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Middle-Earth Wisdom
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Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 12 2013, 2:41am

Post #1 of 27 (659 views)
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Middle-Earth Wisdom Can't Post

My Hobbit and I were listening to a news article about violence in video games on the way home from school today. His concluding remark on the subject really caught my attention.

He said, "Gandalf says true courage is not taking a life but knowing when to spare a life."

So my heart warmed a bit, and it got me wondering, so I'm asking my fellow TORnFolk:

What bits of wisdom from Middle Earth have you come across in your daily lives? How has Tolkien's world (in the books or through others' interpretations) influenced you?


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Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 12 2013, 3:55am

Post #2 of 27 (420 views)
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Table manners. [In reply to] Can't Post

Good on your little Hobbit for remembering that line.

We're working hard on table manners in our boys, ages 5 and 6. The younger one, determined to show up his very messy older brother, has been very proudly displaying his "Thorin Oakenshield manners" at the table, while commenting that his older brother has manners more like the other dwarves. Any time they start being messy again I just say, "Show me your Thorin Oakenshield manners!" Not only does it work, but I also get to think about Thorin's hair for a while. Smile

Whenever things seem a bit grim, I always remember the following: "For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the shadow was but a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach." My very favorite line in all of Tolkien's works.

In a broader sense, Tolkien's works led to PJ's LOTR trilogy, which led me to TORn, which led me through a whole series of Unexpected (and fantastic) Adventures including a whole heap of new friends, my first trip to the UK, marriage and a new country.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 4:11am

Post #3 of 27 (402 views)
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Aren't our Hobbits the best? [In reply to] Can't Post

When my now 6 (omg!) foot Hobbit was still of single digits we watched the trilogy together for the first time. When Frodo is failing on Mount Doom he sat forward in his chair and was actually crying - "Frodo! No! You can't give up." And for years that was something he would say: Like Frodo, I can't give up. Seeing how much it touched him and how much he "got" it (which NO ONE else I'm related to in any way does) made me so proud and happy, and a bit teary myself. I felt then and still feel so lucky to have a soulful child who I can share this magic with. Because let's be honest when birthtin' babies you never know who you are going to get!
The story happily continues with him seeing Hobbit 5 of my ten views with me.Smile
But hes no longer a Hobbit. He prefers to call himself The Tallest Dwarf Prince Ever.

We are blessed!

Thanks Arandiel! What a wonderful idea!

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 12 2013, 4:12am)


The White Wizard
The Shire


Feb 12 2013, 12:12pm

Post #4 of 27 (389 views)
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Bit of Wisdom [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing that is shown throughout LOTR and The Hobbit is that the littlest of people can influence the world. Maybe not to that extent, but even little things like just being nice to someone can change their day for the better. Also when Gandalf says that it is the little things, small acts of kindness, that keep the darkness a bay, that is a very true statement. If everyone just was nice and did their own part the world would be a much better place.

True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one.


Ereinion Nénharma
Lorien

Feb 12 2013, 2:44pm

Post #5 of 27 (365 views)
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Yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

you are absolutely right. But sadly, even the real world has its ''orcses''...Wink

''Do not fear the shadows, for seeing them means light is near...''

(This post was edited by Ereinion Nénharma on Feb 12 2013, 2:45pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 3:11pm

Post #6 of 27 (382 views)
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An exchange between Aragorn and Legolas [In reply to] Can't Post

From the movie:

LEGOLAS: We have trusted you this far and you have not led us astray. Forgive me. I was wrong to despair.

ARGORN: There is nothing to forgive, Legolas.

Oh just so much wisdom here. Despair (loss of hope, not just feeling sad or worried) is related to fear, and fear lack of faith. Especially for an Elf prince I would think, the expression of despair is the same as saying "I do not trust you." That's harsh. How much better to say, "Things look grim, yet do I have faith in you."

There's the apology, more precisely asking forgiveness for the transgressions of causing offence (which he had earlier) and faithlessness.

Not just because it was seen as a momentary lapse -- things were too dire just then for such outbursts -- but because when forgiveness (mercy) is asked of a King or a Knight, but even of God (of anyone really) it should be given, and freely.

(But for a little waiting, Legolas' faith is rewarded with the arrival of reinforcements.)

