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Old 12-18-2013, 02:57 AM   #1
Zigûr
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Thorin's Heir

Hello everyone,
Last night after some of our discussion about The Hobbit I was thinking about the Line of the Durin's Folk, and it occurred to me that Thorin II Oakenshield was the first King of Durin's Folk since at least the reign of Durin VI to not have a son of his own to inherit the kingship.

It seems that his oldest nephew, Fíli, was his natural heir to succeed him upon his death. Along with lacking children, Thorin was unmarried.

So why was Thorin the first in his line in about a thousand years to have neither wife nor progeny of his own?

Here are a couple of suggestions which occur:
"As for the men, very many also do not desire marriage, being engrossed in their crafts."
Regarding Thorin: "a great anger without hope burned him as he smote the red iron on the anvil."
Thorin was "an heir without hope."

Did his desire for vengeance on Smaug, one which apparently also occupied his thoughts while he was "engrossed in his crafts" preclude him from having an heir? Was he too focused on his stolen birthright to take an interest in marriage? Fíli was born in 2859, when Thorin was 113 years old. Christopher Tolkien observes (although frustratingly without a direct quote) his father writing in draft material for Appendix A that "Dwarves marry late, seldom before they are ninety or more." When Thorin was of marrying age, he now had a male nephew to be his heir - would this have made him feel less obliged to have a son of his own, as his fathers had done before him? If the odds of Dwarves reproducing are as low as they are purported to be (only one-third of the population women, and neither all women nor all men willing to marry), would the birth of a nephew have been fortuitous for a Dwarf King like Thorin, brooding on the wrongs done to his House?

What are your thoughts on this rather unique situation for an otherwise unbroken line of descent for ten generations of the House of Durin? Was, perhaps, the loss of Erebor, followed by the inglorious murder of Thrór and his father's disappearance too much for Thorin, at which time he abandoned much hope for the future of his people, only to be rekindled upon meeting Gandalf at Bree significantly later in his life?
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
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One possible explanation is pride (always a good explanation for anything Thorin did)- Thorin was determined that when he married, it would be to take a Queen of his restored realm. Thorin after all was unique also among Durin's line in being the first to be homeless.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
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Did his desire for vengeance on Smaug, one which apparently also occupied his thoughts while he was "engrossed in his crafts" preclude him from having an heir? Was he too focused on his stolen birthright to take an interest in marriage?
These are both likely to be the case.

Quote:
Fíli was born in 2859, when Thorin was 113 years old.
I'm at work right now and without access to my books so I can't look up if Thorin had settled in the Blue Mountains during his prime marrying age. If they were still wandering to some degree during that time, that probably also played a role in Thorin not marrying.

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If the odds of Dwarves reproducing are as low as they are purported to be (only one-third of the population women, and neither all women nor all men willing to marry), would the birth of a nephew have been fortuitous for a Dwarf King like Thorin, brooding on the wrongs done to his House?
Undoubtedly so. The birth of a nephew would probably be viewed as fortuitous even in the best of times.

One thing about Tolkien's conception of the dwarves that I have always found...not entirely well thought out, is their lackadaisical attitude toward their own continued existence. If females are rare, and consequently marriage and child raising as well, one would think that marriage and family would be something culturally valued and encouraged rather than being seemingly viewed as incidental.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
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I agree that Thorin was probably so bound up in thoughts of revenge on Smaug that marriage probably didn't seem to him to be very important. He also might have counted on the idea of Fili or Kili surviving to carry on the line.

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One thing about Tolkien's conception of the dwarves that I have always found...not entirely well thought out, is their lackadaisical attitude toward their own continued existence. If females are rare, and consequently marriage and child raising as well, one would think that marriage and family would be something culturally valued and encouraged rather than being seemingly viewed as incidental.
That would seem to be an inevitable factor in their decline. The Dwarves couldn't bide their time indefinitely like the Elves, nor did they have the urgency to procreate which was a trait of Men (and Hobbits). Dwarves seem from the start to have had more consideration for their crafts and wealth than themselves. Even after a war that encompassed all the House of Durin, as well as other Houses, (in which Thráin, Thorin, and Dáin fought), when Azog, the killer of Thrór was slain, what's Thráin's first thought? "Khazad-dûm is ours!"
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Looking at it further, tunnel-vision focus on lineage rather than the well-being of the whole race might seem to be a sin common to both Dwarves and the Númenóreans. Both Arnor and Gondor had serious problems with the issue of who the rightful king was.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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Even after a war that encompassed all the House of Durin, as well as other Houses, (in which Thráin, Thorin, and Dáin fought), when Azog, the killer of Thrór was slain, what's Thráin's first thought? "Khazad-dûm is ours!"
In his defense, he did have a son and had just fought a battle there.

I think that is a fairly natural reaction.

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The Dwarves couldn't bide their time indefinitely like the Elves, nor did they have the urgency to procreate which was a trait of Men (and Hobbits).
I hadn't really thought about it from a "biological" perspective, but that is a good point.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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It must be said in Thrain's defence that the whole point of the war, really, was to clear the Orcs out of the Hithaeglir entirely, from Khazad-dum to Moria, and to complete the reclamation of the ancient mansions Thror had been killed rather foolhardily trying to achieve. Marshal Zhukov could be forgiven for saying something like "Good. Berlin is ours."

