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Biographical Information
Other namesLord of Moria
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Balin

Balin was a Dwarf leader, the son of Fundin and elder brother of Dwalin. Balin was one of the Dwarves that travelled with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf to reclaim Erebor.



Early Life

Balin was born in T.A. 2763, the son of Fundin. When he was seven years old, Smaug came to the Lonely Mountain. After the Dwarves were driven out at great loss in T.A. 2770, Balin and his father Fundin lived with their king Thrór in Dunland. His brother Dwalin was born two years later.[1]

Fundin fought in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, and fell in the Battle of Azanulbizar. His body was burned.[1][note 1] After the war, the Dwarves returned to their homes. The was was won, but dearly bought. The Longbeards under Thráin II at first returned to their forges in Dunland, but they moved into Eriador shortly after, and colonized the Blue Mountains.

Thráin longed to return to Erebor, and with Balin and Dwalin and a few others he went on an expedition to their ancient hall. Sauron had them in his sights, eager to take the Ring of Thrór from the exiled king. Wolves, orcs and evil birds harassed the small company as they came east. One night, as they had crossed the Anduin, an evil rain forced them into the eaves of Mirkwood, and the company was split. Thráin was never seen again, and Balin and Dwalin returned to the Blue Mountains to report the news to Thorin Oakenshield, the new king of Durin's line.[1]

Quest of Erebor

In the Quest of Erebor, Balin was the second-eldest on the quest (behind Thorin), and so he spoke for the party when they were captured by the Elvenking. He is described as "always their look-out man": He spots Bilbo Baggins approaching the Green Dragon Inn at Bywater, he spots the trolls' fire, and he's the first to spot the Elves in Mirkwood.

Conversely he did not notice burglar Bilbo Baggins (invisible by wearing a magic ring) as look-out for the company after escaping the Goblins in the Misty Mountains. After this bit of trickery Bilbo gained respect from Balin for his abilities, unaware of the ring involved. He was the only Dwarf that volunteered to accompany Bilbo Baggins down the secret passage to Smaug. Of all the Dwarves in the quest, he is the only one known to have visited Bilbo afterwards at Bag End.

Expedition to Moria and His Death

In Third Age 2989 Balin left the Lonely Mountain and entered Moria with Flói, Óin, Ori, Frár, Lóni, Náli, and other Dwarves to start a colony. He was slain by an Orc-archer when he went to look alone in Mirrormere in the Dimrill Dale on November 10 of 2994.

Balin's body was taken and was buried in the Chamber of Mazarbul.

Not long after Balin's death the entire expeditionary force was besieged and destroyed by Goblins.

The Fellowship of the Ring later discovered his tomb in the Chamber.


Though most names from the Dwarves in The Hobbit come from the Voluspa, Balin is not one of them. The name rhymes with Dwalin, but has no apparent meaning.[2] It is unknown if the name was influenced by Sir Balin le Savage from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.Template:Or

Other versions of the Legendarium

In the earliest drafts of The Lord of the Rings, Balin had a son named Burin (or Frár). Burin accompanied Glóin to the Council of Elrond, and became part of the Fellowship of the Ring. The character was changed to Gimli, son of Glóin in the final version.[3]



Portrayal in Adaptations

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Balin is played by Peter Pratt.[4]

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Balin's voice is provided by Don Messick. It is unknown if he survived the Battle of Five Armies, as only six of the original survive (with Thorin and Bombur among the casualties and Óin and Glóin amongst the survivors).[5]

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

Balin is played an uncredited actor.

1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):

Balin is omitted; Thorin is the only companion of the player, Bilbo Baggins.[6]

1989: The Hobbit (comic book):

Balin is portrayed white-haired and quite old; he looks distinctly older than his brother Dwalin, whose hair is still a very dark grey. His role is unchanged from the book; he is the lookout, and visits Bilbo in the epilogue.

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

Balin is mentioned by Gimli as the King of Moria, and his tomb is seen in Moria.[7] No mention is made about the past of Moria and his expedition, and Gimli seems confident he is still alive.[8]

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Balin's Tomb is visited between the levels "2nd Hall" and "Abyss Fight". It is a block of stone, raised from the ground by four ornamental legs.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

No actor is credited for the role of Balin. He is one of the older dwarves, and has a long white beard. He is the team's lookout.[9]

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth:

Balin's Tomb is one of the objectives of the first act in the Good Campaign. Several groups of orcs, as well as three trolls, have to be fought off before a break in the wall allows access to the next hall and the Bridge.[10]

2011: The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest:

Balin's Tomb is featured in Moria.

2012-3: The Hobbit films:

Balin will be played by Ken Stott.[11]

See also

House of Durin
Born: T.A. 2763 Died: T.A. 2995
Last held by:
Náin I, 1008 years earlier
King of Khazad-dûm
T.A. 2989 - 2995
Durin VII, in the Fourth Age


  1. No information is given about Balin's involvement in the war. In a note considered for inclusion in Appendix A published in The Peoples of Middle-earth, Tolkien noted that Dwarves would be of fighting age around thirty. Balin was 30 at the start and 36 at the end of the war, so it is conceivable that he participated.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien; Douglas A. Anderson, (ed.), (2002) The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, "Roast Mutton", note 20
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXIII. In the House of Elrond"
  4. Radio Times, Volume 180, No. 1968, September 26, 1968
  5. The Hobbit (1977 film), "Farewell, Thorin"
  6. ZX Computing, 8304 (April/May 1983), p. 76 (accessed 24 March 2011)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition) , "Balin's Tomb"
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition) , "Moria"
  9. The Hobbit (2003 video game), "Roast Mutton"
  10. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, "Moria"
Members of Thorin and Company
Thorin · Balin · Dwalin · Fíli · Kíli · Dori · Nori · Ori · Óin · Glóin · Bifur · Bofur · Bombur · Gandalf · Bilbo Baggins