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The Clouds Burst Part II
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Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jul 15 2009, 9:40pm

Post #1 of 32 (746 views)
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The Clouds Burst Part II Can't Post

The Dwarves of Dain from the Iron Hills arrive after hurrying on through the night. Tolkien gives this description of them:

'...clad in a hauberk of steel mail that hung to his knees, and his legs were covered with a fine and flexible metal mesh, the secret of whose making was posessed by Dain's people. The dwarves are exceedingly strong for their height, but most of these were strong even for dwarves....'

1. 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?

2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?


The description continues:

'In battle they wielded heavy two handed mattocks...'

3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?
OK, now that you've looked up 'mattock' on wikpedia like I did, does it match your idea of what you thought it was? What do you think of it as a weapon? How would it function in battle? Interact with a foe's defense & offense in battle?


'But each of them had also a short broad sword at his side and a rounshield slung at his back. Their beards were forked and plaited and thrust into their belts. Their caps were of iron and they were shod with iron and their faces were grim.'


4. What is your impression of the Dwarves apperance? How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat? Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?


At this point, Dain sends up a handful of Dwarves as representatives, they say they mean to press on to Mountain, who are you asembled here as if foes before the gate? Bard refuses, hoping to get the gold Thorin has promised the previous day in exchange for the Arkenstone first. No luck, however, as Thorin sends back arrows instead of gold.
Bard, is in a big delemma, fearing that:

'He did not believe this (receiving 1/14 of the gold & silver in exchange for the Arkenstone) would be done, if at once the fortress was manned with so large and warlike company.They (Dain's Folk) had brought with them a great store of supplies;...They would stand a siege for weeks, and by that time yet more dwarves might come, and yet more, for Thorin had many relatives. Also, they would be able to reopen and guard another gate, and for that they would have to encircle the entire mountain; and foir that they had not sufficient numbers.'

5. Just how is manning the mountain and having greater 'firepower' at hand actually going to help Thorion get his hands on the Arkenstone? Isn't this some faulty logic on Bard's part?


Battle is about to be engaged......

"Fools" laughed Bard "To come thus beneath the Mountain's arm! They do not understand war above ground, whatever they may know of battle in the mines. There are many of our archers and spearmen now hidden in the rocks upon their right flank. Dwarf-mail may be good, but they will soon be hard put to it. Let us set on them now from both sides, before they are fully rested.'

But the Elvenking said: "Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold. The dwarves cannot pass us, or do anything that we cannot mark. Let us hope still for something that will bring us reconcilliation. Our advantage in numbers will be enough, if in the end it must come to unhappy blows."

But, he reckoned without the dwarves. The knowledge that the Arkenstone was in the hands of the beseigers burned in their thoughts: also they guessed the hesitation of Bard and his friends, and resolved to strike while they debated.

Suddenly, without a signal, they sprang forward to attack. Bows twanged and arrows whistled; battle was about to be joined.


Well, here Tolkien gives us a quick but very in depth look at each of the three commander's minset as battle is about to be joined........

6. What do you think of Bard's assement of the Dwarves lack of skill above ground? What is Bard basing this assesment on?

7. What is Bard's mindset at joining battle versus the Elvenking's? How might this affect battle effectiveness of their side?

8. What does the Elvenking's reluctance say about what he was expecting to be getting into when he first set out for the mountain?

9. How about Dain? Is he making the call here? Is Thorin giving the orders via the ravens?
What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately? What does this show about the nature of Dwarves versus Men and/or Elves?

10. What might the outcome have been if the Goblins had not show up & the battle had just continued to escalate without the arrival of the Goblins?






The Ultimate Tolkien Trivia Quiz: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=so-you-want-to-be-tolkien-geek


Beren IV
Gondor


Jul 16 2009, 3:48am

Post #2 of 32 (431 views)
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Just five-hundred? [In reply to] Can't Post

1. 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?

How do you know that? I would assume that Dwarves understood how to make mail in most cultures. We really see nothing of the other tribes, do we?


2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?

They're Dain's hand-picked army. These aren't the sum of all dwarves, but the cream of the crop.


3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?
OK, now that you've looked up 'mattock' on wikpedia like I did, does it match your idea of what you thought it was? What do you think of it as a weapon? How would it function in battle? Interact with a foe's defense & offense in battle?

