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**The Gathering of the Clouds** III

Curious
Half-elven


Oct 20 2012, 5:03am


Views: 403
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**The Gathering of the Clouds** III Can't Post


Quote

There came a night when suddenly there were many lights as of fires and torches away south in Dale before them.

"They have come!" called Balin. "And their camp is very great. They must have come into the valley under the cover of dusk along both banks of the river."

That night the dwarves slept little. The morning was still pale when they saw a company approaching. From behind their wall they watched them come up to the valley's head and climb slowly up. Before long they could see that both men of the lake armed as if for war and elvish bowmen were among them. At length the foremost of these climbed the tumbled rocks and appeared at the top of the falls; and very great was their surprise to see the pool before them and the Gate blocked with a wall of new-hewn stone.


Questions:

Why are the men and elves armed as if for war? Why did they come as a great host, instead of sending scouts well ahead? Why not send birds as scouts, since apparently birds can talk? Why not a swift boat?


Quote

As they stood pointing and speaking to one another Thorin hailed them: "Who are you," he called in a very loud voice, "that come as if in war to the gates of Thorin son of Thrain, King under the Mountain, and what do you desire?"

But they answered nothing. Some turned swiftly back, and the others after gazing for a while at the Gate and its defences soon followed them. That day the camp was moved and was brought right between the arms of the Mountain. The rocks echoed then with voices and with song, as they had not done for many a day. There was the sound, too, of elven-harps and of sweet music; and as it echoed up towards them it seemed that the chill of the air was warmed, and they caught faintly the fragrance of woodland flowers blossoming in spring.


Questions:

Why did not the men and elves answer Thorin? Why didn't they come back that day? Why move the camp between the arms of the Mountain?


Quote

Then Bilbo longed to escape from the dark fortress and to go down and join in the mirth and feasting by the fires. Some of the younger dwarves were moved in their hearts, too, and they muttered that they wished things had fallen out otherwise and that they might welcome such folk as friends; but Thorin scowled.


Questions:

What do the younger dwarves mean when they wish "things had fallen out otherwise"? Under what conditions would the dwarves have welcomed such folk as friends? Why do the younger dwarves in particular have this reaction?


Quote

Then the dwarves themselves brought forth harps and instruments regained from the hoard, and made music to soften his mood; but their song was not as elvish song, and was much like the song they had sung long before in Bilbo's little hobbit-hole.

Under the Mountain dark and tall

The King has come unto his hall!

His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,

And ever so his foes shall fall.

The sword is sharp, the spear is long,

The arrow swift, the Gate is strong;

The heart is bold that looks on gold;

The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells

In places deep, where dark things sleep,

In hollow halls beneath the fells.

On silver necklaces they strung

The light of stars, on crowns they hung

The dragon-fire, from twisted wire

The melody of harps they wrung.

The mountain throne once more is freed!

O! wandering folk, the summons heed!

Come haste! Come haste! across the waste!

The king of friend and kin has need.

Now call we over mountains cold,

'Come back unto the caverns old'!

Here at the Gates the king awaits,

His hands are rich with gems and gold.

The king is come unto his hall

Under the Mountain dark and tall.

The Worm of Dread is slain and dead,

And ever so our foes shall fall!


Questions:

What is missing from this song? What or who does it fail to mention? Who composed this song and why? Is this how they felt, or were they trying to make Thorin happy?

Compare and contrast it to the dwarves's song at Bag End:


Quote

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells

In places deep, where dark things sleep,

In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord

There many a gloaming golden hoard

They shaped and wrought, and light they caught

To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung

The flowering stars, on crowns they hung

The dragon-fire, in twisted wire

They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away, ere break of day,

To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves

And harps of gold; where no man delves

There lay they long, and many a song

Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,

The winds were moaning in the night.

