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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
I just realized why Thranduil didn't help the dwarves after Smaug took Erebor
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Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Apr 4, 8:34pm

Post #1 of 45 (7259 views)
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I just realized why Thranduil didn't help the dwarves after Smaug took Erebor Can't Post

I was thinking about why Thranduil didn't help the dwarves even after Erebor was taken, and I think I finally figured it out.

Smaug took Erebor, and Thranduil and his elves showed up after the dragon was already inside. I get why he wouldn't help fight the dragon at that point- if they had gone in, Smaug would have destroyed the elf army.

But why didn't he help the dwarves afterward?

Most people would think that it was because he was really pissed at them for denying him the jewels. I certainly don't dispute that he was livid about that.

But I just realized another, far less selfish reason why he didn't aid the dwarves afterward...and it makes complete sense.

When Smaug took up residence in Erebor, the lands surrounding the Mountain became barren. No animals or birds resided on it for a very long time (hence the prophecy "When the birds of yore return to Erebor, the reign of the beast will end").

But what if that phenomenon also affected the northerly edges of Mirkwood as well?

We know that, with the Necromancer taking up residence in Dol Guldur, the forest became sick, tainted with evil. When the company is traveling (mind you, movie version here with some bits of book thrown in too), they see nothing fit to eat. A few mangy black squirrels, and a single stag at the enchanted river are pretty much all the game they spot (and they failed to hit the stag).

What if the lack of game in northern Mirkwood extended even into Thranduil's realm? If the birds and beasts left the area because of the dragon, isn't it possible that the game in the forest (even where the forest wasn't as disgusting due to elvish magic) also took off?

Also, if the dragon was present, it may be that any grazing animals (like deer or other wild grazers) might have fled the plains areas east of the woods as well. The fish may not have fled, since they were safe underwater (hence why Laketown would still have fish). And I don't recall the elves of Mirkwood being much for farming- I envision them as more of a hunter-gatherer type people who may have attended some gardens, but not large scale farming. Plus, Thranduil is not as dumb as the people of Laketown, and I highly doubt he would have risked his people farming the open areas outside of the forest in case the dragon did exit the mountain to hunt (they would have been much more easily spotted than under tree cover, and they could have not as easily retreated to his caverns).


So in a nutshell-what if Thranduil did not aid the dwarves because he couldn't? What if the dragon chased away all (or most) of the game in the forest and in the grasslands, and he himself had a hard time feeding his own people because of it?

That would most definitely explain his lack of charity toward the dwarves (who endangered his people not only by the presence of a dragon, but also because his own people were hungry due to the dragon chasing away the game). It could also explain why all his foodstuffs came from trade with Laketown, rather than the elves having great hunting parties in the woods (that, and spiders).

Basically, if Smaug drove off Thranduil's Mirkwood and grazing game, and thus subjecting his people to hunger, then Thranduil could not have helped the dwarves at all after the fall of Erebor because doing so would cause his own people to starve (if they weren't suffering from it a bit to begin with) until the trade routes were safe again.


That certainly changes the perception of Thranduil from heartless jerk to rock and a hard place decision.

Thoughts?

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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 8:57pm

Post #2 of 45 (7160 views)
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I don't think so? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't believe that the Desolation of the Dragon extended as far as the eaves of the Woodland Realm. There is certainly no evidence that this is the case in Tolkien's book, and I'm not sure that the movies support this hypothesis, though I'll admit that it's an interesting idea. The Desolation seems to have stretched out to about a day's journey or so from the Mountain (say between 20 and 40 miles). That said, the badlands of the Waste, north and east of Lonely Mountain is a much more extensive region, nearly empty of life, between Erebor, the Grey Mountains, and the Iron Hills. This is where the old Master met his end in the novel.

Admittedly, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to extend the Waste into the Northern Dalelands that border the edge of Thranduil's realm. Game within the Elvenking's territory would probably be shielded, but the Elves would have probably ridden out of the Forest for much of their hunting.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 4, 9:02pm)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 4, 9:14pm

Post #3 of 45 (7149 views)
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Well, the Mirkwood elves were often hunting [In reply to] Can't Post

as we saw in the book, and when the hobbits were captured, the elves were having a feast.

Like many elven kingdoms, the elves were not much concerned with groups other than their own. Thranduil's treatment of the dwarves was entirely consistent with history.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 4, 9:29pm

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Feasting Elves [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
as we saw in the book, and when the hobbits were captured, the elves were having a feast.


And a merry feast at that; no signs of deprivation. Of course, that does not necessarily extend to the films, though we do learn of the Feast of Starlight, where there still seems to be no particular concern about famine or want. Your hypothesis is possible; I'm not convinced that it is likely.


In Reply To
Like many elven kingdoms, the elves were not much concerned with groups other than their own. Thranduil's treatment of the dwarves was entirely consistent with history.


