Round 10: Periaur vs. OiE

Discussion in 'Debates' started by Confusticated, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    Are you trying to be clever, Arvedui? Try harder!

    Firstly the question is NOT if they deserved all Bilbo did, it is all Bilbo 'did for them' ... and if I translate that into 'help', I can't see what is wrong with that. Its really a desperate measure to throw in examples of Bilbo messing up, as an example of undeserved actions.

    Of course, you laughably argue that Bilbo's bungled pick-pocketing landed them into trouble was undeserved by the dwarves. Was that a joke? Well obviously that trouble was 'undeserved' but Bilbo didn't attempt his pick-pocketing 'for' the dwarves. He did it to try to prove himself, and against Thorin's instructions. He was meant to come back and report, but instead he messed up. So, sorry, that wasnt something he did 'for' the dwarves, so whether or not it was undeserved is frankly more or less irrelevant.

    But lets at least say that Bilbo's bungle was forgiven, and so is one more reason why the dwarves deserved Bilbo's help.

    Lets consider your other examples. The 'Unexpected Party'... I'm slightly neutral on this one. I think here that Gandalf is at fault, by inviting the dwarves without Bilbo's knowledge. At least the dwarves helped with the dishes! Are we really going to make a huge issue of this? I'd make mention of the provisions and pony that the dwarves provided to Bilbo along the way if we really want to get into this one!:)

    The spiders: good. I'm glad we can say that there was nothing undeserved about this.

    The escape from the Elven-King....

    Interesting... this was supposed to be one of the examples of 'non-burgling'!:D Perhaps not!! You say they "grumbled", and indeed they did. But then "they calmed down". I don't think grumbling is such a horrendous crime, when faced with the prospect of being stuffed into a barrel and tossed into a river! It was not going to be a comfortable or particularly safe escape... Lets consider further...

    You give a quote, conveniently abridged of course! Allow me to give a little more. I apologise to readers and judges, for lengthy quoting can be tedious, but in this case the wider quote is necessary.
    If we look in 'A Warm Welcome' we find that when they come ashore, Bilbo tries to hunt down which are the right barrels but 'only discovered about six dwarves that could answer'. They 'were so soaked and bruised and cramped that they could hardly yet realise their release or be properly thankful for it.' Fili states he is 'sick with hunger'. Those were the lucky ones! Bombur was 'asleep or senseless'; the rest were 'waterlogged and seemed only half alive; they all had to be carried one by one and laid helpless on the shore.'

    Now, remember here we are looking for a lack of gratitude so overwhelming that it makes the dwarves undeserving of help. What are Thorin's first words to Bilbo.

    Now tell me what is so ungracious about those words? They sound both grateful and honest to me! Later we find:
    So this nonsense about a lack of gratitude is just not based on fact at all.

    Next, you make mention of him finding the key hole. Yes he did. And that was undeserved for what reason? Did you have a point here? Of course, all matter to do with getting inside the mountain were his area, as the appointed burglar. Surely the legalistic minds of Ost-in-Edhil don't have some clause in the contract which excludes the finding of key-holes?!:p

    As for the treasure, I believe Thol will have posted something in reply by the time this post is finished but for good measure, lets correct you on a question of fact. Bilbo gave his portion to Bard, and not to the dwarves. And Dain promptly gave him more. Bilbo decided not to take as much as was offered, because it was more than he needed and because it would be hard to transport so far in safety. Good reasons, I feel, but one's to do with self-interest rather than doing the dwarves a favour.

    That explodes each of your allegations against the dwarves, all of your examples (except the Arkenstone question which I will turn to soon, I promise!)

    Finally you say I am contradicting myself. Where? I say Bilbo decided the dwarves cause was deserving of help, and he had the right to make that decision and that he did so despite scepticism of the dwarves, because he wanted to prove them wrong. What is contradictory? He didnt think their scepticism made them undeserving. You have yet to explain why he was wrong!

    Oh by the way... are you ever going to address the question of it being obviously a deserving cause to try to regain your home from a dragon?
     
