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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Speculating on Thranduil and 'white gems' in the AUJ: EE

Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 1:31pm

Post #1 of 17 (1388 views)
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Speculating on Thranduil and 'white gems' in the AUJ: EE Can't Post

So in the latest issue of Empire PJ confirmed some additions to the prologue of AUJ in the EE, including the following:

"There are also some issues with Thranduil," adds Jackson. "We get some of the reasons why he and the dwarves had a falling out - to do with these white gems..." We we learn, from the Elves' perspective, why they didn't come to the Dwarves' aid."


The obvious cue for this would be a certain passage from The Hobbit:

"It was also the dungeon of his prisoners. So to the cave they dragged Thorin-not too gently, for they did not love dwarves, and thought he was an enemy. In ancient days they had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay. If the elf-king had a weakness it was for treasure, especially for silver and white gems; and though his hoard was rich, he was ever eager for more, since he had not yet as great a treasure as other elf-lords of old. His people neither mined nor worked metals or jewels, nor did they bother much with trade or with tilling the earth. All this was well known to every dwarf, though Thorin’s family had had nothing to do with the old quarrel I have spoken of. Consequently Thorin was angry at their treatment of him, when they took their spell off him and he came to his senses; and also he was determined that no word of gold or jewels should be dragged out of him."


Now the 'elf-king' in question is usually assumed to be Thingol, and the treasure in question the Nauglamir (among other things). But I can't see how Jackson could realistically squeeze these events into the prologue. Given that he specifically mentions a falling out between Thranduil and the Dwarves, it seems that we will see Thranduil request some kind of object to be made, and Thror, perhaps in his madness, to keep it. Hence Thranduil's resentment and refusal to come to the Dwarves' aid.

What would people think of such a plot device?


DanielLB
Immortal


Jun 25 2013, 1:42pm

Post #2 of 17 (756 views)
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You're on to something, I think. [In reply to] Can't Post

My first reaction was Girion's necklace (which in the book is made of emeralds), since they also mentioned him in the article.

But I think your on to something. I'm going to speculate that in this box: link, are the White Gems. The scene always seemed odd to me - why was Thranduil there, and what was in the box? This now provides a perfect explanation. If they stick to the book, and the passage you quote, Thranduil will take them without paying. I can imagine the Elvish guards protecting Thranduil as he flees Erebor.

Perfect!


(This post was edited by DanielLB on Jun 25 2013, 1:46pm)


dave_lf
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 1:45pm

Post #3 of 17 (657 views)
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Concur [In reply to] Can't Post

That passage is what came to my mind when I read the article too.


Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 1:52pm

Post #4 of 17 (677 views)
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Great spot [In reply to] Can't Post

The idea of Thranduil 'paying homage' to Thror never really sat well with me. But if he was going to collect something, that would make more sense.

You may be right about him taking the goods and leaving without paying. But it's also possible Thror might present the finished object (a crown or necklace made of the white) in the box and then refuse to give it to Thranduil, at which point Thranduil leaves in a huff. This might work best given that we should probably be somewhat sympathetic to Thranduil, and it would provide further evidence of Thror's greed and madness. It's not a direct translation of the passage but then I don't suppose it has to be. Perhaps Thranduil could offer him what they agreed on (let's say, two chests of gold) but Thror reneges, demanding more.


(This post was edited by Shagrat on Jun 25 2013, 1:55pm)


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jun 25 2013, 5:12pm

Post #5 of 17 (475 views)
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Why? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am curious why you believe we need to be at least a little sympathetic to Thranduil at this stage of the story?


Fàfnir
Rohan


Jun 25 2013, 5:25pm

Post #6 of 17 (495 views)
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Well Pj said that [In reply to] Can't Post

In the EE will would get to see the start of the conflict from the elves point of view. I think it'll make them at leats a bit more sympathetic, because until then Thranduil looks just like an arrogant traitor in AUJ


(This post was edited by Fàfnir on Jun 25 2013, 5:32pm)


Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 5:39pm

Post #7 of 17 (453 views)
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What Fafnir said [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, if Thranduil took the object without paying, I fail to see how he could offer any kind of convincing argument about the incident. Furthermore, if he did that AND still didn't come to the Dwarves' aid it would make him look a right piece of work. I don't think it's necessary to portray him as a full-blown villain at any point.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jun 25 2013, 5:49pm

Post #8 of 17 (501 views)
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Yes, that is what Jackson said. *spoilers for book* [In reply to] Can't Post

But the poster seemed to suggest this was necessary; that we "should" have more sympathy for him. Personally, I find that AUJ (TE) works just fine as is. Which is not to say that I would in any way mind more of him in the EE, including some sort of transmutation of the Nauglamir tale into the recent past of Erebor and the Woodland Realm (minus all the killing!)

I would not describe Thranduil as a traitor based on AUJ. It is my opinion that "pay homage" in the script is used in the sense "expression of high regard" (Meaning 2. here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homage ) rather than the feudal meaning of homage (as we were not shown such a ceremony). I would describe him as arrogant, lacking in compassion, and unsympathetic, yes, but that is how he seemed in the books to me when we first met him, when he captured the Dwarves.


Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 6:01pm

Post #9 of 17 (425 views)
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Just to clarify [In reply to] Can't Post

My comments about sympathizing with Thranduil were more in reaction to the suggestion that he basically steal the object and then proceed to not help the Dwarves. I think it would be too much. But if Thror robbed him, it would give him a platform to go at Thorin in the second film, when, I imagine, Thorin will voice his discontent at Thranduil not having come to the aid of his grandfather. It's the sort of thing you could imagine the stubborn Thorin conveniently forgetting, especially if it happened several decades before Smaug's attack. At the same time, it would obviously continue to irk Thranduil.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jun 25 2013, 6:06pm

Post #10 of 17 (424 views)
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Oh? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you meant, Thranduil should be more sympathetic than he would be if the EE depicted him additionally stealing jewelry from the Dwarves for no good reason, I actually agree. Smile

I think ideally whatever white gems/jewelry backstory is invented in the EE, it should have ambiguity, where one could understand how both sides felt wronged, slighted, misunderstood, etc. by the other.

In thinking about it, I am now wondering if somehow the Arkenstone could play the role of a Silmaril in the Naugamir tale. Say there was a verbal agreement between Thranduil and Thror that the Dwarves would use their "finest gems" to create something for Thranduil, right around the time the Arkenstone was discovered, so he feels it should be part of the piece. Whereas the Dwarves view unique finds such as the Arkenstone as belonging to another category (not a mere "gem", more of a divine gift it would be sacrilegious to use in mere adornments) and so of course do not include it, making it instead a symbol and heirloom of the realm. It would add weight to the first preview's voiceover, in which Thranduil references the Arkenstone and its significance to Thorin (supposing any of that dialogue does wind up in the film).


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jun 25 2013, 6:10pm

Post #11 of 17 (406 views)
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I can be slow on the uptake! [In reply to] Can't Post

But I understand your point now. :) And I agree, your scenario would give Thranduil a reasonable grievance. (Without making Thorin's position all that hard to understand either, whatever Thranduil and Thror's disagreements, it can be seen as a bit harsh not to help the Dwarven refugees from Smaug in some way.)


Fàfnir
Rohan


Jun 25 2013, 6:16pm

Post #12 of 17 (393 views)
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That would work ! And more [In reply to] Can't Post

It would really make of Thror's greed his lost. Otherwise the loss of his kingdom is due more to his wealth than to his greed


Shagrat
Gondor

Jun 25 2013, 6:33pm

Post #13 of 17 (378 views)
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I think at last we understood one another! [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, I agree about the ambiguity thing. It's difficult to do but would be important since neither side should look like the obvious villain. One possibility is that Thorin could disagree with Thror's conduct here, so at least he is painted in a fairly positive light. It's a tricky one.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jun 25 2013, 6:34pm

Post #14 of 17 (404 views)
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Makes sense [In reply to] Can't Post

They are creating a near-term conflict over gems/payment for work/whatever that is sort of in parallel with the much more serious rift that happened in Thingol's time ages past. Motivations are needed to cover the lack of elven-dwarven history that is only supplied to readers of the Silmarillion.


Elwen
Lorien


Jun 26 2013, 2:58pm

Post #15 of 17 (169 views)
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Interesting theory... [In reply to] Can't Post

I never noticed that box or made the connection. That might be a very interesting little spin on the conflict.

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.


FiliSonOfDis
Rivendell


Jun 27 2013, 8:26pm

Post #16 of 17 (96 views)
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Point of views [In reply to] Can't Post

I think AUJ was the dwarven perspective on everything, smaug their homeland we see the dwarves point of view here. To some extent the Orc perspective as well, though it's simple and not much more than revenge.

DOS I'm guessing will give us the point of view of the elves and the point of view of the men, on disturbing smaug with this quest and what these groups of people lost when smaug took Erebor. The trailer focusing on the elves and the quote from bard makes me think this is certainly going to be the driving antagonism in DOS, the other groups opinions against the quest, it's already been hinted at by elrond and sarumon.

TABA will then have ample amounts of perspectives to jump right into the battle of five armies with the audience understanding fully why everyone is fighting and where each of these groups are coming from.

This seems like the correct way to "expand" the hobbit. The story is still about bilbos funny little adventure but expanding it means showing fully how each group is invested in these events.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 27 2013, 10:58pm

Post #17 of 17 (98 views)
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Thingol or not Thingol? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So in the latest issue of Empire PJ confirmed some additions to the prologue of AUJ in the EE, including the following:

"There are also some issues with Thranduil," adds Jackson. "We get some of the reasons why he and the dwarves had a falling out - to do with these white gems..." We we learn, from the Elves' perspective, why they didn't come to the Dwarves' aid."


The obvious cue for this would be a certain passage from The Hobbit:

"It was also the dungeon of his prisoners. So to the cave they dragged Thorin-not too gently, for they did not love dwarves, and thought he was an enemy. In ancient days they had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure. It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay. If the elf-king had a weakness it was for treasure, especially for silver and white gems; and though his hoard was rich, he was ever eager for more, since he had not yet as great a treasure as other elf-lords of old. His people neither mined nor worked metals or jewels, nor did they bother much with trade or with tilling the earth. All this was well known to every dwarf, though Thorin’s family had had nothing to do with the old quarrel I have spoken of. Consequently Thorin was angry at their treatment of him, when they took their spell off him and he came to his senses; and also he was determined that no word of gold or jewels should be dragged out of him."

To me, this reads as though the Elvenking of The Hobbit was actually Thingol in Tolkien's mind at the time. Remember that Tolkien hadn't quite decided yet where The Hobbit fit into his over-all legendarium or if it stood separately as its own thing. It certainly does not read to me as if Tolkien is speaking of two different Elvenkings here.

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

 
 

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