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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
A thought on Thorin's generosity and Gandalf's wisdom
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Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 22 2013, 11:46pm

Post #1 of 26 (1199 views)
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A thought on Thorin's generosity and Gandalf's wisdom Can't Post

We have had lots of discussions on the Dragon Sickness and Thorin's greed - now I would like to touch on Thorin's generosity and its implications for Middle Earth. I looked through a lot of old threads but didn't see one like this. SOOOO hope I'm not duplicating. Anyway...

When they are in the lower hall, exploring the piles of gold, Thorin cries "Mr. Baggins! Here is the first payment of your reward! Cast off your coat and put on this!" It is the mithril coat that Frodo will wear so many years later, when he is saved from death by the amazing item, instead of being made into a Hobbit skeish-kebab. So... if Frodo is meant to be the Ringbearer (here we have Gandalf's divine sight in the matter) and this task truly is his as the heir to Bilbo, the Ring-finder, then we can say that the gift, in secondary intention, saved Middle Earth.

Thorin's generosity in the gift was not only in its material and monetary value (more than the Shire), but I feel it has extremely important cultural significance given the Dwarves' close relationship with mithril and the hardships and unbelievable loss they have been through the millennia in gaining it. It is also not a gift of vanity or decoration, but the purpose of the gift shows the level of regard: it is meant to save your life. Even if it was part of the 1/14 share, it is still an amazing gift from a Dwarf just coming back into his people's own again. Somehow to me it feels like an impulsive, affectionate act though; not just a payment of a debt, because of its meaning.

Two unrelated tangents, brought together by the far sight of Gandalf: the heart of Thorin softened to magnificent generosity by the good soul of Bilbo.

I'm using all text themes here, but feel free to talk about film canon too. Would love to see some of your thoughts on this.Smile




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

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 22 2013, 11:47pm)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 23 2013, 12:34am

Post #2 of 26 (583 views)
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It wouldn't have fit, anyway. [In reply to] Can't Post

It would have been difficult to alter this shirt to fit Thorin, or probably any of the dwarves. I suppose it's technically possible to melt down the mithril and re-purpose it, but it's unclear whether the dwarves current technology (in their wandering state) would have been up to it.








GloryBox
Bree


Feb 23 2013, 1:41am

Post #3 of 26 (534 views)
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Love your idea on Thorin's generosity! [In reply to] Can't Post

And his gift did become a vital part of the long chain of events that saved Frodo and eventually Middle-earth itself. I hope your idea of "impulsive and affectionate" is the way it's portrayed in the film. It's a very protective gesture on Thorin's part toward Bilbo, with very far-reaching consequences. And it's another illustration of Gandalf's musings (after the events in LOTR) that his journey with Thorin began with "a chance meeting, as we say in Middle-earth." Thanks for bringing up this linkage.

...one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green... The Hobbit


swordwhale
Grey Havens


Feb 23 2013, 5:45am

Post #4 of 26 (513 views)
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neat insight... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I think Richard Armitage has had a very interesting job...

Thorin may turn out to be one of the most complex characters in Middle Earth.

Go outside and play...


Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 23 2013, 8:01am

Post #5 of 26 (505 views)
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An impulsive, generous gift (*book spoilers*) [In reply to] Can't Post

That is how I see it in the book. Thorin in in a very good mood. Finally, finally he is back in Erebor and rooting through the treasure. He is in high spirits, and when he finds something that is obviously Hobbit-sized, he gives it to the one person present that might benefit from it. And he must have been grateful to Bilbo at that point, since the burglar certainly did his part of getting them into the mountain, so Thorin is feeling generous. It's very much a spur-of-the-moment thing and a lovely gesture.

I also love the fact that the mithril shirt links Thorin and the Dwarves into the history of the Ring and the fate of Middle Earth yet again. He is already involved in the whole story of the Ring in so far that his chance meeting with Gandalf set in motion the events that lead to Bilbo finding the Ring. If Thorin had not decided that it was time to reclaim Erebor, he would not have had need for a burglar, after all, and Bilbo, might never have left his Hobbit hole. Or if Thorin had not bumped into Gandalf that evening... Who would have found the Ring then?

