While Bilbo is desperately trying to find a way out of the labyrinth of caves and avoid being captured by Gollum, the Dwarves experience the same threat to their lives. In their case, however, the amount of Goblins present to assure their death is much more intimidating than Bilbo’s one-on-one hide and seek.
Fear and threats
Bones will be shattered Necks will be wrung You’ll be beaten and battered From racks you’ll be hung You will die down here and never be found Down in the deep of Goblin-town Text by J.R.R. Tolkien
Great Goblin: “I know that sword! It is the Goblin-cleaver. The Biter. The blade that sliced a thousand necks! Slash them! Beat them! Kill them! Kill them all! Cut off his head!”
While the Great Goblin sings his beloved composition, his minions take to disarming the Dwarves. What they find is precisely the weaponry that brings out the most dread and panic for them. The swords the Dwarves took from the Troll-hoard aren’t just of Elvish make, they were specifically forged to hurt and kill the race of Goblins.
Nothing the Dwarves could do can instill so much terror than the weapons they carry. Even the Great Goblin retreats to his throne shielding himself from the swords in a fetal position, a depiction of the level of panic these swords produce.
The Great Goblin orders his minions to kill the Dwarves. He himself remains in his throne terrified of getting hurt. The Goblins attack the Dwarves, attempting to do what their leader ordered. Suddenly a flash of white light wipes through the platform with a smithing force. The Dwarves as well as the Goblins hit the floor unable to stand. Out of the gloom and dust, Gandalf emerges in his already established deus ex machina role.
Fight and run
Gandalf: “Take up arms. Fight. Fight!”
Great Goblin: “He wields the Foehammer! The Beater! Bright as daylight!”
Gandalf: “Follow me. Quick! Run!”
He urges the Dwarves to take up their weapons and fight the Goblins, which the Dwarves do. The Great Goblin focuses on Gandalf’s sword which is just a continuation of the origin of all the other swords. For some reason, the Great Goblin hides behind his troops letting them do all his dirty work for him because he is too scared.
It is one thing to be scared of a piece of metal known to have caused fatalities to his race, it is completely another to assume that just because they wield them that he would get hurt. The Great Goblin cannot know that these particular Dwarves are as skilled at the battle as the stereotype says. Instead of finding it out for himself, he holds back in fear.
Since the Dwarves cannot take all the Goblins down alone, they need to find an escape route. Gandalf guides them through this maze of bridges and ridges, helping them fight the Goblins en route.
Gollum: “Give it to us! It’s ours. It’s ours! Thief! Baggins!”
While hiding in a small cave certain that Gollum would follow him, the Ring accidentally escapes Bilbo’s pocket and lands perfectly on his finger, helping him disappear. However, as he does not know that the Ring has made him invisible his fear level spikes as Gollum enters the same cave looking but not finding him. This baffles Bilbo at the same time as it brings him relief knowing that he could escape this wretched place without being seen.
Trust in Gandalf
Dwalin: “Post! Charge!”
Thorin: “Cut the ropes!”
Gandalf: “Come on. Quickly!”
Dwalin: “Come on, move!”
Óin: “Jump, lad!”
Gandalf: “Come on!”
The Dwarves follow Gandalf’s lead, supporting one another and watching each other’s backs as they run through the maze of Goblin Town. They find ways that help them do just that. Although they don’t know where they are running to, because no clear exit can be seen, they trust Gandalf will bring them to light.
Death of the Great Goblin
Dori: “Come on!”
Great Goblin: “You thought you could escape me. What are you going to do now, Wizard? That’ll do it.”
Where it seemed they almost escaped their terrible fate and outrun the Goblins with the use of a boulder broken off by Gandalf from the stoneface, all of a sudden the Great Goblin lands in front of the Wizard. Although he presents himself as threateningly as possible giving the company no way out but through him, Gandalf in three quick moves slays the Great Goblin.
The consequence of the Great Goblin falling dead in front of them brings the platform the company is standing on to collapse and fall into the chasm. The only safety from death is the platform itself, which although shabby looking is apparently very sturdy, able to sustain and save the company from death.
A swarm of Goblins
Bofur: “Well, that could have been worse.”
Dwalin: “You’ve got to be joking!”
Dwalin: “There’s too many. We can’t fight them.”
Gandalf: “Only one thing will save us, daylight! Come on! Here! On your feet.”
Dwalin: “Come on!”
They finally land on the ground floor of the mountain itself, there are no more depths beneath them but also no visible way out. As if that wasn’t an ordeal in itself, they remain trapped by the wooden platform itself. As they try to wiggle their way out from underneath it, the Great Goblin falls on top of them all. But there is no time to lose complaining given the army of Goblins running toward them, eager to finish them off.
Gandalf suggests the only possible way they could save themselves, daylight. Mountain Goblins do not dwell outside of their natural habitat. Daylight hurts them so there is no other way for the Dwarves to escape other than finding an opening in the mountain.
Gollum: “Wait! My precious. Wait! Gollum, Gollum!”
Gandalf: “Quick! Quick! This way.”
Dori: “Come on.”
Gandalf: “Come on, come on. Quickly. Right, good!”
Gollum: “Baggins! Thief! Curse it and crush it! We hates it forever!”
The two strands of the same story collide as Gollum hides from the Dwarves and Gandalf as they pass him by on their way out of the mountain. Bilbo’s eyes show sadness and resentment as he sees them pass him by as well. The resentment then builds quickly into action. Gollum’s back is pressed against the rock and he is looking in Bilbo’s direction, not seeing anything. Bilbo sees him as the only obstacle to his way out. So, he draws out his sword in an angered attempt to relieve himself of this obstacle.
Sadness and loneliness
Bilbo places the sword under Gollum’s chin, ready to take his first fatal swing at another creature. Suddenly, what he sees before him is nothing more than a frightened, lonely creature, unable to defend itself with other than his own teeth.
Gollum/Sméagol’s big blue eyes emanate sadness, sadness not only for losing his precious but the mere fact of his loneliness. He has been living in these caves for about 500 years and Bilbo was the one person he came across with whom he could verbally spar. Now, as he cannot see him pointing the sword at him, he can sense the same loneliness he felt before he ever met Bilbo.
Gollum is alone again, only now the one thing that kept him alive for so long plagued him as well as brought him happiness is gone. All that he cared for is now gone. His life has no more meaning, his mere existence is to naught if there is no Ring to protect.
Seeing him this way Bilbo’s expression of anger and resentment changes drastically to pity. This homicidal creature that almost took his life sits now before him helpless. Compassion and pity fill Bilbo’s heart and instead of fatally hurting Gollum, he decides to jump over him and escape the way the company had. And he succeeds.
Gollum’s expression that changed from sadness to anger turns vengeful and maniacal, as he feels Bilbo’s feet step on his head to jump over him and leave forever. This is the day he remembers as Baggins from the Shire stealing his Ring. This information will be extracted out of him when the Orcs capture and torture him before the Dark Riders leave Minas Morgul. He will be the one creature responsible for releasing evil on Frodo.
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