Woman archer

Attack From the North

The battle has taken a much more positive turn for our heroes. As the Men of Lake-town struggle against the Orcs in Dale, so does Thorin, Fili, Kili and Dwalin ride their goats to Ravenhill to face their leader. 

Rejecting the Master’s mantle

Bard: “Get up!”

Alfrid: “Get away from me. I don’t take orders from you. People trusted you. They listened to you. The Master’s mantle was there for the taking and you threw it all away. For what?” 

Bard: “Alfrid, your slip is showing.”

Alfrid, not really holding his own in the fight against the Orcs, dressed in women’s clothing with gold coins spilling out of his brassier, faces a Troll who is shot down by Bard. Alfrid could not have defended himself against the Troll in any way seeing as how he lacks the basic skills or fight instinct. He cannot understand why Bard would give up the possibility of being the next Master of Lake-town, in the image of the old one, but rather enjoy fighting with his fellow Men. 

Alfrid, being without family himself, cannot understand the need that a parent has to protect his child from harm. As Bard looks over at his children, Alfrid scoffs at the situation. If he had the Master’s mantle for the taking he would certainly not have given it up for anyone. 

It is a nice joke that Bard says. It takes the seriousness of the entire situation away for a brief moment. 

Catapult save

Gandalf: “We may yet survive this.” 

Bilbo: “Gandalf! It’s Thorin.” 

Gandalf: “And Fili, Kili and Dwalin. He’s taking his best warriors.” 

Bilbo: “To do what?”

Gandalf: “To cut the head off the snake.” 

Gandalf faces off with a Troll against whom he cannot do much. The staff that Radagast has given him, shortens out in the moment he needs it most, leaving him with no defense system other than his sword, which given the size of the Troll, it would be less than useless unless he found a way to stab him directly in the heart. Gandalf’s eyes show fear as the Troll approaches him. 

Thankfully, on the catapult behind him there skulks Alfrid, wanting to protect and hide away from the battle. As he hears the Troll approaching he peeps out of the net that hides him, giving away his position and the Troll another target to kill.

As he peers out his coin stuffed bosom overweighs the rest of his body, letting one single coin escape and fall onto the lever of the catapult mechanism. This one coin is enough to catapult Alfried right into the mouth of the Troll, leaving Gandalf without a need to defend himself. 

Bilbo and Gandalf’s hopes of surviving the battle rises as they witness the Dwarves riding their goats to Ravenhill, figuring what their mission might be. 

Gandalf and Bilbo get a glimpse into the plan that Thorin devised, to take down the leader of the Orcs by taking his finest warriors with him, riding their goats to Ravenhill. 

Gundabad army

Legolas: “Gandalf!”

Gandalf: “Legolas. Legolas Greenleaf.” 

Legolas: “There is a second army. Bolg leads a force of Gundabad Orcs. They are almost upon us.” 

Gandalf: “Gundabad? This was their plan all along. Azog engaged our forces, then Bolg sweeps in from the North.” 

Bilbo: “The North? Where is the North exactly?”

Gandalf: “Ravenhill.” 

Bilbo: “Ravenhill? Thorin is up there. And Fili and Kili. They’re all up there.” 

Legolas and Tauriel gallop into Dale bringing news of another oncoming army that would strengthen the forces of Orcs. Just as they thought they might survive the peril, another one is approaching. This one, however, is set to attack the Dwarves as they try to kill Azog.

A very intricate strategy of the battle Azog has devised, giving the Dwarves no other option but to fall for his trap, one that until now has worked perfectly in his favor. Azog could always count on the Dwarves’ sense of pride, preservation, and determination when it comes to a battle. 

Bilbo upon finding out where North is located, is stricken with panic knowing that Thorin, Dwalin, Fili and Kili are about to be pressed into a situation they might not be able to face alone. This is the panic that arises from knowing an information but being unable to relay it to the ones that need it most. However, he will try his best to do so. 

Upon hearing Kili’s name mentioned, Tauriel’s eyes fill with fear and concern. She too is thinking of a solution to the problem, or rather a way of reaching and helping him defend himself against the Orcs. 

A scounting mission

Kili: “Where is he? It looks empty. I think Azog has fled.” 

Thorin: “I don’t think so. Fili take your brother. Scout out the towers. Keep low and out of sight. If you see something, report back. Do not engage. Do you understand?”

Dwalin: “We have company. Goblin mercenaries. No more than a hundred.” 

Thorin: “We’ll take care of them. Go! Go!”

Dwalin: “Come on!”

As the Dwarves reach Ravenhill they are welcomed by emptiness, silence and fog. There is no one there except for them. If they are to kill Azog then they first have to find him. Without any further information of the oncoming army, Thorin sends Fili and Kili into the tower to scout and find the enemy.

Azog being a tall, strong and relentless Orc, as probably are those surrounding him, there isn’t much sense for the two Dwarves to engage with them, knowing that they might not be able to defend themselves against them. They are young and reckless enough to attack quickly without having assessed the situation or strategizing. They could be killed without being able to cast a single blow to the enemy. 

Goblin mercenaries keep Dwalin and Thorin engaged, but they are merely a sideshow distraction from their true purpose, a distraction they are certain to overcome in no time. 

Dead Elven soldiers

Thranduil: “Recall your company.” 

Gandalf: “My lord, dispatch this force to Ravenhill. The Dwarves are about to be overrun. Thorin must be warned.” 

