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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why do Fili and Kili Never Say "Uncle?"
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The Grey Elf
Gondor


May 7 2013, 2:25pm

Post #1 of 41 (1936 views)
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Why do Fili and Kili Never Say "Uncle?" Can't Post

Wondering why it was never clearly conveyed what the blood relationship is between F&K and Thorin? Rescued by the eagles and winging their way to the safety of the Carrock, Fili calls out Thorin, not Uncle. Is PJ waiting until DoS to make the family connection clear? I think it's important that it is established. Perhaps Bilbo will learn of it from Ori as he records their quest. (And did Bilbo get the idea for writing TABA from his Ori!) Or will Bilbo learn of this from Thorin as the two are now on more friendly footing. Does anyone else think that clarifying their relationship is important to the story?


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


May 7 2013, 2:44pm

Post #2 of 41 (1206 views)
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Fili and Kili's relationship to Thorin (SPOILERS) [In reply to] Can't Post

Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think their relationship to Thorin is mentioned in the book, except near the end: "Fili and Kili had fallen defending him (Thorin) with shield and body, for he was their mother's elder brother" (The Hobbit, The Return Journey). In AUJ, there is obviously a relationship, in the way they interact, but I also don't recall if this is mentioned in the movie either. Perhaps this will be clarified later on, as you said; although I think it will have to be at some point to explain why they are on such familiar terms with each other.

'"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.'


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 2:50pm

Post #3 of 41 (953 views)
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Not canon? Not dwarf culture? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just did a quick keyword search of my ebook edition of TH...looks like Tolkien only used "uncle" twice in the book, both times in the context of Hobbit culture (regarding Bullroarer Took.). So...perhaps "uncle" isn't a term Dwarves would use. I think Thorin calls Fili/Kili his "father's daughter's sons." (Doesn't call her sister or call them nephews.) I'm sure someone can correct that if I have it wrong. I think this is one of those times when we can't apply human norms to the dwarves.


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


May 7 2013, 2:51pm

Post #4 of 41 (1013 views)
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It never was mentioned in the film [In reply to] Can't Post

which I found odd. It was mentioned briefly in the book but do not remember where right off hand. But being a film adaptation and since everyone is so fond of the many changes Jackson made. To me it would have made more sense to get the relationship out in the open when Thorin scolds them for being young and immature before Balin gives his altered story of Azanulbizar. That way when they die the audience will have known for 3 films that they were the heirs of Thorin's. And it would make their death much more potent


Angharad73
Rohan


May 7 2013, 2:52pm

Post #5 of 41 (957 views)
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It's mentioned a bit earlier than that... [In reply to] Can't Post

...in the book, but not much. When they arrive in Laketown, he introduces them as "the sons of my father's daughter". I think this is the first time in the book that their relationship is mentioned at all.


(This post was edited by Angharad73 on May 7 2013, 2:53pm)


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 3:03pm

Post #6 of 41 (1002 views)
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I would expect Laketown...(spoiler?) [In reply to] Can't Post

Which is when Thorin reveals the relationship in the book. And you're right--the fact that they are the heirs and that the quest ultimately ends the line of Durin is essential--it's the big Shakespearean tragedy of the whole story. Thorin doesn't realize how wrong he's been until he knows his actions resulted in the destruction of his own bloodline. It's also the distant early warning leading up the the war of the ring...and it's what heightens Aragorn's final stand in RotK...because Tolkien's already proven to anyone who read TH that he's the kind of author who could totally write an unhappy ending and kill off the last of a bloodline.


(This post was edited by Kaede on May 7 2013, 3:13pm)


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


May 7 2013, 3:05pm

Post #7 of 41 (901 views)
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Yes, you are correct! [In reply to] Can't Post

The Master of Laketown also treated Fili and Kili with honor because of their relationship with Thorin: "So he (the Master of Laketown) gave up to him (Thorin) his own great chair, and set Fili and Kili beside him in places of honour" (The Hobbit, A Warm Welcome).

I'm also thinking that as adults, the word "uncle" might not be appropriate, if used at all.

