13 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Hobbit: Battle Of Five Armies

A Reel Leadership Article

J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of the fantasy genre. You’ve heard of the titles he’s written. There’s the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Children of Hurin, and The Hobbit.

We’ve seen the movie treatment done to his books multiple times. Both Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit have had different movies made at different times.

This past weekend saw the release of the final movie in the Hobbit trilogy.

Leadership lessons from The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies

Warner Brothers

Wrapping up the novel in classic Hollywood fashion was breathtaking. The production company did great work on translating the book to the big screen.

The visuals were stunning, enough so that our next major vacation may be to New Zealand  where Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. The pacing was fantastic (the 2 and a half hour movie was over before I realized it!). And the storytelling was captivating.

If you’re a fan of Tolkien and his books, you’re going to love the final big screen adaptation of The Hobbit.

So, let’s dig into the leadership lessons in The Hobbit: Battle Of Five Armies… Beware though, there are spoilers ahead!

1. Leaders have got to be able to improvise: In the beginning of The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, we see the dragon Smaug desolating Laketown. Only one man decides to stand up and fight. That is Bard the Bowman.

He takes his bow and arrows and begins to shoot at the flying dragon. Every time his arrow bounces from the protected skin of the fierce dragon.

And then Bard’s son climbs up with him and hands over a giant arrow. Just as this was happening, Smaug smashes the tower, almost sending the son over the edge.

When Bard gets his son back into the tower, we discover his weapon has been destroyed. There’s no way to shoot the arrow at his nemesis now. Or is there?

With quick thinking, a new bow is created. Bard improvises and attaches the broken pieces of bow to the edges of the tower. Attaching the string to the two pieces and then shooting the giant arrow at Smaug.

Imagine if Bard had given up. The villain would have completely decimated the town and no one would have survived.

Yet, because he saw a way to improvise, he was able to save what was left of the town.

You’ll come to areas in leadership that will seem insurmountable. You won’t have the proper resources or even any resources at all. That’s when we, as leaders, need to look around and see what we can adapt to our situation.

Find a new way to use an old tool and make it work. You can do it!

2. Unknown voice:

You are not alone

As Gandalf was hanging inside of a cage, we hear a voice begin to tell him not to worry… You are not alone.

And then all hell breaks loose as we discover Gandalf really isn’t alone.

How often do we have to be reminded that we’re not alone in this thing called leadership. We have friends we can call on. We have family that we can lean on.

We are not alone!

3. Look for weak spots: During the epic scene where Bard slays Smaug, we think there may not be hope in the battle. However, we see a glint of hope when Bard realizes Smaug has a weak spot.

He saw the weak spot and went for it. Bringing the evil dragon down once and for all.

As we struggle in leadership, we may think we’re up against the wall with no way out. Bard felt this way but he stopped and began to look for a solution.

We may need to slow down and look to see where the weaknesses are in the areas we need to attack.

Whether that’s getting up earlier in the morning so you have more time or noticing a flaw in the system, we can find weak points that will boost our leadership.

4. Bard The Bowman:

We must look to our own. We must care for those who are injured.

Now, I know that I didn’t get this quote perfect but it went something along these lines. Bard calls out to his fellow citizens to care for those who have been injured in the dragon attack. He knows great leaders take care of those they lead.

The question is, are you helping those that need help or are you looking out for yourself?

5. Stand up to those who abuse power: As people in the city are trying to help comfort and care for those who survived, we see the former assistant to the king of the town approach a woman passing out blankets to help people keep warm.

Alfrid, the assistant, begins to demand (because he has the power) the woman give him a blanket so he doesn’t have to suffer the cold. This wise woman bravely stands up to Alfrid and he goes away.

How many times have we seen leaders quickly cave into the demands of others when they think the other person carries some sort of authority? We see it all the time.

But we don’t have to. Just because a person has authority or prestige doesn’t mean they get everything they demand. It’s healthy to say no and stand up to those trying to abuse the power given to them.

6. Leaders can lose their way: We see the slow descent into madness with Thorin Oakenshield becomes consumed with protecting HIS treasure and the kingdom. He begins to become angry, bitter, and obsessive to the point he no longer can be considered a leader.

He’s let the power and position go to his head. He lost his way.

When you gain position and power as a leader, remember the position isn’t permanent and it’s not for your glory.

You’re a leader to help others, not yourself. Keep this in mind while you’re leading always.

7. One of the Dwarves:

You sit here with a crown upon your head, yet you are less than you were before

As Thorin Oakenshield hides within the kingdom beneath the mountain trying to protect all the treasures that lie within, one of the Dwarves speaks up and confronts Thorin.

It’s an amazing scene where we see a follower speak up and let it rip. He tells Thorin that he’s not the man he once knew. He’s less of a man than he ever was before he took on the title of King Under The Mountain.

This is a great reminder that we can’t let our positions go to our heads. Our titles are meaningless unless we live out the responsibilities that go along with the title.

8. It’s easy to misinterpret the motives of others: Bard sees the elf army bringing in supplies for the destroyed town. He thinks they’re there to help them rebuild and survive.

Sadly, he finds out they’re there for a much different reason. They’re there to fight the Dwarves that have taken over the mountain.

Sometimes, it looks like people are coming to us as friends. They bear gifts and treat us well, only to discover they really want something else.

People aren’t always straight forward with their motives. You’ve got to ask and dig deep to discover the why behind what they’re doing.

10. The past has answers to the future: The orcs planned a massive assault on the kingdom under the mountain. They knew there were creatures that could eat through rock and provide quick passage to where they needed to go.

The people had long forgotten these creatures and were sorely surprised when the creatures broke through the ground and the orcs began to flow out.

While the past no long holds power over you, the past does contain answers to the future. Don’t neglect to learn from the past. It can be the best teacher you have.

11. Thorin Oakenshield: 

I have no right to ask this of you but will you follow me one last time?

Even though Thorin screwed up and began to rule with an iron fist, he realized he made a mistake. And that’s why he asked his dwarf companions to fight with him one last time.

Sometimes you will feel you don’t have the right to ask something of those you lead. You can ask it anyway and they can give you an honest answer. Be willing to listen to it.

12. For where your treasure is, so is your heart: You can tell Thorin lost his way. He became a leader that no one really wanted to follow or respect. Why?

Because his treasure was in the wrong place. He began to treasure his companions less and the gold more. And you could see the position of his heart change.

Even the Bible tells of this. Matthew 6:21 describes this exactly.

We’ve got to guard our hearts and minds. We’ve got to know what we value and value what’s true.

If we don’t, we will go astray and it won’t be pretty.

13. Thorin Oakenshield: 

If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merry place

At the end of his life, Thorin realized his heart had been in the wrong place. He also realized much of the world also has their hearts in the wrong place.

How true this is even in our world! We value fame, fortune, image. We think those items will get us to where we want to go.

Rather, the truth is, we find our biggest value at home, with those we love and care about.

Leadership is great but don’t forgot about those important people called family. They’re your true gift.

Question: Have you seen The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies? If so, what leadership lessons did you get out of it. If not, what was your favorite leadership lesson I shared? Let’s talk about this in the comment section below.

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