Yes, though this is a cultural attitude passed down from the Elves of Gondolin and (especially) Doriath; it is a separate issue than possible concerns about scarcity of food. However, Thranduil could also have been concerned about reprisals from Smaug as punishment for aiding the Dwarves even to the extent of simply offering them succor. Still, his cold attitude suggests more than this (returning us to Thror's refusal to return the White Gems of Lasgalen).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 4, 9:34pm)


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Apr 5, 3:37am

Post #5 of 45 (7112 views)
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Two problems (movie-verse) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have two problems with your hypothesis. The first is that the Dragon had just barely gotten there. I don' t think Smaug had time to drive off the game and create the potential famine you're describing. And second, in BOT5A Thranduil readily came to the aid of the Laketowners, with several wagons full of provisions. A better question to me is, why was he going to Erebor to begin with? I have maintained that in AUJ Thranduil was responding to the calls for help from Dale - in other words, he wasn't going to Erebor at all. And as to why he didn't help the Dwarves, well, why should he? Relations weren't exactly good at that time, plus the Dwarves were now homeless so it wasn't just food that was a problem. Survivors of Dale (and I assume Esgaroth) would also need shelter, which in BOT5A Thranduil seemed more interested in helping them. However, he made it clear that he "came to reclaim something that is mine." So one could also argue (and several have) that Thranduil was marching on Erebor in AUJ specifically to get the jewels. In other words, he planned to make war with the Dwarves, but his plans were thwarted by Smaug. Why then would he offer aid to people he originally intended to fight?

I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies - this is me!

from The Greatest Showman




Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 5, 4:51am

Post #6 of 45 (7098 views)
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Smaug in Erebor and the arrival of the Elves [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have two problems with your hypothesis. The first is that the Dragon had just barely gotten there. I don' t think Smaug had time to drive off the game and create the potential famine you're describing. And second, in BOT5A Thranduil readily came to the aid of the Laketowners, with several wagons full of provisions.


You make a good point about the Elves bringing supplies to the survivors of Lake-town. I'm sure that Smaug had still occupied Erebor for a substantial period of time even in the time-frame of the movies. My best estimate is that the dragon arrived about 120 years before the Quest of Erebor (as opposed to 171 years in the book). What confuses people is that he was sighted at least once after taking over the Mountain, 60 years before the Unexpected Party.


In Reply To
A better question to me is, why was he going to Erebor to begin with? I have maintained that in AUJ Thranduil was responding to the calls for help from Dale - in other words, he wasn't going to Erebor at all. And as to why he didn't help the Dwarves, well, why should he? Relations weren't exactly good at that time, plus the Dwarves were now homeless so it wasn't just food that was a problem. Survivors of Dale (and I assume Esgaroth) would also need shelter, which in BOT5A Thranduil seemed more interested in helping them. However, he made it clear that he "came to reclaim something that is mine." So one could also argue (and several have) that Thranduil was marching on Erebor in AUJ specifically to get the jewels. In other words, he planned to make war with the Dwarves, but his plans were thwarted by Smaug. Why then would he offer aid to people he originally intended to fight?


That last is my own favorite theory: Thranduil was marching on Erebor to reclaim his gems and turned back because he didn't want to fight a dragon either. Think of how long it would have taken the Wood-elves to reach the Mountain if they had only mobilized after learning of Smaug's attack; it would have been at least two or three days after he drove the Dwarves out of Erebor.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 5, 4:54am)


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Apr 6, 8:02pm

Post #7 of 45 (6948 views)
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I suppose it is a bit hard to say [In reply to] Can't Post

Where the Desolation of Smaug and the influence of the Necromancer in Mirkwood had it's border. I think at least movie-wise the Desolation of Smaug seened to have an influence on Lake-Town. And possibly it aided those Orce on the woodland's realm border.


Noria
Gondor

Apr 7, 12:01pm

Post #8 of 45 (6874 views)
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I agree with Kili and Otaku-sempai [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems to me that the logical inference is that Thranduil was on his way to Erebor to wage war against the Dwarves to try to regain his jewels.

As has been said, sufficient time had not passed for the desolation of the dragon to have spread into Mirkwood. Even decades later, we saw in DoS that the area outside Thranduil's cave was still thriving.

Nor had there been time enough for Thranduil to hear of Smaug's arrival, muster his army and get to Erebor. The Dwarves were still escaping out of the front door of the Lonely Mountain when the Elves arrived.

Thranduil was a beautiful jerk, personally brave but not kindly, especially to his enemies.

Nor was he a sociopath: he was quite willing to help the Laketowners, perhaps because he was there anyway, but he did save them. In the BOFA he charged alone into Dale when the Orcs attacked it, then later wanted to leave when he saw the butcher's bill.

It's all these contrasts - arrogance and integrity, courage and indifference, greed and generosity - that IMO make Thranduil interesting and compelling.


dreamflower
Lorien

Apr 10, 3:02pm

Post #9 of 45 (6750 views)
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I'm not sure [In reply to] Can't Post

That MOVIE Thranduil had any such considerations. His characterization was that of a very cold and insular leader.

I like book-Thranduil better, and many fanfic Thranduils better still. My head-canon is that he may have had a brief foresight of future disaster if he aided the Dwarves at that point. But there is no evidence of his actual motives.

(BTW: Thanks for the link to your fanfic! *grin*)

Some people call it fanfiction. I call it story-internal literary criticism.

