Chapter of the Week - The Hobbit - Chapter 17

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AC

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Dec 22, 2003, 9:45:23 PM12/22/03
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Chapter of the Week
The Hobbit - Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst

To view previous Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do your own, please
go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org/

I. Synopsis
Bilbo returns the night before after delivering the Arkenstone into Bard's
hands. In the morning, trumpets can be heard in the camp, and a single
runner comes up asking if Thorin would listen to another embassy now that
new tidings had come to hand. Thorin knows immediately that is is Dain, and
so permits another embassy, unarmed and few in number.

At midday a company of twenty, including Bard, the Elvenking and an old man
wrapped in clock and hood bearing a strong casket. come. Bard asks if
Thorin's mind is the same, and if nothing will sway him. Then Bard reveals
he has the Arkenstone. Thorin is thrown into confusion and demands to know
how Bard came by it. Bilbo admits to being the thief, and Thorin is so put
out that he calls Bilbo an "undersized burglar" and shakes him terribly.
Gandalf reveals himself and asks that Bilbo not be harmed. Bilbo tries to
make something of an excuse for stealing the Arkenstone.

Bilbo is allowed to leave, and though Thorin's anger is great, some among
the Dwarves feel guilt and shame at this treatment. Thorin finally agrees
to give over one fourteenth of the treasure; Bilbo's share. Bard gives
Thorin until tomorrow to make good. When the company departs, Thorin sends
Roac to Dain to tell him what has occured.

A day passes, and the next day comes with news that Dain is moving quickly
around the eastern spur of the Mountain. Bard will not let Dain and his
Dwarves pass, hoping still that the treasure will be delivered in exchange
for the Arkenstone. Dain comes with supplies that might keep Thorin for
many weeks. With Dain blocked from bringing aid to Thorin, Bard sends
messengers back to the Gate, but they receive only arrows. It now seems
that battle is inevitable, and so it comes to pass.

But just as battle is joined, a darkness rolls across the sky in the form of
a black cloud from the north. Thunder rolls on the Mountain and lightning
lights its peak. Gandalf appears suddenly and alone and calls the
combatants to halt and announces that Bolg of the North is coming, with bats
above his army, and goblins riding on wolves, with Wargs as well. Gandalf
calls for Dain to make council with the Elvenking and Bard.

Thus ensues the Battle of Five Armies; with Goblins and Wolves on one side
and Elves, Men and Dwarves on the other. It seems that news of the Great
Goblin's fall has lead to the Goblins launching an attack from all their
cities and colonies, with the plan to gain dominion of the North. Around
and underneath the mountain Gundabad of the North, the goblins' capital, an
army was gathered to sweep down during the storms to catch their enemies
unaware. Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
heels of Dain.

So the council of the Dwarves, Bard and the Elvenking decide to that their
only chance is to lure the goblins into the valley between the arms of the
mountain. Elves man the Southern spur, while Men and Dwarves the Eastern.
Bard and the nimblest men climb up the Eastern shoulder. A vanguard of a
few men make a feint of resistance, and draw the goblins into the valley.

Bilbo, for his part, takes little part, and uses his magic ring to
disappear. Meanwhile the Elves charge, and then while the Goblins are still
recovering Dain and his Dwarves make their attack. But just as victory
seems assured, goblins that have scaled the Mountain are streaming down the
slopes above the Gate, and the defenders realize they have only stopped one
part of the goblin army.

As darkness falls the goblins gather again the valley with Wargs and the
bodyguard of Bolg with them. The bats prove terrible, as they fasten on to
the strick like vampires. Bard is defending the Eastern spur while the
Elves are trapped near the watch-post of Ravenhill.

Then with a trumpet call, Thorin and Company come through the Gate, and then
utters the stirring cry "To me! To me! Elves and Men! To Me! O my
kinsfolk." And come the Dwarves of Dain, and many of the Lake-men, and on
the other side the spearmen of the Elves. Thorin drives against the body
guard of Bolg, though he cannot push through. None can come to his aid,
for all are beset and being slowly beaten back.

Bilbo finally takes his stand on Ravenhill among the Elves, thinking in part
in offers the best chance of escape, and part (the Tookish) side deciding to
the last desperate stand. Gandalf is sitting there in deep thought,
possibly preparing some last blast of magic.

A final surprise awaits however. The clouds are torn by the wind revealing
a red sunset, and the Eagles come. Bilbo cries, unseen, "The Eagles!" a few
times but then a stone falling from above strikes him and he knows no more.

II. Points of Interest
- This has proved to be a very eventful chapter. With some detail, Tolkien
describes this battle, which begins between Dain's folk and Bard's, and ends
with a great battle with a great army of goblins in the north.

- Reading this again, I am rather surprised that Thorin did not just toss
Bilbo over the wall. Either he was seriously confused by the revelation of
who held the Arkenstone, or he felt a sufficient debt not to do Bilbo too
much harm (he did shake him rather vigorously).

- Bilbo tries to remind Thorin of the services he has offered. I thought
this rather a bit of cheek on Bilbo's part, considering he did steal and
deliver into enemy hands the treasure Thorin most valued.

