In the Quest of Erebor in both The Hobbit books and films, Thorin and Bilbo initially had struggles seeing eye to eye. However, they eventually respected each other and became close friends.
But how did it get to that point? Let’s find out!
Thorin II Oakenshield was born in 2746, making him 195 years old during the quest of Erebor which he led. 11 other dwarves, plus Bilbo and Gandalf, were with him.
Born in the Lonely Mountain with his grandfather, Thrór – Thorin was 24 when Smaug descended upon the mountain of Erebor. Many dwarves were killed, and as a result, Thorin’s father and grandfather both escaped, while Thorin himself was one of few Dwarves not inside the mountain at the time of Smaug’s descension.
Afterwards, they, along with the Dwarves of Erebor, were driven into exile while they fled south to Dunland. Thrór gave his son Thrain the one great treasure he still possessed which ended up being the last of the Seven Rings.
Thrór had no intention on returning to Erebor. Instead, he went into the Eastern gate of Moria – which was infested by Orcs. He ended up murdered by Azog – which was later brought by his companion Nár to Thráin, starting the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.
This war was fought long and hard, but ended with a victory of the Dwarves in the Battle of Azanulbizar.
Thrain and Thorin were wounded, while his brother Frerin was killed. Thorin used an oak branch after his shield broke to block his foes’ blows. Since then, he always bore this plain shield of oak until he was hailed king, and earned the epithet Oakenshield.
Afterwards, Thorin along with all the survivors of Durin’s Folk went back to Dunland, then wandered about in Eriador before settling in the Blue Mountains. But they still all wanted to be back in Lonely Mountain.
Born in 2890 to Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took, Bilbo had an adventurous “Tookish Side” from his mother, that wanted to explore and go out on adventures, and his stay-at-home “Baggins Side,” that didn’t want to go on such adventures and wanted to stay in the hole. The two sides conflicted with each other especially throughout the adventures to the Lonely Mountain.
He was a grandson of the Old Took and loved to listen to Gandalf’s stories. He inherited Bag End after the passing of his parents.
Staying in Gandalf’s mind at time of choosing was Bilbo’s “eagerness and his bright eyes, and his love of tales, and his questions about the wide world outside the Shire” – which was most likely from the adventurous “Tookish Side” of his.
His desire for adventure was actually present before the Quest of Erebor, which was evident as he went for days by himself, and would be seen talking to strangers even Dwarves!
However, like any other hobbit, Bilbo had a polite disposition and stuck to the ordinary, with strict principles regarding cooking and hygiene. He wasn’t a fan of the hard conditions that he was about to overcome in the Quest of Erebor. This could be from his stay-at-home “Baggins Side.” And also, his desire for adventures had sort of dwindled a little right before Gandalf came knocking on the door.
After the quest, most of his time was spent reading, writing poetry and his memoirs, along with translating Elvish.
The Quest of Erebor
“I was very troubled at that time,” said Gandalf, “for Saruman was hindering all my plans.” As Sauron arose and declared himself, and Gandalf didn’t know what to do, nor did he expect him there. (UT)
Gandalf came to believe that Bilbo was ideal for a task that he had at hand – before then, he met Thorin by chance in Bree, and they went to Thorin’s Halls. There, they discovered a shared desire to remove Smaug.
And that was also when Gandalf had the idea of taking Thorin and his company of dwarves, along with Bilbo (and especially him) to travel to the Lonely Mountain!
He went back to Thorin in order to persuade him to give Bilbo a chance, as Bilbo changed and his desire for adventure waned. It was a map and key that would save the situation and get into Erebor, which was used to help Thrór and Thráin escape, according to Thorin.
Thorin was suspicious at the time, deeming Bilbo “soft as the mud of his Shire, and silly.” (UT: “The Quest of Erebor”)
Gandalf insists that “if [Bilbo] goes with you, you will succeed. If not, you will fail.” After many frustrations and concerns from Thorin, Gandalf eventually went through with his own foresight, and later decided to go to the Shire to visit Bilbo in TA 2941.
Bilbo wanted nothing to do with it, let alone “adventures.” “Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner.” However, Gandalf assigns the role of “burglar” to Bilbo, while Bilbo continued to protest. He was coerced by Gandalf out the door as the Company begins their quest.
They went through the Lone-lands, and was saved from three Trolls before spending two weeks in Rivendell. While traveling through the Misty Mountains, the Company ended up in Goblin-town and Bilbo ended finding a magic ring, now known as The One Ring.
Then, the Company went to Beorn’s and stayed there for a couple of days before going into Wilderland and subsequently, Mirkwood – where they were captured by the Elves of the Woodland Realm after being able to escape from spiders.
When they finally reached the Lonely Mountain, they went through a secret Back Door after the last light of Durin’s Day. Bilbo had to go “burgle” something from the Dwarves, being the designated “burglar.” He stole a golden cup, and Smaug flew off in a rage and almost destroyed the entire town – but was slain by Bard, one of its residents. This completed the quest of Erebor by Thorin and Company.
Shortly after, Bard and Thranduil (the king of the Woodland Realm) demanded compensation in gold in order to rebuild the lives of their people. Thorin refused, which led to the Battle of Five Armies and many complications – and sadly, Thorin’s own life and the lives of his most immediate nephews, Fili and Kili.
Thorin was wounded with many wounds, with his axe on the ground when he looked up as he and Bilbo had one last conversation, parting ways with kindness.
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