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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
There, and then what? The Dwarves' development in The Desolation of Smaug

News from Bree

Nov 23 2013, 7:04am

Post #1 of 8 (1099 views)
There, and then what? The Dwarves' development in The Desolation of Smaug Can't Post

A flood of trailers, interviews and TV spots have raised all sorts of questions over exactly how events will pan out across The Desolation of Smaug. Here, Captain Salt takes a long hard look at the implications for character development among our beardy friends who are so keen to reclaim their heritage, and the lost treasures of Erebor.

Needless to say, lots of speculation and lots of potential movie spoilers. If you're avoiding these, look away now!

There, and then what? The Dwarves' development in The Desolation of Smaug (and into There and Back Again)
by Captain Salt

When The Desolation of Smaug comes out next month it will greatly expand the cast of The Hobbit, just as The Two Towers did for the original trilogy in 2002. Yet despite an influx of Wood-elves, Lake-men, and so on, the core company at the center of the trilogy's narrative remains that of Thorin Oakenshield. While it remains to be seen just how the Dwarves will develop in films two and three, there have been sufficient hints (especially as of late), that can underpin speculation.

It seems that Thorin's growing madness will be the thrust of the Dwarf drama in The Desolation of Smaug, with the once-and-future King falling to dragon-sickness just as Elrond had feared in the recent An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition. Balin's comment "I fear for you", (seemingly aimed at Thorin, and possibly from the same scene as his stern remark: "His name is Bilbo."), and the would-be King Under the Mountain’s remark that his company will "burn together" would seem to confirm that Thorin is slipping into fanaticism as The Desolation of Smaug progresses (a deteriorating state which according to the recent Empire article is spurred on by the hallucinogenic spores on the air in Mirkwood Forest).

Balin, in particular, seems most concerned about this. But how will the others react? The company still has to trust Thorin enough to follow him into war as Richard Armitage has mentioned that the Dwarves emerge from Erebor wearing elaborate armor for the third film's Battle of the Five Armies:

"It's bloody heavy!...But it's absolutely beautiful to look at. Every time they bring something new out everyone gasps. The armor that the dwarves emerge from the mountain wearing at the end of the film will be the armor of all armor."

Will there be a rift amongst the Dwarves, and if so, how will it be mended? And how does Dwalin, Thorin's lieutenant and ostensibly brother figure, react to his elder brother questioning Thorin's leadership? Both Balin and Thorin are Dwalin's blood, so with which one will he side?

The Company split at Lake-town

Another pertinent question is, just how and why would Thorin leave his nephews, who are closer to being his sons, and heirs behind? Especially as it seems Kili is in danger of dying after taking an "orc wound" that Bilbo notices in Bard's boat, a wound which Kili received during the barrel escape and may have been taken while protecting Thorin. Does Kili succumb here to the enemy's poison darts as Faramir does in the Return of the King novel?

Fili stays behind as well (confirmed by Dean O'Gorman in a recent article), as does the company's "apothecary", Oin. As John Callen says in the first of WETA's guides to An Unexpected Journey:

"Oin's purpose and indeed his priorities become evident when we get deeper into the story and he has to make a choice between the Quest and his calling. It affirms his role in the group as a healer, and is done in a way that isn't soppy, but minutes later he's back in the fray and giving it all he's got."

Additionally, it seems that Bofur stays behind as well. Of course, these four will at some time make their way up Erebor to rejoin the rest of the company, something hinted at in a feature on Dean O'Gorman:

"[Dean] O'Gorman and fellow dwarf actors James Nesbitt, John Callen and Aidan Turner were dropped off on a mountain in New Zealand's South Island. The four actors, in full costume, made their way up a hill while second-unit director Andy Serkis filmed them from a circling helicopter. It was then, O'Gorman said, that the actors began humming the theme from "The Lord of the Rings" films."

So, it seems that Kili, Fili, Oin, and Bofur stay behind in Lake-town after Kili is injured while the others press on. But what would drive Bofur to allow Bifur and Bombur to continue on without him? And why would Gloin leave Oin behind (especially as Peter Hambleton in the An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition features stresses that Gloin realizes his brother's importance as the company's soothsayer and strives to protect him)?

Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Gloin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Bifer and Bombur are accounted for in footage from the end of The Desolation of Smaug, so they must continue on with Thorin.

Does leaving the injured Kili behind fuel the doubts of the other dwarves -- and particularly those of Balin? At this point, Thorin's drive and fixation on reaching the mountain might be impairing his judgement and sense of compassion -- something hinted at in An Unexpected Journey. Richard Armitage does specify that Kili is "heroic" and he and Aidan Turner share at least one emotional scene in later in the story. Is this where they're separated, or perhaps when they're reunited? And do Kili, and in particular Fili, who according to O'Gorman, "keenly feels Thorin's expectations", side with Thorin or Balin as tensions rise between them?

Who do you trust?

It's still probably not enough to permanently divide the Company; witness Gloin's argument with Thorin halting simply at the sight of The Lonely Mountain before the band of heroes in the recently-debuted footage. All the Company have an inherent devotion to their cause which seems to overwhelm personal animosity. Their trust in Thorin's ambition seems to continually out-weigh other concerns.

Certainly, the issue of trust is one which would seem to play into the Dwarves' journey. Particularly for the second film: the other Dwarves' growing trust in Bilbo (who must maintain and nurture this faith from the company though increasingly dangerous circumstances); trust of Thorin (how and will this be shaken?); and distrust of pretty much everyone else, especially Thranduil and Bard (the former seems appropriate, but the later... would the story not have progressed in a different direction had Thorin and the Dwarves fostered allies rather than enemies?)

