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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Will Dáin be worthy of being called King? (***spoilers***, naturally)
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Grey Havens

Feb 18 2013, 7:21am

Post #1 of 68 (1443 views)
Will Dáin be worthy of being called King? (***spoilers***, naturally) Can't Post

I’ve been wondering whether we, the audience, will find Dáin sufficiently likeable by the end of Bo5A so that we don’t strenuously object to his being crowned King. (Anyone else bringing a pocketful of rotten tomatoes to TABA, just in case?) After all, he’s getting the prize that poor Thorin has worked so hard towards, for so long. Most of us are somewhere between sympathetic towards Thorin and completely in love with him. I realize that at some point we (along with Bilbo and probably a few of the other Dwarves too) are going to be wanting to give Thorin a very firm kick up his backside as he succumbs to the dragon-sickness, but he redeems himself in the end, and I think we'll forgive him just fine. It’s going to be hard accepting that he doesn’t live to fulfil the dream that has consumed him for so long, and that Dáin -- this character that we barely know – gets the ultimate prize instead.

But that problem – whether Dáin is or isn’t fit to be king in our eyes – might be the less interesting question. More interesting, perhaps, is whether Dáin will be worthy of being called king in the eyes of the surviving members of the Company. They obviously are familiar with him already, given that Dwalin asks about him in Bag End, and maybe he is someone they already know and respect. But will he be able to earn enough respect to be called their king? I wonder if Balin’s line in his narration of the Battle of Azanulbizar is actually a bit of foreshadowing (“There is one that I could call king”) – will Balin and the rest of the company be able to say the same thing of Dáin? Or will they too feel like Dáin is something of a usurper? How heroic does Dáin have to be, and can he achieve this in the Bo5A? Will the surviving members of the Company be able to follow Dáin with the same love and loyalty that they showed to Thorin, or is Thorin such a charismatic leader that they could never follow someone else with the same devotion? And will the loss of Thorin ultimately be what motivates Balin, Oín, and Ori to leave Erebor and seek Moria instead? I think this issue – whether the surviving members of the Company can and do accept Dáin as king (and if so, why) – is one that PJ needs to handle carefully, in part because he's set up so clearly how the Company feel about Thorin (i.e., he is their king not just because of birthright, but because he has earned the right to be king).

Curious to see your thoughts on this!


Feb 18 2013, 11:28am

Post #2 of 68 (840 views)
Did you accept it in the book? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you did then you will probably be alright, if not then you probably won't in the movie i would imagine.

For me as i know its going to happen and i quite like the little we are told of Dain i don't have a problem. I just hope his character in the movie is good and they don't try and over do it with him as they know he will become the king.

I think Dain was just as charismatic a leader and his feats from Azanulbizar would have gone a long way to helping this, but obviously in the movie they messed with that so might make it harder.

I also don't think it's Thorin being killed that motivates Balin to try and retake Moria. I think they went to try and reclaim Moria as they felt it could now be done - previously they didn't really think Erebor could be re-taken but it was - this is going off the books. For the film i have no idea as changes made in film 1 have repercussions further down the road for the ending of film 3.


Feb 18 2013, 1:21pm

Post #3 of 68 (780 views)
One way it could be handled [In reply to] Can't Post

is to show Dain as being a fair, just and worthy leader in comparison to Thorin's sickness. Maybe showing that Dain is more concerned about the safety and survival of his people than about the gold and treasures. That way both the audience and the remaining members of the company could almost feel relieved that Dain is King Under the Mountain, even though they will be heartbroken that Thorin is gone.

I'm thinking here about Balin's comment to Thorin in Bag End where he says that the life Thorin built for them in the Blue Mountains is worth more than any gold or treasure (can't remember the exact quote - I've only seen it 5 times!). Still, like you say, it might not be enough for Balin and those closest to Thorin. Even though they may support Dain as the King, they might have the same kind of feelings as Frodo when he returns to the Shire - that Erebor is saved, but not for them.

