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The Elves claimed that the Dwarves would have no future in the [[Arda Unmarred]], but the Dwarves hoped that Mahal would gather them to the [[Halls of Mandos]] with the other Children of Ilúvatar. About their death, some other peoples believed that Dwarves melt into the stones they were made of.
The Elves claimed that the Dwarves would have no future in the [[Arda Unmarred]], but the Dwarves hoped that Mahal would gather them to the [[Halls of Mandos]] with the other Children of Ilúvatar. About their death, some other peoples believed that Dwarves melt into the stones they were made of.
Dwarves generally lived far from the sea and avoided getting on boats, as they disliked the sound of the ocean and were afraid of it. <ref>{{S|10}}</ref>

Revision as of 21:04, 1 October 2013

"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
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Alarie - A bunch of dwarves.jpg
General Information
MembersDurin I, Gimli, Thorin II Oakenshield
Physical Description
Lifespanc. 195 [1]
DistinctionsShort in stature, beards
Average height4 to 5 feet
GalleryImages of Dwarves
"Since they were to come in the days of the power of Melkor, Aulë made the dwarves strong to endure. Therefor they are stone-hard, stubborn, fast in friendship and in enmity, and they suffer toil and hunger and hurt of body more hardily than all other speaking peoples; and they live long, far beyond the span of Men, yet not forever."
The Silmarillion, "Of Aulë and Yavanna"

The Dwarves, or Khazâd in their own tongue, were beings of short stature, often friendly with Hobbits although long suspicious of Elves. They were typically blacksmiths and stoneworkers by profession, unrivaled in some of their arts even by the Elves.

While there were several tribes (Houses) of the Dwarves, the most prominent had been that of the Longbeards.




Unlike Elves and Men, the Dwarves are not counted among the Children of Ilúvatar. Their creator was Mahal, known as Aulë the Smith. Aulë created the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves deep beneath an unknown mountain somewhere in Middle-earth, from whom all other Dwarves are descended. However, Aulë did not have the divine power to grant independent life to any creation, and the dwarves were bound to his will. Ilúvatar came and reprimanded Aulë, who confessed his desire to create more living things, but in repentance lifted his hammer to destroy the dwarves. Even as the blow was about to land, the dwarves cowered and begged for mercy, as Ilúvatar had taken pity and given true life to the creations of his child, including them in His plan for Arda. However, Ilúvatar did not wish them to wake before the Elves, whom he intended to be the first-born. Ilúvatar granted the Dwarves life, and therefore they are known as the Adopted Children of Ilúvatar, but he bade Aulë lay them to sleep in their chamber deep beneath the mountain, and they were to awake after the Awakening of the Elves. [2]

Dwarves as portrayed in The Battle for Middle-earth II game.

The Seven Fathers awoke in their places in pairs with their wives, though Durin I had awoken alone. The seven different groups of Dwarf-folk originated in the locations where the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves first awoke.[source?]

The seven clans of the Dwarves were:

Durin settled in the caves above Kheled-zâram which later became the greatest of Dwarf realms, Khazad-dûm. Therefore the halls of the Longbeards were not located near the halls of another Dwarf-kingdom.

There was also an eighth group of Dwarves that was not a separate member from these seven kindreds, but composed of exiles from each: the Petty-dwarves, who were hunted like animals to the point of extinction by the Elves in the First Age.

First Age

The Dwarves for many years did not know any other folk, until Firebeards and Broadbeams had their first meeting with the Elves in Beleriand in the year 1250 of the Years of the Trees. From that time on there was friendship between the Sindar and the Dwarves, and they began exchanging knowledge and creating ring-mails and many other works; the Dwarves of Nogrod were unmatched in Middle-earth in smithing. They delved the caves of Menegroth, and adopted the writing of Daeron. It was the Dwarves who told the Sindar about Orcs attacking their Elven kin on the other side of the mountains, which prompted King Thingol to begin a build up of arms which the Dwarves made for him.

