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Author Topic: The most influence.
Hamfast Gamgee
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Who had the most influence in the events of the wild in the Hobbit. Bilbo, Bard or Beorn?
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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One of the things I love about Tolkien is that every character is essential (except Legolas [] ). I don't think I could compare their importance (though if Gandalf was an option I would probably chose him).
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
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True, but sometimes I think it curious that the most important thing that Bilbo did, finding out about Smaug's bald patch was also the one thing that no-one remembered him for doing! Except the narrator, of course!
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Sarah the Good Witch
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I'd say it was Bard. It didn't matter that Bilbo found Smaug's weakness and drove him out; Bilbo's job according to his contract, was to use all his faculties to accomplish his task: so he wasn't deserving of any additional credit for cleverness or heroism-- he was just doing what was expected of him from the beginning, and paid to do.
Likewise, Beorn was fighting to protect his own home and friends-- and he was probably invulnerable to harm anyway (he didn't have a scratch on him after the battle), so no real credit there.

Bard, meanwhile, was just a town guard, and wasn't being paid to fight dragons; however he stood to the last and slew the dragon out of loyalty and bravery. So I'd say Bard.

Bilbo also made things worse by giving the Arkenstone to the Elves, since that made Thorin angry; if he gave it to Thorin, then he probably wouldn't have cared about the rest of the treasure after that, and made friends with the Lake-men, and they could have been better-prepared with Dain's men inside the mountain: then they could have won the Battle easily since the mountain was an unassailable fortress, armory and arsenal.

[ 05-20-2009, 12:28 AM: Message edited by: Sarah the Good Witch ]

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Alatar the Wizard
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say Bilbo. If it wasn't for him, Smaug would not have been aroused and would never have attacked Lake Town, which was a major generator for all events to follow until the end of the story. While Bilbo has virtually no influence on events until his newfound courage in Mirkwood battling the spiders, he takes charge of his destiny, and has great influence on events, after that point.

Bard may have slain Smaug, which was certainly influential over Lake Town's destiny, but he was just responding to events that Bilbo set in motion. Perhaps his influence was greater than Bilbo's outside of events recorded in The Hobbit, but within the story all he did was cause one event -- the death of Smaug (and even Bilbo tipped him off to Smaug's Achilles Heel).

And Beorn, powerful as he was, was virtually a hermit and had little desire to influence events aside from killing a few goblins and wargs.

So, it was Bilbo.

[ 05-22-2009, 10:23 PM: Message edited by: Alatar the Wizard ]

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Sarah the Good Witch
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quote:
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Bilbo. If it wasn't for him, Smaug would not have been aroused and would never have attacked Lake Town, which was a major generator for all events to follow until the end of the story.
Then it would be Gandalf, since he was the one who practically forced Thorin to hire Bilbo in the first place, and likewise forced Bilbo to agree. Gandalf said that Bilbo was really prophecied to accomplish all of his adventures and escapes, so he was experiencing his part more than performing it. Bard, meanwhile, was acting entirely on his own initiative.

Again, Bilbo's own influence probably messed things up more than he helped them: if he hadn't stolen the Arkenstone and given it to Thorin's main enemy, then Thorin probably wouldn't have cared about anything else, and the Lake-men would have been welcomed to the Mountain in friendship, along with Dain's forces; and they would have easily defeated the Goblins from the Mountain.

[ 05-24-2009, 08:05 PM: Message edited by: Sarah the Good Witch ]

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Roll of Honor Varnafindë
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quote:
if he hadn't stolen the Arkenstone and given it to Thorin's main enemy, then Thorin probably wouldn't have cared about anything else, and the Lake-men would have been welcomed to the Mountain in friendship,
But the trouble started while Thorin still had the Arkenstone - he cared about the rest of the gold as well, and wasn't very willing to share it.
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Madomir
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quote:
if he hadn't stolen the Arkenstone and given it to Thorin's main enemy, then Thorin probably wouldn't have cared about anything else, and the Lake-men would have been welcomed to the Mountain in friendship,
It was Thorin's inability to welcome others in friendship that prompted Bilbo to gift the Arkenstone to the other side. Methinks you're underestimating dwarvish greed.
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Sarah the Good Witch
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They didn't come in friendship, they came armed and demanding payment. Thorin said that he'd return Dale's treasure in due time, just not under threat of force. It was only after held the Arkenstone hostage for payment, that things turned hostile.

