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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM - Day Four: The Hobbit Topics
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TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Jul 24 2013, 4:27am

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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM - Day Four: The Hobbit Topics Can't Post

We are pleased to present the following TAS entries in the category, The Hobbit Topics:





"The Real Villain of The Hobbit: An Analysis on Greed", by Cirashala

The Real Villain of The Hobbit





"The Battle of Five Armies: An Analysis", by Arandir

The Battle of Five Armies: An Analysis





To view an essay, please click on the appropriate link above. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy posting it. The TAS is open for discussion, and any comments, questions or thought you wish to share about this particular Category pieces can be posted in this response to this thread. Also use the sub-threads below to address a particular essay.


Details on TORn's very first Amateur Symposium can be found
here


And don't forget to join in with discussions on other essays:


"Sudden Climate Change or Anthropogenic Interference?", by DanielLB
Sudden Climate Change or Anthropogenic Interference


"Falling Into Untended Age: Ithilien as a Post-pastoral Land", by Squire
Falling Into Untended Age: Ithilien as a Post-pastoral Land




Happy Reading, TORn Brethren and Guests!









TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Jul 24 2013, 4:30am

Post #2 of 53 (1160 views)
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Subthread for: "The Real Villain of The Hobbit: An Analysis on Greed", by Cirashala [In reply to] Can't Post

 


TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Jul 24 2013, 4:31am

Post #3 of 53 (1497 views)
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Subthread for: "The Battle of Five Armies: An Analysis", by Arandir [In reply to] Can't Post

 


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 10:20am

Post #4 of 53 (1139 views)
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A rather mean question to ask ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that greed is the biggest obstacle for our characters (both heroes and villains) to overcome in The Hobbit. However, we could say that greed is the main "psychological" enemy. Who do you think is the main "physical" enemy in the story of The Hobbit?

Is it Smaug, who has the largest physical presence, yet was rather harmless after he took Erebor. Or is it Sauron, who had no presence in the story at all, but was the underlying villain?

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 24 2013, 1:48pm

Post #5 of 53 (1135 views)
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Not to be picky.... [In reply to] Can't Post

But didn't the Elves stop to help the men of Lake-Town? I'm not negating the greed of their other actions,(Doesn't it say that Thranduil loved green emeralds, somewhere?) but they seem to have not thrown everything to the wind, in their pursuit of gold/gems.

Perhaps there is a reason that greed acts more acutely on some, more than others?
Another point to explore.................


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 1:54pm

Post #6 of 53 (1115 views)
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A good analysis Arandir. [In reply to] Can't Post

Of all the primary battles during The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (with the possible exception of The Battle of Dol Guldur), the Battle of Five Armies has always interested me most. The sheer size and complexity of the battle makes it the most exciting of them all - wargs, orcs, eagles, elves, dwarves, men!

It will be interesting to see how the armies are represented in the upcoming films, and whether the numbers involved are similar to yours. (I imagine WETA in one of their books, or even on a special feature on a DVD, will say how many CGI creatures they had to make for the battle).

Interesting point about the Orcs having to multiply quickly in 48 years. That's only two generations in human lives. I can't imagine men would be able to create an army of substantial size in just two generations!

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!



Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 2:36pm

Post #7 of 53 (1111 views)
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'Villain' doesn't seem like quite the right characterization [In reply to] Can't Post

Greed seems to me to be too nebulous as a concept to characterize it as a villain. It is more of a major theme that is developed in the second half of The Hobbit. I think that DanielLB has it right to call it an obsticle, like Mirkwood Forest or the Misty Mountains are obsticles to be overcome. That said, greed affects almost every major character and major supporting character who is in play at that point in the story.

Bilbo is first inspired by the Dwarves' lust to repossess their stolen gold. It awakens his Tookish blood that sends him after the company from the safety of Bag End and it is reawakened upon sight of Smaug's hoard. The dragon-sickness of Smaug also affects Bilbo, most noticeably when he finds and pockets the Arkenstone, but its hold is weak; Bilbo knows that he cannot keep the jewel. Although his preference would have been to find a way to return it to Thorin (without revealing his possession of it), Bilbo ends up giving it to Bard in an attempt to keep the peace between the Men, Elves and Dwarves.

Thorin is most affected (next to the Master of Lake-town) by the dragon-sickness as it feeds off his own greed for his people's treasure and home. His desire for the Arkenstone of his fathers is particularly strong as it represents his heritage and his blood-right to rule. He isn't able to overcome his greed until he sees his own folk and the armies of the Men and Elves beset by the horde of the Orcs and Wargs. He fully redeems himself with his final, dying words forgiving Bilbo. The dragon-sickness seems to have a much greater effect on Thorin's older companions than on the younger Dwarves of the company.

