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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Orc Army Motivation for marching on Erebor....


Jul 29 2014, 4:00pm

Post #1 of 11 (785 views)
The Orc Army Motivation for marching on Erebor.... Can't Post

This may well have been covered elsewhere, and if so apologies, I couldn't immediately see a thread on it. What exactly is the motivation of the Orcs to march on Erebor and how does this differ from the book?

My recollection of the novel is basically a fairly simplistic motivation for the combatants in the BOFA. ie The men of Laketown, the dwarves, the elves of Mirkwood and the Orcs (or rather Goblins) of Goblin Town are pretty much just marching on Erebor to get their hands on the gold and the Arkenstone. Fairly straightforward and logical for a children's tale.

In the movie-verse however, it's seems to be that we have the Orcs being marshalled from Dol Guldur under direction of the Necromancer/Sauron and his lieutenants.

To simply be after the gold would seem slightly trivial for Sauron, but also so would the simple 'revenge' motive of Azog. So, what is their motivation, and does the shift in focus from book to film bother people, or is it accepted as a more 'realistic' story arc?


Jul 29 2014, 4:09pm

Post #2 of 11 (555 views)
Sauron's domination over Middle-Earth [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron wants to ally with Smaug to extend his domination on the North of ME, and when he heard that Thorin Oakenshield wanted to take back Erebor, he tasked Azog to kill him (2 birds with one stone for Azog in this case)

That is why Gandalf comes to Thorin in Bree (prologue in DOS) and the 2 bad boys are after Thorin. Gandalf wants to push Thorin in succeeding in reclaiming Erebor so the good folks have the stronghold in the north.

That's the way I interpreted it.


Jul 29 2014, 4:09pm

Post #3 of 11 (558 views)
Two obvious possibilities [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Sauron's interest is in order to safeguard Smaug, but in principle would it really take a vast army to do this? Unless he intends to simply subdue the entire North in co-operation with Smaug. Perhaps a unified attack was planned? Will we discover this if so?

2) Sauron intends this army to march on the Woodland Realm (or even Rivendell or Lothlorien), but it is commandeered by Azog and he marches on Erebor for his own interests, having heard a recent report on Thorin's whereabouts from Bolg (who may even know by this point that Smaug had perished).

Right now option 2 makes more sense to me. Azog has already been shown to be somewhat impetuous.

(This post was edited by Shagrat on Jul 29 2014, 4:13pm)


Jul 29 2014, 4:11pm

Post #4 of 11 (538 views)
Sauron wants to prevent the dwarfes from the unity [In reply to] Can't Post

When the dwarfen folks are united again, there is a strong alliance in the north against Sauron.
And if the orcs are victorious, Sauron can determine upon the lands.

Let's find out whether it works out this way...

The Shire

Jul 29 2014, 4:12pm

Post #5 of 11 (518 views)
Divide and conquer [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron doesn't want the dwarves to unite under the same banner - and the Arkenstone is said to have this "power". In the movies, the first goal of the company is to get the Arkenstone.


And Sauron wants to join for forces with Smaug.

(This post was edited by Grimnir on Jul 29 2014, 4:14pm)


Jul 29 2014, 4:16pm

Post #6 of 11 (508 views)
No power basis... [In reply to] Can't Post

... for ANY of the Free Peoples in the North. In the best case - securing Smaug's allegiance. But of that fails (or after he learns that the dragon is dead): No restored King under the Mountain, no re-birth of Dale, no unity between Erebor, Dale and the Woodland Realm.

Failing to secure the North is the reason why Sauron has to open a multi-front war during the War of the Ring. Which is a major reason why the sack of Minas Tirith fails and why Frodo manages to get into Mordor.

"I am afraid it is only too likely to be true what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at." J.R.R. Tolkien

We all have our hearts and minds one way or another invested in these books and movies. So we all mind and should show the necessary respect.


Jul 29 2014, 8:18pm

Post #7 of 11 (383 views)
War requires gold. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even if we grant that Mordor and its armies work on a slave economy, gold is needed to buy mercenaries (such as the Corsairs), pay spies (such as the Southerner at Bree), bribe traitors (such as Bill Ferny), buy smuggled luxury goods for the elite (such as Visine), etc. And it keeps the gold out of the hands of the West (which does seem like it has a metal based economic system) to keep it from raising armies and building fortifications.

