The first emissary of men and elves that approached Thorin in his stronghold left without speaking. That day the dwarves could hear the elves' songs and noticed the air seemed warm and fragrant. The songs moved Bilbo's and some of the dwarves' hearts. Then the dwarves played their instruments and sang. What effect did their music have on Thorin? How was this similar to or different from the elves' songs? Why any difference? What effect were the dwarves hoping their song would have on Thorin? What effect did it have?
"To have another language is to possess a second soul." --Charlemagne, 742-814
"Music hath a charm to soothe the savage breast..."
Apparently some of the Dwarves (the younger ones only?) were quite willing and ready to join with the Men, and even the Elves, share the feasts, the jollity of that camp outside the dragon-smeared darkness of Erebor. But Thorin, "scowls."
His commanding position and personality among the Dwarves seems more dominating in this chapter than in the preceding ones. I noticed that the Dwarves often talked among themselves, argued, and gradually worked out a consensus of action in their earlier adventures, and even little Bilbo had a voice in their deliberations. But here, in a "beseiged" mountain fortress, surrounded by the ancient wealth and the heirlooms of his family -- the reminders of the kingly status his dynasty once possessed -- Thorin becomes an "imperial" character, and there is no longer a "democratic" consensus. Thorin's will dominates the company, he has, perhaps, already become a king because he holds Erebor, he is no longer just another Dwarf in exile. His status among his fellow Dwarves has taken a major leap upward.
Unfortunately, I think the lust of the dragon's horde lies very heavily upon him. Thorin has, in a sense, inherited the dragon's position as guardian/ possessor of all that stuff, and simultaneously, he has inherited the dragon's selfishness, its deadly desire to keep and horde. Thorin, as the new dragon under the mountain, loses a good deal of his humanity, become harsh and unforgiving. Dragon Gold, is cursed stuff, as Beowulf tells us, and Tolkien frequently agreed.
Thorin's kingship has been renewed, and he starts conceiving broad plans of recruiting his strength, fortifying his position, becoming a power in the Wilderland. The gold will be necessary to finalize the re-establishment of Dwarven power, and He will not spend it lightly. "Raison d'etat," bids him to withold the power such wealth represents, until he is entirely secure.
The other Dwarves seem to recognize the alteration in Thorin's status, and now they seem somewhat more like the courtiers of a capricious, all powerful despot, so they move to placate their monarch's wrath. They weave their song to form a pleasing tapestry that recognizes Thorin's right to command obediance. The song is a triumphant paean, it exonerates the martial mood that Thorin exhibits, it rejoices that the ancient wrongs done to the Dwarves have now been righted, and it adds a grim promise that they shall never again allow themselves to be victimized, by anyone:
"The heart is bold that looks on gold; The Dwarves no more shall suffer wrong."
The Dwarven song soon becomes belligerent, and even lays out the plan by which Thorin hopes to become master of the situation: the scattered might of the Dwarves shall be called baclk to Erebor, and financed by all the treasure there, Thorin shall make himself a power, and all his foes shall fall!
This martial tune does indeed soothe and please Thorin, although it seems to devastate poor Bilbo as it "sounded much too warlike." Bilbo, never as susceptible to Dragon-Gold madness as the Dwarves, finds no balm in this rhetoric, he is drawn instead toward the happy, sweet melodies of the Elven musics...