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"It was a globe with a thousand facets; it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon!"
Thorin Oakenshield [1]

The Arkenstone or Heart of the Mountain was a wondrous gem sought by Thorin Oakenshield which had been discovered beneath the Lonely Mountain during the reign of Thráin I, and then shaped by the Dwarves. The Arkenstone became the family heirloom of the Kings of Durin's folk, but was lost when the dragon Smaug stole the mountain from the Dwarves.

Appearance

The Arkenstone shone of its own inner light, and appeared a "little globe of pallid light" in darkness, and yet, cut and fashioned by the Dwarves, it took all light that fell upon it and changed it into "ten thousand sparks of white radiance, shot with glints of the rainbow".[2]

History

The Arkenstone set above King Thror's throne

The Arkenstone was discovered not longer after the founding of the Dwarf kingdom under the mountain by Thráin I. After it's discovery and cutting by Dwarf artisans the jewel became an heirloom of the Kings of Durin's Folk and was taken by Thorin I to the Grey Mountains when he removed his people there. The Arkenstone returned to the Lonely Mountain centuries later, returned by King Thrór after Dragons drove his people out of the Grey Mountains. When Smaug came to the Lonely Mountain the Arkenstone became a part of his hoard.


The gem was the object most prized by Thorin Oakenshield of all the treasures of the Lonely Mountain. Such did he consider its value that he was willing to trade 1/14th of all the gold and silver of Smaug's hoard for it.

Bilbo Baggins delivers the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard, by Ted Nasmith

Thorin’s burial

When Bilbo Baggins found it on Smaug's golden bed deep inside the Lonely Mountain, he pocketed it, having learned how much Thorin valued it. While the Dwarves with Thorin sorted the treasure, Thorin sought only the Arkenstone, unaware that Bilbo was hiding it in his pillow.[3] When the Dwarves refused to share any of the treasure with King Thranduil and Bard, the man who had killed Smaug, Bilbo crept out of the Dwarves' fort inside the Mountain, and gave them the Arkenstone. Bard, Thranduil, and Gandalf then tried to trade it for Bilbo's fourteenth share of Smaug's hoard. Then an army of Orcs arriving from the Grey Mountains interrupted the dispute, the Battle of the Five Armies ensued, and Thorin was killed. The Arkenstone was placed upon Thorin's chest within his tomb deep under the Lonely Mountain, and so was returned to the earth at last.[4]

Etymology

The roots of the term Arkenstone were drawn either from the Gothic word aírkns ("holy")[5] or the Old English eorcnanstan ("precious stone")[6].

The Arkenstone in Gene Deitch's version of The Hobbit

Portrayal in Adaptations

In Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy the Arkenstone is discovered during the reign of Thrór, not Thráin I and feeds into the growing greed of Thorin's grandfather. In the books this greed is partly caused by possessing one of the Seven Rings of Power, but in the films it is the Arkenstone itself that causes 'Dragon sickness'. In addition possession of the Arkenstone grants the holder the right to summon the seven armies of the Dwarves, an inherent contradiction given that Thrór does not possess it at the time of the Battle of Azanulbizar.

The Arkenstone does not appear in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated The Hobbit adaptation. As a result, Thorin loses respect for Bilbo out of feeling that the Hobbit will never understand honour and war.

Gallery

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A caption from Gene Deitch's version
ScreenShot2013-12-12at111417AM zps5437d13d.png
Smaug holding the Arkenstone
ScreenShot2013-12-12at123017PM zps8a2e551a.png
Bilbo and the company about to slay the Monster

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Arkensteen
Arabic حجر الأركينستون
Armenian Արկինստոն
Belarusian Cyrillic Аркенстон
Bosnian Arkakamen
Chinese (Hong Kong) 家傳寶鑽
Cornish Arkenlabedha
Czech Arcikam
Danish Arkensten
Dutch Arksteen
Estonian Laegaskivi
Faroese Arkensteinur
Finnish Arkkikivi
French Pierre Arcane
Georgian არკენსტოუნი
German Arkenstein
Greek Άρκενστοουν
Gujarati આર્કનસ્ટોન
Hebrew אֶבֶן-הַחֹשֶן/ארקנסטון/אֶבֶן-הַנֵזֶר
Hungarian Arkenkő
Italian Archepietra/Arkengemma
Japanese アーケン石
Kannada ಅರ್ಕೆನ್ಸ್ಟೋನ್
Korean 아르켄스톤
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Аркэнташ
Macedonian Cyrillic Аркенкаменот
Marathi आर्कनस्टोन
Norwegian Dyrdesteinen
Old English Arkenstan
Polish Arcyklejnot
Portuguese (Brazil) Pedra Arken
Punjabi ਆਰਕਸਨਸਟੋਨ
Romanian Piatra Arken
Russian Аркенстон/Завет-камень
Sinhalese ඇකරන්ස්ටෝන්
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Piedra del Arca
Swedish Arkensten
Tajik Cyrillic Аркенсанг
Telugu ఆర్కెనశిల
Thai อาร์เคนสโตน
Turkish Arkentaşı
Turkmen Arkendaş
Urdu آركين پتھر
Yiddish אַרקענסטאָנע

References

  1. The Hobbit, Chapter XII: "Inside Information"
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter XIII: "Not at Home"
  3. The Hobbit, Chapter XVI, "A Thief in the Night"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII, "The Return Journey"
  5. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. IV: The Shaping of Middle-earth, chapter VI: "The Earliest Annals of Valinor"
  6. Peter Gilliver, J. Marshall, E. Weiner, The Ring of Words, III. Word Studies, "Arkenstone"
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