Episode 183 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

If all these strengths were joined:
  • Glóin is tactfully trying to break the tension left from Boromir’s protest and Elrond’s correction.
  • This is Glóin being diplomatic and attempting to draw attention back to the problem of Sauron.
  • However, there is also a sense that Glóin has an agenda relative to the Dwarves and the Rings.
  • Note: Why does the text identify him as “Glóin the Dwarf”? Partly, it is a reminder, since Glóin has not appeared or spoken for a while in the Council, but also it allows Tolkien to avoid using the word “Dwarf” twice, as when he speaks of the Seven rings, making the prose run smoother.
  • It’s important that Glóin has taken the members of the Council into Dáin’s confidence, offering them presumably secret information about Balin’s mission to Moria, in return for their secrets.
  • While Glóin is representing Erebor, he’s not representing all of Dwarf-kind, except symbolically.
  • Also, though there were legends that each of the seven dwarf-hoards were founded on a ring, that is not something of which anyone other than the Dwarves would have certain knowledge.
  • Glóin is also tactfully reminding Boromir and the Elves that the Dwarves have a stake in the war.
  • It seems clear that the Dwarves in the current time don’t have any real knowledge of what the Dwarf-rings did, and therefore wouldn’t know that they couldn’t help them overthrow Sauron.
  • It doesn’t seem as though even Thráin used the ring of Thror in the way it was before, or that any of Thror’s close counselors remembered how the Ring worked or what it did.
  • It did seem to make Thráin vulnerable to detection by Sauron, resulting in this capture.
  • Note: This is another case where we as the audience are privy to more information than the characters, as the means to transmit knowledge in this kind of world are very poor. Even something that is common knowledge among one people would be unknown to another. Modern people take for granted free and easy access to information about the world at large.
The Seven are lost to us:
  • How does Glóin know that Thror’s rings was the last of the Dwarf rings? There may be legends about that, and Gandalf appears to regard this as common knowledge when speaking to Frodo.
  • Would the fact that the leaders of the clans received the Rings known to the other clan leaders?
  • It would be usual in Dwarf culture to swear vengeance against any dragon who destroyed one of the Rings, and to include the other dwarf clans in that vengeance, just as they did against Azog.
  • The word “consumed” that Gandalf uses is consumption by dragonfire, not that they were eaten. This is clear, as he then references the fact that dragonfire won’t destroy the One.
  • Thráin had the ring when he swore vengeance for the death of Thror, but it’s not clear if he would have shared that his father had given him the ring, at least not to the army.
  • It’s clear that Balin at least did not know that this was the case, which important as he and Dwalin were with Thráin when he was lost and taken captive, which implies Thorin also didn’t.
  • What might have happened if they’d actually recovered the Dwarf ring in Moria? The fact that Thror and Thráin didn’t share the disposition of their ring may be a sign of the dragon-sickness.
  • Note: There seem to have been many dragons around at the time of the making of the Rings. While the Seven failed to create wraiths among the Dwarf-lords, they were effects, nonetheless. One of these seems to be related to the dragon-sickness of the Kings Under the Mountain.
  • What was Gandalf’s source of information? The likeliest person is Saruman, who would have studied this in acquiring his Ring-lore and might have an affinity with Dwarves through Aulë.
Other rings there may be, less treacherous:
  • While Glóin is clearly referring back to the One Ring when he speaks of rings that are “less treacherous”, this phrase carries a special weight considering relations with the Elves.
  • Also, Glóin seems to have heard Elrond’s stories of the forging of the Rings of Power, but mistakenly believes that Sauron also forged the Three Rings of the Elves at the same time.
  • Other Dwarves might have disbelieved the story that their Rings were forged by Sauron, given their lack of lore concerning them and their mistrust of the Elves, but Glóin seems to accept it.
  • It seems certain that Glóin has been waiting to bring up the Dwarf rings since hearing Elrond speak about their forging and has only now been able to share this information with them.
  • Glóin had been made uncomfortable by mentions of the Dwarf-rings in the Council before this, but hasn’t spoken, though Frodo noticed the discomfort in his body language at the time.
  • He hasn’t been sent to discuss this matter, unlike warning Bilbo, but feels he must do so now.
  • It’s still important that Glóin is raising this in a very generous way, as part of an offer of alliance.
  • His mention of the “other rings” only seems to be in reference to the Dwarf rings, and he only brings up the Elf-rings once that possibility is taken off the table by Gandalf’s news of Thráin.
  • Also, by using “may be”, he is acknowledging the doubt about the continued existence of any of the Dwarf-rings. This doubt is not applied to the Elf-rings, which have never been questioned.
  • The doubt Glóin may be expressing about the Elf-rings is whether they would be used against Sauron, as it seems clear that Glóin is assuming that all of the Rings of Power could do this.
Balin will find no ring in Moria:
  • This admission by Gandalf probably elicits a complex response from Glóin. On one hand, he regrets his inability to save Thráin or the ring in time, but he has also never told this story.
  • While Gandalf tried and failed to help Thráin, he did accomplish what none of the Dwarves could do in finding him and in entering Dol Guldur in order to do that, which is praiseworthy.
  • Gandalf clearly sounds sad and feels regret and grief at his coming too late to save Thráin.
  • However, the fact that Gandalf didn’t share this information prior to Balin’s setting off to retake Moria causes problems. It’s not clear when or if he returned to Erebor in the intervening years.
  • The use of “ah, alas”, and the fact that it is cried by Glóin, implies that this is a grief response.
  • The Dwarves are secretive, but quite demonstrative in expressing grief, anger, or resolve.
  • This news, coming from an eyewitness, is a blow to Glóin’s hopes as he brought them up here.
  • What would Gandalf had done if he had found the Dwarf-ring with Thráin in Dol Guldur?
  • The phrase, “When will the day come of our revenge?” seems like a traditional or ritualistic expression used by the Dwarves at the hearing of these kinds of wrongs done to them.
  • Note: We see something similar when Thorin says “curse his name” when Azog is mentioned.
  • This seems to express the Dwarvish penchant for revenge and carrying grudges in their culture.
  • Note: The dwarves of Thorin’s Company placed curses over the troll-treasure that they found.
  • The influence of Sauron in the Dwarf-rings might make use of this tendency in the dwarves.
  • Note: As both oaths and curses carry great power in Middle-earth, often one leads to another. This connection is shown through the cursing of the Oathbreakers by Isildur in the Second Age.
  • Does Glóin have a grievance against Gandalf for not revealing this information sooner? His response seems to show that he doesn’t hold it against Gandalf, only expressing grief.
  • Why didn’t Gandalf tell Dain about this at some point since the Battle of the Five Armies? It’s implied that Balin at least wasn’t told by Dain, which would have been important.
  • Gandalf also didn’t reveal this to Balin directly, likely since he is not the king of Durin’s Folk.
  • Given the volatility of the Dwarves, Gandalf would not want this information circulated generally among them, lest they choose to rashly attack Sauron and throw their lives away needlessly.
  • There’s no way that Gandalf could know that this misunderstanding would lead Balin to try to reclaim Moria, and therefore might not have seen the need to stir up the Dwarves in that way.
  • Given Thorin’s consideration of attacking the Necromancer, Gandalf seems right not to do so.