We have detected that cookies are not enabled on your browser. Please enable cookies to ensure the proper experience.
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 41
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Brandywine
    Posts
    1,757

    What was the purpose of Thranduil and his elves coming to the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit?

    I'm re-listening to the audiobook of The Hobbit. I'm at the part right before the Battle of Five Armies begins. Thorin & Co. are besieged within the mountain. I understand Bard's claim on a portion of the treasure for Dale and Laketown, but I don't understand why Thranduil is there. Is it really just out of greed? He heard that there was an unprotected mountain of gold and wanted some of it? Please tell me I'm missing something.
    MINSTREL and member of the vocal minority

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    505
    Quote Originally Posted by Frieja View Post
    I'm re-listening to the audiobook of The Hobbit. I'm at the part right before the Battle of Five Armies begins. Thorin & Co. are besieged within the mountain. I understand Bard's claim on a portion of the treasure for Dale and Laketown, but I don't understand why Thranduil is there. Is it really just out of greed? He heard that there was an unprotected mountain of gold and wanted some of it? Please tell me I'm missing something.
    The Elves had suffered under Smaug's reign and felt that they had some reparations coming. The way I read those chapters though, it was Thorin's specific refusal to use the treasure to aid the Dale folk who had suffered directly as a consequence of the Dwarf's actions that led Thranduil to join with Bard against Thorin.

    That said Thranduil is no Elrond and actions out of of self-importance and entitlement seem much more believable for his character than actions out of altruism.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Himring
    Posts
    713
    It might be inferred that the elves were net importers of food from the long lake (apples and wine) since they lived in a pristine forest with no evidence of farming, so they would have a vested interest in restoring trade with lake town ASAP.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/042080000001019a8/01007/signature.png]undefined[/charsig]
    "Of course I am the only elf in the village"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Anavalar View Post
    The Elves had suffered under Smaug's reign and felt that they had some reparations coming. The way I read those chapters though, it was Thorin's specific refusal to use the treasure to aid the Dale folk who had suffered directly as a consequence of the Dwarf's actions that led Thranduil to join with Bard against Thorin.

    That said Thranduil is no Elrond and actions out of of self-importance and entitlement seem much more believable for his character than actions out of altruism.
    That sounds about right, I'd only add a couple of things: first, that people thought that Thorin & Co. would be dead after the dragon was roused (that they'd have been his first victims, as they very nearly were) so they didn't go to Erebor in the expectation of meeting anyone. The other thing is that to be fair to Thranduil, he really didn't want to start a war over gold - it was Bard who was spoiling for a fight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Brandywine
    Posts
    1,757
    Ah, thanks for the responses everyone. That makes sense that the elves would come to see that Smaug had been defeated and thinking that the Dwarves had perished.
    MINSTREL and member of the vocal minority

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    That sounds about right, I'd only add a couple of things: first, that people thought that Thorin & Co. would be dead after the dragon was roused (that they'd have been his first victims, as they very nearly were) so they didn't go to Erebor in the expectation of meeting anyone. The other thing is that to be fair to Thranduil, he really didn't want to start a war over gold - it was Bard who was spoiling for a fight.
    I'm not so sure Thranduil wasn't ready to fight when he set out. It's just that he was the first to think better of it when it looked like the free folk were headed there. He also wasn't so hard-hearted that he didn't stop his army to help the refugees of Lake Town. So he's not a sinister figure, either.

    All the same, I'm sure he wanted to lay a big claim to the unguarded dragon horde. Tolkien says that he did not have a horde as great as other Elven kings and was fond of white gems. I'm sure he'd have loved to have the Arkenstone, if he could get to it quickly.

    I think it's a testament to Tolkien that he was able to invest multiple motivations into a minor character like this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Coruven View Post
    I'm not so sure Thranduil wasn't ready to fight when he set out.
    There's a difference between being prepared to fight and going looking for one. Bard didn't think twice about giving the Dwarves a war, if they wanted one, but Thranduil said "Long will I tarry ere I begin this war for gold". It had been a different matter when they thought that the hoard was unguarded and up for grabs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    There's a difference between being prepared to fight and going looking for one. Bard didn't think twice about giving the Dwarves a war, if they wanted one, but Thranduil said "Long will I tarry ere I begin this war for gold". It had been a different matter when they thought that the hoard was unguarded and up for grabs.
    You are wrong about Bard Motivations, he slayed the dragon Smaug with aid of Bilbo's wisdom, he didn't give dwarves a war in fact he negociated with the Arkenstone to thorin to bring him to his senses.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You are wrong about Bard Motivations, he slayed the dragon Smaug with aid of Bilbo's wisdom, he didn't give dwarves a war in fact he negociated with the Arkenstone to thorin to bring him to his senses.
    Nope. That wasn't the end of it, as you should well know.