  2. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    Yes Ravenna you did indeed say he should be expected to help out. Of course only after introducing a notion of him being there purely for burglary... I myself see the fourteen of them as more a team, where people help each other out of scrapes as and when the need arises. When they crossed the river, Bilbo spotted the boat, and helped Fili out by guiding his throwing of the rope. Teamwork! They were all in it together, and they helped each other out. Bilbo had a magical ring that made him ideally suited for certain things, so naturally he was often able to do things that the dwarves could not.

    But as of yet you havent explain when we reach the point of his help being so much as to be 'undeserved'. You just allege that it is, but why? You talk about what could be expected, but this is irrelevant to what is or is not deserved. When Bilbo helps out, this is undeserved, but in your eyes if the dwarves help Bilbo this is only to be expected! I take a different view. They were all part of a team with a common goal, and in great danger. The dwarves deserved to be able to expect Bilbo to help out to the best of his abilities. And Bilbo did so!

    You make Bilbo's realisation of his common purpose, and his commitment to a common goal seem bad! He might well realise his best idea is to help out, because he will have the best odds of survival if he does. That doesnt make his help undeserved!

    Finally, on the question of when Bilbo realised that the reward was huge, who knows? But I was only responding to your view that insisted that it was not enough! That somehow, the vast wealth that he received was insufficient! Don't try now to say I am doing something wrong by proving you wrong!
     

  3. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    Having got to one side all of the tit-for-tat stuff, I want to look at the Arkenstone question because its of considerable interest.

    Ost-in-Edhil want us to conclude that Thorin's treatment of Bilbo at this point means that they didnt deserve his help.

    In reply, the Periaur say that Bilbo wasnt helping the dwarves at this point, he had decided to help the Lake-Men. Thus he gave Bard the Arkenstone. So then, if he wasnt helping the dwarves the reaction of Thorin can hardly be taken as evidence that they didnt deserve his help.

    I imagine that some people will want to think carefully about this proposition, so lets explore it fully.

    Firstly, and it is somewhat of a diversion from the main argument, let us consider the rights and wrongs of Bilbo's action. We all know that it was well-intentioned: Bilbo was trying to break the dead-lock. We also know however that when Bilbo found the Arkenstone and took it for himself, he felt he was not totally in the right.
    Thorin had spoken of it with reverence, and it was somewhat deceitful to pocket it for himself.

    Then, in an effort to break the deadlock he gives it to Bard. When questioned about whether it is his to give he says " 'It isn't exactly; but, well, I am willing to let it stand against all my claim' " - so an admission that he is at least on thin ice. He has taken something very dear to Thorin, and handed it over to Thorin's enemies.

    Remember: the lake-men are with the elves, who come purely seeking gold that was never theirs. They then ally with the Lakemen, which is unfortunate for all concerned. The elves had imprisoned the dwarves and treated them very badly: Thorin had every right to be aggrieved when they besieged Erebor. So Thorin finds his former friend has taken his most prized possession and handed it over to people besieging his realm, allied with his former captors. His anger is understandable, even if it is not entirely wise.

    Now, Ost-in-Edhil wish to use this anger, and the insults that Thorin hurls to say that this means that Bilbo's help is no longer deserved. This raises an interesting question. At what point does the judgement of whether help is deserved get made?

    In this instance, Ost-in-Edhil want to make the judgement from the point of view of someone looking at the time that Thorin is enraged with Bilbo.

    For Bilbo, he of course doesnt get to wait: he has to decide at the point at which he decides to help. All the way along he has decided that the dwarves deserve help, and at each point until the stand-off with the Lakemen and the Elves this continues. And his help has achieved a lot of good: they have made it to Erebor, and the dragon has been slain.

    Then when Thorin wants to withhold payment from the Lakemen because of their association with the elves, Bilbo decides not to help any longer. At this point they no longer deserve help, he decides.