We are told when we first meet the Elvenking that he possesses a strong desire for jems and gold to increase his treasury. But this seems to have more to do with his taking after his ancestor Thingol Greycloak and has little, if anything, to do with dragon-sickness. Upon hearing of Smaug's demise he immediately musters an army to march on Lonely Mountain. However, he is not beyond showing compassion for the plight of the Lake-men who have been dispossessed by Smaug. And when the Elvenking discovers that Thorin and his companions still live he shows reluctance to go to war with them for no reason beyond the treasure. Not that he isn't still willing to hold the Mountain under seige, but this seems to be as much to show solidarity with Bard as for his own benefit.

Bard the Bowman certainly wants a share of the treasure. Even if it wasn't fairly owed to him as the slayer of Smaug, he needs it to be able to refound the city of Dale. He also knows that there is treasure plundered from Dale among Smaug's hoard and he justly wants that returned to him and his followers. As with the Elvenking, dragon-sickness is not a factor; Bard is not in the physical presence of Smaug's treasure with the exception of the Arkenstone, which he uses as a bargaining tool and nothing more.

Bolg of the North was already mustering the Goblins of the Misty Mountains over the death of the Great Goblin. The thought of plundering Smaug's treasure-hoard is icing on the cake for him. Just the same, it must have been a great motivator to his troops.

Dain is coming to the aid of his kinsmen. Treasure might be an additional motive but, if so, it is not make apparent. Certainly, after he becomes King under the Mountain, Dain proves to be a generous and fair-minded ruler.

The Master of Lake-town is arguably the only character more strongly affected by the dragon-sickness than was Thorin. His inherent greed is fueled by Smaug's gold to the point where he finally steals as much of it as he can make off with only to die alone in the marshes beyond Esgaroth.

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 2:41pm

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Greed and Maiar [In reply to] Can't Post

Great essay Cirashala!

It seems that the only character who has no trouble with greed on any level is Gandalf.

Is it possible that his Maiar origins - though we don't know this in The Hobbit, we have no clue to his origins yet - are the only thing that saves him from the lure of that dragon-brooded hoard?

I wonder how great a destiny or background JRRT might have had in mind for Gandalf. He makes him vulnerable to injury (witness the bound-up arm) yet not vulnerable to the desire for treasure that reaches everyone, from our really quite pure-hearted Bilbo to the Sindar King.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 2:47pm

Post #9 of 53 (1115 views)
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Smaug or Sauron/Necromancer [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I agree that greed is the biggest obstacle for our characters (both heroes and villains) to overcome in The Hobbit. However, we could say that greed is the main "psychological" enemy. Who do you think is the main "physical" enemy in the story of The Hobbit?

Is it Smaug, who has the largest physical presence, yet was rather harmless after he took Erebor. Or is it Sauron, who had no presence in the story at all, but was the underlying villain?




Interesting point, in the context of the Greed essay.

Smaug is certainly an intimidating physical opponent - but is it Sauron setting the stage? I think that relates back to the question of the alliance between Sauron and Smaug: Glaurung seems to have only marginally served Morgoth, mostly as it suited him. Is it the same in this generation? Or is Smaug simply motivated by greed himself, and once he has what he desires could not care a fig for what Sauron may or may not want?

I wonder of the latter is true - because as you say Daniel he did sort of just lie about, eating now and then. He could have been doing a lot more damage.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 2:59pm

Post #10 of 53 (1094 views)
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Love your referencing Arandir [In reply to] Can't Post

And outstanding job of textual analysis!

I have to agree with your using the definition of 'host', and to expand it to its full ramifications. JRRT, among all other authors, would know the connotations and meanings of the word and would not use it lightly. (As Geordie very wonderfully pointed out last week, the man DID help write the dictionary!)

It intrigues me to think of what your numerical analysis says of the Goblin and Orc populations to recover so quickly after such a momentous loss. Your citations paint a picture of a highly proliferative race - I presume perhaps they had 'litters' versus single babies and must have had very short gestation periods. Amazing that such a huge loss (3 parts, as you say) could only keep the peace for the sixty or so years.

If three parts of the Dwarves were wiped out I think their race would just about end - like we see with Mim and the Petty-dwarves, who trickle away to nothing.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 3:05pm

Post #11 of 53 (1085 views)
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Older dwarves versus younger [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Thorin is most affected (next to the Master of Lake-town) by the dragon-sickness as it feeds off his own greed for his people's treasure and home. His desire for the Arkenstone of his fathers is particularly strong as it represents his heritage and his blood-right to rule. He isn't able to overcome his greed until he sees his own folk and the armies of the Men and Elves beset by the horde of the Orcs and Wargs. He fully redeems himself with his final, dying words forgiving Bilbo. The dragon-sickness seems to have a much greater effect on Thorin's older companions than on the younger Dwarves of the company.




