Pre-emptive warning for movie spoilers.
This all started when I began looking into Bilbo’s mithril shirt for our mega-spoiler post, following up a tip from an eagle-eyed reader that said shirt had been sighted in one of Peter Jackson’s previous production blogs.
It wasn’t the clearest of vision, but yes it seemed as though it was Bilbo’s mithril shirt — the same one we see him give to Frodo at Rivendell in The Fellowship of the Ring. Nice to know, but not much of a revelation.
An old, new publicity still
Then I stumbled on another interesting image of Bilbo while running some Google image searches on Bard and his family. It wasn’t new.
In fact it was a publicity still originally published in one of the Desolation of Smaug (DOS) movie tie-in books laste last year.
However, having just spent quite a time examining Bilbo’s neckline quite closely, I noticed something that didn’t gel with DOS (something you’ll also spot if you click open the high-resolution version below and then compare it against Bilbo’s neckline when he’s outside the mountain trying to get in): a glint of silver and gold around the throat.
That meant it wasn’t really a DOS image at all — instead it was (and is) a still related to our third and final film, the Battle of the Five Armies.
Going climbing? But where?
Chatting with TheHutt of Russian LOTR and Tolkien site Henneth-Annun.ru, we both started wondering at the rest of Bilbo’s kit. It is not the same as the kit Bilbo hauled up the mountain. In DOS images, Bilbo’s bedroll is always the key element of his pack as they scale Erebor. A pack that has a twist of rope for a strap. The bedroll is missing from the above publicity still, and the pack has a leather strap.
Instead, Bilbo is very obviously carrying a climber’s gear. There’s a hefty length of rope tied-off to the handle of something which is most certainly not Sting (Doesn’t Bilbo carry Sting scabbarded at his hip? In any case the handle is the wrong shape and colour — it seems to be rusted and pitted iron). Bound to the rope, it’s a logical guess that it must be a climbing anchor — a piton.
Bilbo is also wearing mittens — and they look to be Ori’s fingerless mittens. If you look closely at the publicity still again, you’ll note a tiny bit of bared knuckle as Bilbo’s fingers curl around the strap on the lower hand.
Why does Bilbo have Ori’s gloves? One conclusion: he’s borrowed them to protect his hands as he descends that rope and escapes from Erebor. His plan is to sneak into the camp of the besieging elves and men and deliver them the Arkenstone and bring an end to the stand-off. And that means the Arkenstone would be in that pack, too.
It seems to fit what we see.
Or maybe they just threw a bunch of props together without thinking much about it. That’s possible too. 😉
Demosthenes has been an incredibly nerdy staff member at TheOneRing.net since 2001. The wacky theories in this article are his own, and do not necessarily represent those of other TORn staff.