(This post was edited by dreamflower on Apr 10, 3:03pm)


Laineth
Lorien

Apr 11, 5:30pm

Post #10 of 45 (6706 views)
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Thranduil [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
I have two problems with your hypothesis. The first is that the Dragon had just barely gotten there. I don' t think Smaug had time to drive off the game and create the potential famine you're describing. And second, in BOT5A Thranduil readily came to the aid of the Laketowners, with several wagons full of provisions.


You make a good point about the Elves bringing supplies to the survivors of Lake-town. I'm sure that Smaug had still occupied Erebor for a substantial period of time even in the time-frame of the movies. My best estimate is that the dragon arrived about 120 years before the Quest of Erebor (as opposed to 171 years in the book). What confuses people is that he was sighted at least once after taking over the Mountain, 60 years before the Unexpected Party.


In Reply To
A better question to me is, why was he going to Erebor to begin with? I have maintained that in AUJ Thranduil was responding to the calls for help from Dale - in other words, he wasn't going to Erebor at all. And as to why he didn't help the Dwarves, well, why should he? Relations weren't exactly good at that time, plus the Dwarves were now homeless so it wasn't just food that was a problem. Survivors of Dale (and I assume Esgaroth) would also need shelter, which in BOT5A Thranduil seemed more interested in helping them. However, he made it clear that he "came to reclaim something that is mine." So one could also argue (and several have) that Thranduil was marching on Erebor in AUJ specifically to get the jewels. In other words, he planned to make war with the Dwarves, but his plans were thwarted by Smaug. Why then would he offer aid to people he originally intended to fight?


That last is my own favorite theory: Thranduil was marching on Erebor to reclaim his gems and turned back because he didn't want to fight a dragon either. Think of how long it would have taken the Wood-elves to reach the Mountain if they had only mobilized after learning of Smaug's attack; it would have been at least two or three days after he drove the Dwarves out of Erebor.


Everyone has the right to their own opinions, but I've never understood where people get the war theory from, because there is no basis in the films for it and it unfairly villainizes Thranduil.

First, Thranduil warned Thror his dragon sickness would bring a dragon no one would be able to defeat (he has faced dragons before, he knows how powerful they are).

“All would pay homage to him, even the great Elvenking, Thranduil.” Thror expected Thranduil to “pay homage” to him. To pay homage means “a public show of respect or honor towards someone or something.” Thranduil arrives, and they both tilt their heads in respect. Thror then has the box containing the gems opened. Thranduil glances at Thror, before looking back at the gems, as he starts walking forward. “As the great wealth of the dwarves grew, their store of goodwill ran thin.” Thranduil pauses before the box, his eyes and mouth widening slightly as he is greatly moved by the sight of the gems. He continues to stare at them for a few moments. “No one knows exactly what began the rift.” Thranduil slowly reaches forward. As soon as Thranduil's hand gets close to the box, it is slammed shut. “The elves say the dwarves stole their treasure.” Thranduil's eyes widen in shock and disbelief; and Thorin looks at his grandfather, confused and surprised. “The dwarves tell another tale.” Thror just looks at Thranduil, who looks up. “They say the elf king refused to give them their rightful pay.” Thror and Thranduil stare at each other, and then Thranduil's mouth tightens into a slight smile, understanding the game Thror has played. He turns around and leaves.

No matter what Bilbo says, it’s actually quite clear – in a genius move, the scene disproves the narration. If it was a matter of payment, Thorin wouldn’t have been surprised. Nor would there have been any need to bait and toy with Thranduil. Thranduil's reaction to the gems shows that he cares greatly about them, something Thror had to be aware of. To be mocked and humiliated so publicly…

I don't understand how people miss how huge this is. It's practically a declaration of war!

Imagine if the situation was reversed. Thranduil had the Arkenstone, and was supposed to give it back to Thror. The meeting starts with him having his two heirs there, and requiring Thror to make a gesture of respect. Thranduil then has the Arkenstone brought forward. When Thror is about to touch it, he has it snapped back and taken away. Thror meets his gaze, and realizes Thranduil set this all up to humiliate him, and to prove his own superiority.

Does anyone honestly think the dwarves wouldn't go to war because of this? They would. They would not let such a slight pass unpunished.

Thranduil does. He doesn't start a conflict, but just walks away. Bilbo merely says “it is sad how old alliances can be broken;” and the film continues to show events in Erebor before Smaug came.

The prologue shows a fairly substantial amount of time passing between Thranduil's scene in Erebor and Smaug's attack. To make this explicit, Bilbo says “Slowly the days turned sour” right after Thranduil leaves Erebor. If Thranduil truly wanted to attack Erebor he would have done it immediately.

Most importantly, Thror still had the dragon sickness. He did not ask Thranduil for help and no dwarf could have accepted it without Thror's permission (remember how the Company did nothing during Thorin's dragonsickness except to try to plead with him). Thranduil knows that Thror has dragon sickness and would rather have his people die than get help from the elves. Thror was the one to destroy the alliance between them. There was nothing Thranduil COULD do.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 11, 6:36pm

Post #11 of 45 (6693 views)
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Thranduil in the films. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Everyone has the right to their own opinions, but I've never understood where people get the war theory from, because there is no basis in the films for it and it unfairly villainizes Thranduil.