The fire was red, it flaming spread;

The trees like torches biased with light,

The bells were ringing in the dale

And men looked up with faces pale;

The dragon's ire more fierce than fire

Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;

The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.

They fled their hall to dying -fall

Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim

To dungeons deep and caverns dim

We must away, ere break of day,

To win our harps and gold from him!

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away, ere break of day,

To find our long-forgotten gold.




Quote

This song appeared to please Thorin, and he smiled again and grew merry; and he began reckoning the distance to the Iron Hills and how long it would be before Dain could reach the Lonely Mountain, if he had set out as soon as the message reached him. But Bilbo's heart fell, both at the song and the talk: they sounded much too warlike. The next morning early a company of spearmen was seen crossing the river, and marching up the valley. They bore with them the green banner of the Elvenking and the blue banner of the Lake, and they advanced until they stood right before the wall at the Gate.

Again Thorin hailed them in a loud voice: "Who are you that come armed for war to the gates of Thorin son of Thrain, King under the Mountain?" This time he was answered.

A tall man stood forward, dark of hair and grim of face, and he cried: "Hail Thorin! Why do you fence yourself like a robber in his hold? We are not yet foes, and we rejoice that you are alive beyond our hope. We came expecting to find none living here; yet now that we are met there is matter for a parley and a council."

"Who are you, and of what would you parley?"

"I am Bard, and by my hand was the dragon slain and your treasure delivered. Is that not a matter that concerns you? Moreover I am by right descent the heir of Girion of Dale, and in your hoard is mingled much of the wealth of his halls and town, which of old Smaug stole. Is not that a matter of which we may speak? Further in his last battle Smaug destroyed the dwellings of the men of Esgaroth, and I am yet the servant of their Master. I would speak for him and ask whether you have no thought for the sorrow and misery of his people. They aided you in your distress, and in recompense you have thus far brought ruin only, though doubtless undesigned."

Now these were fair words and true, if proudly and grimly spoken; and Bilbo thought that Thorin would at once admit what justice was in them. He did not, of course, expect that any one would remember that it was he who discovered all by himself the dragon's weak spot; and that was just as well, for no one ever did. But also he did not reckon with the power that gold has upon which a dragon has long brooded, nor with dwarvish hearts. Long hours in the past days Thorin had spent in the treasury, and the lust of it was heavy on him. Though he had hunted chiefly for the Arkenstone, yet he had an eye for many another wonderful thing that was lying there, about which were wound old memories of the labours and the sorrows of his race.

"You put your worst cause last and in the chief place," Thorin answered. "To the treasure of my people no man has a claim, because Smaug who stole it from us also robbed him of life or home. The treasure was not his that his evil deeds should be amended with a share of it. The price of the goods and the assistance that we received of the Lake-men we will fairly pay -- in due time. But nothing will we give, not even a loaf's worth, under threat of force. While an armed host lies before our doors, we look on you as foes and thieves.

"It is in my mind to ask what share of their inheritance you would have paid to our kindred, had you found the hoard unguarded and us slain."

"A just question," replied Bard. "But you are not dead, and we are not robbers. Moreover the wealthy may have pity beyond right on the needy that befriended them when they were in want. And still my other claims remain unanswered."

"I will not parley, as I have said, with armed men at my gate. Nor at all with the people of the Elvenking, whom I remember with small kindness. In this debate they have no place. Begone now ere our arrows fly! And if you would speak with me again, first dismiss the elvish host to the woods where it belongs, and then return, laying down your arms before you approach the threshold."

"The Elvenking is my friend, and he has succoured the people of the Lake in their need, though they had no claim but friendship on him," answered Bard. "We will give you time to repent your words. Gather your wisdom ere we return!" Then he departed and went back to the camp.


Questions:

Is there anything Bard could have done to handle this more diplomatically? Could he have sent the elves away? Heck, could he have sent all but a token force away while they parleyed? Why did he not do so? Why did not Gandalf get involved? Did Bard or the Elvenkind know that there were more dwarves a few days away? Did they have any idea that goblins might show up? Did they know what they were getting into? How could they be so ignorant?

