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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Who gets the Arkenstone?
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stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 1:54pm

Post #1 of 43 (869 views)
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Who gets the Arkenstone? Can't Post

The entire Company signed a contract to split the treasure 14 ways. Nowhere in the contract does it state that the Arkenstone is not considered treasure, nor does it state that Thorin has dibs on it.

If the Arkenstone is worth less than 1/14 of the total profits:

Bilbo was legally within his rights to take the Arkenstone. It was shady because he knew that that's what Thorin wanted to claim, but it was never stated as such in the contract. If Thorin wanted it so much, he should have put it in the contract.

Not that the contract says that Bilbo is supposed to be giving "cash", but he is never given dwarven currency Clearly cash represents treasure per the chain of events.

If the Arkenstone is worth more than 1/14 of the total profits:

Bilbo can not take it because it is more than he was allowed to take. But who can take it? Contractually, no one. The stone would have to be sold at market value and the money made added to the total collection, or the stone woud have to be cut down until it reached sizes that were within the 1/14 split.

If the Arkenstone is not part of the treasure:

That is not possible considering Thorin admits defeat. Take it that I have disposed of my share as I wished, and let it go at that!" "I will," said Thorin grimly. "And I will let you go at that-and may we never meet again!" It also appears that the Arkenstone isn't worth more than 1/14 share, as Thorin is able to use his portion to buy back the Arkesntone.

The mithril coat:

Bilbo actually has taken two forms of payment: The Arkenstone AND a mithril coat, which in itself is worth a lot of money. However, Thorin doesn't mention this when Bilbo tells his side of the story, and still admits defeat. This leads me to believe that the coat AND the stone together are still equal to or less than 1/14 share per market value. This also makes sense when Thorin buys back the stone at 1/14 share since he has no bargaining power. It would make sense for him to overpay, not underpay to get the stone back.

Therefore:

I conclude that the Arkenstone's value on the fair market is:

Arkenstone <= (1/14 profits - mithril coat)

I also conclude that Bilbo was legally within his rights to take the stone, however shady it might have been.


Kimtc
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 2:55pm

Post #2 of 43 (427 views)
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There's actually a legal analysis of the contract [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/hobbit-contract-legal-analysis/

He discusses the Arkenstone and what Bilbo was entitled to.


DanielLB
Immortal


Feb 20 2013, 3:04pm

Post #3 of 43 (376 views)
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Thorin states he has dibs on it [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
"For the Arkenstone of my father," he said, "is worth more than a river of gold in itself, and to me it is beyond price. That stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it."


And I think the price of the Stone is relative. To Thorin, it is priceless. To Bilbo, it's just a pretty stone (even Smaug in that case). And if the Arkenstone was a Silmaril (which I don't believe it was), then again it would be priceless to many people.

Bilbo may have been legally within his rights to take the Arkenstone, but he knew full well it belonged to Thorin.


Súlimë
Rivendell


Feb 20 2013, 3:06pm

Post #4 of 43 (362 views)
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Nice analysis [In reply to] Can't Post

This is not entirely relevant to what you posted, but am I alone in feeling that that perhaps Thorin should have made it EXTREMELY CLEAR that he wanted the Arkenstone that bad?

I just feel that Bilbo did not realize how important the stone was to Thorin -- hence the insensitivity on his part in taking it.

I guess I'll go read the later chapters again and see how I feel about it now.

However, for your second scenario (the Arkenstone is worth more than 1/14 of the total profits) -- I don't remember if each of the dwarves was promised a 1/14 share, and if this is the case maybe they can 'combine' their shares and claim the Arkenstone?


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 3:07pm

Post #5 of 43 (366 views)
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I'm referring to the book [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially when you consider these events may play out completely different then the book, lots of scenes already have.

From the article you linked to:

"As anyone who has read the book knows, the definition of Bilbo’s “fourteenth share of total profits” goes directly to a major issue in the plot, namely Bilbo’s taking of the Arkenstone. In the book Bilbo feels comfortable taking it, since he figures it’s worth his fourteenth share, and the contract didn’t say which fourteenth he could take. This contract eliminates that possibility. We doubt that the plot will actually be modified to take this into account, but it may be an example of the writer of the contract being a bit too clever."