You've got to lay some of the blame for that right at the feet of Peter Jackson. Tolkien's Elvenking seems to be far less cold and unfeeling.

Yes, in the throne room scene Thranduil walks away from Thror, but what else can he do right at that time? As good as he is, he can't take on all of Erebor with no more than a handful of escorts. Instead, he returns to Erebor with an army to reclaim what is his. You said it yourself, Thror all but declared war with his own actions.

The timing proves it. Thranduil arrives with his army long before he could have even known of the coming of Smaug if he was still in his own realm. It takes time to mobilize an army and to march even 50 or 60 miles. Why else could he be there except to reclaim his gems?

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Laineth
Lorien

Apr 11, 7:34pm

Post #12 of 45 (6686 views)
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Book vs Book vs Film [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Everyone has the right to their own opinions, but I've never understood where people get the war theory from, because there is no basis in the films for it and it unfairly villainizes Thranduil.


You've got to lay some of the blame for that right at the feet of Peter Jackson. Tolkien's Elvenking seems to be far less cold and unfeeling.

Yes, in the throne room scene Thranduil walks away from Thror, but what else can he do right at that time? As good as he is, he can't take on all of Erebor with no more than a handful of escorts. Instead, he returns to Erebor with an army to reclaim what is his. You said it yourself, Thror all but declared war with his own actions.

The timing proves it. Thranduil arrives with his army long before he could have even known of the coming of Smaug if he was still in his own realm. It takes time to mobilize an army and to march even 50 or 60 miles. Why else could he be there except to reclaim his gems?


Thanks for the reply.

Thranduil in the book!Hobbit is certainly different, but the Thranduil from UT and LotR is very similar to the film. Also, like Thorin, he is a good but not 'nice' character, in the vein of all anti heroes.

But we're talking about the films timing. The prologue implies months between Thranduil's visit and Smaug's attack, and in BotFA Thranduil gets wagons with supplies and his army moving in less than 24 hours.

Also, the distance is much shorter in the films. It only takes Tauriel and Legolas a few hours on foot to reach Laketown. And even in the books the distances are inconsistent. As Karen Wynn Fonstad says:


Quote
We can only surmise reasons for such variance. It is possible Tolkien had longer distances in mind for The Hobbit travels, and either did not check the effect of the scale placed on the map in the later book or chose to ignore it. Had the scale of the Wilderland map been about twice that of the rest of Middle-earth, the Dwarves' pace would have been nearer normal. Tolkien "was greatly concerned to harmonise Bilbo's journey with ... The Lord of the Rings ... but he never brought this work to a definitive solution." Rather than analyze too closely, it is preferable we merely gain a general impression of the seemingly endless toil necessary to reach Lonely Mountain.



skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Apr 11, 8:55pm

Post #13 of 45 (6681 views)
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Tauriel and Legolas don’t reach Laketown until days (nights, specifically) afterward in the films [In reply to] Can't Post

Honestly your posts lay more of an excellent defense for Thranduil marching on the mountain than they do refuting it. It makes no sense seeing Thranduil arrive with an army moments after a dragon attacks presumably for the sake of attacking the dragon and defending the dwarves (even though by his own motivations and later characterization, that makes no sense), only to then immediately turn around and go home.

I also don’t buy the ‘Thranduil would have attacked immediately’ bit. Thranduil is displayed throughout the trilogy as being extremely crafty, manipulative, and most of all, patient.

The only theory I’ve seen that makes sense of his actions is war against Thror for his wife’s gems, deferred only by Smaug’s arrival.


(This post was edited by skyofcoffeebeans on Apr 11, 8:58pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 11, 10:56pm

Post #14 of 45 (6671 views)
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Book vs. book. vs. book vs. films [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thranduil in the book!Hobbit is certainly different, but the Thranduil from UT and LotR is very similar to the film. Also, like Thorin, he is a good but not 'nice' character, in the vein of all anti heroes.

Okay, when do we get any sense at all of Thranduil's personality in The Lord of the Rings? Even in Unfinished Tales we only get the most vague impression of what he might be like, and most of that is how he reacts to the death of his father and the treat posed by Dol Guldur to his people. We never get to know him as a person.


In Reply To
But we're talking about the films timing. The prologue implies months between Thranduil's visit and Smaug's attack, and in BotFA Thranduil gets wagons with supplies and his army moving in less than 24 hours.


Maybe, maybe not. Smaug's arrival could have been days, weeks or months after the confrontation between Thror and the Elvenking. You are making an assumption and the prologue is not specific enough to confirm it. Yes, the Wood-elves probably get under way in less than a day, but so what? Thranduil has scouts and spies and might have even found out from the birds about the demise of Smaug. He learned of the dragon's death quickly in the book too.


In Reply To
Also, the distance is much shorter in the films. It only takes Tauriel and Legolas a few hours on foot to reach Laketown. And even in the books the distances are inconsistent. As Karen Wynn Fonstad says:


Quote
We can only surmise reasons for such variance. It is possible Tolkien had longer distances in mind for The Hobbit travels, and either did not check the effect of the scale placed on the map in the later book or chose to ignore it. Had the scale of the Wilderland map been about twice that of the rest of Middle-earth, the Dwarves' pace would have been nearer normal. Tolkien "was greatly concerned to harmonise Bilbo's journey with ... The Lord of the Rings ... but he never brought this work to a definitive solution." Rather than analyze too closely, it is preferable we merely gain a general impression of the seemingly endless toil necessary to reach Lonely Mountain.



