The Color of Possibility

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Title: The Color of Possibility
Author(s): lindoreda
Date(s): December 31, 2014 - January 11, 2015
Length: ~17,000 words
Genre: Romance, Misunderstandings, Everyone Lives, Bilbo Remains in Erebor, Post-Battle of Five Armies
Fandom: The Hobbit
External Links: AO3

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The Color of Possibility is a 5-chapter Bilbo/Thorin fic by lindoreda. It was posted to Archive of Our Own beginning on December 31, 2014 and ending on January 11, 2015. It was part of a large influx of Battle of the Five Armies fix-its posted in the months after that movie's release. Its summary was:

When Bilbo puts himself between Thorin and Azog's blade, his mithril shirt protecting them both, it isn't long before some dwarves whisper that 'Oakenshield' might not be the best epithet for their king anymore. But for Bilbo, barred from Thorin's sight since the battle, this new epithet only adds to the sting. Spending his days caring for the recovering princes, Bilbo wonders how much more of this he can take, not suspecting his place at the center of a silent divide in the company.[1]

Fannish Elements

The Color of Possibility uses several common fannish elements to weave a romantic comedy getting together fic. These include:

  • Mithril Shirt - As is common in fanworks, Thorin gives Bilbo the mithril shirt as a courting gift, but Bilbo is unaware of this, so they are accidentally engaged. In this work, lindoreda goes a step further by having the deus ex machina for saving Thorin be Bilbo and his shirt, advertising their muddled relationship to the dwarves of Dáin Ironfoot's army.
  • Bagginshield - This common ship portmanteau for Bilbo/Thorin is used as a new epithet for Thorin, in place of his original "Oakenshield".
  • Matchmaking - Dáin attempts this when he realizes that Thorin and Bilbo aren't seeing each other.
  • Gold Sickness - This is Balin's primary concern, and the reason Thorin and Bilbo are being kept apart. In fanworks set after Smaug's defeat but before the Battle of Five Armies, it's common to portray Bilbo as part of Thorin's hoard. The gifting of the mithril shirt is often treated as confirmation of this attitude in Thorin.
  • Injured Fíli and Kíli - As is common in post-Battle of Five Armies works, Fíli and Kíli are injured and require frequent care. Bilbo and Tauriel provide that care, as is also common. This element was established well before the movies, but The Color of Possibility follows the injuries sustained in the movies, rather than the injuries fans imagined from the lack of detail in the books.

A number of common elements are also alluded to or appear briefly: Spymaster Nori, background Kíli/Tauriel, scary Dís, banished Tauriel, head cook Bombur, the hobbits' love for mushrooms, Librarian Ori, Khuzdul, and Óin's selective hearing. Thorin's blue eyes are the source of the title.


By April 13, the fic had over 23,000 hits, over 1,800 kudos, and over 420 bookmarks.[2] For its unusually positive portrayal of Dáin, it was added to determamfidd's DAIN IRONFOOT IS FREAKIN AWESOME: THE FIC REC LIST.

Most comments used words like "cute", "adorable", and "sweet", with several expressing amusement over the creative use of the word "bagginshield".

One thread in particular discussed the conflict within Thorin's Company and shed light on its development:

Beyond keeping Thorin and Bilbo apart (albeit for good reasons? it's still hard to feel good about it). I'm disappointed in the Urs though - normally they're the ones on Bilbo's side! Although there isn't really a Bilbo side and a Thorin side - just a Thorin should be kept away from "treasure" side and a "Bilbo could only do him good at this point" side (if I understand it correctly). ~boudicathebrave
You did understand it correctly. To be honest, my original reason was a little different, but a reader commented that my original reason was a fandom cliche, and I wanted to make it feel a little more fleshed out? Like the Ur's I think really just wanted to make sure Bilbo was safe, and because Balin's plan guaranteed that, they went along with it. Meanwhile the Ri's are all meddling shippers at heart. ~lindoreda[3]

The original comment exchange during chapter 3 resulted in a slight rewriting of chapter 4 to more deeply explain Balin's concerns. This change was relatively well-received, with some commenters expressing unhappiness with Balin's choices but not faulting his reasoning.


  1. The Color of Possbility, original summary. Accessed April 13, 2015.
  2. Numbers taken from the work's AO3 page.
  3. The Color of Possibility comment thread on chapter 4, posted January 12 and 13, 2015.