Movies and TV
A Defense of Thorin's Claim on the Treasure of Erebor

Ma'idah Lashani | 15 Jan 2015 09:00
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In Defense of Thorin social

By the end of The Hobbit trilogy, few will defend Thorin's seeming greed... but really he's just a stickler for a well-written contract.

Editor's Note: The following article is a bit different than our standard fare. With Thorin Oakenshield much maligned in The Hobbit trilogy - particularly The Battle of the Five Armies - Ma'idah Lashani felt the need to step in to defend Thorin's acts with a legal argument on the contracts of Middle-earth.

"You have no right to enter that mountain," Bard the Bowman says to Thorin, who replies simply and factually, "I have the only right."

Much of The Hobbit's newest film adaptation revolves around conflicting ownership claims to the treasure of Erebor, lost under the Lonely Mountain to Smaug the Destroyer long ago. The elves seek to have their silver and white gems returned, the men of Laketown would see their home restored to its former glory, and even the Dark Lord, Sauron, wants the fortress itself due to its strategically strong location. The original owner however, of Erebor, the gold, and the Arkenstone, a treasure beyond price, was Thrain I, who established the Kingdom under the Mountain and unearthed its heart. Thus any rightful claim to such bounty would pass patrilineally to Thrain's living heirs upon his death. And indeed, his descendant, Thorin I, later reinvigorated Erebor, founding the Second Kingdom and providing the town of Dale with the trade goods necessary to develop into a center of commerce.

Although Thorin I's folk were eventually ousted from their stronghold by the dragon, the claims of thieves are rarely tolerated by civilized society, and thus Smaug is clearly not the rightful owner of Erebor's treasure, despite retaining control. Even if the treasure were characterized as lost rather than stolen, in that case the finder may retain control over the object only so long as the true owner isn't staking a competing claim. Alternatively, one might seek to argue that the line of Thrain abandoned their property, however it is well known that that they only stopped seeking to reclaim it after realizing the futility of fighting a dragon. As soon as Thorin II discovered a potential means of evicting the dragon, he pursued the opportunity, demonstrating that he never abandoned the effort to take back his inheritance. Therefore, as a descendant of Thrain I, Thorin II is the true owner of the treasure of Erebor, and any that seek to exclude him from completely controlling it do so without right.

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