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Great Hall of Thráin

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The name Great Hall refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Great Hall (disambiguation).
J.R.R. Tolkien - Conversation with Smaug (large).jpg
Great Hall of Thráin
Physical Description
LocationThe mountain-root of Erebor
RealmsKingdom under the Mountain
InhabitantsDwarves, Smaug
DescriptionBottommost cellar or dungeon-hall
General Information
Other namesGreat Hall
Createdc. T.A. 1999
EventsSack of Erebor

The Great Hall of Thráin was the vast bottommost cellar of Erebor that served as the lair of Smaug the Dragon.[1]

Description

The Great Hall was located at the mountain's root and was the lowest chamber in the Lonely Mountain.[1] When Bilbo and the Dwarves ascended to the Front Gate from the Great Hall they had to climb "long stairs, and turned and went down wide echoing ways, and turned again and climbed yet more stairs, and yet more stairs again", which wore out the legs of the hobbit and gives some idea of how deep the Great Hall was.[2]

Its exact size is unknown,[note 1] but when Bilbo explored the space the Dwarves saw his light dwindle, disappear, and reappear as he climbed the mounds of treasure.[2] There was at least one stairway leading upward that was wide enough for Smaug to reach the Hall and coming down from the west was the tunnel from the secret Back Door, which was too small for the dragon to enter.[1]

The original function of the Great Hall of Thráin may have been as the throne-room of Thráin I, but later it became a dungeon/treasury,[1] possibly when the Great Chamber of Thrór was excavated. Untouched by the dragon were magical golden harps as well as chainmail and weapons that hung from the walls.[2] However, when first seen by Bilbo, the main feature of the hall was the hoard of treasure that Smaug had accumulated.[1]

History

In T.A. 1999 Thráin I came to Erebor and established the Kingdom under the Mountain.[3] Either then or soon thereafter the Arkenstone was discovered under the roots of the Mountain[1] and was kept in the newly made Great Hall (which was named after the kingdom's founder). The gemstone was removed when Thorin I departed for the Grey Mountains in 2210, but was brought back in T.A. 2590 when Thrór returned to Erebor, and the Arkenstone was again stored in the Great Hall.[3]

In 2770 Smaug descended upon the Mountain,[3] killing or routing all of the Dwarves. He took the Great Hall as his abode and piled all of his plunder in it for his bed.[4]

In 2941[3] Bilbo Baggins was the first person to visit the Great Hall of Thráin after the invasion of Smaug. On his first visit the dragon was asleep and the hobbit made off with a golden cup. On his second visit he conversed with Smaug and discovered the Worm's weak spot.[1] On his third visit, with the Dwarves, the company explored the Hall and escaped from the Mountain.[2] After the host of Elves and Men from Esgaroth arrived the Dwarves passed their time in the Great Hall piling and ordering the treasure, while Thorin searched for the Arkenstone.[5]

After the Battle of Five Armies the Arkenstone was not kept in the Great Hall; instead it was placed on Thorin's tomb where it is said that it gleamed in the dark at the approach of foes, preventing the Dwarf-realm from ever being taken unawares.[6]

Notes

  1. In The Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad estimated that the hall was at least 180 feet long, based on a guess that Smaug was 60 feet in length.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Not at Home"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Thief in the Night"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"