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Fanfic / History Teaches Us

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History Teaches Us is a The Hobbit fanfic by Drenagon. It is the first story in the Lessons Well Learnt series. It is followed by several outtakes and side-stories, and a full-length sequel, Shall History Remember?

Thorin dies in the Battle of Five Armies. Mahal sends him back in time, to before the start of the quest. From then on Thorin tries to avoid making the mistakes he made the first time round.

History Teaches Us contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: One of Galadriel's handmaids is this for Legolas.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the side-story Well-Served, Kíli makes some "improvements" to Thranduil's crown. Thranduil bursts out laughing when he sees it, and later wears it, improvements and all.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Thorin has a case of Adaptational Common Sense, thanks to having lived through the quest before.
    • Thranduil, thanks to Thorin's actions, thinks better of the Dwarves than in canon.
  • Almighty Mom: The threat of Dís's displeasure terrifies everyone who knows her, be it Thorin, Dwalin, her sons, or Dáin.
  • A Rare Sentence: Balin gets one when the question of what to do with Smaug's corpse comes up.
    Balin: [to Bard] Are there any among your people with a particular interest in farming? We have a dragon I'd very much like to dispose of if your people think it would make a good fertiliser.
  • Asleep for Days: Thorin after the battle, thanks to Balin. He isn't happy when he wakes up.
  • Asshole Victim: While the matter is treated seriously given the circumstances, it's very hard to feel sorry for the Master when he's murdered, especially since it's directly after he greedily demands the Arkenstone as payment for the rebuilding of Dale.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Thorin gets one.
  • Awful Wedded Life / Henpecked Husband: The Drapers. Berthe Draper has no qualms about arguing with her husband in front of visiting royalty, to Thorin and Legolas's embarrassment.
  • Big Eater: Dwalin. Dís outright says he's "endlessly hungry".
  • Blood Knight: The Dwarves, as always. Also, Glorfindel is very eager to kill orcs.
  • Broken Pedestal: It starts in a minor manner, but when Bilbo listens to the song "Far Over the Misty Mountains Old", he observes that it focuses more on reclaiming the gold than their home, prompting Thorin to explain that this is due to his grandfather's fixation on gold and he has come to recognise that Thror's focus was a mistake. As the quest continues, Thorin hears more people complain about Thror's attitude, and has to recognise that the gold-sickness afflicted his grandfather more than he was able to acknowledge when he was just the heir to the throne.
  • Call-Forward: Eru tells Mahal to take a closer look at his Istar (Saruman) when Mahal says that only Sauron would use the Ring.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Legolas does this to Thranduril when Gloin succumbs to gold-sickness and kills the Master of Lake-Town, stopping Thranduril criticising Thorin for 'letting' that happen by reminding his father that Thorin isn't Thror and has been honest with them so far.
  • Death Seeker: Glóin, during the fight with Azog. He survives.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • While still vital to the plot, Bilbo is nowhere near as central to this story as he was to the canon story. Because Thorin is more prepared and levelheaded this time around, and orders the other dwarves to be more cautious and courteous as well, many of the scrapes Bilbo had to get the Company out of in canon either don't happen at all or are solved without his involvement, and Bilbo often becomes "one in the crowd." He does, however, establish himself as The Smart Guy of the Company as well as a peacemaker who more easily establishes friendly repots with all the non-dwarves the Company encounter.
    • Gandalf too has a somewhat reduced role in the story because Thorin takes care of a lot more himself, though his off-screen trip to Dol Guldur remains the same.
  • Deus ex Machina: A literal example, though a downplayed one. Eru and Mahal/Aulë are keeping an eye on how events unfold, but they rarely interfere.
  • Divine Intervention: This is what prevents Bilbo from being crushed under Smaug's corpse.
  • Doorstopper: The first fic alone has 35 chapters and over 200,000 words. The series itself contains eighteen stories and over 478,000 words.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The Elves and Dwarves are on better terms, Smaug dies while still in the mountain, and Dáin and Glóin fall victim to the gold-sickness.
  • The Gadfly: Thranduil. Legolas as well, to a lesser extent.
  • Genius Loci: Erebor itself is "alive" to some degree. Bofur and Bifur can communicate with her.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Bombur and Bofur, "who seemed to share a familial trait of being able to sleep through a pitched battle".
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: There are several Dwarven sayings scattered throughout. Unsurprisingly, they're mostly related to mining.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the changes to the quest, Bilbo still joins the Company and finds the Ring, and Smaug dies.
  • Jerkass Realization: Thorin has a few of these when people compliment him on his efforts in the current quest and he has to contrast it with how he performed originally, such as letting Lake-town burn and likely killing most of the people he's currently meeting.
  • Kryptonite Ring: Thorin has to open up to Thranduril and Legolas about the gold-sickness that runs in his family because he wants to assure them in advance that anything he might say to them in future that goes against his current deals with them will be because he isn't well rather than because he's currently lying to them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Glóin, after murdering the Master under the influence of the gold-sickness.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Used occasionally.
  • Odd Friendship: Between Thorin and Thranduil, of all people.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bilbo, when he realises that he still has the arrows and so Kíli can't shoot Smaug.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters named Thorin: Thorin Oakenshield himself, and Dáin's son Thorin (also known as Thorin Stonehelm).
  • Reforged Blade: Reforged Arrow, in this case. The Black Arrow is too awkward for Bilbo to carry, so Thorin has it melted down and forged into smaller arrows.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What Thorin is trying to do.
  • The Stoic: Celeborn rarely shows emotion about anything.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Thorin and Dwalin. Later, Thorin and Thranduil too.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bard gets this when he agrees to hold Fíli as hostage in case Smaug causes damage to Lake-town. He himself regrets it later.

