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Timeline Event

Gandalf delivers Thror's map and key to Thorin

Event Type: Artifacts

Age: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Date: April 27, 2941

An early event in the Quest of Erebor; see that entry for an overview:

On the table ... [Gandalf] spread a piece of parchment rather like a map.

'This was made by Thror, your grandfather, Thorin.... It is a plan of the Mountain.'

'I don't see that this will help us much,' said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. 'I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it.' ...

'There is one point that you haven't noticed,' said the wizard, 'and that is the secret entrance. You see that rune on the West side, and the hand pointing to it from the other runes? That marks a hidden passage to the Lower Halls.'

'It may have been secret once,' said Thorin, 'but how do we know that it is secret any longer? Old Smaug had lived there long enough now to find out anything there is to know about those caves.'

'He may -- but he can't have used it for years and years.'


'Because it is too small. 'Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast' say the runes, but Smaug could not creep into a hole that size, not even when he was a young dragon....'

'It seems a great big hole to me,' squeaked Bilbo ... 'How could such a large door be kept secret from everybody outside, apart from the dragon?' he asked. ...

'In lots of ways,' said Gandalf. 'But in what way this one has been hidden we don't know without going to see. From what it says on the map I should guess there is a closed door which has been made to look exactly like the side of the Mountain. That is the usual dwarves' method -- I think that is right, isn't it?'

'Quite right,' said Thorin.

'Also,' went on Gandalf, 'I forgot to mention that with the map went a key, a small and curious key. Here it is!' he said, and handed to Thorin a key with a long barrel and intricate wards, made of silver. 'Keep it safe!'

'Indeed I will,' said Thorin, and he fastened it upon a fine chain that hung about his neck and under his jacket. 'Now things begin to look more hopeful. This news alters them much for -- the better. So far we have had no clear idea what to do. We thought of going East, as quiet and careful as we could, as far as the Long Lake. After that the trouble would begin.'

'A long time before that, if I know anything about the roads East,' interrupted Gandalf.

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

'I have often wondered about my father's and my grandfather's escape. I see now they must have had a private Side-door which only they knew about. But apparently they made a map, and I should like to know how Gandalf got hold of it, and why it did not come down to me, the rightful heir.'

'I did not "get hold of it," I was given it,' said the wizard. ...

'... Thrain your father went away on the twenty-first of April, a hundred years ago last Thursday, and has never been seen by you since--'

'True...,' said Thorin.

'Well, your father gave me this to give to you; and if I have chosen my own time and way of handing it over, you can hardly blame me, considering the trouble I had to find you. Your father could not remember his own name when he gave me the paper, and he never told me yours; so on the whole I think I ought to be praised and thanked. Here it is,' said he handing the map to Thorin.

'I don't understand,' said Thorin ...

'Your grandfather,' said the wizard slowly and grimly, 'gave the map to his son for safety before he went to the mines of Moria. Your father went away to try his luck with the map after your grandfather was killed; and lots of adventures of a most unpleasant sort he had, but he never got near the Mountain. How he got there I don't know, but I found him a prisoner in the dungeons of the Necromancer.'

'Whatever were you doing there?' asked Thorin with a shudder....

'Never you mind. I was finding things out, as usual; and a nasty dangerous business it was. Even I, Gandalf, only just escaped. I tried to save your father, but it was too late. He was witless and wandering, and had forgotten almost everything except the map and the key.'

'We have long ago paid the goblins of Moria,' said Thorin; 'we must give a thought to the Necromancer.'

'Don't be absurd! He is an enemy quite beyond the powers of all the dwarves put together, if they could all be collected again from the four corners of the world. The one thing your father wished was for his son to read the map and use the key. The dragon and the Mountain are more than big enough tasks for you!'

The Hobbit, Ch 1, An Unexpected Party

Elena Tiriel 27Sep05

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