That's very true, O-S. Leads me to wonder if the concept of the influence of Dragon-brooded gold is certainly part of the mix and the allure, but if the call to 'Home' and the Mountain itself plays a part as well, for those older Dwarves who lived there and desperately want that lifestyle back.

It is I think the solidarity of the forces united, by Gandalf, that breaks the spell over Thorin and calls to his feelings of loyalty and honor, greater than the greed. If the Goblins were simply massacring everyone outside, with no show of unity among them, I wonder if his thoughts might have been different.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Arandir
Gondor


Jul 24 2013, 3:06pm

Post #12 of 53 (1089 views)
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Dragons and greed [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with Cirashala's essay about the major predominance of greed.

If we are looking for a 'physical' villain in the story, then that would be Smaug - and not just for obvious reasons.

Throughout literature, dragons represented the ultimate form of human greed and in 'The Hobbit', I've always seen a kind of loop - whereby you have a greedy dragon who is representing Greed in itself.

So I would say that whether physically or not, Greed itself is the ultimate villain.

Great essay btw!

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog


Escapist
Gondor


Jul 24 2013, 3:07pm

Post #13 of 53 (1094 views)
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Greed is definitely a major factor. [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug is a "hording dragon" and that means greed. Thorin, Thranduil, and Bilbo are all touched by it in some important way. Gollum's entire life is being twisted into dark shapes by his inordinate attachment to a singular gold ring.

In addition to greed acting on important leaders to stop them from cooperating until the dire critical moment, there are also pride, mistrust, and dark curses at work.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 3:13pm

Post #14 of 53 (1081 views)
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I tend to agree [In reply to] Can't Post

You are right, the older Dwarves had memories of Erebor that certainly played a part in their desire to return. Those memories also gave the dragon-sickness a place to anchor itelf to.

If the Men and Elves had not allied with Dain against the Orcs, I still think that Thorin would have gone to the aid of his kinsmen. However, the dynamics would have been very different if the Men and Elves were still being treated as enemies and I doubt there would have been any winners (except for the goblins).

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


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jul 24 2013, 3:17pm

Post #15 of 53 (1083 views)
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Is Greed really the villian, or is it the central moral of the story? [In reply to] Can't Post

I see the centrality of greed in the storyline, it can hardly not be noticed, but does that really make it "the villain" or is it merely the moral of the story that greed destroys. Perhaps, the villain is the character who bests represents the immorality of Greed, and that discussion could go in many directions.

Take Lord of the Rings for example, the main moral (on the negative side) of the story is thirst for power and domination is evil and destructive. We see this play out in many fashions from the shire, to Mordor, Isengard, to Gondor and Rohan. But it would we would be hard-pressed to not label the main villain as either the Ring or Sauron (if we can even distinguish between them).

All that to say, I believe greed is the main example of immorality and evil in the story and the main villain is that character who most exemplifies that ethic, and that is probably Smaug. He just wants the gold but he does nothing with it except keep it and sleep on it. He has no need for any gold but his lust and greed are driven by his creator, Melkor.

Not all who wander are lost


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jul 24 2013, 3:24pm

Post #16 of 53 (1075 views)
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agreed! [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Not all who wander are lost


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24 2013, 3:28pm

Post #17 of 53 (1071 views)
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I never even boiught up Smaug, himself... [In reply to] Can't Post

I should have discussed Smaug as a character, but I suppose I just took the greed of dragons for granted.

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


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jul 24 2013, 3:28pm

Post #18 of 53 (1077 views)
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perhaps... [In reply to] Can't Post

or it could be more of Gandalf's mindset, it appears that Saruman and Sauron are affected by greed, but for other things than just gold, a lust for power despite their Maiar-roots. Gandalf we learn is considered the wisest of the Maiar, and perhaps that is why he sees no need for greed, he is too smart for that.

Not all who wander are lost

(This post was edited by rangerfromthenorth on Jul 24 2013, 3:30pm)


Arandir
Gondor


Jul 24 2013, 3:29pm

Post #19 of 53 (1083 views)
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Length constraints [In reply to] Can't Post

Many thanks Brethil!


Quote
It intrigues me to think of what your numerical analysis says of the Goblin and Orc populations to recover so quickly after such a momentous loss.

The article was actually an "edited" version of a much longer essay due to the word limit.

Thankfully, Tolkien provides us with the right amount of material to work on, but at the same time, leaves certain mysteries for himself - allowing anyone to deduce their own analysis.


Quote
If three parts of the Dwarves were wiped out I think their race would just about end - like we see with Mim and the Petty-dwarves, who trickle away to nothing.