Grey Havens

Feb 18 2013, 1:53pm

Post #4 of 68 (780 views)
Doubt it will be a problem *spoilers* [In reply to] Can't Post

In the book I accepted this without difficulties. I did somewhat resent that this new character wound up King under the Mountain, but at the same time recognized that Erebor is not the United States. Their Kings are hereditary, not elected, and Dain was apparently next in line. Wink

So my guess is that I will again be accepting of this, if not delighted by it. Possibly the fact that I care a great deal more for movie Thorin will make it worse. On the other hand, it seems equally possible that filmmakers who managed to make Thorin so compelling, may cause me to like Dain a good deal more than I expect...

Touching on a related point: In other threads people have suggested Tokien cavalierly killed them off to give the throne to Dain. This could also have an impact on how Dain's becoming King is perceived by us. Does anyone know whether Fili and Kili would have been considered "in line"?

I ask because in some human societies with hereditary monarchies, they would not be eligible because they are related through the female line (sons of Thorin's sister Dis). While we have the example of Rohan (Eomer is Theoden's sister's son), that is a different group of people, and also seems to have been a case where there was no other closely related person available to inherit from Theoden, whereas Dain is descended through the male line from Thror's younger brother and is known to the Dwarves of Erebor.


Feb 18 2013, 2:31pm

Post #5 of 68 (769 views)
Anything is better than Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

Book Thorin, that is. Book Thorin is a jerk. I'm not sure that Movie Thorin cares about being King that much. Technically he's still the King right now. All he cares about is reclaiming the mountain for his people.

The fact that Dain gets the title is irrelevant; Thorin succeeds and we should be happy for him. Sad that it took the lives of Fili and Kili to make it happen, though. They never should have been in that battle, they were too young.

Tol Eressea

Feb 18 2013, 3:05pm

Post #6 of 68 (728 views)
This will be what makes it work [In reply to] Can't Post

As you said, when Dain becomes king and displays the "fairness" juxtaposed to Thorin's dragon sickeness. Thorin comes to his senses on his deathbed in that scene with Bilbo but too late to fix the rest, although he makes it right with Bilbo. Dain really will do that in the movie, recognizing that both Bard and Thranduil played an important part and giving back to them some of what is theirs. I think that and the honoring of Thorin in the funeral scene where they entomb him in Erebor (OMG I can just see that scene now and it brings tears to my eyes). That is going to be terrific. I think Dain will really shine in that scene.


Feb 18 2013, 3:32pm

Post #7 of 68 (706 views)
King Dain [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally, as long as they show Dain properly grieving for Thorin's and Fili's and Kili's deaths, I don't mind that he becomes king. Bonus points for Dain if there is a hint of surprise from him as if he has not thought of the subject before when they bow to the new king.

I think it's a matter of necessity -- no one wants Thorin and his heirs to die, but when that happens, the crown has to go the next-in-line dwarf, who fortunately is at least a worthy dwarf.

Extra bonus points for Dain if he acknowledges the fact and says something along the line of "it should have been yours" at Thorin's grave.

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 18 2013, 4:06pm

Post #8 of 68 (690 views)
It's hard to say at this point [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly as far as the book characters go, I didn't care that 1) Thorin died and 2) that Dain became King, mostly because these characters just aren't fleshed out enough to care about them. The movie Thorin, however, is another matter entirely. I'm admittedly one of those who adore him, so yeah, I'll be heartbroken when I see what I know will happen to him on the screen. As for Dain, so far he's not even a character, except for the brief mention that he didn't support the dwarves' quest, which didn't endear him to me.

PJ knows how to make book characters come to life, and I don't doubt he will make Dain at least likeable, if not more so. And I think he will be King mostly because that's the way the succession line goes more than the garnering of respect and admiration as was afforded Thorin. I can't imagine, and would certainly hope it never happens, that we will so come to hate Thorin that we don't care that he doesn't get rewarded with what he deserves after all his efforts. I know, from my own personal skewed point of view, that Dain has a very high bar to top on this one.

