Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

There and Back Again—A Reader's Tale

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Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jan 05, 2013 9:10 am

1. Thorin again expresses his obsession with the Arkenstone, even giving a sort of curse on whoever finds it and withholds it. Why do you think he is so obsessed with this?

2. Bilbo seems a bit blustery and official as he speaks with Bard, but he seems to use much more tact and wisdom than Thorin. What differences do see between his negotiations with Bard, and Thorin's? What similarities are there?

3. Why do you think Gandalf waited so long to reveal himself to Bilbo?

4. Bilbo says “… I am an honest one [burglar], I hope, more or less” What do you think? Is he a more or less honest burglar? Why or Why not? Does it depend on whose point of view it is being evaluated from?
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby ValiantArcher » Mar 23, 2013 3:47 pm

1. I think it might indeed symbolise kingship and success to him; he many not feel that he can be the real king under the mountain if he can't even find this specific jewel.

2. Well, for one, Bilbo is a lot humbler than Thorin and more willing to see Bard's point of view. However, like Thorin, Bilbo is very determined and eager to see his point of view win through.

3. "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to." :D Who'd dare to question the timing of a wizard? Gandalf likely thought his sudden arrival might make things worse, and hearing what Bilbo had to say first would be helpful; also, it gives Bilbo more of a chance to work things out for himself.

4. In taking the Arkenstone as his promised share, Bilbo is honest in that he would not claim anymore and also in acknowledging that the Dwarves might not count it as his claim. However, the Bard is right in that it's not really his to give. I would say Bilbo is fairly honest in his words if not actions here, although he was not very honest in withholding the Arkenstone from the Dwarves earlier.
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Mar 23, 2013 4:01 pm

1. Thorin again expresses his obsession with the Arkenstone, even giving a sort of curse on whoever finds it and withholds it. Why do you think he is so obsessed with this?
It sounds like it is an impressive gem. Bilbo who generally doesn't care much for treasure was so taken with it he kept it and hid it. Thorin would be much more influenced by it. It is probably a status symbol as well. Whoever has the Arkenstone is undeniably King under the mountain.

If Thorin had had the Arkenstone in his possession when Bard came to parley do you think he would have been more reasonable?


2. Bilbo seems a bit blustery and official as he speaks with Bard, but he seems to use much more tact and wisdom than Thorin. What differences do see between his negotiations with Bard, and Thorin's? What similarities are there?
Bilbo is more businesslike and less fierce. He is willing to sacrifice for the greater good; something Thorin was not willing to do.

3. Why do you think Gandalf waited so long to reveal himself to Bilbo?
He wanted to see what Bilbo could do for himself.

4. Bilbo says “… I am an honest one [burglar], I hope, more or less” What do you think? Is he a more or less honest burglar? Why or Why not? Does it depend on whose point of view it is being evaluated from?It does depend on from which perspective one looks at it. Gollum clearly thinks Bilbo is a thief and not honest. Smaug feels the same. The cup did not belong to Smaug. Bilbo was returned it to its rightful owner.
The ring did not belong to Gollum. It would have been disastrous to give it back to its owner. Of course none of this was known at the time. I suppose a truly honest burglar would have given it back to whom he thought was the owner. If I remember correctly, he made up the story about winning it to support his claim.
In the case of the Arkenstone, his honesty is doubtful. He know Thorin wanted the Arkenstone but he took it anyway. He essentially stole from his employer and his friend. It would have been worse if he had kept the stone for himself and run away. He wanted it to get to Thorin eventually and he was willing to give up his share of the treasure.
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Meltintalle » Mar 25, 2013 5:03 pm

1. I find myself in complete agreement with Valia and Twigs on this point; Thorin wanted the Arkenstone to feel like he was truly King under the Mountain instead of a claimant hanging out in a giant, drafty, empty city with a handful of friends and a bunch of treasure seekers about to overrun him.

