Author Archives: astephen

How the dwarves from The Hobbit and the dwarves from Witches Abroad differ


There are many differences between Tolkien’s representation of dwarves in The Hobbit and the representation of dwarves in Witches Abroad.  A big difference that stands out between the dwarves in The Hobbit and the dwarves in Witches Abroad is freedom.  In The Hobbit the dwarves just showed up at Bilbo’s home to try and persuade him to go on an adventure with them.  The dwarves had a choice of whether or not to go on the adventure, they weren’t forced to do anything.   In Witches Abroad the dwarves were treated more as servants, even though it seems as if they chose this life for themselves.  When the witches arrived at the disaster site dozens of dwarfs were working feverishly to prop the cracked roof and cart away the debris, some were even in tears.  This shows how hard they are forced to work.  As they arrived to the site of the boat, they took a large basket off of an attendant dwarf that was packed with food.  You can see how they were carelessly treated by the King.

The dwarves from The Hobbit were also very rood.  When the dwarves started to arrive at Bilbo’s place, they just came in as if they were being expected.  “…and he too hopped inside as soon as the door was open, just as if he had been invited.”  On the other hand, the dwarves from Witches Abroad were much more caring and proper.  Granny Weatherwax was impressed by the dwarves.  She said that you didn’t often see proper dwarf halls in those days.  Most dwarfs were off earning money in the cities down in the lowlands, where it was much easier to be a dwarf.  And for one thing, you didn’t have to spend most of your time underground hitting your thumb with a hammer and worrying fluctuations in the international metal markets.

The dwarves from Witches Abroad also seemed to have been gifted with some sort of magical powers.  When Granny Weatherwax was going through the basket of food she came across a small packet of food.  “That’s the famous dwarf bread, that is.  They don’t give that to just anyone…they say it never goes stale even if you stores it for years,” said Granny.  Nanny Ogg also added that it can keep you going for days.  When Magrat went to go and eat it, she couldn’t even break a piece off.  Then Granny mentioned that it’s more for sort of keeping you going.  Which means that you don’t have to actually eat the food to keep yourself going.



Lyra’s betrayal is presented when Lyra unknowingly brought Roger to Lord Asriel under his “command.”  When Lyra is asleep she is awoken by Thorold, who was talking in tremble. Thorold was panicking, because Lord Asriel kidnapped Roger when Lyra was asleep.  “It was because he needed a child to finish his experiment, miss!  And Lord Asriel has away special to himself of bringing about what he wants, he just has to call for something…(Pullman 333)”  This is where Lyra realizes that Lord Asriel is going to cut Roger’s daemon away in order to harness the loose energy and open a door to another universe.  She knows now that it was her fault that Roger was kidnapped by Lord Asriel and she must be the one to save him.

Lyra fulfills the Master’s initial prediction about her and ends up betraying Roger.  “Yes.  Lyra has a part to play in all this, and a major one.  The irony is that she must do it all without realizing what she’s doing (Pullman 28).”  At the beginning of the book we find out that Lyra is the main character who is also the key subject to Lord Asriel fulfilling his plan.  “No, no, that’s the saddest thing: she will be the betrayer, and the experience will be terrible.  She mustn’t know that of course…(Pullman 29)” Soon after that we also find out that she will also be the betrayer of her best friend without even knowing it.  This is something that betrayal suggests about Pullman’s fantasy-universe.  You can be committing actions without even realizing it, or in this case, you could be betraying your best friend who you are actually trying to save without even knowing it.  This goes to show that in Pullman’s fantasy-universe there are lots of different things going on that can serve as distractions.  For example, when Lyra finds out that Lord Asriel is her real father she confronts him in the fortress where he is being held captive.   Lyra tries to give Lord Asriel the alethiometer, but he refuses it.  Lord Asriel was being so nice to them that he showed no signs of being an enemy.  Also when they first arrive at the fortress, Lord Asriel panics until he sees Roger.  This was all an act that Lord Asriel put on to try and kidnap Roger, and in the end it worked.

Bilbo’s Transformation

Bilbo develops a lot over the course of his adventure.  A characteristic that sticks out the most is his natural leadership skills.  Though Bilbo has never been on or lead an adventure, he has moments where he acts as a natural leader.  For instance, when all of the dwarves were captured and thrown into the dungeon he stepped in to save them.  He put on the ring so that he could put his plan to work without the guards noticing him.  He brought a barrel back for each dwarf to hide in, so that they could use it to float down the river.

Bilbo also becomes a peacemaker during his adventure.  He didn’t want there to be a war of Thorin against Bard and the Elvenking, so he used the Arkenstone as his tool of prevention.  The Arkenstone was the most prized item of the treasure that Thorin searched for.  Knowing this Bilbo took it for himself and used it for a good cause.  He takes the Arkenstone to Bard and the Elvenking to use as bargaining.  The next day Bard and the Elvenking send a message Thorin saying that they have his most prized treasure and that they would give it to him only if he didn’t go to war with them.

Though there was plenty of it, the only items that Bilbo takes of the treasure is, the Arkenstone, and a coat of mail made of mithril that is more valuable the gold and silver.  He leaves the rest of the treasure for the dwarves, though he probably deserves more since he has saved them from near death a couple of times.  Bilbo takes advantage of the one tool that he has discovered, the ring.  The ring was what he used to save the dwarves many times throughout the adventure, and if it weren’t for Bilbo discovering the ring , the dwarves would have probably died.

The biggest change that Bilbo developed during his adventure occurred at he very end of the tale.  Bilbo changed his whole attitude toward adventures.  At the beginning of the tale, Bilbo refused to go on an adventure with Gandalf and the company of dwarves.  He rather live the Baggins life by staying home and living a quiet and peacefully. Though Bilbo ended up being  forced to go on the adventure, you could tell that he was enjoying himself.  When the adventure was finally over, Bilbo decides to return home.  The other hobbits in Hobbiton view his adventure in a negative light, along with his return of gold and many stories of dragons and war.  Bilbo doesn’t pay much attention to these hobbits since he now has the company of a wizard, elves, and dwarves.

Premarital relationships and trust

In many fairy tales there is a situation where a young prince is looking for a beautiful bride.  A big issue that these fairy tales have is that there is rarely ever a relationship before the women belongs to their prince.  In Perrault’s story,”Bluebeard,” Bluebeard wanted to marry so he asked his neighbor if he could have the hand of one of her two daughters’.  The girls were not interested until he threw a party that would last a week long that included many festivities with friends and family.  The younger sister, who once thought Bluebeard was an ugly man, gave in to the marriage.  The only relationship that they had together is that they attended the same party for an entire week.  Bluebeard tests her trust by telling her that he will be gone for a while and giving her permission to roam through every room in the house except for the small room at the end of the hall.  In the end he finds that he can’t trust her and he has the urge to kill his wife.  Trust is a key aspect that needs to be established before marriage, not the second day into the marriage.  This is something that a lot of fairy tales have in common; the men want to see how they can find ways for their wives to disobey them in order to see if there is any trust.  On the other hand Beauty, from “Beauty and the Beast,” had developed a great relationship with Beast before she decided to marry him.  They even had time to go through their “ups” and “downs.”  Beast asked Beauty many times if he could marry her and she would simply reply,”No Beast.”  She did this until she found their connection of love.  When she realized that she didn’t want to live without him she decided that she wanted to marry Beast.  Beast transformed into a handsome prince and they lived happily ever after.  This was a result of premarital relationships and trust, though Beauty and Beast did have similar characteristics, especially since they were both willing to sacrifice themselves due to their love for each other.