The Battle of Five Armies
The Battle of the Five Armies was fought among the armies of the Dwarves, the Elves, Men of Laketown, Orcs/Trolls out of Hithaeglir, and the Eagles. Each race had a different reason for fighting. The Dwarves wanted the Arkenstone and what treasure was left in the Lonely Mountain after the death of Smaug. The Trolls were fighting for their late king, who was killed by Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin’s dwarf company. The Mirkwood Elves fought for rumored treasure and to defend the men of Laketown, who wanted a share of the treasure for the loss of Esgaroth. The Orcs, assisted by some Trolls, came just to raid and kill.
News of Smaug’s death came to Thorin II from Roac the Raven, son of Carc, three days after Bard had shot Smaug. Roac also told Thorin that the people of Esgaroth expected to be given the treasures of the Lonely Mountain to cover the rebuilding of their city, as did Bard, who was marching towards Erebor accompanied by a host of around two hundred men of Esgaroth.
The Men marched against the Lonely Mountain and were joined by an army of about one thousand Elves under the command of Thranduil. Thorin then asked Roac if some of his young ravens fly to the Iron Hills and deliver a message to Dain, telling his kin that their aid was needed. Nobody knew that Beorn and the mountain Trolls in Hithaeglir had the news, and they were on their way to the mountain already.
Thorin, however, having no intentions of sharing the treasure he believed to be his inheritance, commanded the Dwarves to fortify the main-entrance and made ready for a siege. What he did not knew was that Bilbo had found the Arkenstone and kept it hidden in his pocket even though he knew that this jewel was the ultimate object of Thorin’s desire.
At the arrival of the hosts of Esgaroth and the Elves, Bard came forth and greeted Thorin. He told them that he hoped Thorin would think of the grief of the people of Esgaroth and that some part of the treasure was of old from the city of Dale. But Thorin did not seem to be willing to part with any of the treasure, because it had long been under the spell of Smaug. Therefore, he answered Bard that he would not share the treasure, but in time he would pay well for the help he had gained in Esgaroth. The second time a messenger came to his camp, he shot at the messenger and declared he denied any Man or Elf any part of the treasure.
During the following night, Bilbo sneaked out and went down to the people below the entrance. There he found Gandalf, and to him he delivered the great Arkenstone, hoping that doing this he might prevent the forth coming battle between the Dwarves, Elves, and Men.
The next morning, Gandalf and Bard approached the wall that blocked their way to the mountain. They carried the Arkenstone with them, and Thorin saw that Bilbo had given the stone to Gandalf and Bard. Thorin would most likely have slain Bilbo for his treason if he thought it would have gained him the Arkenstone back, but didn’t know that Gandalf had been among the people of Esgaroth. It was probably the sight of Gandalf that saved Bilbo’s life.
To solve his problem, Thorin traded Bilbo his 1/14 part of the treasure for the Arkenstone. To even the deal, Thorin spared Bilbo’s life. Thorin’s hope was then that Dain and his 500 Dwarves would come from the Iron Hills in time to win his treasure back and defeat all his beleaguers.
Dain and his Dwarves arrived at the same time as a host of Orcs and Trolls, lead by Bolg. Gandalf, who saw the danger, sent for Dain to ally against the Orcs and Trolls, forgetting the Dwarves’ quarrel with Elves and Men until they were all either slain or victorious. Dain, who was a wise dwarf, understood the danger, and he allied his people with the Elves of Mirkwood and people of Esgaroth.
For a time, the Dwarves in the Mountain, the people of Esgaroth, Thranduil’s Elves, and Dain’s Dwarves all united against the huge army of Trolls and Orcs.
Gandalf’s plan against the much larger hosts of Orcs and Trolls was to man the southwestern spur of the Lonely Mountain with the Elves and the southeaster spur with Dwarves and Men, and to lure the enemy into the valley between. At first the plan worked well. The Orcs and Trolls poured into the valley and were attacked from the west by the Elves. With their enemies vulnerable, Men and Dwarves assailed them in the rear, from the east. The Trolls and Orcs turned around to face the Men and Dwarves, and the Elves attacked again. The strategy seemed successful and the enemy became pinned in the valley, fighting on two fronts. But this situation didn’t last, because a short while later Bolg, the cunning and clever leader of the Trolls, sent a part of his army up a path that ran up over the Lonely Mountain and divided above the fortified main entrance. Thus the Elves, Men, and Dwarves lost the advantage of higher ground and became assailed both from above and from the rear. The enemy in the valley now had time to regroup and bring in fresh troops.
Bolg and his strong bodyguard of Trolls now entered the battle in the valley. Dain and his Dwarves, and Bard and his men of Esgaroth, were loosing ground in the east and the Elves were loosing ground in the West. It was a hopeless situation for the Elves, Men and Dwarves. Inside the mountain, Thorin and his Dwarves had only been able to look down upon the battle. But as Thorin observed the desperate situation evolve, he made a courageous decision to put his few remaining Dwarves into battle, with his ultimate goal being to reach Bolg and slay him.
He and his company broke the newly built wall in front of the entrance and leapt into the affray yelling, “to me, oh kinsmen, Elves and Men”. This cry, and sudden burst of force, allowed Thorin and his dwarves to reach Bolg. They fought heroically, and the Trolls were driven back with great casualties. Thorin went straight for Bolg and his personal guard, but as the valley opened up further ahead the flanks of the Dwarfs became unguarded. Soon the battle turned, encircling Thorin and his guard. Thorin was wounded with a spear and Fili and Kili were both killed.
Just in time, the Eagles of Hithaeglir came in from the west, attacking the Orcs and Trolls, and casting the enemy down on the mountain’s upper ridges. When the Elves, Men, and Dwarves were freed from the attack, they went down into the valley to Thorin’s assistance.
However, even after the Eagles’ attack, the company was still outnumbered and had little chance of victory. As things looked worse, Beorn seemed to come out of nowhere, and cut through the enemy like a razor-sharp blade. He broke through to Bolg and slew him. As the Orcs and Trolls saw their leader and his guard slain, they lost hope and scattered, running in fear from the battle. Most were slain. But, back at the melee, Thorin lay dead. He had, however, lived long enough to see the battle won by his few remaining comrades.