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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Gandalf's Hobbit strategy.

Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Apr 11 2014, 10:22am

Post #1 of 11 (375 views)
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Gandalf's Hobbit strategy. Can't Post

Gandalf's whole reason for helping out on the quest for Erebor, was, as far as I understand it, a desire to re-create the kingdom of Erebor as a block against Sauron's far eastern armies. He was worried that there would be little resistance against any Easterling attack right up till Rivendell and even that would probably fall. But I wonder if he was totally correct about this. There were some peoples in the East. The Dwarves were there in the Iron Hills, The Elves in Mirkwood were not completely isolationist and of course there were still free men aplenty. And whilst one might argue that they were in decline, or not, they still had enough in them to beat the Goblins when they were united. Gandalf might have been over-concerned.


BlackFox
Valinor


Apr 11 2014, 10:39am

Post #2 of 11 (246 views)
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Wasn't he mainly worried about what could happen if Sauron and Smaug teamed up? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always seen the wish to neutralize the threat the possible alliance between Sauron and Smaug could have imposed as Gandalf's main motivation here.


"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." - Henry David Thoreau

(This post was edited by BlackFox on Apr 11 2014, 10:41am)


noWizardme
Grey Havens


Apr 14 2014, 2:31pm

Post #3 of 11 (188 views)
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Both right, and also... [In reply to] Can't Post

As related in the Unfinished Tale Quest for Erebor, semi-unbeknownst (if something can be semi-unbeknownst) to Gandalf, the Quest to Erebor had the higher purpose of getting the Ring into the hands of a Hobbit (the most Ring-resistant race) and off into the West where Sauron wouldn't get it too readily. Hence, in retrospect, Gandalf's insistence on the unlikely candidate of Bilbo Baggins as the expedition's burglar

Of course, Tolkien himself didn't know this when he wrote The Hobbit....Smile

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


BlackFox
Valinor


Apr 14 2014, 3:39pm

Post #4 of 11 (172 views)
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Three birds with one stone [In reply to] Can't Post

Even the very wise cannot see all ends, but Gandalf sure has got quite a few covered! Wink


"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." - Henry David Thoreau


dik-dik
Lorien


Apr 15 2014, 9:48am

Post #5 of 11 (160 views)
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With Gandalf's help, they got closer to each other. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But I wonder if he was totally correct about this. There were some peoples in the East. The Dwarves were there in the Iron Hills, The Elves in Mirkwood were not completely isolationist and of course there were still free men aplenty. And whilst one might argue that they were in decline, or not, they still had enough in them to beat the Goblins when they were united. Gandalf might have been over-concerned.


What BlackFox said about Gandalf's desire to prevent Smaug and Sauron uniting.
Also, the Iron Hills and Mirkwood are far from each other, the Mountain is a strategic point between them. Even if Smaug somehow dies but the Dwarves remain in the Hills, there's a larger risk of the allies being defeated during the War of the Ring if their efforts aren't coordinated, and messengers have to pass between the Hills and Mirkwood which certainly is more time-consuming and dangerous than uniting around Erebor. And that's taking for granted that there is a desire between the Iron Hills Dwarves and Mirkwood Elves to take counsel together, which is really established only after the 5 Armies.
Also, we don't know how safe the Hills are compared to Erebor. The casaulties from Laketown would have been much larger if they couldn't hide in the safety of the Mountain (especially the civilians).

"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me." ~ Paul Eddington
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"You can't have everything; where would you put it?"


Matthias132
The Shire

Apr 16 2014, 2:00am

Post #6 of 11 (120 views)
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Definitely Solidarity [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if Gandalf planned all of that, but he most likely did considering he is the wisest of the Maiar. I have to agree that helped reclaim Erebor because of the solidarity it could bring, and definitely its riches. The Iron Hills, free men, and Mirkwood Elves very well would be united through Erebor because of its riches, and central location. Uniting all of those Kingdoms would deter the Easterlings, and the goblins/orcs of the Misty Mountains.

As far as getting the ring as far west, I have no claim.
Gandalf most definitely saw the Bilbo as being a superior tool in reclaiming the Arkenstone because hobbits are small, foreign to Smaug, and quiet. It was a wise decision to choose a Hobbit, and I think things just occurred because of fate. The ring wants to be found, and it was found.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.Courage is found in unlikely places - J.R.R. Tolkien (Gildor)


Bladerunner
Gondor


Apr 16 2014, 2:49am

Post #7 of 11 (133 views)
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Not only Erebor... [In reply to] Can't Post

... one of Gandalf's goals was also to reestablish Dale. And even with the addition of Dale and Erebor, the northern kingdoms barely succeded in rebuffing Sauron's armies during the War of the Ring.


dik-dik
Lorien


Apr 16 2014, 11:07am

Post #8 of 11 (114 views)
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I think you mean 'in reclaiming the Mountain'? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Gandalf most definitely saw the Bilbo as being a superior tool in reclaiming the Arkenstone


Or 'getting rid of Smaug'. Because Bilbo's Arkenstone quest is purely a movie construct and as such I don't consider it canon in any way. Smile

"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me." ~ Paul Eddington
----------
"You can't have everything; where would you put it?"


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Apr 22 2014, 11:52pm

Post #9 of 11 (80 views)
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Though if you think about it [In reply to] Can't Post

Was Smaug really that much of a threat? After all he was slain in the first mangy town he came across. Wouldn't have been much of a threat against Lorien, Rohan or the archers of Gondor, would he? Smile


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Apr 23 2014, 1:02am

Post #10 of 11 (75 views)
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I think that the element of 'fate/luck' or the simpler children's form of the story may be at work [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure that Smaug was meant to be fearsome and dangerous "A dragon is no idle fancy' after all, however the translation of the character Smaug, from simpler just-so style, to the complex epic style may have left a few unanswered questions.

In the simpler style, a lot less explanation was needed, the reader just took it as it came, but that doesn't satisfy the questions involved in creating such a complex plot as the LotR. I think that is why Tolkien wrote The Quest for Erebor, to explain. In the early conception, it was enough that Bard was there, a descendant of the rightful ruler, and aided by the specific knowledge of the birds whose speech he could understand. These elements (i.e, bloodline privilege, descendants restoring the glory of their ancestors, and luck/fate) are still present in LotR, but in a more refined form.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Apr 23 2014, 3:16pm

Post #11 of 11 (88 views)
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Smaug, alone, might not have dared Lady Galadriel and Lothlorien. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Was Smaug really that much of a threat? After all he was slain in the first mangy town he came across. Wouldn't have been much of a threat against Lorien, Rohan or the archers of Gondor, would he? Smile



Smaug, as air-support for a large force of Sauron's troops, is another matter. In this respect, Sauron needed Smaug far more than the Dragon needed the Dark Lord. Without the Necromancer, Smaug would have been content to remain in Erebor guarding his hoard.

'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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