[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Cate Blanchett/Liv Tyler as Sulisha Weaverdale, Ken Stott as Balin, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, Dean O’Gorman as Prince Fili, Aidan Turner as Prince Kili, Wir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Hugo Weaving as Lord Elrond, Liv Tyler as Lady Arwen, Lee Pace as King Thranduil, and Billy Connolly as King Dain Ironfoot, and others as noted, etc.]
Author’s Content Note: “Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love” is a story of romance and intrigue set against the backdrop of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (S) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments (D). I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to some tense situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read the chapters with those labels. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: At King Thorin and Queen Sulisha’s wedding feast, the boys–Prince Fili and Prince Kili–make like obsequious Elves in their determination to win the interest of the fair Princess Bethelwyn of the Iron Hills. The bridal couple look on in amusement only so much before they wish to extricate themselves from the party to begin their wedding night. And having a premonition about Dwarven bridal chamber interruption pranks, King Thorin thwarts any would be pranksters by whisking away his bride to a secluded cottage where they share their love for the first time as husband and wife. And as they dream happily, a grey finch on a reconnaissance cheats certain death in its bid to return and report to its master in Rivendell.
“Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love”, Ch. 6: Grey
The grey mists hang over the rooftops of Rivendell [(2) right], muting the midday sun. The mists are portentous–not necessarily of doom, but certainly of something disquieting. It is almost have if the mists are Middle Earth trying to warn him of impending evil. And the mists have an unwelcome affect upon the Wizard Gandalf’s hair and beard–causing them to become bushier due to the added humidity.
And grey is how Gandalf feels at the prospect of no forward progress with regard to his mission the last two weeks. If he thought the Dwarves were intractable, he had not reckoned upon the complacency he now faces from the Elves–particularly from King Thranduil.
To be sure that Lord Elrond [(3)] of Rivendell is a sensible Elven warrior noble–him also perceiving that evil is once again threatening the realm of Middle Earth. And Lord Elrond has been most helpful indeciphering a certain map that Gandalf has in his possession. A map that will show the way in to Erebor on the next Durin’s Day–ten months from now.
But what is one sensible Elf and Wizard up against an armour of silver lame disdain from that Elf’s liege lord, King Thranduil? [(4) right] King Thranduil is so entrenched in his isolationist views–of cutting off his kingdom from the rest of Middle Earth–that Gandalf despairs of ever finding a way to impart to the king the gravity of the situation in Mirkwood and beyond. Mirkwood–that formerly was the Green Wood, when it was vibrant and lush–is one telling feature of Middle Earth’s threatened state.
And grey was his attire–and grey was his name, Gandalf the Grey [(5) right]. Anyone else might feel drab in head to toe grey, but Gandalf relishes it. Albeit, the progression of Wizardly accomplishment being ranked by corresponding colored garments had its earlier vexing moments for him. Radagast the Brown was firmly entrenched in the forest and does not wish to advance. Who can blame Radagast when a purple hue would await him next?
During Gandalf’s purple Wizard phase, he had had the misfortune to be accosted by a noble Elven girl child named Lady Arwen –Lord Elrond’s daughter–who delighted in appallingly referring to him as her Orchid Wizard. And most unfortunately, others adopted that misbegotten moniker as well. And for a time–a very short time for him, a mere 100 years–Gandalf lingered in lavender lethargy, so morose was he. Yet spurred on by the promise of extracting himself from the ignominy of purple, Gandalf achieved the next blue wizard level–which then led to his current grey Wizard level rank.
And there are advantages for Gandalf wearing his grey Wizard garment–it does not show wear and soiling quite so much as the other garment colors did. So he does not care how much he travels by foot on dusty trails. And though one might wonder why a Wizard does not simply wave away any dirt with his magic, Gandalf’s brand of Wizard magic has always been rather incendiary. So Gandalf the Grey does not wish to set his clothes on fire–nor to knock his garments off his person.
But Gandalf the Grey’s mission to procure support and supplies from the Elves in preparation for the Dwarves of Durin trying to reclaim Erebor from Smaug, will have to look for aid from another quarter. And perhaps that quarter might be a diminuative one at that. Gandalf had recently passed through the Shire and stopped to mention to the Took heir Bilbo Baggins of Bag End [(6) right], that he “was looking for someone to go on an adventure.” However, Bilbo didn’t leap at the chance for an adventure–so entrenched in home and hearth is he. So Gandalf must find another approach to entice this recalcitrant Hobbit to join him.