'"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.'


sador
Half-elven


May 7 2013, 3:19pm

Post #8 of 41 (873 views)
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The Old Guard may die, but it never surrenders. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Angharad73
Rohan


May 7 2013, 3:26pm

Post #9 of 41 (887 views)
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*snicker* [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah, good old Cambronne. Sly Sorry, could not resist - back to our regularly scheduled thread...


Marionette
Rohan


May 7 2013, 3:46pm

Post #10 of 41 (883 views)
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Wondered about this since I saw the film [In reply to] Can't Post

They never say Thorin, Kili and Fili are related by any means. But they do with Dwalin and Balin.


"Dear friend good bye, no tears in my eyes. So sad it ends, as it began"
Queen



Marionette
Rohan


May 7 2013, 3:51pm

Post #11 of 41 (985 views)
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Esgaroth. And itīs important [In reply to] Can't Post

Arriving to Esgaroth: In the movie it seems it will be different than the book: In the book Tolkien make clear Kili and Fili are Thorin heirs. But in the movie we donīt see it, Thorin is entering to Esgaroth with all the dwarves not only him and his heirs (and Bilbo)

I think itīs important to the film to show more about their relationship, because it is very clear in the book that Thorin was very important for Kili and Fili, becoz what they do in the end (That says it all, even thoug Tolkien doesnīt profound with words the relationships between dwarves)

Hopefully they will not change this....


"Dear friend good bye, no tears in my eyes. So sad it ends, as it began"
Queen



(This post was edited by Marionette on May 7 2013, 3:55pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


May 7 2013, 4:45pm

Post #12 of 41 (876 views)
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It would be unseemly. [In reply to] Can't Post

For them to claim it, especially them being so young, and Thorin being a king, would be presumptuous on their part.

It would be far more honorable to wait for Thorin to finally acknowledge their relationship himself at Lake-town (as in the book), which he does after they've had a chance to prove themselves a bit.

And of course the narrator reminds us at the end of BOFA, which removes all doubt that they were chosen for their strength of heart rather than simply out of ignoble nepotism.

I'd rather it be done that way, the way it was done in the book. There were good reasons Tolkien kept the relationship hidden at first, both from Bilbo, and from the reader.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



MaeBeth
Bree


May 7 2013, 5:40pm

Post #13 of 41 (823 views)
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What everyone else said hit the mark, I think [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I used to think it was because Thorin wanted to protect them.
I mean, if you wanted to wipe out a whole bloodline, wouldn't you dance with glee if you had all of them there at once?

I'm not sure if that's the case now, thoughTongue Either way, I absolutely adore the fan art of the three of them together!

MaeBeth Blush
Attachments: cutetumblr.jpg (48.1 KB)


Cirashala
Grey Havens


May 7 2013, 6:27pm

Post #14 of 41 (814 views)
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laketown [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, they are mentioned as being his sister-sons when Thorin, Fili, Kili, and Bilbo enter laketown for the first time in the book.


But since they have seemingly adjusted their mode of entry, I don't know how it is going to work out now....

Half Elven Daughter of Celethian of the Woodland Realm


ShireHorse
Rohan

May 7 2013, 6:45pm

Post #15 of 41 (826 views)
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Do you mind me asking, Kaede, [In reply to] Can't Post

what actions of Thorin's you think led to the destruction of his bloodline? Do you think he was wrong to take both of them on such a dangerous adventure in the first place and that perhaps he should have left one of them at home?


Aragalen the Green
Gondor


May 7 2013, 8:38pm

Post #16 of 41 (713 views)
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True! [In reply to] Can't Post

You and Angharad73 both pointed that out to me--thanks!

'"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.'


sam90
Lorien

May 7 2013, 8:42pm

Post #17 of 41 (872 views)
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Thorin, Fili and Kili [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
what actions of Thorin's you think led to the destruction of his bloodline? Do you think he was wrong to take both of them on such a dangerous adventure in the first place and that perhaps he should have left one of them at home?


Well in my opinion the two young Dwarves has proven themselves useful and worthy of being part of Thorin's quest. I cannot see Thorin choosing one over the other for bloodline reason. But anyway Dain is Thorin's cousin. so his bloodline is not really extinguished. Also, Thorins sister Dis was still alive. She might not have become Queen under the Mountain according to Dwaves monarchy (which I don't know) but could have other childs.


