The way Thorin’s acute mental state plays out is that these voices snap him out of the reality he has been living in. In a moment of relief and sudden emergence from his diseased state of mind, Thorin throws the hard-won crown from his head onto the golden covered floor of the Gallery of Kings. He can breathe the free air again, air that has escaped his lungs that have filled with the smell and influence of the dragon and its sickness.
The end is near
Dáin: “Fall back! Fall back to the Mountain! Fall back!”
Azog: “Now comes their end. Prepare for the final assault.”
Meanwhile on the battlefield, the Dwarves are being spent, pushed back to the gates of Erebor by the Orcs. With their numbers dropping rapidly, they cannot fight off the Orcs any more. The only thing that remains for them to do is to defend themselves as best as possible and hope for survival, though the outlook for hope is becoming grimer by the second.
Azog seizes this chance to engage his forces into the final assault. Backed into a corner, there is nowhere for the Dwarves to run or hide, for Azog, they are sitting ducks, almost uninteresting seeing as his victory seems absolute.
The Dwarves have shed their royal armor. There seems nothing left to do for them but sit around before the gates of Erebor. They are clearly heartbroken over the situation that has befallen their company. The quest has been fulfilled, their leader obtained his rightful crown only to leave his kin fighting alone before his own doors.
It does not only reflect badly on Thorin but on the rest of the company as well. They feel ashamed to be cowering while others fight their battle.
Out of the darkness illuminated with a single fire, walks Thorin. He too has shed his royal armor and his coat, appearing as the old Thorin Oakenshield we know.
Kili: “I will not hide behind a wall of stone while others fight our battles for us! It is not in my blood, Thorin.”
Thorin: “No. It is not. We are sons of Durin. And Durin’s folk do not flee from a fight. I have no right to ask this of any of you. But will you follow me, one last time?”
Kili, in all his passion and devotion to his people, walks up to Thorin in anger. He is frustrated with the way that Thorin has handled the situation. There is a unity between the different fractions of the race of Dwarves, that inherently drives them to protect each other in a fight. This is the notion and the feeling with which Kili faces Thorin. He could not have known the rehabilitation that his uncle has been through on his own and come through to the other side to be the leader they know and love.
If Kili had done this just a few moments earlier, Thorin’s answer would have been completely different. As it is, Thorin acknowledges Kili’s notion and feelings, smiling at him in recognition of spirit and loyalty for their people. It is obvious from the look in Thorin’s eyes that his old self shines through.
Thorin places his feelings before everyone, for all of them to see. He knows that he has not earned to ask anything of his company. He is aware of his position within the company, he may be rightfully king, but the way in which he has led his people ever since they reclaimed Erebor cannot be thought of as respectful or trustworthy.
Thorin has shown the members of his company only distrust, disrespect laden with threats and anger. However, the Dwarves’ loyalty to their leader knows no bounds. And as they have before, so will they follow him now.
Thorin shows humility for the first time in this journey. Up until now, it was imperative for him to show no weakness before his company, always keeping his head high, mighty and proud. But now that the tables have turned, recognizing the damage that he had caused them and his kin from the Iron Hills, he needs to show and feel humility, for that is all that he has left, a feeling upon which he can rebuild his character into a much better version of himself.
To the king!
Azog: “Not yet! Wait…wait… Attack now!”
Dain: “To the king! To the king!”
Bilbo: “The Dwarves. They’re rallying.”
Gandalf: “They’re rallying to their king.”
Bard: “Any man who wants to give their last follow me.”
Azog launches his attack on Erebor with his War Beasts ready and willing leading the ranks of Orcs. Suddenly, a different kind of horn is heard, coming from Erebor itself. Bombur blows the horn of Erebor signalling the battle cry of the Dwarves of Erebor. A golden bell breaks the stone wall of the gates and the company come running toward the Orc ranks. It is the single most inspiring moment of the trilogy.
All Dwarves, still fighting, rally to their king, running behind him toward the Orcs. The ranks of Orcs begin to retreat as the Dwarf ranks hurry forward. It is not the number of the Dwarves that makes the Orcs retreat, it is the passion, the anger and the strength with which they now attack them. The atmosphere of the battle changes in an instant.
Gandalf and Bilbo witness this development from the walls of Dale. It arouses the hope that was almost lost and invigorates them to give their all. As do the Men of Lake-town. Bard rallies to the king as much as to himself, encouraging his people to follow him and meet their enemies head-on.
Dwarven fighting machines
Bofur: “Come on, Bombur. Get up.”
Ori: “Nori, help!”
Glóin: “Right behind you, brother.”
The Dwarves’ of Erebor fighting strategy is that of teamwork. If one is in trouble, unable to fend for himself against a much bigger foe, the others jump in to save him. It looks as if they are playing a game. The moves they exhibit are such that it makes it fun to watch.
Battles in films are mostly done very seriously, arranged with great effort and a lot of reality behind it. Here, though superbly coordinated and strategized by the director, the fighting strategies of the Dwarves, bring a smile upon one’s face rather than envelop them in fear, seriousness or anger.
Of course, the audience is cheering the Dwarves on in their fight, but the battle does not arouse the emotion of pure hatred and vengeance toward the enemy. With the lightness of the fighting style of Dwarves, it becomes an interesting game to watch.
To top it off, Bofur intervenes with his own idea of help. The others present their backs so that he can fling himself from each Dwarf’s shoulders and land on the back of Stumpy, the poor Troll being driven by an Orc on his back. As Bofur takes the reigns, Stumpy becomes an ally rather than an enemy, providing the much-needed support in the Dwarven armies’ efforts to overthrow the enemy.
The strength of a woman
Hilda: “I say we stand with our men in life and in death.”
Woman: “I’m with you.”
Hilda: “Arm yourselves.”
Now, here we have a bit of insight into the psyche of women of Lake-town. Up until now, we have only known about the strides the men have been making. However, within the Great Hall of the City of Dale, the women found their voices and their own strengths and decided to assist their men in their struggle against the enemy.
Hilda seems to be a natural-born leader of the women of Lake-town. She has a presence that inspires confidence and ability, something which due to the deteriorating conditions of former Lake-town, has not been in abundance in either sexes.
For her to be the voice of all other women’s thoughts is very telling. It means that everyone else was only waiting for a driving force, an instigator in order to take action. There is no cuddling and sweet-talking from Hilda but rather a command to mobilize them. Much the same as any man would have done.
Alfrid in corset
Woman: “Come with us.”
Alfrid: “No, no, no. You leave an old woman be.”
Woman: “Don’t be afraid.”
Alfrid: “I said, get off!”
Hilda: “Alfrid Lickspittle. You are a coward.”
Alfrid: ““Coward”? Not every man’s brave enough to wear a corset.”
Hilda: “You’re not a man. You’re a weasel.”
Dressed as a woman, no surprise there, Alfrid disguised himself in order to avoid detection as well as enjoy protection of the Great Hall into which he would normally not be admitted, given his young age and ability to fight. The women find his gutlessness shameful to say the least. Though his argument is well taken, as not every man would dare put on a corset, however, to opt for a piece of clothing rather than fighting alongside his fellow men is not particularly understandable.
Granted, he wasn’t encouraged to fight before, and his natural sleazy disposition nudged him in the direction which promised safety and protection while destroying any integrity he might have had.
As the women run out of the Great Hall, one of them bumps a clay pot out of which gold coins spill out. This immediately catches Alfrid’s eyes. This is his way out.
Follow me to my next post.