And another approach is what Gandalf will also need to convince King Thorin of the House of Durin in Exile that the time is ripe to mount a quest to reclaim the Erebor Mountain fortress. Erebor Mountain and surrounding lands are more than the Dwarven fortress and palace, it is the line of Durin’s ancestral homeland. And that is the appeal that Gandalf the Grey presumes to take–that of honor and legacy. The Erebor Mountain fortress is also a stronghold from which its wealth and location can offer a perfect vantage point with which to defend Middle Earth.
There is just one problem. An alarming announcement has reached Gandalf the Grey’s very long and pointy ears–courtesy of an astutely informed grey finch newly arrived in Rivendell. King Thorin has married and taken a Queen. And the lady in question is not of royal birth–not even of noble birth. Such that Gandalf surmises that King Thorin’s impetus in marrying is not for political alliance–nor for any gain–but for love.
And though Gandalf the Grey had never married–nor even become infatuated with romance since his wizard calling was so all consuming–he has come to acknowledge that marriage and romance have an appeal for others, however little understanding and sympathy he has for that notion himself.
Love. Gandalf wrinkles his nose in consternation. Heaven keep fools–and himself–from falling prey to love’s power to bewitch. Yet King Thorin is purported to be in love with his new wife. And what man in love wants to leave his new bride to go on a quest? Gandalf harrumphs morosely about potentially failing to convince the Dwarves that their time is now to reclaim Erebor.
Yet Gandalf has more to worry about than only King Thorin becoming distracted by love, there is King Thorin’s current heir Prince Fili to worry about falling under love’s spell. After the wedding festivities of King Thorin and Queen Sulisha’s wedding ended, Princess Bethelwyn returned to the Iron Hills. And she was not alone. Prince Fili accompanied her entourage in the hope of expanding their acquaintanceship. For he is smitten.
However, finding that his daughter Princess Bethelwyn returns to him unwed, nor even betrothed, causes her proud and beard tusks adorned Dwarven father King Dain II Ironfoot [(7) right] of the Iron Hills to fume and bellow at anyone within his gaze in the now almost empty and cavernous Iron Hills Palace throne room. Though with King Dain’s firey ginger Dwarven red hair, a placid demeanor was never expected of him.
King Dain: “This is an affront to my and our people’s honor that our Princess Bethelwyn–my beloved and most esteemed daughter–returns to me unmarried and unbetrothed!” King Dain sputters wildly. And just now, Prince Fili is target number one.
Prince Fili: “No insult was intended, oh gracious King Dain.” Prince Fili bows respectfully. But flattery will not appease, King Dain–let alone, aid the situation.
King Dain: “You, do not speak!” King Dain points and jabs energetically toward Prince Fili. Then the Iron Hills guards surrounding him comply and hold Prince Fili’s arms, and clamp a Dwarven hand over his mouth.
However, the lady in question tries to intercede in a calm and regal manner as befits her royal station. Her almost golden hued hair and calm poise [(8) right] owe more to her mother’s bloodline and influence, than to her father’s.
Princess Bethelwyn: “I tried, Dear Papa. But King Thorin was already engaged to the lady when I arrived.” She shrugs her shoulders. Her heart was not committed to King Thorin, so her disappointment is minimal.
King Dain: “What lady is she who takes your rightful place?”
Princess Bethelwyn smiles sheepishly at her perturbed Papa. Then the ancient Iron Hills Ambassador weighs in as a tired voice of reason.
Ambassador Gehrain: “My King, King Thorin has married–elsewhere. We must accept what has already come to pass.”
King Dain: “Why must we accept it!?!” King Dain stomps back and forth in front of the three of them–Princess Bethelwyn, Prince Fili, and Ambassador Gehrain.
Ambassador Gehrain: “Because we cannot change it. And if you do not want the alternative betrothal proposal to slip through your stubby fingers, I suggest that you unshackle Prince Fili this instant!” The Ambassador can be just as imperious as King Dain, whom he has mentored and advised since the King’s young adulthood.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Please, Papa? Prince Fili has something to propose.” She darts the young Durin prince a sly sweet glance. And mirthful Prince Fili winks at her.