(This post was edited by sam90 on May 7 2013, 8:44pm)


Mr. Arkenstone (isaac)
Grey Havens


May 7 2013, 9:23pm

Post #18 of 41 (702 views)
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Completely agree [In reply to] Can't Post

Thatīs the point

The flagon with the dragon has the brew that is true!


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 9:49pm

Post #19 of 41 (747 views)
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Gathering of the Clouds, ch 15... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think he could have left them home...like Sam Gamgee, they probably would have followed. I do think they went together knowing it was a do or die mission. As for the rest, Chapter 15 in the book details the turning point: Bard comes seeking recompense for the damage the dragon did to their town...(I am Bard and by my hand was the dragon slain...). Bilbo "thought at once that Thorin would see the what justice was in them". (Meaning in Bard's words...). But Thorin refuses to parley, tosses out a few dwarfy insults, and sends Bard packing. "So grim had Thorin become that the others would not have dared to find fault with him." And this refusal (and dragon sickness) is when we enter the unfortunate events of the final three chapters of the book--and note that Tolkien uses a +whole chapter+ to detail this turning point. Bilbo (and we readers) are meant to realize that if Thorin could only have shown a little diplomacy here, the whole outcome +could+ have been resolved amiably--and the need for Fili/Kili to defend Thorin to the death would never had happened (they would have had more allies against the goblins.) And--movie-Balin sets us up for this--just before the "we're with you laddie" comment back at Bag End, he tries to get Thorin to understand that he has a choice for "a life of peace and plenty...a life that is worth more than all the gold in Erebor..." Tragically, Thorin's choices in the last 4 chapters of TH go badly awry. In the end, I personally believe he would have traded the gold for his heirs. He just doesn't see it until it's too late. Apologies for being long-winded.
Blush. Of course, I'm sure there are other interpretations. Or interpreter onions, as my auto-correct is telling me.


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 9:52pm

Post #20 of 41 (725 views)
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Not likely [In reply to] Can't Post

Dis is likely past childbearing age and her husband is dead--generally understood that dwarf women only marry once. and Dain's part of the family is an offshoot.


marillaraina
Rohan


May 7 2013, 10:11pm

Post #21 of 41 (703 views)
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I agree Kaede [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree Kaede. I think that part of the idea behind Kili and Fili's deaths(aside from Tolkien's inexplicable fondness for Dain LOL) is the idea of young men dying in the prime of life, bravely, nobly but for old men's wars. There is nothing wrong with what they did, they were noble and they were brave and they were fighting for the right reasons but that doesn't mean the battle itself had to happen that way. Like many battles in WWI.

I also think Thorin's final speech, while Kili and Fili are never mentioned, he's clearly realized that many of the things he thought were important before were not important, that he'd made bad decisions that had led to some bad things happening.
As for Dain, he is a cousin, I'm pretty sure he is not a direct descendent of Durin in the way that Thorin's family line is. Thorin's line is sort of like Aragorn's(except it isn't directly from father to son BUT Dis is every bit as much a direct descending of Durin as Thorin is, her children are as much direct descendents as Thorin's would have been if he'd had any)


(This post was edited by marillaraina on May 7 2013, 10:18pm)


ShireHorse
Rohan

May 7 2013, 10:23pm

Post #22 of 41 (692 views)
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I follow your argument, Kaede, until you get to the bit [In reply to] Can't Post

where Thorin becomes intransigent. (I must admit that I'm behind Thorin all the way here as are most of the other dwarves but that's not what we're discussing).

Because he digs his heels in, everyone is kept hanging around for weeks outside the gates with their armies until Dain turns up. Now if, at that point, the dwarves had engaged in battle with the elves and men and Fili and KIli had been killed, then perhaps you could blame Thorin for their deaths. Instead, because he has been so stubborn, all these armies are gathered together in one place when the orcs and their allies turn up which means they are able to defeat them. This would not have happened if Thorin had given in to Bard and Thranduil. They would have all gone home with their share of the loot and the orc army might have picked them all off individually.

