Dale was a city state of Men in north-eastern Rhovanion to the south of the Lonely Mountain in Middle-earth, though it could also be used as the name for the kingdom of Men between the rivers River Running and the Redwater during the Third Age and into the Fourth Age.
Situated in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain, it was deserted for many years while the mountain was under the control of Smaug the Dragon. The town was repopulated after the Battle of the Five Armies (featured in The Hobbit) where Bilbo Baggins and his Dwarf companions broke into the dragon's stronghold to claim back the Lonely Mountain. At this point, Smaug in rage flew to Lake-town upon the Long Lake (a nearby town) in an attempt to destroy it. This attempt failed however as Smaug was shot down by Bard, a man of Lake-town.
With Lake-town in ruins, the men sought a portion of Thorin's treasure in payment for their help in the overthrowing of the dragon and to rebuild their town, but in his pride Thorin refused. The squabble almost resulted in war between the men (and their wood-elf allies) and Thorin and his soon-to-arrive Dwarven kin in the Iron Hills. Just before they were about fight, Gandalf arrived with a warning that the goblins of the Misty Mountains and their Warg allies sought to destroy them to avenge the death of the Goblin King and claim the treasure. This then became the Battle of the Five Armies with the Dwarves, the elves and the Men joining forces against the Orcs. When the battle was over, the dwarves restored their kingdom under the Lonely Mountain and men began to settle once more in Dale, with Bard, the man who slew the dragon, becoming their first king.
Dale was sacked for a second time during the War of the Ring by invaders from the east. The people of Dale took refuge in the Lonely Mountain with the Dwarves, and it was during the Siege of Erebor that King Dáin II Ironfoot of the Lonely Mountains and King Brand of Dale were slain. However, after the fall of Sauron the siege was broken and Dale rebuilt once more.
Gandalf was indirectly responsible for the rebuilding of Dale, in that he set in motion the quest that would result in the slaying of Smaug and provided vital aid to it. Some argue that he saw the upcoming war, and did this in a successful attempt to create one more front for Sauron.
Lords of DaleEdit
Dale's armies consist force and knights from the city as well as men from the surrounding lands. The weapons of Dale are made by the nearby Dwarves, ensuring only the best quality. The bowmen of Dale are known for their skill, and their volleys support the infantry of Dale as they fight to defend their kingdom from the various forces that oppose them mainly Rhûn.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
Inspiration and InfluencesEdit
In Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" movie trilogy, the predominant Eastern design and culture of Dale and its people (including, the military and rulers) are heavily derived from medieval Russian influences - i.e., the early Rus' state of Kievan Rus.' The city of Dale itself is clearly based on old Rus' cities and fortresses (especially, Kiev). Further, as old Rus' culture and architecture were greatly influenced by the Byzantines, the culture and architecture of Dale is also depicted with Byzantine-style in the movies.
Also, as presented in the movies, due to the complex nature of Russian ethno-cultural history, Dale itself and its people also evoke Nordic, Finnic, Baltic, and Turkic influences. In his movie trilogy, Peter Jackson clearly depicts both Dale and Lake-town as a part of the East.
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