    But is there any reason to suppose he regrets his previous help? Not really. Of course he thinks that Thorin is being very unreasonable, but he does not at any time wish that he hadnt helped them.

    Moreover, is this actually the right stand-point to exercise hindsight from? Obviously not! If you are going to judge whether Bilbo's help was really deserved, and do so with hindsight, you have to look from when ALL the consequences were played out. So what happens next?

    Thorin realises his error and he and Bilbo settle their differences, before Thorin dies. So Thorin's anger is forgiven, and Bilbo says to him: ' "This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils - that has been more than any Baggins deserves." ' Far from any expression of regret at his help, he is deeply glad that he did.

    And with good reason! Bilbo didn't realise fully at the start of his adventure what becomes clear at the end of the War of the Ring.
    This is what hindsight properly exercised tells us!

    So, if we want to consider the Arkenstone, we must consider everything that happened after Bilbo stopped helping the dwarves. And from that position of hindsight, we see the dubious actions and harsh words are forgiven on both sides, and their cause was proven far more deserving than any (save Gandalf) could have guessed.:)
     
  4. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    You might want to think that the Mithril-coat was worth so much that he ended up with a lot more than his fourteenth share, but look at the facts:
    If the quote doesn't sound familiar, it might be because it is from the 1937 edition of The Hobbit.

    You are also stating that Bilbo got the friendship from the Dwarves. That is also a bit strange, since so far the Periaur have been fighting the option that it was the Dwarves that deserved Bilbo's friendship, and not the other way around.
     

  5. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

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    Thanks, I had forgotten that.;)
    The Dwarves thought they had a good cause for retaking their home from Smaug. I would have thought the same.
    But what you are doing here, is twisting the situation to suit your means.
    The question is once again if the Dwarves deserved Bilbo.

    It was Gandalf that 'gave' Bilbo to Thorin & co. And he did that because he had other motives than the Dwarves had!
    Their original plan was quite different from what they ended up with, as we have already proven.
    Of course it was. I forgot to add the ;)
    You are (deliberately?) misunderstanding me.
    My point was to list what exactly Bilbo did for the dwarves. Yes, this waswhat he was hired for. But if we are to debate if the Dwarves deserved ALL that Bilbo did for them, then w should at least debate ALL, and not only what suits the Periaur.;)

    Perhaps you are unable to see that you contradict yourself. I think that others will see clearly what you cannot.
     
  6. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    No we are not. Are you trying to put words into our mouths, with no argument attached, but just the implication that we got something wrong? That's hardly helpful to anyone.:(
     
  7. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    And your point is what exactly? How the dwarves originally thought they might try to pursue their cause before getting Gandalf's advice is absolutely irrelevant to whether their cause was deserving or not. Having taken Gandalf's advice, they asked Bilbo. Bilbo recognised the cause was deserving of his help, and decided to come along. Very simple really. I'm sure you understand really, Arvedui.:)

    No, I wasnt deliberately misunderstanding you. You know... we orcs sometimes get muddled. But in any case you can name any and every instance of help that Bilbo gave, and I would gladly say the dwarves deserved his help. Bilbo joined their team, was being well rewarded, and they all chipped into the cause, just as you would expect. The dwarves deserved to be able trust that he would help as often as he could, so there really aren't any instances of help that don't suit the Periaur position.:)

    *sigh* It seems a little unkind of you to allege that I am contradicting myself, but refuse to explain it clearly. Try as I might, I really can't see. I think perhaps where we differ is that I am happy with the notion that Bilbo went with the dwarves for a variety of reasons. (1) He recognised their cause was deserving. (2) He wanted to prove himself. And (3) while we're listing them, he wanted to see the world, and have adventures. Just because he had more than one motive, doesnt mean that I am contradicting myself! It means that I, like Bilbo, am able to weigh the scepticism about a hobbits ability to help, against the merit of their cause. Their scepticism is understandable, and Bilbo doesnt hold it against them but decides he will prove himself, and, as I have said repeatedly, that was his decision to make. You may say that it meritted Bilbo refusing to help, but that's not what Bilbo thought!
     
