How might THE HOBBIT have gone differently if Gimli had been a character?

The broader question is what the dwarves were planning to do at all. It must have come up during the discussions of the journey, or at least over one of their camp fires. “Let’s say we make it all the way to the dragon … then what?” It seems like Gandalf would have pressed that point with them, and not just sent them off on a suicide mission.

You had to be a dick and put a taint on this thread…

Or maybe dwarves taste better raw–remember, several of the Dwarven rings were destroyed when their bearers got et by dragons.

In some of the extracurricular writing JRRT did (Unifinished Tales, maybe?), Gandalf actually does kind of admit to shoving everyone along to Erebor without a good notion of how in the hell they were going to kill Smaug. He just knew that Smaug would be devastating for the good guys if it came to open war with Mordor, knew he had to come up with a way to take him out before then, and he had a hunch that somehow this motley group could do something about him.


And he was great when he was in Jefferson Airplane too. :smiley:
Anyone care to fanwank how that happened? Could be fun.

Yeah, by the point that Bilbo was writing his memoirs, he’d been toting about and obsessing over the One Ring for quite a while. No effort at all to think he’d redacted his story to make himself look better from its influence.

Although, it does seem in the Silmarillion that dwarves in their full battle gear are remarkably resistant to dragonfire. Maybe not equipped for Smaug or not enough numbers for Smaug, but dunno if “no match” is the best description of the matchup.

I saw what BOTH of you did, there.

Knock it off, or I’ll ask skald to release the bees.

This probably explains why Balin & Co. thought it was a good idea to go back to Moria when Durin’s Bane was still there… “Hey, it turned out okay in Lonely Mountain. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Thorin had a plan. If he got the Arkenstone and enough other treasure to cover the cost of the voyage, he would have considered it a success. I think the plan went something like, steal Arkenstone, raise up Dwarves to come back and kick dragon butt.

Wouldn’t that make Gimli the second dwarf to reach The West. Since Balin also had a Wooden Ship?

I know the third step is profit.

I have often thought the same. That was an epic return to glory for the Dwarves and they would be heartened by the heroism involved. They may have felt well-nigh invulnerable.

Good point–I forgot about their face masks. I don’t think they were mentioned at all in The Hobbit. That would be a cool thing to see in PJ’s movie version (though, of course, you try to never put actors into helmets that cover their faces for very long, so I doubt we’ll see it).

You can get away with it if the masks are themselves distinctive enough, and it’s clear who’s wearing which mask.

We were told in Chapter 1 that hobbits can move “quietly and quickly.” Bilbo was going into the cave to scout things out, cat-burglar-like, sneaking in quietly. Gimli (and any of the other dwarves, for that matter) would have rattled and clattered, “making a noise like elephants” and alerted Smaug. So, the reality is that an experienced burglar would NOT have asked any other dwarves to come along.

The hobbit does have a paragraph about

If this is Bilbo’s (later) interpolation, I think it reflects his (limited) experience with dwarves and his inexperience as a burglar. If this is Tolkien’s comment, then I like the prior posts suggesting a resurgence of heroism amongst some of the dwarves following the death of Smaug.

Another thought: perhaps Gimli was sent to the Council of Elrond precisely because he was DIFFERENT from the other dwarves. “Good idea, Gloin, send him off to Rivendell, maybe he’ll lose some of these new-fangled notions of heroism and courage. Or maybe he won’t come back.”

I always Tolkien also didn’t think much of the dwarves in general. He was very much in love with all things elvish, obviously, and the beardies got shorted (so to speak).

Oh, I don’t think Bilbo genuinely wanted them to come along. He was annoyed with all the dwarvish racket as far back as the troll adventure, before he had become competent at all or had his ring. By that point I think he was savvy enough to understand both intellectually and emotionally that he simply had no use for the company of a single Dwarf, or even all 13, in Smaug’s lair.

As I wrote in the OP, he was simply mocking them for the hell of it. I think it fair to say that he LOVED the Dwarfs (some of them, at least) but didn’t much like them.

I’m sure you’re thinking of this:

You can find it in Unfinished Tales, and also in the excellent The Annotated Hobbit. It’s great to see Gandalf explaining at length what his thinking was, and what broader agenda he was pursuing.