Battle

The Battle of the Five Armies Begins

Elves and Dwarves are no longer the only armies on the field before the gates of Erebor. What Gandalf had seen and the army about which he warned Thranduil and Bard has now come, with their leader, Azog, on Ravenhill instructing its every move. There is now no time and space to fight out their old grievances, Dwarves and Elves must unite against a common enemy. 

Preventing involvement

Dáin: “The hordes of hell are upon us! Fight to the death!” 

Fili: “I’m going over the wall. Who’s with me?” 

Óin: “Aye!”

Dwalin: “Come on, let’s go!”

Thorin: “Stand down.”

Ori: “What? Are we to do nothing?”

Thorin: “I said, stand down!”

As Dáin declares war against the Orcs, the company of Thorin Oakenshield still stand behind the gate of Erebor. Fili, in his enthusiasm and young spirit, spurs himself and the others into action. They would have all followed him outside had Thorin supported the action. However, he, without a given reason, stops the action the others were prepared to take. He turns from his company and heads down deeper into the halls of Erebor. 

The Dwarves are flabbergasted at the decision their leader had made in their name. They have known him as a fierce leader, one who would step into the line of fire himself without a need to be spurred on by anyone. He has already faced the Orcs before the gates of Moria, so he is an experienced warrior. However, in this instance he cowers behind his walls. 

The Dwarves cannot understand what his thinking might be and remain standing in surprise. Though they have seen the symptoms of his changing behavior, they might not have guessed how far along the disease has infected their leader. 

United against Orcs

Bilbo: “The Elves. Will they not fight?”

Dáin leads his army against the Orcs. They run to meet the oncoming horde of Orcs. They build a shield wall so that the Orcs are prevented from penetrating their ranks, at least for the time being. However, they seem to be the only ones brave enough to stand against the Orcs. The Elves seem to hold their ground and their position stubbornly on the same spot they fought the Dwarf army. 

Bilbo’s concern is legitimate as he sees a two-deep line of Dwarves alone blocking the Orcs from advancing. As the Orcs move closer to the Dwarven shields as if by magic, Elves jump over the Dwarves attacking the Orcs with a sight element of surprise. Their archers have remained steadfastly back, but the sword-wielding Elves have taken a stand with the Dwarves.

These are two races that only moments ago were fighting each other over old grievances and name-calling. Now they are fighting a common enemy, one they wish would vanish from Middle-Earth.

A lone Hobbit

Dáin: “Charge! Yes!”

Bilbo: “Uh, Gandalf. Is this a good place to stand?”

In the midst of all this commotion, there is this little Hobbit, who feels completely disoriented and insecure. There is no good place for him to stand, given the battle that rages all around him. Wherever he looks either Elves or Dwarves are hammering it out with the Orcs.

As the battle progresses, the line of the Dwarves they built to stop the Orcs from advancing will come ever closer to the gates of Erebor. 

War Beasts

Azog: “Send in the War Beasts! Destroy their war machines! They cannot fight on two fronts. Now we make our move. Attack the city!” 

Gandalf: “Azog. He’s trying to cut us off.” 

Bard: “All of you! Fall back to Dale! Now!”

Gandalf: “To the city! Bilbo, this way!”

Azog sends his War Beasts into his ranks, these being all manner of Trolls. While they are pounding away at the Dwarves and Elves alike, another group of Trolls armed with catapults attack the walls of the City of Dale. One of the Trolls, especially trained for his job as the wall breaker, runs into the outer wall of the Dale with a triangular stone carving on his head, headbutts it, thereby causing the wall to crumble, and falls on his back dead.

This gives his cohorts an ideal way into the city since the bridge has already been taken. 

The men of Lake-town flee into the city to try and defend it as much as they can and prevent the Orcs from killing their women and children. Azog’s strategy is very effective, cutting off Elves and Dwarves from the city, leaving them to fend for their lives completely surrounded by their enemy. The Orcs have to contend with a couple of hundred men of Lake-town, nothing they cannot handle. 

Market overrun

Bain: “Sigrid! Tilda!” 

Bard: “My children? Where are my children?”

Woman: “I saw them! They were down in the old market!” 

Bard: “The market? Where are they now? Tilda! Sigrid!” 

Percy: “Bard! Orcs are storming over the causeway!” 

Bard: “Get the bowmen to the eastern parapet. Hold them off for as long as you can.” 

Percy: “Archers! This way!” 

Seeing the Orcs overrun Dale, Bard hurries inside to find his children. Screaming after them but not finding them, leaves him in panic. As a proforma Master of Lake-town, Percy and his men act on his orders as to how to proceed against the Orcs. As soon as the archers leave the news of the market being overrun by Orcs reaches Bard. Since that was the last place his children have been spotted it is only logical for him to fear that they might be in danger.

