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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
plot hole?
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Mr. Arkenstone (isaac)
Grey Havens


Jan 21 2012, 3:41pm

Post #1 of 71 (3119 views)
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plot hole? Can't Post

Sorry if this has been discussed before, i dont remember right now if in the book there is a clear explanation, but, why Thorin, if he wants to recover the treasure from Smaug dont call for starters Dain and the dwarves of the iron hills to fight the dragon?

just a question


QuackingTroll
Valinor


Jan 21 2012, 3:46pm

Post #2 of 71 (1559 views)
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My guess is because it's a suicide mission... [In reply to] Can't Post

The other dwarves know that it's useless and only the nutty ones with nothing to loose or the ones driven by revenge are willing to go.

Also, maybe it's similar to the Fellowship. The less people they have going the easier they'll pass through unnoticed?

"...For if joyful is the fountain that rises in the sun, its springs are in the wells of sorrow unfathomed at the foundations of the Earth"


Mr. Arkenstone (isaac)
Grey Havens


Jan 21 2012, 3:50pm

Post #3 of 71 (1463 views)
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good one on the first [In reply to] Can't Post

the second one i feel its different, unless they want only to recover the arkenstone, if they want the wole treasure they have to remove the dragon, so unless they know about his weak point, it would have more sense to gather a dwarf army, i dont know, what do you feel this will be worked on movies?


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 21 2012, 3:53pm

Post #4 of 71 (1447 views)
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It might have been the folly of greed [In reply to] Can't Post

-- and therefore not a plot hole --

By greed's way of thinking: the more people involved in securing the treasure (and real estate!) the more shares would have to be paid out.


Mr. Arkenstone (isaac)
Grey Havens


Jan 21 2012, 3:57pm

Post #5 of 71 (1369 views)
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good one too [In reply to] Can't Post

thatīs what i neededTongue


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 21 2012, 3:57pm

Post #6 of 71 (1350 views)
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That was my thought [In reply to] Can't Post

Instead of a 14th share of the gold, it would have to be split with over 500.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Jan 21 2012, 6:55pm

Post #7 of 71 (1341 views)
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Makes no sense. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even with Dain's army, they couldn't defeat the dragon in battle. This is definitely a mission where stealth and deviousness is called for.

Besides, as others have noted, in the (very unlikely) event that they won, the treasure would have to be split over many dwarves, and the acquisition of the Arkenstone would have been problematic.






Stay tuned for a Reading Room discussion of Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon by Brian Rosebury, starting January 23!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


sueb1863
Rivendell


Jan 21 2012, 7:14pm

Post #8 of 71 (1297 views)
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Hmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Doesn't it say in the book somewhere that they wanted a small band so they wouldn't have to divide the treasure beyond a handful of people? I seem to recall it being in there, I'll have to check...


Alientraveller
Lorien


Jan 21 2012, 7:25pm

Post #9 of 71 (1253 views)
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One does not simply walk into Erebor [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"Sure, it's not really The Lord of the Rings, but it could still be a pretty damn cool movie." - PJ


ShireHorse
Rohan

Jan 21 2012, 8:51pm

Post #10 of 71 (1322 views)
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I thought it was made clear [In reply to] Can't Post

in discussions between Thorin, Gandalf and Bilbo that brute force had no hope against such a powerful dragon and that's why they were going to hire a burglar. BTW, I don't like this emphasis on the word "greed" every time we discuss the dwarves - they have a lust for beautiful things which is something entirely different. However, I would like you to quote anything that implies they were unwilling to share with Dain & Co - nothing come to my mind at the moment.

I will go along with the thought that Tolkien's story does seem to be lacking in a well thought out story line because, although a back door approach might be a sensible one, what did they expect to do once they got there? How did they expect to make off with all that gold? The dwarves seem to be making it up a bit as they go along.


Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jan 21 2012, 9:32pm

Post #11 of 71 (1281 views)
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Well Elizabeth, historically and traditionally, Dwarves had fought well against Dragons in battle. [In reply to] Can't Post

Just think of Dagor Bragolach and the maiming of Glaurung by the dwarves, the only ones who could withstand his heat. and in later First Age Battles too.
The dwarves arguably would have fought the dragons of the north as well, in the Grey Mountains, though they may have just fled from them.