Besides it wouldn't do to have friends angry with each other on the edge of battle, regardless of their chances for survival.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Feb 12 2013, 3:20pm)


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 12 2013, 4:35pm

Post #7 of 27 (350 views)
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My Favorite Quote As Well [In reply to] Can't Post

   
Whenever things seem a bit grim, I always remember the following: "For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the shadow was but a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach." My very favorite line in all of Tolkien's works.

Because as we know Sauron was just an emissary of the greatest evil and in the end the Valar will defeat him. Hope in the sense Tolkien understood it from his faith is not a wish -- it is a concrete certainty.


Lindele
Gondor


Feb 12 2013, 9:17pm

Post #8 of 27 (338 views)
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If you are hoping [In reply to] Can't Post

to be invited to stay at someone's house, and you are with a large company, don't send them all at once! You have to soften the blow!


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Feb 12 2013, 10:20pm

Post #9 of 27 (309 views)
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That's my very favorite line too <3 // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 13 2013, 12:02am

Post #10 of 27 (310 views)
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Beautiful quote [In reply to] Can't Post

so much meaning presented so simply.

And I love the 'Thorin Oakenshield table manners'!


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Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 13 2013, 12:09am

Post #11 of 27 (308 views)
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Definitely! [In reply to] Can't Post

One of my favorite moments in TH:AUJ is Gandalf's response to Galadriel's question, 'Why the Halfling?' Her really sums up that idea of the small, seemingly insignificant, and day-to-day making all the difference:

'Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I've found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay - small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.'


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Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 13 2013, 12:09am

Post #12 of 27 (305 views)
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For sure!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


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squire
Valinor


Feb 13 2013, 1:30am

Post #13 of 27 (318 views)
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A nice sentiment [In reply to] Can't Post

I hate to question it on its own terms - as you point out, it shows an admirable ability on Legolas' part to admit a mistake, and on Aragorn's part to forgive a friend's loss of faith in his leadership.

But is it Tolkien? I know the original question asked for inspirational sentiment from Tolkien -- or "those who have interpreted him" in order to include the movie scripts. But the scripts are notorious for adding inspirational sentiments that derive from a more contemporary culture than Tolkien was interested in exploring. In this case, I can't recall any character that Tolkien wrote who actually "despaired" of the leadership of figures like Gandalf and Aragorn. At most some followers confess to having some doubts.

But the key point in Tolkien, I think, is that even when the followers feel doubt, they continue on in their duties as best they can. They cannot see where their leaders are taking them, but they do not despair nevertheless, because duty and honor holds them to their course no matter how hopeless-seeming things are. True despair, such as that shown by Denethor, is unforgiveable and unforgiven. It's pointless to argue whether the film should have or could have been truer to Tolkien in matters like this, but I for one feel that Tolkien's Legolas and Aragorn could never have exchanged those words.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Feb 13 2013, 2:02am

Post #14 of 27 (302 views)
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Tolkien has influenced me so much [In reply to] Can't Post

So much so, that it would probably take an essay for me to explain. One of the things I learned was the task that Frodo has to go through. It's daunting, and very difficult. When I have to do something that is daunting, I think of Frodo and what he had to do. One has to keep going.
I also like the part about even the smallest person can change the course of the future. A person can make a difference if they just try.


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 13 2013, 2:53am

Post #15 of 27 (297 views)
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But maybe someone needed to? [In reply to] Can't Post

I get the sense that many people these days have different notions of duty and despair than prevailed, certainly, when Tolkien was young, and for the most part into his later years. The watershed era of civil disobedience and questioning of authority, particularly in the late 1960s and early '70s, changed cultural norms. We have moved from 'duty to King/country/leader' to 'duty to conscience'; and from despair as moral failing (as both you and SirDennis point out) to despair as emotional response. Rightly or wrongly, that scene of reconciliation between movie-Aragorn and movie-Legolas may operate as a kind of bridge between the modern audience and the norms that prevailed (or were at least aspired to) in Tolkien's day and, most definitely, in Tolkien's books.