We never see either Legolas or Tauriel with horses, but we don't really know that they don't have them. Certainly they needed mounts to reach Mount Gundabad later. Even way, they do not reach Lake-town until after Thorin and his companions reached and entered Erebor. But I dispute your claim that the distances are less than indicated by the maps of Middle-earth. Gandalf's description of the size of Mirkwood exactly matches the one he gives in the book of The Hobbit[. I do agree that Tolkien's map of Wilderland in The Hobbit might not have been to scale. and there are inconsistencies between TH and LotR, but that mainly concerns travel times between Hobbiton and Rivendell. The rates of travel that we see in the book between the Woodland Realm, Lake-town and Erebor seem to be about right for the distances given in later maps. But, yes, Peter Jackson cheats throughout the Hobbit movies in matters of time and distance. Characters and entire armies cover ground much faster than should be possible. The worst offender might be Thorin's company reaching Erebor in less than a day after leaving Lake-town, a journey that took four full days in the book. And Jackson didn't even need to do that; when the Dwarves first reached Lake-town we are told that Durin's Day is still two days away. They could have left the next morning and taken a day and a half to reach the mountain (still too quick but a little more reasonable).

Although it doesn't feel like it, in TH:BotFA it probably did take the survivors of Esgaroth several days to reach Dale, especially since they were traveling with injured and on foot. Note that the Wood-elves do not reach the ruins of Dale before the Men of Lake-town.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 11, 11:07pm)


Laineth
Lorien

Apr 12, 1:58am

Post #15 of 45 (6650 views)
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Timeline and Thranduil [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Honestly your posts lay more of an excellent defense for Thranduil marching on the mountain than they do refuting it. It makes no sense seeing Thranduil arrive with an army moments after a dragon attacks presumably for the sake of attacking the dragon and defending the dwarves (even though by his own motivations and later characterization, that makes no sense), only to then immediately turn around and go home.

I also don’t buy the ‘Thranduil would have attacked immediately’ bit. Thranduil is displayed throughout the trilogy as being extremely crafty, manipulative, and most of all, patient.

The only theory I’ve seen that makes sense of his actions is war against Thror for his wife’s gems, deferred only by Smaug’s arrival.


You're right that I misremembered the times a little, so I scripted it:

Day 1:
Dwarves captured by Elves
Night: Kili and Tauriel talk during Feast of Starlight

Day 2:
Morning:
Bofur: “I’ll wager the sun’s on the rise. It must be nearly dawn.”
Bilbo breaks dwarves out, river chase happens, Legolas and Tauriel take orc captive
Day:
Dwarves meet Bard
Elves interrogate orc
Legolas finds out Tauriel left
Dwarves enter Laketown
Balin: “Durin’s Day falls morn after next. We must reach the mountain before then.”
Bard says they're being watched, Company must stay until night
Legolas catches up to Tauriel on their side of the lake
Night:
Company robs the armory and gets caught

Day 3:
Morning:
Company leaves Laketown, Balin: “We have to, if we’re to find the door before nightfall. We can risk no more delays.”
Night:
Bilbo enters Erebor, Thorin: “The last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the keyhole.” [Balin's day 2 quote is incorrect, this is Durin's day]
Shaking from Smaug is felt in Laketown, Bard leaves.
Orcs attack Laketown
Tauriel and Legolas arrive
Tauriel heals Kili and Legolas follows Bolg
Company enters Erebor
Smaug leaves for Laketown
Smaug attacks Laketown and is killed by Bard

Day 4:
Morning:
Fili, Kili, Bofur and Oin leave lakeshore for Erebor
Tauriel and Legolas leave for Gundabad
Humans leave for Dale
Day:
Dwarves arrive at Erebor, Bilbo wrongly says: “Thorin. He’s been down there for days.” [it's been one day]
Humans arrive at Dale in early evening
Night:
Dwarves build barricade
Alfrid on watch in Dale

Day 5:
Morning:
Elves arrive in Dale
Thranduil delivers supplies and starts to leave
Bard goes to Erebor and comes back to Dale
Thorin sends for Dain
Night:
Everyone prepares for battle
Legolas and Tauriel at Gundabad
Gandalf arrives in Dale
Legolas and Tauriel leave Gundabad
Bilbo gives Arkenstone

Day 6:
Morning:
The big scene.
Dain arrives, orcs arrive, battle starts.
Day:
Lots of battle.
Legolas and Tauriel arrive later in the day.

It takes Legolas and Tauriel about a day to go around the lake on foot, and it takes Thranduil a little less than a day to raise his army, gather supplies, and get to Dale mounted.

I agree that Thranduil is patient and strategic. Which is why it makes no sense for Thranduil to attack Erebor. Like Moria, Erebor would be impenetrable the moment they went into lockdown. He would have no chance of winning, and we know how highly he values the lives of his people. Days or months, nothing has changed to make an attack on Erebor a good idea.

