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Bilbo's Choice in who to protect


Feb 20 2013, 6:34pm

Post #1 of 8 (604 views)
Bilbo's Choice in who to protect Can't Post

I just re-read the book again and I came to think - why do you think Bilbo decides he wants to protect the Elven King instead of his friends or even Bard? Why Thranduil?
So I get that at this point he's not on the best terms with the dwarves, but not all the dwarves had defriended Bilbo, but I do get that one.
But then there's Bard. Do you think it's his fascination with elves? Or maybe to displease the dwarves and siding with the elves? He doesn't really know the elven king at this point. Just by looks.


Feb 20 2013, 7:03pm

Post #2 of 8 (515 views)
It's probably to do with Bilbo's morals, or something boring like that. And the fact he was disgusted by Thorin's greed. [In reply to] Can't Post

But since Tolkien says it was to do with his Tookish side, I like to think that Bilbo thought if he defended Thranduil, he may end up in stories and/or songs (if he was brave enough). Since he has high respect for the Elves, he might think that's a better reward, than directly defending Bard or the Dwarves (which he probably had had enough of anyway at that time).

(This post was edited by DanielLB on Feb 20 2013, 7:05pm)


Feb 20 2013, 8:12pm

Post #3 of 8 (487 views)
I can understand... [In reply to] Can't Post

...why Bilbo wouldn't go near the Dwarves. First of all, Thorin and Company came into the fight a bit later, didn't they? So Bilbo would have already chosen his position by then. And then the Dwarves of Thorin's Company were probably close to Thorin, and why would Bilbo go anywhere the fellow who just recently expressed the desire to kill him?

And of the remaining choices, perhaps just liked Thranduil best. And he didn't really know Bard either, did he? Maybe he'd had more of a chance to observe Thranduil when he was hiding out, being invisible at his halls in Mirkwood. Or perhaps it was just a case of 'Ooh, shiny, pretty elves! Let's stick with them.' Tongue


Feb 20 2013, 8:22pm

Post #4 of 8 (489 views)
I think Bilbo found common ground with the Elvenking. [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo thought very little of the whole business of war and was hoping for a peaceful solution. The Elvenking was more oriented towards peace like himself.

But yes, I think Bilbo did also think the elves were pretty, sparkly, and lovely. That doesn't mean he didn't have room for some dwarf friends besides, especially Balin.

Whatever mistreatment may be interpreted from the dwarves, I think it was more of a case of general awkwardness in the role of burglar, something Bilbo didn't really choose but that he got labelled as by influential people who maybe were operating under wishful thinking principles.


Feb 20 2013, 9:12pm

Post #5 of 8 (475 views)
Bilbo just loves Elves and being around them... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Bilbo thought very little of the whole business of war and was hoping for a peaceful solution. The Elvenking was more oriented towards peace like himself.

But yes, I think Bilbo did also think the elves were pretty, sparkly, and lovely. That doesn't mean he didn't have room for some dwarf friends besides, especially Balin.

Plus, he may feel safer around them at the Battle of the Five Armies. I think that it is really just that simple. However, since Bard is playing a larger role in the second and third films than he does in the book, Bilbo's choice in TaBA may be different.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

Grey Havens

Feb 21 2013, 12:07am

Post #6 of 8 (465 views)
I read it as a choice of pure practicality. [In reply to] Can't Post

Funny, I was reading that same chapter last night too.

I figured Bilbo chose the Elves in part because the Elven king had recently displayed a complete lack of greed, in welcome contrast to what Bilbo had been suffering with Thorin recently, and in part because he figured they were the better fighters (i.e., he was safer with them).

More importantly, though, the book says explicitly that Bilbo figured he had a better chance of escape on the eastern spur of the mountain, where the Elves took their stand, than he would have had with the Men and Elves, should things come to that. The Orcs and Wargs were swarming in from the northeast, around the southern spur of the mountain (where the Men and Dwarves were), and so the land beyond that southern spur would be full of the Orcs and Wargs swarming in to the battle. The land beyond the eastern spur, where the Elves were, would in theory be relatively free of the evil critters, should Bilbo decide to flee the valley altogether and escape by climbing up and over the spur. Hopefully my description makes sense; it helps when looking at the map!

Anyways, I took Bilbo's choice to have little to do with who he felt most like defending, and more to do with where he felt safest.

Ziggy Stardust

Feb 21 2013, 1:25am

Post #7 of 8 (483 views)
Good question [In reply to] Can't Post

This is one question I haven't yet thought of. Now that you talk about it, I think possibly the reason Bilbo sided with Thranduil and the Elves is because of the greed and mistreatment he had at the hands of Thorin. Thorin never really had too much faith in Bilbo until the very end, and wasn't always very gentlemanly toward the hobbit. While some of the other dwarves were kinder, Balin especially, they were all always going to be on Thorin's side. When Thorin started to show such greed, Bilbo was the only one who noticed and decided he had enough. His morals told him greed was wrong. Thranduil lacked greed, and even offered Bilbo protection. Thorin on the other hand, threatened to kill Bilbo.

(This post was edited by Ziggy Stardust on Feb 21 2013, 1:27am)

Tol Eressea

Feb 25 2013, 11:58pm

Post #8 of 8 (396 views)
protecting [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it may be more like Bilbo feels bad about stealing from the elvenking, and wants to make it up to him. Besides, he has always exhibited a fascination with elves, and since he wasn't on good terms with the dwarves at this point (who were still sequestered in the mountain and he couldn't get to them anyway until during the battle), it came down to men and elves, and given that choice he went with who would be the far superior fighters.

Half Elven Daughter of Celethian of the Woodland Realm


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