Money

The Treasure Hoard of Thrór

Fili, Kili, Bofur, and Óin walk along the slopes of the Lonely Mountain. After having survived the terror and destruction of Lake-town, they have finally reached their journey’s end. As they slowly march to their new home, the music playing is the Erebor Theme, masterfully composed by Howard Shore. 

However, the actors themselves Dean O’Gorman, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt, and John Callen were actually humming the Fellowship of the Ring Theme while they were filming that particular scene. As the score had not been recorded yet at that point in time, they made use of the iconic music from the original trilogy.

A warning

Bofur: “Hello! Bombur? Bifur? Anybody?”

Bilbo: “Wait! Wait!”

Óin: “It’s Bilbo!”

Bofur: “He’s alive!”

Bilbo: “Stop! Stop! You need to leave. We all need to leave.” 

Bofur: “We only just got here.” 

As the Dwarves enter Erebor, they encounter silence. The only sound heard are their echoing voices crying for their companions. They move through the corridors or this vast cavernous city only to hear the voice of Bilbo yelling behind them to stop. They are relieved and joyous to see him alive and well, however, Bilbo’s current countenance is not one they were expecting to find. 

Bilbo appears jittery, nervous, urgent, and determined to stop them from advancing. An odd thing to wish since they only just arrived in Erebor. The need to leave does not only apply to them but to all the company as well. The Dwarves stare at Bilbo in confusion not really understanding why this particular course of action should be taken. 

Sickness?

Bilbo: “I’ve tried talking to him, but he won’t listen.” 

Óin: “What do you mean, laddie?”

Bilbo: “Thorin! Thorin. He’s been down there for days. He doesn’t sleep. He barely eats. He’s not been himself. Not at all. It’s this place. Ahem. I think a sickness lies on it.”

Kili: “Sickness? What kind of sickness?”

Bilbo: “Fili. Fili!”

Bilbo, in his urgent manner describes the situation in bits and pieces leaving more questions open than answered. The Dwarves cannot understand what Bilbo is on about not having experienced Thorin for themselves. They can only deduce what might be from the headlines that Bilbo is providing them.

As Bilbo talks, Fili looks over Bilbo’s shoulder across the space into a lighted passage. He takes the path toward it. Bilbo would not have had Fili running on his own, not having prepared him for what he was about to see, especially because it concerns his own uncle. 

At the mention of sickness, Kili’s eyes widen in fear. Having only survived one sickness, he cannot cope with encountering another one. Hearing his uncle succumb to an unknown sickness, gives him great cause for concern as he himself can attest to the arduousness of a fatal infliction. The fact that their home could be the reason behind the sickness is a chilling thought. Their quest could be rendered in vain if this sickness is to prevail and inflict all the members of the company. 

Gold beyond measure

Thorin: “Gold. Gold beyond measure. Beyond sorrow and grief. Behold the great treasure hoard of Thrór. Welcome my sister-sons to the Kingdom of Erebor.” 

They come down to the treasure hoard. Thorin enters from the side completely enveloped in his own observations. His eyes follow the path of the gold, and they find a part of the company standing on the plateau above him, looking down. The dragon-sickness has clearly had an influence on his mind when the importance of gold can outweigh all sorrow and grief. 

It is very interesting to see in Thorin this mental obsession that we had only briefly the chance to see in the Prologue. Now, we can witness it from the start. We saw it seep into Thorin’s character as he stood outside the hidden door, claiming that no one’s life is above this quest. We saw it as he blocked Bilbo from escaping the dragon’s lair to save himself because of the still missing Arkenstone.

Now, we see it in full swing, with Thorin dressed to impress, in his kingly clothes, resembling the same image we saw in the Prologue where Thrór walked around his hoard with eyes filled with amazement and obsession. Thorin saw it then and made it a point of not becoming like his grandfather. But the reality appears different. 

Fili and Kili as much as they are impressed with the gold glowing hoard, confusion paints their faces seeing their uncle behave in a manner they had not witnessed before. I would also say that a trace of fear for Thorin appears on their faces as well, even in the early stages of life in Erebor. They can sense that something isn’t right. 

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A warm welcome

Bofur: “Balin!”

Nori: “Kili!”

Balin: “Thank Durin, you’re alive.” 

Bofur: “Bombur!”

Ori: “You’re alive!”

While Thorin is enjoying his grandfather’s treasure hoard and sliding into madness, the newly-arrived members meet with the rest of the company where only love and joy can be seen for all of them having survived their ordeals. The bond between the cousins and brothers is strong as they embrace each other thanking Durin for their safe arrival. 

Incidentally, Thorin did not react in this manner at all at seeing his nephews. Kili was on the brink of death in Lake-town, but not a single word or loving reaction came when Thorin laid his eyes on him. This points to the single-track-mindedness that has now become Thorin’s reality. Not even the health and well-being of his own blood matters to him. It appears as if he could have done without. 

In search of the stone

Thorin: “Any sign of it?”

Dwalin: “Nothing yet.” 

Ori: “Nothing here.”

Thorin: “Keep searching!”

Glóin: “That jewel could be anywhere.” 

Thorin: “The Arkenstone is in these halls. Find it!”

Dwalin: “You heard him. Keep looking.”

Thorin: “All of you! No one rests until it is found.” 

The search for the Arkenstone is a laborious one. Hundreds upon hundreds of gold coins and all manner of treasure cover a vast cavernous space in which a huge dragon has lain for years. And now, the entire company must sweep through all of it trying to find the one stone that would cement Thorin’s right to rule. Though he has adorned himself in the garb of the King Under the Mountain, the one piece that would claim him his throne and bring other races into submission is still missing. Or is it?

Maniacal leadership

It is one thing to have the Dwarves looking for the Arkenstone in a casual, dutiful way, which they would have done for their King anyway. However, what Thorin is now exhibiting is a slave drivers mentality to his company’s obedience. To not let his fellow Dwarves exit the halls for anything until the search has bore fruit, states the obsessiveness and the sickness that has deeply penetrated and altered Thorin’s character. 

After the arduous journey they all have had, to keep them from resting or building a home for themselves within the mountain is a brutal manner of leadership from their king. Instead of rest, they have to waste their time looking for a jewel in a manner that becomes even more laborious than their journey had been.

At least then they had the support, compassion and understanding of their leader, now they only have his imperative orders driving them, while he stands in all his glory and garb above them all, impatiently waiting. 

A stone in hand

Smaug: “I am almost tempted to let you take, if only to see Oakenshield suffer. Watch it destroy him. Watch it corrupt his heart and drive him mad.” 

While the Dwarves labor to find the Arkenstone, Bilbo sits on the gate of Erebor remembering Smaug’s words and the truth they speak. He takes the Arkenstone from the inside pocket of his coat. It is obvious that he does not know what he should do with it. Should he give it to Thorin or should he keep it for himself?

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Featured image by Sebastian Kolpert on Pixabay

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