Thorin Oakenshield

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Thorin Oakenshield
Tolkien character
Aliases King under the Mountain
King of Durin's Folk
Race Dwarf
Book(s) The Hobbit (1937)
The Return of the King (1955)
Unfinished Tales (1980)

Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, King under the Mountain is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit . Thorin is the leader of the Company of Dwarves who aim to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. He is the son of Thráin II, grandson of Thrór, and becomes King of Durin's Folk during their exile from Erebor. Thorin's background is further elaborated in Appendix A of Tolkien's 1955 novel The Return of the King .

J. R. R. Tolkien British philologist and author, creator of classic fantasy works

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

<i>The Hobbit</i> Fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a children's fantasy novel by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children's literature.

In the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Dwarves are a race inhabiting Middle-earth, the central continent of Earth in an imagined mythological past. They are based on the dwarfs of Germanic myths: small humanoids that dwell in mountains, and are associated with mining, metallurgy, blacksmithing and jewellery.



Thorin is described as haughty, stern, and officious. He sings and plays the harp, wears a gold chain, and has a long beard. He wears a distinctive sky blue hood with a long silver tassel. He refers to his home in the Blue Mountains as "poor lodgings in exile". He is a capable and a cunning warrior, if not a particularly inspiring or clever leader. While shorter than Elves or Men, Thorin is said to be quite tall for a Dwarf. Thorin was smart, proud, brave, and vengeful. He was infamous for a high sense of his importance and rank. He shared the greed of his family, though he valued the welfare of others above his wealth.


In the year T.A.  2746, Thorin II was born to Thráin II in the Lonely Mountain. The dwarves of the Lonely Mountain were forced to flee by the dragon Smaug in T.A. 2770 while Thorin was quite young. In exile, he became a capable warrior, and while still young participated in the Battle of Azanulbizar in T.A. 2799. During the fighting, his shield broke, and he took up an oak branch to serve as a shield; "Oakenshield" thus became his epithet. Thorin became King-in-Exile of Durin's Folk after his father presumably died in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. He led the expedition recounted in The Hobbit to win the Lonely Mountain back from Smaug, but was killed in the Battle of Five Armies described at the end of that book.

Smaug fictional dragon

Smaug is a dragon and the main antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit. He is a powerful and fearsome dragon that invaded the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor 150 years prior to the events described in the novel. A group of thirteen dwarves mounted a quest to take the kingdom back, aided by the wizard Gandalf and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Smaug is described as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm".

<i>Quercus robur</i> species of plant

Quercus robur, commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is widely cultivated in temperate regions and has escaped into the wild in scattered parts of China and North America.

Dol Guldur was Sauron's stronghold in Mirkwood in the fictional world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. It is first mentioned in The Hobbit. The hill itself, rocky and barren, was the highest point in the southwestern part of the forest. Before Sauron's occupation, it was called Amon Lanc. It lay near the western edge of the forest, across the Anduin from Lothlórien. In a passage that appears to apply the name Dol Guldur principally to the fortress rather than the barren hill it rose from, the company of the Ring first catch sight of it from Cerin Amroth in Lórien.


The Hobbit

In The Hobbit, Thorin and twelve other Dwarves visited Bilbo Baggins on Gandalf's advice to hire Bilbo as a burglar to steal their treasure back from the dragon Smaug. Smaug had attacked Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) about 150 years before and had taken both the dwarves' mountain and their treasure. Thorin was determined to get the treasure back and especially wanted the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain, an heirloom of his house.

Bilbo Baggins character in J. R. R. Tolkiens works

Bilbo Baggins is the title character and protagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit, as well as a supporting character in The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien's narrative conceit, in which all the writings of Middle-earth are translations from the fictitious volume of the Red Book of Westmarch, Bilbo is the author of The Hobbit and translator of various "works from the elvish".

Gandalf is a fictional character and a protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. He is a wizard, member of the Istari order, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the Army of the West. In The Lord of the Rings, he is initially known as Gandalf the Grey, but he returns from death as Gandalf the White.

J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium features dragons closely based on those of European legend.

