Thorin Oakenshield is a major character in The Hobbit and is mentioned in passing in The Lord of the Rings. He was the leader of the Company of Dwarves who aimed to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon, and was the son of Thráin II, the King of Durin's Folk in their exile from Erebor, and the grandson of King Thrór.
Thorin is described as being very haughty, stern, and officious. He has a talent for singing and playing the harp, wears a gold chain, and has a very long beard. He refers to his homes in the Blue Mountains as "poor lodgings in exile." He is a capable and a cunning warrior, if not a particularly inspiring or clever leader.
In The Hobbit, Thorin and twelve other Dwarves, mostly relatives of his or others of Durin's Folk, visited Bilbo Baggins on Gandalf's advice to hire him as a burglar, to steal back their treasure from Smaug. He especially wanted the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain.
He alone was not taken by complete surprise when the company encountered a band of Trolls, and he and Gandalf fought valiantly in the Goblin tunnels. Even so, his leadership is not particularly distinguished until very late in the quest, and then he does not show much wisdom. Thorin is the first to be captured by the Wood-Elves of Mirkwood, and insists that the other Dwarves not disclose their quest to their captors. He is the first to emerge from the barrels at Lake-town and marches right up to the leaders of the town, declaring himself as King Under the Mountain.
Thorin was furious when Bilbo stole the Arkenstone to use as a bargaining counter with Thranduil, the Elvenking, and Bard the Bowman, both of whom had some claim to the treasure. The conflict was averted by an attack of Goblins and Wargs, and the Dwarves joined forces with the Elves, the Men of Lake-town, and the great Eagles to defeat them in what came to be known as the Battle of Five Armies. During the battle Thorin was mortally wounded, but before he died he made his peace with Bilbo.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell.
Thorin had recovered the Elven blade Orcrist during the quest. He came upon it in a Troll stash (after barely escaping with his life). He used it throughout the Quest of Erebor, but it was taken from him after he was captured by the Wood-elves. The sword was given back after his death and was laid upon the tomb (the Arkenstone was placed in the tomb itself) so that ever after the blade would glow blue should enemies approach and the mountain could never be taken by surprise. Thorin was succeeded as the leader of Durin's Folk by his cousin, Dáin Ironfoot.
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