Fili and Kili defend Thorin with body and shield, in a battle that wasn't in any way Thorin's fault, because this was your duty to your leader in Anglo-Saxon and Norse historical battles. You formed a circle around him and made sure that he survived, even at the cost of your own life, because he was so important.

Tolkien is very careful with the words he puts into Thorin's mouth when he parts with Bilbo. He regrets not having lead a merrier life-style. BUT, the only thing he apologises for is the way he lost his temper with Bilbo and almost killed him when he found out that the hobbit had betrayed him. He takes no responsibility for the deaths of Fili and Kili, nor do I believe that he is responsible. And I think that, from the way things are going so far, this is the way that PJ will play it too.

And yes, Balin in the film said that Thorin had a choice about the whole venture but we all understand his response, I can imagine, when he says that he had no choice. However, Fili and Kili and all the other dwarves could have chosen to stay at home - like Dain. It's all about personal responsibility.


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 10:41pm

Post #23 of 41 (652 views)
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Fair points! [In reply to] Can't Post

Will be *very* interesting to see how this plays in TaBA, I agree. And the really great thing about book discussions is that we get a chance to see story through different interpretations. I especially like your point about everybody probably going home. (Very possible, even if they aren't really that far away.) I find I've been stewing over how the dragon sickness/gold sickness (whatever it gets called) plays out in the films...because I think it impacts this very turning point in the book. For example, do you think Fili and Kili know about it? Are they on guard for it or completely in the dark? The movie viewers know about it because we saw it in Old Bilbo's prologue...but I suspect Fili/Kili don't know what they're in for (and it's a bit glossed over in the book.) Do any of the film dwarves know...? Balin might. Gandalf might. But the others? Hmmmm.


marillaraina
Rohan


May 7 2013, 10:53pm

Post #24 of 41 (684 views)
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subject [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Because he digs his heels in, everyone is kept hanging around for weeks outside the gates with their armies until Dain turns up. Now if, at that point, the dwarves had engaged in battle with the elves and men and Fili and KIli had been killed, then perhaps you could blame Thorin for their deaths. Instead, because he has been so stubborn, all these armies are gathered together in one place when the orcs and their allies turn up which means they are able to defeat them. This would not have happened if Thorin had given in to Bard and Thranduil. They would have all gone home with their share of the loot and the orc army might have picked them all off individually.



That almost makes it sound like a good thing Thorin did what he did and I think he's pretty clear Tolkien does not feel that way. The groups would have been communicating with each other and possibly already working together peacefully if Thorin hadn't behaved as he had(and I do not solely blame Thorin, the men and elves showed up on his doorstep with an army but none the less Thorin had no real plans to share anything with them and the men at least deserved a share as some of it was their's anyway) and in fact might have been paying enough attention to have KNOWN the goblins were coming with more warning and they could have been better prepared for the battle. They were so focused on fighting amongst themselves that they were caught relatively by surprise by the goblins and I felt it was that the goblins had taken advantage of the other groups focusing on fighting amongst themselves to help their attack. The goblins might not even had gotten as far as they did if Thranduil wasn't focusing his attention towards Erabor. I imagine the elves would have known first, they'd have told the men, the men would have told the dwarves and they'd have gathered to fight the goblins sooner.

I think the only reason the goblins were able to gather together everyone as they did is because the elves, men and dwarves were fighting amongst themselves.
So on the flipside, the battle itself may never have happened to that extent, the ball may never have gotten rolling up to that speed IF the elves, dwarves and men had not been so focused on each other that they missed the gathering storm outside them.


(This post was edited by marillaraina on May 7 2013, 10:56pm)


Kaede
Rivendell


May 7 2013, 10:57pm

Post #25 of 41 (664 views)
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Very true--spot on [In reply to] Can't Post

About Tolkien's WWI experience and the idea of young men dying for old men's wars...that's a strong 20th C Lit theme as well. My husband's a combat vet and while he doesn't really go for the whole orcs and wizards part of the stories, but he's very interested when it comes to things like Boromir's death, Theoden's death, Aragorn's desperation on the battlefield, the comraderie of the company, and how the hobbits in RoTK feel when they get back to Hobbiton really smack him right in the chest. I think these are exactly the moments Tolkien is really delivering.

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