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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why do Fili and Kili Never Say "Uncle?"
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Superuser / Moderator

May 7 2013, 11:09pm

Post #26 of 41 (2395 views)
It's interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

that Thorin identified their relationship through his own father rather than through his sister - "the sons of my father's daughter" instead of "the sons of my sister".

Is he emphasising the boys' royal lineage to this trumped-up human leader, or would this be a standard familial identifier among Dwarves?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


May 8 2013, 6:12am

Post #27 of 41 (2372 views)
Dain... [In reply to] Can't Post

...is a direct descendant of Durin, just as Thorin is. Dain's grandfather Gror was the brother of Thorin's grandfather Thror. In societies where inheritance primarily passes through the male line, it is pretty standard to go to a younger branch of the family when there are no heirs left in the older ones.

Without Drain and his son, it might actually have been possible for Balin to inherit the throne as he is the eldest son of another branch, going through the uncle of Thror.


May 8 2013, 6:54am

Post #28 of 41 (2367 views)
It's interesting you say that. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't necessarily see Thorin expressing much remorse for Kili or Fili. Saddened? of course. But he
is near the end himself, so how much outward grief for the fallen can he really muster except to make amends
with the immediate creatures at his side before death.

Maybe Fili and Kili wanted to fight to their ends defending Thorin. Being that Thorin is in obvious danger, they would
have it no other way while the king yet lived. I think one of the points in the film is that the re-occupation of Erebor is a desire shared by
all of the company, not just Thorin. They all want this for themselves and for their people and would prefer the restoration of their
kingdom unconditionally.

Was the contract given to Bilbo read and signed by everyone else in the company? If so, everyone can sleep well at night Cool


May 8 2013, 6:56am

Post #29 of 41 (2361 views)
insightful. [In reply to] Can't Post

ya, it seems that the bloodline acknowledgement would just get in the way.

Welsh hero

May 8 2013, 7:50am

Post #30 of 41 (2370 views)
Do you always say uncle when talking to your uncle [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't


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May 8 2013, 12:50pm

Post #31 of 41 (2357 views)
LOL, marillaraina! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I do think it's a good thing that Thorin dug his heels in since the outcome was a good one. Every cloud has a silver lining and Tolkien paints this dispute in shades of grey with everyone coming out of it badly.

The orc army come for the gold after they hear that the dragon is dead: as does Thranduil, as does Bard and the men of Lake Town, both groups with threatening armies. The only ones entitled to it are the dwarves. In fact, I think the most intransigent person and the one who causes the most trouble by his attitude is Thranduil. Thorin says he will discuss things with Bard if the intimidating/blackmailing armies withdraw. He must be especially annoyed by the presence of Thranduil and yet the elf king refuses to give in to this reasonable demand because he realises that he will only get a share of the treasure through the threat of arms. And Bard remains stubborn too. Which one is the most pig-headed? I reckon that PJ will play it as all three, especially as Luke Evans says that people will be wondering as to whether his Bard is a good or a bad person. Doesn't sound like a straightforward hero to me.

Gandalf gives the armies plenty of warning that the orcs are coming so I don't think the argument prevents them from doing their best. In fact, they're all armoured up and ready for action; they're not exactly attacked from the rear but have time to deploy their troops in strategic positions on the two hills either side of the Gate and with a group of brave men acting as a lure in the valley between. I hope PJ shows this in the film.

And Dwarvenfury, I think we will see Thorin being distraught when his nephews are killed - but on the battlefield and not on his deathbed when his thoughts are of reconciliation.


May 8 2013, 1:37pm

Post #32 of 41 (2688 views)
'Long will I tarry....' [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, but falling back on my customary role of defending the Elvenking, my earliest Tolkien hero, I think you're being unfair to him. I don't see any intransigence at all in his position.

True, he rode out with his army to bag a share of the treasure when he thought Smaug was dead. But if you're looking for a character who isn't drawn to the treasure, you're looking at a very short list indeed. Even Bilbo - his motives for taking the Arkenstone aren't entirely pure at first. What counts is what happened next. The Elvenking puts the needs of the men of the Lake above his chance to reach the mountain first ('for he was the lord of a good and kindly people'), and when it becomes apparent that the Mountain is not untenanted he does draw back and place himself in support of Bard. You're saying that he's pushing for a share of the treasure but I don't think he is. Tolkien doesn't say he is. After Thorin refuses to parley and the armies withdraw, the heralds ask Thorin to consider one claim only - one twelfth portion of the hoard to Bard, in respect of the fact that he is the heir of Girion, and the wealth of Dale is included in the hoard (so it doesn't all belong to the dwarves and they aren't entitled to claim the whole). Bard's entitlement is then underwritten by the fact that he killed the dragon - without which no one would get the treasure - and he undertakes to help the Lake men from his share. The dwarves are not asked to give the Elvenking anything.

