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* * The Clouds Burst * * 4: The Eagles are Coming


Nov 4 2012, 9:29am

Views: 1604
* * The Clouds Burst * * 4: The Eagles are Coming Can't Post

From 'Day drew on' to the end of the chapter.

Goblins, Wargs and bats are carrying the field through sheer weight of numbers when Thorin and his companions burst from the mountain in full armour. Few though they are, they make an impact and dwarves, men and elves are drawn to support them - unfortunately, as it turns out, because they are so greatly outnumbered and before long are surrounded by their enemies. Bilbo watches the drama unfold and reflects on the awfulness of battle. But the day may be about to turn - he sees the Eagles approaching from far off and alerts the elves before a falling stone knocks him out.

'In the gloom the great dwarf gleamed like gold in a dying fire.' This is one of those perfect sentences you find in Tolkien. It encapsulates so much about Thorin and every word works. And that image, 'like gold in a dying fire' says so much about Thorin himself and his story. But do you think it also contains a suggestion that this is the end of the road for him? Do you think he leads his companions out of the mountain because he's so confident of victory that he doesn't count numbers or is this a conscious last stand? Does he have a strategy or does he just want to go down fighting?

Bilbo. We're told that his stand on Ravenhill is partly practical - best hope of escape - but also 'if he was going to be in a last desperate stand, he preferred on the whole to defend the Elvenking.' Why?
'I have heard songs of many battles, and I have always understood that defeat may be glorious. It seems very uncomfortable, not to say distressing. I wish I was well out of it.' Any thoughts on this? Is Tolkien's own experience of war speaking here?

Gandalf. 'Gandalf, too, I may say, was there, sitting on the ground as if in deep thought, preparing, I suppose, some last blast of magic before the end.' It seems an odd pose for a powerful wizard to strike in the middle of a battle when friends are being killed. What do you think Gandalf is actually doing here? Is there any suggestion that his 'deep thought' and 'last blast of magic' is connected in any way with the arrival of the Eagles (and later, as we learn, of Beorn)?

That's about it from me. If there's anything about the battle that I've missed, please feel free to say so. Sorry for the rushed posts early in the week and if you have been, thanks for reading and/or joining in.

Subject User Time
* * The Clouds Burst * * 4: The Eagles are Coming dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Nov 4 2012, 9:29am
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Nov 4 2012, 1:48pm
    Sador conveniently said most of what I would have. CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Nov 15 2012, 5:00pm


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