Tolkien Gateway

Bladorthin

"... the spears that were made for the armies of the great King Bladorthin (long since dead), each had a thrice-forged head and their shafts were inlaid with cunning gold, but they were never delivered or paid for..."
[1]

Bladorthin was a king of some realm of Middle-earth during the mid-Third Age.

Questions about whether Bladorthin was a Man or an Elf, or precisely where his kingdom lay, must remain in the realm of speculation.

Contents

[edit] History

Bladorthin ruled a great kingdom which maintained armies and had trade relationships with Erebor. His rule could be placed anytime between T.A. 1999 and T.A. 2770.

He had ordered thrice-forged spears of superior quality for his soldiers from the Dwarves of Erebor. The smiths forged them, but for some reason Bladorthin never received his weapons and the spears remained in their halls.[1]

It is possible that the descent of Smaug on the Lonely Mountain was what prevented the trade, in which case his death can be put after that event.

On the other hand his death was perhaps premature and it was the reason that the trade was never completed.[2]

In any case, he died long before T.A. 2941.[1]

[edit] Etymology

John D. Rateliff has noted that Tolkien never explained the meaning of the name Bladorthin. He identifies the name as "clearly Gnomish (or perhaps Noldorin)".

The Gnomish element blador "probably applies to wide open country" (cf. Bladorinand, an early name of Beleriand), whereas the element -thin likely has the meaning of "grey" (as in Thingol). This would give the translation "the Grey Country", "Grey Plains Fay", or "Grey Master of the Plains".[3]

[edit] Other Versions of the Legendarium

In the early drafts of The Hobbit, Bladorthin was the name of Gandalf (who would later be assigned the colour "grey" in The Lord of the Rings). A connection can still be seen with the element -thin with the probable meaning "grey" (see above).[3]

[edit] Speculation

  • Robert Foster suggests Bladorthin was an Elven king and that his premature death prevented the trade. The speculation that his death was premature narrows down the time of his death between T.A. 1999 (the establishment of the Kingdom under the Mountain) and T.A. 2770 (its destruction by Smaug).
  • J.E.A. Tyler also interprets his death as premature
  • Michael Martinez also interprets his death as premature, and suggests that he was a King of Dale, perhaps ancestor of Girion.[4]
  • Douglas A. Anderson in The Annotated Hobbit suggests he was a mortal Man.
  • An article in the Tolkienwiki suggests not only that his death was premature but that his kingdom was destroyed by Sauron, presumably located near the Sea of Rhûn.[5]
  • Andreas Moehn counters most of the common theories, notably the interpretation that his death was premature. As the book does not mention his death as such, most probable is that Smaug's arrival in T.A. 2770 prevented the trade. Therefore he must died sometime later. He also rejects the theory that his kingdom was related to Dale, and locates it in Dorwinion.

[edit] Portrayal in Adaptations

2003: The Hobbit:

Bladorthin's spears are some of the items Bilbo Baggins must find in Erebor for a quest in the chapter "Inside Information".

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  2. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Bladorthin"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit: One-volume Edition, pp. 52-3, 62-3
  4. Parma Endorion
  5. FAQ: Who was King Bladorthin?

[edit] External links