And then, when Bard is all for ambushing Dain's army before they can reach the Mountain, it's the Elvenking who comes out with the immortal 'Long will I tarry ere I begin this war for gold,' which I've loved him for since I was about 8 years old. So I think his attitude is the least reprehensible because it changes when he finds that Thorin and company hold the treasure. He doesn't push a claim of his own then, but simply supports Bard, who does have a legitimate claim. I reckon Bilbo's decision to take his stand alongside the Elvenking is Tolkien's way of highlighting the fact that the King comes out of the business rather well, whatever his motives were to start with.


May 8 2013, 2:24pm

Post #33 of 41 (2361 views)
Well, I'm a fair person, dormouse, [In reply to] Can't Post

and so I'm glad that Thranduil has got a champion, because everyone deserves one. Before the film came out, I seemed to be one of the few who championed Thorin so I know what it's like to be beset on all sides. Since the film, audiences seem to have understood Thorin a bit better and so it hasn't been such a fight and it is Thranduil who is getting a bad press. Lee Pace is giving us a brilliant portrayal, after only a few minutes, of a sexy but alien and cold elf king and I don't think that things will improve in the next film.

Yes. that much quoted line of Thranduil's - "Long will I tarry...." is a really good one but seems to come out of the blue and doesn't fit in with his character thus far. And if he really believes that then why hasn't he withdrawn from the Gate? In all honesty, I really, really don't understand why Bard and Thranduil refuse to back off in exchange for a chance of a parley over the gold which Thorin is offering. After all, there are only 13 dwarves - not exactly a fearsome number. If the armies had withdrawn and Bard had met Thorin one to one and face to face, I'm sure that something could have been sorted. But Thorin could not back down under threat and blackmail because he would have lost face. And this "losing face" would not have been a minor thing in dwarven culture; it would show a lack of kingliness and an inability to be a strong leader.

I think that PJ is going to play it very evenhandedly and show that Thorin, Thranduil, Bard and Bilbo all make mistakes and that they are all responsible for the dispute. In the meantime, dormouse, you carry on defending Thranduil and I'll carry on defending Thorin, LOL!


May 8 2013, 3:49pm

Post #34 of 41 (2334 views)
Er, well..... The King doesn't withdraw back to the forest.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... because he is supporting Bard, who does have a legitimate claim to the wealth of Dale, which is in the hoard though it never belonged to the dwarves. And because the King knows full well (having a rather low opinion of dwarves) that Bard's only chance is to insist on his claim. Thorin is out to keep the lot - he's not bothered about Dale or Bard.

They do withdraw from the Gate as soon as they realise the dwarves are alive. The camp is clearly some way off, down the valley and on the other side of the river. And though you say Thorin offers a parley I can't see that he does. He isn't willing to consider Bard's claim at all - all he's offering is payment to the Lake men for the help they gave him, when he feels like it and when the others have all gone home.

As for 'Long will I tarry....', well. If you're going to dismiss lines Tolkien gave his characters as 'out of character' 'cos they don't fit in with your idea of the character, where does it end? Surely, the thing is to base your understanding of a character on the words and actions Tolkien gave them? And if something seems 'out of character' maybe it's the interpretation of the character that's at fault.... Wink

I never thought of the Elvenking as sexy (at 8 years old, you don't), but I knew he was noble and nice, 'cos that's how Tolkien wrote him - what's more, he speaks in lovely flowing cadences...

*Puts up dogged (or mouse-id) defence of the Elvenking to the end Smile


May 8 2013, 4:22pm

Post #35 of 41 (2328 views)
I could reply to every point you've raised, dormouse, [In reply to] Can't Post

but Thranduil deserves at least one dogged follower, LOL. Let's discuss it further when the film comes out and we have seen how PJ presents things.

I do think that all these final scenes suddenly become very complex and that, when you are a child, you tend to take the simple black and white path through Tolkien's ideas and that these ideas affect the way you see things even as an adult. I didn't read The Hobbit until my early twenties, after LotR, and I can remember feeling very confused about what appeared to be a mixed message from Tolkien and I kept going back over and over this section until I thought I had it straight in my head. It's straight in mine and it's obviously straight in yours. But we have drawn different conclusions. This is partly why Tolkien's writing is so satisfying in this "simple" children's book.


