From Tolkien Gateway
Andy Smith - Bifur.jpg
"Bifur" by Andy Smith
Biographical Information
LocationThorin's Halls
Lonely Mountain
AffiliationThorin and Company
LanguageKhuzdul and Westron
Physical Description
ClothingYellow hood
GalleryImages of Bifur

Bifur most likely lived in the Blue Mountains with Thorin after the loss of Thráin II.[2] Bifur was one of the thirteen Dwarves of Thorin's company who journeyed to Erebor to challenge the dragon Smaug. After the death of Smaug, Bifur lived at the Lonely Mountain.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

Bifur was descended from Dwarves of Moria but himself was not of Durin's line.[2] He was cousin[4] of the brothers Bombur and Bofur.[5]

Bifur was older than Fíli and Kíli (b. T.A. 2859[2]) at least "by some fifty years"[6] but younger than Balin (b. 2763[2]).[7] Bifur was born anytime between 2763 and 2809, and he would have been between 132 and 178 years old when he joined King Thorin's operation to reclaim Erebor.

The Quest of Erebor[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 2941, Bifur was one of the four Dwarves in the fifth group to arrive at Bag End, wearing a yellow hood. He asked for raspberry jam and apple-tart. During the evening when Thorin called for music, Bifur (along with Bofur) played a clarinet.[8]

In the wolves' glade Bifur shared a pine tree with Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin.[9]

When Gandalf was telling the story of the company's adventures to Beorn, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur were the last of the Dwarves to show up.[10]

After the barrel ride down the River Running both Bifur and Bofur came out fairly dry and not very knocked about, but they lay down and refused to do anything.[11]

On the doorstep on the side of the Lonely Mountain, when Thorin commented that the next day was the beginning of the last week of autumn, Bifur pointedly added, "And winter comes after autumn".[12]

Bifur fought in and survived the Battle of Five Armies. He was given his share of the treasure by Dáin Ironfoot, and made his home in Erebor.[13]

Later life[edit | edit source]

By T.A. 3018 Bifur was living in Erebor, as Glóin told Frodo Baggins at Rivendell.[3]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name of Bívurr originates in the Dvergatal. It is of Old Frisian origin, meaning "Beaver" or, by extension, "Hard Worker".[14]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

fl. T.A. 2941
fl. T.A. 2941
fl. T.A. 2941

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In one of the earliest manuscript fragments of The Hobbit, Bifur and Bofur went into the hall and came back with their walking sticks, which they turned into clarinets.[15] In the published text the two Dwarves came back from the hall with clarinets that they had left with their walking sticks.[8] John Rateliff (author of The History of The Hobbit) said that in the earliest phase Tolkien had added fairy tale touches of Dwarven magic to emphasize the uncanny, other-worldly nature of the Dwarves as opposed to Bilbo.[16]

Originally, when Bombur needed propping up in Mirkwood after being cut from the spiders' webbing, it was his cousins Bifur and Bofur who provided support.[17] In the published story this was changed to Bombur's cousin Bifur and brother Bofur.[5] Also, in the earlier version, when Smaug first came out and the Dwarves in the valley had to be hauled up to the Back Door, Bifur cried out to save Bombur and Bofur, who were both his brothers.[18] In the published text Bifur cried out for his two cousins.[4]

In Tolkien's unfinished 1960 rewrite of The Hobbit, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur were Thorin's attendants.[19] John D. Rateliff assumes this made them either courtiers or honor-guard.[20]

Notes[edit | edit source]

In the earliest partial manuscript of The Hobbit more of the dialogue later assigned to a few of the Dwarves is more evenly distributed. In the opinion of John Rateliff (author of The History of The Hobbit) this streamlining strengthened the story through simplification, but at the cost of relegating some of the Dwarves to obscurity since they barely speak at all. Bifur is one of these "silenced" members of the company.[21]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Bifur in adaptations

Films[edit | edit source]

1966: The Hobbit (1966 film):

Bifur is omitted. Thorin Oakenshield only travels with an unnamed guard and the princess of Dale.[22]

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

No actor is specified for the role of Bifur. If he does speak, it is only ever in unison with the rest of the Dwarves.

2012-14: The Hobbit (film series):

Bifur is played by William Kircher.[23] A description of Bifur in The Hobbit films was released by the studio:

Born in the West, Bifur has the rusting remains of an Orc axe embedded in his forehead, which has rendered him inarticulate and occasionally feisty! He communicates only with grunts and hand gestures. Unlike most of the others in The Company of Dwarves, Bifur is not related to Thorin, nor is he of noble lineage, but rather is descended from miners and smithies – simple folk with simple tastes.
Warner Bros.[24]

Due to the Orc axe stuck in his head, Bifur can only speak Khuzdul through most of the film series. In the extended edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, he loses the axe during the battle. After head-butting an Orc, the axe becomes stuck in his opponent's head; after the two are separated with help from Bofur and Bombur, he declines Bombur's offer to put it back, and is able to speak Westron again.

