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Author Topic: Chapter fifteen  (Read 1104 times)

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May 26, 2013, 10:14:21 PM

atschpe

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Chapter 15
The Gathering of the Clouds

A thrush wants to tell our travelers what has all happened – but only with the help of an old raven can he fill them in: Smaug is dead, the village is in ruins, so the villagers and many allies are making their way up to the dwarves to claim a share in the treasure. Thorin wants none of this, it's his inheritance after all. So time to fortify the building. Soon Bard arrives, pointing out the dwarves had a lot of help from the villagers, but Thorin remains stubborn and no dwarf would dare to question his point of view.

Pondery Points:
  • The dwarves can speak to an old raven but don't understand a thrush. Do you see any symbology in the choice of "understandable" birds? Why do you think Tolkein choose birds to bring the latest news to the travellers?
  • On whose side were you when you learnt Thorin did not want to share his inheritance. Thorin's? The Villagers'? Bilbo's? The other Dwarves'?
  • How would you have approached the situation?


"Of course it is all in your head, but why on Earth should that mean it isn't real?" ~Dumbledore (DH)
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June 08, 2013, 05:26:52 PM
Reply #1

ss19

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The dwarves can speak to an old raven but don't understand a thrush. Do you see any symbology in the choice of "understandable" birds? Why do you think Tolkein choose birds to bring the latest news to the travellers?

I find it interesting that throughout the book, various animals all speak their languages.  Some of those languages can be understood by some of the characters but not by others, while some seem to be just common speech understandable by all the characters.  Gandalf understands more of these animal languages than the hobbit does, for example.  The wolves, eagles, bears, spiders, ... can all speak, in addition to the thrush and raven that we see in this chapter, not to mention the dragon also.

Another interesting thing is that the hobbit and dwarves cannot understand the thrush's spoken language, yet the thrush can understand their language well enough to listen in on their conversation and pass on to Bard what he had heard.  The thrush can only understand their language, not speak it though, and needed the raven to translate.

I think this is all just a reflection of Tolkien's interest in and knowledge of languages.  He created an Elvish language for The Lord of the Rings, didn't he?  Only a very small sampling of the language made it into the books, but I've heard that it's a complete language that Tolkien created and that some die-hard fans have learned Elvish and sometimes use that to communicate on some fan sites.


On whose side were you when you learnt Thorin did not want to share his inheritance. Thorin's? The Villagers'? Bilbo's? The other Dwarves'?

I definitely think that the lake-town people deserve a share of the treasures for helping the dwarves earlier (before they got to the mountain), for the damages they suffered as a result of helping them, and for their part in slaying the dragon.  However, there were more than just the lake-town people wanting to take the treasures now that the dragon is out of their way, so I can understand why Thorin would feel threatened and become defensive.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 05:28:57 PM by ss19 »
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June 09, 2013, 06:03:42 PM
Reply #2

Evreka

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The dwarves can speak to an old raven but don't understand a thrush. Do you see any symbology in the choice of "understandable" birds? Why do you think Tolkein choose birds to bring the latest news to the travellers?
I think this is all just a reflection of Tolkien's interest in and knowledge of languages.  He created an Elvish language for The Lord of the Rings, didn't he?  Only a very small sampling of the language made it into the books, but I've heard that it's a complete language that Tolkien created and that some die-hard fans have learned Elvish and sometimes use that to communicate on some fan sites.
I agree that this is most likely rooted in Tolkien's love for languages and also it is a very handy way to bring news from one end of the lake to the other, back and forth, from the author's point of view. How else would the knowledge be able to be spread so quickly and well? It also makes sense that not everyone can understand all birds all the time, it would be an entirely different story then...

What I find most interesting here is perhaps where the talking birds loyalties lie: They carry the info of where to shoot Smaug to Bard, and then info on the Elves movements and choices to Thorin. Although the birds make it plain that they think the wisest move would be to make peace with the people around the lake, they are happy to help the resisting Thorin with news. Why?
 

On whose side were you when you learnt Thorin did not want to share his inheritance. Thorin's? The Villagers'? Bilbo's? The other Dwarves'?
I definitely think that the lake-town people deserve a share of the treasures for helping the dwarves earlier (before they got to the mountain), for the damages they suffered as a result of helping them, and for their part in slaying the dragon.  However, there were more than just the lake-town people wanting to take the treasures now that the dragon is out of their way, so I can understand why Thorin would feel threatened and become defensive.
I am surprised by Thorin's decision here. I thought the dwarves would recognize that they were in debt to the lake people for the help and shelter they got not so long ago. Would they ever have reached the mountain without that help? I guess that treasure are turning more heads around than Bilbo's (who took the Arkenstone for himself). And like ss19, I really think they should be awarded some gold due to the damage the dragon made to the lake people, especially as killing the dragon solved a huge problem for the dwarves, too! So, my loyalty is with Bard and his men.