May 8 2013, 6:05pm

Post #36 of 41 (2343 views)
It is.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and I am just being a tad mischievous here, though it's true that even now, at considerably older than 8, I still see Tolkien's presentation of the Elvenking as essentially sympathetic, the King's good qualities rising above his two basic flaws - prejudice against dwarves (later explained by the ancestral memories of events at Doriath) and liking for gold - when the occasion arose.

My assessment of the dwarves has changed a lot. As a child I thought Thorin was grumpy and miserable. I didn't get any of the subtleties; he was just horrible. I didn't like any of the dwarves except Balin, Fili and Kili. I wanted Bilbo to abandon them and join the Elvenking in Mirkwood, and I couldn't understand why he didn't. I take in more of the backstory now - the reasons why Thorin is as he is, and I think PJ and Richard Armitage have made a much richer and more rounded character of him - in a way which seems to me to be quite consistent with the books. So I'm interested to see if they will show the 'dragon sickness' taking hold of him, as it surely does in the book. As for what they make of the King, well, I don't mind. For me the films are an entertainment, which I thoroughly enjoy, but they won't take away 'my' Elvenking any more than the LotR films took 'my' Legolas or Faramir.


May 8 2013, 6:28pm

Post #37 of 41 (2329 views)
Yes--you nailed it imho... [In reply to] Can't Post

...with what you just said here. Bravo!
and I think PJ and Richard Armitage have made a much richer and more rounded character of him - in a way which seems to me to be quite consistent with the books. So I'm interested to see if they will show the 'dragon sickness' taking hold of him, as it surely does in the book.

I, for one, will be very keen to see how the dragon sickness plays out. Will it be more like an addiction, like Frodo and the ring? Or some new angle? We just have to wait and see!


May 8 2013, 6:46pm

Post #38 of 41 (2317 views)
I'm absolutely positive that Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

will succumb to the dragon sickness because RA has said so himself. He has said that we will finish up hating him before the final scene makes us forgive him. I think he really wants to get his teeth into it but other remarks imply that PJ and Boyens have stopped him from going too far. Mind you, he has announced about conflicted characters he has played in the past that his fans would really hate him in the role because he was so wicked but he's been wrong: he has put up such a layered performance that the fans have been sympathetic to his plight and have merely wanted to give him a hug, LOL! I've got a feeling that the same thing will happen here.

Grey Havens

May 9 2013, 9:35am

Post #39 of 41 (2282 views)
Troops in their strategic positions... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
In fact, they're all armoured up and ready for action; they're not exactly attacked from the rear but have time to deploy their troops in strategic positions on the two hills either side of the Gate and with a group of brave men acting as a lure in the valley between. I hope PJ shows this in the film.

I'm hoping PJ shows this approximately as written too. He's set up the geography outside of the Gate just right, and what appears to be the lookout post on Ravenhill is right where it ought to be. I love the glimpse we get of that in the prologue, and thinking how much more familiar we're going to become with Ravenhill, and the rest of the area in front of the Gate, over the next two movies.


May 12 2013, 5:52am

Post #40 of 41 (2212 views)
Fili/Kili [In reply to] Can't Post

Didnt say Uncle, because nobdy twisted their arms ... j/k

I agree I don't always say Aunt or Uncle with my family.
I do think it will come out though.
BO5A ... close relatives often served as retinue heralds and squires to Kings and Lords in battles of yore which Tolkien emulates in his writing in effect serving as a sort of bodyguard ... its all good and easy to show in a film

Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


May 13 2013, 1:42pm

Post #41 of 41 (2199 views)
Why would he? [In reply to] Can't Post

He never made it clear that both Merry and Pippin were cousins to each other in LotR, or even that *both* of them were Frodo's cousins (Pippin gets in a brief mention of the fact that he's related in the Prancing Pony scene.)*

PJ really doesn't seem to care much about these sorts of relationships. As for the relationship of Fili and Kili to Thorin, it's never mentioned much in canon--I think only the reference is at the end, after the Bo5A.

Story-internal, perhaps it's that Dwarves don't use those sorts of terms, or that whatever the word is in Khuzdul for the relationship doesn't "translate" to Common Speech or perhaps Dwarves seem to be a very private sort of people, so the relationship may be something they never refer to in front of "outsiders". Pick one of those explanations or think up your own.

*This is a very sore point for me. The gutting of their backstory and the Conspiracy meant that *some* sort of motivation for their "just happening" to tag along on the Quest with Frodo was needed. At least if he'd indicated they were family it would have made more sense.

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