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Author Topic: Chapter 14  (Read 1119 times)

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May 27, 2013, 02:04:14 AM

HealerOne

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Chapter 14
Fire and Water

The watchmen of the lake town of Esgraroth saw the lights all over the mountain in the night. Observing the lights during the day the people thought the King beneath the Mountain had regained his wealth and therefore the mountain glowed golden. But a man of the old ways knew that it was Smaug, the dragon. He called for the town to prepare for the onslaught of the dragon. The brave among them kept the volley of arrows constant, but they bounced off the dragon’s sides. Just before Bard was to fire his last arrow, the thrush who overheard Bilbo discussing the dragon’s underbelly's soft spot, told Bard where to aim. The arrow found the spot and Smaug crashed down into the burning town over the lake.

The townspeople thought Bard had also died, but he survived the fire by diving into the lake. The people wanted to make him King of the town but the Master was jealous and instead crowned him King of Dale. The Master blamed the Dwarves for the destruction of the town. Even though many townspeople had survived the attack, many still died from the cold and becoming sick. Bard, taking on the responsibility of moving forward, sent a messenger to the wood elves to ask for assistance. However all of Mirkwood knew of the event and they came as an army to get the treasures of the mountain. The Elvenking pitied the people of Esgraroth and gave them food and supplies. A contingent of lake men also took up arms and went with the elves to the mountain. Others remained to rebuild the town, but not in the same place - as they dreaded the place where Smaug lay on the bottom of the lake.

~ Why did the Smaug take out his anger on the town of Esgraroth?
~ Clever thrush! Why do you think he relayed the critical information to Bard?
~ The Master and Bard had different reactions to the town’s destruction. How would you compare them?
~ Greed continues to be seen in the pages of this story. How does it propel the actions of most involved in this chapter? Is there any one of the characters that is not motivated by greed?


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May 27, 2013, 08:10:41 PM
Reply #1

Evreka

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So, Bilbo's conversation with Smaug proves to be a blessing for our 14 travellers, and less of a blessing for Esgraroth. Bilbo's barrel rider description (or however it is described in English) makes Smaug certain the thief came from Esgraroth, so he seeks them out. It's funny to realise that this is what leaves the dwarves and Bilbo's ways clear to the treasures but also to some form of safety. If Smaug hadn't moved, they'd all starved to death.

We see the true leader of Esgraroth in Bard, I'd say. The so called master thinks of nothing but to escape alive, it's Bard who make the men fight. Lucky the birds can carry Bilbo's discovery of where the dragon can be injured to him - a bit odd they couldn't see the spot on his belly/chest where the gems didn't glitter, and aim for it. Perhaps he flew too high up for that?

Thanks to them being prepared for Smaug, the fight lasts the entire night; if Smaug had not thrown such a tantrum of fire as he approached they would have been taken by complete surprise. Smaug was no strategic, for sure!  :fredgeorge:

The master might be a coward, but he is the strategic, who tries to interest Bard from accepting HIS crown, and instead send him north. Why isn't the master himself after trying to find the treasure though? Too dangerous still for his taste?

I quite liked Bard in this chapter. :)
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June 02, 2013, 12:06:34 PM
Reply #2

atschpe

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If Smaug hadn't moved, they'd all starved to death.

This is qute interesting and telling don't you think? They travel all this way to claim what is "rightfully there's" but it's due to Smaug's movement that they progress, and ontop of that Bilbo who is the active one. Some dwarves huh? :p

What I also find fascinating is an underlying tone in the title: Water and Fire. Two opposite elements in the ancient elements table (the moist/cold vs. the dry/warm) or the two different approaches to change according to Eastern Traditions (water slowly changing its surroundings – think riverbed, vs. fire forcing its way quickly through the obstacle). At first sight it is the Dragon (fire) coming to the village (on the water), but it also describes the passivity of the dwarves (water) vs. the active approach of Bilbo and even the desctructive presence of Smaug (fire).
"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 02, 2013, 02:41:51 PM
Reply #3

Evreka

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If Smaug hadn't moved, they'd all starved to death.
This is qute interesting and telling don't you think? They travel all this way to claim what is "rightfully there's" but it's due to Smaug's movement that they progress, and ontop of that Bilbo who is the active one. Some dwarves huh? :p
Their abilities of planning does seem a bit limited, or possibly they just accepted that they wouldn't be able to come up with a strategy for what to do once they reached the Lonely Mountain. And somehow failed to realise that they'd be brought up short if they ever reached their physical goal (ie the place) between the dragon and litterally no idea of what to do! I can sort of understand this approach in the early days, but if not before so in Esgraroth they ought to have realised that they had no plans! There, if not before, seemed a good place to start to plan, I think.  :madeye:
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June 08, 2013, 04:36:43 PM
Reply #4

ss19

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What I don't understand in this chapter is how taking away the bridge would help keep Smaug from reaching the lake-town.  Smaug can fly and he flew all the way from the mountain to the town.  Why would a bridge make any difference to him?  :crabbegoyle:  How big can that lake possibly be and why would Smaug be scared of the lake?
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June 09, 2013, 05:36:08 PM
Reply #5

Evreka

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What I don't understand in this chapter is how taking away the bridge would help keep Smaug from reaching the lake-town.  Smaug can fly and he flew all the way from the mountain to the town.  Why would a bridge make any difference to him?  :crabbegoyle:  How big can that lake possibly be and why would Smaug be scared of the lake?
Maybe it stops him from coming at them on ground level, where it would be harder to aim at him while any flames he'd send would be sure to find a target in form of people or houses?

Or else it is just part of their usual defence, whenever an enemy approaches, the bridge is pulled away, without much thought "wasted" on whether a flying enemy needs it or not??
 
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June 10, 2013, 02:16:24 AM
Reply #6

HealerOne

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What I don't understand in this chapter is how taking away the bridge would help keep Smaug from reaching the lake-town.  Smaug can fly and he flew all the way from the mountain to the town.  Why would a bridge make any difference to him?  :crabbegoyle:  How big can that lake possibly be and why would Smaug be scared of the lake?
Maybe it stops him from coming at them on ground level, where it would be harder to aim at him while any flames he'd send would be sure to find a target in form of people or houses?

Or else it is just part of their usual defense, whenever an enemy approaches, the bridge is pulled away, without much thought "wasted" on whether a flying enemy needs it or not??
I agree that removing the bridge is probably part of their defense plan. Perhaps they thought about the flying dragon, but most likely their 'defense plan' was really towards an enemy that did not fly! I mean that certainly isn't the usual mode for an enemy to come in those days! Perhaps the removal of the bridge made the defense of their town easier in some way? Wouldn't the destruction of the bridge be very bad with the defenders on it? So maybe they got it out of the way in order to bunch their defenders ... or spread them out better in order to defend their town. 
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