I might add that I for one never thought that what Bilbo did with the Arkenstone was necessarily the right thing to do. I don't believe the townfolk were entitled to the dwarves' gold simply because Smaug destroyed their town. They were content enough with the dwarves' presence before the dragon came, it seems, unless I'm not remembering things right. And Thranduil....there's another one I never cared for. I guess I'm just seeing things from the wrong side of the river. But that's my take on it.

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 18 2013, 5:00pm

Post #9 of 68 (661 views)
A clarification [In reply to] Can't Post

(and a digression) Of course I do think that the townsfolk and Thranduil should have been awarded something for their part in the war, but coming to demand this with an armed force to me isn't the way to go about it.

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


Feb 18 2013, 5:42pm

Post #10 of 68 (657 views)
It depends on how this is handled in the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

Right now, I do not like Dain at all.

I did not like him much in the book. Even though book!Thorin is a bit of a jerk, I still wanted him to become King under the Mountain because he was the one who did go to the trouble of trying to reclaim Erebor, even if it all went wrong in the end. Dain just marched in there, and suddenly he was king. But his character is a bit of an unknown, so there might be a bit of a loophole in there for me. And ultimately, I did not care about book!Thorin as much as I care about movie!Thorin, and Fili and Kili were barely even there in the book.

In the movie, I like him even less. I like Thorin, and I like Fili and Kili (and having either on the throne in the end would be far more palatable to me than Dain), and the way movie!Thorin states that the Dwarves of the Iron Hills will not come says a lot to me. So far, it seems to me that Dain can't be bothered to help, yet in the end he reaps the rewards. But we haven't seen him at all in the movie, so I cannot really say yet whether I will be ok with him bein king in the end or not. He has to convince me, and he'll have to work hard for it Wink The whole thing hinges on how the character turns out when we do get to see him. Will he explain why he did not help movie!Thorin - if so, are his reasons good? Is he going to acknowledge that he, by rights, should not be king of Erebor or will he just take it as his right? There are a lot of question marks, at the moment.

Personally, I doubt that I'll be ok with Dain in the end. I like movie!Thorin far too much. But I'll give Dain a chance.

Tol Eressea

Feb 18 2013, 6:21pm

Post #11 of 68 (664 views)
Why PJ has done the dirty on Dain in AUJ is a bit of a mystery... [In reply to] Can't Post

He has basically stolen Dain's own thunder to build up Thorin's hero status:

According to canon, it was Dáin's father, Náin, who was also killed by Azog during the Battle of Nanduhirion before the gates of Moria, Unlike Thorin, Dáin actually did avenge his father, slaying Azog in single combat. He was a very young Dwarf at the time (only 32, while Dwarves reach maturity, or "battle-readiness" at the age of 30), and this was heralded as a magnificent feat. Dáin alone looked past the gate into Moria, and knew that it was impossible for the Dwarves to return at that time, and dissuaded Thrain II from attempting to occupy Moria. In the Bo5A, of course, he answered Thorin's call for aid and eventually died during the War of the Ring, defending the fallen body of his ally King Brand of Dale.

What's not to like about this Dwarf as Tolkien wrote him????

But in the PJ-verse Thorin has to have all the sympathy, and Dain is in danger of attracting the haters through misrepresentation! Bad enough that he wasn't introduced in the Moria flashback, but he's also been dissed further through PJ writing in the refusal to join the Erebor quest.

If Dain is to win the uninitiated audience over in TABA he's got his work cut out, no thanks to the scriptwriters... Unsure

"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
¯ Victoria Monfort


Feb 18 2013, 7:57pm

Post #12 of 68 (620 views)
Yes, I'm wondering why [In reply to] Can't Post

the scriptwriters emphasised that it was the dwarves of the Iron Hills who refused to answer Thorin's call. Dain has let down Thorin, one could say, even more than Thranduil in his hour of need. Both Thranduil and Dain seem unprepared to take on the dragon and, therefore, don't "deserve" any reward. Is there a good reason that PJ is playing it this way and will we be pleased at the complexities of the plot as the story unfolds?

