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Battle of Five Armies

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Battle of Five Armies
The Battle of the Five Armies near the Lonely Mountain.
Conflict: The Treasure of the Lonely Mountain
Date: November 23, 2941[1]
Place: Lonely Mountain
Dale (Film Only)
Outcome: Victory for alliance of Dwarves, Elves, and Men
Iron Hills
Lonely Mountain
Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains
Dol Guldur (Film only)
Mount Gundabad (Film Only)
Thorin II Oakenshield
Bard the Bowman
Dain II Ironfoot
Legolas (Film Only)
Tauriel (Film Only)
Radagast (Film Only)
Feren (Film Only)
Percy (Film Only)
Azog(Film only)
Azog's Lieutenants (Film only)
Book: 500 Dwarves of the Iron Hills[2] (including the 13 dwarves of Thorin and Company of the Lonely Mountain)
200 Men of Lake-town[Source?]
nearly 1000 Elves of the Woodland Realm[Source?]
Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, Beorn, 100 Eagles of the Misty Mountains[Source?]

Film: 500 Dwarves of the Iron Hills (including 13 Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain)
Over 400 Laketowners
Nearly 2000-3000 Elves of the Woodland Realm
100-200 Eagles of the Misty Mountains

Book: 15,000 Goblins from the various colonies in the Misty Mountains and the North[Source?], 6000 Wargs [Source?], and thousands of Bats[Source?]

Film: 10,000 Guldur Orcs
10,000-20,000 Gundabad Orcs, 200 Goblins, 50 Wargs, 3000 Bats, and 20-50 Trolls.

Thorin, Fili, Kili
200 Dwarves
100-200 Laketowners
500-700 Elves
Very Heavy
" ... in all the mountains there was a forging and an arming. Then they marched ... until around and beneath the great mountain Gundabad of the North, where was their capital, a vast host was assembled ready to sweep down in time of storm unawares upon the South.""
The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"

The Battle of Five Armies was a battle waged between the Goblins and the Wargs against Men of Dale, Elves, DwarvesEagles and a Shape-shifter on and near the Lonely Mountain.[3]



After Bard killed the dragon Smaug, the Men of the Lake and the Wood-elves laid siege to the Dwarves in the Lonely Mountain, the thirteen Dwarves of Erebor (the realm of the Lonely Mountain) under Thorin II Oakenshield having refused to share any of the treasure that they had recaptured from Smaug.

Thorin and Company were then trapped in a bloodless siege, with Thranduil and Bard hoping to wait him out. However, Thorin had sent messages of his plight to his relatives using talking messenger Ravens that lived on the Lonely Mountain. These reached Dain II Ironfoot of the nearby Iron Hills, and he marched to the Lonely Mountain with 500 heavily armed Dwarves, most skilled veterans of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.[2][4] When Dain's forces arrived, battle was almost joined between the two sides (now three armies were on the field) but at the last moment Gandalf intervened between the two and revealed that while they were bickering amongst themselves, the Goblins of the Misty Mountains and Grey Mountains under Bolg were using the opportunity to march against them. They had been incited by Gandalf's earlier slaying of the Great Goblin, but had now mobilized for a full-scale attack after hearing news of the death of the Dragon and the now relatively unguarded treasure hoard.

The BattleEdit

Battle of the Five Armies

Men and goblins in the battle.

The three commanders agreed that the Goblins, Wargs, and Bats were the enemies of all, and previous grievances between them were put on hold in face of the greater threat. They arranged their forces on the two spurs of the Mountain that lined the valley leading to the now-sealed off great gate; the only entrance to the Mountain. The 500 Dwarves and 200 Lake-men formed up on one spur and over 1000 Elves on the other, while a light rear-guard lined across the mouth of the valley to lure the Goblins between the two, and thus destroy them. Bilbo Baggins, while invisible due to the Ring, tried to sit out the battle on the spur held by the Elves. Bilbo Baggins tried to sit out from the battle on Ravenhill which was held by the Elves and where also Gandalf had withdrawn to.

Soon the Goblins, Wargs, and a cloud of Bats "like a sea of locusts" arrived (and now four armies were on the field), and at first the plan worked: they were lured into the choke point and took heavy losses. However, due to the goblins' superior numbers, the allied Free Folk did not hold the advantage long. The second wave was even worse than the first, and now many Goblins scaled the mountain from the opposite side, and began to attack the arrayed forces from above and behind, as the main wave pressed forward. The battle raged across the Mountain, and then 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, whom he could not get past. The battle degenerated into a chaotic close quarters melee, no quarter asked or given.

As the battle was turning fully against the Free Folk, a number of Giant Eagles of the Misty Mountains arrived (the fifth army), led by the Great Eagle. Bilbo was the first to spot their entrance on the scene and began shouting that "the Eagles are coming!", a shout that was then continued among the other troops of the Free Folk. At this point Bilbo was knocked in the head by a large stone thrown by a Goblin from above on the Mountain, and he passed out. With the support of the Giant Eagles, the battle turned back against the Goblins. Then Beorn himself arrived at the battle, apparently having heard news that a large army of Goblins was on the move. This time he did not appear in his former shape of a giant Man, but had changed his skin to that of a gigantic bear. Beorn 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. 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.[3][5]


Death of Thorin OakenshieldEdit

When Bilbo regained consciousness, the battle was already over. Thorin II Oakenshield had been mortally wounded on the field, and his nephews Fili and Kili died defending him as he lay on the ground. Thorin died soon after the battle, but had time to say a last goodbye to Bilbo.[6]

Distributing of the Treasure HoardEdit

After defeating the Goblins and Wargs, the victors divided the treasure. Bard took Bilbo's fourteenth share of the gold and silver in return for the Arkenstone, whereupon he shared his reward with the Master of Lake-town and gave the Elven-king Thranduil the emeralds of Girion.[6] Bilbo, despite having forfeited his share, was offered a rich reward but refused to take more than two small chests of gold and silver which was still enough to leave him a wealthy Hobbit back in The Shire for 60 years.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesEdit

In the version shown in this film, the goblin army is replaced by an army of orcs, led by Azog. Before the battle started, Dain Ironfoot II leads a large company of 500 Dwarves to attack Thranduil's army on Thorin's call, but were attacked by a branch of Azog's army. While Thranduil and a number of elves assist Dain's army, Azog sends the rest of his forces to attack Dale with Bilbo, Gandalf, Bard, and the other Elves coming to its defense. While Gandalf, Thranduil, Bard, and Dain do the best they can to hold off the Orc armies as more and more come, many dwarves, elves, and humans were slain.

During the battle, Thorin eventually overcomes his madness and leads the company out of the Mountain and joined the battle.

Other namesakesEdit

  • The Battle of the Five Armies was also the name of a war game to replay this battle made by Games Workshop. The game uses 10-mm miniatures and is heavily based on their Warhammer system.
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  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Hobbit, "Introduction"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Hobbit, Chapter XVI: "A Thief in the Night"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter XV: "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  5. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Hobbit, "The Battle of the Five Armies"
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII: "The Return Journey"

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