It sounds like the movie will try to justify Thorin's actions by completely changing the contract. This falls in line with the complete transformation of unlikeable Book Thorin to likeable Movie Thorin.


Glorfindela
Valinor

Feb 20 2013, 3:13pm

Post #6 of 43 (366 views)
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Thorin's heritage [In reply to] Can't Post

The Arkenstone was worth much more to Thorin than just one-fourteenth of the value of the treasure. It was a part of his heritage. I very much disliked Bilbo's behaviour towards Thorin in this respect (in the book, which I haven't read for a while and don't intend reading until after I've seen the films).


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 3:16pm

Post #7 of 43 (348 views)
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He makes it clear [In reply to] Can't Post

This is not entirely relevant to what you posted, but am I alone in feeling that that perhaps Thorin should have made it EXTREMELY CLEAR that he wanted the Arkenstone that bad?

He tells everyone he wants the stone once the treasure is claimed. The (book) contract trumps that, though, especially if the stone is worth more than 1/14 of the share.


However, for your second scenario (the Arkenstone is worth more than 1/14 of the total profits) -- I don't remember if each of the dwarves was promised a 1/14 share, and if this is the case maybe they can 'combine' their shares and claim the Arkenstone?

They could, but who all is willing to give up part of their share so Thorin could have the stone? If they're willing to do that, they should have just wrote it into the contract.




Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 20 2013, 3:20pm

Post #8 of 43 (363 views)
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Bilbo knew [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is not entirely relevant to what you posted, but am I alone in feeling that that perhaps Thorin should have made it EXTREMELY CLEAR that he wanted the Arkenstone that bad?

I just feel that Bilbo did not realize how important the stone was to Thorin -- hence the insensitivity on his part in taking it.

I guess I'll go read the later chapters again and see how I feel about it now.

However, for your second scenario (the Arkenstone is worth more than 1/14 of the total profits) -- I don't remember if each of the dwarves was promised a 1/14 share, and if this is the case maybe they can 'combine' their shares and claim the Arkenstone?


He even says to Bard and Thranduil that "this is the heart of Thorin Oakenshield". I think Bilbo miscalculated not with the Arkenstone, but how much the DS had affected Thorin. In Bilbo's mind, he was giving Bard and Thranduil something that would be traded for his own portion of the treasure. Bilbo thought he was giving up what he himself was entitled to and giving them a means to get it. What he didn't realize is that Thorin considered all of the treasure his and even at the scene on the wall Tolkien writes that Thorin even after setting Bilbo down was considering how he could have both..the Arkenstone and treasure.

So Bilbo knew about the Arkenstone. He just didn't realize the extent to which the DS affected him. What I always wondered was why Bilbo admitted to giving it to them in the first place. That always puzzled me. Why didn't he just remain silent and have Bard and Thranduil say they have it and they're not telling him how they got it.


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 3:21pm

Post #9 of 43 (363 views)
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Contracts do not detect personal value [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't matter what it's worth to Thorin as far as the contract is concerned. He's able to buy it back in an unfair market at 1/14 of the profits, so it's worth that much maximum.

Bilbo's behavior is disrespectful, but no more disrespectful then being racially insulted and almost murdered over a contract loophole. As we all know, Bilbo had good intentions for soing it. It wasn't right that Thorin try to keep all the treasure anyway when other parties had fair claims to it.


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Feb 20 2013, 3:24pm

Post #10 of 43 (338 views)
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Comfortable? [In reply to] Can't Post

" 'Now I am a burglar indeed!' thought he. 'But I suppose I must tell the Dwarves about it--some time. They did say I could pick and choose my own share; and I think I would choose this, if they took all the rest!' All the same he had an uncomfortable feeling that the picking and choosing had not really been meant to include this marvelous gem, and that trouble would yet come of it' ". (The Hobbit, Not At Home. )

'"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!" he said to himself, and it became a favourite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb.'


Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 5:38pm

Post #11 of 43 (292 views)
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Bilbo knew it was wrong [In reply to] Can't Post

He even admits it to himself in thinking that taking the stone makes him indeed a burglar, ie. a thief, and that perhaps the Arkenstone was not included in what was available to him to choose his share from. So I'd say he was quite aware of the fact that the Arkenstone was not his to take, and he took it anywy.