I already knew that it was a pick. Initially I thought it was a mallet-like object, though, but I was enlightened in a previous TORN discussion.

Picks are extremely good a piercing armor, better even than maces or axes, but they're otherwise not as useful or flexible as other weapons. I would not expect their enemies to be wearing heavy armor, though, so I don't see why they wouldn't use axes or even swords instead. For unarmored foes, what you want is swords, because they're agile, but they are not good for piercing like other weapons.

You would swing them similarly to an axe.


4. What is your impression of the Dwarves apperance? How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat? Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?

Well, they do have swords. If they really were going up against the elves, then they would drop the mattocks and draw their swords - much more effective against the lightly-mailed elves.

As for their weakness, it's obvious: arrows. And they're going up against elves... are you sure this is such a good idea?


5. Just how is manning the mountain and having greater 'firepower' at hand actually going to help Thorion get his hands on the Arkenstone? Isn't this some faulty logic on Bard's part?

Thorin is proud and belligerent. He may be thinking of building up enough strength to defend the mountain, then coming out with an army and claiming it!


6. What do you think of Bard's assement of the Dwarves lack of skill above ground? What is Bard basing this assesment on?

They are in a severe disadvantage in position here. Mail stops blades, but it does not stop arrows.


7. What is Bard's mindset at joining battle versus the Elvenking's? How might this affect battle effectiveness of their side?

The argument is between idealism and realism. The Elvenking wants to be the good guy and avoid conflict until absolutely necessary, even if it lessens his advantage should it begin. Bard is thinking strategically - battle is inevitable, he thinks, so best to win with as few losses, ideally on both sides, as he can.


8. What does the Elvenking's reluctance say about what he was expecting to be getting into when he first set out for the mountain?

Thranduil was thinking about bandits and brigands, and wanted strength to deal with them and numbers to carry large amounts of gold. He wasn't expecting armies, especially not armies of other peoples he recognizes are basically good (if too stubborn for their own good) people.


9. How about Dain? Is he making the call here? Is Thorin giving the orders via the ravens?
What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately? What does this show about the nature of Dwarves versus Men and/or Elves?

I get the impression Dain is making the actions here. He's marched to war, an enemy is before him, and he's going to fight it in the best strategy he can think of. And in this situation, he does have the advantage of surprise because Bard and Thranduil are arguing over what to do.


10. What might the outcome have been if the Goblins had not show up & the battle had just continued to escalate without the arrival of the Goblins?

I had always envisioned the dwarves being greatly outnumbered here, but I could be wrong about that. I would expect that the dwarves would lose, but not without inflicting grievous harm on the elves and lake-men.

And then, seventy-eight years later, Sauron would have no trouble mopping this area up, and the extra forces would bring down Greenwood, then Lórien, and then...


The paleobotanist is back!


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 16 2009, 3:17pm

Post #3 of 32 (382 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

1. 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?

Other dwarves doubtless had their own trade secrets.

2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?


They're handpicked. But here's my question. Why now? Why didn't Thorin meet up with Dain on the way to the Mountain? Or send a message to him from Lake-town? Have Thorin's people and Dain's people been separated for 200 year or more, with no means of communication? If so, how does Thorin know he can trust Dain, or even that Dain is still alive? Has Dain ever considered doing something about Smaug? Why haven't we heard about Dain long ago? Dain and his people seem to be tacked on, and not integrated into the the story from the beginning.

3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?
OK, now that you've looked up 'mattock' on wikpedia like I did, does it match your idea of what you thought it was? What do you think of it as a weapon? How would it function in battle? Interact with a foe's defense & offense in battle?


Don't take away my Googling! I'm horrible at trivia unless I can look it up. It doesn't seem like a very popular weapon. In real life, it is an improvised pole arm for people who couldn't afford better weapons. But perhaps if the dwarves trained with them as a unit, they could use them to overcome the advantage in reach nearly all of their opponents would possess. Still, it seems strange that dwarves, of all people, would have to make do with improvised weapons. Maybe swords are too boring, but why not give them fancy pole arms, that are made as weapons, and not as tools turned into weapons? Maybe Tolkien just wasn't that into weapons.

4. What is your impression of the Dwarves apperance? How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat? Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?

They are vulnerable to missile weapons and to anything that would require them to move quickly. Chain mail can be pierced by arrows. On the other hand, if they are well-trained perhaps they would form an effective defensive square. It is vitally important, of course, not to let them enter the Mountain. Also, it would be good to take the high ground and attack them from above.