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silneldor
Half-elven


Feb 13 2013, 4:19am

Post #16 of 27 (307 views)
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I made a list of 9 Arandiel, [In reply to] Can't Post

a good number, 9:)

1- The one that must come 1st for me, the most important, is the sense of fellowship. To me fellowship involves sharing, of thoughts and feelings through trust. And caring, thought the bad and the good. It is sharing laughter from giggles to belly laughs. It is the time given to us, and our house. (The example here is the fellowship of the nine, but we cannot forget you Bill)

2- Being truthful. (Boromir and Faramir)

3- The celebration of beauty, being a blessing to the heart and soul. (Tolkien and Legolas and Sam's star)

4-Humility and courage (Bilbo & Sam)

5- Love of home and country (Frodo)

6- Finding humor or levity even under grim circumstance(Gimli)

7- The many times love is mentioned though out the lotr's, must mean something important aye.

8- Embracing the depth of mystery with heart (Tom Bombadil)

9- It is all right to act like a bawdy dwarf once in a while, as long as ones heart is in the right place ('Blunt the Knives').

Arandiel, that was a wonderful thought for a post. Thank you.















Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 13 2013, 5:15pm

Post #17 of 27 (272 views)
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A beautiful list [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, sil; you've just summed up so much of what really speaks to me in Tolkien's work and that I love to see reinforced in the movies.


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CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 13 2013, 8:19pm

Post #18 of 27 (281 views)
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Seven inspirations for me [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Courage and devotion to friends: Frodo thought he could have escaped the Barrow-wight, and no one would find fault with him, but decided to stay for his friends' sake. Also, Sam's steadfast loyalty to Frodo throughout, way above and beyond what his servant job called for. And again, Sam's ridiculous attack on Shelob, when any sane person would have expected to be killed, but he did it anyway for the right reasons (and won). Eowyn's devotion to Theoden in confronting the Nazgul is in the same vein as Sam/Shelob. I think of those things a lot when I'm discouraged and feel outmatched in life situations.

2. Forgiveness: Gandalf's famous line about Pity to Frodo, and Frodo later showing it to Gollum.

3. Overcoming distrust of other races & countries: that's all over the place in Tolkien.

4. Doing the right thing when the law is wrong: Eomer when he meets Aragorn, Faramir meeting Frodo, Pippin rescuing Faramir.

5. Staying grounded: the hobbits manage to do this instead of having inflated egos.

6. The importance of learning: the Wise do more good than anyone else, and the wiser hobbits (Merry and Frodo) ensure success more than the less-wise do.

7. The resolve of natural forces in life. I think of the flowers growing as a crown for the king's head at the crossroads in Ithilien, and the rooster in Minas Tirith crowing to welcome the dawn while being unaware of war or politics. When it seems that malice has the upper hand, you realize it's nothing in comparison to what's really going on. Ditto Sam seeing the star that others mention.


dreamflower
Lorien

Feb 13 2013, 10:05pm

Post #19 of 27 (332 views)
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The wisdom of Tolkien's words... [In reply to] Can't Post

This was an excellent question:

1. Mercy: From TH: "He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sword. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him or tried to yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost. A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo's heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped.

No great leap for a man, but a leap in the dark. Straight over Gollum's head he jumped, seven feet forward and three in the air: indeed had he known it, he only just missed cracking his skull on the low arch of the passage..."


From LotR: "Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends."

2. Generosity: No particular quote comes to mind, but the characters display it often. Bilbo gives away the Arkenstone to make peace, and gives away most of his treasure as well. Elrond is known for his kind hospitality. Eomer generously lends horses to strangers in his land; Faramir gives succour and supplies to Frodo and Sam in spite of danger to himself. Merry even gives some of his pipeweed to Saruman who doesn't deserve it in the least, and to bring things full circle, Bilbo gives away the last of his treasure to Sam…there are countless other examples but those always come to my mind first.

3. Friendship and Loyalty: From LotR: " 'It all depends on what you want,' put in Merry. 'You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway; there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid—but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.' "
(This quote is the one that made me lose my heart to hobbits 45 years ago; friendship like that is rare and precious, and most earnestly to be desired. Up until that point, I had been enjoying a nice story. From that point on, it became personal.)