- We get a fairly good description of what Dain's folk had for armor.
Hauberks of steel, flexible metal hose, metal caps and round-shields on
their backs, as well as wielding heavy two-handed mattocks. Most
frightening, if I were facing these fellows, would be their beards forked
and plated and thrust into their belts. Even more impressive, each carried
a substantial amount of supplies. Nowhere in all of Tolkien's writings do I
get a better vision of just how hardy and strong Dwarves really were.

- I wonder how a battle between Dain and his Dwarves on one side and the
Lake-men and the Elves on the other would have turned out. What would the
ramifications been for the War of the Ring?

- We get a detailed account of the Battle of the Five Armies, at least up
until Bilbo is knocked unconscious. I can't think of another children's
novel that packs that much battle into a few pages. I do confess that when
I read this chapter to my daughters, they found it boring (they were only
five and six at the time).

- Bolg, son of Azog, seems to the centerpiece of the goblin army. I also
note that Wargs are apparently not ridden in this battle, but rather wolves.

- The North of the Wilderland must be filled with warrens and tunnels for
goblins from all over the Misty Mountains to gather at Mount Gundabad.

- Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
least).

Please don't hesitate to post other points. I apologize for the length of
the synposis, but as I said, this is an action-packed chapter. I thought of
cutting out the Battle itself, but it is such an integral part of the
chapter, and of the next chapter as well, that I decided to write up a
summary of it as well. I hope that compression and my own lack of decent
wits about battle descriptions doesn't malign a very good chapter too much.


--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)

put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Dec 23, 2003, 3:16:43 PM12/23/03
to
AC wrote:
> Chapter of the Week
> The Hobbit - Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst
[A technical point to Aaron: smth.'s wrong with default Followup-To: line
on your newsreader.]

> I. Synopsis
First of all, thanks for maintaining the CotW tradition. I'd be glad to
see this particular tradition remain for the years to come.
[...]

> But just as battle is joined, a darkness rolls across the sky in the form of
> a black cloud from the north. Thunder rolls on the Mountain and lightning
> lights its peak.
Does Gandalf have anything to do with thunder/lightning? (Speaking from a
convenient hideout in Theoden's palace where a _similar_ trick made Grima
W/t slightly nervous).

> ... Gandalf appears suddenly and alone and calls the


> combatants to halt and announces that Bolg of the North is coming, with bats
> above his army, and goblins riding on wolves, with Wargs as well. Gandalf
> calls for Dain to make council with the Elvenking and Bard.

If my question above gets a positive answer, here's another one: did
Gandalf use his innate power of a Maia in this scene? (I know, he was
meant to be a man in the original Hobbit, but anyway...)


> Thus ensues the Battle of Five Armies; with Goblins and Wolves on one side
> and Elves, Men and Dwarves on the other. It seems that news of the Great
> Goblin's fall has lead to the Goblins launching an attack from all their
> cities and colonies, with the plan to gain dominion of the North. Around
> and underneath the mountain Gundabad of the North, the goblins' capital, an
> army was gathered to sweep down during the storms to catch their enemies
> unaware. Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
> heels of Dain.

How come the orcs can be 'emboldened' by such news?



> So the council of the Dwarves, Bard and the Elvenking decide to that their
> only chance is to lure the goblins into the valley between the arms of the
> mountain. Elves man the Southern spur, while Men and Dwarves the Eastern.
> Bard and the nimblest men climb up the Eastern shoulder. A vanguard of a
> few men make a feint of resistance, and draw the goblins into the valley.

A reasonable ruse given the force ratio.

[...]

> A final surprise awaits however. The clouds are torn by the wind revealing
> a red sunset, and the Eagles come. Bilbo cries, unseen, "The Eagles!" a few
> times but then a stone falling from above strikes him and he knows no more.

Air superiority is gained by the Eagles. Fine. (But the ensuing
events will be discussed next week ;-).

> II. Points of Interest
[...]


> - Reading this again, I am rather surprised that Thorin did not just toss
> Bilbo over the wall. Either he was seriously confused by the revelation of
> who held the Arkenstone, or he felt a sufficient debt not to do Bilbo too
> much harm (he did shake him rather vigorously).

'Nobody tosses the Hobbit'? (phkhrh... <spits in disgust>) Seriously;-(,
Thorin is about to do that (IMHO) when Gandalf interferes.



> - Bilbo tries to remind Thorin of the services he has offered. I thought
> this rather a bit of cheek on Bilbo's part, considering he did steal and
> deliver into enemy hands the treasure Thorin most valued.

Seconded. "Here's your 30 pieces of gold."

[...]

> - I wonder how a battle between Dain and his Dwarves on one side and the
> Lake-men and the Elves on the other would have turned out. What would the
> ramifications been for the War of the Ring?

Heavy losses, I presume. I mean, on both sides. Bard implies that Dwarves
are too rash to fall into his trap ('hidden archers'), but Dwaven armour
and endurance is an offsetting element here. The idea behind Dain's
attack was to get to the Gate and _into_ the Mountain to relieve Thorin
and use the defensive capabilities of the Mountain. Bard would do his
best to thwart the attack by massing his men near the Gate. However, Dain
would naturally form a spearhead-like formation (_thangail_, IIRC as per
UT - or a 'swine' in Russian) and press on despite casualties. With luck,
he would have reached Thorin.