I never said that Thranduil came to attack Smaug and help the dwarves. He's faced dragons before, he knows Thror has fallen, and he knows a dragon is inevitable. So he posts scouts and communicates with the animals to give a warning if a dragon starts coming their way from the Withered Heath.

So the alarm comes. Thranduil knows the dragon is likely heading for Erebor. So he brings his army to assess the situation and protect their home if the dragon decides he wants to destroy them first. He sees the devastation that shows that Smaug is in Erebor, so he turns around and goes back home.

Again, I'm not saying that he's nice. Thranduil is an incredibly gray character. That doesn't mean he should be vilified for things that have no support from the film.


Laineth
Lorien

Apr 12, 2:23am

Post #16 of 45 (6649 views)
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In Reply To
Thranduil in the book!Hobbit is certainly different, but the Thranduil from UT and LotR is very similar to the film. Also, like Thorin, he is a good but not 'nice' character, in the vein of all anti heroes.

Okay, when do we get any sense at all of Thranduil's personality in The Lord of the Rings? Even in Unfinished Tales we only get the most vague impression of what he might be like, and most of that is how he reacts to the death of his father and the treat posed by Dol Guldur to his people. We never get to know him as a person.


In Reply To
But we're talking about the films timing. The prologue implies months between Thranduil's visit and Smaug's attack, and in BotFA Thranduil gets wagons with supplies and his army moving in less than 24 hours.


Maybe, maybe not. Smaug's arrival could have been days, weeks or months after the confrontation between Thror and the Elvenking. You are making an assumption and the prologue is not specific enough to confirm it. Yes, the Wood-elves probably get under way in less than a day, but so what? Thranduil has scouts and spies and might have even found out from the birds about the demise of Smaug. He learned of the dragon's death quickly in the book too.


In Reply To
Also, the distance is much shorter in the films. It only takes Tauriel and Legolas a few hours on foot to reach Laketown. And even in the books the distances are inconsistent. As Karen Wynn Fonstad says:


Quote
We can only surmise reasons for such variance. It is possible Tolkien had longer distances in mind for The Hobbit travels, and either did not check the effect of the scale placed on the map in the later book or chose to ignore it. Had the scale of the Wilderland map been about twice that of the rest of Middle-earth, the Dwarves' pace would have been nearer normal. Tolkien "was greatly concerned to harmonise Bilbo's journey with ... The Lord of the Rings ... but he never brought this work to a definitive solution." Rather than analyze too closely, it is preferable we merely gain a general impression of the seemingly endless toil necessary to reach Lonely Mountain.



We never see either Legolas or Tauriel with horses, but we don't really know that they don't have them. Certainly they needed mounts to reach Mount Gundabad later. Even way, they do not reach Lake-town until after Thorin and his companions reached and entered Erebor. But I dispute your claim that the distances are less than indicated by the maps of Middle-earth. Gandalf's description of the size of Mirkwood exactly matches the one he gives in the book of The Hobbit[. I do agree that Tolkien's map of Wilderland in The Hobbit might not have been to scale. and there are inconsistencies between TH and LotR, but that mainly concerns travel times between Hobbiton and Rivendell. The rates of travel that we see in the book between the Woodland Realm, Lake-town and Erebor seem to be about right for the distances given in later maps. But, yes, Peter Jackson cheats throughout the Hobbit movies in matters of time and distance. Characters and entire armies cover ground much faster than should be possible. The worst offender might be Thorin's company reaching Erebor in less than a day after leaving Lake-town, a journey that took four full days in the book. And Jackson didn't even need to do that; when the Dwarves first reached Lake-town we are told that Durin's Day is still two days away. They could have left the next morning and taken a day and a half to reach the mountain (still too quick but a little more reasonable).

Although it doesn't feel like it, in TH:BotFA it probably did take the survivors of Esgaroth several days to reach Dale, especially since they were traveling with injured and on foot. Note that the Wood-elves do not reach the ruins of Dale before the Men of Lake-town.


We don't get much on Thranduil's personality, but his actions match up. In LotR and the Appendices he is indifferent to the rest of Middle-earth (Gollum is a favor for Gandalf and Aragorn, and Legolas is only in Rivendell to deliver a message). UT tells us that he and his father purposely isolated themselves and that Thranduil left the Last Alliance with huge PTSD. His film arc revolves around his PTSD driven isolation. All of this is very different from the elf throwing frequent parties in the book!TH.

The line is “Slowly the days turned sour, and the watchful nights closed in.”

Yes it is an assumption that this is months. It could be years. It is definitely not a few weeks, there is no way “slowly the days turned sour” could mean Thror quickly worsened in a few weeks.

However, it is a much greater assumption to say that Thranduil was coming to attack Erebor. My assumption is based on a direct line from the film. There is nothing in the film that implies Thranduil was already coming to attack.

I just went over the timeline in my other reply, but it's fine for us to agree to disagree about potential textual differences in the distances. The films are a separate entity, and must be taken as such. Thus, the distances in the texts have no real bearing in a discussion about the films.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 12, 3:50am

Post #17 of 45 (6637 views)
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I will concede that it's likely that more time passed after Thror refused to return the Elvenking's gems (and necklace) to him than just a few days: weeks, months or even years (though not many, as Thorin was already grown).

