Thorin and the Vambrace; or, Whatever Happened to the Mighty Oak?

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Young Thorin holding the piece of oak tree trunk he used as a shield in battle, leading to his being called Thorin Oakenshield. But what did he do with that piece of mighty oak?

The topic came up in a previous Thorin post https://thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/he-earned-it/

When I got my little Thorin,  one of his accessories, in addition to Orcrist and his Dwarven sword, was a piece that attached to his forearm. I regret to say I have mislaid said accessory somewhere in this room. It’s somewhere with mini Lego Thorin’s sword. My missing Thorin accessory relates to the chunk of wood he used in a terrible battle.

Little Thorin with his special vambrace on his sword arm.

Little Thorin with his special vambrace on his Orcrist sword arm.

I remembered reading in the The Hobbit Chronicles: Art & Design from Weta Workshop (such an absolutely beautiful book) about Richard’s ideas for that trusty piece of hardwood.

Here’s what Richard said:

I thought it would be nice to bring something from the past into what is happening now; he might have kept and nurtured this chunk of oak that had saved his life and perhaps honed it into something else. I made a sketch of it, like a branch that had been hollowed to become something like a vambrace* with prongs, which I showed to Peter and he liked the idea of it.

Richard Taylor picked it up and we went through a development of the idea. It briefly had a fist-like end with nails on it, but it started to look Orcish so we pulled back from that to keep a Dwarfish feel.

*vambraces: forearm guards that are tubular or guttural defenses for the forearms, usually worn as a part of a suit of armor.

And that is the story behind the actor’s (and artist’s and filmmaker’s) vision for what happened to the oak tree that gave our oak-hard hero his name.

Now, if I can only find those errant weapons. Probably under a stack of books somewhere . . .

I just threw this one in because it's so delicious. That is all.

I just threw this one in because it’s so delicious. That is all.

6 responses »

  1. I love seeing all these nuances..it really fleshes the film out and makes me realize just how much goes into making a film like this. Didn’t Thorin lose that in the last battle with the Pale Orc – life imitating art Chez Fedora?

    • I have enjoyed my Chronicles book, it really allows me to glimpse how much work and attention to detail by a legion of talented folks is behind a production like The Hobbit. All the drawings and descriptions of the gear each dwarf carried, for example. Really cool. Yes, I think you are right about the loss of his oak vambrace. Clearly life imitating art. 😉

  2. You know how I feel about that “delicious” picture – now I shall wander round the house in a daze dreaming of Thorin and imagining him smiling at me like that!

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