Mountain cave


As sand falls through the crack in the ground and Thorin alarms everyone to wake up, the time to escape their fate is already gone. They fall through the shaft two or three at a time and continue circling in a downward spiral toward a landing place they couldn’t have foreseen. What waits for them at the end of their journey is a vicious attack of the Goblins.

Goblin attack

Dori: “Get away!”

Glóin: “Filthy scum!”

Dwalin: “Get back!”

Glóin: “You’ll pay for this!”

Dori: “All right, all right.”

Dwalin: “Get off! Get your hands off me! Get off me!”

They hopelessly attempt to defend themselves from the oncoming menace. But what can 13 Dwarves and a Hobbit do against a swarm of deformed, blood thirsty and savage creatures? They tried and failed. What welcomed them was the bondage of their hands and a weaving path to the center of this underground world. 

Bilbo manages to stay calm in this terrible situation and whilst all are being taken against their will he simply slows his pace and hides among the crowd by squatting down to his knees. The Goblins never noticed his disappearance act, however Nori did. His facial expression points to surprise and disbelief. Nori cannot know why Bilbo hid from the rest of the group, but he cannot do anything to prevent it. 

After the group has continued on their way, Bilbo straightens up and follows in pursuit. His reasoning behind this might be that his inexplicable ability to not be seen if he chooses might come in handy while he forges a plan to help the Dwarves’ escape. He would have gotten further if a stray Goblin didn’t face him forcing him to engage him in a fight, something he has not yet had the pleasure of doing.

Bilbo is scared and unprepared but still, he manages to defend himself against the Goblin. We can’t know what would have happened had they continued fighting on the wooden structure. Their fall aids Bilbo in avoiding a fatal strike of the Goblin. 

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Down, down, down….

Meanwhile, the Dwarves come to an opening where their eyes widely absorb the landscape stretching out before them. The wooden structures, bridges and walkways decorate this enormous cavernous space inside the mountain. They still cannot know where they are as they have never been here before. But then they come into view of the Great Goblin, who paints a picture of his little town through song:

Great Goblin: “I feel a song coming on.”

Clap! Snap! The black crack!
Grip! Grab! Pinch and nab!
Batter and beat! Make ‘em stammer and squeak!
Pound! Pound! Far underground!
Down, down, down in Goblin-town!
Down, down, down in Goblin-town!

With a swish and a smack and a whip and a crack!
Everybody talks when they’re on my rack!
Pound! Pound! Far underground! 
Down, down, down to Goblin-town!
Down, down, down, to Goblin-town!

Hammer and tongs get out your knockers and gongs!
You won’t last long on the end of my prong!
Clash! Crash! Crush and smash! Bang! Break! Shiver and shake!
You can yammer and yelp but there ain’t no help!
Pound! Pound! Far underground!
Down, down, down in Goblin-town!

Text by J.R.R. Tolkien

A siren song of torture is spread ear shatteringly across the whole of the cave. The items the Goblins use to play the “melody” to the lyrics are items they have scavenged on their “front porch” probably. What they sound like reminds me of the flawed engine roar of the Porsche Cayman I once test drove. It also sounded as if cutlery and all possible pieces of metal were contained in the engine.

There is no melody per se, there is something akin to it but almost impossible to discern. The Great Goblin’s non-melodious singing does not help in making the song any less terrible. An incredible feat of musical inability from both sides. However, this musical inability is the perfect counterpart to the landscape as well as the Goblins’ overall purpose in the world. 


Great Goblin: “Catchy, isn’t it? It’s one of my own compositions.” 

Balin: “That’s not a song. It’s an abomination!”

Great Goblin: “Abominations. Mutation. Deviations. That’s all you’re gonna find down here. Who would be so bold as to come armed into my kingdom? Spies? Thieves? Assassins?”

Grinnah: “Dwarves, your malevolence.” 

Great Goblin: “Dwarves?”

Grinnah: “We found them on the Front Porch.” 

The mere height and width of the Great Goblin instills fear and disgust in the Dwarves. They, being a very musical race indeed, find the “song” a bit lacking. In their book, that isn’t even a song but rather an abomination, which is precisely what the Great Goblin was going for. He does not just denote what awaits them down there but takes pride in it. It is his normalcy, the world he created for his race in which they all seem to thrive.

Since the Goblins don’t see any sun at all, the mutations caused by the lack of vitamin D is plainly seen on their faces. Their stature and demeanor is probably due to the environment they are constantly exposed to. With jagged rock faces and almost acid decomposition of the same they cannot but adapt to it by becoming the embodiment of the landscape, as jagged and menacing. 

What else can the Great Goblin expect to have visit him than those who may bring hurt and pain with them? Being trapped/living so long under the mountain, in a menacing landscape, he cannot but think that everyone coming to his kingdom unannounced would have the same world views as he himself has. The Great goblin does seem a bit surprised to see Dwarves there, not a race he would have expected to see. 