The wood elves though, have really no business coming to the dwarves with any kind of claims. If they want to get compensation for their help to the town's people, it is an entirely inner affair between the two elvish people. Thorin sure has no reason to give them anything! But if Bard would get some part of the treasure he could share some of his part with his elvish friends should he so wish, I think.


He created an Elvish language for The Lord of the Rings, didn't he?  Only a very small sampling of the language made it into the books, but I've heard that it's a complete language that Tolkien created and that some die-hard fans have learned Elvish and sometimes use that to communicate on some fan sites.
As a side note, if I remember correctly, all Elves in the LOTR film cast with speaking roles, had to learn this language too. Actors do get into interesting occupational hazards, at times.  :fredgeorge: Also, Enya, wrote and performed at least one of the Elvish songs that can be heard in the movies. The song's words are  written and sung in "fluent" elvish...
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 06:06:00 PM by Evreka »
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June 10, 2013, 02:38:55 AM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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On whose side were you when you learnt Thorin did not want to share his inheritance. Thorin's? The Villagers'? Bilbo's? The other Dwarves'?
I definitely think that the lake-town people deserve a share of the treasures for helping the dwarves earlier (before they got to the mountain), for the damages they suffered as a result of helping them, and for their part in slaying the dragon.  However, there were more than just the lake-town people wanting to take the treasures now that the dragon is out of their way, so I can understand why Thorin would feel threatened and become defensive.
I am surprised by Thorin's decision here. I thought the dwarves would recognize that they were in debt to the lake people for the help and shelter they got not so long ago. Would they ever have reached the mountain without that help? I guess that treasure are turning more heads around than Bilbo's (who took the Arkenstone for himself). And like ss19, I really think they should be awarded some gold due to the damage the dragon made to the lake people, especially as killing the dragon solved a huge problem for the dwarves, too! So, my loyalty is with Bard and his men.
One of the 'issues' that I think Tolkien wanted to address in The Hobbit was about greed and how it changes the best of people. Thorin was a greedy person. He almost 'treasured' the treasure more than Smaug! I think his was blinded by that greed especially in his decision making. It almost seemed that the more he saw and touched the treasure the worse he became in his greed. So it doesn't surprise me that he didn't want to share the treasure! Even the treasure that really belong to the people of the village.

Do you think others were also blinded by greed?
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June 10, 2013, 08:56:11 PM
Reply #4

Evreka

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On whose side were you when you learnt Thorin did not want to share his inheritance. Thorin's? The Villagers'? Bilbo's? The other Dwarves'?
I definitely think that the lake-town people deserve a share of the treasures for helping the dwarves earlier (before they got to the mountain), for the damages they suffered as a result of helping them, and for their part in slaying the dragon.  However, there were more than just the lake-town people wanting to take the treasures now that the dragon is out of their way, so I can understand why Thorin would feel threatened and become defensive.
I am surprised by Thorin's decision here. I thought the dwarves would recognize that they were in debt to the lake people for the help and shelter they got not so long ago. Would they ever have reached the mountain without that help? I guess that treasure are turning more heads around than Bilbo's (who took the Arkenstone for himself). And like ss19, I really think they should be awarded some gold due to the damage the dragon made to the lake people, especially as killing the dragon solved a huge problem for the dwarves, too! So, my loyalty is with Bard and his men.
One of the 'issues' that I think Tolkien wanted to address in The Hobbit was about greed and how it changes the best of people. Thorin was a greedy person. He almost 'treasured' the treasure more than Smaug! I think his was blinded by that greed especially in his decision making. It almost seemed that the more he saw and touched the treasure the worse he became in his greed. So it doesn't surprise me that he didn't want to share the treasure! Even the treasure that really belong to the people of the village.

Do you think others were also blinded by greed?
Good point, HealerOne, that Tolkien deliberately put in the hazards of greed and how it can twist people's head's around. (People in a wide sense including any Being who can think for themselves really.) That makes sense. It would also explain why Thorin seems to have become more and more obsessed with the treasure.

An interesting aspect here is that not all dwarves are happy to see Bilbo treated thus, so the treasure doesn't make them all equally greedy. Maybe Thorin sees it more as his treasure than the rest since he is the descendant of the head dwarves?

I suppose the Wood elves are there out of greed, why else really? They didn't set out to help the lake people, though they did help them when they learned of their plight.
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