The company heads out of Rivendell. As the White Council learns of their escape, the Dwarves leave the protective shield of the Elves’ magic. The only one to feel it is Bilbo. He remains behind to enjoy the sight of Rivendell once more before they step into the Wild.
Thorin: “Be on your guard. We’re about to step over the Edge of the Wild. Balin, you know these paths, lead on.”
Thorin: “Master Baggins I suggest you keep up.”
Thorin sees Bilbo falling behind with a longing look in his eyes towards Rivendell. Given Bilbo’s inexperience anywhere except the Shire, he is encouraged to keep up the pace with the others. As Thorin already said, he will not be responsible for his life or his fate so it would be in Bilbo’s best interest to follow the company promptly and not linger.
What Bilbo is leaving behind is the same feeling of warmth and comfort he had in his own Hobbit hole. Moreover, the magic of the Elves makes the entire place rather incredible. The feeling it gives him is that of wonder and awe, something he had only dreamed of experiencing when he was younger.
There is nothing to protect them now but the strength of their own arms. And Balin is the designated leader of the company through this treacherous terrain.
Galadriel: “You will follow them.”
Galadriel: “You are right to help Thorin Oakenshield. But I fear this quest has set in motion forces we do not yet understand. The riddle of the Morgul blade must be answered. Something moves in the shadows unseen, hidden from our sight. It will not show itself. Not yet. But every day it grows in strength. You must be careful.”
Lady Galadriel supports Gandalf’s decision. However, his decision does not only affect the members of the company but the rest of Middle-Earth as well. The problem that arises is the Council’s inability to act on these threats to their established peace without learning more about the newly discovered mysteries. And since Saruman believes it all senseless and unworthy of pursuing, Gandalf will have to explore it all himself.
The threat that hangs in the air is neither seen nor palpable yet. However, it does possess the strength to be volatile and menacing. They cannot ignore it, though they don’t understand it.
Fear and courage
Galadriel: “Mithrandir, why the Halfling?”
Gandalf: “I don’t know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found it is the small things everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid and he gives me courage.”
Galadriel: “Do not be afraid, Mithrandir. You are not alone. If you should ever need my help I will come.”
Gandalf’s conviction does hold true. If we were to banish an evil facing us head on, then we would succeed if we were powerful enough, as Galdriel will show us in the third film. However, to keep darkness at bay, we need the collective good of the people, their small contributions to not just their own well-being but to that of the world. If every person were to distribute kindness toward one another it would create a ripple effect.
Love and hate
Kindness as well as meanness is contagious and can spread everywhere from one single point. People tend to respond quicker to meanness, which then overcomes them easily in every aspect of their lives. However, in essence, kindness is easier and much less thought-provoking than meanness. It depletes our entire energy supply to lash out our hateful side. The anger, the hate, resentment, and jealousy it encompasses live within us like parasites eating away at any humanity left within.
To be kind and to love is to replenish oneself with the same positive energy given. It is a system of recharge we typically ignore. This recharge is vital to not only our well-being but to that of our fellow men as well. They may not be aware of its potency but a crucial change in attitude occurs when kindness is life’s currency.
For Gandalf to admit fear is a very personal thing. He depicts himself fearless and fierce in the eyes of the company, but his true feelings he leaves for those who will treasure it most. If he were to admit he didn’t have a plan or idea on how to proceed, the company might lose their own confidence and abandon their quest for the Lonely Mountain.
Gandalf could have chosen anyone else of the Hobbit race to help the Dwarves but he chose Bilbo. Why? One might ask. What is it about Bilbo that gives Gandalf courage? His ability to be kind when everyone else had given up on the idea? Ability to control his emotions in tight situations? His own undiscovered courage?
Well, there may be more to his abilities than it was originally thought. For whatever Gandalf chose him personally, Bilbo is the one to give him hope and courage where there may be none.
Thorin: “Hey! Hold on!”
Thorin: “We must find shelter!”
Dwalin: “Look out!”
Glóin: “Look out brother!”
Kili: “Hold on!”
Balin: “This is no thunderstorm. It’s a thunder-battle! Look!”
Bofur: “Well, bless me the legends are true! Giants! Stone giants!”
Thorin: “Take cover you fool!”
After almost being eaten by the Trolls, the company now encounter a much more deadly opponent. Even though the stone giants aren’t interested in the company at all, their destructive behavior towards each other is disruptive and dangerous for everyone that roams their realm.
Bofur, completely in awe of the sight before him, forgets his bearings and almost meets a gruesome end. The giants’ falling rocks narrow the path for the company even more than it already is. They are now at their mercy. There is nowhere else for them to go, weathering through is their only chance.
Dwalin: “Hold on!”
Kili: “What’s happening?”
Fili: “Grab my hand!”
Thorin: “Go! Go!”
Balin: “Run! Get off! Get off! Run!”
Dori: “Hold on!”
Thorin: “Jump! Come on! Hold on! No! No! Kili!”
Glóin: “It’s all right! They’re alive!”
As two stone giants’ heads collide in a headbutt maneuver, the company is left fearing for their lives. Half of them were cut off from the rest when the mountain path they were standing on suddenly evolved into two strong stone legs. The other half remained unscathed and clear of injury while the other faced death as the one leg swung into the mountain side leaving them for dead.
Thorin beside himself with panic and worry rushes forward to where the one leg of the stone giant collided with the rest of the mountain. With despair and the worst possible outcome written on his face, he encounters the other half of the company bruised and battered but alive. A single wide smile of relief paints the leader’s face.
Over the edge
Bofur: “Where’s Bilbo? Where’s the Hobbit?”
Thorin: “Get him!”
Ori: “Grab my hand!”
Dori: “Ori be careful!”
Ori: “Take it!”
Dwalin: “I’ve got you, lad.”
Ori: “Grab on! Grab on!”
Dwalin: “Come on. Get him.”
Glóin: “Come on, lad. Up you get.”
Relief does not last long as Bofur notices Bilbo missing. Bilbo is dangling over the side of the mountain, holding himself by the strength of his hands. He cannot endure it for long. The Dwarves rush to help him up as small and light as a Hobbit might be, his pack, now soaked with rain, makes him heavier than he normally is, making his rescue mission not as easy as one would think.
Interestingly, it is Ori who steps in to help the Hobbit. He reaches out his hand to Bilbo with a gentle reminder from his guardian Dori to be careful. From all the ragged and strong Dwarves in the company, the two risking their lives to save Bilbo are the two that the rest may not deem warrior-like or brave in any way.
In the end it is Thorin who climbs down to Bilbo and supports him enough for the others to hoist him up. However, Thorin ends up dangling off the side of the mountain himself. Dwalin, his right hand man, uses only the strength of his one forearm to bring his leader back up onto the path.
Both Bilbo and Thorin experience fear in that situation. However, being a lot more inexperienced than his cohorts, Bilbo’s facial expression is much more telling than Thorin’s. Thorin already experienced this kind of death facing fear before and can better cope in this type of situation, whereas Bilbo is all new to this uncomfortable business of walking out his front door.