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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Smaug: Chiefest and greatest calamity of our age

irodino
Bree


Jan 28 2013, 6:47am

Post #1 of 19 (1655 views)
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Smaug: Chiefest and greatest calamity of our age Can't Post

According to Bofur. No other dwarf corrected him. Surely Durin's Bane, the Balrog who took Moria, would top a dragon? Erebor, great as the filmmakers may paint it, was after all just a shadow of the splendor of Moria. Is the line of Bofur just another script blunder, like the "ruled as if by divine right"? I get that it was added for dramatic effect but still, do we always need to be told the heroes will face the 'greatest' and 'chiefest' threat to make an interesting story? Do you think the line was acceptable?

I actually am quite ok with it, just a minor "well, yes, Bofur, but then there's the Balrog, and I know you don't know yet about the Witch-King, or the awakening of Sauron for that matter" moment for me :P I wish some other dwarf, or Gandalf, commented on it.

"The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that terrible in-between."


Gelir
Bree

Jan 28 2013, 7:00am

Post #2 of 19 (749 views)
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From the book [In reply to] Can't Post

In the book, Bilbo addresses Smaug as "the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities."

They've taken quite a few lines from the book and used it in the dialog, and sometimes, as in this case, they give it to a different character and put it in a different place.

I think they used it here both for dramatic effect and as a nod to the book.


Angharad73
Rohan

Jan 28 2013, 8:33am

Post #3 of 19 (628 views)
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I didn't see anything wrong with it [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe that's because I took it to mean that, to the dwarves from Erebor, Smaug is indeed the greatest calamity of their time. I thought the meaning of 'age' more similar to 'of our generation' in this context. Moria had been abandoned in TA 1981, so almost a thousand years had passed since then. No dwarf who had witnessed this was still alive. Whereas the loss of Erebor was far more recent, and the dwarves remembered it vividly and were still smarting from it. So I can see that to them, at this particular time, Smaug was indeed the chiefest and greatest calamity.


jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jan 28 2013, 9:35am

Post #4 of 19 (542 views)
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FIGHT [In reply to] Can't Post

i think smaug is more badass than a balrog!

he can fly for one thing ;)

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 28 2013, 9:39am

Post #5 of 19 (542 views)
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Well . . . the Balrog is more evil and more of a nightmare. . . and far more ancient. [In reply to] Can't Post

He is also more spiritually powerful, but the dwarves wouldn't know or understand half of that. And, while the Balrog destroyed the nation in Moria and slew Durin and Nain in the same Age, it was still ages ago, if you get me. As far as the dwarves are concerned, Durin's Bane and what he did to their ancestors is not something that is part of their age, even if it is in the same Great Age.

And, as has been said, cheifest greatest calamity is from the books. And the Dragon is likely much more destructive, in the macro scale, than the Balrog. The dragon destroys whole cities with his size, strength and fire. That isn't really the Balrog's deal. He murders and he terrorizes; in ages past he murdered and terrified Elves, both High and Wood, Noldor, Sindar and Silvan, and later he murdered dwarf kings and their people. And he spread horror, and made the realm accurseed, and drowned the halls in fear. . . but he didn't go around smashing the architecture and lighting cities aflame.

So Smaug is, in the present, a greater calamity, in that he is a more obvious calamity. As to The Witch-King. . . unless Sauron is using him as a direct conduit for his own power, The Witch-King is not on par with The Balrog, and would be wise to avoid a Dragon as great as Smaug. The Nine feared fire in any event, and Smaug was likely the last dragon in whom the old fire was still hot enough to melt a Great Ring. . . which would have proven ill indeed for Angmar's former master.

In Reply To
According to Bofur. No other dwarf corrected him. Surely Durin's Bane, the Balrog who took Moria, would top a dragon? Erebor, great as the filmmakers may paint it, was after all just a shadow of the splendor of Moria. Is the line of Bofur just another script blunder, like the "ruled as if by divine right"? I get that it was added for dramatic effect but still, do we always need to be told the heroes will face the 'greatest' and 'chiefest' threat to make an interesting story? Do you think the line was acceptable?

I actually am quite ok with it, just a minor "well, yes, Bofur, but then there's the Balrog, and I know you don't know yet about the Witch-King, or the awakening of Sauron for that matter" moment for me :P I wish some other dwarf, or Gandalf, commented on it.


"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."


Súlimë
Rivendell


Jan 28 2013, 9:40am

Post #6 of 19 (517 views)
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I agree! [In reply to] Can't Post

...

Strangely, I also don't mind Bilbo describing Erebor as "the greatest kingdom in Middle-Earth" either. It's just a language device for dramatic effect.

Even in real life, people say "That was the best thing ever!" without meaning it literally.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Jan 28 2013, 11:14am

Post #7 of 19 (488 views)
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Remember that what characters say in the stories [In reply to] Can't Post

even the very wise, is limited by their own knowledge and experience. Factual errors or ambiguous meanings can be picked in what those such as Bombadil, Gandalf, Treebeard, Galadriel and Legolas say to name a few off the top of my head.

As far as Bofur knew, Smaug was exactly what he said he was.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Jan 28 2013, 11:18am

Post #8 of 19 (481 views)
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The dragon is a badass as for one thing he can fly? [In reply to] Can't Post

Then Carc must be a bit of a badass also.