The relations between Dain & Thorin, Laketown and Elves are sour at best.
During the War of the Ring they would have fallen prey to the Balchoth
etc. Corollary: Northern passes are captured and Rivendell is besieged.
Take your pick as to the consequences of _that_.

> - We get a detailed account of the Battle of the Five Armies, at least up
> until Bilbo is knocked unconscious. I can't think of another children's
> novel that packs that much battle into a few pages. I do confess that when
> I read this chapter to my daughters, they found it boring (they were only
> five and six at the time).

Similar experience here.

> - Bolg, son of Azog, seems to the centerpiece of the goblin army. ...
A brilliant commander is hard to find.
[...]



> - The North of the Wilderland must be filled with warrens and tunnels for
> goblins from all over the Misty Mountains to gather at Mount Gundabad.

Not exactly. If surface marches are conducted at moonless nights, stealth
is preserved (no IR/amplifier goggles existed then).

> - Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
> the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
> you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
> least).

He's not trained to kill Orcs in full/partial armour nor to evade wolves.
No tactical skills, no discipline, no commander. Weak body, no helm
(IIRC), only his mithril coat and the Ring. In short, he is sure to fall
rather sooner that later - and not after taking out a score of enemies,
mind you.

> ...I hope that compression and my own lack of decent


> wits about battle descriptions doesn't malign a very good chapter too much.

No, they don't :-). Thank you, Aaron.

Archie

AC

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Dec 23, 2003, 4:15:33 PM12/23/03
to
On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 23:16:43 +0300,
<put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> <put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote:
> AC wrote:

>> But just as battle is joined, a darkness rolls across the sky in the form of
>> a black cloud from the north. Thunder rolls on the Mountain and lightning
>> lights its peak.
> Does Gandalf have anything to do with thunder/lightning? (Speaking from a
> convenient hideout in Theoden's palace where a _similar_ trick made Grima
> W/t slightly nervous).

No, I don't think he does. I'm not certain if anybody directly does. By
this point Sauron has been driven out of Dol Guldur, but I wonder if he was
offering a bit of aid to some allies and servants.

>
>> ... Gandalf appears suddenly and alone and calls the
>> combatants to halt and announces that Bolg of the North is coming, with bats
>> above his army, and goblins riding on wolves, with Wargs as well. Gandalf
>> calls for Dain to make council with the Elvenking and Bard.
> If my question above gets a positive answer, here's another one: did
> Gandalf use his innate power of a Maia in this scene? (I know, he was
> meant to be a man in the original Hobbit, but anyway...)

I don't see anywhere that Gandalf uses any power in this chapter. Well,
perhaps he was using his ring to influence the mood of the Dwarves, Lake-men
and Elves.

>> Thus ensues the Battle of Five Armies; with Goblins and Wolves on one side
>> and Elves, Men and Dwarves on the other. It seems that news of the Great
>> Goblin's fall has lead to the Goblins launching an attack from all their
>> cities and colonies, with the plan to gain dominion of the North. Around
>> and underneath the mountain Gundabad of the North, the goblins' capital, an
>> army was gathered to sweep down during the storms to catch their enemies
>> unaware. Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
>> heels of Dain.
> How come the orcs can be 'emboldened' by such news?

I have a feeling that Smaug would have treated Orcs with as much tenderness
as he treated anyone else. I doubt that the Orcs would have dared try to
gain dominion of the North if Smaug was sitting in Erebor.

>> - Bilbo tries to remind Thorin of the services he has offered. I thought
>> this rather a bit of cheek on Bilbo's part, considering he did steal and
>> deliver into enemy hands the treasure Thorin most valued.
> Seconded. "Here's your 30 pieces of gold."

Well, Stan has justifiably called me to task. While I think Bilbo stole the
Arkenstone, it is justified to say that he was just taking his share.
Apologies to Stan for not mentioning that point of view.

>> - Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
>> the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
>> you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
>> least).
> He's not trained to kill Orcs in full/partial armour nor to evade wolves.
> No tactical skills, no discipline, no commander. Weak body, no helm
> (IIRC), only his mithril coat and the Ring. In short, he is sure to fall
> rather sooner that later - and not after taking out a score of enemies,
> mind you.

I was thinking of the Hobbits in the Fellowship, who did take part in
combat. Mind you, if I had a magic ring that made me invisible, and there
was a massive army of goblins, wolves and Wargs, I'd probably disappear as
well.

Pete Gray

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Dec 23, 2003, 7:15:58 PM12/23/03
to
On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 23:16:43 +0300,
<put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote:

>AC wrote:

>> ... Gandalf appears suddenly and alone and calls the
>> combatants to halt and announces that Bolg of the North is coming, with bats
>> above his army, and goblins riding on wolves, with Wargs as well. Gandalf
>> calls for Dain to make council with the Elvenking and Bard.
>If my question above gets a positive answer, here's another one: did
>Gandalf use his innate power of a Maia in this scene? (I know, he was
>meant to be a man in the original Hobbit, but anyway...)

You just answered your own question ;-) I think he just uses a really
loud voice (well, 'like thunder').

>> Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
>> heels of Dain.
>How come the orcs can be 'emboldened' by such news?
>

They didn't like the idea of being eaten or burned alive? With Smaug
dead they could rush in and claim the treasure, and gain the 'dominion
of the North', something impossible while Smaug lived. That, plus the
opportunity to kill some dwarves.

>> - Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
>> the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
>> you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
>> least).
>He's not trained to kill Orcs in full/partial armour nor to evade wolves.
>No tactical skills, no discipline, no commander. Weak body, no helm

He was given 'a light helm of figured leather, strengthened beneath
with hoops of steel' along with the mail coat. He left the dwarves
with 'nothing...except the armour which Thorin had given him already.'
He was knocked out when 'a stone smote heavily on his helm'.

I wonder why the dwarves would have 'Moria!' as a battle cry, though.

--
Pete Gray
while ($cat!="home"){$mice=="play";}

Henriette

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Dec 24, 2003, 1:05:20 AM12/24/03
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Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<v8lhuvck62rv10vul...@4ax.com>...

>
> I wonder why the dwarves would have 'Moria!' as a battle cry, though.

Summit of Dwarven-art and beauty?

Apart from the Typo in my copy of TH in which Smaug says: "I can feel
your hair" to Bilbo, my Dwarves have "Moira! " for a battle cry....

Henriette

AC

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Dec 24, 2003, 1:15:44 AM12/24/03
to

I am certain it has something to do with the fact that Bolg son of Azog is
leading the goblin army.

Henriette

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Dec 24, 2003, 1:34:17 AM12/24/03
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AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message news:<slrnbufb23.q4....@alder.alberni.net>...

> In the morning, trumpets can be heard in the camp, and a single
> runner comes up asking if Thorin would listen to another embassy now that

> new tidings had come to hand. Thorin knows immediately that is is Dain,(snip)

It is funny to see how you and everyone have their own style of making
a synopsis. A good thorough one, this one.


>
> At midday a company of twenty, including Bard, the Elvenking and an old man
> wrapped in clock

Sort of Grandfather's clock:-)?

> and hood bearing a strong casket. come. Bard asks if
> Thorin's mind is the same, and if nothing will sway him.

I simply adore the haughtiness of Thorin's answer: "My mind does not
change with the rising and setting of a few suns".


>
> Thorin finally agrees to give over one fourteenth of the treasure;

Do you think the Arkenstone happenend to be worth about 1/14th of the
treasure?

> Thus ensues the Battle of Five Armies;

Nice original name.

> Elves man (snip)

LOL. Did you write that on purpose?

> A vanguard of a
> few men make a feint of resistance, and draw the goblins into the valley.

Sacrificing their lives. I wonder if they were appointed to do that,
or volunteered for the job.


>
> Please don't hesitate to post other points.

(snip overly modest remarks. Thank you AC, well done synopsis and
Points!)

What I noticed upon re-reading, is that the goblin army have red and
black banners. IIRC these were the colours of the German SA during
WWII. If one wears black and red clothes combined in NL, elderly
people are bound to comment on this.

Henriette

put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Dec 24, 2003, 7:49:19 AM12/24/03
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Pete Gray wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 23:16:43 +0300,
> <put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote:
>
> >AC wrote:
>
> >> ... Gandalf appears suddenly and alone and calls the
> >> combatants to halt and announces that Bolg of the North is coming, with bats
> >> above his army, and goblins riding on wolves, with Wargs as well. Gandalf
> >> calls for Dain to make council with the Elvenking and Bard.
> >If my question above gets a positive answer, here's another one: did
> >Gandalf use his innate power of a Maia in this scene? (I know, he was
> >meant to be a man in the original Hobbit, but anyway...)
>
> You just answered your own question ;-) I think he just uses a really
> loud voice (well, 'like thunder').
Acknowledged.


> >> Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
> >> heels of Dain.
> >How come the orcs can be 'emboldened' by such news?
> >
>
> They didn't like the idea of being eaten or burned alive? With Smaug
> dead they could rush in and claim the treasure, and gain the 'dominion
> of the North', something impossible while Smaug lived. That, plus the
> opportunity to kill some dwarves.
The Orcs have a monetary economy, then (which I doubt).


> >> - Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
> >> the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
> >> you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
> >> least).
> >He's not trained to kill Orcs in full/partial armour nor to evade wolves.
> >No tactical skills, no discipline, no commander. Weak body, no helm
>
> He was given 'a light helm of figured leather, strengthened beneath
> with hoops of steel' along with the mail coat. He left the dwarves
> with 'nothing...except the armour which Thorin had given him already.'
> He was knocked out when 'a stone smote heavily on his helm'.
<cough> I'm wrong, sorry. Thanks for correcting me.

