Door

Entering Erebor

Dwalin is pounding on the hidden door of Erebor with all his strength, and Nori with all his skills as a thief is listening for hollow spaces. The two cannot work together since Dwalin’s thumping is interfering with Nori’s listening skills. However, with both their strengths there is no chance of opening the door and the light is fading. 

A new facet of Thorin

Balin: “It’s no good. The door’s sealed. Can’t be opened by force. There’s a powerful magic on it.”

Thorin: “No! “The last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the key-hole.” That is what it says. What did we miss? What did we miss? Balin?”

Balin: “We’ve lost the light. There’s no more to be done. We had but one chance. Come away, lads. It’s over.” 

With their consigliere Balin assuring them of their vain efforts without the light of the sun, Thorin turns to him in desperation and disbelief asking if they have missed a step. Balin, in his infinite wisdom, informs him of the lost light and with that no chance of finding the lock that fits their key.

They all turn away from the door and head down the stairs. For all the trouble they have gone through in the last year of their journey, to give up so easily once they have reached their destination, is almost incomprehensible. 

To see Thorin this hurt and vulnerable is very welcoming. His character until now has let him be almost exclusively insensitive and rough, apart from the scene on the Carrock. However, now there is a difference for there is pain that he did not think he would have to face. It had taken him by surprise and left him reacting in a way we have not seen before. 

Leaving in failure

Bilbo: “Wait a minute.”

Glóin: “We’re too late.” 

Bilbo: “Where are they going? You can’t give up now!”

Thorin with his pride hurt and heart defeated, lets the key fall from his hand onto the ground. There he leaves it be as they all turn to leave. Bilbo tries to stop them from leaving, disbelieving himself that this is the end to their journey. 

Bilbo: “Thorin. You can’t give up now. “Stand by the gray stone when the thrush knocks.” The setting sun. And “the last light of Durin’s Day will shine…” The last light. Last light.”

A thrush comes flying to the grey stone and knocks upon it. As it does the moon appears in the sky pointing to the secret key-hole. 

Opening the hidden door

Bilbo: “The last light. The key-hole! Come back! Come back! It’s the light of the moon! The last moon of Autumn! Ha, ha! Where’s the key? Where’s the key? Where the…? I was here. Come on, it was… It was here. It was just… “

Finally it is Bilbo who sees the solution right before him. He calls to the Dwarves to come back and claim what is theirs, only he cannot find the key. He knows it was dropped on the ground but in the darkness he cannot see it. As he turns, he kicks the key with his foot. It would have fallen over the edge of the plateau had Thorin not stopped it with his boot. 

With all the Dwarves lined up to see the doors opened, Thorin places the key in its rightful place, turns it, and pushes the door open. There is a moment of silence that covers the company. The astonishment, the sadness, the victory, the gladness, the unbelievability of what they are seeing in front of them strike them all at once. 

Nostalgia

Thorin: “Erebor.”

Balin: “Thorin.” 

Thorin: “I know these walls. These halls. This stone. You remember it Balin. Chambers filled with golden light.”

Balin: “I remember.” 

Slowly, respectfully, Thorin enters his kingdom with Balin right behind him. Tears well up in Balin’s eyes as he beholds that which was once their home. A sentiment of coming home and seeing it after almost a lifetime is overwhelming. 

Thorin passes the walls of Erebor with remembrance and feeling of once having belonged there. His is the feeling of love and warmth toward his home, the same as the feelings of Bilbo toward his Hobbit hole. As he walks ever deeper he remembers the light in the halls of gold that had been hewn.

The memories of what his home looked like in its heyday flood over Thorin in an instant. Every stone tells its own story it would seem and all the stories are within him. He cannot but feel sentimental.

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The burglar’s job

Glóin: “Herein lies the Seventh Kingdom of Durin’s folk. May the Heart of the Mountain unite all Dwarves in defence of this home.””

Balin: “The throne of the king.”

Bilbo: “And what’s that above it?”

Balin: “The Arkenstone.”

Bilbo: “Arkenstone. And what’s that?”

Thorin: “That, Master Burglar, is why you are here.” 