  8. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Did Thorin's company deserve all that Bilbo did for them?

    First of all we must look at what is meant by "Deserve"

    deserve v. to be worthy of or entitled to (a thing) because of actions or qualities.

    Now let us take a look once more at the points first raised by Snaga.
    This is obviously true and a matter for the Dwarves to deal with. They did not Deserve the help of others, though others could quite rightly Give such help as they chose.
    While this is a valid argument for the removal of Smaug, it was not in the intent of the Dwarves but that of Gandalf. Now Gandalf Was Deserving of any help that he could get in his work but that is a different question to the one we are discussing here.
    The cause of the Dwarves is good to and for Dwarves. They were not interested in anything outside of their concerns. In fact they would have accepted the removal of the treasure to another location and left Smaug there. After all, why accept the use of a "Burglar" if they were determined to get rid of the Dragon!
    They deserved the help that he had agreed to give that is the gaining access to and removal of, the treasure of the Lonely Mountain. All other help must be looked at in a different light.
    And just how willingly was this help given? Let us look at this from the beginning.

    The first mention of the Adventure
    Then
    And again.
    So right from the start he was not interested and had to be pushed into even listening to the Dwarves.

    So how did he feel when the Dwarves were in his nice little Hobbit Hole?
    So then, when did this feeling turn from confusion and worry to a determination to give all possible aid to a just and righteous cause and why did this change of heart happen?
    Here is the first hint of a change of heart. But nothing about if the cause was just.
    Nothing here that shows Bilbo thinking the cause to be righteous. In fact it talks about the desire of the hearts of the dwarves as being "A fierce and jealous love" not really the type of feelings to generate the thought that the dwarves deserve all help possible. But then again Bilbo has not been told about the cause yet

    So let us look at just when Bilbo makes his decision. The Dwarves had been talking about him and he overheard their conversation. This caused him to make a choice that even he was not really happy with.
    And what was this choice?
    The Dwarves told him that they were looking for a Burglar and that Gandalf had told them one lived here.

    What did the dwarves expect of Bilbo? Thorin himself answers this question.
    Thorin was quite sure that any skills Bilbo may have would not be needed until they got to the Long Lake. So as far a Thorin was concerned Bilbo was being hired only to burgle the treasure nothing more, nothing less. If you have any doubts about this, once more Thorin himself says
    But we still have the question of Bilbo going along because he "felt they were deserving of help". Bilbo had already agreed to go on the adventure (though reluctantly) yet it is here that we have.
    Now at last after agreeing to go he asks and is told about the matters that the Periaur claim was the reasons behind his decision. But when we look at his reactions after being given the answers to his questions it seems that he was not particularly willing to help.

    To be continued.
     
  9. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    At this point he was talking of what the dwarves should do with no intention of going there himself. Indeed the next thoughts of Bilbo are very clear on this.
    So he was only certain of one thing and that was not the journey. So far as that goes the following morning when he awoke to find the dwarves have left
    So Bilbo felt relieved that he had been left behind. He was in fact surprised to find that he was "Just a trifle disappointed" at this. I would not say that this is the reaction to one that had decided to go willingly on such a quest but rather that of one who felt that he had been spared the consequences of a very foolish decision.

    So there is nothing at the beginning that says the Dwarves deserved anything else from Bilbo than for him to gain entry to where the treasure was and to deal with the removal of that treasure. We do know that during the journey there was much help given and the most important help was given by Bilbo to the Dwarves. However, trying to sort out each of these occasions separately and arguing about them one at a time is somewhat time consuming. So to get the overall picture we need to look at what this came to by the end.

    After Thorin says that it is time for Bilbo to "Earn his reward" Bilbo answers thus
    So it seems that Bilbo hardly thought that the Dwarves Deserved All that he did for them even at this point. We also find in the same chapter this comment.
    If this is the most that can be said about the dwarves then it is hardly the basis for claiming that they deserved so much from a Hobbit that a) they did not want in the first place and had to be bullied into taking and b) was only there because he had been bullied and tricked into going.

