The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
While the dwarves clearly love gold for its own sake – it's pretty much their thing – Thorin (and Balin, in this passage) seems to use this particular gold as a symbol for the past. He doesn't just value it because it's valuable. He also wants to remember "the spears that were made for the armies of the great King Bladorthin" and "the great golden cup of Thror." These things are meaningful to Thorin because they represent "warriors long dead." For more on Thorin's association of wealth with the past, check out "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory."
Thorin's description of the Arkenstone is like a love poem. Compared to his incredibly stiff, formal style when dealing with important things like hiring Bilbo as the dwarves' official burglar, this passage seems particularly beautiful. Why does Thorin seem to love things so much? Is it simply because he's a dwarf, or is it particular to his character? What sense do we get of how the other dwarves judge Thorin for his love of the Arkenstone?
As Thorin lies dying, he starts to let go of his obsession with wealth. It's a shame that he couldn't have learned the lesson that you can't take it with you before he almost started a war with the Elvenking and Bard. Does the fact that Thorin opts for the right thing with Bilbo at the end of the novel make up for the way he treated Bilbo before the Battle of Five Armies? How do you feel about Thorin's deathbed change of heart?