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99

Trolls have turned into stone for a very, very long time One example is the myth about "the seven sisters", which tells the story of how seven trolls in Nordland, Norway, was turned into mountains when the sun rose. The myth was referenced in writing by the poet Peter Dass (1647 - 1707). This peculiar weakness of trolls is again referred to in "Norwegian ...


96

Speaking as a geologist: The Lonely Mountain is probably an extinct volcano. J. R. R. Tolkien depicted the mountain several times in sketches and watercolors, and in most of them the volcano is steep-sided and conical with a flattish peak. One of them clearly shows a crater at the top (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Back_Door). None of the depictions show ...


90

It's mentioned in his authorised biography that Tolkien had a personal liking of mushrooms, stretching as far back as his idyllic childhood days in Hall Green, Birmingham, the very same memories that supposedly inspired his writings about the Shire. According to his younger brother Hilary Tolkien, his recollection is that a particularly loathsome farmer (...


69

Because that was the shortest and less dangerous route to go Just to clarify: Gandalf wasn't going by another path to Erebor by himself, he was heading to Dol Guldur with The White Council, and afterwards going back to Bilbo and the Dwarves. The other way round that Gandalf mentions would take the party more time to travel, in addition to being more ...


48

In the book, as well as the movie, there was a main entrance to Erebor—the Front Gate, where the dragon had come in to begin with. When the dwarves first discuss the mission with Bilbo, Thorin mentions that they had considered getting in this way; But we none of us liked the idea of the Front Gate. The river runs right out of it through the great ...


42

Yes, several abridged versions have been made available; The (2009) Highbridge Radio Edit (full cast) The (2002) BBC Radio Edit (full cast) The (1993) Martin Shaw Abridged Audiobook The (1986) BBC Radio Edit (full cast) The (1979) Jackanory Radio Edit The (1964) Princess Magazine Serialisation ( http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/tolkien-book-store/PC000007.htm) ...


39

As the meeting doesn't happen in the book, an out of universe explanation is just that Peter Jackson thought it would make a good scene. Searching for an in universe explanation of how Radagast could make this journey and how it could seem so short, I can come up with the following points: Dol Guldur is at the southern end of Mirkwood. Radagast may have ...


24

The reference is to the murder of Thorin's grandfather Thror a few paragraphs earlier: "Your grandfather Thror was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin." So when Thorin says "We have long ago paid the goblins of Moria", he is speaking of revenge. The modern idiom (in American English, anyway) would be "We long ago paid back the ...


21

If you're looking for a picture book, there's a 1999 graphic novel you could look for. Otherwise there are a various illustrated editions that might be appropriate for reading along with; I found a list that includes several of them. Apparently there's even been a pop-up book, though it's not the complete story.


19

Thorin doesn't tell Bilbo that he has keen eyes because Bilbo found the giant carved dwarf, but rather because he found the secret stairs that led to the top of the dwarf and thus to where the secret keyhole is located.


17

The thrushes were allies of the people of Dale and the dwarves of the mountain since olden times. The thrush overhears what Bilbo has to say about his trip in to meet Smaug, including the location of the dragon's weak point. Having heard this, the bird decides (apparently based on a sarcastic suggestion made by Bilbo) to fly down to Esgaroth and to alert ...


14

He means that they metaphorically "paid back" (i.e. took revenge upon) the goblins for their role in Thror's death. At the Battle of Azanulbizar, where Thorin earned his name "Oakenshield" and his cousin Dain slew Azog the goblin king, the dwarves exacted their vengeance for the murder of the king of the Longbeards. Per Tolkien Gateway: The War of the ...


12

There is no evidence that the Lonely Mountain is a volcano. The Hobbit repeatedly identifies Smaug as the mountain's sole source of heat and smoke. For instance, there is this conversation between Bilbo and Balin, near the beginning of chapter 11: “The dragon is still alive and in the halls under the Mountain then — or I imagine so from the smoke," said ...


12

I suspect that Tolkien was simply applying our universe's aversion for the number thirteen to his fictional universe. However, The Letters of JRR Tolkien give a couple of examples of thirteen being less than auspicious. As they both occur earlier than The Hobbit, I think they can be considered in-universe explanations. When Aulë secretly creates the first ...