Later on a great army of Orcs attacked the Elves, but in the First Battle of Beleriand were defeated and fled. Those that got away ran south right into an army of Dwarves who issued from Mount Dolmed and destroyed them.

After the Return of the Noldor, Finrod Felagund desired to settle himself in the Caves of Narog and the Dwarves of the Ered Luin aided him and gave him the dwarven name Felak-gundu (Felagund). They eventually made for him the Nauglamír. This necklace without equal contained one of the Silmarils, and sparked jealosy and conflicts over its true ownernship rights. These initial conflicts receded by the beginning of the Second Age, but were rekindled to a new intensity by the discord sown by Sauron. They eventually created a rivalry and mistrust between Elves and Dwarves that endured to the end of the Third Age, when Gimli the Dwarf bridged the distance between the two races by developing a deep admiration for lady Galadriel and forming a strong friendship with Legolas the Elf.

Things finally came to a head between the forces of Morgoth and the Elves, Men, and Dwarves in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. The Dwarves fought for the Union of Maedhros

In early Second Age the most many of the Firebeards and Broadbeams houses migrated to Khazad-dûm from their cities in the Blue Mountains which were ruined during the sinking of Beleriand.

Second Age

The Dwarves had little participation in most of the important events involving the other races. However their friendship with the Elves perhaps became more close than ever; the Dwarves of Moria maintained close connections to the Gwaith-i-Mírdain of Eregion; the Doors of Durin of Moria were built to facilitate the communication between the two people, and was constructed jointly by both races.

When Eregion was sacked by Sauron's forces, the Dwarves assailed them from behind however it was too late to stop him from conquering all Eriador.[3]

Annatar and the seven rings, by Liz Danforth.

When "Annatar" distributed the Rings of Power, he gave seven to Dwarf Lords in order to subdue and control them. However, they did not have the same effect as they did over Men. Dwarves did not shift into the wraith-world and in fact resisted domination. The Rings only augmented their greed and ability to create riches.

At the end of the Age, some of the Dwarves of Moria joined the great host of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and went to the great War.

Third Age

The Dwarves are upon You! by Angus McBride

In Third Age 1980, after centuries of greedy digging for Mithril and other minerals, the Dwarves woke a Balrog that was sleeping in the deeps of the Misty Mountains since the First Age. The Dwarves fled Khazad-dum, which from then on was called Moria, which means "Black pit".

Most of Durin's folk left for the Grey Mountains in the North, while some followed the new king, Thráin I, who briefly went to Erebor in T.A. 1999. For more than 300 years the Dwarves of the Grey Mountains prospered until the Dragons in the far North started to gain strength. Some fled to the Iron Hills, while most followed the the new king Thrór to Erebor to start a new Kingdom under the Mountain. There, they prospered for over 200 years until the dragon Smaug descended in T.A. 2770. The King and his company went in exil South, while most of the survivors went to the Iron Hills.

Durin's folk settled in Dunland, and in T.A. 2790 King Thrór and traveled North to Moria where he was killed by the Goblin king Azog. Thrór's son Thráin II (who had received the Last of the Seven Rings from his father before his departure) called all the Houses of Dwarves to war. Thus began the War of Dwarves and Orcs, in which the Dwarves destroyed all the Goblin strongholds in the Misty Mountains culminating to the great Battle of Azanulbizar where all the dwarven clans united. The Goblin hosts issuing from Moria were strong and relentless until the arrival of fresh Dwarves of the Iron Hills. The Battle ended with the victory of Dwarves, but at great cost. The Dwarven clans however were unwilling to repopulate Moria. Thráin therefore came to the Blue Mountains and established his realm there.

The Wizard Gandalf was instrumental into helping Thráin's son Thorin in reclaiming the Kingdom of Erebor. Thorin gathered around him twelve dwarves, mostly from his own line, and was joined by Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins. The Quest of Erebor ended with the death of Smaug. After a quarrel with the Men and Elves over the unguarded hoard, the Dwarves - assisted by those from the Iron Hills - united with the Men and Elves to fight the attacking Goblins and Wargs, in what was called the Battle of Five Armies, where Thorin was killed.

