On Thorin Oakenshield, guilt, responsibility and PTSD

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Title: And He Never Forgave, And He Never Forgot: On Thorin Oakenshield, guilt, responsibility and PTSD
Creator: bodysnatch3r
Date(s): September 5, 2013
Medium: online
Topic: PTSD, Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit, Tolkien
External Links: Tumblr AO3
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And He Never Forgave, And He Never Forgot: On Thorin Oakenshield, guilt, responsibility and PTSD is a 2013 meta essay by tumblr user bodysnatch3r. It discusses how Thorin Oakenshield probably has post-traumatic stress disorder from a lifetime of traumatic events.


Now, this comes from my personal experience: taking care of a sick loved one will be traumatic, especially if you’re watching them literally fall apart knowing there’s nothing you can do. If the loved one is a relative, it gets bad. If the relative is a parental figure (and I have a feeling that’s what Thrór was to Thorin), things get really bad.
Despite [Smaug taking over Erebor] Thorin is still aware of the enormous responsibility that hangs over his head: he is of Durin’s line, of noble blood, future King Under the Mountain (although he doesn’t really have a mountain to rule). He is subject to pressure, both from himself and from those around him, and it’s a pressure that comes with being high-up and being somewhat of a last hope for the dwarves of Erebor (this is before Fili and Kili ever came into the picture and skewed the entire “new/last hope” situation, and don’t get me started on the toll that their own bloody legacy as last members of the direct Line of Durin probably took on those two- witnessing their first entrance into Erebor will be painful, bittersweet, and I will probably spontaneously self combust from second-hand emotional turmoil). The image of him as a saviour is only reinforced when the Battle of Azanulbizar happens.
Smaug and Moria are an explosion, raw, visceral, straight to your face. Thrór’s madness is the sound of water dripping over and over when you’re already snuggled up in bed and feel too tired to get up and shut it properly.
Thorin can’t sleep because of what goes on in his head, let it be nightmares or flashbacks. And saying “orcs” out loud just makes matters worse. He knows what an orc raid is, and it sure isn’t a joke. He cannot possibly comprehend how anyone could joke about it (but the reality of orcs is, I think, so far from Fili and Kili’s reality that they have no problem joking about it: after all, up to now they’ve probably lived a relatively sheltered, prosperous life in the Blue Mountains). But Thorin, on the other hand, knows just what degree of brutality and violence orcs can reach. He’s seen it. He’s experienced it, down to every horrifying, devastating detail.