The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
How we cite our quotes:
I will not parley, as I have said, with armed men at my gate. Not at all with the people of Elvenking, whom I remember with small kindness. In this debate they have no place. Begone now ere our arrows fly! And if you would speak with me again, first dismiss the elvish host to the woods where it belongs, and then return, laying down your arms before you approach the threshold. (15.46)
After Smaug has been killed, Bard and the Elvenking approach Thorin. Bard demands some part of Thorin's treasure, considering that Smaug fell on Lake-town and killed lots of people, and since Bard himself is Smaug's killer. Now that Thorin has his mountain kingdom to defend, his response is completely rigid: he won't talk while the elves are there, and he won't talk while the human armies are there. Do you think Bard has a right to Thorin's treasure? How about the Elvenking?
It was a terrible battle. The most dreadful of all Bilbo's experiences, and the one which at the time he hated most – which is to day it was the one he was most proud of, and most fond of recalling long afterwards, although he was quite unimportant in it. Actually I may say he put on his ring early in the business and vanished from sight, if not from all danger. (17.49)
At the moment when more traditional heroes like Bard and even Thorin are front-and-center at the Battle of Five Armies, Bilbo's standing invisible on the sidelines. Having crept down to face Smaug in his lair, Bilbo seems to have exhausted all of his courage. How are Bilbo's courageous deeds different from Thorin's? Do they seem any more or less valuable? Do you think Bilbo would describe himself as brave? Why or why not?
Suddenly there was a great shout, and from the Gate came a trumpet call. They had forgotten Thorin! Part of the wall, moved by levers, fell outward with a crash into the pool. Out leaped the King under the Mountain, and his companions followed him. Hood and cloak were gone; they were in shining armour, and red light leaped from their eyes. In the gloom the great dwarf gleamed like gold in a dying fire. (17.55)
Thorin bursts out of the Lonely Mountain, looking every inch the King under the Mountain in his final battle charge. Morally speaking, does Thorin's last stand balance out the war he almost caused against Bard and the Elvenking? What is your final judgment of Thorin's courage?