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**A Thief in the Night** II - Bilbo's plan

titanium_hobbit
Rohan


Oct 23 2012, 1:09pm

Post #1 of 5 (610 views)
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**A Thief in the Night** II - Bilbo's plan Can't Post

After Bilbo hears Thorin swearing vengeance on any who withhold the Arkenstone:


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Bilbo heard these words and he grew afraid, wondering what would happen, if the stone was found – wrapped in an old bundle of tattered oddments that he used as a pillow. All the same he did not speak of it, for as the weariness of the days grew heavier, the beginnings of a plan had come into his little head.


Let's delve into alternative realities for a minute.
Would it have been possible for Bilbo to find a quiet corner to leave the gem, to simply be found by another?

Even so, would Bilbo have been able to simply abandon it, without being drawn back to get it? As he was drawn the first time?

If Thorin had found the Arkenstone, would it have put him in a better mood, a good enough mood to deal in a more friendly way with the men of the Lake?

Or is Thorin 'too far gone' by this point- nothing will stop him?
(try and imagine- though of course we know his reaction later on in the book.)

And back to The Hobbit.

I'm almost offended, on Bilbo's behalf, as Tolkien talks about his 'little head.'

Is this just a reference to Bilbo's hobbity size? Making him accessible to child readers? Disparaging his planning capabilities/intelligence? Something else?

Thorin is not moved by Roäc's advice, and declares that winter biting the men and elves might make them “in a softer mood to parley with.”


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That night Bilbo made up his mind. The sky was black and moonless. As soon as it was full dark [ … ] he drew from his bundle a rope, and the Arkenstone wrapped in a rag. Then he climbed to the top of the wall.



Are we meant to think that Thorin's rejection of Roäc's wise counsel is the catalyst for Bilbo's decision?

Is this so, or is it just the weariness of the siege, a moral feeling, or a desire to get rid of the risk of being found with the stone?

“Wrapped in a rag”- does this mean that Bilbo leaves behind the “tattered oddments”? Is the Arkenstone a comfortable pillow? (he does, after all, sleep well at the end of the chapter, perhaps it was not helping. :) )

Is the plan dependent on Bombur being on watch, the dark night, or is Bilbo simply lucky here? I get the impression that he is time pressed by the arrival of Dain's army, and just went for it.

Would the plan have worked if another dwarf was on duty?

Thanks for your responses so far! Tomorrow: Bilbo goes over the wall.


Hobbit firster, Book firster.


Have you explored all of TORN's forums?


Escapist
Gondor


Oct 23 2012, 3:40pm

Post #2 of 5 (256 views)
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I always wonder about the arkenstone. [In reply to] Can't Post

What if Smaug had been more humble and actually aware of his own weakness? He could have grabbed that Arkenstone and but it in his sensitive chink-in-the-armor or even covered up with hands or any piece of armor around the place (mithril no less ... ).

Would the elves and men have been able to make the same claims of needing reparations if the dragon had never burned the mannish town down and just made off with whatever treasure he could get his hands on?

So much depended on that dragon misbehaving foolishly in specific ways ... this whole chapter for example.


sador
Half-elven


Oct 24 2012, 4:01pm

Post #3 of 5 (333 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Would it have been possible for Bilbo to find a quiet corner to leave the gem, to simply be found by another?
He probably could have.

Even so, would Bilbo have been able to simply abandon it, without being drawn back to get it? As he was drawn the first time?
Ah, there's the rub. I doubt it - now that he longs to be with the Elves, and realises how difficult it would be to get home with any reward.


If Thorin had found the Arkenstone, would it have put him in a better mood, a good enough mood to deal in a more friendly way with the men of the Lake?
I suggested that before. Perhaps even by innocently "finding" the Arkenstone, Bilbo would be able to present it to him.
And possibly a part of Thorin's grimness is because he is still missing the one thing he really wants.