Gimli son of Glóin joined the Fellowship of the Ring as a representative of the Dwarves and befriended Legolas during the War of the Ring.

Fourth Age

Not much is known about the Dwarves in the Fourth Age. After the War of the Ring, Gimli brought a part of Durin's Folk from Erebor to the Glittering Caves behind Helms Deep and founded a colony there. Subsequently, Gimli went on many travels with his friend Legolas, and History lost track of their fate. Through their friendship and influence, the feud between the two races that had lasted for millenia finally ended, shortly before the departure of the last Elves from Middle Earth. It is rumored that Gimli and Legolas eventually boarded a ship that sailed down the river Anduin, out to sea and across to Valinor in the year Fo.A. 120. Gimli would thus have become the only Dwarf to ever be permitted to cross to the Undying Lands.

Durin VII (the Last), retook Moria and brought Khazad-dûm back to its original splendor, and the Longbeards lived there till the "world grew old and the days of Durin's race ended".


The Dwarves were created by Aulë to be strong, resistant to fire and durable to the evils of Morgoth. Thus they were secretive, proud and hardier than any other race, and never forgot a wrong or debt. They were generally less corruptible than Men. When Sauron attempted to enslave the Free Folk of Middle-earth using the Rings of Power, the Elves completely resisted his power (indeed, his hand had never sullied the Three Rings), while the Nine Rings utterly corrupted the Men who bore them into the Ringwraiths. In contrast, the Dwarves were sturdy and resistant enough that Sauron was not able to dominate them using the Seven Rings. At most, the Seven Rings sowed strife among the Dwarves and filled their wearers with an insatiable greed for gold, but they did not turn them into wraiths subservient to the Dark Lord, and he considered his plan to have failed. Sauron was furious at the Dwarves' resistance, spurring his drive to recapture the Seven Rings from them.

In the Third Age, Dwarves on average lived to be 250 years of age, but it is possible that earlier Dwarves, particularly the Seven Firstborn and other patriarchs, lived longer.

    • The following paragraph may be from non-canonical sources and needs a reference** A 30 year old Dwarf is very much considered a young stripling, having not yet reached full adulthood. Thus it was considered very remarkable when the young Dain Ironfoot slew Azog the Orc chieftain of Moria, at only 32 years old. Once a Dwarf has reached maturity, he will stop aging almost entirely, remaining in prime physical condition, or perhaps middle-aged at the most, for over two centuries. However, when Dwarves reach 240 years old, they will begin to age very rapidly and their physical condition drastically worsen, essentially condensing the aging process that Men experience from 40 to 80 years of age into only ten years. It is not, however, unheard of for an elderly Dwarf to live beyond 250 years. Once again Dain Ironfoot was renowned for his health in this matter as he died in the Battle of Dale at the age of 252 years, still wielding his battle-axe and cleaving dozens of enemies during a rearguard action. Even Gandalf the Wizard was astonished that Dain was still healthy and hale enough to lead troops into battle at an age when most Dwarves would be lucky to be on their deathbed, much less engaged in close-quarters combat.

Despite being 4.5 - 5 feet (1.35 - 1.52 m) tall, they were known for their strength and endurance in battle, as well as their fury, particularly when avenging their fallen kin, and for being some of the greatest warriors in all of Middle-earth. They fought valiantly in many wars and battles over the Ages holding axes. In appearance their more distinctive characteristic was their beard which they have from the beginning of their lives, male and females alike; and which they shave only in shame.[4]

Also, as creations of Aulë, they were attracted to the substances of Arda and crafts. They mined and worked precious metals throughout the mountains of Middle-earth but were noted for their gold lust; they committed their share of rash and greedy acts. Among these are the slaying of Elu Thingol and the dispute over the Nauglamír, which stirred up the initial suspicion between Elves and Dwarves to open hatred.[5]