    The Periaur first brought up the matter of the Arkenstone and claimed that at this point Bilbo decides that Thorin no longer deserves his help. However, let us look a little closer at what happened after the death of Smaug.

    First of all Thorin is given some good advice by the Raven Roäc son of Carc
    Thorin's answer to this?
    He decides that he would rather fight than talk to Bard and asks that more of his people be summoned to aid him in this.

    The Dwarves then fortify the entrance to the Lonely Mountain and Bilbo could see that they would not willingly parley with the men of Lake Town, not even Bard. The Dwarves sang to lift up the spirits of Thorin.
    The actions of the Dwarves at this time showed Bilbo that despite all that they had been through Thorin and Co. still did not deserve all that he had done for them, there were no actions or qualities to cause the dwarves to be worthy of such help. Therefore he decided to allow Bard to use the greed of Thorin for the Arkenstone to gain from him that which Thorin should have given willingly.

    So basically we have the situation where the Dwarves did not deserve in the beginning any help from Bilbo beyond what he was employed for, this is acknowledged by Thorin at that time and when they get to the secret door. Then despite all that had been done by Bilbo during the journey he finds that at the end they were not deserving of all that he had done.

    Therefore we come to the conclusion that while Bilbo was well within his rights to give such help as he chose throughout the quest, at no time did he decide that the Dwarves deserved this help.

    So since there is no basis either in fact or in Bilbo's view for the dwarves to deserve all that Bilbo did for them then the answer is simple. They did not deserve it.
     
  10. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    A worthy attempt, but these arguments have more holes than Bilbo's best sieve.

    (1) Did the dwarves' cause merit help?

    Firstly, you dismiss the idea that the dwarves deserved any help with their cause. Essentially your argument is that because the dwarves are the main beneficiaries, they do not deserve any help. Previously, Ravenna argued that the dwarves were selfish. Now you wish to argue that Bilbo should have been!

    I have a straightforward way of looking at things: good causes deserve help. The dwarves had a good cause, so they deserved all the help they got. Under the definition that you give, unattributed, is the notion that deserve = 'to be worthy'. Yes: this was a worthy cause.:)

    Yes. But also for the Lakemen. Also for anyone not in the cause of evil. Bilbo knew that the cause was good: he knew dragons are evil. And he had the recommendation of Gandalf. Gandalf would not have been helping the cause of evil, would he?

    This IS an interesting point. Firstly let us examine how the ideas of the dwarves evolved through Gandalf's influence:

    Gandalf meets Thorin, who tells him of his preoccupation with Erebor and Smaug.
    Note: not more eager, or indeed less eager, but AS eager. Thorin wanted to kill Smaug, and Gandalf agreed. Why?

    So Thorin wants to see the end of Smaug: that is unambiguous. Now all Gandalf's thoughts and policies were turned against Smaug, but he is circumspect. In persuading Thorin to take Bilbo, he decides to recommend 'professional stealth'.

    So clearly they are plotting the downfall of Smaug, and the restoration of Erebor. And he goes onto explain that the open war plan would attract the Necromancer to assist the dragon, and that Smaug will check every day for the scent of dwarves, whereas he won't know the smell of a hobbit.

    As many will know, it is Balin that gets carried away with the idea that stealth = treasure-seeker = burglar, and this idea about Bilbo's role becomes fixed in their mind. But despite the fact Gandalf is so adamant that he is essential, Thorin is still unconvinced of a course that involves burglary, or Bilbo. In the end, it is only when Gandalf appeals to Thorin to treat Bilbo well and he 'shall have my friendship to the end of your days' that Thorin relents:
    So where does that leave Thorin's thinking? The one and only statement about their intent is this:
    So it seems that Thorin would still much prefer to tackle Smaug. All that has really happened is that Gandalf has persuaded him to take 'a burglar' against his better judgement, and made him realise that (if he didnt before) that defeating the dragon would not be easy. At the most you can say he thinks 'burgling' some heirloom might be better than nothing, if Smaug cannot be destroyed.

