I'm continuing to look into Thorin Oakenshield's ancestory as I think that this will help to understand the character in The Hobbit a little more. The other reason behind this series of "Thorin - centric" posts is that Richard Armitage has been cast as Thorin in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies - filming is reported to be starting this coming February. The cast is going to be huge with many favourites from LOTR returning. I'm still waiting to hear about Hugo Weaving and whether he will reprise Elrond. The other mystery is who will play Bard - many people who have followed my blogs for years will know that I had ear marked this role for RA but he was given Thorin instead. It will be interesting to see what he can do with Thorin as an initial reading of The Hobbit does not focus so much on character development as it does on the adventure. Thorin's fairly eventful past prior to "The Quest for Erebor" however, may allow us to understand his fairly (at times) taciturn nature as protrayed in the book. (I suspect J.R.R. Tolkien never intended for us to deeply analyse one of his characters, but knowing Richard Armitage's work as well as I do, I feel he will need a backstory to "inhabit" the character to his liking.).
To start, I've published a map of Middle-earth - this map is at the back of Mr Mulubinba's treasured copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is quite large, so I set him the project of turning it into a format that could be read on the blog. After an hour or so of frustration trying to scan parts of it, he finally took a photograph which allowed me to upload it as a jpeg. I find that following a map in order to identify the locations mentioned in a story adds to my enjoyment. I only wish I had a map of Uhtred's journeys in "Lords of the North" so that I could locate the placenames mentioned in that story.
Please click on the map to enlarge and zoom in to find the various dwelling places of the dwarves of Erebor (Thorin's kin). You may also find it helpful to follow the family tree published in the previous post.
The ancestory of Thorin Oakenshield is a story of mixed fortunes. The story of the Durin line through history is one of success and prosperity and then exile.
The Longbeards (descendants of Durin the Deathless), made Khazad-dûm (later known as Moria -Sindarin for "dark chasm") a place of much wealth and power. In the year 1980 of the Second Age however, the miners of Khazad-dûm led by Durin VI delved so deep to find mithril (a silvery metal that was stronger than steel), that they awoke an ancient demon, known as the balrog. The balrog killed Durin VI and Náin I, his son, was killed by it a year later. The dwarves therefore chose to leave Moria and many settled far to the North of Middle-earth. Náin I's son, Thráin I, however, went to Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) which is located East of Mirkwood and began a new mining community. Thráin I was known as "The King under the Mountain" and was Thorin Oakenshield's great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. it was at Erebor that Thráin I found the Arkenstone, a wondrous white gem stone which was then cut and fashioned by the dwarves and became an heirloom of Durin's line.
When Thorin I (son of Thráin I) became King, he elected to leave Erebor and reunite his people with those who had fled to the Grey Mountains (Ered Mithrin) after the fall of Moria. The Grey Mountains are located to the north of Erebor. These mountains were rich in resources and the dwarves mined them successfully for three generations. After many years however, dragons who lived and multiplied in the Northern wastes became strong and plundered the wealth of the dwarves. King Dáin I and his son Frór were slain by a cold-drake (a non fire breathing dragon). Dáin I's surviving sons fled from the Grey Mountains - the younger son, Grór, went away to the Iron Hills in the East with a group of Durin's people, while his older brother, Thrór, heir of Dáin I, along with his father's brother, Borin, and the remainder of their clan, returned to Erebor. Once more the Arkenstone was returned to Erebor. The community of dwarves prospered under Thrór's reign and a strong alliance was formed with the Men who lived nearby. The dwarves were fine craftsmen, and made weapons and armour as well as things of beauty. These were plentiful and peaceful times for the dwarves and in the year 2746 of the Third age, Thrór's grandson, Thorin II (later known as Thorin Oakenshield) was born.
(Sources for material on Durin's line: J.R.R. Tolkien. Appendix A, III, 'Return of the King" & Wikipedia)
To be continued .....