“The story would sound rather different if I had written it…”Gandalf
The events in The Hobbit are discussed frequently. What is unique about this section of The Unfinished Tales is that it t is from Gandalf’s view. We know that Gandalf had other worries about Middle-Earth during the events of The Hobbit, which is why he is always disappearing and reappearing. But those who have only read The Hobbit may wonder why any of this mattered to Gandalf in the first place. Why was helping Thorin so critical? Well, it is pretty simple. The dwarves reclaiming Erebor was critical in the War against Sauron.
“You may think that Rivendell was out of his reach, but I did not think so. The state of things in the North was very bad. The kingdom under the mountain and the strong men of Dale were no more to resist any force that Sauron might send to regain the Northern passes in the mountains and the old lands of Angmar, there were only Dwarves of the Iron Hills, and behind them lay a desolation and a dragon. The dragon that Sauron might use with terrible effect.”Gandalf
So Gandalf was thinking ahead when it came to the dwarves. Tolkien connected everything. He also knew that the dwarves would be great allies.
“Dwarves understand devotion to friends and gratitude to those who help them.”The Unfinished Tales
Thorin is one of my favorite characters. He has wonderful development in The Hobbit and much of it is behind the scenes. We know a little bit about how they had to flee Erebor when Smaug arrived. Thror, his grandfather, went to Moria and gave Thorin’s father, Thrain the last of the dwarf rings. Thror however was ambushed and killed by Azog. Thrain was also captured in Dol-Guldur where the ring was taken from him. So it is obvious why reclaiming his homeland is so important.
“That is true,’ said Gandalf. ‘Poor Thorin! He was a great dwarf of a great house, whatever his faults; and though he fell at the end of the journey, it was largely due to him that the Kingdom Under the Mountain was restored, as I desired.”The Unfinished Tales
This chapter really makes me want to reread The Hobbit. It is my feel-good book. And I can’t tell you how worn my copy is.