On the journey, the company encountered a band of trolls, and Thorin alone of the Dwarves was not taken unawares. He found the Elven blade Orcrist in the trolls' cache and used the sword thereafter until it was taken when he was captured by the wood-elves. He and Gandalf fought valiantly in the goblin tunnels in the Misty Mountains. When the dwarves were captured by the wood-elves of Mirkwood, Thorin insisted that the others not disclose their quest to their captors. He was the first to emerge from the barrels at Lake-town and marched right up to the leaders of the town, declaring himself as King Under the Mountain.

Trolls are fictional characters in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. They are portrayed as large humanoids of great strength and poor intellect.

Orc (Middle-earth) evil race from J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium

In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Orcs are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings—Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle-earth, the Misty Mountains are a mountain range, and one of the most important features of Middle-earth's geography. The mountain-chain is less well known by its alternative names. One of these is Hithaeglir ; this was misspelled as Hithaiglin on the original main map of The Lord of the Rings. Other alternative names are the Mountains of Mist or the Towers of Mist. The range stretched continuously for some 900 miles across the continent of Middle-earth.

With provisions from Lake-town, Thorin led the company to Erebor. After Smaug was destroyed, the dwarves reclaimed the treasure, and Thorin, very pleased with Bilbo, gave the Hobbit a chain-mail coat made of mithril as the first installment of his payment. Faced with demands from Thranduil the Elvenking and Bard the Bowman for a fair share of the treasure to be distributed to the wood-elves and the men of Lake-town, Thorin let greed get the better of him and refused to acknowledge their right to any of the hoard. He fortified the Mountain against his new rivals and sent to his cousin Dáin Ironfoot for reinforcements. Thorin was furious when Bilbo stole the Arkenstone to use as a bargaining counter and drove him from the Mountain. The growing conflict was averted only by an invasion of goblins and wargs, whereupon the dwarves joined forces with the wood-elves, the men of Lake-town, and the great eagles in what became known as the Battle of Five Armies. During the battle, Thorin was mortally wounded, but he made his peace with Bilbo before he died.

Hobbits are a fictional human-like race in the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien. About half the height of humans, they are also referred to as Halflings. They live barefooted, and live in underground houses which have windows, as they are typically built into the sides of hills.

Mithril is a fictional metal found in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien, which is present in his Middle-earth, and also appears in many other works of derivative fantasy. It is described as resembling silver but being stronger and lighter than steel. The author first wrote of it in The Lord of the Rings, and it is retrospectively mentioned in the third, revised edition of The Hobbit in 1966. In the first 1937 edition, the mail shirt given to Bilbo Baggins is described as being made of "silvered steel".

Thranduil is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He is a supporting character in The Hobbit, where he is called the Elvenking, and he figures briefly in The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell.

Thorin, The Hobbit

When Thorin died, he was buried with the Arkenstone, and Orcrist was returned and laid upon his tomb. The blade would glow blue should Orcs approach, and they could thus not take the Mountain by surprise. Thorin was succeeded as leader of Durin's Folk by his cousin Dáin.

The Lord of the Rings

Part III of Appendix A in The Return of the King gives an overview of the history of Durin's Folk and gives more of Thorin's background. He was born in T.A.  2746, and when Smaug attacked Erebor in 2770, Thorin was driven into exile with the other surviving dwarves. In 2799 when he was 53 (a young age for a Dwarf), he marched with a mighty dwarf-army against the orcs of Moria. In the Battle of Azanulbizar in Nanduhirion beneath the East-gate of Moria, Thorin's shield was broken, and he used his axe to chop a branch from an oak tree to defend himself, thus earning the epithet "Oakenshield". After the battle Thorin led his people to establish a foothold in the Ered Luin - the Blue Mountains west of the Shire.