Made in Rivendell

Great Goblin: “Well, don’t just stand there. Search them. Every crack. Every crevice.” 

Grinnah: “It is my belief your great protuberance, that they are in league with Elves!”

Great Goblin: “Made in Rivendell. Ah. Second Age. Couldn’t give it away.” 

Nori: “Just a couple of keepsakes.”

The Goblins search them and what they find, aside from weapons, is something not even the Dwarves are proud about. For the Elves’ hospitality and offering of food and bedding, Nori had decided to steal their belongings. What is worse he cannot even understand why that is a terrible thing. It would seem that once a thief, always a thief. He cannot help himself. 

The funny thing about this little discovery is the stamp of belonging that is found on the bottom of every item Nori stole. Where in other films or memes it mockingly says “made in China” here it is fantasy world adapted. Why the Elves even have that denomination engraved in their decorative pieces and cutlery is beyond me, for everyone living in Middle-Earth can plainly see that it was made by the Elves.

They have a particular way of carving, decorating, and forging everything they have, so these items could not be mistaken for Hobbit or Dwarf or Men. But nevertheless, I liked the idea the creative team incorporated into this particular scene. It is what gives it humor and wit. 

Flattened trumpet

Great Goblin: “What are you doing in these parts?”

Óin: “Uh, don’t worry, lads. I’ll handle this.” 

Goblin: “What’s…? What’s that?”

Great Goblin: “No tricks. I want the truth, warts and all.” 

Óin: “You’re going to have to speak up. Your boys flattened my trumpet.” 

Great Goblin: “I’ll flatten more than your trumpet!”

As the Goblins search the Dwarves, for some mean reason they flattened Óin’s trumpet leaving him practically deaf. As such he might not be the proper representative of the group, but nevertheless, he insists on talking anyway. What he does say to the Great Goblin is more of a complaint than an answer to his question. This, of course, infuriates the Great Goblin given that demolishing a hearing aid does not come as important to him as it does to Óin. 

Bofur the annoying

Bofur: “If it’s more information you want, I’m the one you should speak to.” 

Great Goblin: “Mm-hm.”

Bofur: “We were on the road. Well, it’s not so much a road as a path. Actually, it’s not even that, come to think of it. More like a track. Anyway, the point is, we were on this road, like a path, like a track. And then we weren’t, which is a problem because we were supposed to be in Dunland…”

Great Goblin: “Shut up.”

Bofur: “Last Tuesday.”

Dori: “Visiting distant relations.” 

Bofur: “Some inbreds on me mother’s side.” 

To avoid any conflict with the Great Goblin, Bofur steps in to clear the confusion, by stirring more confusion. Since they cannot reveal their plan to anyone, he has come up with a plausible explanation to their “walking holiday” as Bilbo would say. Bofur didn’t actually give an explanation rather than a description of the path they were using to tread. This infuriated the Great Goblin to no end, because other than learning they were meant for Dunland to visit relations, nothing more about a purpose was said. 

For a Goblin the Great one is quite astute to many forms of manipulation and deception. Probably because he uses the same tactics as well. 

New incredible information

Great Goblin: “Shut up! If they will not talk, we’ll make them squawk. Bring up the mangler. Bring up the bonebreaker. Start with the youngest.” 

Thorin: “Wait!”

Great Goblin: “Well, well, well. Look who it is. Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thrór, King Under the Mountain. Oh, but I’m forgetting. You don’t have a mountain. And you’re not a king, which makes you nobody really. I know someone who would pay a pretty price for your head. Just a head, nothing attached. Perhaps, you know of whom I speak. An old enemy of yours. A pale Orc astride a white Warg.” 

Thorin: “Azog the Defiler was destroyed. He was slain in battle, long ago.” 

Great Goblin: “So you think his defiling days are done, do you? Send word to the pale Orc. Tell him I have found his prize.” 

Finally, Thorin steps out onto the plate to bat for the team. I would have expected him to do so when they first arrived, which he tried to but Óin stopped him and took over. Now, it is his turn to face the leader. The Great Goblin recognizes Thorin immediately. He addresses him as King, which raises Thorin’s pride immediately, but then corrects himself by adding Thorin’s lack of a place to govern.

There is another piece of information the Great Goblin shares with him. The one enemy Thorin thought he had slain is hunting him to fulfill his own mission of destroying the line of Durin. Although the Great Goblin tells his Scribe in the swing, played by Kiran Shaw, to pass the information on, Thorin does not seem convinced of this fact.

Thorin had watched Azog in pain and retreat into his hole, thinking he left him for dead. As this is not enough proof for Thorin he will soon face his enemy in the flesh and forget his doubts. 

Until that time, a fateful encounter takes place right beneath the Dwarves’ feet. Read on in my next post.

Image by Christopher O’Toole from Pixabay

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