On the other hand, both Thranduil & Dain are bound to acquit themselves well at the Bot5A and the funeral will make people feel positively about these two as Thranduil lays Orcrist and Dain lays the Arkenstone on Thorin's breast/tomb.


Feb 18 2013, 9:27pm

Post #13 of 68 (579 views)
Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

Between refusing to support Thorin & Company (and his apparent absence during the movie's Battle of Azanulbizar?), it's seems they're setting up Dáin to be a bit of a jerk. Perhaps he will have a redemption arc of sorts as well, where he gradually becomes more likable over the course of the story and "earns" his kingship?

Which brings me back to the original topic. I'm becoming more and more certain that it will be Dáin who slays Azog in the end. Not only will this be more accurate to the book, but it will make him appear more worthy in the eyes of the audience. Otherwise, I think they'd cut out the whole bit about Dáin becoming king altogether which I doubt!

Want to chat? AIM me at Yami Liokaiser!


Feb 18 2013, 9:51pm

Post #14 of 68 (579 views)
I'm not sure it even matters [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo is the perspective on the story, and while he might care that someone takes over and puts things right, we're not going to get any time to make much judgement about movie Dain.

If they do 'news after the events' somehow, where Gandalf comes to tell him (a year later or whenever) that things are going well, that would suffice. The book makes it clear enough that Dain did a good job when Balin informs Bilbo in his book visit.

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 18 2013, 10:18pm

Post #15 of 68 (559 views)
I really hope it will be Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

who does in Azog. I don't care if it's not true to the book. I just want to see Thorin finally be the one to avenge his father and grandfather. Dain will just have to shine some other way.

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


Feb 19 2013, 1:21am

Post #16 of 68 (512 views)
I've always felt that Bard and his people had a very good claim [In reply to] Can't Post

on part of the treasure because:

a) The dragon's hoard contained spoils from the town of Dale that had been gathered by Smaug.

b) Laketown was just destroyed by the dragon after the dwarves riled him up.

c) The people of Laketown gave the dwarves aid in their quest to regain Erebor.

d) Bard is the one who actually killed the dragon.

And you don't really expect them to wander around the wilderness unarmed do you? They didn't know what they would find at the Lonely Mountain. But it would have been foolish to approach without precautions.

Now, I'm not so convinced about the validity of the elves' claims. They seem a bit opportunistic.


Feb 19 2013, 3:11am

Post #17 of 68 (512 views)
An uphill climb for us...and the Company [In reply to] Can't Post

With the creation of such a magnetic and complex charactar as film Thorin PJ and Co. have racked a tremendous amount of emotional debt for the audience with his loss.

So the issue of Dain's right to the Mountain becomes less of a factor to us I think than if, in some way, we can feel good about the outcome. One possibility is that, in Hamlet fashion, Thorin's version of the DS will be so intense and harmful that only a heroic death will suffice to provide the charactar's moral redemption. I love Thorin and this will be exquisitely painful to watch, but would make Dain's sucession more palatable and necessary perhaps. I have called Dain "the Fortinbras of ME" but it's I realize it is not an exact parallel as Dain did not actively work towards any usurption and is merely an inheritor. I do not know for sure how the writers will work this out.

We have an amazing cast at hand to play it out, but can I foresee an ending that will leave me feeling anything but loss? I just don't know if I can see it. I use the Shakespearean reference because it feels familiar: having swept away an entire branch from the Tree of Durin it 's like a 'last man standing' scenario so often used by the Bard. But, does it confer the same symbolism as used (ie: last man standing is the moral victor?) No, I don't think so. Instead I think it's Tolkien's theme of the sacrifical hero; tied with his seemingly inverse idea of death as freedom from Arda and the ultimate gift to mortals.

The bitterness of our mortality having sweetness we cannot see. Thorin's ultimate reward. The question is how do you make this feel right? Let me say I have absolutely no idea right now. Like Maximus after death finding his wife and son in the field, do we see Thorin's benign spirit watching over the Mountain through the Arkenstone? Do we get a glimpse of Throin's Paradise? NO idea. Or if it will ever be enough.