Unfinished Tales

Unfinished Tales , a book of Tolkien's essays and stories about Middle-earth published posthumously in 1980, elaborates on Thorin's reasons for accepting Bilbo into his company. As depicted in the story "The Quest of Erebor", Thorin met with Gandalf in Bree shortly before the quest began. Gandalf persuaded him that stealth, rather than force, was needed to infiltrate Erebor; they would therefore need a burglar. Gandalf feared that Sauron could use Smaug as a weapon, and was concerned that Thorin's pride and quick temper would ruin the mission to destroy the dragon. He thought that Bilbo would be a calming influence on Thorin, as well as a genuinely valuable addition to the company. Thorin, who did not think much of Hobbits, reluctantly agreed, realizing that Bilbo's presence would be a small price to pay for Gandalf's help.

Names and titles

Tolkien adopted Thorin's name from the Old Norse poem "Völuspá", part of the Poetic Edda . [1] The name "Thorin" (Þorinn) appears in stanza 12, where it is used for a dwarf, and the name "Oakenshield" (Eikinskjaldi) in stanza 13. [2] The names also appear in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda . [3] The Norse Þorinn means darer or bold one, [4] which is apt for the dwarf who initiated the quest of Erebor.

As he was by right of birth the king of Erebor following the death of his father Thráin, he was King under the Mountain in exile until Smaug was destroyed. Upon Thorin's death, the title passed to Dáin, his cousin and nearest heir.


Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit Thorin, from the Hobbit.jpg
Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit

In the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit, Thorin is voiced by Hans Conried. In the 1982 game The Hobbit Thorin appears as an AI controlled character and one of his seemingly random actions ("Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold", which occurs when the player does nothing for a while) became quite famous. [5]

In the 2003 video game, Thorin is voiced by Clive Revill. Thorin briefly appears in The Lord of the Rings Online during the prologue for the Dwarven characters, set shortly before The Quest for Erebor. In the game the stronghold in the Ered Luin of the refugees from Erebor bears the name "Thorin's Hall" in his honour.

In the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Gandalf briefly mentions Thorin as the one who gave the mithril shirt to Bilbo as a gift.

In the three-film adaptation of The Hobbit (2012–2014), Thorin is portrayed by Richard Armitage. [6] The film adaptation adds to Thorin's quest a personal vendetta against the orc Azog, who murdered Thorin's grandfather, Thrór. Thorin and Azog face each other once again following the dwarves' escape from Goblin-Town, and Thorin sets out to kill Azog once and for all during the Battle of the Five Armies. After a prolonged fight, Thorin and Azog mortally wound each other, and Thorin dies in Bilbo's arms.

Family tree

Durin's Folk

Durin I Dwarves of Moria
Durin II
Durin III
Durin IV
Durin V
Durin VI
Náin I
Thráin I
Thorin I
Náin II
Dáin I Borin
Frór Thrór Grór Farin
Thráin II Náin Fundin Gróin
Dís Thorin II Oakenshield Dáin II Ironfoot Dwalin Balin Glóin Óin Ori, Dori, Nori Bifur, Bofur, Bombur
Fili, Kili Thorin III Stonehelm Gimli
Durin VII

*Names in italics are Thorin and his company from The Hobbit

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<i>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</i> 2012 fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson

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  1. Solopova, Elizabeth (2009), Languages, Myths and History: An Introduction to the Linguistic and Literary Background of J.R.R. Tolkien's Fiction, New York City: North Landing Books, p. 20, ISBN   0-9816607-1-1
  2. "Poetic Edda". Translated by Henry Adams Bellows. 1936. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  3. Sturluson, Snorri. "Prose Edda". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2007. Tr. Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. The names appear as Thorinn and Eikinskjaldi. The name ultimately derives from that of the Norse god Thor.
  4. Tolkien, J.R.R. (2007). "Return to Bag End". In Rateleff, John D. (ed.). The History of The Hobbit . 2. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN   0-00-725066-5.
  5. Campbell, Stuart (December 1991). "Top 100 Speccy Games". Your Sinclair . New York City: Dennis Publishing (72): 28.
  6. Winning, Josh (18 July 2011). "See Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit". Total Film . London, England: Future Publishing . Retrieved 4 September 2011.
Preceded by
Thráin II
Kings of Durin's folk Succeeded by
Dáin II Ironfoot