Shall History Remember? contains examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Sigrid. This causes friction between her and Elladan at first; he doesn't think women should put themselves in danger after what happened to his mother.
    • Galadriel is this crossed with Lady of War. And being Galadriel, she is one of the most dangerous characters in the fic.
    Haldir: My lady adds another hundred or so to our numbers herself, should she became annoyed enough.
  • Action Mom: Dís rides with the army of Erebor.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Thranduil's reaction to being forced to lend Thorin his elk.
  • Adaptational Badass: Sigrid showed no signs of taking up arms in the original. Here, she's a badass warrior woman who take's Eowyn's role in killing the Witch-King.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Sméagol isn't quite as insane or cruel in this timeline. He gets a much more heroic death, too.
  • Adapted Out: Many of the characters in Lord of the Rings, thanks to the fic taking place a generation earlier than in canon. Sam is the most notable example; despite being alive at the time he's nowhere to be seen.
  • Age Lift: Frodo, Merry and Pippin are born a lot earlier here than they were in canon (it's hinted that Eru has something to do with this). It's more obvious with Merry and Pippin, who are a lot closer to Frodo's age than they were in canon — Merry is in fact directly stated to be the same age as Frodo, when canon Frodo had more than a decade on him.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alnir fills this role for Sigrid, though they aren't related.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Celeborn has more to do in this fic than in the first one (or the films); here, he's the one who forms the Fellowship.
    • Elladan, Sigrid and Alnir, who join the Fellowship here.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Happens several times, most notably between Elladan and Sigrid during the Battle of Pelennor. Justified in this case, since Elladan has just been thrown around by a Nazgûl and at first doesn't realise where he is.
  • Babies Ever After: Sigrid and Bofur, thanks to some interference from Aulë.
  • Demoted to Extra: Many characters from the first fic, like Bard, Gimli and most of the Company.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Legolas inflicts this on Shelob.
    • Nori later does this to the Witch-King's Fell-beast.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Sméagol. Ouch.
    • Kíli dies holding a group of Orcs back from the rest of the Fellowship. Or so everyone thinks.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Elladan's reaction to discovering Bilbo has the One Ring.
  • Killed Offscreen: Kíli. Subverted when it turns out he survived.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Dwalin hangs a lampshade on the flaws in the "take the Ring to Mordor" plan.
    Dwalin: We'll just walk it into the centre of Sauron's power and ask him to kindly look the other way while we throw his long-lost piece of jewellery into a volcano. [to Elrond] Did you let Thorin make the plan?
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: The Fellowship splits into three groups. One goes to Rohan, one to Gondor, and the other to Mordor. At least, that was the plan.
  • Like an Old Married Couple / Like Brother and Sister: Sigrid and Alnir think of themselves as brother and sister, but their bickering like an old married couple makes many people think they're in love.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Thranduil's elk is given the name Tári.
  • Oblivious to Love: Bofur thinks Sigrid has grown out of her crush on him. He's wrong.
  • Odd Friendship: Between Pippin and Sméagol.
  • Put on a Bus / The Bus Came Back: Bard is absent for the first thirty-three chapters. He reappears when Bain returns to Dale.
  • Serious Business: Food is this for the Hobbits. At one point they discuss rabbit stew with one of Ecthelion's under-cooks, "with all the solemnity of those planning an assault on a major stronghold".
  • Stepford Smiler: Bofur.
    [Bofur] needed only to smile, and be cheerful, and laugh loudly, and joke louder still about anything and everything, and few thought to look any deeper than that.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Varr and Halma are stated to have died between the first and second fic.
  • Tears of Joy: Dís, when she learns Kíli is alive.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Thranduil with all his friends, really, but especially with Thorin and Celeborn.