Thorin's Company

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Character
Name: Thorin's Company, The Company, The Company of Thorin Oakenshield
Occupation: hopeless quests
Title/Rank: various
Location: The Shire, wilds of Middle-earth, Mirkwood, Eregoth, Erebor
Status: 11/14 alive by the end of this book
Relationships: All the dwarves are related to at least one other member of the Company: Durin Family, Ri Family, Ur Family, Balin & Dwalin, Glóin & Óin; Gandalf is a friend of Bilbo's family.
Fandom: The Hobbit
Other: This group is sometimes treated as a single character unit in works, especially book-focused ones
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Thorin's Company are the 13 dwarves (and usually the 1 hobbit) who went on the quest to reclaim Erebor in The Hobbit. Sometimes, this includes Gandalf, who traveled part of the way with them. The phrase The Company is used in canon and fanon for the entire group.

Members of Thorin's Company
Bilbo Thorin Dwalin Balin
Fíli Kíli Óin Glóin
Bifur Bofur Bombur Gandalf
Dori Nori Ori

Canon

Book Canon

The names for Thorin's Company came from the Poetic Edda.[1] As a result, several of them rhymed. These rhyming sets were formed into family units by Tolkien, usually of brothers or cousins.[2]

Most of the Company had very little personality in the original story. The only ones who had significant speaking lines were Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, and Balin, while Dwalin, Bombur, Fíli, and Kíli were referenced several times without them speaking much. The other characters generally only had 1 or 2 scenes where they were referenced individually, and some had no lines at all.

This resulted in a book fandom that was largely Bilbo- and Gandalf-centric, sometimes incorporating some of the characters they meet along the road, such as Gollum, Beorn, and Thranduil. Works about the dwarves in the Company were rare. Overall, Hobbit fiction was a niche corner of Tolkien fandom.[3][4]

Jackson Movie Canon

As a result of the relative lack of personality and character development of most of the dwarves in the books, the Jackson movies not only created physical details to make each dwarf distinctive and recognizable, but they also created and released brief bios for each one. These were used by the actors to flesh out their interactions with one another and by fandom to create a more dynamic Company in fanworks.

The first movie, An Unexpected Journey, focused almost entirely on the Company with a brief foray into the White Council. As a result, fanworks based on the movies in 2013 were dominated by the dwarves and Bilbo, much as Lord of the Rings movie fandom was dominated by works about the Fellowship. After the second movie was released, characters like Beorn, Thranduil, Tauriel, Legolas, Bard of Laketown, and Smaug became more popular, but the Company remained the primary focus of fanworks through the release of the third movie and beyond.[5]

Usage in Fanworks

In fanart, works that include the entire company or just the 13 dwarves are fairly common. Many were stylistically inspired by the movie posters for An Unexpected Journey, which included a composite of all 13 dwarves in a v-shape behind Thorin. This line approach is used in many artworks, especially from 2013.

In most Hobbit fanfiction set in the quest or post-quest period, the Company serve as background characters whenever one member is the main character of a work. How much attention is paid to an individual member of the Company in a fic depends on whether the fic is gen or shippy, who the main characters are, and when the work is set.

For example, Bilbo-centric gen works (and even some shippy works) set early in the quest typically have Bilbo getting to know each dwarf individually, often having a scene with each one as they travel. In contrast, works that focus on a particular dwarf will typically highlight their family members (and a love interest, if there is one, and possibly the love interest's family), leaving other dwarves to mostly be mentioned in the background. Post-quest works set in Erebor often treat the Company as a group with special status in the newly reclaimed mountain, but many non-Company dwarves, including original characters, may appear more often in a given work than Company members do.

Many archives have a tag specifically for the Company as a whole, which can stand in for individually tagging multiple dwarves who may not be the focus of a work.

Example Fanworks

Archives and Resources

Fanart

References

  1. Poetic Edda, stanzas 9-15. Only Óin and Balin cannot be found there (Dwalin could be taken from Dvalin). Most of the line of Durin, including Fundin, Thrain, Dain, Nain, and Thror, are also in this section.
  2. See Durin Family, Ri Family, Ur Family, Balin & Dwalin, and Óin & Glóin.
  3. "We had disappointingly few nominations in this category – there appears to be a dearth of fanfiction based on The Hobbit." The Mithril Awards for Tolkien Fanfiction, notes on 2003 awards, posted after 2003's awards, accessed March 25, 2015. The awards had a "Best Elves", a "Best Men", and a "Best Hobbits" category, as well as a "Best Fellowship". There were no "Best Dwarves" or "Best Company" categories; dwarves, including Gimli, were rolled into "Other Races".
  4. Mithril Awards 2004 -- Semi-finalists lists 7 semi-finalists for The Hobbit, fewer than any other category except "Poetry – comic or light" and "Best story by a new author". Dwarves again were part of "Other Races" while elves, men, and hobbits had their own categories. Posted after 2004's awards, accessed March 25, 2015.
  5. Of the 10,687 works in The Hobbit (Jackson Movies) by March 31, 2015:
    • 6,407 were tagged "Thorin Oakenshield"
    • 4,972 were tagged "Bilbo Baggins"
    • 5,160 were tagged "Kíli"
    • 4,849 were tagged "Fíli"
    • 2,809 were tagged "Dwalin"
    • 2,115 were tagged "Bofur"
    • 2,006 were tagged "Ori"
    • 1,900 were tagged "Balin"
    • 1,715 were tagged "Gandalf"
    • 1,693 were tagged "Thorin's Company"
    Other characters, such as various elves, men, the dragon, etc., were tagged less often.