Kelly of Water's Edge
Lorien

Jan 28 2013, 11:24am

Post #9 of 19 (516 views)
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Was anyone except Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

even aware of what was in Moria? Obviously, the Dwarves were aware that a calamity had hit Moria, and that there was something very, very bad in it, but I don't think I read that they knew exactly what was in there. At any rate, the Balrog had been dormant long enough that Balin's team tried to recolonize, with the disastrous results we're all aware of.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 28 2013, 3:46pm

Post #10 of 19 (389 views)
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Guys, they don't have Google [In reply to] Can't Post

The dwarves just can't look up 'balrogs and where they may have hidden themselves' and get a thousand posts on the subject. People knew what they knew by verbal stories in a low tech society. I doubt there were tour guides selling tours of Moria like a theme park.

That said, now there's a movie canon and a book canon. Book makes it much more mysterious as to what's the worst thing out there...movie less so. Believe me, if Balin came to me and said -- okay all the goblins are dead now (post Bo5A) we can go retake Moria, I might even be tempted to go. However, if it was certain knowledge that a corrupted Maiar spirit in balrog form actually had survived the First Age (stupid elves, always leaving the job unfinished!) hanging around the depths of those mountains; there's no way I'm going down there. That was their fatal mistake. They didn't know for certain, or like people today, they had forgotten a lot of their history and failed to learn from it.


cats16
Tol Eressea

Jan 28 2013, 4:29pm

Post #11 of 19 (358 views)
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IMO, it's the same as... [In reply to] Can't Post

the dwarves blindly going to Erebor, with the idea that Smaug HIMSELF may or may not be alive. Thorin says Smaug hasn't been seen in over 60 years, and therefore they need to check it out one way or another.

Balin, more or less, had the same idea in Moria. Only with less of an idea of what he was facing. Reclaiming what was rightfully theirs.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 28 2013, 8:30pm

Post #12 of 19 (258 views)
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Hey, don't blame the Elves. [In reply to] Can't Post

That was the business of the other Ainur. Only two Elves ever managed to bring down Balrogs in the revised/edited tales, and they both died in the process, and it was considered a legendary feat worthy of song in both cases so. . . exterminating the incarnations of Maiar demons. . . not really an Elven forte`, even if a few of them somehow managed it from time to time.

You are right about the legend and mystery though. Indeed, the Dwarves seldom even told tales of it. The horror was so great that they spoke on it mainly in whispers and hushed tones. And seldom. There were no ballads of the battle of Durin and The Demon.

In Reply To
The dwarves just can't look up 'balrogs and where they may have hidden themselves' and get a thousand posts on the subject. People knew what they knew by verbal stories in a low tech society. I doubt there were tour guides selling tours of Moria like a theme park.

That said, now there's a movie canon and a book canon. Book makes it much more mysterious as to what's the worst thing out there...movie less so. Believe me, if Balin came to me and said -- okay all the goblins are dead now (post Bo5A) we can go retake Moria, I might even be tempted to go. However, if it was certain knowledge that a corrupted Maiar spirit in balrog form actually had survived the First Age (stupid elves, always leaving the job unfinished!) hanging around the depths of those mountains; there's no way I'm going down there. That was their fatal mistake. They didn't know for certain, or like people today, they had forgotten a lot of their history and failed to learn from it.


"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, 9:45pm

Post #13 of 19 (236 views)
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Elves [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, you're absolutely right. They are foes quite beyond anyone! The wisecrack was just a general one. :)


TFP
Rivendell


Jan 28 2013, 10:03pm

Post #14 of 19 (243 views)
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greatest kingdom in Middle-Earth [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...

Strangely, I also don't mind Bilbo describing Erebor as "the greatest kingdom in Middle-Earth" either. It's just a language device for dramatic effect.

Even in real life, people say "That was the best thing ever!" without meaning it literally.


yeah, i couldn't hack that.

just because at the time of writing the book that Bilbo is reading from, Erebor would have undergone quite a bit of rebulding, making it a bit odd to talk about it in the past tense in that way, even if its former glories haven't been fully recaptured.


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jan 29 2013, 12:40am

Post #15 of 19 (203 views)
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Check out the Appendix [In reply to] Can't Post

under Durin's Folk. Dain has a conversation with Thrain after the battle of Azanulbizar. Thrain wants to retake Moria and Dain says something like, "it waits for you still, Durin's Bane." Remember that Dain looked into Moria after the battle and came back ashen-faced. But that still doesn't mean they knew what Durin's Bane actually was.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 29 2013, 2:17am

Post #16 of 19 (172 views)
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Lol [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

In Reply To
Oh, you're absolutely right. They are foes quite beyond anyone! The wisecrack was just a general one. :)


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 29 2013, 2:18am

Post #17 of 19 (207 views)
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One of the greatest quotes and foreshadowings. I had really hoped it would make it in. [In reply to] Can't Post

"You are the Father of our folk. We have bled for you and will again. But we will not enter Khazad-Dum. YOU will not enter Khazad-Dum. . . beyond the shadow it waits for you still, Durin's Bane. The World must change, and some other Power must come here before Durin's folk will walk again in Moria."

In Reply To
under Durin's Folk. Dain has a conversation with Thrain after the battle of Azanulbizar. Thrain wants to retake Moria and Dain says something like, "it waits for you still, Durin's Bane." Remember that Dain looked into Moria after the battle and came back ashen-faced. But that still doesn't mean they knew what Durin's Bane actually was.


"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."


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jan 29 2013, 10:32pm

Post #18 of 19 (99 views)
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Thanks for the Exact Passage [In reply to] Can't Post

Should not post here unless I have a complete copy of everything close to hand. Then again everyone here is so nice and runs to the rescue.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 29 2013, 11:15pm

Post #19 of 19 (138 views)
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No worries [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the chance to quote that line. It is sealed in memory at this point. lol

In Reply To
Should not post here unless I have a complete copy of everything close to hand. Then again everyone here is so nice and runs to the rescue.


"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."

 
 

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