    And so you are left with a picture of a dispossessed dwarf-lord, who is driven to try to regain the realm of his fore-fathers, and is willing to risk his life and face a mighty dragon, but realises that this quest may be beyond him. So I ask: what is there in this which is undeserving?

    Now of course, the idea of OiE is that the dwarves trying to regain their treasure is unworthy. But what is so wrong about trying to regain possessions that were stolen from you? Don't expect any sympathy from Officer Gothmog if you get robbed!;)

    (2) Did Bilbo help willingly?

    Gothmog argues he did not. He wants to believe Bilbo was unwilling, that he was "bullied and tricked". But this is dishonest, and even Gothmog says: "Bilbo had already agreed to go on the adventure (though reluctantly)" and he was "a trifle disappointed" when he thought he was left behind. He is hardly bullied or tricked! Yes, he is famously reluctant at first, but to argue as Gothmog does, that he is bullied is nonsense. If he is bullied against his will, why does he run
    If he was so unwilling, he would not have been so much in a hurry to go!
    (3) Bilbo's motives
    There is a lot in Gothmog's posts about how Bilbo makes his decision, which is itself amusing since supposedly he was being bullied, and came unwillingly! But Gothmog's thesis is this: that because Bilbo decides to go before knowing how deserving their cause is, this somehow means it is not deserving. A contorted logic, to the say the least!
    The suggestion is Bilbo decides to go before hearing whether the cause is a good one or not, and that after Thorin goes into details of the mission, what it might involve and so forth, Bilbo is less willing to help. This is not really accurate. Yes, he begins to dream for adventure, and yes he wants to proved himself, but is this enough? No!

    Yes he has decided that perhaps his youthful dream of an adventure is one he would like to follow, but he is still interested in knowing the rights and wrongs of the situation.

    When he has heard more, what is the result? Is it that he feels the cause is not worthwhile? Of course not! His 'Tookishness' is wearing off! Isn't that the whole thing about Bilbo, the struggle between his timid homely Baggins side, and his more restless, adventurous Tookish side? I hate repeating myself but:
    So Bilbo knew the cause was good. Enough!

    Next onto the selective use of hindsight, OiE's new trick!:)
     
  11. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    (4) Hindsight Revisited!
    Well that seems fair enough!;) But after a long long post, in which quote follows quote, the conclusion we come to is
    So it would take too long? Or could it be that that is exactly what Ravenna and Gothmog have tried to do, and got precisely nowhere?;)

    So instead Gothmog brings out a quote in which Bilbo snaps at Thorin, who was in the middle of one of his florid speeches.
    So really of course, Bilbo's temperamental outburst is hardly to be taken too seriously. In any case, he doesn't ever say they didnt deserve his help, however much Gothmog would like you to think so. All he says his that he thinks his previous actions merit some reward. So what?

    Then he moves onto another quote, apparently demonstrating how unworthy the dwarves were but really it says nothing of the sort! The paragraph tells you "they intended to pay Bilbo really handsomely for his services" and "they would all have done their best to get him out of trouble, if he got into it, as they did in the case of the trolls at the beginning of their adventures before they had any particular reasons for being grateful to him." The point of the paragraph is nothing at all to do with not deserving help, and all to do with them not being "heroic". But the Periaur have aren't claiming heroism as a major reason why they were deserving, so this is a non-point.

    The next fallacious argument is swift in following. The Periaur have shown that when Thorin refuses to help the Bardings, Bilbo decides to stop helping them, and when opportunity comes he tries to break the deadlock. It seems like a devious ploy to provide a whole number of quotes that demonstrate exactly this point, and then make this completely illogical conclusion:
    Of course, their actions showed nothing of the sort! Bilbo never regretted the help that he gave to the dwarves, but he was distressed that they were not now dealing very nobly with the Bardings. So, since he had grown considerably since joining the quest, he had the confidence to break ranks with the dwarves and help the Bardings. After all, his agreement with the dwarves was fulfilled.