I think that it is more a moral issue than a legal one, as we cannot say what the other dwarves contracts looked like (if they had any), what kind of share they were promised etc. It perhaps would make sense, for example for Thorin to have a bigger share, as he was supposed to be the king and would have to rebuild his kingdom, feed his people etc. until he could get the mining in Erebor back up and running. Morally, Bilbo knew he was wrong to take the Arkenstone, as Thorin was very clear on the fact that it was his.


ShireHorse
Rohan

Feb 20 2013, 6:07pm

Post #12 of 43 (308 views)
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I find this "racist" argument amazing. [In reply to] Can't Post

Does James Cagney offer racist insults when he says "You dirty rat!"? No, it's just a rude remark.

Bilbo knows what he has done: it is the Arkenstone of Thrain and the Heart of the Mountain and the Heart of Thorin. How could he? And when even Bard, the beneficiary of the stone, challenges him on it, and says "Is it yours to give?" Bilbo replies: "It isn't exactly." And then mutters something about it being part of his share of the treasure. This is something he has obviously made up on the spot.

When so much treasure is gathered together, you don't just help yourself - there has got to be a fair and open reckoning. Bilbo admits that he has stolen this - that he is a burglar in this case - but that he will go back to the dwarves because he is an "honest burglar". I think he already guesses at Thorin's response and it's almost as if he feels that he must face his punishment and his fate. And that's why he also owns up when Thorin wants to know how Bard came to possess the stone. It is his heavy guilt speaking.

I would also argue that the Arkenstone is an heirloom, not just of Thorin but of all the dwarves. It has a symbolic meaning and is the Heart of the Mountain. This is just another reason why Bilbo had no right to it. He is not just stealing it from Thorin but from dwarven society; just as when Captain Blood tried to steal Britain's Crown Jewels, he wasn't stealing from the King but from the whole country: and Tolkien would have understood this.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 20 2013, 6:30pm

Post #13 of 43 (266 views)
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Legal under what law? [In reply to] Can't Post

We don't know enough about the laws in Middle-earth to conclude whether Bilbo had legal rights to the Arkenstone. For all we know, Thorin's statement that he reserved the Arkenstone for himself might be sufficient grounds to exempt it from the treasure, and Bilbo might have been breaking the law the moment he put it in his pocket. Furthermore, the dwarves might have their own set of laws, and by signing the contract, Bilbo implicitly subjects himself to those laws, even if they aren't explicitly stated in the contract.

It's always risky applying today's conventions to a book that was written 75 years ago and set in a fantasy world. Conclusions should be based on the laws of Middle-earth, not present day.


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 6:33pm

Post #14 of 43 (272 views)
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Not the same [In reply to] Can't Post

Does James Cagney offer racist insults when he says "You dirty rat!"? No, it's just a rude remark.

Nope. If James Cagney had said "You dirty ____ rat", where the space was filled with a race of people, then YES, that would be racist. Calling Bilbo a descendent of rats insults not just Bilbo, but an entire line of Hobbits, and implies that he thinks Hobbits are as such.

When so much treasure is gathered together, you don't just help yourself - there has got to be a fair and open reckoning.

I'm not arguing if what Bilbo did is fair or just. It was shady at best. However, they had a contract that they all signed that covered the rules. If they didn't bother to include how they would divide the treasure or which pieces were guaranteed to go to whom, then that is their fault for signing it.

As Willy Wonka would say..."
It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!" They had a contract that they all signed, so Wonka could do as he pleases. Same here, and Thorin rightfully admits it after Gandalf stops his from murdering Bilbo.



(This post was edited by stoutfiles on Feb 20 2013, 6:33pm)


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 6:37pm

Post #15 of 43 (257 views)
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We know what is given to us [In reply to] Can't Post

We don't know enough about the laws in Middle-earth to conclude whether Bilbo had legal rights to the Arkenstone.

Yes we do. Otherwise, Thorin would not be spending HIS share of the treasure to buy back the Arkenstone. Had Bilbo actually broken the rules of the contract or some made-up dwarf law then Bilbo's share would buy back the stone and Bilbo would be going home with nothing.



stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 6:40pm

Post #16 of 43 (253 views)
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He knew it was shady [In reply to] Can't Post

He even admits it to himself in thinking that taking the stone makes him indeed a burglar, ie. a thief, and that perhaps the Arkenstone was not included in what was available to him to choose his share from. So I'd say he was quite aware of the fact that the Arkenstone was not his to take, and he took it anywy.