    'Fools!' laughed Bard, 'to come thus beneath the Mountain's arm! They do not understand war above ground, whatever they may know of battle in the mines! There are many of our archers and spearmen now hidden in the rocks upon their right flank. Dwarf-mail may be good, but they will soon be hard put to it. Let us set upon them now from both sides, before they are fully rested!'

    - The Hobbit, 'The Clouds Burst'

    And as I said, it was Thranduil who was against attacking them then and there because he didn't want to start a war.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Nope. That wasn't the end of it, as you should well know.

    'Fools!' laughed Bard, 'to come thus beneath the Mountain's arm! They do not understand war above ground, whatever they may know of battle in the mines! There are many of our archers and spearmen now hidden in the rocks upon their right flank. Dwarf-mail may be good, but they will soon be hard put to it. Let us set upon them now from both sides, before they are fully rested!'

    - The Hobbit, 'The Clouds Burst'

    And as I said, it was Thranduil who was against attacking them then and there because he didn't want to start a war.
    Not correct, Bard killed Smaug when it destroyed Laketown in the process, also Smaug sacked Dale and the region so some of treasure was from the people, also Bard is taunting there.

    Bard didn't kill any dwarf or intended when he recieved the arkenstone.

  11. #11
    everyone's got a little dragon in em

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Not correct, Bard killed Smaug when it destroyed Laketown in the process, also Smaug sacked Dale and the region so some of treasure was from the people, also Bard is taunting there.
    Sorry, what? Bard isn't taunting anyone at that point, he and Thranduil are watching the Dwarves' advance along the eastern bank of the river.

    Bard didn't kill any dwarf or intended when he recieved the arkenstone.
    I posted a direct quote proving Bard's violent intentions and you're still arguing? This is after the bit with the Arkenstone, when the Dwarves from the Iron Hills had turned up - you can clearly see in that quote that Bard was keen on taking them out, given the apparent opportunity that presented itself, whereas as I said Thranduil didn't want to rush into anything and start a war over the gold. (In the end it's the Dwarves who get the party started).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Analysis: Chapters 14–15

    Bard, the only human hero in The Hobbit, is grim, courageous, and honorable. Bard’s descent from the people of Dale—who lived in peace with Thorin’s ancestors in happier times, before Smaug—allows him to hear the words of the thrush that communicates Bilbo’s message. Bard is brave enough to be the last man standing in the town and skilled enough to kill Smaug with a shot. Bard is kind and reasonable, presenting the demands of the men and the elves as politely as possible to Thorin and asking only for what is needed to rebuild Lake Town and help alleviate his people’s suffering.
    After they find the treasure, the dwarves’ disturbing greed escalates to the extent thatThorin seems more like a villain than a hero by Chapter 15. We sense that poor Bilbo, as an ally of the dwarves, is stuck on the wrong side of the conflict. When the elf and human armies advance to propose that the treasure be shared, the narrator observes that Thorin’s lust for gold has been building ever since he entered the dragon’s lair. This lust has made Thorin and most of the other dwarves totally unreasonable. We are told that only Bombur, Fili, and Kili do not completely share Thorin’s stubbornness.


