Before you could get round Mirkwood in the North you would be right among the slopes of the Grey Mountains, and they are simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and rest of the worst description. Before you could get round it in the South, you would get into the land of the Necromancer; and even you. Bilbo, won’t need me to tell you tales of that black sorcerer. I don’t advise you to go anywhere near the places overlooked by his dark tower! Stick to the forest-track, keep your spirits up, hope for the best, and with a tremendous slice of luck you may come out one day and see the Long Marshes lying below you, and beyond them, high in the East, the Lonely Mountain where dear old Smaug lives, though I hope he is not expecting you.
-The Hobbit, Chapter VII: Queer Lodgings
I think that when you want to find something more you look for why a writer shifted an idea. That gives you a clue to what they needed from that moment. There was an early draft of The Hobbit whereby names and characters were different. Smaug was called something else, for example. He was known as Pryftan. I think at one point, Thorin was called Gandalf. And of course, Gandalf means “Elf of the Wand.” It’s kind of weird for Thorin. So he’d obviously deliberately changed the name because he wanted that name to represent something, as all the names do. And the translation of Thorin is “Darer” (Old Norse) So Thorin is the one that would dare to reclaim the kingdom.
— Richard Armitage.
behind the scenes of an unexpected journey: a summary