journeys.

N. Where did they get their ladders? If they made them, what did they use for materials? Isnít the area barren?
The illustration of Smaug in the book clearly shows ladders to reach into the pots of treasure. Iím sure those are the ladders the dwarves used here.

O. Does the wide pool blocking the entrance remind anyone of anything?
Well, the pool in front of the West Gate of Moria in LotR; and also the pool that backs up behind the wall at Helmís Deep.

P. Any other comments about these passages?
Yes, why didnít they slaughter the ponies and cure the meat as jerky?

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Subject User Time
**The Gathering of the Clouds** II Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 18 2012, 1:48am
    Raven wanna cracker? squire Send a private message to squire Oct 18 2012, 3:42am
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Oct 18 2012, 3:32pm
        Bilbo doesn't see it that way. Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 18 2012, 4:00pm
            "Does anyone want to defend Thorinís reaction?" SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 19 2012, 5:10pm
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 22 2012, 7:31pm


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