    In any case this is again the selective use of hindsight. Ost-in-Edhil want to choose the most disadvantageous point to view the dwarves' actions from. Its tiresome to have to repeat myself but as I said before:
    I stand by those words: there is no sign of any regret from Bilbo. And why should there be? He has played a heroic part in a deserving cause.
     
  12. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    But the Periaur have based their argument on the "Fact" that Bilbo decided that the Dwarves deserved his help. This the Periaur have consistantly failed to show. My short post earlier ;) gave quotes about the beginning and the end of the quest that shows Bilbo at no point decided that the Dwarves were deserving of help other than that contracted for the entering of the Lonely Mountain and the recovery of the treasure. The rest of the aid he gave was due entirely to the need of the occasion and the basic goodness of Bilbo.
    I did nto say that Bilbo ever showed regret. I stated that he realised that even now they still did not deserve all that he had done. The fact that he did these things was a testomony to Bilbo and not to the Dwarves. The fact that he felt no regret shows that he did not think about who deserved help but who needed it. It is the view of Ost-in-Edhil that the cause deserving of all the help it could get was that of Gandalf who wanted to remove Smaug for the good of all in Middle-earth. The Dwarves were not interested in the men of Dale or of the Long Lake. They only wanted to have revenge on Smaug for what he did to their people.
    Indeed, why should Bilbo have any regrets? He has had his adventure and took part in Gandalf's deserving cause. At the same time he helped the Dwarves to acheive their sefish aims that just happened to conincide with what Gandalf wanted.
    Yes he was reluctant and had Gandalf not bullied and tricked him into agreeing and then the following day leaving Bag End then he would not have gone. How did Gandalf do this. Think back to the point that Bilbo left he Hobbit hole. What was the conversation between Gandalf and Bilbo?
    Sounds more like bullying than enthusiasm to me.
     
  13. Legolam

    Legolam Ad astra per aspera

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    No, no, no, you're missing so much of what we're trying to say. Actually, Snaga's very first post set out our thoughts on this subject, which I'll remind you of:

    So you think you've countered point 3 adequately. I'd like to ask you more about point 2 ie the fact that Bilbo was rewarded in excess of what the dwarves promised, as already described by my esteemed colleague, Thol:

    The only argument that the oldsters (;) ) have come up with is from Arvedui:

    I don't actually remember this from my version of the Hobbit - is this something from your 1937 edition? And what exactly does it prove? We all know that Bilbo's mithril coat (and it was definitely made of mithril, as evidenced by withstanding the cave-troll in LOTR) was something of fantastic value, worth more than the whole Shire (according to Gandalf).

    I don't think we can discount this gift, as Gothmog has done, as just payment for what Bilbo was "contracted" to do. It was worth far more than that. Dwarves are, by their nature, fiercely loyal and honest. Thorin and his company recognised all the "extra" tasks that Bilbo had undertaken outside of his burglary and, although they were not as grateful as they could have been at the time (would you be ecstatic if you'd been cooped up in an elf prison then stuffed in a barrel overnight??!), they appreciated his efforts and rewarded him accordingly. Therefore, although harsh words were said at the time, the dwarves ultimately deserved ALL Bilbo's help because it was rewarded with material goods and friendship.

    If you think about it, this is just the logical human response to help in a dangerous situation. If you're about to be eaten by giant spiders, you don't stick around to say your polite thank-yous and give gifts. No, you wait until you're safe and comfortable then give the rescuer what he rightly deserves.
     
