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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Bilbo doesn't see it that way.


Oct 18 2012, 4:00pm

Views: 254
Bilbo doesn't see it that way. [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone want to defend Thorin's reaction?

...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?

So the answer is yes.

Don't you think Tolkien is trying to show Thorin in a bad light? I mean, Bilbo does not approve of Thorin's reaction, the old raven gave very different advice, and whatever the failings of the Elvenking or the Master of Lake-town may be, don't the dwarves owe Bard something -- quite a bit, in fact -- for killing Smaug? We find out later that Gandalf does not like Thorin's reaction. Maybe it hasn't reached the tipping point yet -- there's nothing wrong with taking defensive measures then negotiating from a position of strength -- but Thorin doesn't show any inclination to negotiate, now or later. And in the end, he apologizes to Bilbo and expresses regret. It seems to me that Tolkien is rather heavy handed about his opinions, in fact. As you say, Tolkien wanted to make the point that "
greed can drive good people to do bad things."

Yet it's quite true that the Elvenking and the Master of Lake-town also have their faults, and the Master in particular cannot be trusted. So it's not that I object to building a wall across the opening and sending for armed relatives -- that might be sensible, particularly because the elves and the humans are not the only creatures who might come treasure hunting, although no one seems conscious of that. It's more the language Thorin uses that troubles me, quickly speaking of Bard, the killer of Smaug, as just another violent thief, instead of expressing any gratitude at all, or any desire to give him a reward.

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).

I am perplexed by this fact. Why doesn't the Elvenking speak to sentient birds? Why doesn't the thrush continue to speak with Bard? Is it just an oversight by Tolkien? However, it's a minor point, I admit.

And some time ago, a thoughtful member of this forum suggested that the Master actually gave them provisions past their expiration date (answer 5).

You got me!

(This post was edited by Curious on Oct 18 2012, 4:02pm)

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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