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War of the Dwarves and Orcs

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Previous war: War of the Dwarves and Dragons
Next war: War of the Ring
War of the Dwarves and Orcs
Mikel Janin - Battle of Azanulbizar.jpeg
Beginning: T.A. 2793End: T.A. 2799
Place: The northern Misty Mountains and Mount Gundabad
Outcome: Crippling defeat for Orcs, pyrrhic victory for Dwarves
Major battles: Second Sacking of Gundabad, various battles in mines, strongholds, and colonies, Battle of Azanulbizar.

Dwarves of all Seven Houses, Longbeards, Firebeards, Broadbeams, Blacklocks, Stonefoots, Ironfists, and Stiffbeards.

Orcs of the Misty Mountains


King Thráin II, Thorin, Náin, various generals and/or kings or lords of the other houses

Azog and likely other Orc-chieftains

The War of the Dwarves and Orcs was a great war fought between the two races.




After their home under Erebor had been sacked by the dragon Smaug, many of the Dwarves of Durin's Folk were homeless and wandered through western Middle-earth, trying to make as best a living they could. After some years of wandering they settled down in Dunland.[1] Among these Dwarves were Thrór, formerly King under the Mountain, his son Thráin II and grandson Thorin II who became later known as Thorin Oakenshield.

Thrór became despaired after living many years in poverty, or perhaps the Ring he wore was ultimately working towards his bearers evil, and thus Thrór went away from his kin in Third Age T.A. 2790, accompanied by his friend Nár. They crossed the Redhorn Pass and Thráin came to the old mines of Moria, though Nár warned him and was unwilling to enter this evil place.

Thrór was slain by Azog the Orc-chieftain who had made himself an abode in Moria. Upon Thrór's head had been branded Azog's name and the corpse was thrown out of the gate were it was found by Nár, who was left alive to serve as a messenger to tell the Dwarves that Azog now claimed to be the King of Moria.

When Nár returned to the king's son Thráin II, he told him of his father's murder. Thráin sat for seven days without eating or sleeping, until he stood and said "This cannot be borne!"[2]

From 2790 to 2793 the Longbeards responded to this tragedy by gathering their forces, and calling on all the other Houses of the Dwarves for war.

Early Stages

In 2793 they attacked, assailing and sacking one by one all the Orc-holds they could find from Mount Gundabad in the north, to the Gladden Fields in the south.

Little is known about what happened during the first six years, but most of the war was fought underground, in the great mines and tunnels of the Misty Mountains, where Dwarves excelled in combat.

The Final Battle

The war climaxed in 2799, when the final battle was fought in the valley outside the East-gate of Moria, the Battle of Azanûlbizar. The Dwarves finally won this notoriously bloody encounter when reinforcements arrived late on the scene from the Iron Hills. Azog was slain by Dáin Ironfoot.[3]

After the battle, King Thráin II wanted to enter Moria and reclaim it, but the Dwarves not of Durin's folk refused, saying that the city was not their Fathers' House; they had honored Thrór's memory by fighting, and this was enough. Dáin Ironfoot also warned Thráin that Durin's Bane still dwelt within Khazad-dûm.

Aftermath and Repercussions

The war was very costly for the Dwarves. Half of those involved in the Battle of Azanulbizar were killed and possibly a couple thousand more were killed throughout the rest of the war. Náin, Frerin, and Fundin were among the more notable casualties. Thráin II himself lost an eye, and Thorin was wounded when his shield broke and he had to use an oak branch to defend himself, which gave rise to his epithet "Oakenshield".

The Orcs that survived the final battle (as many as 10,000) fled south through Rohan, trying to claim a refuge in the White Mountains beyond, where they troubled the Rohirrim for two generations.

One positive outcome however was that the Orcs of the Misty Mountains virtually disappeared as a threat for Eriador and Wilderland. One and a half century later the Orcs of the North were beginning to recover, but their population was even further reduced during the Battle of Five Armies in 2941, where Bolg son of Azog tried to avenge his father, and in the process lost three fourths of his people.

It is possible that without this War, the later War of the Ring would have been lost in the north, and the Ring-bearer might never have made it south to Mordor.

Noteable Veterans

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"

Preceded by:
Long Winter
Major events of Middle-earth
T.A. 2793 - T.A. 2799
Followed by:
Fell Winter