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Thrushes

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[[Image:The Old Thrush.jpg|thumb|''The Old Thrush'' by Mark Poole]]
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'''Thrushes''' were large speckled brown birds with a special fondness for snails, whose shells they remove by breaking them against stones. A thrush of [[Lonely Mountain|Erebor]] was instrumental in the downfall of [[Smaug]].
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[[File:Mark Poole - The Old Thrush.jpg|thumb|''The Old Thrush'' by Mark Poole]]
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'''Thrushes''' are large speckled brown birds with a special fondness for snails, whose shells they remove by breaking them against stones. The thrush that [[Bilbo Baggins]] and the [[Thorin and Company|Dwarves]] encountered on the [[Lonely Mountain]] was unusually large and nearly black with dark spots on its pale yellow breast.<ref name="Doorstep">{{H|Doorstep}}</ref>  [[Thorin]] stated that it was a member of an ancient breed, long lived and magical.<ref name="Inside">{{H|Inside}}</ref>
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In {{TA|2941}}<ref>{{App|TA}}</ref> the thrush on the Lonely Mountain was instrumental in the downfall of [[Smaug]].  On [[Thrór's Map]], the [[Moon-letters]] instructions said to "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks" on [[Durin's Day]] to see the magic key-hole.<ref>{{H|Rest}}</ref>  Sure enough, when Durin's Day arrived this thrush knocked a snail on the grey stone in the small rocky alcove on the Mountain, which alerted the company to watch for the appearance of the keyhole and [[Back Door|secret door]].<ref name="Doorstep"/>
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The men of [[Lake-men|Lake-town]] and [[Men of Dale|Dale]] could understand the language of the thrushes, and some thrushes could understand the [[Westron|common tongue]].  Fortunately the thrush on the Mountain was one of them for he was able to understand Bilbo's account of his talk with Smaug and hear about the bare patch on the [[Dragons|dragon]]'s breast.<ref name="Inside"/>  On the night when Smaug attacked [[Esgaroth]] the thrush spoke to [[Bard]] and revealed the vulnerable part on the monster.  Bard was able to pierce the dragon with his arrow with this knowledge.<ref>{{H|Fire}}</ref>
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After the Dwarves and the Hobbit had escaped from the mountain to [[Ravenhill]] the thrush returned with the news of Smaug's demise.  Finding that none could understand his speech, the thrush left and brought back the raven [[Roäc]] who could translate the thrush's words.<ref>{{H|Gathering}}</ref>  After this exchange of information the thrush vanished from the scene.
  
Men of [[Lake-men|Lake-town]] and [[Men of Dale|Dale]] could understand the language of the thrushes, and some thrushes could understand the [[Westron|common tongue]].
 
 
==Inspiration==
 
==Inspiration==
 
In ''[[The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún]]'', a raven and a [[Wikipedia:Finch|finch]] speak two of the verses,<ref>{{HM|SG}}, pp. 116-117, 214-215</ref> reminiscent of the sentient thrushes and [[ravens]] in ''[[The Hobbit]]''.
 
In ''[[The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún]]'', a raven and a [[Wikipedia:Finch|finch]] speak two of the verses,<ref>{{HM|SG}}, pp. 116-117, 214-215</ref> reminiscent of the sentient thrushes and [[ravens]] in ''[[The Hobbit]]''.
  
==Portrayal in adaptations==
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==Other Versions of the Legendarium==
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On the earliest version of Thór's Map (called "Fimbulfambi's Map" by [[John D. Rateliff]] in ''[[The History of The Hobbit]]'' since that was Thór's original designation) the [[Moon-letters]] said to "Stand by the grey stone when the ''crow'' knocks…".  This was soon changed to ''thrush''.<ref>{{HH|Pryftan}}, pp. 22-23</ref>
  
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==Portrayal in adaptations==
 
'''1982-97: ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'':'''
 
'''1982-97: ''[[Middle-earth Role Playing]]'':'''
 
: Given gaming statistics, the Thrushes are among Radagast's principal agents and are friends of the Northmen. The thrush language, which can be learned by Elves and Men but not by Dwarves, is called "Throsel-tunge".<ref>{{ICE|2012}}</ref><ref>{{ICE|2016}}</ref>
 
: Given gaming statistics, the Thrushes are among Radagast's principal agents and are friends of the Northmen. The thrush language, which can be learned by Elves and Men but not by Dwarves, is called "Throsel-tunge".<ref>{{ICE|2012}}</ref><ref>{{ICE|2016}}</ref>

Revision as of 16:51, 10 July 2012

The Old Thrush by Mark Poole

Thrushes are large speckled brown birds with a special fondness for snails, whose shells they remove by breaking them against stones. The thrush that Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves encountered on the Lonely Mountain was unusually large and nearly black with dark spots on its pale yellow breast.[1] Thorin stated that it was a member of an ancient breed, long lived and magical.[2]

In T.A. 2941[3] the thrush on the Lonely Mountain was instrumental in the downfall of Smaug. On Thrór's Map, the Moon-letters instructions said to "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks" on Durin's Day to see the magic key-hole.[4] Sure enough, when Durin's Day arrived this thrush knocked a snail on the grey stone in the small rocky alcove on the Mountain, which alerted the company to watch for the appearance of the keyhole and secret door.[1]

The men of Lake-town and Dale could understand the language of the thrushes, and some thrushes could understand the common tongue. Fortunately the thrush on the Mountain was one of them for he was able to understand Bilbo's account of his talk with Smaug and hear about the bare patch on the dragon's breast.[2] On the night when Smaug attacked Esgaroth the thrush spoke to Bard and revealed the vulnerable part on the monster. Bard was able to pierce the dragon with his arrow with this knowledge.[5]

After the Dwarves and the Hobbit had escaped from the mountain to Ravenhill the thrush returned with the news of Smaug's demise. Finding that none could understand his speech, the thrush left and brought back the raven Roäc who could translate the thrush's words.[6] After this exchange of information the thrush vanished from the scene.

Inspiration

In The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, a raven and a finch speak two of the verses,[7] reminiscent of the sentient thrushes and ravens in The Hobbit.

Other Versions of the Legendarium

On the earliest version of Thór's Map (called "Fimbulfambi's Map" by John D. Rateliff in The History of The Hobbit since that was Thór's original designation) the Moon-letters said to "Stand by the grey stone when the crow knocks…". This was soon changed to thrush.[8]

Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Given gaming statistics, the Thrushes are among Radagast's principal agents and are friends of the Northmen. The thrush language, which can be learned by Elves and Men but not by Dwarves, is called "Throsel-tunge".[9][10]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Short Rest"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Fire and Water"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, pp. 116-117, 214-215
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Pryftan Fragment", pp. 22-23
  9. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012)
  10. Zachariah Woolf (1995), Lake-town (#2016)