    Bard and elves and dwarves were blinded by greed when Smaug was killed, that is the lesson in the Hobbit entire story ending, but then united against a common enemy the goblins and orcs.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    the goblins and orcs.[/I]
    Beg your pardon?
    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
    - Will Rogers

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Analysis: Chapters 14–15

    Bard, the only human hero in The Hobbit, is grim, courageous, and honorable. Bard’s descent from the people of Dale—who lived in peace with Thorin’s ancestors in happier times, before Smaug—allows him to hear the words of the thrush that communicates Bilbo’s message. Bard is brave enough to be the last man standing in the town and skilled enough to kill Smaug with a shot. Bard is kind and reasonable, presenting the demands of the men and the elves as politely as possible to Thorin and asking only for what is needed to rebuild Lake Town and help alleviate his people’s suffering.
    After they find the treasure, the dwarves’ disturbing greed escalates to the extent thatThorin seems more like a villain than a hero by Chapter 15. We sense that poor Bilbo, as an ally of the dwarves, is stuck on the wrong side of the conflict. When the elf and human armies advance to propose that the treasure be shared, the narrator observes that Thorin’s lust for gold has been building ever since he entered the dragon’s lair. This lust has made Thorin and most of the other dwarves totally unreasonable. We are told that only Bombur, Fili, and Kili do not completely share Thorin’s stubbornness.


    Bard and elves and dwarves were blinded by greed when Smaug was killed, that is the lesson in the Hobbit entire story ending, but then united against a common enemy the goblins and orcs.
    What's with the waffle? The point was a simple one, that Thranduil kept his cool and was highly reluctant to start a war in the face of Bard's clearly voiced intent to attack the Dwarves while they were in a poor position. Having had an army of them turn up and with Thorin & Co. loosing arrows at anyone who came near the gates of Erebor, Bard had plainly lost all patience. Whether that was the dragon-spell doing its evil work doesn't matter because Thranduil still didn't want to fight, and the Elves are what this thread is about. That was why I mentioned it in the first place, that Thranduil remains a voice of reason even when Bard's lost it and wants to go all medieval on the Dwarves. The guy wasn't there to get the gold at any price, he like the rest had imagined that Thorin & Co. had got themselves burnt to a crisp and having live and incredibly stubborn Dwarves to deal with instead was a whole different ball game. So no, the Elves aren't blinded by greed. It's the Dwarves who start the fighting.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    What's with the waffle? The point was a simple one, that Thranduil kept his cool and was highly reluctant to start a war in the face of Bard's clearly voiced intent to attack the Dwarves while they were in a poor position. Having had an army of them turn up and with Thorin & Co. loosing arrows at anyone who came near the gates of Erebor, Bard had plainly lost all patience. Whether that was the dragon-spell doing its evil work doesn't matter because Thranduil still didn't want to fight, and the Elves are what this thread is about. That was why I mentioned it in the first place, that Thranduil remains a voice of reason even when Bard's lost it and wants to go all medieval on the Dwarves. The guy wasn't there to get the gold at any price, he like the rest had imagined that Thorin & Co. had got themselves burnt to a crisp and having live and incredibly stubborn Dwarves to deal with instead was a whole different ball game. So no, the Elves aren't blinded by greed. It's the Dwarves who start the fighting.
    Whatever, even thraduil goes for the gold they are blinded by it: THATS THE LESSON GREED BLINDS PEOPLE

    Bard is actually the one willing to negociate in the right time, if you don't get it seem you read a different book.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,444
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Whatever, even thraduil goes for the gold they are blinded by it: THATS THE LESSON GREED BLINDS PEOPLE

    Bard is actually the one willing to negociate in the right time, if you don't get it seem you read a different book.
    Err, hello, I posted a quote (you know, actual words from the book?) showing that Bard had had enough of negotiating after that (having arrows loosed at your followers is enough to try anyone's patience) and was all for attacking the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, which Thranduil wasn't. And Thranduil had also been more than willing to try to negotiate with Thorin; he'd remained there to provide moral support to Bard, who after all had a legitimate claim because some of the hoard had come from Dale. (And never mind that Lake-town's destruction was Thorin & Co.'s fault for having roused Smaug).

    As for the hoard itself, if it had been going begging (which people had thought it would be) then Thranduil wasn't going to say no. If the Dwarves had already been roasted and/or eaten then they could hardly have laid claim to anything. Being a bit mercenary isn't being blinded by greed. If Thranduil had been so blinded then he'd surely have ended up being fiercely for attacking the Dwarves just like Bard was, rather than saying (and here's another quote for you, in nice big bold writing so you can't possibly miss it): "Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold". So the Elves stay relatively cool (as one might well expect, this being Tolkien), and it's the Dwarves and Men who are more easily swayed to violence (plus the former Master of Lake-town later ends up being consumed by greed, which leads him to his death). So yes, it does seem that I read a different book... mine says "The Hobbit" on the cover, how about yours? If they do a version with really big print and pictures, we could have a whip-round and get it you for Christmas. I'll even help you with the big words!

