Another excellent essay on Thorin by Tolkien scholar (and newly minted RA fan!) Susan Messer.


I recently returned from seeing “The Hobbit” for the third time.  Being a Tolkien scholar, there is obviously no shortage of themes which this film delves into which would fail to inspire me. This evening, however, I happened upon one quite by chance. As my daughter, husband, and I were making our way out of the auditorium, I heard a man speaking with his friends. He seemed to be in rather a muddled state. He asked the lady to his right why in the world would that dwarf leader have leapt off of the tree and rushed straight into a nest of bloodthirsty orcs and wargs all alone? It seemed suicidal and thoroughly dim-witted. All those in his group agreed.

Naturally, I couldn’t let this simply pass. It dawned on me that so many people out there seeing “The Hobbit”  for the first time have no background in Norse mythology.  Although the majority…

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About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

6 responses »

  1. Ms Messer states what I have wanted to say, only much, much better. You don’t need an entire course of study to enjoy TH, but with even a little bit of background, TH makes more sense and the traditional elements fall into place perfectly, resonating with the Norse sagas and mythic themes.

      • Thanks. It’s true that if one looks at Thorin and his actions from a modern perspective, as if he were a video game or comic book character with maybe a decade of history, then it’s easy to see someone at best unwise or at worst deluded. Thorin in context is neither; he has more in common with Beowulf and the heroes of the Eddas than he does with any modern warrior. His values are far more rooted in tradition, and completely congruent with what he demands of himself. Almost by definition, there is no “happily ever after” for him, not this side of Valhalla, yet he does what he must do with honour and courage.

        • Well said 🙂 I believe that is how most people that don’t have an interest in Tolkien, per se, view the film. They are looking at it from a modern angle. And you certainly cannot do that here. Beowulf is my favorite work of literature (besides the middle earth series).

  2. Great essay indeed! Watching the film again being aware of this historical/cultural perspective will be very interesting! 😉 Thanks!

    • There are many resources online to help with understanding the historical/cultural perspectives that Tolkien employs. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the essay!

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