Archie

put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Dec 24, 2003, 7:49:08 AM12/24/03
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AC wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 23:16:43 +0300,
> <put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> <put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote:
> > AC wrote:
[...]
> >> Thus ensues the Battle of Five Armies; with Goblins and Wolves on one side
> >> and Elves, Men and Dwarves on the other. It seems that news of the Great
> >> Goblin's fall has lead to the Goblins launching an attack from all their
> >> cities and colonies, with the plan to gain dominion of the North. Around
> >> and underneath the mountain Gundabad of the North, the goblins' capital, an
> >> army was gathered to sweep down during the storms to catch their enemies
> >> unaware. Emboldened by the news of the death of Smaug they came on the
> >> heels of Dain.
> > How come the orcs can be 'emboldened' by such news?
>
> I have a feeling that Smaug would have treated Orcs with as much tenderness
> as he treated anyone else. I doubt that the Orcs would have dared try to
> gain dominion of the North if Smaug was sitting in Erebor.
Timing. Timing is the key. Bolg started planning _before_ Smaug's death.


> >> - Bilbo does not exactly play the brave hero in this chapter. He puts on
> >> the Ring, and spends the entirety of it invisible. He makes his stand (if
> >> you can call it that) at Ravenhill, though his motives are mixed (to say the
> >> least).
> > He's not trained to kill Orcs in full/partial armour nor to evade wolves.
> > No tactical skills, no discipline, no commander. Weak body, no helm
> > (IIRC), only his mithril coat and the Ring. In short, he is sure to fall
> > rather sooner that later - and not after taking out a score of enemies,
> > mind you.
>
> I was thinking of the Hobbits in the Fellowship, who did take part in
> combat. ...
As part of a unit, helping mature warriors (Aragorn, Boromir, Gandalf,
Gimli and Legolas are quite outstanding in combat). Not alone.
> ...Mind you, if I had a magic ring that made me invisible, and there

> was a massive army of goblins, wolves and Wargs, I'd probably disappear as
> well.

A thought that has just crossed my mind: does the Shire have its own
martial arts' school? (Pippin's boasting before Bergil).

Archie

put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Dec 24, 2003, 8:56:23 AM12/24/03
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Rhiannon S wrote:
[...]

> >- I wonder how a battle between Dain and his Dwarves on one side and the
> >Lake-men and the Elves on the other would have turned out. What would the
> >ramifications been for the War of the Ring?
>
> Yes, is it just me or is just a little convienent that this Evil army turns up
> just in time to stop the Dwarfs<dwarves sp?> going to war against the elves and
> men (and hobbit)?
Well, frankly speaking it is, though to a lesser extent than you may
think. Given that both Dain and Bolg received news of Smaug's death at
approx. the same time, it is rather unlikely for Bolg's army to turn up
near the Mountain on the same day... unless you assume that Bolg had
current reports from his spies on the Dwarves' movements and adjusted the
pace of marches accordingly. Then it is much less spectacular...

> It forces the to come together just at the time they are about to fly apart.
> It provides the setup that allows Gandalf to meld them into a unified force for
> LoTR. And it helps deplete this area of the country of potential nasties for
> later on.
>
> Would I be too paranoid in suspecting Gandalf's sticky finger prints all over
> this?
LOL. Too tricky, even for Gandalf, to be _directly_ involved into hoaxing
the Orcs to attack. When he is ominously pointing at the news that even
the ravens don't know, he is definitely withholding information about the
Orcs' host from Bilbo and Thorin (I'm not sure about Bard and Thranduil).
Gandalf does use this piece of information strategically, at the moment
of doubt and hesitation, to force/forge an alliance.

Now, getting back to timing: is it a coincidence for the Orcs to move in
the North when the White Council is busy with Dol Guldur?

Archie

Pete Gray

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Dec 24, 2003, 3:33:26 PM12/24/03
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On 23 Dec 2003 22:05:20 -0800, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:

>Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<v8lhuvck62rv10vul...@4ax.com>...
>>
>> I wonder why the dwarves would have 'Moria!' as a battle cry, though.
>
>Summit of Dwarven-art and beauty?
>

Why a battle-cry in Elvish though?

>Apart from the Typo in my copy of TH in which Smaug says: "I can feel
>your hair" to Bilbo, my Dwarves have "Moira! " for a battle cry....
>

Yeah, one of my copies has that too. I get this weird image of the
dwarves of the Iron Hills as big fans of saccharine versions of
traditional Scottish songs.
(see <http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst795.html>)
...and given how sentimental Gimli would later prove to be, perhaps
that's not far short of the truth.

Pete Gray

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Dec 24, 2003, 4:00:16 PM12/24/03
to
On Wed, 24 Dec 2003 15:49:08 +0300,
<put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru> wrote:

>AC wrote:
>> I have a feeling that Smaug would have treated Orcs with as much tenderness
>> as he treated anyone else. I doubt that the Orcs would have dared try to
>> gain dominion of the North if Smaug was sitting in Erebor.
>Timing. Timing is the key. Bolg started planning _before_ Smaug's death.
>

I get the impression that plan A was to do in the dwarves of the Iron
Hills, but that with the death of Smaug they opportunistically changed
target to the Lonely Mountain as their first stopping off point.

>A thought that has just crossed my mind: does the Shire have its own
>martial arts' school? (Pippin's boasting before Bergil).

Ti-chy?