  18. #18
    I would like to interject the following,

    I have always perceived Thranduil's (original) motive as being a justified sense of his own royal obligations and responsibilities, to his neighbours as well as to his own people, combined with compassion and a sense of moral responsibility to all 'good peoples' living nearby. I would even attribute a desire to ensure that the heirlooms of the Royal House of Durin's Folk be protected, and thence restored to a suitable heir (Thranduil would know of Dain Ironfoot in the Iron Hills, and of his lineage).

    Consider his situation: he has received a report that Smaug has been slain; therefore, the fabled treasure of Erebor was 'up for grabs' (moreover, the rightful heirs to the treasure have been presumed slain by Smaug)! Hoorays against Smaug notwithstanding, this development threatened to be politically disastrous for the entire region: the hoard at Erebor had to be locked-down and protected from looters until a suitable disposition of the wealth could be devised (or until a valid heir appeared); moreover, every greedy soul in all of Rhovanion would flock to Erebor like magpies, to make war to seize the treasure, while murdering and robbing each other and everyone else, and "burning rick, cot and tree" (sorry, I went all 'Two-Towersy' for a moment) as they go, and --to top it all off-- winter was imminent ...

    Thranduil ruled the strongest kingdom in the region, and the nearest to Erebor: if preserving regional stability was anyone's responsibility, it was his; beyond this, as far as protecting his own subjects against the incidental, and otherwise, predations of plunderers is concerned, perhaps he reasoned it would be best to 'nip [this threat] in the bud'; indeed, if he proactively inserted himself on behalf of the interests of any surviving heirs, he could be assured of reinforcement and support when the Dwarves of the Iron Hills arrived (they were bound to appear, eventually: better they join the 'riot squad', rather than the rioters).

    In any event, the rumour of Smaug's demise had to be confirmed, or denied, sooner being much-much-much-better than later.

    So, Thranduil quickly assembled a modest, but formidable, force and launched a reconnaissance-in-force in the direction of Erebor. As is told elsewhere, messengers from savaged Lake-Town intercepted him on-the-march, and their compassionate pleas moved him to intercede on their behalf, first.

    Regarding Bard,

    Tolkien almost 'goes out of his way' to depict Bard as grim, in the sense of brooking no nonsense, and assessing everything with nihilistic pragmatism, with a disposition that is wont to offer 'no quarter'; diplomacy is for weaklings. More than this, he is depicted as the type of fellow who lives by the following credo, 'don't talk it, do it, already!' His ruthless focus as an archer was renowned.

    He was not so-much bloodthirsty against the dwarves, nor greedy for their gold, as rash, irascible and relentlessly determined: convinced that battle is inevitable, bent upon demanding weregild for the greedy-dwarf-caused destruction of Lake-Town, and perceiving his best opportunity, he wanted to loose his arrow.

    Back to Thranduil,

    As events continued to degenerate, Thranduil was forced to consider the lives of his own folk, and those of his allies, and reluctantly began to issue orders to offer battle ...

    HoG

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    Beg your pardon?
    Did you mean the Orcs and goblins part? If so, the difference between an orc and a goblin is that a goblin is born naturally, under the grounds, but orcs are factorised version of goblins.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Soldenwyn View Post
    Did you mean the Orcs and goblins part? If so, the difference between an orc and a goblin is that a goblin is born naturally, under the grounds, but orcs are factorised version of goblins.
    I have got a feeling that a lot of people here would quite disagree with you.

    However, what Tolkien wrote in the introduction to The Hobbit was something like that "goblin", is the translation of the word "orch". However he almost exclusively seemed to use the word "goblin" for the smaller types living in the mountains.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by EddieMuerto View Post
    I have got a feeling that a lot of people here would quite disagree with you.