Bard was the spokesman, but could the Master of Lake-town have done a better job? Is not he less blunt, and more political? How might he have dealt with the dwarves in a more effective way? Flattery, perhaps? Some promise of trade or transport or food? Perhaps asking for a private word, and then confessing that he doesn't trust the Elvenking either?


Quote

Ere many hours were past, the banner-bearers returned, and trumpeters stood forth and blew a blast:

"In the name of Esgaroth and the Forest," one cried, "we speak unto Thorin Thrain's son Oakenshield, calling himself the King under the Mountain, and we bid him consider well the claims that have been urged, or be declared our foe. At the least he shall deliver one twelfth portion of the treasure unto Bard, as the dragon-slayer, and as the heir of Girion. From that portion Bard will himself contribute to the aid of Esgaroth; but if Thorin would have the friendship and honour of the lands about, as his sires had of old, then he will give also somewhat of his own for the comfort of the men of the Lake." Then Thorin seized a bow of horn and shot an arrow at the speaker. It smote into his shield and stuck there quivering.

'"Since such is your answer," he called in return, "I declare the Mountain besieged. You shall not depart from it, until you call on your side for a truce and a parley. We will bear no weapons against you, but we leave you to your gold. You may eat that, if you will!"


Questions:

How did they come up with one twelfth? Bard seems very firmly in charge, and is getting handsomely rewarded. Is that fair? After all, he was in the Laketown army. Other people shot at Smaug; he happened to hit. Why should he get all the credit and all the reward? A reward, sure, but all of the reward and then personally donate, if he so chooses, to Laketown? How does anyone know he is the heir of Girion? What does that even mean, so many generations later?

What is the Elvenking getting out of this? Why donft any of the elves have anything to say to the dwarves? Might a well-worded apology be in order?


Quote

With that the messengers departed swiftly, and the dwarves were left to consider their case. So grim had Thorin become, that even if they had wished, the others would not have dared to find fault with him; but indeed most of them seemed to share his mind -- except perhaps old fat Bombur and Fili and Kili. Bilbo, of course, disapproved of the whole turn of affairs. He had by now had more than enough of the Mountain, and being besieged inside it was not at all to his taste.

"The whole place still stinks of dragon," he grumbled to himself, "and it makes me sick. And cram is beginning simply to stick in my throat."


Questions:

What does dragon stink smell like? Do dragons poop, and if so, where?

Why are Bombur and Fili and Kili less happy with Thorin than the other dwarves? Why does not Bilbo say something? Was not he almost leading this party for a while? Couldn't he at least try?

Any other comments on any part of the chapter?

This is the last post for this chapter.



Subject User Time
**The Gathering of the Clouds** III Curious Send a private message to Curious Oct 20 2012, 5:03am
    Responses Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Oct 21 2012, 1:44pm
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Oct 21 2012, 1:48pm
        What's missing? SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 21 2012, 7:26pm
            But of course! sador Send a private message to sador Oct 22 2012, 9:53am
                Yes opening with a misquote is a weak gambit. SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 22 2012, 8:27pm
                    No sympathy? sador Send a private message to sador Oct 23 2012, 3:29pm
                        small quibble this morning Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Oct 23 2012, 3:45pm
                            But without people of Thorin's passion Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Oct 23 2012, 3:46pm
                        But surely Bard wasn't motivated by greed alone SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 23 2012, 4:16pm
                            I wonder how much of a difference it would have made Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Oct 23 2012, 7:20pm
                                Yes, true SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 23 2012, 9:19pm
                                    I've been wondering about Gandalf too FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Oct 24 2012, 9:48am
                            I expect so. sador Send a private message to sador Oct 24 2012, 10:21am
                                What is the balance? SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 24 2012, 1:38pm

 
 
 

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