Of course for Third Age dwarves those herioc Dragonslaying days were just a distant semi-legendary memory. But personally, I think Dwarves were well suited for combat with Dragons.

In this specific case however, yeah I would have agree that with a small army such as Dain's such a feat would be nigh impossible. Plus I agree that they wouldnt want to split the loot to hundreds, if not thousands of Dwarves Wink

I think also that Thorin & Co. had not really at all thought it through how to reclaim the lost treasure and somehow rid themsleves of Smaug. In truth, their company was IMO just a rag-bag group of optimistic Dwarves on a mission with crazily high odds.

:)

"I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama"

___________


Let us then continue Tolkien's Legendarium!

(This post was edited by Xanaseb on Jan 21 2012, 9:33pm)


Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jan 21 2012, 9:37pm

Post #12 of 71 (1204 views)
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Precisely. yeah, I agree completely with you there. [In reply to] Can't Post

They were driven by the hope of success, and the hope of what good fortunes would come to them, and all the dwarven people if they were to succeed.
Very heroic, deep and noble motives IMO, not just simply money, wealth and greed. But also glory, vengeance and a greater good for all the Dwarvish peoples and possibly their old friends: the descendants of the kingdom of Dale. (I doubt it much that they also had in mind the rest of middle-earth, but maybe they did!)

"I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama"

___________


Let us then continue Tolkien's Legendarium!

(This post was edited by Xanaseb on Jan 21 2012, 9:38pm)


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Jan 21 2012, 9:42pm

Post #13 of 71 (1173 views)
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I believe [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien said he wanted them to use Stealth instead of brute force thats why they went with a burglar instead of a warrior. So a small band of dwarfs would be better than a big army of them. surely the dragon would see a large force coming and obliterate them before they even got close where as a small group was able to get into Erobor. Granted had they not got into Erobor and ticked off Smaug he wouldn't have flown out and got himself killed by Bard. it all worked out for the best as it was written Wink


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 21 2012, 10:04pm

Post #14 of 71 (1204 views)
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Re lust or greed [In reply to] Can't Post

*** Major Spoiler Alert ***

I'm not sure when lust lost the uglier aspect of its meaning. Yet I note that in popular usage its sting is lessened of late. To me, as lust is an urge seeking self gratification without concern for the needs of others (and/or sometimes oneself) it is similar enough to greed to be characterized as such (perhaps more in Tolkien's day than it is now).

Regardless, greed might not have been what motivated them to take as few people as possible, but I don't think it can be ruled-out as a part of it. I concur with anyone who has pointed out that the mission was conceived of as one requiring stealth and therefore smaller numbers.

However the folly of greed is what killed Thorin, and is a major theme of the book. Otherwise what folly does Thorin repent of to Bilbo at the end? That he was lusty enough to believe he could hold Erebor against her enemies with only a handful of aged Dwarfs and one Hobbit?


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 21 2012, 10:06pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 21 2012, 10:10pm

Post #15 of 71 (1175 views)
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Agreed 100% [In reply to] Can't Post

"Greed" is not only an unfortunate simplification, it is a misinterpretation.

The dwarves were "proud" and "vengeful," not "greedy."

They had a pride in their ancestry, and the work of their hands which were sitting under this dragon. They also felt a desire, which is born of pride as well, to seek vengeance.

And if any of them wanted to be fabulously wealthy, it is likely that they wanted this to enhance their reputation among dwarven-kind (and relative to their ancestors) not so they could buy a bunch of houses in the Hamptons.

I hope the word "greed" is kept to a minimum in the films. They dwarves weren't gold gluttons, they were overproud vengeance and reputation-seekers. Well, at least Thorin and a few of the others.