  14. Niniel

    Niniel Random Quoter

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    We agree with you on this point. But it hardly seems possible to separate Gandalf's cause with the Dwarves' cause. If Bilbo had not helped the Dwarves by giving them all the help they needed, they would have failed. In which case both their goals and Gandalf's would not have been achieved. Gandalf says repeatedly, in the Quest for Erebor, that it was not chance that Bilbo and the Dwarves got together. He also emphasises that he foresees that without Bilbo's help the Dwarves will fail:
    And later Gimli asks him:
    Gandalf answers:
    If Bilbo had not helped the dwarves, they would never have fulfilled their quest, and Bilbo would in his turn not have gotten so far as to find the Ring without the Dwarves' help. And being able to help the Dwarves on several occasions, something which he would never have expected to be able to do, strengthened Bilbo's self-confidence, so that he was able to end the whole quest and carry the Ring until it was his time to give it away. By helping the Dwarves, he helped himself, and Gandalf and the whole of Middle-Earth.
     
  15. Confusticated

    Confusticated Registered User

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    Behold! Snooty old-timers and pop-culture loving Elberethians, the debate will end in approximately 24 hours. It will close on the 18th at 6:39 pm GMT.
     
  16. Snaga

    Snaga The Usual Suspect

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    Yes, certainly there is a grain of truth in what Gothmog says but it is not exactly right. Indeed Gandalf's cause was worthy, and as Niniel points out, his strategy was inextricably bound up with quest of the dwarves. And yet, even without the wider implications, to take back what was stolen by a dragon from the house of Durin is a worthy cause. To be deserving of support, it needs no further justification.

    After all, let us not forget that the dwarves of Moria, lead by Durin's house were part of the Last Alliance. They had long had prosperous dealings with the Free folk of the northwest of Middle Earth, including hobbits. That the house of Durin grew strong again was in the interest of more than just dwarves.
     
  17. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    So them, let us look at the Dwarves plans for the destruction of Smaug and just how much help it deserved from others. Apart that is from the selfishness of it, which has already been shown.

    Gandalf's views on their plans.
    and also
    from UT: The Quest of Erebor.

    So the plans of the Dwarves were nothing more nor less than Suicide, for them and any that went with them. Not my idea of a worth cause that deserved any and all help. However, Gandalf changed that. It was Gandalf that turned this from a foolish waste of time into a worthy cause, and it was Gandalf's cause not that of the Dwarves.

    As for Bilbo's willingness to go on such a quest we have Gandalf's own words to show just how willing he would be.
    And as we have seen such plans were needed or Bilbo would simply have stayed at home. He did not see that the cause of the Dwarves was so great that he willingly went with them. It was only the fact that Gandalf made sure that he did not have time to think about it that caused our Bilbo to join the Dwarves.
     
  18. Legolam

    Legolam Ad astra per aspera

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    Gothmog, your team still isn't countering the point of Bilbo's reward. A deserving cause must both be looked at from the point of view of people BEFORE the action, and AFTER. And the fact remains that, especially if you consider the dwarves' actions AFTER Bilbo's help (ie his reward and their friendship), the dwarves deserved Bilbo's help.

    Do you understand what I'm trying to say? OiE must prove that the dwarves didn't deserve Bilbo's help in the light of both what they did before his help, and what they did after. And I've seen no good argument to shake me from my belief, that the reward more than justified Bilbo's own inclination to help his friends the dwarves.
     
  19. Niniel

    Niniel Random Quoter

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    I'm not sure I understand what you mean Gothmog. You say that the Dwarves' cause was not worth help since it was suicide? I could agree with you if you said that it was not worth helping them if the Dwarves had tried to hang themselves, but going on their quest is quite something else. It might have been something which was very unlikely to succeed, but still the reasons why they did it were legitimate and deserved to be helped by Gandalf and Bilbo. That even Gandalf did not see much hope in it doesn't make it less worth helping, after all he did not see much hope in Frodo's attempt to destroy the Ring (he says so literally), and still he helped him with any means he could.
     
  20. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Why should we counter the point of Bilbo's reward??? He was employed to do a job and gave more help than the Dwarves deserved because of the type of person he was. The Dwarves understood this and as they did not deserve the help they did the next best thing and paid for it. However, this does not show that the Dwarves deserved all the help that Bilbo gave, only that Bilbo very much deserved the extra payment because he gave such help without worrying about if it was deserved.