As the scripture is read out by Glóin and the stone above the throne mentioned, finally Bilbo receives the last piece of the puzzle as to his job in the company. He cannot know what an Arkenstone is, what it looks like, or why it is so valuable to the Dwarves, but still, with a sense of foreboding, he looks around himself at the other Dwarves with trepidation. They all look back at him with a sense of anticipation and seriousness.

All of a sudden he stands in the foreground with a sense of urgency emanating from the eyes of the Dwarves. It is for this reason they have taken him with them in the first place. Yes, he had helped them through many dangers but it pales in comparison to his ultimate challenge, stealing a stone from a dragon. 

Kingsfoil

Fili: “Can you not do something?”

Óin: “I need herbs. Something to bring down his fever.” 

Bard: “I have nightshade. I have feverfew.” 

Óin: “They’re no use to me. Do you have any kingsfoil?”

Bard: “No, it’s a weed. We feed it to the pigs.” 

Bofur: “Pigs? Weed. Right. Don’t move.”

Meanwhile in Lake-town the rest of the company along with Bard are trying to help Kili. The poison of the Morgul shaft has now spread to the rest of his body. As the poison spreads his body reacts in convulsions that none of them are able to stop. The herbs that Bard has in his house are not applicable to Kili’s needs. Thankfully, Óin as the apothecary of the group knows exactly what kind of herb his fellow Dwarf needs. Bofur knows where this particular herb is to be found and runs off to get it. 

What the Men see as weed, something they feed to the pigs, the Dwarves use in healing wounds. As we all remember, Athelas, or Kingsfoil, is the same weed Sam and Aragon look for in the Trollshaw forest when Frodo is suffering from a stab of the Morgul blade from the Witchking himself, a pain he had inflicted upon him on Weathertop. 

A large white jewel

Bilbo: “You want me to find a jewel?”

Balin: “A large, white jewel. Yes.”

Bilbo: “That’s it? Only, I imagine there’s quite a few down there. There is only one Arkenstone and you’ll know it when you see it.”

Bilbo: “Right.” 

A large white jewel is not much of a description of something one is trying to find in a hoard of similar looking treasure. Not for Bilbo anyway. The Dwarves certainly know what they would be looking for but since they cannot enter the hoard without waking the dragon, Bilbo will have to step in to do it for them. 

The jewel itself, as described by the creative team behind the film, is a stone that radiates light. This light, when one comes closer to it, emanates the inner workings of the stone, which represent the forming of the universe. It appears as if within the stone a galaxy is trapped, whirling around, showing the moment of creation. 

Thorin, in the book, describes the stone as “a globe with a thousand facets; it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon!

Either way, it is not easily described. However, Balin has a point in saying that Bilbo will know it when he sees it, for that is exactly how it will be. 

The courage of Hobbits

Balin: “In truth, lad, I do not know what you will find down there. You needn’t go if you don’t want to. There’s no dishonor in turning back.” 

Bilbo: “No, Balin. I promised I would do this and I think I must try.” 

Balin: “It never ceases to amaze me.” 

Bilbo: “What’s that?”

Balin: “The courage of Hobbits. Go, now with as much luck as you can muster. Oh, Bilbo? If there is, in fact a live dragon down there, don’t waken it.” 

For all his care of the Hobbit, Balin wants to be as honest with him as possible, and since no one has told him exactly what to expect, Balin might as well be the one to do it. Only Balin himself does not know what he can expect. The dragon might be there, but he also might not. However, if there is a dragon sleeping on the hoard of treasure it would be prudent of Bilbo not to waken it. His natural stealthiness will come in handy once he enters the dragon’s lair or so the company and Gandalf think. 

Because of the lack of information Balin can give him and the overall danger of going somewhere unknown, Balin wisely suggests he stay behind if he doesn’t want to risk his life in this way. However, Bilbo sees it as his mission, in order to help the Dwarves finally reclaim what is theirs. This is why he came and he will muster all the courage he can and enter the lair. He had promised to help them and he does not go back on his word.

Balin finds it astonishing to find so much courage in such a small race. He wishes him luck, and before Bilbo has uttered a question Balin leaves. Now it is all up to him. Again. 

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Featured image by Adrian Dascal on Unsplash

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