Precisely ... the War of the Dwarves and Orcs had a huge impact on the battle of Five Armies - at least, that's the way I've always seen it.

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 3:38pm

Post #20 of 53 (1076 views)
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I like this point a lot Escapist - [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In addition to greed acting on important leaders to stop them from cooperating until the dire critical moment, there are also pride, mistrust, and dark curses at work.




I wonder if we can say it is the inverse, and the cooperation is what finally breaks the hold of greed?

Greed seems very 'singular' and separating; cooperation is the opposite.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 3:41pm

Post #21 of 53 (1078 views)
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Intriguing - more to discuss! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Many thanks Brethil! You are most welcome - thanks back so much for writing this!


Quote
It intrigues me to think of what your numerical analysis says of the Goblin and Orc populations to recover so quickly after such a momentous loss.

The article was actually an "edited" version of a much longer essay due to the word limit.

Thankfully, Tolkien provides us with the right amount of material to work on, but at the same time, leaves certain mysteries for himself - allowing anyone to deduce their own analysis.


Quote
If three parts of the Dwarves were wiped out I think their race would just about end - like we see with Mim and the Petty-dwarves, who trickle away to nothing.

Precisely ... the War of the Dwarves and Orcs had a huge impact on the battle of Five Armies - at least, that's the way I've always seen it.




Potentially another fascinating topic Arandir! (*whispering* And BTW word limits may be changing significantly upwards for the next TAS!*) Wink

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Arandir
Gondor


Jul 24 2013, 3:44pm

Post #22 of 53 (1071 views)
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Size in films [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It will be interesting to see how the armies are represented in the upcoming films, and whether the numbers involved are similar to yours.

For some reason, I have a feeling PJ will want to "extreme-atize" (not sure the word exists) the two opposing forces - reducing the strength of the good side, whilst increasing the evil force. Similar to Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith and the Battle of the Morannon in the films.

Of course, I hope the filmmakers don't exaggerate the underwhelming good force to the bare minimum.


Quote
Interesting point about the Orcs having to multiply quickly in 48 years. That's only two generations in human lives. I can't imagine men would be able to create an army of substantial size in just two generations!

It always seemed fascinating to me how Men and Elves never managed to keep up with the sheer amount of Orcs that they were constantly faced with - not just in the Third Age, but also during the time of 'The Silmarillion'.

To the Dwarves, the previous War had been too much of a serious blow - for the orcs, it seems it didn't even affect them much, if any at all.

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 3:52pm

Post #23 of 53 (1054 views)
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True Ranger [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
or it could be more of Gandalf's mindset, it appears that Saruman and Sauron are affected by greed, but for other things than just gold, a lust for power despite their Maiar-roots. Gandalf we learn is considered the wisest of the Maiar, and perhaps that is why he sees no need for greed, he is too smart for that.




especially as Gandalf is the one who 'succeeded' where Saruman failed.

I will be following Bruinen's discussion of The History of the Hobbit to see if there is a pointer as to the 'when' JRRT may have started to think of Gandalf this way, in the greater picture.

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!









Escapist
Gondor


Jul 24 2013, 4:02pm

Post #24 of 53 (1065 views)
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So what was it that finally inspired cooperation? [In reply to] Can't Post

Was it the realization that without cooperation, no one would be getting anything (and therefore everyone should be given a share)? The fact that they truly recognized that they truly needed each other in this moment? The inspiring leadership of Gandalf whom they commonly respected (even if they didn't quite respect each other)?

Was it the cooperation itself or something deeper of which cooperation was a sign?


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 24 2013, 4:35pm

Post #25 of 53 (1059 views)
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Oh good question Escapist... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Was it the realization that without cooperation, no one would be getting anything (and therefore everyone should be given a share)? The fact that they truly recognized that they truly needed each other in this moment? The inspiring leadership of Gandalf whom they commonly respected (even if they didn't quite respect each other)?

Was it the cooperation itself or something deeper of which cooperation was a sign?




I actually got the text out again, and had a read with this question in mind.

Certainly even Thranduil - though not willing to begin battle and war over the gold - isn't going anywhere or backing down. Bard is determined and become angrier. The Dwarves are ready and spring forward...Gandalf interrupts it all, with his blazing staff.

So maybe on the surface, the awe and leadership of Gandalf and the need to cooperate for the safety of all; but maybe underneath it all (so the cooperation being as 'sign') the essential conflict still goes on - simplified as Good and Evil in TH - the Valar versus Morgoth? (Morgoth of course, is the Ultimate Grand Master of Funk in Greed.)

And that is what is stronger than greed?

The first TORn Amateur Symposium starts this week in the Reading Room! Come and join in!








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