Did I care in the book, as Imin asks? Yes, but not overwhelmingly; from the Dwarf side it always felt like a bit of a sour ending, especially for the boys (....lost with only a passing phrase to mark their graves) but because these film charactars are so much more complex and real it matters a lot more to me now. Evidenced by my last read of the ending on Friday being very different than my reading of it on December the tenth.

I posted in the Balin thread that I think his grief will be terrible, the loss of a lifetime. Dain may well be the legal, moral and ethical King Under the Mountain, but I do believe that Balin's great heart will simply be broken. Erebor will not have been saved for him. Moria becomes not so much a quest as a refuge from bittersweet memory. For Balin, I think of Frodo's line in ROTK "How do you pick up the threads of an old life?...there is no going back." How could Balin walk the halls under the Mountain, see anyone but Thorin in Thror's seat, walk along the terrace where Thorin pulled him to safety...and though we haven't seen it, where Balin might have walked and laughed with the little Prince? Too many ghosts. So indeed, with others of like mind (like Oin and Ori, perhaps others, which I hope means that we will see more of their emotional journey) I think he must depart, not needing to feel any ill-will towards Dain to make him leave (though not ruling that out) but not being able to face him as King. Balin is aleady beloved to so many of us, and watching his pain and his story unfold will be another mirror of grief. Another hero, so true to the Tolkien tradition, denied the ultimate victory, and who receives the ultimate gift of mortals to ease his pain - death.

I'm not sure where the other Company members will go. If Dwalin survives Thorin his grief will be savage.

It's been on my mind since I first saw AUJ and I''ve posted a lot of fragmented comments about this idea in different spots and I'm glad
(TY Ro!) Smile
to have one place to consolidate it all.

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

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 19 2013, 3:17am)

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 19 2013, 3:44am

Post #18 of 68 (481 views)
Shakespearean finale [In reply to] Can't Post

Lovely post, Brethil. Thank you. It's interesting that you bring up Shakespeare, as RA has said that, having had classical theater experience with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he drew a lot of his Thorin from his theatrical background: his voice, his persona, his character's tragic arc. I suspect parts of TABA in the end could be very devastating in a very Shakespearean way, without a HEA that is so cut and dried as so many tales are these days.

I love what you say about Balin, and I am with you all the way. And Dwalin, as Thorin's right-hand man...I can only imagine how great his grief will be.

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


Feb 19 2013, 4:03am

Post #19 of 68 (472 views)
Nice post [In reply to] Can't Post

and good avatar choice, very fitting - unlike mine - elf name, dwarf picture - thorin no less!

It's interesting you say your readings of the hobbit have changed since watching the movie. Can you tell me/us how they have as i think that's really interesting. Did you dislike people before but now like them, or care more for certain ones, wish Tolkien had re-written the hobbit so as to expand it for greater characterisation? etc. Also at what age did you read the hobbit and was it the first Middle-earth book you read?

As for Balin - i think that is how they will go about it in the movie - will be interesting to see if we get to see any of the reclaiming Moria or just leave it be as we eventually see him kinda in lotr.

Tol Eressea

Feb 19 2013, 4:32am

Post #20 of 68 (462 views)
I think you summed it up... [In reply to] Can't Post


Go outside and play...

Tol Eressea

Feb 19 2013, 5:34am

Post #21 of 68 (463 views)
Yes the end is going to be devastating [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think many people fully realize how deep and enriched PJ has made Thorin as a character. That final scene with Bilbo (and especially given Freeman's ability to convey grief and loss very well) is going to be absolutely killer. They better pass out tissues before the film because it's going to be needed. The loss of Thorin in the book although irritating for some of us and a shame, was not the devastating loss this film is going to be.

I did see RA interviewed where he said he portrayed a physical manifestation of the dragon sickness and that if PJ used it it would be overwhelming. Maybe we need to see that to understand that like most tragic heroes, he can only find redemption and release in death. Either way it's going to be a barnburner of a scene. The scene with him and Bilbo and the funeral scene. I don't know if I can take it.