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Jan 21 2012, 10:32pm

Post #16 of 71 (1140 views)
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as much as people [In reply to] Can't Post

don't want the term "greed" thrown around the fact does remain that Thorin did get greedy in his stand on sharing the treasure with the men of Dale and the elves before the BO5A. Some of that vast treasure surely belonged to the people of Dale whose town Smaug destroyed 170 years previous. So I truly think the word greed needs to be placed somewhere in the films but not until the second film near the BO5A at least. It wasn't pride or vengeance for the dwarfs to try and deny Bard and the descendants of Dale what was rightfully theirs, even if the treasure was solely the property of the dwarfs of Erorbor, which I'm sure it wasn't, they at least owed Bard and the men of Dale for killing Smaug. It was greed... But it was Thorin's arrogance that complicated matters with Thranduil, since he probably would have been treated better , not that he was treated badly by the elves only imprisoned, if he had told Thranduil the truth to begin with. But his arrogance and greed for lack of a better word since he did not want to share the treasure with anyone. This was the start of the turmoil between the suspicions elves (rightfully so since the necromancer was on their doorstep in Mirkwood so to speak) and the dwarfs of Erobor.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 21 2012, 10:51pm

Post #17 of 71 (1124 views)
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It may just be semantics [In reply to] Can't Post

But I did not see that as "greed" but as pride, and standing rigidly on a point of principle. For Thorin, NOT sharing the treasure was a matter of principle and pride. It was HIS because Smaug stole it from his fathers, and HE reclaimed it. I do not believe he was primarily motivated by the desire to have "more money" which is what I believe greed is.

I think PJ and company should plumb the depths of pride (or "over-pride"), and its implications, in the films. That will make for a much more interesting film than one that explores the rather uni-dimensional phenomenon of "greed."


ShireHorse
Rohan

Jan 21 2012, 11:00pm

Post #18 of 71 (1133 views)
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I think that Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

is often misunderstood and blamed unfairly for all sorts of things and I believe that PJ will put things right.

First, he does not refuse to compensate the men of Lake Town; he just says that he won't discuss things until Thranduil's army has backed off. Who are the most stubborn? The dwarves and Thorin or Thranduil and Bard? I think it's a tie. And who is more greedy? Thorin for refusing to discuss the matter under certain circumstances or Thranduil for coming with an army when he has no right to the treasure at all and the Lake Town men, who may deserve a cut but who have also come with a pretty threatening army to stake their claim? There are only 13 dwarves. Who's the bully? And who got the dragon all fired up so that he attacked the town? Was it Thorin for coming back to the mountain in the first place? Or was it the Men who encouraged them to go on their quest and even invested in it because rivers of gold danced before their eyes? Or was it ultimately Bilbo who mishandled his conversation with Smaug so arrogantly that he made the dragon lose his temper?

And was it Thorin's arrogance and pride and greed that resulted in his own death and that of Fili and Kili? No! The final battle was nothing to do with what had gone before but resulted from an unexpected attack by an army of goblins and wargs. Thorin and his nephews died because they decided to join the men and elves in a heroic sally that was likely to result in the deaths of many of them rather than stay comparatively safe behind their walls.

And what does Thorin apologise for on his deathbed? Not for his arrogance or greed or pride but for the awful things he said to Bilbo when he found out about the Arkenstone. I'm afraid, if I had been in Thorin's shoes, I might have said something similar to Bilbo too, LOL!

These last chapters are just SO complex. I really hope that PJ doesn't go down the simplistic route of: well, this all happened because of Thorin's pride and greed.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 21 2012, 11:12pm

Post #19 of 71 (1120 views)
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That's another excellent point [In reply to] Can't Post

And the reason Thorin refuses to share the wealth while under threat by the men and elves, is because of his strong principles and pride. He will not, as the rightful King of the Mountain, be robbed. Where he goes wrong is in letting his pride run away with him to the point that he refuses to even speak to the two parties, or acknowledge their role in killing Smaug and making the treasure available. The actions of Bard and Laketown pushes his pride over the edge.

This episode has nothing to do with the bland concept of "greed."