And finally, to prevent this:

They fell to talking of their times together, of course, and Bilbo asked how things were going in the lands of the Mountain. It seemed they were going very well. Bard had rebuilt the town in Dale and men had gathered to him from the Lake and from South and West, and all the valley had become tilled again and rich, and the desolation was now filled with birds and blossoms in spring and fruit and feasting in autumn. And Lake-town was refounded and was more prosperous than ever, and much wealth went up and down the Running River; and there was friendship in those parts between elves and dwarves and men.
-The Last Stage

Sauron would definitely want to prevent that!

"Weíve heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true."
-Robert Wilensky

(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jul 29 2014, 8:21pm)


Jul 29 2014, 9:36pm

Post #8 of 11 (365 views)
The original book-motive was revenge! [In reply to] Can't Post

Vengeance against Thorin and his companions for the slaying of the Great Goblin. Not that treasure wasn't a terrific secondary motivation.

In DoS, I think that Sauron's original motive was to have Azog secure Smaug as an ally, perhaps by stationing some of his more trusted Orcs to guard the dragon's hoard (remember that Azog's forces marched before Smaug left the Mountain). Sauron might have even sent Azog's troops along the Misty Mountans first to gather more goblins from there and the Grey Mountains on the way. That may explain why they don't arrive until after Dain and his Dwarves reach Erebor.

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

Tol Eressea

Jul 29 2014, 10:25pm

Post #9 of 11 (342 views)
Why would Smaug give Azog the time of day? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd picture Smaug laughing in his face before roasting him (which I'd love to see BTW).


Jul 29 2014, 10:35pm

Post #10 of 11 (340 views)
Azog, no. [In reply to] Can't Post

But the Orc represented a much greater power; one which even Smaug had to respect, if not necessarily obey. Certainly Smaug seemed to know more than he had any right to, suggesting that Sauron had already been in contact with him.

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


Jul 29 2014, 11:27pm

Post #11 of 11 (328 views)
I posted on this subject a while ago now [In reply to] Can't Post

Sometime ago I listened to a podcast by the Tolkien professor Corey Oleson and his crew. They discussed this very subject: what is the objective of Azog and his army in the movie?

As a book fan, I had assumed automatically that since movie Sauron has an Orc army and an Orc army will turn up at Erebor, they are one and the same. Maybe they are, but that scenario is not entirely logical.

As Oleson pointed out, when Sauron summons Azog and appoints him the commander of his army, Gandalf and the Dwarves are at Beornís house, nowhere near the Mountain. Smaug is still alive and kicking and probably in communication with Sauron. There are no armies of any kind heading for Erebor, Dwarf, Elf, Human or Orc. Later we see the Orc forces leaving Dol Guldur but Smaug is still alive and in possession of the Lonely Mountain so that part of the world is secure. Who would believe that the Dragon would be destroyed? So at this point, Sauron has no reason to send his forces to the Mountain. Certainly there is no way for Azog and any number of Orcs to compel Smaug to do anything, especially give up some of his gold, and I believe the Dragon is too arrogant to fear Sauron. Sauron is not Morgoth, after all.

Is movie Sauron going after Thranduil and is the army going to the Elvenrealm? Thatís possible, even as a first step in a larger campaign. Laketown is negligible and virtually powerless, defenseless and worthless to boot so I doubt that was the goal.

Or are Rivendell and Lorien in Sauronís sights? Coincidentally, I was rereading Unfinished Tales back then and in the Quest for Erebor chapter Gandalf says that he believed that Sauronís goal was to take out Rivendell and Lorien from Dol Guldur. With Smaug in the east and the two of the four Elven homelands destroyed, he would be in a very strong position. So that is another possibility.

Now it could be that the Orcs at Dol Guldur were just marching around so that we could see Gandalf witness their numbers, in which case they could set out for Erebor when Sauron learns that Smaug is dead. Or the army could be on its way somewhere when Sauron gets the bad news and somehow he redirects it.

But I still don't see what Sauron's original plan was.

On the other hand, this may all just be a timeline error by the film makers. I'm hoping for clarification on the EE.

(This post was edited by Noria on Jul 29 2014, 11:29pm)


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