5. Just how is manning the mountain and having greater 'firepower' at hand actually going to help Thorion get his hands on the Arkenstone? Isn't this some faulty logic on Bard's part?

Apparently the Arkenstone isn't as important to Thorin as Bilbo had hoped. Once again, the dragon gold is having its effect, as Thorin breaks his agreement with Bard.

6. What do you think of Bard's assement of the Dwarves lack of skill above ground? What is Bard basing this assesment on?

Bard is a hardened warrior who has fought all his life in this area. I'll trust his assessment.

7. What is Bard's mindset at joining battle versus the Elvenking's? How might this affect battle effectiveness of their side?

Bard is thinking like a warrior; the Elvenking is thinking like a king. Unfortunately, the Elvenking seems powerless to stop the dwarves from initiating the attack.

8. What does the Elvenking's reluctance say about what he was expecting to be getting into when he first set out for the mountain?

Actually, I've always wondered whether the Elvenking was expecting some goblins to show up any minute now. It really doesn't do to forget the goblins.

9. How about Dain? Is he making the call here? Is Thorin giving the orders via the ravens?
What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately? What does this show about the nature of Dwarves versus Men and/or Elves?

Apparently Dain does not expect the goblins, nor is he praying for a way to avoid battle. Like Bard, he figures it is best to take the initiative.

10. What might the outcome have been if the Goblins had not show up & the battle had just continued to escalate without the arrival of the Goblins?


With Gandalf around, I'm not sure the battle would have gotten too far -- but maybe it would, in which case there would be a long war in the area. Who ever won the battle would still be engaged in a war. Dwarves hold grudges, and there is no power great enough to enforce peace.


sador
Half-elven

Jul 16 2009, 3:56pm

Post #4 of 32 (405 views)
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A few answers [In reply to] Can't Post

1. 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?
It might be a specific, improved type.


2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?
As Beren IV said, this is about these battle-hardened veterans.

3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?
For some reason, I always read it as a type of axe; but it is a pick.


OK, now that you've looked up 'mattock' on wikpedia like I did, does it match your idea of what you thought it was?
Not quite.

What do you think of it as a weapon?
Very useful; like a pike, but could be swinged rather than just poked with. Also good for getting a hold and prying things open.

How would it function in battle?
Apart of things said above, it could serve also for mountain-climbing and can-opening during lunch break.

Interact with a foe's defense & offense in battle?
I suppose pretty much like an axe: swinging has a lot of power, but less agility. You cannot lunge and parry like with a sword; but you can break your adversary's sword if he is not skilled and careful.


4. What is your impression of the Dwarves apperance?
I like their thrusting the beards into their belts. It means the are neat and tidy! Still, I wouldn't pick one of them for a son-in-law...

How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat?
What? Me fight?
I suppose the most reasonable way would be to wait for them to swing, dodge and then close in while they are still in the momentum.
Easier said than done, of course.

Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?
I suppose their face is the most vulnerable.

5. Just how is manning the mountain and having greater 'firepower' at hand actually going to help Thorion get his hands on the Arkenstone? Isn't this some faulty logic on Bard's part?
Having more numbers will make the army of Lake-men more reluctant to fight; and then they will become disaffected, and start realising they have become mercenaries for Bard's personal treasure-quest (trust the Master to help them realise this, as I said here).
Bard might soon find himself afraid of being murdered, especially once he carries with him the equivalent of a river of gold. Someone might help himself to the Arkenstone, and run hotfoot to the Mountain to try and get a reward; or Bard himself will be eager to make any peace, as long as he could save face somehow.
There are myriads of possibilities; and Thorin is banking on his being more steadfast (or stubborn, if you are less inclined to admire him) than his enemies.

6. What do you think of Bard's assement of the Dwarves lack of skill above ground?
Just to point out - Bard is no general; he was the captain of a company of archers.
But with all due respect, archers do not win battles (and cannot pierce armour); they cause some casualities, but there main effectiveness is wearing down the enemy, and making him afraid of the unexpected while he should be pressing on for combat. In short - they can break and scatter them.
Which is why archers are so effective against cavalry; try telling a horse that charging towards the source of fire is the best policy!

