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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
BOFA army sizes.


Jun 28 2013, 6:49pm

Post #1 of 13 (693 views)
BOFA army sizes. Can't Post

I wonder if PJ will make the armies in BOFA bigger? Like the Dains dwarfs, instead of 500 it will be like 1000-2000 and the orcs maybe 15-20 000. I guess the Elves will have the biggest army (after the Orcs/goblins of course)

What do you think? It would be cool and epic but also maybe to far from the book?

" Why, O people of Noldor! Fëanor cried. Why should we longer serve the jealous Valar, who cannot keep us nor even their own realm secure from their enemy? And though he be now their foe, are not they and he of one kin? Vengence calls me hence, but even were it otherwise I would not dwell longer in the same land with the kin of my father's slayer and of the thief of treasure. Yet i am not the only valiant in this valiant people. And have ye not all lost your King? And what else have ye not lost, cooped here in a narrow land between the mountains and the sea? Here once was light, that the Valar begrudged to middle-earth, but now dark levels all. Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the thankless sea? Or shall we return to our home? In cuiviènen sweet ran the waters under uncloaded stars, and wide lands lay about, where a free people might walk. There they lie still and await us who in out folly forsook them. Come away! Let the cowards keep this city!"

(This post was edited by DuBekar on Jun 28 2013, 6:50pm)


Jun 28 2013, 8:10pm

Post #2 of 13 (364 views)
RE [In reply to] Can't Post

Somewhere it was said, and my memory's shoddy enough, but that The Battle of Five Armies at Erebor, since it's a "Siege" at first, then a rout, will be a lot closer to Helm's Deep than say, Pelennor Fields. (Though because of the slope and tiers of the mountainside and Dale, it'll play out very differently, with more verticality and creative staging.)

Helm's Deep featured 10,000 Uruk-hai, a few hundred Rohirrim and a smattering of Galadhrim, and felt totally huge in scope; just not "Last Alliance" huge (or now, Azanulbizar huge).

10,000 Gundabad orcs may seem excessive, but it's important to think about the book's scale. The battle was notoriously vague on numbers (though rendered in real-time, his passing descriptions of the action should be brilliant spectacle - the 'fastest wolf-riders striking first' and a 'vast host' with vampire bat swarm behind. Except for Dain Ironfoot's "some 500 stout dwarves", the numbers we get are vagaries like "vast host".

Still, for all the free races to unite you'd think they'd have to be outmatched to the point where it was grave and alliance was not just the sensible, honorable choice, but the only choice. I could see 10,000 from Gundabad, same as Helm's Deep, except perhaps 'counting Wargs'.

I also had the impression Dain's 500 dwarves wouldn't have been much avail against the combined forces of Esgaroth and Mirkwood - and not because of Esgaroth's strength-in-numbers, somewhat decimated already by Smaug. They'd be lucky to match the 500 of the dwarves. 1000 is a strong number, but you've got to figure Thranduil then is rolling with double that. 2000 elves. 3000 against 10,000, with Eagles as backup and Beorn as the wildest card imaginable.

It'd be testament to Thranduil's folk and Bard's guard and Dain's trusty men that in spite of numbers, superior skill in bow & axe thwart even a strong force of orcs; but with the amount of heroic skill Legolas and Bard are bound to show us (plus, doubtless, a third act "Thranduil himself joins the battle") there'll be plenty of narrative payoff before we even get to a giant bear-serker slaughtering the enemy elites. (After all, ultimately, though this is a very strong gathering of orcs, led by an elite caste of Azog's lineage, with largish northern orcs with closeness to the Angmar or Angband progenitors and supplemented with the more maggot-like inbred "Goblin-town" varieties ... this force can not compare to the kind of fear-enlisted elite forces hired or rallied by terror-lords like the Witch-king or Sauron himself, nor the ultimate breed a wizard like Saruman crafted on his own - this force, impressive yes, should not match the skill of Mordor or Isengard, except for a very elite cadre in command)

Anyway, I think 2000 Elves, 501 Men, 513 Dwarves, 10,000 Orcs & Wargs, countless Bats and a host of 30-50 Giant Eagles should be enough to follow on-screen.


Jun 28 2013, 8:37pm

Post #3 of 13 (333 views)
BIG [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a feeling, that this will be far greater than what we saw in Helm's Deep. I think the Goblins/Orcs/Wargs will at least have some 40 000 or more.
I can't remember where, but somewhere in my head I hear a Quote of PJ saying that this battle will even outscale Pelennor-Fields or something though I can't imagine how that would work.


Jun 28 2013, 8:45pm

Post #4 of 13 (324 views)
Well, this is Bilbo's story, sooo [In reply to] Can't Post

Like the Greco-Persian wars, let's go all out, and the tale grows in the telling.

