Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Hobbit Read-Along, Chapter Seventeen

Previous chapters: Intro | Ch1 | Ch2 | Ch3 | Ch4 | Ch5 | Ch6 | Ch7 | Ch8 | Ch9 | Ch10 | Ch11
Ch12 | Ch13 | Ch14 | Ch15 | Ch16

The next day the lake-men and elves seek another audience with Thorin, but this time are perfectly happy to lay down their arms before approaching... Um, why didn't they just do that in the beginning?
The elf king is still there though and so Thorin refuses to talk. Well he did keep them prisoner for weeks when he had no right to, I'm not sure I'd be keen to open a dialogue with him.
Bard then shows Thorin that he has the arkenstone and asks what he will give for it. Thorin is floored and calls them thieves for stealing his heirloom. Bilbo admits he gave it to them as he took it to be his 14th share of the hoard. (yeah, cos Throin didn't repeatedly say that they can take what they want except the arkenstone!)
Gandalf reveals himself in time to stop Thorin tossing Bilbo off the mountain.
Disgusted, Thorin tells Bilbo to join the lake-men and elves and offers them a 14th of the gold and silver (what would have been Bilbo's share) in exchange for the arkenstone.
Gandalf tells Thorin that he is not making a good impression as the new King Under the Mountain but that things may change.
Everyone departs vowing to return tomorrow for their share of the treasure at which time they will hand over the arkenstone.
Some of the dwarves are sorry that Bilbo has been kicked out but Thorin is considering using his other kin who are on their way to recapture the arkenstone and double cross the elves and lake-people.
Not a very nice thing to do, a gentleman's word should be his bond. I think the gold has gone to his head. 

Actually the gold has gone to everyone's head and Bilbo and Gandalf are the only characters I can stand right now.  

Undeniably, Bard did something very heroic  in staying the dragon but his heroic image is seriously tarnished by then demanding gold as payment.  Did St George demand money after he slayed the dragon? I don't think so!

The men can ask, certainly, but to demand? And to demant that your friends, the elves, also get some when they did NOTHING to deserve it? Why are the elves even here, they have no claim on this gold. They offered no assistance to the dwarves or men and nor did they slay any bad-guys.

And not only are the dwarves steadfastly refusing said demands, they are now thinking of double-crossing the men and elves? 

It's all very childish, like kids fighting in the playground over a new toy! 

The first part of this chapter can be summed up very easily. "It's mine," "No, it's mine!" "No, it's MINE!" "Gimme!" "No!" "MINE!" "MINE!!!" It's not appealing in the slightest.

Anyway, back to the story. Thorin then sends a crow to tell his kin of what has happened. The other dwarves finally  arrive 2 days later but instead of picking a fight they only want to pass to the mountain (Yay!) their rightful home but Bard won't let them until he has his gold ("It's mine!" "No it's mine!"). He sends someone to the gate only to be met with arrows and while the bard and elven king are debating what to do, the dwarves attack!
Thorin unites the armies
Just as the battle begins Gandalf steps between the parties and cries for then to stop. A swarm of bats distracts them and they do stop, then Gandalf tells them that the Goblins and wolves are nearly here.
And so the elves, men and dwarves unite to fight against their universal foe, the goblins.
The good guys win for a while, then start to lose, then Thorin emerges from the mountain and nothing can touch him, apparently. He calls everyone to him and unites the three forces (really? Where did such powerful charisma come from exactly?) and for a time they win again. Finally though, outnumbered, they are surrounded by goblins and wolves.
Gandalf is sitting quietly so I think he must have something up his sleeve, then as the end is near, Bilbo (who has put his ring on and is safely hiding from the battle) spies eagles coming this way. At which point he is promptly knocked out.
I've got to say, the battle is fairly interesting, though so far not at all long.
With a big enough SFX budget, this battle could look epic on a big screen. I'm quietly confident that Peter Jackson has both the budget and the vision to pull it off.

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