quote:
But the trouble started while Thorin still had the Arkenstone - he cared about the rest of the gold as well, and wasn't very willing to share it.
Thorin never had the Arkenstone: he wanted to find it more than anything, being his prized family heirloom. So holding it hostage was quite a mistake.
If Bilbo really wanted to be diplomatic, he should have simply presented his contract to Thorin and requested his one-fourteenth share of the treasure-- and then gone home, sharing whatever he couldn't carry, with the Elves and Men. He had fulfilled the terms of his contract, after all.

[ 05-26-2009, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: Sarah the Good Witch ]

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Madomir
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quote:
It was only after held the Arkenstone hostage for payment, that things turned hostile.

Untrue, Thorin had already fortified and guarded the front gate before he knew of the Arkenstone's whereabouts. If that isn't hostile it's at least preparations for hostility. He had no intentions of distributing Smaug's treasure (aside from the 14 of course) fairly or willingly.

[ 05-26-2009, 05:03 AM: Message edited by: Madomir ]

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Roll of Honor Varnafindë
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quote:
But the trouble started while Thorin still had the Arkenstone
... by which I mean while it was still in the Mountain. You're right that he didn't know where it was, he was just sure that it must be in the dragon's hoard somewhere.

But the trouble started long before Thorin realised that Bilbo had stolen the Arkenstone.

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Sarah the Good Witch
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Because the Men and Elves came armed and demanding treasure.

Of course they fortified the entrance-- it was an untold wealth of treasure, with only 14 Dwarves to guard it. That's not "hostile," any more than America's gold being placed in Fort Knox. They were just protecting what was theirs against a very dangerous situation where they were hopelessly outnumbered.

Thorin gave his word that he would give the Men back what was theirs-- but not under threat; once the treasure was safe with 500 of Dain's soldiers guarding it, and got the Arkenstone as well, I think that he would have kept his word, and honored Bilbo's contract in addition.
The point is that instability never improves a situation; Bilbo set the Dwarves against the Men, and that's never a good thing.
The part that's hard to believe, is that Gandalf approved of it.

[ 05-26-2009, 02:50 PM: Message edited by: Sarah the Good Witch ]

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Tigranes
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quote:
The part that's hard to believe, is that Gandalf approved of it.
I think that Gandalf had the "bigger picture" in mind, and wanted an alliance of the Dwarves, Elves and Men ASAP. He also knew about the weakness of the Dwarves for treasures and about their stubbornness and their bad relations with Elves.
And then it's simply a question of power: If a large armed force of Elves is standing at your door, there isn't much room left for negotiation, unless your own army (assuming you have one) is numerically superior.

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Sarah the Good Witch
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Dwarves obviously don't negotiate under threats.

And why would Gandalf want an alliance-- and how would holding the Arkenstone hostage make that happen? Gandalf had NO IDEA that the Goblins were approaching, otherwise he would have simply told them: then Thorin would have invited them all into the Mountain, and paid them with all the armor and weapons that they could wear and wield.
Gandalf didn't find out until the last minute: somehow it's possible to move an entire army of goblins and Wargs through and around Mirkwood, without a single eagle or person spotting them.

[ 05-28-2009, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: Sarah the Good Witch ]

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Madomir
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quote:
then Thorin would have invited them all into the Mountain, and paid them with all the armor and weapons that they could wear and wield.
[] Is it possible the generosity of the dwarves may be a touch overstated here?

quote:
somehow it's possible to move an entire army of goblins and Wargs through and around Mirkwood, without a single eagle or person spotting them.
That was rather convenient [] Tho' the Eagle's and Beorn did receive word early enough (don't remember how) to arrive just in the nick of time so apparently the orcs were spotted eventually.
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Roll of Honor Thorin
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This thread might be interesting. It is semi-related to this topic.

Unfortunately WT never made his case for Bilbo.

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Madomir
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Nice link Thorin []
It's fun reading those older threads. []

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