The moment when the Dwarves get into the treasure is something I look forward to in the movies. I can just see them wallowing in it, literally. It might be the last funny thing before all the bad stuff happens. I wonder, though, how Thorin's gift of the mithril shirt is going to be played out. Are they going to make it an impulsive gesture, like it feel to me in the book, or are they going to linger on it to drive home how Thorin has come to care for Bilbo and is giving him a thoughtful and useful gift? Or something in the middle? I'm not even sure what I would prefer at this point, but I am sure that when I first see that mithril shirt, I will not be able to stop a little squeal of appreciation of the significance.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 4:26pm

Post #6 of 26 (464 views)
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Thanks Glory Box! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not a complex connection but as much as I've been aware of it for so long, with "faces" it feels like its a lot more real. The film has done that for me, changed how I read the book. I think by that time Thorin will feel very protective of Bilbo - a 180 from his early "nor will I be responsible for his fate."

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 4:30pm

Post #7 of 26 (433 views)
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Complexity [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes I agree. What a fabulous job of casting, and amazing how such a "slim" volume produces so much charactar. But I think it works because of the larger framework of Tolkien's amazing world and his unified vision (with growinjg pians, granted). The works that came after give so much meaning to the details in the fairytale.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 4:40pm

Post #8 of 26 (438 views)
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Me too Angharad!!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

You said it so well. I am so looking forward to the scene! In the text its not even like Thorin just "gives" it to Bilbo or tosses it at him - he carries it over and puts it on Bilbo - so personal. I think (and hope) PJ will linger and give it the time it deserves, because he showed it to us in FOTR, and of course we see it later used to wound Gandalf in ROTK.

Plus such a show of closeness will accentuate when it breaks apart.

Its so true - what a spectacularly important chance meeting between Gandalf and Thorin. And really the Company didn't just accept Bilbo. As it reads in The Quest Gandalf quite literally had to hammer Bilbo into the Company, and only the thought of the bonds of friendship swayed Thorin. Imagine if a Goblin found the Ring....lights out, Middle Earth. I feel like its such a tribute to Gandal''s vision and "reading" souls (the fea) even if it isn't conscious.

Yes I will be doing some squealing too!

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


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 23 2013, 6:29pm

Post #9 of 26 (403 views)
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My thoughts exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

The more this scene is given it's import, the more the scene over the Arkenstone and later, the last scene between Bilbo and Thorin will resonate with the audience. These scenes are linked..much like the links in the mithril shirt. They each have to be done right and given their correct emphasis. I have no doubt they will be.

I seriously am on board with this and cannot wait to see it.

It's kind of a fine line though. We do need to see Thorin go full scale DS. Armitage said at one point there may be an actual physical manifestation of it. How that plays against his giving Bilbo the shirt will be interesting. We may not see the full DS until the 3rd movie.

I can't wait to see what he does with it.


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 23 2013, 10:17pm

Post #10 of 26 (391 views)
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Great thoughts, Brethil. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thorin's generosity is something that doesn't come up much!

It seems like such a spur-of-the-moment gift in the book that it's hard to notice the signficance. I wonder how much will be made of the gift-giving in the movie. Will it be clear how much the shirt is really worth? Will we see other items made of mithril too, or will this be truly unique? It will likely be the last we see of a kind, generous Thorin until the deathbed scene.

You know, another unintended happening where the fate of Middle-earth is changed occurs when Dori drops Bilbo as they're racing out of the goblin tunnels. If Dori had managed to keep carrying Bilbo like he was supposed to be doing, Bilbo wouldn't have found the ring. So we could say that Dori's clumsiness (or forgetfulness -- shouldn't he have thought to look for their burglar after the skirmish with the goblins?) changed the fate of Middle-earth, too.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 11:09pm

Post #11 of 26 (353 views)
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I can't wait... [In reply to] Can't Post

to see so much. Then on the other hand just want to love today and what we have!!!!

I'm a little nervous (nibble nails) about how far the DS will go. We discussed redemption through death in other threads and I flinch at the thought of seeing Thorin get that bad. As you point out, its a fine line. But given everything I have seen about RA, I think he has both the talent and brain to know where to go. Plus how to make the most impact between the closeness in that scene with breaking the bond later.

I am with you. Looking forward to amazing storytelling!

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 11:21pm

Post #12 of 26 (446 views)
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Thanks, Ro [In reply to] Can't Post

No, we don't hear much about generosity in relation to Thorin, which is why (although I know its very early to start discussing it) I felt like it would be a nice change. I think it will serve as the contrast scene for the blowout later....and give us a glimpse of the Thorin we love, and won't see again until the end (sob). Although I know I (and I believe you as well) will still love him when hes insane...as you said before I think we will see the madness but also RA will give us reason to have some compassion - it's like a mental illness and how much can we assign blame?

You are right about Dori! In the text he did his best (with blades flying!!!)...I love in the film even though the circumstances were changed he still got to say "Don't blame me!" So many coincidences in the link. (Laughed a bit about Dori being indignant in view 13 today.)

