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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Dwarven family connections

Aragalen the Green
Gondor


Jan 27 2013, 5:22pm

Post #1 of 22 (784 views)
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Dwarven family connections Can't Post

After my last viewing of AUJ, which I watched with Mr. the Green, he brought up a question I hadn't really thought about. I was explaining to him who Bifur was, and mentioned that Bofur and Bombur are brothers (this I know from reading The Hobbit many times), which very much surprised him! I then realized that the brotherly connections which are explained somewhat in The Hobbit aren't made obvious or even explained in the film (except for Balin and Dwalin, and Fili and Kili). In fact, each Dwarf's character and appearance is made so distinctive that if you don't know the book, you wouldn't realize that there are several sets of brothers; the only brothers that really look alike to me are Gloin and Oin. Bofur and Bombur are brothers (Bifur is their cousin), and Dori, Nori and Ori are brothers, but none of these Dwarves seem to have any kind of family resemblance to each other. I wonder if this will be made clearer in the next 2 movies, as their character development continues?

Did anyone else notice this? Do you think this important enough for PJ to explain, or is it non-essential to the story and plot?

There it is: dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don't expect too much.


florian
The Shire

Jan 27 2013, 5:45pm

Post #2 of 22 (434 views)
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I think there should have been more clarification [In reply to] Can't Post

on the family relationships between the dwarves. If you haven't read the book you might not realize that Thorin and Kili and Fili are uncle and nephews, or that most of the company are related in some way to each other. I think Oin and Gloin are related to Thorin somehow and that they are also related Balin and Dwalin. In LOTR I think I remember that Gimli spoke of his cousin Balin. Maybe someone with a better memory can verify if I am accurate on this count?


Lightice
Lorien

Jan 27 2013, 5:56pm

Post #3 of 22 (419 views)
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It's not like the book makes all that very clear, either. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If you haven't read the book you might not realize that Thorin and Kili and Fili are uncle and nephews, or that most of the company are related in some way to each other.


For example, the book only causally mentions the relationship between Thorin, Fili and Kili when they arrive at Laketown, and so briefly that you can completely miss it if you're not paying attention. It becomes pretty clear that all the dwarves with rhyming names are either brothers or cousins, but beyond that the book doesn't elaborate things at all.


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jan 27 2013, 7:39pm

Post #4 of 22 (378 views)
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Hope These Relationships are Clarified [In reply to] Can't Post

because Fili and Kili dying in defense of Thorin is not going to have the impact it could if people don't know the relationship.

It is curious is it not that Thorin should have accepted the help of both Fili and Kili as they are the heirs of Durin after him. You would think Thorin would want to leave one of them behind so as to protect the line.


florian
The Shire

Jan 27 2013, 7:45pm

Post #5 of 22 (400 views)
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Tolkien... [In reply to] Can't Post

...didn't seem to put much thought in this sort of thing. Gil-Galad went off to battle and left no heir behind. One would think securing the bloodline would be of importance to a King, esp if he's heading off to almost certain doom.

While Tolkien may not have gone on and on about Fili and Kili being Thorin's nephews, he did mention it at least.


Angharad73
Rohan

Jan 27 2013, 8:35pm

Post #6 of 22 (372 views)
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Oin, Gloin, Balin, Dwalin... [In reply to] Can't Post

According to LOTR Appendix A, Oin and Gloin are cousins of Balin and Dwalin. Their fathers were brothers. The four of them are more distantly related to Thorin - basically, Thorin's great-grandfather was the brother of their great-grandfather (unless I miscounted generations somewhere). I suppose that would make them rather distant cousins?


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jan 27 2013, 9:22pm

Post #7 of 22 (331 views)
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How to Number Cousins [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
According to LOTR Appendix A, Oin and Gloin are cousins of Balin and Dwalin. Their fathers were brothers. The four of them are more distantly related to Thorin - basically, Thorin's great-grandfather was the brother of their great-grandfather (unless I miscounted generations somewhere). I suppose that would make them rather distant cousins?


Apparently one numbers cousins based on how one is related to the grandparents. Your first cousins are the children of your grandparents' children (your aunts and uncles). Your second cousins are the grandchildren of your grandparents' siblings (your great-aunts and great-uncles). Children of second cousins are third cousins to each other. I think that makes Balin and Dwalin Thorin's 3rd cousins unless there is some remove in there I didn't see. Anyone want to jump in a correct this?


florian
The Shire

Jan 27 2013, 9:46pm

Post #8 of 22 (313 views)
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What does it mean? [In reply to] Can't Post

This "removed" I hear sometimes when folks talk of their relations. What does it mean, say in the context of 'my cousin, once removed'?


