: In MemoriamRating
: Based off the following prompt at hobbit_kink
: "...But just think about how every morning Thorin takes his time to cut his beard, to remember everyone his ever lost, dwelling in guilt. And after that he just… carries on."
Basically, Thorin continually cutting his beard as mourning for everyone he ever lost.
He's nearly mad with grief the first time he cuts his beard, hacking it off in fury at the desolation that Smaug has wrought, and the betrayal of the Elves. Around him he hears the cries of the wounded, and the wailing of the bereaved, and it feels like penance – furious, bitter penance – to be shorn of the beard which marked him as one of Dúrin's line. It is only after it is gone that he can stand up before his people and show his face.
Fury drives him ever onwards. His father is weak, nearly broken from the decimation of their people. The sharp, blistering scent of dragon fire clings to their clothes and their hair, and dogs their every step. A silent, tireless reminder of the fires that have consumed their home – if such a reminder is needed. Thráin's grief is palpable, it leaves him empty and hollow, gouging him out until only a shell remains. Thrór does not grieve for Erebor, and the people they have lost. Thrór grieves for their gold.
It is Thorin's fury that drives them to Moria's door, backed by Thrór's avarice. He curses his grandfather for his unshorn beard, his unwillingness to face the loss of life. He curses his father's hopelessness, and his unwillingness to act. In the end, he pushes them both right into the hands of Azog. His grandfather dies, beard still unshorn and treasure unwon, and his father is worse than dead, for there is no greater calamity than hopelessness, for the good people of the world.
It is in bitterness and memory, and not in wild grief, that he cuts his beard after Moria. It's quiet and methodical, an economy of motion and unprecedented restraint. Grief lays heavy in him, hardening in his belly like a tumour. It colours his acts, and paints the world in dark shades and lonely roads. But it still drives him on – because he has not forgiven, and he has not forgotten, and it is writ plain for all the world to see upon his face.