What is Bard basing this assesment on?
He could be believing too much in the power of archery; but actually the topography is very important here.
Whether the archers are really hidden; whether the mountain-path offers good shelter; whether the mountain sides are easily scaled (mattocks are very useful, aren't they?) - all these could make or break this battle.
Could the path be effectively blocked? Are there places where the heavy armour of the dwarves could have a greater impact, or the sheer numbers of elves and men be used?
Most important, what is the morale of the different armies? Did the elves and men expect battle like the dwarves did, and are they really ready to fight at their captains' bidding?

7. What is Bard's mindset at joining battle versus the Elvenking's?
For all the reasons listed above, he could simply be a hothead with no understanding of strategy; or else he could be a daring commander, who realises the side who strikes the first blow gains the advantage.
I don't think Tolkien's description is detailed enough to actually answer this question.

How might this affect battle effectiveness of their side?
Again, depends on the quality of Bard's military knowledge.
If the Elvenking is simply reluctant to fight (it is not his share of the treasure after all), Bard's army will be far more effective.
But if the Elvenking is simply more clear-sighted and level-headed - there is a good chance the Lake-men will be decimated, and it will take the elves all they can to prevent the retreat from becoming a rout.

8. What does the Elvenking's reluctance say about what he was expecting to be getting into when he first set out for the mountain?
Whatever he was expecting, it wasn't a war against the dwarves!

9. How about Dain? Is he making the call here?
He seems to be a rash, bold leader (pun intended), and one who would rather risk for taking the initiative.

Is Thorin giving the orders via the ravens?
Too dangerous at this moment.
Anyway, once the battle with the goblins begins, even Dain forgets him - so no, I suppose he isn't.

What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately?
They are quick to take advantage of the adversary's hesitation.

What does this show about the nature of Dwarves versus Men and/or Elves?
I don't think we could generalise that much from it.

10. What might the outcome have been if the Goblins had not show up & the battle had just continued to escalate without the arrival of the Goblins?
If Bard's army would hold its ground, it would eventually win. But I'm not that sure it would have.
But maybe if the goblins weren't about to come, Gandalf would get off whatever he is sitting upon, and try to negotiate a solution?
Or perhaps he would have done that before? What is his game anyway?



"Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation." - the Elvenking.


(This post was edited by sador on Jul 16 2009, 3:58pm)


sador
Half-elven

Jul 16 2009, 4:12pm

Post #5 of 32 (386 views)
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I like this! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Actually, I've always wondered whether the Elvenking was expecting some goblins to show up any minute now. It really doesn't do to forget the goblins.


Anyway, about Dain - I wonder how effective a message to him might be from Lake-town; also, Thorin did mention him before, but not by name - in his evasive answer to the Great Goblin.
And as early as 'An Unexpected Party', Gandalf mentiones that there are quite a lot of dwarves scatterred all over the place; so once the old Kingdom is renewed, I expect they would start showing up.

Also - do you consider Thorin's naming the price for which he would be willing to ransom the Arkenstone a binding argeement? Legally, or morally?

"Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation." - the Elvenking.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 16 2009, 4:27pm

Post #6 of 32 (367 views)
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Hmm. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?
For some reason, I always read it as a type of axe; but it is a pick.


A pick on one side, an adz on the other.


Quote

Having more numbers will make the army of Lake-men more reluctant to fight; and then they will become disaffected, and start realising they have become mercenaries for Bard's personal treasure-quest (trust the Master to help them realise this, as I said here).


I think you are forgetting that the people have already expressed their preference for Bard as their leader, and that there isn't anything left of Laketown for them to return to. So they may be more desperate than Dain's dwarves, who have become mercenaries for Thorin's personal treasure-quest.


Quote

There are myriads of possibilities


With that I agree.


Quote
Just to point out - Bard is no general; he was the captain of a company of archers.


Maybe, but Bard showed some natural leadership during Smaug's attack. And is Dain a general?


Quote
But with all due respect, archers do not win battles (and cannot pierce armour); they cause some casualities, but there main effectiveness is wearing down the enemy, and making him afraid of the unexpected while he should be pressing on for combat. In short - they can break and scatter them.


I'm no expert, but I thought arrows did pierce armor, especially chain mail, on a regular basis. True, if you can close with archers the arrows won't help them. Also, if you can close with the enemy in a general melee, the archers may be afraid to fire, which might explain why Dain is so eager to fight.