The Balrog, however, rather nullified that last bit. But of course Thrain wasn't even aware of it; only Dain had seen it (if he 'saw' rather than felt it)
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:35 PM   #8
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It must be said in Thrain's defence that the whole point of the war, really, was to clear the Orcs out of the Hithaeglir entirely, from Khazad-dum to Moria, and to complete the reclamation of the ancient mansions Thror had been killed rather foolhardily trying to achieve. Marshal Zhukov could be forgiven for saying something like "Good. Berlin is ours."
Actually, I think the point of the war was supposed to be vengeance for the killing of Thrór. Moria happened to be where Azog, the Dwarves "Most Wanted" was to be found, so that was the location of the last battle. It just seems curious that instead of saying something like "There, my father and the Eldest of our race is avenged", Thráin's mind turns toward property.
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Old 12-18-2013, 05:16 PM   #9
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The Balrog, however, rather nullified that last bit. But of course Thrain wasn't even aware of it; only Dain had seen it (if he 'saw' rather than felt it)
As an aside to the main thread, given that Dain seemed to react so strongly to whatever it was that had happened I suspect that the Balrog was at least very near the gate.

As an example, the Fellowship didn't have a similar reaction until they were near or in the Balrog's presence.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
It must be said in Thrain's defence that the whole point of the war, really, was to clear the Orcs out of the Hithaeglir entirely, from Khazad-dum to Moria, and to complete the reclamation of the ancient mansions Thror had been killed rather foolhardily trying to achieve.
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Actually, I think the point of the war was supposed to be vengeance for the killing of Thrór. Moria happened to be where Azog, the Dwarves "Most Wanted" was to be found, so that was the location of the last battle. It just seems curious that instead of saying something like "There, my father and the Eldest of our race is avenged", Thráin's mind turns toward property.
How then might we reconcile these two points? It's interesting that despite the fact that the Dwarves "assailed and sacked one by one all the strongholds of the Orcs that they could find from Gundabad to the Gladden" they apparently made no effort to resettle any part of the Misty Mountains, even their ancient holy site at Gundabad. I suppose at the end of the war they lacked the numbers to do so in any event. One of the Dwarves' greatest assets, however, was "the fire of their anger, as they hunted for Azog in every den under mountain." So vengeance was evidently still on their minds. Yet Thráin's heart was turned to Khazad-dûm and not to the honour of his father. Perhaps this was the Ring at work.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:07 PM   #11
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Did I really write "from Khazad-dum to Moria?" Oops. Read "from Gundabad to Moria."
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:10 AM   #12
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How then might we reconcile these two points? It's interesting that despite the fact that the Dwarves "assailed and sacked one by one all the strongholds of the Orcs that they could find from Gundabad to the Gladden" they apparently made no effort to resettle any part of the Misty Mountains, even their ancient holy site at Gundabad. I suppose at the end of the war they lacked the numbers to do so in any event.
I have wondered about that myself. I am afraid the only answer I have is this is an inconsistency generated by Tolkien having written and published The Hobbit before writing LOTR. Since Tolkien had already written that the dwarves had gone back to Erebor in the end it limited his ability to write something that placed the dwarves in a new home before then, even if it would have made more sense.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
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I have wondered about that myself. I am afraid the only answer I have is this is an inconsistency generated by Tolkien having written and published The Hobbit before writing LOTR. Since Tolkien had already written that the dwarves had gone back to Erebor in the end it limited his ability to write something that placed the dwarves in a new home before then, even if it would have made more sense.
Well, keep in mind that the Dwarven army was made up of other houses as well, which had come to Thráin from other parts of Middle-earth. Those of Durin's house who remained in the West were very possibly, as Zigûr suggests, simply too depleted in numbers to resettle the Mountains.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:19 AM   #14
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Between the sack of Erebor and the war culminating in Azanulbizar, I can't imagine the House of Durin having much of a population left.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:20 PM   #15
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Between the sack of Erebor and the war culminating in Azanulbizar, I can't imagine the House of Durin having much of a population left.
You know what they say: heir today, gone tomorrow.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:41 PM   #16
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Well, keep in mind that the Dwarven army was made up of other houses as well, which had come to Thráin from other parts of Middle-earth. Those of Durin's house who remained in the West were very possibly, as Zigûr suggests, simply too depleted in numbers to resettle the Mountains.
That option doesn't seem to compute on deeper analysis.

Yes, their population was undoubtedly down but was it really down to the point that they couldn't have settled in an unoccupied spot they had recently liberated somewhere in the Misty Mountains? The implication of that would be that there were so few of them left they didn't have the ability to have a home anywhere. That would be nearly to the point of extinction, and even then you can still set up shop somewhere to wait for the end.
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:11 PM   #17
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Yes, their population was undoubtedly down but was it really down to the point that they couldn't have settled in an unoccupied spot they had recently liberated somewhere in the Misty Mountains? The implication of that would be that there were so few of them left they didn't have the ability to have a home anywhere. That would be nearly to the point of extinction, and even then you can still set up shop somewhere to wait for the end.
They did find another home, but not in the Misty Mountains. It was after the Battle of Azanulbizar that Thráin led his people to the Ered Luin. I would think the reason for that location was the old history between the Dwarves and that mountain range, and it was also a pretty safe, quiet place for them.

One factor in that decision to avoid the Misty Mountains might have been the proximity of Dol Guldur. Oddly enough, Dol Guldur was indeed the final resting place of Thráin.
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:53 PM   #18
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Well, Thrain led some of his people West. Another considerable number went with Dain to the Iron Hills.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:18 PM   #19
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I would think the reason for that location was the old history between the Dwarves and that mountain range, and it was also a pretty safe, quiet place for them.
That is probably true.

I still think this issue was generated by the fact that Tolkien was having to write backwards.
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:26 PM   #20
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Juicy-Sweet has just left Hobbiton.
Thorin just doesn't seem much like a cuddly guy
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