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The people of Lake-town have heard the prophecy of Durin’s folk. When they saw the Dwarves move through their streets they could see that the prophecy is on its way to fulfillment. From that, they began to hope that their current state of poverty would be changed once the King Under the Mountain had reached his homeland. And now, standing before the Master of Lake-town, Thorin has promised them a share in the treasure of the Lonely Mountain. 

The other side of success

Bard: “All of you! Listen to me! You must listen! Have you forgotten what happened to Dale? Have you forgotten those who died in the firestorm?! And for what purpose? The blind ambition of a Mountain King so riven by greed, he could not see beyond his own desire!”

What Bard sees is deeper than what the people of Lake-town are willing to see. As soon as the concept of sharing the wealth of Erebor is brought up, the memory of what the inhabitants of Dale have gone through is erased. Bard reminds them of exactly that.

They have to see there is another side to this offer of wealth, a danger that could cost them their lives. Moreover, the nature of the Dwarf King Thrór at the time of Smaug’s coming was such as he describes. Bard has a tight grasp on Dwarven weakness and personality than anyone else seems to have. 

Thorin looks over at Bard accusingly though he knows that what Bard is saying is the truth of the matter. For he himself fears this. Bard may not know the consequences of dragon sickness but Thorin has witnessed it long enough. It is why Bard’s words hurt because they are the truth.

Weakness among the Dwarves is something almost impossible to imagine. They are raised to be sturdy, stubborn, unafraid of anything, and have bulletproof defense mechanisms in place, walls around them raised by pride and a sense of superiority. 

Shame and fear

Master: “Now, now. We must not, any of us be too quick to lay blame. Let us not forget that it was Girion, Lord of Dale, your ancestor who failed to kill the beast.” 

Alfrid: “It’s true, sire. We all know the story. Arrow after arrow he shot. Each one missing its mark.” 

Seeing as how the crowd before his abode has begun to react to the promise of treasure and to the tragic side of it all, the Master tries to tip the scales into the former direction. It is in his best interest for the people to like him, therefore he must follow the popular opinion of his people if he is to remain in office.

However, having Bard tip the scales in the latter direction means that the people might embrace him as their leader protecting them from harm and the Master would lose his edge. So, to create balance he points the finger at Bard and his ancestor Girion. 

This is something Bard has been keeping from the Dwarves as they have been keeping their quest and their identity secret. Bard carries the shame and failure of his ancestor inside him. It is a mark on his family that has become a part of his identity, one with which he attempts to live every day. This might be the reason why as his popularity with the people soars he retreats from it.

There is natural leadership quality within him but because of the failure of his house, he cannot take full responsibility for leading the people of Lake-town. He is afraid to fail as his grandfather once did. A similarity he shares with Aragorn. 

The right to enter

Bard: “You have no right. No right to enter that mountain.” 

Thorin: “I have the only right.” 

With his last effort, Bard tries to argue his case with Thorin. However, the claim he said is one that would fail him, for out of all the inhabitants of Middle-Earth, Thorin is the only one with the right or rather birthright to enter Erebor seeing as how it was once his home. He cannot but try and enter it and make an effort in having brought his company to their homeland. 

The right that Bard may be alluding to is the right of one single Dwarf going after his own purposes to the detriment of all other inhabitants of Middle-Earth. In that respect Thorin is acting as selfishly as his grandfather, looking out only for himself, ignoring all possible consequences to others. 

…and thrice welcome!

Thorin: “I speak to the Master of the Men of the Lake. Will you see the prophecy fulfilled? Will you share in the great wealth of our people? What say you?”

Master: “I say unto you… Welcome! Welcome! And thrice welcome King Under the Mountain!”

And there we have it. Having surveyed his audience’s inclination, the Master decides in their favor, sealing his position as Master of Lake-town. Now, treasure he has enough of. However, it would not be an inconvenience if the quest of the Dwarves would bring him even more. In that sense, he has the same flow as the Dwarf King Thrór, hoarding of riches for no other purpose than to possess and accumulate it.

