The Hobbit

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The Elvenking Character Analysis

The leader of the wood-elves, who imprisons Thorin and the dwarves and later marches to the Lonely Mountain to claim a part of the treasure after Smaug’s death (the elves have long believed that the dwarves stole some of that treasure form the elves, though the dwarves believe the elves stole treasure form the dwarves).

The Elvenking Quotes in The Hobbit

The The Hobbit quotes below are all either spoken by The Elvenking or refer to The Elvenking. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ballantine Books edition of The Hobbit published in 2012.
Chapter 18 Quotes

From that treasure Bard sent much gold to the Master of Lake-town; and he rewarded his followers and friends freely. To the Elvenking he gave the emeralds of Girion, such jewels as he most loved, which Dain had restored to him. To Bilbo he said:
"This treasure is as much yours as it is mine; though old agreements cannot stand, since so many have a claim in its winning and defense. Yet even though you were willing to lay aside all your claim, I should wish that the words of Thorin, of which he repented, should not prove true: that we should give you little. I would reward you most richly of all."
"Very kind of you," said Bilbo. "But really it is a relief to me. How on earth should I have got all that treasure home without war and murder all along the way, I don't know. And I don't know what I should have done with it when I got home. I am sure it is better in your hands."

Related Characters: Bilbo Baggins (speaker), Bard (speaker), Dain, The Elvenking
Page Number: 293
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Bilbo and Bard—the brave leader who slays Smaug—discuss the future of the treasure that the dwarves have claimed for themselves. Bard is now a leader of the men, and has been charged with distributing the share of gold that Thorin, on his deathbed, bequeathed to him. As Bard discusses his decisions with Bilbo, it becomes clear that he and Bilbo are rather similar, and are two of the most "heroic" characters in the novel. They're both modest, intelligent, and fairly uninterested in material wealth. (Unlike Thorin, Bard leads his followers without selfishly claiming a "right" to treasure—on the contrary, he gives away large quantities of treasure, and says that he would like to give even more to Bilbo.) Both Bard and Bilbo also feel a strong connection to a particular place: Bard to his hometown, and Bilbo to his hobbit-hole.

But where Bard's connection to a place leads him to become a leader, Bilbo's nostalgia for home draws him away from adventure and back to a life of peaceful complacency. As Bilbo explains here, he wants to return to his hobbit-hole, and has no real interest in treasure anymore. Bilbo has received something more valuable than treasure: an unforgettable experience.


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The Elvenking Character Timeline in The Hobbit

The timeline below shows where the character The Elvenking appears in The Hobbit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: Barrels Out of Bond
Home and Birthright Theme Icon the elves march the dwarves into their city. The dwarves are presented to the Elvenking, who questions them and reprimands them for using his roads and attacking the spiders, thereby... (full context)
Chapter 14: Fire and Water
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...Lonely Mountain, Beorn, the goblins, and the wood-elves also learn that Smaug has died. The Elvenking of Mirkwood marches to Esgaroth, where he offers aid to the sick and injured men... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon, and Bard is ready to open fire on them, starting a huge battle. The Elvenking urges Bard to wait a little longer, in the event that a last-minute event might... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Return Journey
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...the dwarves, reminding them that they’re always welcome in his home. He also gives the Elvenking a necklace. When the Elvenking is confused, Bilbo explains that the necklace is a gift... (full context)