8

I was recently speaking to a friend when I said that I didn't like how Peter Jackson had turned the Battle of the Five Armies into the battle for Middle Earth. My friend responded with "Well it was, in my opinion".

I asked why and he said that he thought, that if the men of Lake Town, elves and dwarves had failed to beat Bolg's army that Sauron would have ended up retrieving the ring. I replied that the army at the BotFA was independent from Sauron, but my friend countered by saying that because the army contained orcs, that the ring would still have ended up with Sauron

Is there any truth to this claim? Was it a critical battle in the history of Middle Earth?

  • basically the battle itself was not that significant in global terms, however the point about the ring is true, if a creature such as an orc(goblin) obtained the ring it would most likely have ended up with sauron, however the same would have been true should bilbo have died to anyone else any where else, if somone from laketown had killed bilbo and claimed the ring, he also would have taken it to sauron. so in essence the his claim is true, but is true everyday in every event were the ring could trade hosts. – Himarm Nov 4 '14 at 22:32
  • however the battle was fairly significant locally because it cleared that section of the world from a large portion of the orcs(goblins) and they had just removed a dragon so their relatively in a safe peaceful area now. – Himarm Nov 4 '14 at 22:34
  • Doesn't Gandalf, in the film and in the short story "The Quest for Erebor", imply that he thought the Dwarves retaking Erebor would create an important ally for future conflicts, such as the War of the Ring? I thought that was why he got involved in the first place. – Nerrolken Nov 4 '14 at 22:46
  • @Himarm: It's not so peaceful, Dale and Erebor were devastated by Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. – Shamshiel Nov 4 '14 at 23:04
  • 2
    @DVK - not a dupe. "The battles in Dale" refers to the engagements during the War of the Ring; this is about the Battle of 5 Armies almost 80 years previously. – user8719 Nov 5 '14 at 2:19
13

It was important to the events of LOTR, though. The events of The Hobbit took Smaug and the Goblin/Orc forces of the Misty Mountains out of Sauron's plans. Without this, there would have been devastating war in the North as well as in the South. Although the Men, Dwarves and Elves of the North didn't help much with the defense of Helms Deep and Gondor, just by being there they meant Sauron had to reserve some of his forces to deal with them later. It was only the Witch-King of Angmar and the Orcs of Minas Morgul (reinforced by Men from the Far South and East) that were sent against Gondor, not Sauron's personal army from Mordor. Sauron had to reserve those for dealing with Lothlorien, Rivendell and the North.

This quote from LOTR, Appendix A, describes Gandalf's thoughts just before meeting Thorin by chance in Bree:

But at last there came about by chance a meeting between Gandalf and Thorin that changed all the fortunes of the House of Durin, and led to other and greater ends beside. On a time Thorin, returning west from a journey, stayed at Bree for the night. There Gandalf was also. He was on his way to the Shire, which he had not visited for some twenty years. He was weary, and thought to rest there for a while.

Among many cares he was troubled in mind by the perilous state of the North; because he knew then already that Sauron was plotting war, and intended, as soon as he felt strong enough, to attack Rivendell. But to resist any attempt from the East to regain the lands of Angmar and the northern passes in the mountains there were now only the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. And beyond them lay the desolation of the Dragon. The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect. How then could the end of Smaug be achieved?

The end of Appendix A describes the tactical importance of the Battle of Five Armies:

The Dragon was slain by Bard of Esgaroth, but there was battle in Dale. For the Orcs came down upon Erebor as soon as they heard of the return of the Dwarves; and they were led by Bolg, son of that Azog whom Dáin slew in his youth. In that first Battle of Dale, Thorin Oakenshield was mortally wounded; and he died and was laid in a tomb under the Mountain with the Arkenstone upon his breast. There fell also Fíli and Kíli, his sister-sons. But Dáin Ironfoot, his cousin, who came from the Iron Hills to his aid and was also his rightful heir, became then King Dáin II, and the Kingdom under the Mountain was restored, even as Gandalf had desired. Dáin proved a great and wise king, and the Dwarves prospered and grew strong again in his day.

In the late summer of that same year (2941) Gandalf had at last prevailed upon Saruman and the White Council to attack Dol Guldur, and Sauron retreated and went to Mordor, there to be secure, as he thought, from all his enemies. So it was that when the War came at last the main assault was turned southwards; yet even so with his far-stretched right hand Sauron might have done great evil in the North, if King Dáin and King Brand had not stood in his path. Even as Gandalf said afterwards to Frodo and Gimli, when they dwelt together for a time in Minas Tirith. Not long before news had come to Gondor of events far away.

‘I grieved at the fall of Thorin,’ said Gandalf; ‘and now we hear that Dáin has fallen, fighting in Dale again, even while we fought here. I should call that a heavy loss, if it was not a wonder rather that in his great age he could still wield his axe as mightily as they say that he did, standing over the body of King Brand before the Gate of Erebor until the darkness fell.

'Yet things might have gone far otherwise and far worse. When you think of the great Battle of the Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valour of Durin's Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador, night in Rivendell. There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now hope to return from the victory here only to ruin and ash. But that has been averted - because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth.'

Or maybe the hand of Ilúvatar (Eru).

  • 1
    +1 to this, although to make it perfect you should add the "chance-meeting" quote from either the Quest of Erebor or Appendix A. – user8719 Nov 4 '14 at 23:29
  • 3
    @Darth Satan: Done and done. – Joe L. Nov 4 '14 at 23:56
  • during the War of the Ring, King Brand and King Dain, spawned by the Battle of Five Armies, tied up in long battles a lot of Sauron's forces and held their ground while Frodo and c.o. did their thing. Without the new Dale, Sauron would outflank the main characters and slaugher Rivendell, Eriador, etc etc – Petersaber Jul 21 '15 at 8:05
1

Gandalf explains the reason - had the Battle of the Five Armies happened, there wouldn't later be King Dáin and King Brand to stand during the War of the Ring, and that was a critical thing for the defeat of Sauron:

So it was that when the War came at last the main assault was turned southwards; yet even so with his far-stretched right hand Sauron might have done great evil in the North, if King Dáin and King Brand had not stood in his path.

... (this all from Appendices in Return of the King):

'I grieved at the fall of Thorin,' said Gandalf; 'and now we hear that Dáin has fallen, fighting in Dale again, even while we fought here. I should call that a heavy loss, if it was not a wonder rather that in his great age he could still wield his axe as mightily as they say that he did, standing over the body of King Brand before the Gate of Erebor until the darkness fell.

'Yet things might have gone far otherwise and far worse. When you think of the great Battle of the Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valour of Durin's Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador, night in Rivendell. There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now hope to return from the victory here only to ruin and ash. But that has been averted - because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth.'

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.