King Dain: “What is this!?! You dare to wink at my Dwarven princess daughter? You swine! You offspring of foul King Thrain! Answer me!” The Dwarven guard’s hand is removed from Prince Fili’s mouth.
Prince Fili: Keeping an even and unruffled vocal tone, Prince Fili smiles cordially [(9) right] at the tempestuous monarch. “My dear King Dain, cousin, though I am delighted that you were acquainted my late grandfather King Thrain …” Prince Fili guessing the insult’s target most astutely was King Thrain II. “I was told that in his later years–when peace and prosperity were Durin’s, before the dragon Smaug’s attack–my grandfather became more fond of bathing.” Prince File grins, most disconcertingly for King Dain. Then Prince Fili becomes sober and glares daggers at King Dain. “However, my Grandfather King Thrain’s murder in Dol Guldur [(10)] should engender respect for his sacrifice.”
King Dain scowls at the young upstart Dwarven Prince. And Princess Bethelwyn hastens to Prince Fili’s side to admonish him in a hushed voice.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Prince Fili, Papa neither understands nor appreciates … humor. Let alone …”
Prince Fili: Turning to her with a wry smile, he whispers. “I can well believe it.”
Ambassador Gehrain: “Your highnesses, we are veering away from the topic at hand.”
King Dain: “Which is?” King Dain snaps at his ambassador.
Ambassador Gehrain: “The Princess Bethelwyn’s betrothal to …” But he is interrupted.
Prince Fili: “Me!” And Prince Fili takes Princess Bethelwyn’s hand and curls it around his arm, smiling down at her. He likes that she is a bit shorter than he. Though older than his brother Prince Kili by five years, Prince Fili does not quite have the tallness associated with his brother and Uncle King Thorin.
King Dain: “You?” King Dain spits out incredulously.
When he is most angered, King Dain reverts to comments of fewer and fewer syllables–until he speaks no more and lunges at the object of his ire, as he does now.
But the young and spry Prince Fili is too swift for the much older King Dain as he deftly moves himself and Princess Bethelwyn out of the way. Then Prince Fili takes Princess Bethelwyn in his arms and proceeds to waltz around the empty throne room with her–further angering her father.
King Dain: “Arrrgh!”
Ambassador Gehrain: Holding back King Dain, the Ambassador advises. “Now now! Remember My King, Prince Fili is next in line as Durin’s King.”
Prince Fili: “You never know, my uncle and his wife could bear only daughters–as my mother bore only sons.” He winks at Princess Bethelwyn again, and she smiles shyly. “So I will need a wife fit to be queen.” Prince Fili gazes deeply into Princess Bethelwyn’s corresponding blue eyes to his blue eyes. “And my Lady Princess Bethelwyn is my choice.”
Princess Bethelwyn: Tossing over her shoulder to her father King Dain, she smiles prettily. “Oh please, Papa. I like Prince Fili! He is fun and dances well! I want to marry him!” One can tell that the Princess Bethelwyn has led quite a sheltered life–her father’s ancient warrior friends comprising the bulk of her male acquaintances. So practically any Dwarven man under the age of 100 years would catch her eye and interest. It is therefore fortunate that Prince Fili fits those requirements–as well as, he is of the noble lineage of the House of Durin, and that he is fun.
King Dain: “But you’re too young to marry, My Bethy! You have no beard! You’re only forty years old!”
Princess Bethelwyn: Looking over her shoulder as she waltzes, Princess Bethelwyn argures shrewdly. “But Papa, you were going to marry me to the much older King Thorin. And he is 150 years older than I am.”
Ambassador Gehrain: “My King, Princess Bethelwyn becoming betrothed to Prince Fili will be a good thing in uniting the House of Durin with the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. You will see.” He notes smugly as one who has brokered many a noble marriage in his day.
King Dain: “I am most displeased.” He states with a frown that lowers his eyebrows almost to his cheeks. “But I will reluctantly consent.”