<http://www.bobdavenport.freeserve.co.uk/cemeteries/tich.html>
<http://www.bigginhill.co.uk/littletich.htm>

Igenlode Wordsmith

unread,
Dec 24, 2003, 7:28:54 PM12/24/03
to
[cross-posting restored]
On 23 Dec 2003 AC wrote:

[snip]


> Most frightening, if I were facing these fellows, would be their
> beards forked and plated and thrust into their belts. Even more
> impressive, each carried a substantial amount of supplies. Nowhere
> in all of Tolkien's writings do I get a better vision of just how
> hardy and strong Dwarves really were.

I think the beards were only 'plaited' - the Dwarves weren't *that*
strong :-)

>
[snip]

Other points:

Bard's 14th share - how, one wonders, does he propose to check that the
appropriate portion has been brought "without deceit", when he can't
possibly have the faintest idea how large the total hoard is? That
particular condition sounds like a recipe for contention, with either
or both sides using it to claim that they were being cheated...

The Elvenking seems to have become a good deal more noble since we
first met him in Mirkwood. There were no elevated sentiments in
evidence the last time he was dealing with Thorin!

Thorin has apparently been almost completely corrupted by the
dragon-gold and plans to renege on his word as soon as he gets the
opportunity. Not a very glorious figure here.

And, for all his heroic sally at a critical point of battle, apparently
not a very good strategist either - Bard plans to lure the attackers
into the narrowing valley where they will be surrounded, cramped together
and easier to attack from above (a fair strategy overwhelmed by sheer
numbers), but Thorin makes the elementary error of attacking in the
opposite direction and getting himself surrounded, while summoning his
allies down from their superior positions "down, heedless of order". I was
reminded of the Battle of Hastings and the breaking of the Saxon
shield-wall...

Why are the goblins accompanied by bats? It makes no sense from a
natural history point of view, bats having no interest in carrion, and
these are not creatures which have been hitherto or elsewhere in
Tolkien's work characterised as evil, unlike the crows and wolves.

"preparing, I suppose, some last blast of magic" - I don't think we've
seen this type of direct authorial intrusion since the early chapters?
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Lurker Extraordinaire

careen (archaic): clean a ship's hull - career: travel wildly out of control

Henriette

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Dec 25, 2003, 1:03:17 AM12/25/03
to
Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<bssjuv0teegib399e...@4ax.com>...

>
> Why a battle-cry in Elvish though?

Yes ofcourse, thank you for explaining. I did not think of that.
>
> (snip) my Dwarves have "Moira! " for a battle cry....


>
> Yeah, one of my copies has that too.

One of your how many copies? (I have one, consisting of loose pages.)

> I get this weird image of the
> dwarves of the Iron Hills as big fans of saccharine versions of
> traditional Scottish songs.
> (see <http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/people/famousfirst795.html>)
> ...and given how sentimental Gimli would later prove to be, perhaps
> that's not far short of the truth.

LOL. Nice name actually, Moira.

Henriette

Pete Gray

unread,
Dec 28, 2003, 10:13:04 AM12/28/03
to
On 24 Dec 2003 22:03:17 -0800, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:

>Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<bssjuv0teegib399e...@4ax.com>...
>>
>> Why a battle-cry in Elvish though?
>
>Yes ofcourse, thank you for explaining. I did not think of that.
>>
>> (snip) my Dwarves have "Moira! " for a battle cry....
>>
>> Yeah, one of my copies has that too.
>
>One of your how many copies? (I have one, consisting of loose pages.)
>

Only three copies of the Hobbit. I'm not that obsessive. A hard back
2nd edition dating from 1957 (missing its dust jacket, but
illustrated), paperback 3rd edn 1972 (Unwin, with the 'Death of Smaug'
on the cover, and a 4th edn 1996.

Michael Cole

unread,
Dec 28, 2003, 7:49:00 PM12/28/03
to
[Removed Followup]

Yes, but it again gets back to the Western Gate of Moria Text question.
Dwarves charging into battle, shouting out "Black Pit" in elvish.

I must say, I always loved, "Barak Khazad. Khazad ai menu."


--
Regards,

Michael Cole


Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

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Dec 28, 2003, 11:05:54 PM12/28/03
to
AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> wrote in message:

> Chapter of the Week
> The Hobbit - Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst
>
> To view previous Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do your own, please
> go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org/

AC, thanks for Ch. 17

> II. Points of Interest
> - This has proved to be a very eventful chapter. With some detail,
Tolkien
> describes this battle, which begins between Dain's folk and Bard's, and
ends
> with a great battle with a great army of goblins in the north.

I confess the Battle of Five Armies makes this probably my favourite chapter
of the book. It seems the battle, plus the slaying of Smaug, are the twin
climaxes of the book. (Which one would everyone say is the main climax?)

The description of the battle is detailed enough to follow on a map of the
mountain. (I haven't done this, but I know there are games for sale that
simulate the battle.) Any guesses as to the approximate numbers of each
host?

Henriette raises an interesting point on the screening force. I think they
would have asked for volunteers for such a hazardous mission. Soldiers
ordered to that position against their will would be more likely to break
and run.

> - We get a fairly good description of what Dain's folk had for armor.
> Hauberks of steel, flexible metal hose, metal caps and round-shields on
> their backs, as well as wielding heavy two-handed mattocks. Most
> frightening, if I were facing these fellows, would be their beards forked
> and plated and thrust into their belts. Even more impressive, each
carried
> a substantial amount of supplies. Nowhere in all of Tolkien's writings do
I
> get a better vision of just how hardy and strong Dwarves really were.

