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Author Topic: The Battle of the Six Armies
Gollum Gollum
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Note: this has nothing to do with the last part of PJ's Hobbit trilogy

I've just finished reading TH and something caught my attention. Strange that I had never thought of it before:
quote:
The Eagles had long had suspicion of the goblins' mustering; from their watchfulness the movements in the mountains could not be altogether hid. So they too had gathered in great numbers, under the great Eagle of the Misty Mountains, and at length smelling battle from afar they had come speeding down the gale in the nick of time. They it was who dislodged the goblins from the mountain-slopes, casting them over precipices, or driving them down shrieking and bewildered among their foes. It was not long before they had freed the Lonely Mountain, and elves and men on either side of the valley could come at last to the help of the battle below.
From: TH, Chapter 18 'The Return Journey'

So my question is: shouldn't this event be called the Battle of the Six Armies, instead of Five? The Eagles played a very important part there. Moreover, 'they too had gathered in great numbers, under the great Eagle of the Misty Mountains', so their turning up was not some spontaneous action, but a part of a military plan.

(Of course later it is told that Beorn achieved even more than the Eagles, but he is an individual and definitely cannot be counted as an army.)

Your thoughts?

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Aiwrendel
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Maybe seven armies if you count the bats:
quote:
"Dread has come upon you all! Alas! it has come more swiftly than I guessed. The Goblins are upon you! Bolg( of the North is coming. O Dain! whose father you slew in Moria. Behold! the bats are above his army like a sea of locusts. They ride upon wolves and Wargs are in their train!"
quote:
The goblins gathered again in the valley. There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of Bolg, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel. Soon actual darkness was coming into a stormy sky; while still the great bats swirled about the heads and ears of elves and men, or fastened vampire-like on the stricken.
Maybe not. Those are the only acts mentioned so maybe they were just there to help terrify and confuse the enemy.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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I must say that sometimes here it is a bit of a blur to decide what percisely is an army and isn't. The Eagles do seem to do as much damage as any of the other components of the battle. Although how many were actually there is a bit open to debate. And what about Beorn? Some might argue that he should count as an army by himself. He was as effective as one. I would expect that if anyone has played out the battle as a wargame, Beorn would have been worth nearly as many points by himself as an army.
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Aiwrendel
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Then we might also call Gandalf an army.

I tend to agree that one being shouldn’t be labeled an “army” even though Beorn was as effective as an army and the battle might have been lost without him.

Continuing the quote G2 made above, the very next lines are,
quote:
But even with the Eagles they were still outnumbered.

In that last hour Beorn himself had appeared...

And
quote:
and he tossed wolves and goblins from his path like straws and feathers. He fell upon their rear, and broke like a clap of thunder through the ring...
...nothing could withstand him, and no weapon seemed to bite upon him. He scattered the bodyguard, and pulled down Bolg himself and crushed him.

I think the battle was aptly named because the Five Armies listed were the principle players and the battle was merely affected by other factors: Bats, Eagles, Beorn, Gandalf, the terrain, weather, Bilbo, etc. Yes, Bilbo: If he hadn’t taken the Arkenstone the Men, Elves, and 13 Dwarves would have wasted time and resources battling among themselves before the Goblins showed up.

The Five Armies were the principle players because the outcome of the battle would dramatically affect their fates and others to a much lesser degree. Regardless of who won the bats and Eagles lifestyles and homes wouldn’t have changed. Had the Goblins won the effects on Beorn and Gandalf would have been minimal compared to the Men, Elves, and Dwarves.

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Another thing I have thought is that are the Goblins and Wolves really a seperate army each? They don't seem to take independent action on their own, well the Goblins might, but there is no evidence that the Wolves do. Perhaps a Wolf with it's Goblin rider should count as one unit and the Goblins and Wolves as one, albeit a rather large, army.
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Aiwrendel
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That the Goblins and Wolves were all one army was my first thought when I opened this thread. Sort of like Men and Horses. I had to re-read the book to notice Tolkien indeed separated (and capitalized) them as if they were separate and merely allied.
quote:
...it was called the Battle of Five Armies, and it was very terrible. Upon one side were the Goblins and the wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves.
It makes sense when looking at specific actions the Wolves took without Goblins but those are in LotR, not in TH. There are only hints in TH:
quote:
"Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say 'out of the frying-pan into the fire' in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.

And

Then they often got the Wargs to help and shared the plunder with them. Sometimes they rode on wolves like men do on horses.


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Gollum Gollum
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Goblins&Wargs are not the equivalent of Men&horses. In ME Wargs are 'inteligent' creatures, with their own minds, politics, leader etc., while horses just obey humans, do not decide anything by themselves, nor even speak.

So Goblins and Wargs are definitely two different armies.

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The Flammifer
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Gollum2: “(Of course later it is told that Beorn achieved even more than the Eagles, but he is an individual and definitely cannot be counted as an army.)”

Maybe a platoon? [] []

Aiwrendel: “Then we might also call Gandalf an army.”

Sorry to take you out of context. We DO know what you mean. Just brought up the following thoughts:

Hmm, what did Gandalf do at the BOFA besides get himself wounded? [] []
(Besides holler ‘“Halt!” . . . in a voice like thunder’. . . “The Goblins are upon you!”
Or he sat “upon the ground as if in deep thought . . .” []

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Hamfast Gamgee
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Mind, horses can make quite an important difference to any battle. Just ask the Saxons at Hastings in 1066!
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The Flammifer
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quote:
Just ask the Saxons at Hastings in 1066!
I can’t! They’re all dead! []

Reminds me:

Did you hear about the clairvoyant Hobbit that escaped from the “lockholes”?

Small Medium at Large!! [] []

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faithfull
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quote:
Did you hear about the clairvoyant Hobbit that escaped from the “lockholes”?

Small Medium at Large!!

LOL! []
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faithfull
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quote:
Or he sat “upon the ground as if in deep thought . . .”
quote:
Then we might also call Gandalf an army.
He did wear one of the ruling rings. I'm quite sure his contribution was significant, even while he appeared to only be 'thinking.'
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The Flammifer
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Hey faithfull

quote:
He did wear one of the ruling rings. I'm quite sure his contribution was significant, even while he appeared to only be 'thinking.'
I don’t think the Elven Rings were ever called “ruling rings” – just Rings of Power.
They’re power was in healing, building, giving hope, etc. (as long as Sauron didn’t have the One Ring (THE Ruling Ring)).

But yes, you’re right. I’m sure Gandalf’s contribution was significant. Tolkien/Bilbo just didn’t tell us what this was.

I’ve often wondered how Gandalf would have fared without Narya. Look what Saruman and Sauron accomplished WITHOUT Rings of Power. And all three being Maiar I think Gandalf would have done very well, thag you very buch… []

[ 10-19-2015, 10:03 AM: Message edited by: The Flammifer ]

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Aiwrendel
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Given he was wounded it seems obvious that Gandalf was in the battle. I wonder why JRRT didn't give any details of his actions?

Edit:
I was typing the above when The Flammifer posted. Cross posting! []

[ 10-19-2015, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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The Flammifer
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Lordy, Lordy, Crossed in the ether . . []

Cheers Aiwrendel []

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faithfull
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quote:
I don’t think the Elven Rings were ever called “ruling rings” – just Rings of Power.
And, power doesn't "rule"? [] Whatever! []
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The Flammifer
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quote:
And, power doesn't "rule"? [] Whatever! []
Correct. We’re speaking of the Three Rings and their power doesn’t rule.

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It's much more difficult to sneak off in daylight!

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