With a warning that shook the foundations of Lake-town, Smaug had announced his coming. Though the people of Lake-town are very much aware of the danger of their reality, there is not much they can do. The bridge to the shore and their boats are their only means of survival. However, the dragon is only taunting them, toying with their fear, leaving them in suspense.
The Master evacuates
Master: “I warned you. Did I not warn you what would come of dealing with Dwarves? Now they’ve done it. They’ve woken the dragon! They’ve brought an apocalypse upon our heads!”
Braga: “Come on. Quickly. Quickly.”
Master: “Faster now. I’m trying to evacuate myself here. Careful, man. Never mind the books. Get on!”
Alfrid: “But sire, should we not try to save the town?”
Master: “The town is lost. Save the gold!”
Braga: “You heard him. Get a move on.”
Without a single blow of fire, and no damage to the town as of yet, the first ones to take their leave and save their hides are the Master, his trusted servant and their guards. Their evacuation out of the city requires, however, the whole of the gold accumulated onto one barge. Whatever they can take with them that shines they take. Books and anything that does not translate into material gain they leave behind.
Though Alfrid, somewhat feebly, mentions the salvation of the town, the Master sees it as an already lost cause over which any rescue mission would lead to naught. The only purpose he sees is to save himself and all that the town has on resources so that he may find a town away from the one that will find itself in ruin in a short while.
The people try to evacuate
Man1: “Come on.”
Man2: “Pile them up!”
The people of Lake-town look to their own, frantically trying to take what they can with them and leave their homes. Since their destruction comes from the sky there may not be a place for them to hide, but still, they try, for if not they may as well accept their deaths. Their scurrying gives us an insight into the human response to the reality that is in front of them.
Without any form of security or aid to be provided from the outside, they take care of what they can manage themselves and hope that it will be enough to save them.
Leaving without Bard
Tauriel: “We have no time. We must leave.”
Bofur: “Get him up.”
Fili: “Come on. Come on. Let’s go.”
Kili: “I’m fine. I can walk.”
Tauriel: “Fast as you can.”
Bain: “We’re not leaving. Not without our father.”
Tauriel: “If you stay here, your sisters will die. Is that what your father would want?”
Tauriel, with a look of inevitability in her eyes and the danger that is about to be brought upon them looks into the distance, knowing what she needs to do to save those around her. The children of Bard are left fatherless, in a situation that could only bring them harm, so Tauriel sees it as her duty to bring them to safety, if she possibly can.
The children do not want to leave their home still hoping their father would return. They cannot know that he had been detained in a prison without a way of escape.
Though the children would prefer to stay behind and wait for their father, Tauriel gives them a valid reason to leave without their father. With or without his presence there, he would want them to leave and find shelter elsewhere. Though not a parent herself nevertheless compassionate and loving, Tauriel takes the children under her wing and leads them out of the house together with Óin, Fili, Kili, and Bofur.
Seeing oncoming danger behind bars
Bard: “Open this door! Can you hear me?”
Man: “I can see him!”
Man: “Down here! Now!”
Bard, held captive in a jail cell, with guards nowhere in sight is left to his own devices of finding a way out of there. There isn’t much in the way of breaking out tools that he can use, especially when the jail cell is built as a bridge above the water. If he were to burrow through the floor, he would find himself possibly drowning in the ice cold water which would render his archery skills in facing the dragon to naught.
Therefore, he must find something else to help him escape. The bars on the doors and windows aren’t bendable as he would have them be. But an opportunity will present itself.
Bard spots Smaug’s silhouette flying in the fog surrounding the town. The danger is looming and he cannot but fear for himself and his children. The voices of the men and women on the ground confirm his own sighting.
Tauriel directing escape
Fili: “Give me your hand.”
Bofur: “We gotta go.”
Tauriel: “Quickly now. Hurry.”
Fili: “Kili, come on!”
The Dwarves, along with Tilda, Sigrid, Bain, and Tauriel embark on a barge underneath their house, besides which Bard had stored his weapons before offering them to the Dwarves. They take to rowing slowly but surely with Tauriel directing their path.
Man1: “It’s around the corner!”
Man2: “Keep on going, man!”
Master: “Come on, come on! Faster! Faster! If only we could take more of these poor people with us, but they’re hardly…”
Alfrid: “Worth it. I quite agree.”
Man: “Help! Help!”
With the voices of men catching glimpses of the dragon flying above their heads, they introduce tension and suspense as to the urgency of their escape plans. As for the Master and his lackey, they have secured their route out of the city with all the gold they could manage to take on board. People around them, already hurt and in need of help plead for the Master and Alfrid to take them onboard.
In a small glimmer of humanity, the Master almost appears sincere in wanting to help the people if they weren’t a burden to their already gold filled barge. They would certainly bring the weight of the barge to an amount that would bring them in danger of capsizing. And that is not the plan. However, the Master still has a humane glimmer in his eyes for that one short moment, as if he would really want to help the people.
Alfrid finishes his sentence with an inhuman comment that even strikes the Master as despicable. It is clearly not the end of the sentence he wished to give himself. Alfrid acts on his own accord by kicking the man holding tightly onto the barge into the water, leaving him to drown. There is no sense of humanity in Alfrid, only a sense of self-preservation.
Disappointment and disgust
Bofur: “Look out!”
Master: “Move it! Move it! Come on! Faster! My gold! My gold!”
Alfrid: “We’re carrying too much weight. We need to dump something.”
Master: “Quite right, Alfried.”
Braga: “Faster! Faster!”
The boat of the Dwarves, the children and the Elf collide with the barge of the Master. As it does so, the gold lands into the water, leaving the Master desperate and in panic. Nevertheless, they do not halt or help the company to navigate more efficiently, they simply ore on without any regard for the affected party. They do not even look over at them.
The look in Tauriel’s eyes matches the one she had as Thranduil explained to her that there would be no mingling with the outside world, keeping their borders clean and themselves close to the kingdom. It is a look of disappointment and disgust.
She looks over at the Master, without catching his eyes in disbelief as to his behavior toward them and the town. Her look tells us that she would have imagined the Master taking care of the town and his people rather than hogging all the gold and taking it with him downriver. A sad commentary on the behavior of those in power.
The Master pushes Alfrid off the barge. There is no need for a suckup whose weight is slowing the barge. Though unexpected, still a very possible behavioral pattern of the Master. However, as soon as he deals fate onto his lackey, a rope falls before the Master with him not managing to rid himself of it, becoming ever more entangled and pressed against the stern of the boat.
The rope now around his neck begins to choke him, leaving him to claw for breath and fall onto the deck trying to release himself from his predicament.
At the same time Bard, whose rope it was that caused discomfort to the Master, exits his cell with a satisfied look on his face. He takes to the armory for the longbow and arrows to help defend the town from the dragon.
Balin: “Poor souls.”
As the dragon pillages Lake-town with the ultimate force of fire, dealing death and destruction from an aerial distance, the Dwarves of Erebor witness it from Ravenhill. The company is in remorse and guilt over the fate of the people to which their own quest had attributed. Their success in reclaiming the Mountain has led to the destruction of an entire community.
Balin states what they all are thinking, well almost all. Thorin looks over on the entrance into Erebor, completely ignoring the suffering and destruction that is taking place in Lake-town. His eyes are fixed on his kingdom, or rather, the gold that his mind has become addicted to. His eyes don’t blink or change direction of their gaze.
Thorin is transfixed. Bilbo sees the motionlessness of Thorin, with a look of concern on his face, beginning to understand the stories of dragon-sickness, for he can see the behavior changes of his friend.
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