We see Thorin wearing a mithril tunic at Moria beneath the mail shirt. That's the only other one I've seen. As it should be - its a rare and unique gift, even in Gimli's opinion.

I'm sure when we have film as a reference we will revisit with more details as well.

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


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 23 2013, 11:57pm

Post #13 of 26 (436 views)
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yes I think we will see the Thorin we love [In reply to] Can't Post

My take on it is we will be heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken over Thorin succumbing to the DS. We will be torn. As you say I have absolutely no doubt RA's performance is going to be stellar here as will the script. I think we will just be heartbroken for him, a little mad at Bilbo (LOL) and yet we will want them reconciled. I am comforted by Gandalf's words at the wall too --- You are not making a very splendid figure as King under the Mountain, said Gandalf. But things may change yet".

I think those words are a clue to the audience that all is not lost and that Thorin in the end will indeed be the King he was meant to be. Mixed feelings for sure ... but I am just thinking those scenes with his magnanimously giving he mithril shirt to Bilbo, his descent into darkness, his coming out of it a la Full Metal Jacket and coming to the aid of the Allies and the final scene between him and Bilbo will all be connected and provide us with the inspiration we want to feel.

RA and MF are going to kill it. I hope one or both are nominated for Oscars. I really do.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 12:15am

Post #14 of 26 (364 views)
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RA and MF [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh how right your are Ham Sammy!!!!!! They will do an utterly amazing job, I am firmly convinced. Hopefully there will be enough dramatic meat in TABA for some A-r-t world consideration. But they will have won in our hearts anyway.

And I think when Gandalf says "...but things may change yet." its insight into how well he knows Thorin's true worth. He doesn't instinctively react to the immediate stimuli in front of him - Thorin misbehaving, as it were - he knows it is situational and that at heart Throin is still "good people." Wise beyond mortal sight.

RA has said that the Company emerging in full battle dress is stunning. It will be!
I hope for a feeling of inspiration to help balance the loss.

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

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 24 2013, 12:20am)


Cirashala
Grey Havens

Feb 24 2013, 5:51am

Post #15 of 26 (379 views)
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mithril shirt [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not sure if it will be made clear how much the shirt is worth, because as the fellowship is traveling through Moria and Gandalf is telling Gimli and the other members of the fellowship about the shirt he says:

Gandalf: "Bilbo had a shirt of mithril rings that Thorin gave him."
Gimli: "Oh that was a kingly gift!"
Gandalf: "Yes. I never told him, but it's worth was greater than the land of the Shire."

So while the other dwarves no doubt knew how much such a gift was worth, Gandalf clearly states that Bilbo (while given the jewels and such on it I am sure he knew it was worth something) didn't really understand just how much value that tiny little ringed shirt held. Not only the monetary worth, but the worth of Bilbo as a person to the dwarves- they are such a secretive race, not revealing even their true names or language outside of their own, so for them to clad Bilbo in armor made by the dwarves themselves (or their kin), with a metal exceedingly precious to the dwarves (and unavailable as long as Moria was held by orcs and the Balrog, because that was the only place in Middle Earth mithril was found), and taking the care to make sure he has armor to protect himself with (contrary to the "I will not be responsible for his fate" attitude at the beginning), showed that Bilbo had become nothing less than kin to the dwarves-a feat few in the entire history of Middle Earth had achieved, Eol the dark elf of the first age and Celebrimbor the maker of the rings of Power being among the other few who had achieved such closeness with dwarves. So essentially they honored Bilbo, a mere hobbit from the Shire, in a manner similar to those who's deeds were wrought in the great history of Middle Earth-a very high honor indeed Smile

Half Elven Daughter of Celethian of the Woodland Realm


Slim
Rivendell


Feb 24 2013, 1:49pm

Post #16 of 26 (289 views)
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Exactly! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thorin may turn out to be one of the most complex characters in Middle Earth.


This is why I was pleasantly surprised by the portrayal of Thorin and I thought to myself that The Hobbit was going to be a lot more morally complex than The Lord of the Rings!


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 3:44pm

Post #17 of 26 (276 views)
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You summed up completely [In reply to] Can't Post

my emotional rationale for thinking how important this scene will be. Its the deeper meaning, of Bilbo earning that rare trust and Thorin being able to give it. What a charactar arc!
Bilbo really is SO unique: he earned this amazing and rare relationship with the Dwarves, and he's the only being ever able to walk away from the power of the Ring. Makes me appreciate Bilbo so much.