I am convinced that the company was imprisoned in the Woodland Realm for more than the day or so that you estimate in your timeline. Granted, it is impossible to be very specific, but for starters I don't think the Feast of Starlight fell on the same day of the capture. At the same time, it might not have been the two weeks or more of the book.

Thanks for illustrating the discrepancy in Lake-town where we lose a day with no explanation.

I do not believe that the 'Lake-town Four' (Fili, Kili, Oin and Bofur) arrive at Erebor on the same day they depart from the ruin of Esgaroth. Slowed by exhaustion and Kili's recovery, I expect that it took them at least two, and possibly three, days. Bilbo's greeting seems to confirm this. The Men reach Dale even later.

So, if we make Day 1 the day of the company's escape from the Elves:

Day 1: The Company of Thorin escapes Thranduil's cells. Kili is wounded and the company reaches Lake-town.

Day 2: Durin's Day. The company (minus Kili, Fili, Oin and Bombur) leaves Lake-town, arriving at Erebor in the afternoon. Bilbo enters the Mountain. Smaug attacks Esgaroth and is slain by Bard.

Day 3: The Dwarves left at Lake-town depart for Erebor. Legolas and Tauriel depart for Gundabad. The survivors of Esgaroth gather supplies and start for Dale. The Wood-elves become aware of Smaug's demise.

Day 4: The Elves depart Mirkwood.

Day 5: Fili, Kili, Oin and Bombur reach Erebor. The survivors of Esgaroth reach Dale in the evening.

Day 6: The Wood-elves reach Dale. Thorin sends for Dain.

Things get muddy after this. Dain needs time to muster his force and to reach Erebor. Legolas and Tauriel need to reach Gundabad and then Dale. Even if we cut the distances in half, that means that they still have to cover hundreds of miles (200 miles each way instead of 400). Assuming them to be using Elf-bred horses, we are looking at something like a week to ten days. If we assume distances consistent with Tolkien's legendarium then it should have taken them two or three weeks.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Apr 12, 4:11pm

Post #18 of 45 (6572 views)
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I hope you enjoy it! Smile

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Apr 12, 4:37pm

Post #19 of 45 (6571 views)
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This is all assuming [In reply to] Can't Post

that each set of events happened in the same day. But films in general (this one not excepting) can make whole stories resolve in the matter of a few hours that (in bookverse/movieverse) happened over the course of months or years (take LOTR for example).

The only real obvious time issue is when Balin gives markers in Laketown (Durin's Day falls morn after next, we need to reach the mountain by nightfall, etc).

Other than that, there is genuinely nothing in the films that outright states that x y and z happened on the exact same day, and not weeks or months, etc apart.

Bofur laments that "dawn is close"-but what dawn? A dawn the day after, or perhaps a couple weeks after (ie they're so bored that he makes a mundane comment about something insignificant because they have quite literally nothing else to do)?

Did the interrogation of the orc happen immediately after capture, or did he "stew" in another area of the dungeon for a while first?

As mentioned above, there's no way, even in sped up movieverse, that the four left behind could have reached the mountain in the same amount of time the healthy, uninjured company could have.

It also seems that folks think the company crossed Mirkwood in the span of a couple of days. I know this is false for a very subtle, yet undeniable reason- when they entered the forest after Beorn's, the leaves were still green (high summer). But when Bilbo climbed up the trees, all the leaves were BROWN (late autumn). Clearly a subtle way of showing a timelapse to indicate that it took the company the better part of 3 months to cross the forest. Also, Bombur dropped a LOT of weight and his chin and stomach, etc got really saggy and the dwarves got very, very dirty and were clearly exhausted-all indicators of a long, long journey through that forest.

I think the problem here is that there was indeed an appropriate timelapse between events (with exception to Balin's comments definitively putting the Mountain far closer to Laketown than it should have been)-we just didn't SEE it because the "filler" events that could have shown the time-lapse (Bilbo finding a place to sleep in Thranduil's palace and stealing food and hunting around, a camp scene or a few in the forest, the orc stewing in a dungeon, etc) weren't included in the film.


There's every possibility that the distances, times, etc could have been plausible and longer than less than a week from capture in Mirkwood to sending for Dain-we just didn't see it due to poor movie pacing and a distinct lack of filler scenes to illustrate the time gaps.

LOTR did very well in that we saw many camp scenes and the like that helped create that illusion of time past, thus lending itself to realistically depicting just how LONG the whole thing took.

But in my opinion, The Hobbit trilogy did a great disservice in the department of time lapses, thus leading to discussions such as these that dispute the sheer amount of time passed between one event and the next.

Whether it was for time constraints in the theater or just simply a poor pacing decision, I don't know (I know theaters are sticklers about that, but the EE's could have certainly fixed that problem, as they did in LOTR).

But unless a character specifically indicated the time spent for x activity (eg Balin's comments in Laketown), it is reasonable to assume that things didn't happen as quickly as we think they did in the movie storyline itself.

