Wood Elves’ Treatment of the Dwarves versus Gollum

Steve Melisi

New Member
These are reactions to ideas discussed in Ep 154.

First, I think it’s obvious that Thranduil was anti-dwarf. He knows the history of elves and dwarves – whatever that may be at this point in the telling – and to him, the dwarves were interlopers into their domain as well as their feasting. Bad behavior times two. Thranduil asks why Thorin would “attack my people.” Despite Thorin’s denial of it being an attack, Thranduil is of that mind to start out, and the Dwarf King’s sassy answers were not going to change his mind. Thorin’s not answering the key question of why he was in the forest in the first place was the last straw – bad enough to land him in the deepest dungeon. As for the rest of the dwarves, they were part of the party, and guilty by association, and so landed in jail cells too (although not so deep as Thorin).

And yet, the elves were still pretty kind to them. They give them “food and drink” after all. Gloin’s memory is a bit tainted, therefore, to say the least. Especially when time is considered. The dwarves are only in the dungeons for a couple of weeks. There is no telling how the King and the rest of the elves would have treated the dwarves if they were there as long as Gollum was.

How long was that? Well, the Tale of Years has Gollum being “brought to Thranduil in Mirkwood” in 3017. No month or day, but presumably later in the year. The exact day and month of his escape, however, is given – June 20, 3018. So, a full 6 months in their care, and quite probably longer.

Yikes, six months of Gollum? Aragorn and Gandalf “endured” him for a short stretch of time -- Gandalf speaks only of “weary days” of him. Frodo and Sam managed just about a month. But six months – and probably more? After such a long time, it is no wonder anyone would tire of the task. And Gollum was surely more pitiable than stubborn dwarves. Everyone admits the this of Gollum. And what’s more, if elven rope and lembas and other elvish things do great damage to Gollum physically, what in the world would being imprisoned in an elvish world do? No wonder the elves were easier on the poor creature.

Which begs one to wonder, what would have happened had the dwarves been in the dungeons of the Wood Elves for 6-plus months? Who knows? Maybe they would have been let out in the sunshine too. Heck, one might have even fall in love with an elf maiden, who can say?