How would dwarves reward sentient ravens?
Does anyone want to defend Thorinís reaction?
Did the thrush let Bard know what the dwarves were doing? Why or why not?
I have nothing to add to squire's answers on the first and third questions.
Regarding the second - what is there to defend? Do you think the sentiment of resisting two armies coming to plunder all your possessions is so wrong? And why so?
I expect that messages would have been sent to all of Durin's Folk anyway. And as for telling Dain of Thorin's plight - so what? Better to buy Bard off?
Are other birds bringing the Elvenking constant tidings, or Bard? Why or why not?
You've asked that already. I don't think the thrush is bringing Bard tiding, but I suppose the Elvenking heard of the death of Smaug first from the birds (although I wonder what his spies were doing?).
As both squire and myself pointed out, those who arrived at the Mountain did seem surprised by the new wall. I take it that Bard was truthful, and really didn't know Thorin was alive yet (although his joy at the tidings might not have been completely genuine).
Are you suggesting that the scouts' surprise was that the dwarves could not be taken at unawares?
Why wasn't the adventure over, properly speaking? Why didn't Tolkien just wind things up quickly? What point is he trying to make?
I supposed that greed can drive good people to do bad things. But what would you do with such a treasure? And how would Bilbo return home?
The tools are still in good shape? How so? Why havenít they rusted?
Just like the harps two chapters ago,
What was Bilbo thinking while the dwarves were fortifying the entrance? What was he doing?
Trying to work out how to sneak away with the Arkenstone.
How did the dwarves go about building a stone wall so quickly? How strong would the hastily-built wall have been?
Pretty strong. Have you read One_Day_in_the_Life_of_Ivan_Denisovich? The dwarves are a smaller team, but professional and motivated.
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?
Yes. And some time ago, a thoughtful member of this forum suggested that the Master actually gave them provisions past their expiration date (answer 5).
Where did they get their ladders? If they made them, what did they use for materials? Isnít the area barren?
Nice question, but they might have been there since Thror's time.
Or else they brought them from Lake-town.
Does the wide pool blocking the entrance remind anyone of anything?
It's just a moat.
Any other comments about these passages?
I should answer squire's question, but will in response to his post.
"Like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is a tale that grew in the telling, beginning as a children's fairy tale and evolving into the epic of fairy tales... The Gathering of the Clouds completes this transition. Unlike a typical children's story, the sides of good and evil are no longer clear-cut: the good peoples that we have been introduced to earlier are preparing to fight a war, and if that war happens, good people will die no matter who wins. Moreover, everyone, the good guys included, have character flaws that bring this situation about... and it is hinted that although the Dragon's body may be dead, his evil will remains to corrupt those who defeated him."
- Beren IV
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