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 12, 7:19pm

Post #20 of 45 (6532 views)
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There is a reason that I only assigned numbers to a specific set of events that we know occurred over a specific range of days. I don't know that I would say that the company was wandering through Mirkwood for three full months, but it was as least as long as it was in the book (a month or so?) and probably longer. I doubt that the company could have carried enough food and (especially) water to last much longer than that. And the Dwarves were certainly imprisoned by Thranduil for more than just a day or so. It's just not conveyed well in The Desolation of Smaug.

I take Bilbo at his word when he says that Thorin has been up for days searching for the Arkenstone. It may not have been many days, but enough to conclude that the four rejoining the group arrive at least two or three days after Durin's Day. I really wish Peter had not messed up with the company's stay in Lake-town and the final journey to the Mountain. Even shortening the journey wouldn't have been so noticeable if he had remembered what had been said when they first arrived at Bard's house and he had given them a couple of days to reach Erebor instead of just the one. At least we never saw a close up of the calendar in Bard's home that showed Durin's Day falling on September 30! Tongue

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 12, 7:21pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 12, 8:41pm

Post #21 of 45 (6491 views)
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Lake-town to Gundabad to Dale [In reply to] Can't Post

A few weeks ago, I went over Legolas and Tauriel's journey to Gundabad and then to Dale, giving them every advantage. Assuming they rode Elven-bred horses nearly as fast and hardy as Shadowfax (who could seemingly cover as much as 135 miles in a single day) I estimated that it would take the pair at least 5 days and as much as 9 to cover the approximately 400 miles from Long Lake to Mount Gundabad (taking the terrain of the Grey Mountain Narrows into consideration) and about the same amount of time to travel from Gundabad to Dale. Even if we scale the distance back by half, it would take them about a week to a week and a half for the round trip of about 400 miles total.

With normal mounts (say, horses from Lake-town), the journey from Long Lake to Gundabad and back should have taken about a month, assuming about 400 miles each way. Shadowfax himself could have probably covered the entire 800 miles in about a week and a day. Wink

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 12, 8:47pm)


Laineth
Lorien

Apr 13, 4:21am

Post #22 of 45 (6419 views)
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Hi. I agree that it's definitely possible for a day or two to have passed before the Feast of Starlight. I don't think it could be much longer because Bilbo still looks the same and if he had been sneaking around for a while, he shouldn't.

You constructed a good timeline, but I still disagree about the Laketown Four, for a few reasons.

1: Kili is limping slightly, but not significantly. His walking pace hasn't slowed down much.

2: The rest of the Company also had a boat and then went on foot, and we know they did that within a day.

3: Scene placement. The Laketown Four arrive at Erebor while the humans are still on the shore. We then have a lot of other scenes (including Bilbo and Thorin in Erebor) before the humans reach Dale. I can easily believe it took the humans an extra day to reach Dale.

In the context of the film, I don't think it could have been more than one extra day. And that's the bottom issue – to keep the suspense and quick pacing in the film everything had to happen fast. Keeping everything (like Gundabad) to their book distances would have killed the tension immediately. It's a medium issue, and while we fans may not have minded, the general audience would have been thrown off. Everyone I know who is just a casual fan of the films has mentioned the quick pace as being a benefit of DoS and BotFA. I have also heard many complaints about the time passages in AUJ and FotR.

There are just some things that can't be reconciled between the two verses, and I don't think that's a flaw. They're two very different mediums, and films have a lot more constraints than books do.

Now, how we fans personally choose what to use for our own fanning is purely personal choice, and a whole other subject!


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 13, 5:21am

Post #23 of 45 (6397 views)
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The thing is, if you are skipping over much of the time between events anyway, it doesn't matter in terms of pacing if it is one day, three, or a week. You just need to provide the audience with some sense of how much time has passed whether it is through dialogue, captions or visual clues. Jackson manages to do some of that throughout the films by showing autumn leaves, ice in the lake, etc.

But, sure, Kili is only limping slightly when he only has to walk a short distance, but what about hiking for miles? And the Dwarves traveling by boat after Smaug's destruction of Lake-town are far from being at their peak. I don't see them reaching Erebor nearly as quickly as the main company (which should never have been in less than a day in the first place, but I've tooted that horn enough).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


StingingFly
Lorien


Apr 14, 3:39pm

Post #24 of 45 (6320 views)
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Another possibility... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it is difficult to make sense of several things in these films, but if you will allow that Thranduil showing up right after Smaug's attack was simply time compression for dramatic effect...

We know Thranduil is forced to 'pay homage' to Thror.

When the dragon attacks Thror sends out messengers (ravens?) to summon armies to assist him.

Thranduil begrudgingly, but obediently shows up.

When Thranduil sees that the dwarves are in no position to command him anymore he takes his army and goes home.

No malice or foul play on his part. It was not a friendly alliance and there was little goodwill between them.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 14, 7:53pm

Post #25 of 45 (6296 views)
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Yes, maybe. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is shown as a flashback that might be fueled by Thorin's memories, so we (I) may be interpreting it too literally. The Wood-elves could have actually arrived significantly later than it appears, after receiving a message from Thror. Thanks for your insight.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 14, 7:54pm)

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