Seize of Stone Street

Man: “The Orcs have taken Stone Street! The market’s overrun!” 

Bard: “The rest of you follow me!”

It is interesting to note that the writers have specifically used the name Stone Street for one of Dale’s streets. The same street name carries the street where the films of this trilogy as well as the original one have been filmed. It is only appropriate to name a street like that since the entire city of Dale is made of stone. 

Seeing as he cannot find his children, Bard takes the rest of the men with him to fight the Orcs that have taken over the market. There he might have a better chance of finding and possibly protecting his children from harm. 

Cowardice

Alfrid: “Charge! Onward! To the death!” 

Sigrid: “Da.”

As for Alfrid, he follows his own sleazy instincts and hides inside an archway in an attempt to escape the need to face the Orcs. As we have already seen before, he is a coward whose cowardice is limitless. 

A great stunt

Sigrid and Tilda: “Da!”

Bain: “Here!”

Tilda: “We’re down here!”

Bard: “Bain! Sigrid! Get down!” 

Bard’s children see their father fighting from a long way away, yelling after him to turn and look at them. However, their screaming catches the attention of a Troll who turns in their direction with the mission to kill. Seeing them in danger, Bard takes possession of a carriage and runs it toward his children. He quickly reaches them, flies over them and pierces his sword into the chest of the Troll with almost perfect precision.

Stumpy

On the battlefield a Troll nicknamed by the creative team as Stumpy comes into play. He is blind as his eye sockets have been stitched closed to make way for the chains that the driver of the beast uses to steer him. As if that wasn’t enough to torture the beast they also put chained flails to replace his arms, while wrecking ball-like maces they placed instead of his legs.

His “driver” sits on a chair that has been strapped to the Trolls back. A sad fate for the poor beast, however, highly effective as a war tool. 

Refuge for women and children

Bard: “Listen! I need you to gather the women and children. Take them to the Great Hall and barricade the door. You understand? You must not come out for any reason.” 

Tilda: “We want to stay with you!”

Alfrid: “Show your father some respect. You leave it to me, sire. You heard him. We make for the Great Hall.” 

Bard: “Alfrid! Women and children only. I need every man fighting. See that you return.” 

Bard relays his plan onto his children, instructing them to help whomever they can and barricade themselves and others of Lake-town into the Great Hall. Understandably, the children want to stay with their father seeing as how they don’t know if they will ever see him again. At that point Alfrid comes into play and whips them into order. If the proforma Master of Lake-town has given an order then it must be followed, although that does not apply to him apparently. 

Alfrid wants to remain on the side of this would-be leader of Lake-town so as to keep the post he held with the Master who had died under the attack of Smaug. Bard is clear in his command for only the women and children to take cover in the Great Hall and for him to come back and fight by pushing the sword onto his chest.

Alfrid meets this command with fear in his eyes. It is obvious that he has never held a sword in his hand, much less fought against someone with it. 

Abandoning good sense

Alfrid: “I’ll get them to safety, sire. Then my sword is yours to command. Get up!” 

Bard: “Look after them!” 

Alfrid: “Shift it, granny!” 

Bain: “Make for the Great Hall!” 

Alfrid: “Out of my way! Abandon the cripples!”

As Alfrid “motivates” the people to get up and follow him to the Great Hall without helping them walk, he pushes his sword onto Bain as he does not see himself as a warrior or possessing any kind of fight instinct. He pushes the old and the wounded out of his way as he rushes toward the Hall.

To shout out to “abandon the cripples” is very crude of him indeed. For him, apparently, disabled people are not worth the trouble or the life for he would gladly give everyone up to save himself. 

Azog near victory

Azog: “They cannot hold the city. The Dwarves are almost spent.” 

Dáin: “You buggers! Where’s Thorin? We need him. Where is he?”

Azog: “Let these lands run with blood! Slaughter them all.” 

Bard: “Fall back!” 

As Azog looks upon the battlefield, the Dwarves seem to be losing steam. They are leaderless, directionless and surprised not to have Thorin fighting with them. It would appear that Azog and his army is gaining in victory, leaving only a small number of Dwarves left to fight the Orcs off. 

An Orc kills Picklet, the boar Dáin rides, a pet pig of Peter Jackson subsequently. Dáin remains alone fighting his way through the ranks of Orcs. As the camera shows, the Orcs have taken much of Dale leaving very little to fight for. Azog is enjoying the view from Ravenhill. His victory is nigh. 

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Featured image by British Library on Unsplash

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