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Jan 21 2012, 11:21pm)


dormouse
Half-elven

Jan 21 2012, 11:20pm

Post #20 of 71 (1120 views)
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I think you're right... [In reply to] Can't Post

Whether we call it greed, lust, acquisitiveness or what you will, the desire to possess and hold on to treasure and the damage that possessiveness can do is a theme of The Hobbit. I don't see any getting away from it. Thorin would have killed anyone, even another dwarf, for the Arkenstone. The battle is fought in the first instance over the possession of treasure, and Bilbo stands out from the others because he gives freely. It's true that pride, arrogance and the desire for revenge are characteristic of Thorin too, but surely his words at the end are proof of the part that greed plays in the story:
'Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth. . .' and 'If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.' If that isn't repentence for greed, by whatever name, then I don't know what it is.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 21 2012, 11:25pm

Post #21 of 71 (1141 views)
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Pride, greed, and for that matter lust [In reply to] Can't Post

only seem simplistic because we (for the most part) have lost the sense that we should shrink in horror from such things. I submit that such themes were anything but simplistic (lacking depth or meaning) to Tolkien.

Furthermore, may I only say this once in the Reading Room (mainly because it seems irrelevant here): I hope that casting heartthrob Armitage will not lead many to see Thorin as one of the good guys, especially against how Tolkien presented him. Realizing his folly on his deathbed is laudable, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a persnickety, greedy, self-centred and prideful codger bent on revenge and satisfying his own vanity for most of the tale. Add prepared to sacrifice others for his own selfish ends and we have quite an admirable character there.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 21 2012, 11:31pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 21 2012, 11:32pm

Post #22 of 71 (1135 views)
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But the important part of that line [In reply to] Can't Post

Is not "gold" but "hoarded." Having, and wanting, gold is okay. But hoarding it speaks to a larger problem of pride. The key questions is: why do people hoard gold? There are many reasons. Because they like shiny things, because they are cautious and want a cash reserve, because they listen to Glenn Beck. But Thorin's reason for wanting to hoard the gold is "pride" and that is the more important characteristic - the "source" of his apparent greed.

If PJ and company don't look at the source of his greed, which is being over-proud, than they are missing the much richer theme of the Hobbit. The richer theme is a Feanorian lesson. Do not love that which you have created "overmuch" for it can lead to destruction. Pride gone wild is Thorin's problem, not simply "greed."

IMO, the overriding theme of the Hobbit is that a mix of Thorin's and Bilbo's characteristics is optimal in life. That is, be merciful and pragmatic (Baggins Bilbo) rather than full of vengeance and prideful folly (Thorin). But while you should be merciful and pragmatic, you should also not lose sight of nature and faery (Took Bilbo). In short, mix grace with nature.

This is also the fundamental difference between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Lewis rejected faery and nature outright, as being at odds with Christianity and therefore repugnant. Tolkien, though a strong Catholic, felt it was important not to lose sight of the wisdom and poeticism of our pre-Christian ancestors. That's why he gave us a wonderful world of pre-Christian heroes who act like Christians. He found value in both eras.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Jan 21 2012, 11:33pm)


Xanaseb
Tol Eressea


Jan 21 2012, 11:51pm

Post #23 of 71 (1112 views)
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A-greed Agreed, get it?? LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

its a matter of a greed, agreed?

Wink

"I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama"

___________


Let us then continue Tolkien's Legendarium!


titanium_hobbit
Rohan


Jan 22 2012, 1:56am

Post #24 of 71 (1108 views)
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not sure I agree with you about Lewis [In reply to] Can't Post

I get that this is a Tolkien board, but I'm not a fan of the Narnia bashing- not saying that you were bashing, but it's a symptom of a wider feeling. Lewis had tree spirits and the sighs of a land trapped in winter.

I like both. I know they are different, but they were good friends, CS Lewis and Tolkien, and I don't think there is any need to slag either body of work.

Hobbit firster, Book firster.


Have you explored all of TORN's forums?


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 22 2012, 2:13am

Post #25 of 71 (1109 views)
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o.O [In reply to] Can't Post

You are making a pretty strong case that as a theme, greed is more complex than one might think. I do not see pride as a source of greed, but a possible symptom of greed.

Loving something overmuch is intemperance, more akin to greed (and idolatry) than pride. In the example you provide, loving something you created can be called pride -- as in "look what I did!" -- but loving it overmuch takes it into the realm of greed. A greedy love , a jealous love, a destructive sense of ownership or entitlement. Pride may be an outward manifestation of these things but it is a mere wart on the ugliness of greed.

I'll grant you, Thorin's pride may have had something to do with wanting to regain his throne and former glory but to what end? To satisfy his greed...

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