Yva
Rivendell


Jan 27 2013, 9:55pm

Post #9 of 22 (337 views)
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Very true [In reply to] Can't Post

and I find it especially interesting that the Thorin-Kili-Fili family connection isn't mentioned at all. We know PJ pays special attention to their close relationship, there are quite a few scenes that make use of it and it will probably play a role in their character development - why wasn't it mentioned?
The information could have been easily included in the existing scenes imo, for example when Kili and Fili found out about the missing ponies, the subsequent lines could have been "Should we tell Thorin?", "Nah, let's not worry our dear uncle", or after Thorin scolded Kili for making fun of Bilbo, Balin could have said "Don't mind him, laddie, your uncle has more cause than most to hate orcs...", or just anytime during the Bag End sequence, really.
I worry it's a missed opportunity because it might look weird if we - and Bilbo - suddenly learn this rather important piece of information half-way through the movie. And while many other details are clearly there mostly just for the fans to notice, appreciate and discuss, the uncle-nephew fact is one that should have been established from the beginning, in my opinion. It surely wouldn't have stolen any extra screen time.

Given the amount of uncle/nephews craziness on the internet, it's a bit of a paradox that this exact family connection is not even hinted at in AUJ.

As for the book not mentioning the family relationships in great detail either - that's true, but the book also doesn't really focus on character development.


TheSexyBeard
Lorien

Jan 27 2013, 10:37pm

Post #10 of 22 (307 views)
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I think they could have focussed on this a bit more. [In reply to] Can't Post

Like you said not a relationships come across that well, or come across to subtle for a casual audience to notice (like Bombur checking on Bifur in the background whilst Thorin and Dwalin chat). After my parents saw it, my mentioned that she liked how two of the Dwarves were father and son. I realised she meant Dori and Ori, and when I told her they were brothers, she quite surprised.

I actually think they should have added in Gandalf giving Bilbo a recap of all the dwarves names when he decides to join the quest. Maybe they'll do this when they meet Beron.

Yes, my username is terrible.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 10:46pm

Post #11 of 22 (298 views)
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"Removed" refers to previous or later generations than yours. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your first, second, third, fourth, etc. cousins are all in the same generation as you, i.e., your first cousins, like you, are your grandparents' grandchildren; your second cousins, like you, are your great-grandparents' great-grandchildren; and so forth.

Your third cousin's child is your "third cousin once removed." Your second cousin's grandchild is your "second cousin twice removed". And so on.

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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 11:10pm

Post #12 of 22 (308 views)
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Agreed. They could and should have cued in the Fili and Kili kinship to Thorin, just as they did Balin's brotherhood [In reply to] Can't Post

to Dwalin. Very simple, very easy. Have them say "Uncle" once or twice instead of Thorin. They could have even had Balin reffer to Thorin as "Cousin" once. Little things, easy to manage, but very telling. And yes, all of the dwarves in the company are traceable cousins of Thorin, with the exception of Bifur, Bofur and Bombur, who were decedant's of Khazad-Dum Dwarves, but not of Durin's line.

In Reply To
on the family relationships between the dwarves. If you haven't read the book you might not realize that Thorin and Kili and Fili are uncle and nephews, or that most of the company are related in some way to each other. I think Oin and Gloin are related to Thorin somehow and that they are also related Balin and Dwalin. In LOTR I think I remember that Gimli spoke of his cousin Balin. Maybe someone with a better memory can verify if I am accurate on this count?


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


ryouko
Lorien

Jan 28 2013, 1:23am

Post #13 of 22 (287 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

as Lightice stated, there's no mention whatsoever about Kili and Fili being Thorin's nephews until late in the book. On page 194 out of 303 in the book I have.


"And who are these?" he asked, pointing to Fili and Kili and Bilbo.
"The sons of my father's daughter," answered Thorin, "Fili and Kili from the race of Durin, and Mr. Baggins who has travelled with us out of the West."


Perhaps PJ is also waiting for that moment to reveal who they are. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 28 2013, 3:03am

Post #14 of 22 (269 views)
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Seems like a poor choice to me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Diminishes there relevance and takes away some of the power their last stand would have, had we already known they were his next of kin.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Jan 28 2013, 3:34am

Post #15 of 22 (249 views)
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And it is reciprocal [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Your third cousin's child is your "third cousin once removed." Your second cousin's grandchild is your "second cousin twice removed". And so on.


You're their whatever cousin, however removed. That is, the representative of the "older" generation is also said to be the cousin of whatever degree, however many times removed, of the representative of the younger generation. (This used to confuse me as in my family, which is not English speaking, I was taught to refer to older cousins of this type as "aunts" and "uncles").


