Official Description: As a young Dwarf prince, Thorin witnessed the destruction and terror wrought when a great fire-breathing Dragon attacked the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. After slaughtering many of Thorin’s kin, the great serpent, Smaug, entered The Lonely Mountain and took possession of its vast store of gold and jewels. No-one came to the aid of the surviving Dwarves, and thus, a once proud and noble race was forced into exile. Through long years of hardship, Thorin grew to be a strong and fearless fighter and revered leader. In his heart a fierce desire grew; a desire to reclaim his homeland and destroy the beast that had brought such misery upon his people. So when fate offers him an unusual ally, he seizes the chance for revenge.
TheOneRing.net Description: Thorin Oakenshield’s story is one of great daring, pride, revenge, and tragedy. Thorin II hails from a direct royal lineage (the House of Durin) traceable all the way back to the original Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. His clan is also known as the Longbeards.
Thorin’s early years at the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) give The Hobbit its foundational plot and all that happens therein comes from his efforts to avenge the wrongs against his House. At the age of 24, Thorin witnessed the arrival of the dragon Smaug and the slaying of his kin (T.A. 2770). The tragic memory was burned permanently into Thorin’s heart. Twenty-nine years later he fought valiantly against the Orcs beneath the East-gate of Moria at the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he earned the surname “Oakenshield” by using a great oak-branch in a pinch as both shield and weapon.
For the next century Thorin lived with the dwarves of the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin) just west of the Shire, where he became King of Durin’s Folk after his father Thráin’s disappearance. This living situation was considered untenable by the House of Durin, most acutely felt by Thorin, who called it “poor lodgings in exile.”
His desire to seek the vast wealth of Erebor and reclaim it from the dragon was augmented by Gandalf, who promised Thorin the perfect “burglar” to assist. In T.A. 2941 Thorin moved forward with his scheme, bringing twelve dwarves with him (several related directly, such as his young cousins Fíli and Kíli) to Bilbo Baggins’ front door. The Quest of Erebor had begun.
Analysis: The role of Thorin Oakenshield was previously voiced by Hans Conried in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of The Hobbit.
Thorin exhibits the most common (and perhaps endearing) traits with which Tolkien imbued his Dwarven race. He was obstinate, willful, yet very strong – characteristics that placed Thorin deeply in peril as much as they helped save him during their journey. Bilbo learns much of the outside world by attentively listening to Thorin’s passion, stories, and songs. Though they seem to have little in common, the two slowly learn to appreciate each other as they brave many hardships. Thorin’s efforts to secure his rightful place on the throne ultimately leads to a new era for Durin’s Folk in Exile.
In his published Letters (No. 297), Tolkien defends the cultivation of dwarf-names from the traditional Norse poem, the Völuspá. He notes that although the names of Thorin and Company derive from the well-known epic poem, the actual histories of these characters in his own Middle-earth are his unique invention. The Professor states that: “In Völuspá, Eikinskjaldi rendered Oakenshield is a separate name, not a nickname; and the use of the name as a surname and the legend of its origin will not be found in Norse.”
- “We are met together in the house of our friend and fellow conspirator, this most excellent and audacious hobbit – may the hair on his toes never fall out!” (to his Company)
- “I like six eggs with my ham, when starting on a journey: fried not poached, and mind you don’t break ’em.” (to Bilbo)
- “… Nothing was further from our thoughts than inconveniencing goblins in any way whatever.” (to the Great Goblin)
- “A feast would be no good, if we never got back alive from it.” (to Bombur)
- “I am Thorin son of Thráin son of Thrór King under the Mountain! I return!” (to the Lake-town assembly)
- “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West.” (to Bilbo)