Frodo had come out of his mini-coma after being rescued and taken to Rivendell and was hungry. He was led downstairs after a chat with Gandalf and was seated at a large table. At its head was Elrond, who was flanked by Gandalf and Glorfindel. In the middle of the table was Arwen, Elrond’s daughter, and next to Frodo was a dwarf named Gloin.
“Am I right in guessing that you are the Gloin, one of the twelve companions of the great Thorin Oakenshield?”
Of course, he was, and both had questions for each other. Gloin wondered what was so important that four hobbits would come out of the Shire on such a mysterious journey. Frodo wondered why such an important dwarf as Gloin would come to Rivendell, “so far from the Lonely Mountain.”
Neither thought it proper to give any answers. However, Gloin was more than willing to recount the long tale of what he had been up to since the Battle of Five Armies, as told in The Hobbit. Frodo, well versed in Bilbo’s story of the battle, was interested in everything Gloin had to say, but was bewildered by all of the names.
This sounds strikingly like many feel about reading Tolkien, especially the Silmarillion.
Many of the dwarves in The Hobbit aren’t fully developed as far as their characters are concerned. Gloin was one of the most, however. In the story, he was the dwarf to note that Bilbo was “more like a grocer than a burglar.” He, perhaps apart from Thorin, was the least optimistic about Bilbo.
Tolkien uses this passage to catch the reader up with what’s been going on in the non-Shire parts of The Hobbit since the Lonely Mountain was retaken. Following Beorn’s death, his son, Grimbeorn the Old was the leader of the Beornings. It was this family that kept the High Pass open and free of Orcs. This allowed free travel to and from Rivendell and Dale. Speaking of Dale, Bard the Bowman had died, but his grandson, Brand, was now the king.
As far as the dwarves were concerned, Dain was still King under the Mountain, and only seven of the original twelve members of Thorin’s company were alive. “Bombur was now so far that he could not move himself from his couch to his chair at table, and it took six young dwarves to lift him.”
That seven were still alive was a bit of dwarf-realism. The truth was that the ten who survived the Battle of Five Armies would, by most peoples, be considered alive – or at least not dead. There were three, Balin, Ori and Oin (Gloin’s brother), who were missing. This was the real reason why Gloin was in Rivendell, and he didn’t want to say anything more.
For both Frodo, who did not wish to talk about The Ring, and Gloin, who did not wish to talk about the probable death of his three dearest friends, these were dark times. Even in Rivendell they felt that perhaps some things were best left unmentioned – at least for the present. The dinner was to be a happy time (though we’re not told what Gandalf was talking about, and it was probably gloomy).
And so Gloin filled the rest of the conversation with explanations of the halls inside the Lonely Mountain and the lands around Dale. There were many changes to the Desolation of Smaug, and all for the better!
A Few Notes
- I think it’s awesome that Sam, Merry and Pippin were put at the kids’ table. I remember quite a few Thanksgivings like that.
- If your copy of Fellowship of the Ring reads: “You should see the waterways of Dale, Frodo, and the mountains and the pools!” it’s an error. In the original published edition, it read: “and the fountains and the pools!” But it was mistakenly changed in 1954 (almost immediately after it was published). The 50th Anniversary edition corrected this.
- And that’s that – a pretty simple post today. Nothing too striking.
About the Photo
Well, maybe Dale and the Lonely Mountain weren’t doing as well as Gloin insisted. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose!
This photo was taken on Route 66 on the Continental Divide. Strange place.
- Day 109
- Miles today: 5
- Miles thus far: 545 (92 from Rivendell)
- 375 miles to Lothlórien
- 1,233 miles to Mt. Doom
Today’s stopping place: Book II, Chapter 3. Walking south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Sixth night out from Rivendell. December 30 – Yule 1, 3018TA. (map)