I had not thought about Thorin wielding Orcrist, could be clumsy....
Re the other Dwarves, they from memory do not carry weapons at all other than small wood cutting axes until they find the Troll stash. These they loose in Goblin drama's and util Beorn gives them hunting Bows and Arrows they really don't have any weapons mentioned until they reach the Lonely Mountain. These of course will be outstanding weapons as most would have been hundreds and thousands of years old and would have been extremely grand and ceremonial.
Re the Elves, Im expecting weapons which are less ornate and more functional and shorter than the Lorien & Imladris Elves as they would need to fight in close forest settings.
Im looking forward, like you in seeing Bards great Bow of Ewe and Black arrow....
Cant wait for a teaser trailer!
I must say I'm rather disappointed with the image of Orchist which I've seen on the web being weilded by Thorin.... It looks nothing like Glamdring.
When I first read the Hobbit and they found the two swords and Sting in the troll lair I just thought how wonderful and lucky they were to come across such marvelous weapons. When Elrond later told the history of the weapons as belonging to ancient elves it made them seem to be so mystical. Years later though, when I found out Glamdring was King Turgon's sword I started thinking more about this little cache.
How had three weapons, one of them the king's own sword, escaped the fall of Gondolin and ended up in a troll's lair? Gondolin fell about 40 or 50 years before the end of the First Age, at which point the majority of Beleriand finished up beneath the sea. Someone or something had taken those swords out of Gondolin. Who or what had done it, and how had they Ages later come to be in a troll lair? Was it elven refugees fleeing from the sacking of Gondolin who had rescued them and later lost them, or had some dragon or balrog stolen them? Also, if Orcrist was the mate of Glamdring, and Glamdring had belonged to King Turgon, who had originally owned Orcrist? It must have been a great Elven lord.
In the chaos of battle, for both swords to have finished up together it seems likely they must have been together during the fall of Gondolin. King Turgon died defending the tower, so it would seem likely whoever wielded Orcrist was close to his king. I have seen some suggestions elsewhere that Ecthelion of the Fountain may have wielded Orcrist, but I find this unlikely. Ecthelian died defending the Fountain from Gothmog, not defending the tower. Idril would have been near her father, and we know that Maeglin tried to kidnap her and Earendil at the end before being cast off the walls by Tuor. Tuor and Idril guided the survivors out of Gondolin. Did Idril take her father's sword after he fell? The only other surviving elven lord we know of from Gondolin was Glorfindol. To have escaped with Idril and Tuor, had he also been in the tower defending Turgon? Had Orcrist been his weapon? Glorfindol was killed by another balrog as the survivors passed through Cirith Thoronath. Although his body fell it was recovered by Thorondor. The sword could also have been recovered and borne away by Idril. I don't think this is the case, however. If the Glorfindol from Lord of the Rings is the same as the one who died following the Fall of Gondolin, and most people seem to believe this is the case, he would have been in Rivendell when Bilbo etc found their way there. Surely at that point he would have claimed back his weapon.
If the weapons were rescued by Idril/Tuor, how did they then finish up in the troll lair? Why did they not finish up with Earendil and eventually Elrond and Elros?
It makes it seem more plausible that the weapons were captured during the fall of the city by the attackers - maybe a dragon or balrog? Some balrogs were said to have survived the destruction at the end of the First Age, but these were said to have hidden in deep caverns. The only mention of any specifically is the Balrog of Moria. If a balrog had taken the weapons, surely they would have finished up deep below ground and have never resurfaced. A dragon seems more likely, therefore. Some, like Scatha escaped the First Age and were later killed (in Scatha's case by Fram) and their treasures taken.
I also question how the goblins recognised Orcrist and Glamdring as Biter and Beater? They must have encountered them in battle at some stage previously. No orc would have survived from Gondolin, so they must have encountered them much more recently - maybe in the Dwarf Goblin wars? If so, how had dwarves come across these weapons? From a dragon hoard (they took part of Scatha's treasure from Fram) or had the Elves at Eregion brought them with them somehow?
Many questions and no answers. Maybe Galin can find some evidence buried deep within HoME?
That's a tough one Val. I've seen various theories over the years but have never tried my hand at this one myself.
JD Rateliff has some interesting things to say in his History of The Hobbit, except that even if he is on the mark here, it would only be an external bit of interest as opposed to the ultimate internal scenario that Tolkien leaves us to ponder.
Rateliff notes that there's an early reference in the drafts for The Hobbit to Beren and Luthien's activities of less than a century ago, which would arguably put Bilbo's party (he writes): 'no more than 14 years after the fall of Thangorodrim.' However he notes:
'While it is very plausible that Turgon's sword would have fallen into goblin hands, given the scenario described in the Fall of Gondolin, Elrond's comment that 'dragons destroyed that city many ages ago' creates a difficulty with the chronology. The reference only two chapters before to Beren and Luthien...'
Tolkien would go on to greatly extend the history of Middle-earth of course, so again this bit about 14 years, while interesting perhaps, isn't helpful for tracing the internal history of these swords.