Thranduil: “By all means, warn him. I have spent enough Elvish blood in defense of this accursed land. No more.” 

Gandalf: “Thranduil?”

As Thranduil looks around himself on the streets of Dale, seeing the carnage that the Orc army has wreaked upon his army, he shows signs of shock as well as sadness. Though motionless and rather cold, this particular scene has left him in hurt. He may not show the depth of his feelings, but the coldness and indifference itself are the solutions to his emotional reactions.

Others might have cried or shown the devastation that this has brought them. But Thranduil reserves his reactions for himself. The depth of his emotion cannot be perceived, however, it does not follow that he does not have any. Every being feels emotion, it is only a matter of how they deal with it that we then either see those emotions or not. 

Though Gandalf would have liked the Elves to hurry to Ravenhill and assist the Dwarves, Thranduil thinks otherwise. It is in the sentence where he mentions Elvish blood that emotion can be heard. He is proud enough to not give any more to Dwarves’ cause, but he is also hurt enough by the spilling of blood that he doesn’t want to see any more of this race killed. 

A one Hobbit mission

Bilbo: “I’ll go.” 

Gandalf: “Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll never make it.” 

Bilbo: “Why not?”

Gandalf: “Because they will see you coming and kill you.” 

Bilbo: “No, they won’t. They won’t see me.” 

Gandalf: “It’s out of the question. I won’t allow it.” 

Bilbo: “I’m not asking you to allow it, Gandalf.” 

Upon witnessing this exchange between Gandalf and Thranduil, Bilbo offers his vanishing expertise in providing the Dwarves with vital information. Though he does not tell Gandalf about the ring and the specific way in which he attempts to outsmart the enemy, Gandalf knows it, or at least he can guess it.

It was before, after the Misty Mountains Goblins that Gandalf had seen Bilbo place the Ring in his pocket after reappearing behind a tree. Though miraculous for others, Gandalf knew very well what it was that helped Bilbo escape. 

This time, there is a difference in the way this exchange takes place. There is no more apprehensiveness on Bilbo’s side on whether or not he should do this, or whether or not Gandalf is in accordance with it. Bilbo was merely saying that he would be the one to deliver the news, just for Gandalf to know where he was and what he was doing. He is very sure of himself that he will succeed as well as unfazed into what danger he himself might stumble. 

Gandalf, though platonically disallowing his attempt, is actually using this as a test of Bilbo’s inner strength and courage, something he himself knew would come to shine on this journey. It was only a matter of time. Gandalf plays his role as the authority but in essence he was merely wanting to see if Bilbo would carry it out without his “official” permission. 

Bilbo puts on the Ring and disappears. 

Mortally insignificant

Tauriel: “You will go no further. You will not turn away. Not this time.” 

Thranduil: “Get out of my way.” 

Tauriel: “The Dwarves will be slaughtered.” 

Thranduil: “Yes, they will die. Today, tomorrow, one year hence, a hundred years from now. What does it matter? They are mortal.” 

Tauriel places herself in front of Thranduil, blocking his path. She faces him with the accusation of leaving, as he has always done, and subsequently hiding inside his kingdom, letting others fight battles that are of interest to all the races in Middle-Earth.

As she is banished from the Woodland realm given that she disobeyed his rule, he talks to her as such, as someone who does not have a voice in this anymore. Because she does not belong in his kingdom anymore, she does not have the right to pass judgment or put blame on his shoulders, she has effectively given up that right.

Tauriel speaks from her own fear of having Kili killed or hurt. It is the only reason she wishes to mobilize Thranduil into action. She projects it on the group of Dwarves rather than on just one single Dwarf. Thranduil isn’t fazed by her statement in the least.

It is pure fact that the Dwarves will all lose their lives, there is nothing empathetic about it at all. In his eyes, they will all die sooner or later, so it doesn’t even matter at which point death will find them since he will live forever. 

Real love

Tauriel: “You think your life is worth more than theirs when there is no love in it? There is no love in you.” 

Thranduil: “What do you know of love? Nothing. What you feel for that Dwarf is not real. You think it is love? Are you ready to die for it?”

Legolas: “If you harm her you will have to kill me. I will go with you.” 

Thranduil’s factual statement angers Tauriel, driving her to point an arrow at Thranduil’s head. She speaks of love to Thranduil even though she cannot know what kind of suffering Thranduil has endured in his life. Just because there is no love in his life now, doesn’t mean that love he once felt did not leave a great scar across his heart. She assumes that because of his behavior there are no loving feelings inside him.

Tauriel cannot know that love is the feeling that drove him to behave the way he does, that grief has enshrouded him in misery and broken every last bit of life into pieces. This is precisely why Thranduil responds in kind by breaking her bow and arrow with his sword. She cannot know what he is going through and she, therefore, cannot judge what she doesn’t understand. 

Thranduil knows of her feelings towards the Dwarf, but here he makes the same mistake she does. He concludes without knowing that what she feels for Kili isn’t real. They are both judging each other on no knowledge basis but rather their own assumptions. They will both be proven wrong. 

As Thranduil threatens Tauriel with the tip of his sword under her chin, Legolas steps in to defend her, again. He would have gone against his father, if it meant saving Tauriel. He would have forfeited his own life had she lost hers. A great sacrifice for unrequited love. 

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Featured image by Marcel Ardivan on Unsplash

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