Iron chariot

Conquering Orcs

The tide of the battle has turned. Not because the Dwarves’, Elves’ or Men’s forces have somehow doubled, but because the Dwarves of Erebor have joined the fight. The atmosphere and the moral of the troops already on the battlefield has gained in determination and will. The Dwarves have rallied to the king, thereby pushing the Orc frontlines back.


Thorin: “Dáin!” 

Dáin: “Thorin! Hold on! I’m coming! Hey, cousin! What took you so long? There’s too many of these buggers, Thorin. I hope you’ve got a plan.” 

The two cousins meet for the first time on the battlefield after a long time. Though the Iron Hills Dwarves have rejected Thorin’s invitation to join them in their quest for the Lonely Mountain, they honored the call to fight against their common enemy. At first those were supposed to be the Elves, however, as it turned out, Azog and his army are the real enemies they both need to face. 

Dáin rightly asks Thorin of his whereabouts since it took him half the slaughtered army of Dáin to show his face. Thorin does not address his question, out of shame I would venture. It cannot be a pleasant thought knowing that he has left his cousin alone on the battlefield facing the Orcs having invited him to join the fight in the first place.

There is nothing now that he can do about it but move on and do as much as he can to prevent the Orcs from advancing even further. 

Going after Azog

Thorin: “Aye. We’re going to take out their leader.” 

Dáin: “Azog?”

Thorin: “I’m gonna kill that piece of filth.” 

Dáin: “Thorin, you cannot do this. You’re our king.” 

Thorin: “That is why I must do it.” 

As the only solution to their overwhelmed army, Thorin plans on taking on the leader of the Orcs, his arch nemesis, Azog. At least then, even though the Orcs may stay and fight themselves, they would be leaderless, directionless, unable to organise themselves efficiently, leaving the Dwarves and the Elves in the position of superiority. 

As the king of the Dwarves, or king of any sort, it would be customary for Thorin to protect himself from harm rather than face it head on, for he is the only thing that unites the Dwarves. Dáin would be perfectly okay with Thorin staying behind being their king, orchestrating the fight rather than participating in it. Thorin, on the other hand, feels that precisely because of the fact that he is their king, he needs to be the one to face their enemy. 

The Dwarves and the Orcs needn’t fight a battle that should have occurred between the two leaders in the first place. It is Azog’s sole purpose in life to rid the world of the Durin line, and Thorin’s personal journey to kill the Orc that has brought so much suffering to himself and his family.

Yes, Sauron has sent Azog to conquer the Lonely Mountain so as to reestablish the kingdom of Angmar, but in its core, the leader of the Orcs has only one wish, as does Thorin. 

The iron chariot

Dáin: “And how do you plan to fight your way single-handed to Ravenhill?”

Balin: “Halt! It’s been a while since I’ve done this.” 

Thorin: “To Ravenhill!”

Balin: “Hold tight, lads.” 

Dáin: “You’re all mad bastards. I like it. May Durin save you all.” 

The iron chariot upon which the army of Dáin has come, has now become the ideal transportation device to bring the toughest of the company of Thorin Oakenshield up to Ravenhill. Balin, as the designated driver, though experienced, admits himself that it has been some time since he has driven such a vehicle.

There is concern and fear in his face as he comes to a standstill before Thorin. However, the company need him, and so he answers the call of duty as well as that of brotherhood. 

Even Dáin finds this idea of using the chariot to climb to the top of Ravenhill a crazy one, but he admires the company in their efforts to turn their fortunes in this battle by taking out Azog. 

Decapitation Trolls

Kili: “Watch out!” 

As they ride through the battlefield with speed exceeding that of safety, experiencing jumps and bumps, they wreak carnage with the boring spikes attached to the wheels. Every Orc and Troll they pass is either immediately slaughtered or maimed in a way that renders him incapable of further participating in the battle. 

Coming their way are six battle Trolls ready to attack their chariot and leave them without any means of transportation, however, the same wheels that have killed or maimed their comrades, now decapitate the Trolls in one fell swoop as the chariot surges into the air. It is a feat that the Dwarves feel proud of accomplishing. 