Quote
For all the reasons listed above, [Bard] could simply be a hothead with no understanding of strategy; or else he could be a daring commander, who realises the side who strikes the first blow gains the advantage.
I don't think Tolkien's description is detailed enough to actually answer this question.


Again, we do know that Bard showed courage and enterprise and leadership when Smaug attacked. We don't know anything about Dain.


Quote
But maybe if the goblins weren't about to come, Gandalf would get off whatever he is sitting upon, and try to negotiate a solution?
Or perhaps he would have done that before? What is his game anyway?


You answered that -- he's waiting for the goblins to come. I suppose he could tell someone they are coming, but that would spoil the drama.





Curious
Half-elven


Jul 16 2009, 4:34pm

Post #7 of 32 (367 views)
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Well of course Thorin will argue he [In reply to] Can't Post

made the agreement under duress. There's not much binding law in this setting, especially when there is no power strong enough to enforce the law. Instead, there's the realization, one would hope, that neighbors need to work together over the long term, especially when there are goblins and dragons and other creatures out there who are working together against elves and men and dwarves.

But Thorin seems to have forgotten all that, and Dain and Bard are focused on the battle at hand. Gandalf has not forgotten the goblins, and perhaps the Elvenking has not forgotten them either.


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jul 16 2009, 9:37pm

Post #8 of 32 (390 views)
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Mattocks [In reply to] Can't Post

I pictured a weapon not just improvised, but evolved from workaday mattocks, resembling the blade-backed picks about as much as a Quidditch broom resembles a tool for sweeping floors. Tolkien is trying to think like a dwarf, and see how their everyday underground lives might shape their choices of weaponry.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!

(This post was edited by Dreamdeer on Jul 16 2009, 9:38pm)


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jul 16 2009, 9:52pm

Post #9 of 32 (381 views)
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Beards in Belts [In reply to] Can't Post

Thrusting their beards in their belts isn't just about being tidy--it's about not giving your enemy anything to grab onto.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jul 16 2009, 10:06pm

Post #10 of 32 (351 views)
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Arrows and Chain Mail [In reply to] Can't Post

Whether or not an arrow can pierce mail depends on a lot of factors.
  1. THE MAIL. How many other links do each link connect to? More links means sturdier, but also heavier. Also, what material did they use? Iron? Bronze? Carbon steel? (Yes, there was a form of carbon steel used as a trade secret by a few smiths in the days of chain mail.) What gauge? Thinner gauge means making more mail faster for a large army, thicker means better protection --and again, heavier.
  2. THE ARROWS. Wide heads or narrow? Wide heads could tear apart weaker metal, narrow heads could pierce between the links of less-interconnected mail. Dense mail of strong metal could deter both
  3. THE BOWS: How many poundage of pull? The greater the velocity, the more piercing the arrow.
  4. DISTANCE: Too far, and the arrow weakens. Too close, and the enemy's upon you before you can pull back.

I'd say that the dwarves stand pretty good odds, here. They would have more skill in making tough metal than other peoples, and it would not surprise me if they had the knowledge to forge carbon steel. And they make light of burdens, so they would wear densely interconnected links of heavy-gauge.

On the other hand, the elves would have mighty bows and enchanted arrows. Yet they might have come with ordinary hunting arrows, useful enough on ill-equipped brigands, but not armor-piercing. You don't want to lose your very best missiles on highwaymen, after all.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 16 2009, 10:19pm

Post #11 of 32 (377 views)
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Yes, they might have strong armor. [In reply to] Can't Post

But then others may have strong arrows and bows. And they may be shooting down on them from above.


GaladrielTX
Tol Eressea


Jul 16 2009, 11:07pm

Post #12 of 32 (385 views)
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A few answers. [In reply to] Can't Post

1. 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?

Dain’s family dog is more trustworthy than Duke. http://www.bushbeans.com/jaynduke/duke.php


2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?

Hey! Body odor isn’t everything.


3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock?

Like a buttock, only on a monkey.


4. What is your impression of the Dwarves apperance?

H4wt. Which might explain the answer to #2.


How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat?

Flashing one’s mattocks at an opponent has not been known to kill anyone, but no one claims to like it.


Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?

I’d really better stop right here.

Okay, one more.


What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately?

It’ll make for shorter innings.