Radio series[edit | edit source]

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Bifur is played by Brian Haines.

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

No actor is specified for the role of Bifur.

1989: Hobit (1989 Slovak radio series):

Bifur is present, but no actor is specified for the role of Bifur.

Games[edit | edit source]

1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):

Bifur is omitted; Thorin is the only companion of the player, Bilbo Baggins.[25]

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

No actor is credited for the role of Bifur.

2013: The Lord of the Rings Online:

During and after the War of the Ring Bifur lives in Erebor, holding the position of the Keeper of the Hammers. His son Bósi and grandson Bori play a major part in the Mines of Moria expansion in which they lead an expedition to reclaim Khazad-dûm on the orders of King Dain Ironfoot. Along with his cousin Bofur he appears in the "The Fires of Smaug" instance, which takes place during the Siege of Erebor. After the battle Bifur and the other surviving dwarves of the Company join Dís in paying respect to tomb of Thorin Oakenshield. When Nori goes on an unauthorized expedition to the Grey Mountains, his brother Dori recruits his old companions Bofur and Gloin to go after him, but Bifur declines, saying that his adventuring days are behind him.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, "Addendum: The Seventh Phase", "iv. Personae" p. 900
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Inside Information"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"; Balin was "the eldest left" after Thorin's capture.
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  14. Chester Nathan Gould, "Dwarf-Names: A Study in Old Icelandic Religion", published in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, Vol 44 (1929), issue #4, pp. 939-967
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 36
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", (iii) Dwarven Magic, p. 54
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Mirkwood", p. 313
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Conversations with Smaug"
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, "The Fifth Phase", "A Well-Planned Party", p. 774
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Return to Bag-End, "The Fifth Phase", "Arrival in Rivendell", note 32
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Pryftan Fragment", (i) The Lost Opening, p. 14
  22. "The Hobbit.mp4" dated 5 January 2012, YouTube (accessed 10 January 2012)
  23. Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
  24. Warner Bros., "Hobbit Movies" dated 7 September 2012, Apple iPhone/iPad App (accessed 19 September 2012)
  25. ZX Computing, 8304 (April/May 1983), p. 76, accessed April 24 2011
Members of Thorin and Company
Thorin · Balin · Dwalin · Fíli · Kíli · Dori · Nori · Ori · Óin · Glóin · Bifur · Bofur · Bombur · Gandalf · Bilbo Baggins
Route of Thorin and Company
Bag End · Green Dragon · The Shire · Lone-lands · Last Bridge · Trollshaws · Trolls' cave · Rivendell · High Pass · Front Porch · Goblin-town · Goblin-gate · Eagle's Eyrie · Carrock · Beorn's Hall · Wilderland · Forest Gate · Elf-path · Mirkwood · Elvenking's Halls · Forest River · Lake-town · Long Lake · River Running · Desolation of the Dragon · Ravenhill · Back Door · Lonely Mountain · Great Hall of Thráin
The Hobbit film series
Source material: The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
Films An Unexpected Journey (extended editionThe Desolation of Smaug (extended edition) · The Battle of the Five Armies (extended edition)
Music An Unexpected Journey (Special Edition) · The Desolation of Smaug (Special Edition) · The Battle of the Five Armies (Special Edition) · "Song of the Lonely Mountain" · "I See Fire" · "The Last Goodbye"
Tie-in books An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2013 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: Creatures & Characters · The World of Hobbits
The Desolation of Smaug Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2014 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: Cloaks & Daggers · Smaug: Unleashing the Dragon · Activity Book · Sticker Book · Ultimate Sticker Collection
The Battle of the Five Armies Official Movie Guide · Visual Companion · Movie Storybook · Annual 2015 · Chronicles: Art & Design · Chronicles: The Art of War · Activity Book
Video games Kingdoms of Middle-earth · Armies of The Third Age · Lego The Hobbit
Characters Bilbo · Thorin · Gandalf · Balin · Fíli · Kíli · Dwalin · Dori · Nori · Ori · Óin · Glóin · Bifur · Bofur · Bombur · Smaug · Radagast · Elrond · Galadriel · Saruman · Azog · Bolg · Thranduil · Legolas · Tauriel · Bard · Bain · Tilda · Sigrid · Master of Lake-town · Alfrid · Dáin Ironfoot · Necromancer · Bert · William · Tom · Beorn · Thráin · Thrór · Goblin King · Gollum · Frodo