Recap - the reason for my "Thorin-centric" posting.
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. 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.).
2770 in the 3rd Age. The attack of Smaug and exile of the Dwarves of Erebor.
....... following on from the previous post - "Thorin's account of the Erebor of his youth"
The rumour of the wealth of Erebor spread abroad to the dragons of the north who lusted for gold and treasure. Without warning "Smaug the Golden" attacked Erebor and destroyed the realm of the dwarves and also the town of Dale. He set up residence in the Halls of Erebor sleeping on his pile of treasure.
While many dwarves were killed in the attack, many of Thrór's people escaped and fled. Both Thrór and his son Thráin were also able to escape via a secret door in the mountain. Thorin who was very young at the time (in dwarf years) had been playing out on the hills and watched helplessly from a distance as Smaug attacked.
" The few of us that were well outside sat and wept in hiding, and cursed Smaug; and there we were unexpectedly joined by my father and grandfather with singed beards. They looked very grim but they said very little. When I asked how they had got away, they told me to hold my tongue, and said that one day in the proper time I should know. After that we went away, and we have had to earn our livings as best we could up and down the lands, often enough sinking as low as black-smith work or even coal mining. But we have never forgotten our stolen treasure." (J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit").
So it was that Thorin and his family lost their lands and began wandering Middle-earth trying to earn a living in exile. Defeat and loss at the hands of a dragon. (Am I able to draw a parallel with another character played by RA who lost his lands, title and status as a young lad? Perhaps I am being too fanciful, but the desire for Guy to reclaim his status may well be applied to this character. I hasten to add that before RA/Guy fans indulge in wishful thinking too far, we will hardly be seeing any more similarities between the characters - certainly not in looks ... maybe a little in temperament, but Thorin is no villain! Still, perhaps RA will be able to portray some of the emotions of the noble in exile which he has done so well in the past. As I wrote this, I realised that Lucas North in series 7 of Spooks has elements of needing to reclaim his former status as well. RA plays characters who have been "displaced" to perfection - certainly there will be plenty of scope for brooding, impatience, gruffness and physical prowess in this role).
2770 - 2790 3rd Age. Exile and the death of Thrór.
After the sacking of Erebor in 2770, I found it hard to trace the movements of the dwarves - they experience a diaspora of sorts and Durin's folk are scattered throughout Middle-earth. What I was able to find out was that Thorin's family and a small company of their kinsmen became homeless wanderers for over 20 years. I was able to piece together the fact that they spent time in Dunland, between the Misty Mountains and the River Greyflood and slightly to the south of the west gate of Moria.
In 2779, Thrór, described as "old, poor, and desperate", went away with one old companion, Nár. In the appendices at the end of "The Return of the King", Thrór is described as "a little crazed perhaps with age and misfortune and long brooding on the splendour of Moria in his forefather's days" (Appendix A: III. "Return of the King"). On his departure, he bequeaths to Thráin his last piece of treasure which he has kept in secrecy. This was the last of the Seven Rings forged by the elves of Eregion under the guidance of a disguised Sauron (explanation to follow). It is proposed in the Appendix referenced above that part of Thrór's madness may have been caused by the Ring itself - the evil within it was awakening as its Master became more powerful in Dol Guldur.
Thrór travels inadvisedly to Moria in search of the ancient kingdom of his ancestors. He never returned for he had entered the eastern gates of Moria only to be slain by Azog, the leader of the Orcs now residing there. Nár, his companion found his body outside the gates. Azog had severed Thrór's head and branded his name on Thrór's forehead. Azog refused to allow Nár to take Thrór's body for burial and as he fled down the Silverlode weeping, he turned to see the Orcs chopping up the body and feeding it to the crows. That was how Thrór, who was once the proud King under the Mountain and grandfather of Thorin, died.