*rimshot*


Sorry, I get bored toward the end of The Hobbit. Plus, our discussions have been severely lacking in Darkstone responses. Where is that guy, anyway? (I always get worried when someone has to ask this.)

~~~~~~~~

The TORNsib formerly known as Galadriel.



sador
Half-elven

Jul 17 2009, 6:50am

Post #13 of 32 (349 views)
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Wikipedia disagrees [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm no expert, but I thought arrows did pierce armor, especially chain mail, on a regular basis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/...rmour)#Effectiveness
And it seems that if most wounds are on the feet - having a height advantage loses its effectiveness!


In Reply To
I think you are forgetting that the people have already expressed their preference for Bard as their leader.


They wanted Bard as king in the moment of victory. How long will it last?


In Reply To
They may be more desperate than Dain's dwarves, who have become mercenaries for Thorin's personal treasure-quest.


Thorin's quest was for his kingdom, and to a lesser extent for revenge. Even if you think the treasure has now got a hold on him, it might cloud his judgement - it never changed his goals!


In Reply To
Again, we do know that Bard showed courage and enterprise and leadership when Smaug attacked. We don't know anything about Dain.


Right, Bard is courageous and a leader. That doesn't make him a general - and I was noting his lack of expertise (after all, Lake-town was a peaceful democracy) as opposed to the Elvenking, and saying that until we know the lay of the ground, we cannot draw too many conclusions from their eagerness/reluctance to fight.
We know Dain is a war hero, a leader of warlike veterans, and as a member of the Royal Family he probably did quite a bit of generaling.

"Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation." - the Elvenking.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 17 2009, 7:20am

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No it doesn't. [In reply to] Can't Post

The article you cite says nothing about arrows. This article says arrows from an English longbow could pierce chainmail.


Quote

Thorin's quest was for his kingdom

]
So was Bard's.


Quote

Lake-town was a peaceful democracy


Where does it say Lake-town was peaceful? It's built on the lake for a reason. The Wilderness is a dangerous place.



Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jul 17 2009, 5:38pm

Post #15 of 32 (327 views)
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I'm glad [In reply to] Can't Post

To see this discussion moving towards chain mail versus arrows.....

I was wondering if it would. Laugh

I was always under the impression that the point of chain mail was to stop arrows. Right?
It's not going to be much help against the heavy blow of a sword even if it stops a cut, is it?

And we must remember that we are talking about Dain's specially made chain mail (or is it just the mesh that is a family secret?) and not some French made junk from the Middle-Ages to stop English lowngbows here. The way Tolkien presents Dwarvish craftsmenship is to make us think they have secrets of craft & abilities far beyond the village blacksmith in 1350.

Both Thorin & Bard make comments that seem to indicate that the mail (Bilbo's vest & Dain's soldiers) will withstand arrows.- after all, Bilbo's vest is driven with a spear into his chest and just leaves a bruise, but no puncture. That certainly has the power of an arrow and thensome.

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Curious
Half-elven


Jul 17 2009, 5:49pm

Post #16 of 32 (348 views)
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We're also talking about Elvish arrows. [In reply to] Can't Post

If you want to give the dwarves special equipment, you can't short the elves. Heck, even Bard has his black arrow, forged by the dwarves.

Bilbo's vest, as described in LotR, is very special indeed. Mithril mail will of course stop most arrows -- although I imagine someone developed mithril arrows as well! But I don't think Dain and his men have mithril mail. In fact, in the original version of The Hobbit even Bilbo didn't have mithril mail. He just had silvered steel -- i.e. silver-plated steel. But it was steel.


Quote

Both Thorin & Bard make comments that seem to indicate that the mail (Bilbo's vest & Dain's soldiers) will withstand arrows


What comments?


(This post was edited by Curious on Jul 17 2009, 5:50pm)


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jul 17 2009, 6:27pm

Post #17 of 32 (321 views)
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Here You Go [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Quote

Both Thorin & Bard make comments that seem to indicate that the mail (Bilbo's vest & Dain's soldiers) will withstand arrows


What comments?



1. "Be off!" called Thorin."You have mail upon you, which is made by my folk, and is too good for you. It cannot be pierced by arrows; but if you do not hasten, I will sting your miserable (not not hairy, lol) feet. So be swift!."

2. "Fools!" laughed Bard, "to come thus beneath the Mountain's arm's.....There are many of our archers & spearmen now hiddenin the rocks upon their right flank.Dwarf-mail may be good, but they will soon be hard put to it...."