Just as the Dwarves' trust in Bilbo places both support and great burden on him, their antagonistic attitude toward outsiders lead to events which ultimately result in a conflict-ridden ending for the story.

Other recent comments would lead one to believe not only that there is in-fact some relationship between Kili and Tauriel as has long been rumored; Evangeline Lilly specified that the dwarf actors she most worked with were Turner, O'Gorman, Callen and Nesbitt, hinting that she might well spend time amongst these four in Lake-town. In particular, Lilly specified that she had "a lot of amazing" scenes with Turner. It also seems that Lilly heals Kili's orc-wound: as recently mentioned, she shot a "powerful healing ceremony with... dwarves around her".

Does what may be Kili's admiration for/crush on Tauriel provide more for a divide with his uncle? And if the Dwarves remain in Lake-town, are they still there when Smaug attacks? If so, one imagines they'll be involved in the action in some capacity, perhaps simply trying to survive, or perhaps ushering Bard’s children (Bain, Tilda and Sigrid), to safety?

Do the Dwarves in Lake-town believe that the others have been killed when they notice fire burning on the mountain (as the second film's end credits song "I See Fire" would suggest)? Or does Thorin's company believe that the four in Lake-town have been killed when Smaug attacks the settlement? If Thorin thinks his heirs have perished, this may fuel his madness and drive to secure the Arkenstone and his kingship.

Additionally, how will Kili feel about Tauriel when his uncle's domain is besieged by Wood-elves? And does Billy Connolly's comment that he had "elves to kill" during the Battle of Five Armies suggest that things progress further than in the novel, and blood is shed amongst the Free Peoples? Or was Connolly simply being facetious?

And a final question. How will Thorin's madness manifest in The Desolation of Smaug without becoming full-blown dementia (culminating in his assailing Bilbo, if that scenes remains, in There and Back Again)? With Thorin slipping into "threatening" mode in The Desolation of Smaug's last act, that doesn't seem to leave Armitage much room for Thorin to grow increasingly obsessed.

Obviously, we have more questions than answers right now. But many of the latter will be revealed in a few week's time.

Captain Salt has been a Tolkien fan since childhood when he played Gloin in a stage production of The Hobbit though as there were only about eight dwarves, he was given other dwarves' dialogue as well, resulting in a rather strange Gloin who at times talked to himself in a Gollum-ish manner. He's also volunteered through the years at other film sites and has written for (minor) entertainment publications.

The views presented in this article are his own and don't necessarily represent TheOneRing.net or other staff.

(This post was edited by Altaira on Nov 23 2013, 3:13pm)


Nov 23 2013, 4:50pm

Post #2 of 8 (269 views)
Outstanding Article [In reply to] Can't Post

"Mirkwood's poisonous.
Mushroom spores
Enhance his
Madness ?"..


(This post was edited by Bombadil on Nov 23 2013, 4:51pm)


Nov 23 2013, 6:10pm

Post #3 of 8 (241 views)
Nice read! [In reply to] Can't Post

Although, it isn't at all weird that Thorin and the others would leave for the Lonely Mountain. I actually think it's stranger that Bofur (and even Fli, even if one fully understands his reasons) is staying behind. The company has to reach Erebor before Durin's Day, and are running late.

Also, the track "Kingsfoil" on the DoS soundtrack seems to suggest that a king (or rather the heir of a king, just as in LotR) is the one who's healing people. Let's assume Tauriel also is wounded. In that case we should start discussing if kingsfoil would make the ideal ingredient for a love potion... PJ sure seems eager to create resonance between The Hobbit and LotR.

The Shire

Nov 23 2013, 7:30pm

Post #4 of 8 (221 views)
Bofur in Laketown? [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought Bofur would be with them in the mountain because one magazine said Bilbo gets the Arkenstone from him.
But maybe it's Bombur like in the book and they goofed.
I don't want Bofur to die in Smaug's attack!


Nov 23 2013, 7:38pm

Post #5 of 8 (208 views)
Good read [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the post, I really hope that more of the dwarves are developed in this film, particularly Fili, Dori, Nori, Bifur and Gloin who I feel got the least attention in the last film.

Also, regarding this quote: "It's still probably not enough to permanently divide the Company; witness Gloin's argument with Thorin halting simply at the sight of The Lonely Mountain before the band of heroes in the recently-debuted footage. All the Company have an inherent devotion to their cause which seems to overwhelm personal animosity. Their trust in Thorin's ambition seems to continually out-weigh other concerns."

What footage do you mean here?

(This post was edited by Rheged on Nov 23 2013, 7:39pm)


Nov 23 2013, 8:15pm

Post #6 of 8 (217 views)
Dynamics among the Dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

We could get some interesting character dynamics in TaBA. Some of Thorin's closest allies might actually side with Bilbo with wanting to keep peace with the Men and Elves (I'm thinking largely of Balin). And one or more with the least direct connection to Thorin might be among his strongest supporters. According to the book, the younger of the Dwarves tended to side the most with Bilbo's thinking, but Jackson could certainly play around with that.

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


Nov 23 2013, 10:01pm

Post #7 of 8 (177 views)
Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

...as long as they retain the fact that Fili and Kili disagreed with Thorin over sharing Smaug's treasure, then I'm good. Although I'm nervous that it's Kili who's going to get all the attention and character development, and all Fili's going to get to do is sit around and look worried.


Nov 23 2013, 10:10pm

Post #8 of 8 (173 views)
Me too [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Fili should get more screen time, since he is the actual "heir" after Thorin. Kili seems to be getting plenty.

Boromir: One does not simply walk into Mordor...

Gandalf: FLY, YOU FOOLS!


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