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 28 2013, 5:07am

Post #16 of 22 (249 views)
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In a faithful adaptation... [In reply to] Can't Post

...we wouldn't see Kili and Fili die.

Bilbo would hear Thorin's last words, go off to cry, and then learn that Fili and Kili died defending him.

Now that would be impressive, but the filmmakers probably don't have the guts to do it.

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Roheryn
Grey Havens

Jan 28 2013, 8:50am

Post #17 of 22 (208 views)
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It's a description of [In reply to] Can't Post

what you'd like to do to those relatives you don't like too much: remove them. Not just once, but two or three times for good measure.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 28 2013, 3:38pm

Post #18 of 22 (195 views)
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Do you really need the exposition? [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkienites already know that they are brothers. Non book readers eyes glaze over at this kind of extra explanation, although a chief complaint was that I keep reading over and over was that 'the dwarves weren't interesting or differentiated enough.' However, I don't think family tree discussions would make much difference to those folks.

Rhyming names clues you that they are related. There's enough Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror to give you a clue that character with similar names might be at least distantly related.

The Fili/Kili/Thorin thing can be explained in a later film.

It's another book versus movie detail that often gets shorted when the footage is added up. There may well have been a couple of mentions, but how many lines are we talking about, four or five to cover the various brother groupings? I suppose it could have been done.

Is it essential? Maybe. It depends on whether you want people to care more about a specific character, and I think Fili/Kili will be explained a little more later.


bborchar
Rohan


Jan 28 2013, 7:33pm

Post #19 of 22 (165 views)
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That would be incredibly boring to watch... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and completely diminish whatever emotion you might have felt by retelling it that way. It was as if Tolkien, in the book, just decided that he wanted Dain to be King at the last minute (indeed, I do remember reading that his first version of the book didn't have Thorin dying), so he just killed off the three guys that could stand in the way. He probably did this because he figured Dain was a better "model" for a king than Thorin. In any case, I would be shocked if we didn't see their deaths on screen, which makes more sense if they are showing the battle.

On the subject of relationships, you can see (even without it being explicitly stated) the familial connections by the way the characters act with each other. Even Thorin, as aloof as he is, shows more affection for Kili and Fili than anyone else. I'm sure we'll "discover" more in the next movie about the dwarfs, especially since Gandalf will be gone, and they will have to be introduced to the men of Laketown.


(This post was edited by bborchar on Jan 28 2013, 7:34pm)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 28 2013, 8:21pm

Post #20 of 22 (168 views)
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I think that them being Thorin's heirs and nephwes. . . and later dying in defense of him [In reply to] Can't Post

is a very big deal, and one any casual viewer could relate to. It should have been made clear, and it didn't require exposition. Just them calling him Uncle in one or two scenes instead of Thorin. It was managed very effectively with the brotherhood of Balin and Dwalin.

In Reply To
Tolkienites already know that they are brothers. Non book readers eyes glaze over at this kind of extra explanation, although a chief complaint was that I keep reading over and over was that 'the dwarves weren't interesting or differentiated enough.' However, I don't think family tree discussions would make much difference to those folks.

Rhyming names clues you that they are related. There's enough Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror to give you a clue that character with similar names might be at least distantly related.

The Fili/Kili/Thorin thing can be explained in a later film.

It's another book versus movie detail that often gets shorted when the footage is added up. There may well have been a couple of mentions, but how many lines are we talking about, four or five to cover the various brother groupings? I suppose it could have been done.

Is it essential? Maybe. It depends on whether you want people to care more about a specific character, and I think Fili/Kili will be explained a little more later.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 28 2013, 9:54pm

Post #21 of 22 (129 views)
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Oh agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

The whole heirs to the throne stuff that we talk about here isn't tops on people's minds when they see the films. They aren't thinking about the future rulers of Middle-earth like we do. It was why Aragorn's long-suffering lineage was reduced to 'He's the heir to the throne'. Only in the EE did we get to see a little more talk about how unusual he really was.


Yva
Rivendell


Jan 28 2013, 10:47pm

Post #22 of 22 (195 views)
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The relationship between Thorin and Kili [In reply to] Can't Post

(I wish I could add Fili, too) is important enough for PJ to build a few little character moments around it in AUJ, yet with no explanation to the non-readers as to why is he doing it. The three or four dwarves that stand out in AUJ all stand out for a reason - Balin is the the councillor and keeper of knowledge, Dwalin is the fighter, Bofur is the nice "contact" guy. Kili is the exception - he also stands out and is shown as important for Thorin, yet the viewer cannot identify the reason for that. It just seems like an unfortunate omission.

 
 

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