OK, so #2 is debatable.....


On your point about the Elves having 'special equipment' like the Dwarves, I don't recall anywhere that Tolkien says the Elves had greast Smiths like the Dwarves (repeatedly) did......

Especially these Silvan Elves out of Mirkwood. These ain't the Noldor or Sindar of Menegroith we're talking about....

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Curious
Half-elven


Jul 17 2009, 6:33pm

Post #18 of 32 (325 views)
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Number one is a good catch. [In reply to] Can't Post

Bard has his doubts, though, and mail doesn't cover everything.


squire
Half-elven


Jul 17 2009, 7:54pm

Post #19 of 32 (333 views)
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"They're firing flaming arrows ... Hey! can they do that?" [In reply to] Can't Post

1. With all the various Dwarves of different Mansions that we see being excellent Smiths in the Silmarillion and TLOR, why is it only Dain's faction of the Longbeards who hold the secret to making the metal mesh?
Why not? Secrets seem to be the dwarves’ thing. I’m not sure of the value of thin metal hose, compared to metal greaves. The hose would protect against cuts, at best, but not the kind of blow that can break a bone from the impact alone. On the other hand, this detail lends a kind of fantasy exoticism to these dwarves that keeps them from being plain old medieval heavy infantry.

2. Why might Dain's Dwarves be stronger than other Dwarves?
I think the point is that “these” are the strongest dwarves of Dain’s people. I don’t think it means that Dain’s folk are stronger than other dwarves.

3. Quick! Without googling! What is a mattock? What do you think of it as a weapon? How would it function in battle? Interact with a foe's defense & offense in battle?
No googling: I looked it up on Bing. The mattock is a pickaxe and trenching tool as much as it is a weapon of war – excellent for making fortifications. As others have said, it seems to me to express perfectly the dwarves’ underground way of life and of war.

4. What is your impression of the Dwarves appearance? How do you go about killing such an opponent in individual combat? Where do you find a hole in their breastplate, so to speak?
Pretty tough guys. Great against goblins, of course. I imagine they are weakest when fighting someone with a longer reach, such as Elves or Men. In the end, much of hand to hand combat is settled by the skills, discipline, and tactics of the fighters, not by their equipment unless there is a huge disparity in quality or type.

And the arrow thing is still being debated, but distance weapons are distance weapons and these dwarves don’t carry any (although Thorin’s company did, in Mirkwood).

I don’t get the beards, from a practical standpoint. They should wrap them around their heads, not tuck them into their belts where they will work loose over time, and can still be grabbed in hand to hand combat.

At this point, Dain sends up a handful of Dwarves as representatives, they say they mean to press on to Mountain, who are you assembled here as if foes before the gate?
Notice that these dwarves also put down their weapons for parley. Thorin was really within his rights to rip up Bard for storming up to the gate that first time.

5. Just how is manning the mountain and having greater 'firepower' at hand actually going to help Thorin get his hands on the Arkenstone? Isn't this some faulty logic on Bard's part?
Good point that the emphasis just now is on the problem of the besiegers, and not the problem of the besieged. Dramatically, Tolkien swings back and forth in order to make the story more exciting: first one side is ahead, then the other, then surprise! side A is on top again, etc. Since he is making up the story, instead of reporting a history, he can do that. The worst thing would be to telegraph who is going to win by consistently taking one side's point of view.



Thorin’s entire nature seems to be essentially defensive, and that’s no way to get that stone back. He may imagine that once he and Dain break the siege, he can negotiate a much cheaper exchange rate for the Arkenstone, since Bard & Co. will still want some treasure for their reconstruction efforts. Dain, on the other hand, seems to think he can defeat the Elves and Men outright and just take the Arkenstone before he even gets to Thorin (“The knowledge that the Arkenstone was in the hands of the besiegers burned in their thoughts … and [they] resolved to strike”).

Bard’s dilemma is only that he cannot afford to let Dain join Thorin in the mountain. His logic – therefore we must fight it out, and we outnumber them and have tactical advantages - is good, as far as I can see. He is a little hasty, as the Elven King points out: “The dwarves cannot pass us.”

In reality, Bard (and the Elven King) should also notice that the dwarves will have to put down their heavy baggage to fight, which will mean setting up a supply dump that must be guarded at the expense of the dwarves’ offensive manpower. Even better, if Bard can use his high ground, archers, and superior numbers to draw the dwarves forward, isolate them from their depot, and then capture and destroy the depot, he either wins outright or Dain’s survivors make it to Erebor and sit down with their cousins and starve.

