Thorin Oakenshield

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Thorin II Oakenshield
Tolkien's legendarium character
AliasesKing under the Mountain,
King of Durin's Folk
RaceDwarf
Book(s)The Hobbit (1937)
The Return of the King (1955)
Unfinished Tales (1980)
 
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Thorin II Oakenshield
Tolkien's legendarium character
AliasesKing under the Mountain,
King of Durin's Folk
RaceDwarf
Book(s)The Hobbit (1937)
The Return of the King (1955)
Unfinished Tales (1980)

Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, King Under the Mountain is a major character in the novel The Hobbit (1937), written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. Thorin is the leader of the Company of Dwarves who aim to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. He is the son of Thráin II, grandson of Thrór, and becomes King of Durin's Folk during their exile from Erebor. Thorin's background is further elaborated in Appendix A of Tolkien's 1955 novel The Return of the King.

Contents

Characteristics[edit]

Thorin is described as haughty, stern, and officious. He has a talent for singing and playing the harp, wears a gold chain, and has a very long beard. He wears a distinctive sky blue hood with a long silver tassel. He refers to his home in the Blue Mountains as "poor lodgings in exile." He is a capable and a cunning warrior, if not a particularly inspiring or clever leader. While shorter than elves or men, Thorin is said to be quite tall for a dwarf.

Appearances[edit]

The Hobbit[edit]

In The Hobbit, Thorin and twelve other dwarves of Durin's Folk visited Bilbo Baggins on Gandalf's advice to hire Bilbo as a burglar to steal their treasure back from the dragon Smaug. Smaug had attacked Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) and had appropriated both the dwarves' mountain and their treasure. Thorin was determined to get the treasure back, and especially wanted the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain, an heirloom of his house.

On the journey the company encountered a band of trolls, and Thorin alone of the dwarves was not taken unawares. He and Gandalf fought valiantly in the goblin tunnels in the Misty Mountains. When the dwarves were captured by the wood-elves of Mirkwood, Thorin insisted that the other dwarves not disclose their quest to their captors. He was the first to emerge from the barrels at Lake-town and marched right up to the leaders of the town, declaring himself as King Under the Mountain.

With provisions from Lake-town, Thorin led the company to Erebor. In Smaug's absence, the dwarves appropriated the treasure, and Thorin, very pleased with Bilbo, gave him a chain-mail coat made of mithril as the first installment of his payment. Faced with demands from Thranduil the Elvenking and Bard the Bowman for a fair share of the treasure to be distribured to the wood-elves and the men of Lake-town, Thorin became recalcitrant and would not acknowledge their right to any of the hoard. He fortified the Mountain against them, and sent to his cousin Dáin Ironfoot for reinforcements. Thorin was furious when Bilbo stole the Arkenstone to use as a bargaining counter, and he drove Bilbo from the Mountain. The growing conflict was averted only by an attack of goblins and wargs, whereupon the dwarves joined forces with the wood-elves, the men of Lake-town, and the great eagles in what became known as the Battle of Five Armies. During the battle, Thorin was mortally wounded, but he made his peace with Bilbo before he died.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell.

Thorin, The Hobbit

Thorin found the Elven blade Orcrist in the cache of the trolls who had captured the company. He used the sword thereafter until it was taken when he was captured by the wood-elves. When Thorin died, he was buried with the Arkenstone, and Orcrist was returned and laid upon his tomb. The blade would glow blue should orcs approach, and they could thus not take the Mountain by surprise. Thorin was succeeded as leader of Durin's Folk by his cousin Dáin.

The Lord of the Rings[edit]

Part III of Appendix A in The Return of the King gives an overview of the history of Durin's Folk and gives more of Thorin's background. He was born in T.A. 2746, and when Smaug attacked Erebor in 2770, Thorin was driven into exile with the other surviving dwarves. In 2799 when he was 53 (a young age for a Dwarf), he marched with a mighty Dwarf-army against the orcs of Moria. In the Battle of Azanulbizar in Nanduhirion beneath the East-gate of Moria, Thorin's shield was broken, and he used his axe to chop a branch from an oak tree to defend himself, thus earning the epithet "Oakenshield".

As Frodo Baggins prepared to leave Rivendell for Mordor, Bilbo gave him the mithril coat for his protection on the journey. Gandalf later referred to Thorin's gift to Bilbo, a "kingly gift" worth more than the value of the whole of the Shire, unaware that Frodo was wearing the coat at that moment. The coat later saved Frodo's life on several occasions.

Names and titles[edit]

Tolkien borrowed Thorin's name from the Old Norse poem "Völuspá", part of the Poetic Edda.[1] The name "Thorin" (Þorinn) appears in stanza 12, where it is used for a dwarf, and the name "Oakenshield" (Eikinskjaldi) in stanza 13.[2] The names also appear in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda.[3]

As he was by right the king of Erebor, he was King Under the Mountain. The title passed to Dáin after his death.

Adaptations[edit]

In the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit, he is voiced by Hans Conried. In the Golden Joystick Award winning[4] 1982 game The Hobbit Thorin appears as an AI controlled character and one of his seemingly random actions ("Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold", which occurs when the player does nothing for a while) became quite famous.[5] In the 2003 video game, Thorin was voiced by Clive Revill.

In the three-film adaptation of The Hobbit (2012-2014), Thorin is portrayed by Richard Armitage.[6] The movie elaborates on the back-story: the book explains that Thorin came by the epithet "Oakenshield" fighting against orcs in the Battle of Azanulbizar, but in the movie Thorin fights the orc leader Azog directly – and Azog is not killed but survives to become an antagonist in the later story of Bilbo's journey. This adaptation portrays Thorin as more of a tragic hero as he lost his home, his father, grandfather and most of his people in Azanulbizar, which led him to fall into a state of depression and developed a strong hatred for Smaug and the Orcs for taking everything from him. He also expresses bitterness towards the elves.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solopova, Elizabeth (2009), Languages, Myths and History: An Introduction to the Linguistic and Literary Background of J.R.R. Tolkien's Fiction, New York City: North Landing Books, p. 20, ISBN 0-9816607-1-1 
  2. ^ "Poetic Edda". Retrieved 2007-09-27.  Tr. Henry Adams Bellows (1936).
  3. ^ "Prose Edda". Retrieved 2007-09-27.  Tr. Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. The names appear as Thorinn and Eikinskjaldi. The name ultimately derives from that of the Norse god Thor.
  4. ^ "Playing the Game". CRASH (4): 43. May 1984. 
  5. ^ Campbell, Stuart (December 1991). "Top 100 Speccy Games". Your Sinclair (72): 28. 
  6. ^ Josh Winning (18 July 2011). "See Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit". totalfilm.com. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Thráin II
Kings of Durin's folkSucceeded by
Dáin II Ironfoot