10

Most of the history of Esgaroth is unknown, but there is this passage from The Hobbit, as Bilbo comes into sight of Lake-town ("A Warm Welcome"): They still throve on the trade that came up the great river from the South and was carted past the falls to their town; but in the great days of old, when Dale in the North was rich and prosperous, they ...


7

No plausible canon explanation The question asks us to compare the time it took Frodo to travel by pony from Rivendell to the Shire to the time it took Bilbo and the dwarves to travel by pony from the Shire to Rivendell (not the time it took Frodo to get from the Shire to Rivendell - that journey was largely on foot and not by road). I don't completely ...


7

It's pretty unambiguous in the book that Smaug was asleep (my emphasis): It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. ... after a short halt go on he did; and you can picture him coming to the end of the tunnel, an opening of much the same size and shape as the door above. Through it peeps the hobbit's little head. Before him lies the great bottommost cellar ...


7

Eagles are intelligent and can speak. They are sympathetic to the cause of the West in the wars of the Third Age, but they do not offer a free taxi service. The few times we are told of them carrying people, it is because of great need and on their own terms. It is either obvious where the people should be dropped off, or it is arranged in advance. Rescue ...


6

Because unless they were terminally stupid and left the path, they were relatively safe. All they had to do was to keep following a wide path, going in a straight line, as instructed by an uber-powerful wizard who knew everything about the world and an uber-powerful werebear who knew everything about that area of the world. You'd have to be some kind of ...


5

As a matter of myth-construction, a mountain that periodically issues smoke and steam (i.e. a volcano) would probably give rise to local legends of occupation of that mountain by an iron-working race and/or some kind of monster that produces smoke. So as a literary or mythopoeiac matter, the Lonely Mountain is probably a volcano. The other isolated ...


4

The nearest I could find from The Silmarillion which (in my opinion) fits the spirit of the paraphrased quote refers not to the dismay of the kings, but men: For they [the Númenóreans] built in their fortresses temples and great tombs in those days; and men feared them, and the memory of the kindly kings of the ancient days faded from the world and was ...


4

According to the film's director, Peter Jackson, Smaug wasn't sleeping sleeping, he was just cat-napping. Bilbo moving the cup (and causing the dragon's head to become slightly uncovered) was sufficient trigger to return him to full consciousness within a few seconds. Jackson: Revealing Smaug was a moment we... Boyens: We used the gold cup. Which I ...


4

These swords were likely central in the battle of the Fall of Gondolin, in the first age. Gondolin was the largest and most powerful of the Noldor elves' cities, and its fall was possibly one of the most important victories for the orcs during the first age. Which in turn would make it one of the greatest victories in the history of orcs. Surely the orcs ...


3

Not much is said explicitly about Smaug's age in Tolkien's writings. So pinpointing his age with precision is going to be impossible. However, we can draw some inferences about his approximate age. I have seen, several times, the suggestion that if Smaug is really one of the most powerful of the winged firedrakes, then he may actually have been birthed in ...


3

~10 years old According to this article on Bustle he would be around 10 as he "was born in the year 2931 in the era known as “the Third Age.”" and "Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain alongside the Dwarves began in 2941, a mere decade later, and lasted approximately 13 months". Yes, Aragorn would have been around at the time ...


2

I find it has a dual purpose of a nod to Hollywood history, and to elicit a smile and a chuckle (to those in the know) without breaking narrative during otherwise sombre and tense moments. Anyone complaining about it is really just bragging about recognizing it.


2

There are three main reasons Gandalf wasn't immediately alarmed: First, there were many rings of power besides the 3/7/9+1, so while Gandalf knew that Bilbo had a ring of power, he did not know it was The Ring. 'In Eregion long ago many Elven-rings were made, magic rings as you call them, and they were, of course, of various kinds: some more potent and ...


2

The Annotated Hobbit (annotations by Douglas A. Anderson) identifies Gollum as being based on a creature called Glip, who Tolkien wrote about in his "Tales and Songs of Bimble Bay" around 1928. Glip Under the cliffs of Bimble Bay      Is a little cave of stone With wet walls of shining grey;      And on ...


1

I don't know about why. That question could probably be asked about anything in the story, and the answer would most of the time be "just because". But you are right, it definitely was part of the world lore and was put there consciously. A quote from The Fellowship of the Ring: Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings ...


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