    However, what Tolkien wrote in the introduction to The Hobbit was something like that "goblin", is the translation of the word "orch". However he almost exclusively seemed to use the word "goblin" for the smaller types living in the mountains.
    Actually it's not as simple as that. Tolkien never actually characterised them by size that way. He used goblin and orc interchangeably, hobgoblins were the larger breeds. The word goblin is used exclusively in The Hobbit. The word goblin is used only occasionally in the Lord of the Rings, and not at all in the Silmarillion. It seems he just changed his mind at some time in his life as to what they should be called, and always remember that "what things were called" was very important to Tolkien. I suspect that the absence of the word goblin from the published Silmarillion was Christopher's doing (knowing his father would want it that way of course).
    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
    - Will Rogers

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,129
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    Actually it's not as simple as that. Tolkien never actually characterised them by size that way. He used goblin and orc interchangeably, hobgoblins were the larger breeds. The word goblin is used exclusively in The Hobbit. The word goblin is used only occasionally in the Lord of the Rings, and not at all in the Silmarillion. It seems he just changed his mind at some time in his life as to what they should be called, and always remember that "what things were called" was very important to Tolkien. I suspect that the absence of the word goblin from the published Silmarillion was Christopher's doing (knowing his father would want it that way of course).
    Not correct, as his later works he made the distinction between orc and other creatures, goblins were a species he introduced in the hobbit that didn't get much attention later on although he used them.

    The quote by Christopher Tolkien
    Christopher Tolkien notes that whilst in the Tale of Tinúviel the author clearly differentiates between "goblins and Orcs", the two terms appear to be synonymous in the Tale of Turambar.
    Tolkien changed his mind, but he definetly made them different in the hobbit, there is no final version but Goblins seem to be a sub-species of orcs in reader's mind.

  23. #23
    As Coruven pointed out there is a sentence in the text that describes Thranduil as having a desire for fine things, such as white gems. My personal impression was that there was an underlying tinge of greed in his character that informed his initial decision to make a bid for the treasure. I need to re-check the text, but I think there may also have been some further characterization along those lines when Thranduil was interrogating Thorin as a prisoner - that Thranduil had a sense of what Thorin was trying to accomplish and wanted to extract a cut.

    However, after that initial setup, Thranduil's further actions all demonstrate selflessness and moderation. In addition to the quote posted above about tarrying before starting a war over gold, as Coruven also pointed out Thranduil turned aside from his march on the Mountain to give aid and succor to the men of Laketown after the destruction of their homes. I believe the text specifically states that a great many Lakemen would have died but for the intervention of the elves. Going back to the OP, my recollection is that Thranduil's "claim" on the treasure during the negotations before the Mountain - as compared to his motivation for seeking the treasure - is that it is recompense for the aid he provided to the Lakemen.

    As for Bard's quote, I took him as being both fed up with Thorin's handling of the negotiations and also more pessimistic about the intentions of Dain's folk than Thranduil was. For my part, I believed that Bard thought fighting was inevitable and simply wanted to take advantage of a tactical opportunity.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0920d00000003106c/signature.png]Celedriel[/charsig]

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    Actually it's not as simple as that. Tolkien never actually characterised them by size that way. He used goblin and orc interchangeably, hobgoblins were the larger breeds. The word goblin is used exclusively in The Hobbit. The word goblin is used only occasionally in the Lord of the Rings, and not at all in the Silmarillion. It seems he just changed his mind at some time in his life as to what they should be called, and always remember that "what things were called" was very important to Tolkien. I suspect that the absence of the word goblin from the published Silmarillion was Christopher's doing (knowing his father would want it that way of course).
    The item I have bolded is not true: in The Hobbit, the author describes, "even the great orcs of the mountains," [who can] make great speed through small tunnels, running stooped with their hands practically scrubbing the floor.

    In Letter 144, Tolkien wrote,

    "Orcs (the word is as far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc 'demon', but only because of its phonetic suitability) are nowhere clearly stated to be of any particular origin...They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think)..."

    Above, EddieMuerto has already properly cited the introduction to The Hobbit,

    "Orc is not an English word. It occurs in one or two places but is usually translated to goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures, and is not connected at all with our orc, ork, applied to sea-animals of the dolphin-kind."

    HoG

  25. #25
    Thanks HoG, I'll happily stand corrected on that point
    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
    - Will Rogers

 

 
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

This form's session has expired. You need to reload the page.

Reload