I get that too - they sound as hard as the stone they live in.

> - I wonder how a battle between Dain and his Dwarves on one side and the
> Lake-men and the Elves on the other would have turned out. What would the
> ramifications been for the War of the Ring?

The book seems to suggest it would have just gone in favour of the Elves and
Men, though no doubt after a long and bloody battle. If the Goblins showed
up afterward, the survivors would have been in no shape to resist.

> - The North of the Wilderland must be filled with warrens and tunnels for
> goblins from all over the Misty Mountains to gather at Mount Gundabad.

I doubt that the wild lands to the north have a large enough network of
tunnels for the Goblins to move across Rhovanion entirely underground. As
was pointed out, it's late in the year, so the days are short and dim, and
they could also use the northern fringes of Mirkwood and other vegetation to
conceal themselves from the sun. Besides, they were willing to fight the
battle in full daylight.

Still, it's an impressive march, and it seems the Goblins crossed the same
area in a matter of days that it took Thorin & Co. several weeks (not
counting their stay with Thranduil.) They must have ran or rode wolves all
the way, without sleeping, and the fatigue must have further reduced their
battle effectiveness (Dain's folk were also fatigued, though probably to a
lesser extent, as the Iron Hills are much closer.)

I suppose the Elvish bows are as good or better than the English longbows of
the 100 Years War, being able to pierce Orcish armour. I can imagine the
heavily armored Dwarves moving and fighting in tight formations like the
Roman turtle. The description of the Orc/Warg/Wolf battle tactics isn't
quite clear. Would the Orcs use the wolves as cavalry (ride them into
battle) or as dragoons (dismount to fight?) Did they have some wolf-pulled
wains?

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pęlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas


Henriette

unread,
Dec 29, 2003, 9:52:58 AM12/29/03
to
Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<k6stuvsqoi5ocfj8o...@4ax.com>...

Does the '57 one already have the Moira cry? Or did it appear later?

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Dec 29, 2003, 10:04:06 AM12/29/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<CKNHb.853226$pl3.837821@pd7tw3no>...
>
(snip)

> I confess the Battle of Five Armies makes this probably my favourite chapter
> of the book.

It was not until I started posting on AFT that I realised, that many
people actually delight in the battle scenes.


>
> Henriette raises an interesting point on the screening force.

Thank you, Dr. Ernst! I also thought it was interesting, even though
the thought of soldiers giving their lives as a volunteer for the
benefit of all, makes me miserable.

Henriette

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Jan 2, 2004, 3:58:06 PM1/2/04
to
On Mon, 29 Dec 2003 04:05:54 GMT, "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld"
<eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:

>I suppose the Elvish bows are as good or better than the English longbows of
>the 100 Years War, being able to pierce Orcish armour. I can imagine the
>heavily armored Dwarves moving and fighting in tight formations like the
>Roman turtle. The description of the Orc/Warg/Wolf battle tactics isn't
>quite clear. Would the Orcs use the wolves as cavalry (ride them into
>battle) or as dragoons (dismount to fight?) Did they have some wolf-pulled
>wains?

The Noldor could have learned the art of making steel from Aule and/or
the Dwarves and thus forged steel bows, but I suspect that
Thrainduil's folk would have restricted to bows made of wood. (In
fact, they might even have preferred wood since such bows are more
easily replaced,) I suspect Elven archers were more deadly in terms
of accuracy rather than power. Eyes that can distinguish between a
finch and a sparrow from a league away are unlikely to miss a target.

It's unlikely that the orcs would ride on the wolves directly into
battle. Such a tactic would have compromised the two advantages of
wolves: speed and mobility. A wolf unencumbered by an orc on its
back would be far more agile and deadly in battle. I can state with
almost absolute certainty that the orcs would not have had wains
pulled by wolves. Even if the orcs devised the sort of harness used
by the Inuit or polar explorers (which is unlikely given the orcs'
preference for tunnels and caves), wolves simply lack the muscle power
to pull heavy loads for any length of time. Even a team of wolves
would only be slightly more effective than, say, a unit of orcs
designated to carry supplies especially given the rough terrain. (I
also tend to doubt that orcs possessed the necessary patience to train
wolves to perform these sort of tasks.) It was much more effective
for the orcs to ride the wolves to battle and then dismount to fight.

Morgoth's Curse

Bill O'Meally

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Jan 3, 2004, 11:30:17 AM1/3/04
to


"Morgoth's Curse" <morgoths...@nospamyahoo.com> wrote in message
news:o8ibvv0as3bgdqrc8...@4ax.com...

