Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

Monday, 22 November 2941 T. A.: Farewell to Erebor, never to come back

"Farewell Thorin Oakenshield! And Fili and
Kili! May your memory never fade!"
(E. Whymper: The Ascent of the Matterhorn, 1880)
I have just seen the setting crescent of the moon, so the second month of this dwarvish year has begun, as far as I am concerned.

About this time, though we cannot pinpoint it any more precisely, Bilbo Baggins finally left Erebor behind and began the long journey home. Some time after Thórins death, there had been a great funeral for the King under the Mountain, and the diplomatic arrangements between Thranduil, Dain and Bard certainly took their time, though Gandalf's presence may have, hopefully, speeded them up to reasonable progress. At any rate, Gandalf went with Bilbo, as did Beorn, and the Wood-elves provided them company to the edge of Mirkwood.

Despite the misgivings of John Rateliff expressed in "The History of the Hobbit", there was plenty of time left to go the long way around Mirkwood in the north and arrive back at Beorn's Hall on time. Karen Fonstad, in "The Atlas of Middle-earth" assumed the date of departure as 27 November 2941 T. A., which is as good a guess as anyone's. Alas, there was no phase of the moon recorded that would have allowed for a more precise identification of the calendar date.

Samstag, 18. November 2017

Thursday, 18 November 2941 T. A.: The king is dead, long live the king

Thórin son of Thrain on his deathbed
(Excerpt from "Macbeth murdering Duncan" by Robert Dudley)
On this day, in 2941 T. A., which was also the 27th day of the first month of the dwarvish new year, died Thórin II son of Thrain son of Thrór, Oakenshield, King under the Mountain, from the wounds received the previous day in the Battle of Five Armies.

Bilbo Baggins came to himself long after sunrise beneath a clear sky and had just enough time to bid farewell to Thórin in his tent in ruined Dale. And he wept long and sorrowful.

There was a new moon the night after, as the Dwarves probably honoured their fallen lord. We do not know anything about their rites, alas.      

Freitag, 17. November 2017

Wednesday, 17 November 2941 T. A.: The Battle of Who Knows How Many Armies

Dain son of Nain (though for a long
time I had mistaken this for an orc)
Illustration by Horus Engels for the 1957 Hobbit
On this day, in 2941 T. A., which was also the 26th day of the first lunar month of the dwarvish year, began with the early arrival of Dain's host that had marched through the night. The confrontation with the armies of Wood-elves and Lakemen was prevented, however, by the approaching hosts from the Misty Mountains.

According to the official record, the Five Armies for which the ensuing battle was named were Orcs and Wolves (Wargs), Dwarves, Elves and Men. But arguably, the vast number of bats and the eagles constituted airborne armies, too, so the number should maybe have been higher. There was a representative of Hobbits, too, though Bilbo took care to stay non-combattant on Ravenhill, and one of the Istari, raising the total number of species present to nine.

17 November is the sad day of the death of Kili and Fili who both fell while defending their severely wounded king, Thórin Oakenshield whose gravely injured body was ultimately taken into safety by Beorn.

The Eagles entered the battle when they arrived near sunset, and Beorn even after them. Victory against the orcs was allegedly assured before nightfall, but Bilbo did not witness it. He was knocked out by a flung stone and spent the whole night and morning in a coma that should have signified a severe traumatic brain injury. Evidently, hobbits are resistant not only against Great Rings but also against Heavy Stones.