I'm watching Battle of the Five Armies, and during the mid movie battle, the Scottish Dwarf army is being turned back by the first Orc army. The Dwarf army numbers hundreds, the Orcs outnumber them 10:1, and the Dwarves are drained. Yet Thorin finally snaps out of his gold psychosis and orders his company into the battle. A mere thirteen extra dwarves and the fight turns. A third of which almost immediately turn and leave to hunt the Orc general. The ones that leave are named as the best fighters.

That makes no sense to me. Is there any explanation as to how they actually made a difference in the fight?

  • Scottish dwarves?
    – Chenmunka
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:53
  • He sounded like William Wallace. The Lord of the Hills I think is what Gandolf called him.
    – cde
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:56
  • 1
    @cde 13 dwarves, including Thorin Oakenshield
    – mslhrt
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:32
  • @ZachFord Sure? Weren't there some of the dwarves that stayed in Esgaroth and were not in Erebor during the battle? Or even some that died beforehand?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:42
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    Those 13 dwarves plus that other cousin dwarf were strong enough to turn the tide of the battle because they were the only fighters on the battlefield who weren't CGI :-) tbh I don't think that plausibility or coherence was much of a priority when that film was made Oct 11, 2015 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


To make this clear: the following proves that this scene in the movie is obviously over-dramatized to suit an audience that wants to see the main characters have a greater impact on the story. If you're looking for a, "how did Peter Jackson justify this?" I don't think you'll find an answer beyond, "to make more money from a good action scene," until the extended edition comes out. This includes a press release by Warner Bros. which states:

The nine plus hours of new special features boasts audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film’s director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter, as well as The Appendices, a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy.

Per the usual, to fully understand a scene as important at The Battle of the Five Armies, you need to reference the original text that the movie is adapted from.

You'll find a detailed breakdown of the battle here. In the book, The Hobbit, the allied Free Folk (500 dwarves, 200 men from Laketown, and over 1000 elves from Mirkwood) are suffering heavy losses before (and all quotes are from the above link):

A great noise was heard: Thorin and his twelve Dwarf companions inside the mountain had thrown down the stone wall they had erected across the mouth of the gates, killing many Goblins. Thorin and Company then charged out to join the battle, covered from head to toe in the finest armour and weapons contained in the treasure hoard of the Lonely Mountain. Thorin advanced through the Goblins ranks all the way up to the gigantic Goblins that formed the Bodyguard of Bolg

At that point, Thorin cannot get past Bolg. In the movie, as you stated, Thorin and some of his companions leave the main battle to go find Bolg and kill him. Furthermore, this did not turn the tide of the battle. It wasn't until:

A number of Giant Eagles of the Misty Mountains arrived...With the support of the Giant Eagles, the battle turned back against the Goblins.

In the movie Legolas kills Bolg, but in the book it is actually Beorn who:

Drove through the Goblin lines, but paused to carry the wounded Thorin out of the battle. Beorn then returned to the battle with even greater wrath and smashed the ranks of the Bodyguard of Bolg, ultimately killing Bolg himself.

At this point, the battle was decided, and:

The Goblins eventually panicked and scattered, to be picked off by hunting forces from the victors later; many of the Goblin survivors died in the Mirkwood forest.

  • Is this fully congruent to the events that happened in the movie and thus explains those too, or an explanation that only applies to the book?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:45
  • The events as I saw them in the movie was that the Dwarves were pushed back, Thorin ran in and the Dwarves were winning or at least no longer falling back. The Eagles only stopped the second Orc army from overwhelming everybody. It's the push from Thorin that doesn't make sense.
    – cde
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:00
  • @NapoleonWilson I think my answer requires a breakdown of the events in the book to fully understand that the arrival of the dwarves, while giving the Free Folk a boost, does not turn the tide of the battle.
    – mslhrt
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:01
  • @cde See edit at the beginning of my answer. I don't think you are going to find anything significant beyond that.
    – mslhrt
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:07
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    Read the wiki, the order and events of the battle completely changed. Hmm.
    – cde
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:37

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