Finding the sweet spot

Balin: “Eyes front, lads!”

Dwalin: “Hold on! I’m out! Bring it down! Shoot it!”

Kili: “Where?” 

Dwalin: “In his jambags!”

Kili: “It doesn’t have any jambags!”

Balin’s driving of the chariot takes the Dwarves onto a frozen river into which they have been compelled to ride because of the battle Troll that is following them. Though the heaviness of his steel ax arms brings him out of balance, still he poses a grave threat to the safety of the company.

Kili, as the archer of the group, aims at the Troll failing to cause any kind of significant damage. Dwalin advises Kili to aim his arrows at the Troll’s “jambags” thereby incapacitating him to carry on. 

The “yambags” controversy

Now, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh have been looking into archaic denominations of what would normally be a part of male anatomy in any species. They came across the term “yambags” and wrote it into the script that was being shaped as they were filming. When Peter Jackson was given the script he, as well as the cast and the crew on set, burst out laughing. 

During lunch on the day of shooting this particular scene, Graham McTavish (Dwalin), came over to Philippa Boyens congratulating her on that particular line in the script, pronouncing the word as /dʒæm/ rather than /jæm/. The writer corrected the actor in his pronunciation but it was already too late, as they had already shot and locked the scene that day.

Now, instead of having an archaic word for male genitalia, the Dwarves ended up with slang. Not something the writer intended or wanted to happen, nevertheless it is there, on film. 

Bofur on Stumpy

Bofur: “Hang on, lads! I’m coming!” 

Fili: “Bofur, you beauty!”

Balin: “Dwalin!”

Dwalin: “Go! Come on you hairy hedgepig! Come on!”

Fili: “Yeah!”

Dwalin: “Yeah!”

Fili: “Yeah!”

And then comes Bofur riding on Stumpy, who has switched sides and is now fighting for the Dwarves. Bofur uses Stumpy to attack and distract the fighting ax Troll away from the company on the chariot. They use the artillery onboard to attack and kill the Troll coming up right in front of them.

Though the Troll is halfway submerged into the ice of the river, still he poses a threat to the Dwarves. Dwalin, visibly enjoying himself behind the semi-automatic weapon onboard the chariot, takes his anger out on the Troll in an attempt to kill it. He is successful, providing safe passage for the chariot. 

Leaving Balin

Kili: “Wargs!”

Balin: “Hold tight, lads!”

Kili: “There’s more coming!”

Dwalin: “We’re pulling too much weight. We won’t make it.”

Balin: “Cut the tracers. Ride them to Ravenhill.” 

Dwalin: “No, Balin.” 

Balin: “My goat-riding days are over. Durin be with you, brother.” 

The iron chariot, along with the Dwarves and the weapons is too heavy to outrun the Wargs that have begun chasing them. To not succumb to a complete defeat, as the Wargs were beginning to pick the goats apart, Balin advises the Dwarves to cut them from the chariot and for the warriors to ride them to Ravenhill themselves. That means then leaving Balin behind to fend for himself against the Wargs. 

Dwalin, as his brother, does not easily condone this action. It is only understandable for Dwalin to want to protect his brother against any harm that might come to him. However, Balin knows his strengths and his weaknesses and if he were to join the guys on their mission, he would either slow them down or be hurt himself, given that he has not ridden goats for a long while. 

Balin nevertheless wishes his brother luck and safety in their mission. Dwalin and Balin say farewell without uttering a word but Dwalin’s hand on his brother’s arm says enough for them both. 

Riding goats to Ravenhill

Balin: I am too old for this.” 

Dwalin: “Hyah!”

Thorin: “Onwards!”

Dwalin: “Lead on!”

Balin is left behind with the chariot weapon shooting at oncoming Wargs, killing them one at a time. The others take possession of each goat, cutting the tracers and riding them uphill. They gather behind Thorin who then leads them onwards toward Azog. Fili, Kili and Dwalin are the three strongest warriors who are a welcome and indispensable addition to his hunt for Azog. 

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Featured image by Richard Mcall on Pixabay

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