It wasn't legally wrong, just morally wrong. Contracts don't have to have morals though.

You all seem to be forgetting that Thorin admitted he was legally defeated and used his own share of the money to buy back the stone. If it was in anyway legally wrong then none of this would have happened. Bilbo's share buys back the stone and everyone is happy, except for Bilbo.



entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 20 2013, 6:48pm

Post #17 of 43 (252 views)
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But you're extrapolating [In reply to] Can't Post

Thorin's emotional response onto a legal contract. Not the same thing.


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 20 2013, 6:56pm

Post #18 of 43 (254 views)
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No I'm not [In reply to] Can't Post

"Take it that I have disposed of my share as I wished, and let it go at that!" "I will," said Thorin grimly. "And I will let you go at that-and may we never meet again!" Then he turned and spoke over the wall. "I am betrayed," he said. "It was rightly guessed that I could not forbear to redeem the Arkenstone, the treasure of my house. For it I will give one fourteenth share of the hoard in silver and gold, setting aside the gems; but that shall be accounted the promised share of this traitor, and with that reward he shall depart, and you can divide it as you will. He will get little enough, I doubt not. Take him, if you wish him to live; and no friendship of mine goes with him."

It doesn't get any clear then that. Thorin decides to use HIS share to buy back the stone. Had Bilbo taken the stone and broken the rules, he would say "Bilbo, I'm using your share to buy back the stone because you broke the rules of the contract." He wouldn't say he was betrayed, he would say the contract was betrayed. It would have been a very convenient, easy out had it been there for the taking.


ShireHorse
Rohan

Feb 20 2013, 8:37pm

Post #19 of 43 (231 views)
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But surely that is what he DOES say, stoutfiles? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or I am being a bit slow here? Bilbo says he will let Thorin keep his share in lieu of the Arkenstone and then Thorin says that he will use Bilbo's share to redeem it from Bard.

And it's definitely a betrayal.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 20 2013, 8:45pm

Post #20 of 43 (224 views)
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The book notes that Thorin wanted all of it [In reply to] Can't Post

Then the book goes on to say

"“You are not making a very splendid figure as King under the Mountain,” said Gandalf. “But things may change yet.”

“They may indeed,” said Thorin. And already, so strong was the bewilderment of the treasure upon him, he was pondering whether by the help of Dain he might not recapture the Arkenstone and withhold the share of the reward.

Indeed Bilbo did betray Thorin in taking the Arkenstone, but Thorin was intent on keeping the whole pie for himself.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 20 2013, 9:07pm

Post #21 of 43 (247 views)
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Book vs. film. [In reply to] Can't Post

You write, "it's always risky applying today's conventions to a book that was written 75 years ago", but you also write, "by signing the contract, Bilbo implicitly subjects himself to those laws". Remember that in the book, Bilbo doesn't sign the contract. Instead, he accepts its terms by showing up at the Green Dragon at 11 a.m.

This minor mix-up doesn't take away from your main point, though.

In the book, Bilbo keeps the contract, and so is able to produce it when he meets with Bard and the Elvenking. I don't remember the film clearly: does Balin hand it back to Bilbo after inspecting it when Bilbo catches up with the dwarves on their journey from Hobbiton?

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Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 20 2013, 9:18pm

Post #22 of 43 (242 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

Martin Freeman has it at home so ...i would say yes! LOL.


macfalk
Valinor


Feb 20 2013, 9:30pm

Post #23 of 43 (216 views)
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I think Balin has the contract in the movie-universe [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't remember him handing the contract back to Bilbo, so there's my guess.



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


DanielLB
Immortal


Feb 20 2013, 9:35pm

Post #24 of 43 (220 views)
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Oh, I missed this piece of news! [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you still have the original source? Smile


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 20 2013, 10:16pm

Post #25 of 43 (207 views)
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It's in various video interviews done with the run up to the Hobbit. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are several videos. I think one of the London videos has him talking about it. I think it's this video: Empire Magazine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4swE9fjfMV4


(This post was edited by Ham_Sammy on Feb 20 2013, 10:24pm)

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