Twigs wrote:If Thorin had had the Arkenstone in his possession when Bard came to parley do you think he would have been more reasonable?
Ooooh! Good question. Maybe? I suppose it would depend on his motivation and whether his ties to the rest of the treasure grew or diminished once he had the stone in hand...

2. I think the biggest difference is that Bilbo wants Bard to do something Bard had already said he wanted to do; Bilbo just has to convince Bard that this is the way to go about it. Also, Bilbo is polite to the Elven King. :)

3. Gandalf was interested in how Bilbo was going to handle the situation on his own. After his claims that Bilbo was supposed to look after the dwarves, it's probably... rewarding... to see that he's right about Bilbo's abilities.

4. Bilbo is as honest a burglar as a burglar can be. ;)) He fulfills his part of a written contract, eventually owns up to everything he stole...
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby ValiantArcher » Jun 16, 2013 4:40 pm

Twig's wrote:If Thorin had had the Arkenstone in his possession when Bard came to parley do you think he would have been more reasonable?

Good question, Twig's! :) Thorin may've been more likely to parley, if he'd had the Arkenstone already. He could've considered it lordly to grant some of their requests. However, he may've also thought that it meant he deserved everything more, and had even less reason to listen to the Elves and men. Like Mel said, it really would depend on his motivation.
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Ithilwen » Jul 01, 2013 8:32 pm

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:1. Thorin again expresses his obsession with the Arkenstone, even giving a sort of curse on whoever finds it and withholds it. Why do you think he is so obsessed with this?

Because it's his favorite/most valuable possession, and he doesn't want to lose it now after waiting so long to find it once more.

2. Bilbo seems a bit blustery and official as he speaks with Bard, but he seems to use much more tact and wisdom than Thorin. What differences do see between his negotiations with Bard, and Thorin's? What similarities are there?

I think the main difference lies in their hearts. Bilbo is humble and can address people as he ought. Thorin is proud and speaks from his pride and stubbornness.

3. Why do you think Gandalf waited so long to reveal himself to Bilbo?

Because he wanted to test him, to see how Bilbo would do without his help. He also most likely wanted to see how Thorin would treat Bilbo and Bard if he didn't know Gandalf was watching.

4. Bilbo says “… I am an honest one [burglar], I hope, more or less” What do you think? Is he a more or less honest burglar? Why or Why not? Does it depend on whose point of view it is being evaluated from?

Of course he's honest! :) Aside from temporarily wanting to keep the Arkenstone for himself and hiding it for awhile, he shows great moral strength all throughout the book. He does his best to do the right thing for everyone. In fact, his honesty is such a big part of his character, it's mentioned in LOTR that it was the fact he lied about the ring which helped clue Gandalf into what the ring was, since lying goes against his character.


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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 31, 2013 9:11 pm

1. Thorin again expresses his obsession with the Arkenstone, even giving a sort of curse on whoever finds it and withholds it. Why do you think he is so obsessed with this?

I think a large part of his obsession has to do with his family history. This isn't just a beautiful stone, it's also a family heirloom, treasured since the day it was found, and cut and fashioned by the Dwarves. It was "the Arkenstone of Thrain", his father, and although it is immensely valuable, Thorin treasures it as much for its history as for its value.

2. Bilbo seems a bit blustery and official as he speaks with Bard, but he seems to use much more tact and wisdom than Thorin. What differences do see between his negotiations with Bard, and Thorin's? What similarities are there?

He gets blustery and official when he's acting as the burglar he's been hired as - it reminds me of him discussing the terms of his contract with the Dwarves at the beginning of his adventure. His point of view is different from Thorin's - Thorin is the King, he believes himself to be in the right, and that anyone else should defer to him. Bilbo knows that he's just someone "small" in this society, and he isn't as sure about himself being absolutely right either. I think there are more differences than similarities.
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Re: Chapter 16 A Thief in the Night

Postby Movie Aristotle » Sep 19, 2013 5:56 pm

3. Why do you think Gandalf waited so long to reveal himself to Bilbo?

Gandalf likes to wait and watch how things work out before interfering.
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