4. Courage: Again, too many for only one example to stick out, though the first one that comes to my mind is Frodo in the Barrow, and the second is Merry facing the W-k. Bilbo deciding to go back after the Dwarves after he escapes the Goblin caverns also comes to mind—he did not know at that point that they had already escaped, or that they were discussing leaving him behind at that very moment…

5. The Value of Simple Things: From TH: "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
From LotR: "And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and put little Elanor upon his lap.
He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said."

6. The Beauty of Sorrow and Joy: From LotR: "The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
And also: "And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."
(That second quote always and inevitably brings both a tear to my eye, and a smile to my lips.)

7. Sacrifice: From LotR: "It must often be so, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them."
(And this is the quotation I most often think of when I hear of the sacrifices made by our guardians in the military or in law-enforcement.)

There are many other lessons I've learned from Tolkien's words, but these stand out for me above all others.


(This post was edited by dreamflower on Feb 13 2013, 10:06pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 14 2013, 2:10am

Post #20 of 27 (268 views)
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Generosity to the undeserving [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point about Merry and Saruman. I was 11-12 years old on my first read, and I didn't understand Merry at all. It was one thing to forgive Saruman at that point, but to be friendly to him??? Though later on in life, I certainly appreciate his nobility.

Equally, I didn't understand Frodo forgiving Saruman at the doorstep to Bag End, when Saruman had done so much more harm. I was of the same mind of the hobbits who wanted to kill him, and this was a disappointing part of the book to me. But Frodo was admirable in just about every way, so I couldn't fault him for it. It left a good dilemma in my young mind for me to work out in later years. Now I read that part and am genuinely inspired.


ryouko
Lorien

Feb 14 2013, 2:24am

Post #21 of 27 (252 views)
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Not really a "daily" thing [In reply to] Can't Post

but this is my favorite.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.

Yeah, I know, it almost seems overused, but it's still my favorite.


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 14 2013, 5:07am

Post #22 of 27 (251 views)
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#3: "From that point on, it became personal" [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you've summed up the draw of Tolkien's world for many of us - some aspect of it is so deeply personal, it draws us into the story. Different aspects for different people, but they become points of connection with others who've come to love Middle Earth, and our lives are richer for it.


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Arandiel
Grey Havens

Feb 14 2013, 5:11am

Post #23 of 27 (245 views)
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Not 'overused' [In reply to] Can't Post

I think of it more as a touchstone, something that resonates with many people. It's also a reminder that something can be popular and still be meaningful.


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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 14 2013, 6:09pm

Post #24 of 27 (271 views)
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What a wonderful little hobbit you have! Wow... [In reply to] Can't Post

There are so many wisdoms I've gleaned from Tolkien that I know I can't list them all. Some are:

"'Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?'" [Bombadil]
...This crosses my mind so often. Especially when I'm a bit down or overwhelmed. I stop, take a breath, and think of this phrase. Am I fighting against myself, or trying to push for something I really shouldn't be? It helps me to keep things simple, or to realize I'm off track.

"'Talking won't mend nothing.'" [Sam in Mordor with Frodo]
...There are times when I've talked something to death. Worried it, tried to influence it, driven myself crazy trying to sort it out. Sometimes, no is the right answer.

" ...Frodo stood near the open door and watched the white chalky path turn into a little river of milk and go bubbling away down into the valley. Tom Bombadil came trotting round the corner of the house waving his arms as if he was warding off the rain—and indeed when he sprang over the threshold he seemed quite dry, except for his boots..."
... I just love this. It makes me think that anything is possible.

"'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us..."
... This is obvious. Not only to use your time wisely and in the best way you can... but also not to be selfish with it.

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." [Thorin to Bilbo]
... This goes hand-in-hand with the "time that is given to you" thoughts, imho. Extend yourself to those around you and help when they need you, but to also cherish the simple things in life.

There are many more... but I'm out of time.

Wonderful post, Arandiel... and give your little princeling a hug for me :)



Second draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - updated list coming soon



sample

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 14 2013, 10:05pm

Post #25 of 27 (219 views)
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Love those, gramma. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." [Thorin to Bilbo]
... This goes hand-in-hand with the "time that is given to you" thoughts, imho. Extend yourself to those around you and help when they need you, but to also cherish the simple things in life.

And oh, I sure hope we get to hear Thorin say those words to Bilbo, as written. Could be the best bit of the whole trilogy...though likely the saddest scene too.

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