The Dwarves numbers, although they sometimes flourished, often faced periods of decline, especially in periods of war. Dwarves married around the age of 100; few Dwarf-women were born and not all did wed and made up only about a third of the total population. They seldom walked abroad, and that only in great need. Dwarf-women were so alike in voice, appearance and garb when they must travel, that it was hard for other races to tell them apart from Dwarf-men. It was because of the rarity of women that the Dwarf population increased slowly. Dwarves only took one husband or wife in their lifetime, and were jealous, as in all matters of their rights. The number of Dwarf-men that married was actually less than a third, and not all the Dwarf-women took husbands either; some desired none, some wanted one they could not have, and would have no other. There were also many Dwarf-men that didn't want a wife, because they were obsessed with their crafts.

Women were seldom named in genealogies. They joined their husbands' families. Thorin Oakenshield's sister Dís was named simply because of the gallant death of her sons Fíli and Kíli.

The scarcity of women, their scarce mention and their identical looks with the males, coupled to their secretive culture, led many to mistakenly believe that Dwarves were born out of stone, and upon death they returned to that stone.[6]

The Elves claimed that the Dwarves would have no future in the Arda Unmarred, but the Dwarves hoped that Mahal would gather them to the Halls of Mandos with the other Children of Ilúvatar. About their death, some other peoples believed that Dwarves melt into the stones they were made of.


The Dwarven language was created by Aulë, and was called Khuzdul. It was a strange language to Elves and Men, and few non-Dwarves learned it, also because they kept it secret. The Dwarves preferred to communicate with the languages of their neighbors, and did not reveal their real names, rather adopting new names in other languages (the petty-dwarves were an exception). During the Third Age, the Longbeards used northern Mannish names in public.

The Dwarves also had devised a secret gesture language to communicate between themselves in silence, the iglishmêk.[7]

However, one Dwarven phrase is well known: the ancient battle cry, going back to at least the First Age: "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!", which means "Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!".


The Dwarves called themselves the Khazâd, the name Aulë gave them; this is adapted as Hadhodrim in Sindarin, and Casari in Quenya. Casari was the common word for Dwarves among the Noldor, but the Sindar usually called them Naugrim or Nogothrim, the Stunted People.


Almost all the names of the dwarves of Middle-earth are taken from the Icelandic saga of Völuspá.

According to Tolkien, the "real 'historical'" plural of dwarf is dwarrows or dwerrows. He once referred to dwarves as "a piece of private bad grammar" (Letters, 17), but in Appendix F to The Lord of the Rings he explains that if we still spoke of dwarves regularly, English might have retained a special plural for the word dwarf as with man. The form dwarrow only appears in the word Dwarrowdelf, a name for Moria. Tolkien used Dwarves, instead, which corresponds with Elf and Elves, making its meaning more apparent. The use of a different term also serves to set Tolkien's Dwarves apart from the similarly-named creatures in mythology and fairy-tales.

The enduring popularity of Tolkien's books, especially The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has led to the popular use of the term dwarves to describe this race in fantasy literature. Before Tolkien, the term dwarfs (with a different spelling) was used, as seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In fact, the latter spelling was so common that the original editor of The Lord of the Rings "corrected" Tolkien's dwarves to dwarfs (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 138).

Other versions of the Legendarium

In the earliest versions of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology (see: The History of Middle-earth) the dwarves were evil beings created by Melkor.

See also

External links


  1. Emil Johansson, "Lord of the Rings in Statistics", Lord of the Rings Project (accessed 9 September 2012)
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Aulë and Yavanna"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Concerning the Dwarves (Chapter 13)"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar", p. 395
Dwarven Clans
Longbeards · Firebeards · Broadbeams · Ironfists · Stiffbeards · Blacklocks · Stonefoots · (Petty-dwarves)