True, the quote you used and Frodo's surprise in Moria implies that neither of them (Frodo or Bilbo) necessarily knew the monetary value of the shirt.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 3:49pm

Post #18 of 26 (270 views)
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That's why he feels real [In reply to] Can't Post

He's grumpy, suspicious, hardened by loss but he's also loyal, the soul of honor and wayyyyy down there is a well of kindness. He's REAL, and unclassifiable and flawed like we all are, not a cardboard cutout in prosthetics. I thank PJ and Co. and RA for that, as much as it is going to bite us in the heart later on.

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


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 24 2013, 4:13pm

Post #19 of 26 (295 views)
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Even Bilbo believed in Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

In spite of the blow up at the wall over the Arkenstone, Bilbo retained his hope they would all someday be friends again. Not only did he tell the dwarves that but after he comes to from being knocked unconscious and realizes they are looking for him and takes off the ring he says to the guy that finds him

"I am Bilbo, companion of Thorin".

That is an amazing statement when you think about it. After all that happened. After Thorin completely tried to throw him off the wall and utterly rejected him, he still sees himself as Thorin's companion. That shows you that both Bilbo and Gandalf knew that what was going on with Thorin was not really who he was. Not ultimately.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 4:24pm

Post #20 of 26 (285 views)
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True he did [In reply to] Can't Post

It ties in with the way they had Gandalf talk about kindness and love and simple acts being more powerful than an army of show of great force. Belief in each other will win out. That's what Gandalf sees in Bilbo I think - not just a Tookish adventurer (though that's what got him out the door) but the pureness of spirit Bilbo has. It's a parallel for what Gandalf later sees in Frodo, and then has the humility to trust him to take the Ring, and not exert his own power instead, I think Tolkien's ideas in the area of moral worth and what defines "good" were consustent in all is works, tying in with his faith as well.

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


axecrazy
Rivendell

Feb 24 2013, 4:36pm

Post #21 of 26 (291 views)
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the coat [In reply to] Can't Post

I was actually thinking about the mithril coat during my recent LOTR marathon (extended and theatrical cuts). Thinking on what it was and what it meant makes Bilbo's betrayal of Thorin even worse from Thorin's perspective. It was a mighty and kingly gift indeed, and that Mr. Grouchypants himself gave it with full blessings... man, that made me pause for thought. The giving of the coat should be a moment that lingers... but not too long, mind you. I have faith PJ will play that scene very well.


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 5:09pm

Post #22 of 26 (272 views)
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Interesting. You reverse-engineered it [In reply to] Can't Post

by looking at it through the LOTR filter. It resonates, doesan't it? Its true, we know Dwarves are very sensitive to betrayal because they have lost so much. That Arkenstone business must have broken Thorin's heart. Which he would of course show with anger. That's the Dwarf way, too proud to do otherwise.

I know this post is early, we have no visuals yet. Looking forward to discussing the scene more in later days, and I will be watching for how it is played out.

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


swordwhale
Grey Havens


Feb 24 2013, 8:47pm

Post #23 of 26 (228 views)
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well said... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
He's grumpy, suspicious, hardened by loss but he's also loyal, the soul of honor and wayyyyy down there is a well of kindness. He's REAL, and unclassifiable and flawed like we all are, not a cardboard cutout in prosthetics. I thank PJ and Co. and RA for that, as much as it is going to bite us in the heart later on.


Go outside and play...


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 10:42pm

Post #24 of 26 (217 views)
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Thanks Swordwhale! [In reply to] Can't Post

Its a topic close to my heart.

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


sador
Half-elven


Feb 26 2013, 6:51am

Post #25 of 26 (167 views)
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Doesn't this thought belong rather in the Reading Room? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're interested, we have discussed Thorin's gift extensively here.

Three points must be made:
  1. The mithril-coat had saved Frodo's life - but the accompanying helmet saved the life of Bilbo himself (see The Return Journey).
  2. It was a genuine gift: even after Bilbo betrayed him, Thorin did not take it back when sending him away; and he did not forget it, but referred to it explicitly (The Clouds Burst). In fact, considering Tolkien's later estimate of the mithril-coat worth, Bilbo was very handsomely paid for his services - and that before taking into account the one-fourteenth share which he gave Bard. (This makes "some of the dwarves" feeling ashaned at his being sent away quite stupid - but no author is perfect)
  3. At the very time Thorin gave him this gift - Bilbo was holding the Arkenstone, Thorin's greatest treasure, and not really intending to give it to its rightful owner.



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