Prince Fili: “Excellent! Shall we plan for a wedding a few weeks hence?” Prince Fili tightens his hold upon Princess Bethelwyn. And she gasps to feel him gently squeezing her waist at her hip in a most pleasantly unsettling way. Hmmm.
King Dain: “No! We must have proper time to prepare a wedding that befits our princess. It will also give you time to get to know each other better. Your betrothal will last five years.”
Princess Bethelwyn: “Noooo, Papa! I want to marry Prince Fili as early as possible!”
Prince Fili does wonder about her rush. He has not had time to romance her–yet. Though he does not think that she could be desirous of him, he puffs out his chest a bit at her eagerness.
Ambassador: “Five months, My King?”
Prince Fili: Prince Fili scowls at the traitorous Ambassador. “Nay! I will marry Princess Bethelwyn in five weeks–or not at all!” He bargains deftly with his future father-in-law.
Princess Bethelwyn’s pleading pout for the shorter betrothal period of five weeks affects her Papa. And not wanting to disappoint his daughter, King Dain gives in–but does so reluctantly.
And Prince Fili muses that his Uncle King Thorin and Aunt Queen Sulisha will be home in two weeks from their wedding trip to visit their peoples of Durin in the Blue Mountains. So a wedding in five weeks will be ideal in his mind. Whereas Princess Bethelwyn calculates how long it will take her say her goodbyes to all of her Iron Hills friends and the peoples taking about three weeks. Though some might suggest that she also get to know her future husband better during that time as well.
However Gandalf the Grey will have a more important reason–in his mind–than a wedding, for visiting the Dwarves of Durin in a few weeks time. And if Gandalf thought King Thranduil was difficult to deal with, he will find the Dwarven King Thorin, quite intractable as well.
To be continued with Chapter 7
References for Ch. 6, October 31, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace
1) Revised: My “Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love” story cover art I created is comprised of two images:
a) A cropped and masked head shot of a beautiful portrait drawing of Thorin Oakenshield by the talented artist Yanagoya of Thorin holding the Arkenstone found here http://rebloggy.com/post/the-hobbit-yana-art-thorin-arkenstone/41711190148 ; with the Thorin portrait face being in the image (cropped and masked by someone else, unknown) is of the talented actor Richard Armitage who portrayed Thorin in The Hobbit trilogy of films.
b) A cropped section of a screen cap of the Elven cave that I made from the first trailer for THDofS serves as the background image.
c) story cover image link for Wattpad: https://gratianads90.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/thorinsjourneyanunexpectedlove-storycover_oct0815gratianalovelace-256×401.jpg
3) Lord Elrond of Rivendell image is of Hugo Weaving and was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Elrond
4) King Thranduil image is of Lee Pace and was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Thranduil
5) Gandalf image and Tolkien legend info was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Gandalf
6) Gandalf and Bilbo at Bag End image and Tolkien legend info was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Gandalf
7) King Dain II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills image is of Billy Connolly in The Hobbit and was found at http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f6613356d48bf211505d7c67b326ccaf.jpg ; for more about this Tolkien character, visit http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/D%C3%A1in_II_Ironfoot
8) The painting of a young lady that represents Princess Bethelwyn in this story was a previously lost Leonardo Da Vinci work. Peter Silverman and Catherine Whitney wrote a book about that discovery that was reviewed in the Washington Post by T. Rees Shapiro (May 04, 2012), with the lady in the painting described as:
“She was Bianca, the illegitimate daughter of a Milanese duke, and was to be married to the duke’s army commander. Da Vinci created the portrait in honor of the marriage.” Here is the link to the Washington Post book review where the painting graphic was found: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/leonardos-lost-princess-one-mans-quest-to-authenticate-an-unknown-portrait-by-leonardo-da-vinci-by-peter-silverman-with-catherine-whitney/2012/05/04/gIQAtUB91T_story.html ;
9) Prince Fili is cropped from a portrait of he and Prince Kili that was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/F%C3%ADli_and_K%C3%ADli?file=The-Hobbit-Fili-and-Kili.jpg
10) For information about the line of succession of the House of Durin as it pertains to King Thrain II (A Tolkien The Hobbit character), visit http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/House_of_Durin ; for more information about King Thrain II, visit http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Thr%C3%A1in_II
N.B. The previous blog link for Ch. 5 is: