Dwarf-women were few among the Dwarves, kept in secret, and were seldom seen by other races.
Role in society
For some reason, Dwarves wanted their women to be "protected" from other races and they usually kept them concealed inside their mountain halls. They seldom traveled in the outside world, only in great need, and when they did, they were dressed as men; with similar voice and appearance as male dwarves, even when they are rarely seen they are usually mistaken for a male. All Dwarves had beards from the beginning of their lives.
Family and fertility
Women joined their husbands' families. Women were seldom named in genealogies but if a son is seen to be 110 years younger than his father, this usually indicates an elder daughter. Thorin's sister Dís was named simply because of the gallant death of her sons Fíli and Kíli.
Gimli stated that only approximately one-third of their population consisted of women which was the reason for the slow increase in population of the race: less than one-third of Dwarf-men were married (others preferred to spend their time with their crafts instead) and even those were bound to her for life. Furthermore, some women did not end up marrying: some desire none, or denied to marry any other than the one they wanted.
Because of the scarcity of Dwarf-women, their secrecy and similarity in appearance to males, and their lack of mention, many Men failed to recognize their existence. They believed that the Dwarves' population was only of men, and a legend said therefore that they were 'born' by growing out of stone.
Portrayal in AdaptationsThe Hobbit (comic book):
- During Thorin's and Gandalf's narration about Erebor and Smaug, a flashback panel shows the exodus of the Dwarves of Erebor. Among them, a woman can be seen, since she has no beard and is wearing woman's clothes.
- Dwarf women are mentioned in the Extended Edition only, during Gimli's rant to Éowyn concerning Dwarven culture. The dialogue actually reproduces some of the information seen in Appendix A: Durin's Folk. On his mention that Men believe that there are no female Dwarves, Aragorn whispers a tongue-in-cheek explanation "It's the beard!" causing Éowyn to laugh.
- Some Dwarf women can be seen briefly in the beginning of the film, when the story of the destruction of Erebor is told. Here the women have beards, too, they are only shorter or lighter.
- Did Dwarf women have beards? by Steuard Jensen
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Concerning the Dwarves (Chapter 13)"; a similar statement was made in The_Making_of_Appendix_A#Durin's_Folk