In light of that I sort of agree about Balin. Balin is very tied to Thorin and his King Under the Mountain. I think it will be tough for the Dain character to break that bond, even in death.

Dain will provide though an integral part to the story in his offering of peace and restoration of at least some working relationship between the groups. For Balin though I think it's going to be a bridge too far.


Feb 19 2013, 7:05am

Post #22 of 68 (452 views)
Dain has to become king,no matter what. [In reply to] Can't Post

If he isn't declared king, then that is just an unforgiveable change imo.Wink

We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.


Feb 19 2013, 8:41am

Post #23 of 68 (463 views)
Personally... [In reply to] Can't Post

I expect to be more devastated by Kili and Fili's deaths. Thorin at least will in some measure "deserve" his death, as a way for redemption. It will be tragic but understandable.

I can't see that Kili and Fili's deaths will be much more than a waste, though in the most meaningful and noble sense of the word, hopefully by dying to protect their uncle.

They are young and their whole lives should be ahead of them, we'll likely have seen them learn and grow and become wiser thanks to this quest. I know Aidan Turner has sort of hinted about Kili's learning curve, partly in thanks to Bilbo, in a couple of interviews.

We'll possibly see clear hints of the great dwarves they could have become in the future and it will be utterly cut off before they even really getting started. I mean they are essentially just out of their teens, they are very young.

And I actually think that is what will make Dain's ascension to the throne possibly more difficult to take, because he should only be 3rd in line, after Fili and Kili. The entire line direct line is wiped out.

(This post was edited by marillaraina on Feb 19 2013, 8:44am)


Feb 19 2013, 9:19am

Post #24 of 68 (441 views)
I agree! (*spoilers* of course) [In reply to] Can't Post

As much as I like (okay, love...) Thorin, I can see that his death might be necessary as a way for him to redeem himself. But Fili and Kili? Now that's just cruel and senseless. Why could not one of them end up being king?

I suppose it's a noble death for them, defending their uncle (even though in the book it's just one teeny tiny line, really), but I just don't get why it had to happen at all. Even in the book, why could they not simply distinguish themselves by trying to defend their uncle to the last, even being wounded, but not dying. Either of them ascending to the throne would have had greater emotional impact than Dain basically jumping up out of nowhere and being proclaimed king. Besides, he already is King of the Iron Hills, isn't he? Does he just abondon that and move everyone over to Erebor? Fili and Kili's death and the resulting question of Dwarven succession is the only thing I don't like about the book...

And regarding the movie, I don't even want to think about the two pups dying. Frown I'll be over here, in my corner, in total denial (at least until I see the movie).


Feb 19 2013, 10:06am

Post #25 of 68 (433 views)
Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

Even in the book it seemed incredibly random, I almost was like "Geez, JRR, what did you have against Kili and Fili?" To an extent it almost seems spiteful(not that I literally think Tolkien was spiteful about it of course:)). Dain is already king of someplace, why does he need Erebor too?

I mean it isn't like Tolkien didn't specifically mention that Kili and Fili didn't agree with how Thorin was behaving so even Tolkien suggested they were not "guilty" in this matter, even by association. They were his kin and wouldn't abandon him but they were not blindly following him and agreeing with him and they themselves would have been likely to share the wealth in the exact same way that Dain did, had one of them been allowed to attain the throne.

I mean in a sense Thorin's death is even more tragic because of Kili and Fili's and even Kili and Fili in their own right(they are perhaps more memorable for their death's than they would have been had they lived and taken over leadership) but just on the pure issue of why and succession, it's not all that satisfying an outcome IMO because Dain just swoops in and gets all the reward and a second kingdom to add to his first.

Seriously all because he managed to kill someone at the Battle of Azanulbizar 100 or so years earlier and finally decided to get off his butt to do something for his kin at the last minute this time around, in time to be sure of getting some gold out of it?

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