Or is Thorin 'too far gone' by this point- nothing will stop him?
(try and imagine- though of course we know his reaction later on in the book.)
Later he was betrayed, and moreover the Arkenstone was held up to extort him.
So I don't think his reaction later says much about your hypothetic scenario.
On the other hand, every passing day strengthens his resolve.

Is this just a reference to Bilbo's hobbity size?
Perhaps, but more in an endearing way.

Making him accessible to child readers?
That's my guees.

Disparaging his planning capabilities/intelligence?
Definitely not!

Something else?
It's po' li'l Bilbo, just like good ol' Frodo.


Are we meant to think that Thorin's rejection of Roäc's wise counsel is the catalyst for Bilbo's decision?
Roac does not offer any counsel; he comments negatively on Thorin's policy.

But yes - Thorin's decision to withstand a siege, and his strategy of counting on the disaffection of the besieging Elves and Men clearly frightens Bilbo.
It is not a bad strategy, I think - and despite Roac's arguments, it is a sound one. But Bilbo's gambit forces Thorin's hand - either to go for an attack, or to negotiate. As we will see in the next chapter, he vacilliates between the two.

Is this so, or is it just the weariness of the siege, a moral feeling, or a desire to get rid of the risk of being found with the stone?
Weariness - for sure. Fright of being found out - naturally. There is also the desire for the Elves' food and music.

And last but not least - this is his big chance to escape, and buy his freedom and a relatively safe way home, by trading upon Thorin's treasure. I'm sure he at least considered this scheme.

“Wrapped in a rag”- does this mean that Bilbo leaves behind the “tattered oddments”? Is the Arkenstone a comfortable pillow?
Ha!

Is the plan dependent on Bombur being on watch, the dark night, or is Bilbo simply lucky here?
He is! But I expect that with any other dwarf on guard, he might have used the Ring to sneak by the sentry.

Would the plan have worked if another dwarf was on duty?
Well, trying to sneak across is very frightening in a way - what if he makes a noise?



"Heart of the mountain...heart of Thorin...and now, Gandalf says "keep your heart up" . Anyone care to comment on the repeated use of that image?"
- weaver



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for A Thief in the Night!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 29 2012, 1:13am

Post #4 of 5 (295 views)
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Gives us a new meaning for the term "sleep on it"! [In reply to] Can't Post

How big is that stone, anyway? Not so big that it wouldn't fit in a hobbit's pocket, or mess up his sleep (except psychologically).

Bilbo was by now living in constant fear of being found out - and considering Thorin's ever-worsening mood, he knew he was past any point of possibly returning the Stone to him without repercussions. But that's a curious idea, what would have happened had Bilbo, when the dwarves first entered the cavern and came up to him, produced the Stone from his pocket with a "look what I found"! It was early enough in the game that Thorin would have been pleased with his burglar, and perhaps considered the terms of service for his "buglaring" fulfilled.

And it may well be that Thorin might have been in a better mood for bargaining, since his primary treasure was recovered!

What a thought: Bilbo's bit of burglaring drove Thorin insane, worse than gold-fever, making the hobbit responsible for the standoff!

Back to the present...a very good question, would Bilbo's guard-switching trick worked with any of the other dwarves! Only if there were any other who valued a good bit of sleep in a warmer area over staring his appointed guard. Meaning: none, as dwarves for the most part can put up with any uncomfortableness. So I think Bilbo's decision was based on three factors: Thorin's unyielding mood, Bombur's presence, and the hobbit's growing unease with his possession of the Arkenstone.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"






Escapist
Gondor


Oct 29 2012, 3:34am

Post #5 of 5 (485 views)
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Interesting idea [In reply to] Can't Post

Considering that Bilbo and Thorin did have a clear contract as far as Bilbo's share in the end - and no question really about whether or not Thorin would honor that contract - why didn't Bilbo turn it in right away, I wonder? Everything to that point had been very forth-coming!

 
 

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