This decision has also brought him the security of his likeness. Having Bard there to degrade and humiliate has come in the most opportune time tipping the scales in his favor rather than in Bard’s. Now, he can finally relax and be assured of no one threatening his position. The Master is the one having allowed hope to enter the lives of his people again. 

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The missing Bofur

Bilbo: “You do know we’re one short. Where’s Bofur?”

Thorin: “If he’s not here, we leave him behind.” 

Balin: “We’ll have to. If we are to find the door before nightfall, we can risk no more delays.” 

As Bofur has asked about the whereabouts of Bilbo on a couple of occasions already, Bilbo takes notice of Bofur missing. He would have gladly waited for Bofur to catch up or go find him. However, Thorin shuts this unexpressed idea right down. This leaves Bilbo a bit surprised to hear he would leave one of his Dwarves behind. Had he gone missing would he look for him, or would he leave without him? A question that will never be answered. 

Balin is on Thorin’s side for this one. They cannot wait upon a single Dwarf now that they have but hours left to find the entrance to the mountain. However, this behavior of Thorin’s will repeat itself later on. 

Leaving the prince behind

Thorin: “Not you. We must travel at speed. You will slow us down.” 

Kili: “What are you talking about? I’m coming with you.”

Thorin: “Not now.” 

Kili: “I’m going to be there when that door is opened. When we first look upon the Halls of our Fathers, Thorin.” 

Thorin: “Kili, stay here. Rest. Join us when you’re healed.” 

As the rest of the company boards the small boat to paddle to the shore of the mountain, Thorin stops Kili from boarding it. It is out of concern and love for the young prince that his uncle wants him to remain in Lake-town. They cannot take a wounded warrior with them who would most likely only slow down their progress.

In his current state, Kili could not have been able to tread across the treacherous terrain of the mountain. He needs to stay and rest.

However, the same uncle that is stopping him now to board the boat is the same uncle who told him and his brother Fili about the kingdom of Erebor, their home. The fact that Thorin has now decided to leave him behind as they all enter the mountain hurts Kili to his core. But so long as Thorin is the soon to be reigning King Under the Mountain, Kili has to follow his instructions. 

Staying behind

Óin: “I’ll stay with the lad. My duty lies with the wounded.” 

Fili: “Uncle. We grew up on tales of the mountain. Tales you told us. You cannot take that away from him!”

Thorin: “Fili.” 

Fili: “I will carry him if I must.” 

Thorin: “One day you will be king and you will understand. I cannot risk the fate of this quest for the sake of one Dwarf. Not even my own kin. Fili, don’t be a fool. You belong with the company.” 

Óin leaves the boat to help Kili as he is the medicine Dwarf of the group. Fili argues with Thorin, pleading the case for his brother, in vain. Thorin is set in his decision to leave Kili behind and focus on the quest at hand. Fili tries to leave the boat with Thorin stopping him by grabbing his arm. It would seem that Fili wanting to stay behind to be with his brother is a foolish thought to have according to Thorin. He would have him with the company, since he is one of the young able warriors. 


Fili: “I belong with my brother.” 

The sense of belonging in the case of Fili is much different than that of Thorin. It is only logical for Fili to be with his brother and help nurse him back to health, whereas Thorin oversees the brotherly love and concentrates only on his mission.

It is interesting to note that the argument Thorin uses to persuade Fili into coming is the duty of being a King, something he himself will be introduced to once he is crowned king. Thorin plainly states that no one member of the company is more precious than his quest. He would rather lose what is left of his family than abandon his quest that would benefit the rest of the company. 

Though his reasoning might sound like wisdom, time will come to prove him wrong, selfish and a coward. Fili is adamant to stay with Kili, and Thorin leaves with the rest of the company. 

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Featured image by Pezibear on Pixabay

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