Thorin indeed was very haughty, and said nothing about service; but poor Mr. Baggins said he was sorry so many times, that at last he grunted “pray don’t mention it,” and stopped frowning.
Here, the narrator details that after numerous other dwarves introduce themselves to Bilbo with an “At your service,” Thorin says nothing, maintaining an air of gruff self-importance. Thorin appears to be strongly defined by his sense of entitlement: He is a proud leader from a family of nobility on a quest to reclaim his stolen inheritance. Though he lives as a fierce warrior, this entitlement often manifests as somewhat childish petulance.
“This won’t do at all!” said Thorin. “If we don’t get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football.” “Well, if you know of anywhere better, take us there!” said Gandalf.
As a fierce storm batters the adventurers in the mountains, Thorin quickly makes his displeasure known. Thorin often notices the bad in a situation but doesn’t often propose anything to make matters better, a behavior that stems from his sense of self-importance. Though Thorin prides himself on his courage and strength, he ultimately expects others to do things for him.
The quays were thronged with hurrying feet. Some began to sing snatches of old songs concerning the return of the King under the Mountain; that it was Thror’s grandson not Thror himself that had come back did not bother them at all.
The narrator explains that after Thorin arrives in Lake Town below Smaug’s mountain and speaks of his royal grandfather, he sends the town into an excited flurry. The town’s deferential behavior shows that Thorin does have some reason to expect special treatment; haughty though he may be, his sense of entitlement is fostered and reinforced by others’ reactions to his family name.
I will not parley, as I have said, with armed men at my gate. Nor at all with the people of the Elvenking, whom I remember with small kindness. In this debate they have no place. Begone now ere our arrows fly!
When the Lake Town villagers ask for a share of Thorin’s gold to help rebuild their town, Thorin sends them harshly away. This refusal represents one of Thorin’s defining moments in which the true extent of his self-importance becomes clear. He justifies his stinginess on grounds of familial right, but the pride and greed behind his actions seem evident.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure.
As he lies on his deathbed, Thorin reveals his admiration for Bilbo. The two had previously been at odds, but now, when all else falls away, readers see the fairness in Thorin’s heart. The moment adds complexity to Thorin, showing that even though he often appears haughty and stubborn, he harbors a measure of warmth.
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