250-K Gundabad and Misty Mountain goblins and Grey Mountain allies, 10,000 Bolg Bodyguard "Immortals" 900 War Chariots pulled by wargs; say 12,000 Warg cavalry for scouting and mounted archery.


Jun 28 2013, 11:23pm

Post #5 of 13 (267 views)
That would make a nonsense out of ROTK. [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I have a feeling, that this will be far greater than what we saw in Helm's Deep. I think the Goblins/Orcs/Wargs will at least have some 40 000 or more.
I can't remember where, but somewhere in my head I hear a Quote of PJ saying that this battle will even outscale Pelennor-Fields or something though I can't imagine how that would work.

Lieutenant of Dol Guldur

Jun 29 2013, 12:52am

Post #6 of 13 (221 views)
Perhaps even a few spiders from Mirkwood? [In reply to] Can't Post

If it's true and they serve Sauron in a way. Why not aiding Saurons allies against his enemys? Or would it be better the show a few spiders in the Battle of Dol Guldur instead?

Peter Jackson just said somewhere that it even might become a "Battle of Six, Seven or more armies".

Orcs, Wargs, Bats, Spiders, perhaps Trolls and Goblins

Men, Dwarves, Elves, Eagles, Gandalf, Bilbo, Beorn

"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."

(This post was edited by Lieutenant of Dol Guldur on Jun 29 2013, 12:54am)

Tol Eressea

Jun 29 2013, 2:43am

Post #7 of 13 (231 views)
No doubt Peter Jackson will try to make it the "end all battle sequence" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure it will top Helm's Deep and the Pelennor fields. Maybe not the last alliance but that was only about a two minute scene.

take me down to the woodland realm where the trees are green and the elf women are pretty....Oh will you please take me home!!


Jun 29 2013, 8:18pm

Post #8 of 13 (129 views)
what we know about Thranduil's army (from the book) [In reply to] Can't Post

From memory, the only other figure given for the BOFA, apart from Dain's force of c. 500, is for a portion of the Elven-king's army. He deploys 1,000 Elven spearmen at one point during the battle.

If any parallels with medieval armies can be drawn at all, I'd guess that there'd be at least as many archers and regular infantry, and a smaller number of cavalry (not that we know if Thranduil could field mounted units - at least as far as the books are concerned). So a Woodland Realm force of 3,000 or so?

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Jun 29 2013, 8:53pm

Post #9 of 13 (111 views)
An estimate based on the book... [In reply to] Can't Post

The late Karen Wynn Fonstad estimated the main forces in the BoFA in The Atlas of Middle-earth:


Dáin had brought "five hundred grim dwarves"; the Elvenking commanded at least a thousand spearmen, plus archers; and while Bard's forces were uncertain, they may have been as few as two hundred, judging from the size of the town. In contrast, the enemy had "a vast host."

So, let's say that the Armies of the Free Peoples numbered between two thousand and twenty-five hundred. The goblins probably had at least five thousand fighters and Wargs.

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


Jun 30 2013, 5:20am

Post #10 of 13 (85 views)
Veterans [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe Tolkien said most of Dains host were veterans of the Dwarf/Goblin war all well armored.

Being outnumbered like that I think back to Tolkien and his classical education ie the Battle of Thermopylae where the 500 Dwarves are akin to the Spartans ....

from wiki


Over 1,000 Elf spearmen and archers, est. 2-300 Lake-Men, over 500 Dwarves from the Iron Hills,[2] many Eagles, Thorin's 12 Dwarf companions, and Beorn
"innumberable" Goblins and Wargs; possibly 6-15,000 or more

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”


Jun 30 2013, 9:44am

Post #11 of 13 (70 views)
Well, I wouldn't rely on wiki for answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Although, to be fair, their numbers don't seem far off. I think that the entry underestimates the Elvenking's forces a little. If he brought at least one thousand spearmen then the number of archers he had were probably significant (three to four hundred?). And, yes, Tolkien does say that many of Dáin's fighters were veterans of the Dwarf/Goblin Wars. I see that the article agrees with Fonstad's estimate that the number of Men was relatively small (fewer than the number of Dáin's Dwarves).

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


Jun 30 2013, 7:58pm

Post #12 of 13 (45 views)
Do numbers matter? [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien was always saying things like "there are names among us that are other 1000 mailed-clad knights a piece". So it's not so much about numbers as about who is represented in those numbers.

Also, Orcirst and Glamdring are part of this battle and these swords have a negative effect on orcs. The description of Dain's veterans also indicate that while the number of forces on the good side might be smaller than the bad, that the good would win because of their "intangibles".

Having said that, this battle will probably be big and long.


Jul 1 2013, 3:59am

Post #13 of 13 (39 views)
Smaug attack [In reply to] Can't Post

Laketown surely suffered many casualties when Smaug attacked them lessening the number available for BO5A.

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”


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