> The Noldor could have learned the art of making steel from Aule and/or
> the Dwarves and thus forged steel bows, but I suspect that
> Thrainduil's folk would have restricted to bows made of wood. (In
> fact, they might even have preferred wood since such bows are more
> easily replaced,)

Legolas' bow, that he replaced with the bow given to him by Galadriel,
was wood. It would in all likelihood have been representative of the
bows used by all Thranduil's folk.
--
Bill

"Wise fool"
Gandalf, THE TWO TOWERS
-- The Wise will remove 'se' to reply; the Foolish will not--


Tamzin

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Jan 3, 2004, 1:48:59 PM1/3/04
to

"Bill O'Meally" wrote

>
>
> "Morgoth's Curse" <morgoths...@nospamyahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:o8ibvv0as3bgdqrc8...@4ax.com...
>
> > The Noldor could have learned the art of making steel from Aule and/or
> > the Dwarves and thus forged steel bows, but I suspect that
> > Thrainduil's folk would have restricted to bows made of wood. (In
> > fact, they might even have preferred wood since such bows are more
> > easily replaced,)
>
> Legolas' bow, that he replaced with the bow given to him by Galadriel,
> was wood. It would in all likelihood have been representative of the
> bows used by all Thranduil's folk.

Somewhat OT but I remember my father making bows and arrows for my brother
and I when we were kids - he's always been brilliant at that sort of thing.
I recall that he used branches from the trees in our garden (twas a huge
one) and I suppose some sort of twine and carved our initials on each bow so
that we could be possessive about them. They were brilliant and we had a
lot of fun with them. I think that the arrows were very blunt but they
could still have "taken your eye out" in the event of an accident. Wouldn't
be allowed nowadays I suppose :o(

Tamzin


Stan Brown

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Jan 3, 2004, 3:42:06 PM1/3/04
to
In article <t6CJb.34718$fq1....@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Bill O'Meally wrote:
>Legolas' bow, that he replaced with the bow given to him by Galadriel,
>was wood. It would in all likelihood have been representative of the
>bows used by all Thranduil's folk.

Makes sense. They had lots of wood in their kingdom, and no metals
that we know of. They could trade for metal, but then they'd have
to give up those tubs of butter and apples and wine!

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm

Caeruleo

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Jan 3, 2004, 5:08:15 PM1/3/04
to
In article <o8ibvv0as3bgdqrc8...@4ax.com>,

Dunno; Tolkien himself mentioned the "wolfriders" quite a few times in
"The Battles of the Ford of Isen," & there is no mention of them
dismounting to fight.

Pete Gray

unread,
Jan 3, 2004, 7:07:14 PM1/3/04
to

It looks to me like 'Moira' only makes an appearance in the 3rd edn,
not in the 2nd or 4th (which also have the correct 'air', not 'hair'
in Ch. 12)

Henriette

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Jan 4, 2004, 7:02:15 AM1/4/04
to
Pete Gray <ne...@redbadge.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<n3mevv45j18442v4k...@4ax.com>...

> On 29 Dec 2003 06:52:58 -0800, held...@hotmail.com (Henriette) wrote:
>
> >Does the '57 one already have the Moira cry? Or did it appear later?
>
> It looks to me like 'Moira' only makes an appearance in the 3rd edn,
> not in the 2nd or 4th (which also have the correct 'air', not 'hair'
> in Ch. 12)

Thank you!

When I hadn't asked matter-of-factedly what Smaug meant with: "I can
feel your hair" and Bill had not laughed the way he did, I might have
never found out it is supposed to be AIR..... Moira I knew to be
wrong, ofcourse, but actually I never realised until our treatment of
TH, how strange it is the Dwarves would utter a battle-cry in Elvish.

Henriette

The American

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Jan 6, 2004, 12:30:24 AM1/6/04
to

"Tamzin" <tamzin...@OBEYMEtheponies.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:bt72pf$jjt$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

>
>
> Somewhat OT but I remember my father making bows and arrows for my brother
> and I when we were kids - he's always been brilliant at that sort of
thing.
> I recall that he used branches from the trees in our garden (twas a huge
> one) and I suppose some sort of twine and carved our initials on each bow
so
> that we could be possessive about them. They were brilliant and we had a
> lot of fun with them. I think that the arrows were very blunt but they
> could still have "taken your eye out" in the event of an accident.
Wouldn't
> be allowed nowadays I suppose :o(
>

And yet somehow you survived!
:o)
And I bet you wish you had one of those bows today too.

T.A.


Tamzin

unread,
Jan 6, 2004, 5:19:06 PM1/6/04
to

"The American" > wrote >
> "Tamzin" wrote in message

> >
> >
> > Somewhat OT but I remember my father making bows and arrows for my
brother
> > and I when we were kids - he's always been brilliant at that sort of
> thing.
> > I recall that he used branches from the trees in our garden (twas a huge
> > one) and I suppose some sort of twine and carved our initials on each
bow
> so
> > that we could be possessive about them. They were brilliant and we had
a
> > lot of fun with them. I think that the arrows were very blunt but they
> > could still have "taken your eye out" in the event of an accident.
> Wouldn't
> > be allowed nowadays I suppose :o(
> >
>
> And yet somehow you survived!
> :o)
> And I bet you wish you had one of those bows today too.

Oh yes!

Tamzin


John Jones

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Jan 7, 2004, 2:59:22 PM1/7/04
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"Tamzin" <tamzin...@OBEYMEtheponies.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:btfc7a$c1j$1...@newsg1.svr.pol.co.uk...

So go and join an archery club. There's plenty of them around.

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