As I perceive it, Artist Ann Boudreau’s lovely and evocative Thorin Wallpaper (right)–reflects a possible duality of Thorin’s character. The Thorin in shadow (left image) perhaps alluding to what had been in Thorin’s life, his past–the features are faded and difficult to discern. Contrastingly, the Thorin in light (right image)–shows every sharp detail of Thorin’s braid, armour, scowl, pelt, and velvet tunic–conveys the promise of life. And the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage portraying Thorin Oakenshield looks magnificent!
And Thorin has always had at least two sides to his personality for me. First and foremost, Thorin is a royal prince, a man for whom legacy and tradition have great meaning. So much so that Thorin is driven to reclaim his homeland–but also to reclaim his birthright to rule. And secondly, Thorin is a leader by his own deeds–fighting their foes, including a dragon, helping his people settle and prosper in exile, and in returning to the mountain, protecting what they have earned through their own sweat and toil, the gold and gems of Erebor.
And yet, there is another third side of Thorin that I wonder about regarding his emotional/romantic life–as alluded to by Richard Armitage wondering during THAUJ 2012 press interview with Hollywood.com if Thorin had been betrothed to a princess in an interview during the DofS press:
“Hoping to beef up Thorin’s emotional arc, Armitage discussed with [screenwriter Phillippa] Boyens the addition of backstory elements that would reveal that the dwarf prince lost a loved one. “A princess or someone he was betrothed to,” as Armitage describes it. “It was never something they were going to explore but I did keep it in my head that perhaps he was once in love, and it ended with Smaug. He’s focused on other things in his life.””
A princess for Thorin would have naturally involved his legacy–begetting more princes and future kings in and for the Durin Dynasty. And for the romantic soul in me, I think what was Thorin fighting for if not for hearth and home, loved ones, and perhaps, his love?
It seems very poignant to me that while other members of their Dwarven community married, had children, and plied their skills–fully rebuilding their lives in exile–that Thorin did not fully rebuild his life. Though returning to forging metal, Thorin did not marry and start a family, though he was an uncle mentor to his nephews. Thorin seemed to me to be a man waiting–perhaps waiting to wake up from the nightmare of their world and life and culture being destroyed by the dragon who claimed Erebor. Thus in being thwarted from fulfilling what would have been the natural path of his life, Thorin did not live his life fully. How many of us can think to times when life did not go as we planned or as we hoped–and we kept waiting for life to get back on track? For Thorin, getting back on track never happened. So Thorin does serve as a cautionary tale.
Richard Armitage (2012 THAUJ Japan press tour image left) spoke about the insights that he gained from portraying Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain in an interview to the The Latinos Post in December 2013 (during DofS press). At one point, they asked Mr. Armitage about the silmilarities and differences between himself and the character of Thorin. And Richard Armitage responded tellingly:
“I think there are a lot of similarities really between myself and the character but he is a complete fantasy creation. So you know I have to imagine most of him, the whole idea of a warrior king or the warrior prince is so far away from myself but Tolkien created such a well-rounded character in the book in terms of his skills and his emotional sense so that really wasn’t that hard to do. But I share his beliefs in honor and nobility and I disagree with him on certain thing. I try not to be as greedy as he and as single minded as he is.”
So what are the lessons that I take from Thorin? They are: Banish the regrets of the past. Do not weep for what was or what could have been, for they will never come again. And do not pine for a future that is perfect, for perfection is illusory–seemingly always out of our grasp. If we wait to be happy until we or our lives reach perfection, we will doom ourselves to unhappiness.
Personally, I rather like the sometimes unpredictable nature of life–such as my taking a job temporarily that over the past 29 years has developed and evolved into a career; and this job rooting me to one spot with a certain coterie of friends, facilitated me meeting my future hubby over 26 years ago; and my starting a little creative writing to kick start my dissertation writing has evolved into an enriching storywriting avocation as well as introducing me to a wider world of friends who also admire Richard Armitage and his storytelling.
So instead of languishing in the shadows of the past and wasting our time wishing for a future that cannot be, you can, like me, choose to reframe and redefine what happiness and fulfillment mean to us. We can choose: to not judge our lives now as being less than simply because they are different than expected or different than other people’s lives, to embrace our lives now, to appreciate our lives now, to value our lives now, to enjoy our lives now, and to celebrate our lives now. And perhaps with this view of life, our now moments are enough, and our now is more than enough to live our lives fully. Now is all that we have–and now is everything.