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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Into the halls of the Mountain - er, Elvenking

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 10 2012, 1:08am

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Into the halls of the Mountain - er, Elvenking [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Just for fun, who do you think the 'eight out of the thirteen' might have been?

Lost in the dark! I think that, under normal circumstances, they would have quibbled quite a bit about the right way to go. But considering their physical state, and the loss of Thorin, I'd guess that the majority of eight were Bilbo, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, and Ori; and most of those seven had no clue but were agreeing with Bilbo.

What is interesting is that in the first draft of the story, Bilbo made a ball of "string" out of the webbing cast by the spider that initially attacked him, and tied an end to a nearby tree; because hobbits are "clever in woods" he found his way back to where they left the path. He then cut the string, tied the new end to a tree, followed the string back into the woods, then went searching for the dwarves, and found them bound by spiders. After the ensuing battle, they all followed Bilbo's string back to the path, and were wandering along that when the Wood-elves caught them.

What do you think of this plot line? Should Tolkien have kept it, or is it better for the story to have them all totally lost in the woods?

2. 'like hundreds of red stars'. Considering that this is torchlight, it would be red, as opposed to the silver lamps of the other Elves. I like sador's comparing these to the red star Frodo sees in Rivendell.

3. Why don't they say anything? Would it have made a difference if they had appealed to the elves for help? Were the dwarves aware that Bilbo was not taken prisoner?

Curious, isn't it, that we read of none of these dwarves wondering where Bilbo is - but then again, maybe that's simply due to sheer exhaustion. Which only added to their grumpiness at being held captive by frissy Elves. Ask an Elf for help? How humiliating for a dwarf!

4. What do you think it was about the Elvenking's entrance that Bilbo found off-putting? ...And the Elvenking, with his autumnal crown and oaken staff - any feelings about him? Are he and his people different from Elrond and the Rivendell elves?

It's that gate. Metal, of course, since it closes with a clang. And trapezoidal: not a nice, pleasant hobbity round entrance (Tolkien's illustration here).

And these are more "rustic" Elves, not the "refined" Elves of Rivendell (and Lorien). They're closer in culture to the Elves which Frodo meets in the Woody End. An interesting parallel with the Elvenking and Thorin: one bears an oaken staff, the other is called "Oakenshield".

5. The dwarves refuse to answer questions, just as Thorin did. Is this a strategy agreed between them in advance in case of capture? Or just a feature of dwarvish character?

Never trust an Elf! Although they could have signed non-disclosure agreements before embarking on this quest.

6. ...I wonder now, whose side are we supposed to be on in this clash of cultures?

Everybody's grumpy, nobody's happy, both sides distrust each other. I can't blame the Elvenking for dumping the dwarves in prison, although after a while he probably began to hear some complaints from his people about how much it was "costing" to host thirteen dwarves, and why didn't he just free them and have spies follow them. But stories don't work that way. Anyway, at this point I'm only on Bilbo's side, the rest are just being foolish! Wink


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915

Subject User Time
* * Barrels out of Bond * * 1: Prisoners dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Sep 5 2012, 2:14pm
    No apologies needed! N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Sep 5 2012, 2:40pm
    perhaps I'm still 8... telain Send a private message to telain Sep 6 2012, 3:13pm
        Oh, me too.... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Sep 6 2012, 6:37pm
            hopefully it will spark discussion! telain Send a private message to telain Sep 6 2012, 8:17pm
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Sep 9 2012, 12:51pm
    Into the halls of the Mountain - er, Elvenking dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Sep 10 2012, 1:08am


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