10. What might the outcome have been if the Goblins had not show up & the battle had just continued to escalate without the arrival of the Goblins?
Bard rolls a 20 for offensive power and Dain counters with a 9. The dwarves fail to replenish their weaponset after the 5th turn, and Gandalf offers 2 Maia negotiating gambits in a row. The Elves fall back before this magic, and Dain uses his dwarf-transformative ability to case his team’s torsos with impregnable rock armor. The ravens dive-bomb Bard and put his eyes out, which he can’t regenerate for 3 more turns, and then the sun sets with the Dwarves holding the field. Pizza break.



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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batik
Tol Eressea


Jul 18 2009, 6:19pm

Post #20 of 32 (309 views)
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metal mesh, mattocks, and manning the mountain... [In reply to] Can't Post

... moving past all that...
7. What is Bard's mindset at joining battle versus the Elvenking's? How might this affect battle effectiveness of their side?
Bard--let's make a move, get on with it (ready to act--a bit daring and brazen)
Elvenking--let's wait and see (more circumspect, provident )
If nothing else, Tolkien allows the audience an opportunity to think about two (more) perspectives on a situation--this whole *battle* thing. From the assumed mindsets of the two, I would expect that men would engage in the battle with more *feeling* while the elves would approach it with *professionalism*.

9. How about Dain? Is he making the call here? Is Thorin giving the orders via the ravens?
What do you think about the Dwarves resolving to strike immediately? What does this show about the nature of Dwarves versus Men and/or Elves?

Well, we do read that "...the raven-messengers had been busy...". I can imagine that some type of strategy planning was among these messages but also think Dain had leave to call some shots as he saw them.
Dwarves--even more daring and brazen than Men. Accustomed to 'striking while the iron is hot'.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 19 2009, 10:20pm

Post #21 of 32 (296 views)
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And once they reach the mountain...how do they get in? [In reply to] Can't Post

Five hundred dwarves, less a few unfortunate ones, manage to reach the wall which is now across the entrance to the Mountain.

This wall is only accessible by ladder; and goods are hauled in by ropes.

So a little under 500 dwarves are waiting in line to climb up and over this wall. How long will that take? How many ladders can be used at one time? How can the dwarves on the ground successfully defend those on the ladders, who have ascended to the upper parts? Turned backs make easy targets!

And thus the Elven archers pick them off, one by one...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915



Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jul 20 2009, 2:01am

Post #22 of 32 (288 views)
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Sounds Gruesome [In reply to] Can't Post

What a truely gruesome scenario you paint, dernwyn......

Excepot of course Thorin & Company remembered to put a door in wall. Laugh

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Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jul 20 2009, 2:01am

Post #23 of 32 (289 views)
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Sounds Gruesome [In reply to] Can't Post

What a truely gruesome scenario you paint, dernwyn......

Excepot of course Thorin & Company remembered to put a door in wall. Laugh

The Ultimate Tolkien Trivia Quiz: http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=so-you-want-to-be-tolkien-geek


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jul 20 2009, 2:18am

Post #24 of 32 (289 views)
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LOL, don't you wish! [In reply to] Can't Post

Or rather, don't they wish! "There were holes in the wall through which they could see (or shoot), but no entrance."

I'm amazed that Bard and the Elvenking didn't just say, sure, go ahead and try to reach the safety of that mountain...!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915



sador
Half-elven

Jul 20 2009, 6:25am

Post #25 of 32 (286 views)
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The Elvenking did [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm amazed that Bard and the Elvenking didn't just say, sure, go ahead and try to reach the safety of that mountain...!


I have asked before who was the better strategist of the two, and you add a new twist to it.
But still - it could mean "no visible entrance", which is standard dwarvish technique.

Actually, we soon get to see how they enter - a part of the wall moves on levers. But due to time contraints, it is not perfect as it falls to the pool.
That would be a good opportunity for the besieging army to try and break in - had they known it, and had they dared two invade the Mountain and attack underground. I can see some of the less hardy Lake-men considering deserting at this prospect.

"We will honour the agreement of the dead." - Dain.

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