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From Tolkien Gateway
"Dwalin" by Tony Foti
Biographical Information
LocationThorin's Halls
Lonely Mountain
AffiliationThorin and Company
LanguageKhuzdul and Westron
BirthT.A. 2772
DeathFo.A. 91 (aged 340)
Notable forQuest of Erebor
HouseHouse of Durin
Physical Description
Hair colorBlue Beard[1]
Eye colorBright eyes[1]
ClothingDark-green hood
golden belt
GalleryImages of Dwalin

It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, and very bright eyes under his dark-green hood. As soon a the door was opened, he pushed inside, just as if he had been expected. He hung his hooded cloak on the nearest peg, and "Dwalin at your service!" he said with a low bow.

Dwalin was a Dwarf of the House of Durin. Along with his brother, Balin, Dwalin was a member of Thorin's company in the Quest of Erebor, an attempt to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug. Dwalin survived the adventure and the subsequent Battle of Five Armies, and lived in wealth and splendour in the Lonely Mountain well into the Fourth Age.


Early history

Two years before Dwalin was born, in T.A. 2770, the dragon Smaug attacked the kingdom of Erebor,[2] and destroyed the settlement and the nearby city of Dale, taking the gold of the mountain as his own. In the aftermath of destruction, King Thrór and a small group of his surviving kinsmen headed south while other Dwarves of Erebor escaped to the Iron Hills.[3] Because of this, Dwalin was born in exile, possibly in Dunland to Fundin in T.A. 2772 nine years after his brother, Balin.

War of the Dwarves and Orcs

After years of living in Dunland, a despondent Thrór made a journey to Moria, where an orc cheiftan, Azog, slaughtered him. In retaliation, Thráin II, now King of Durin's Folk, waged war. A 27-year-old Dwalin participated in the Battle of Azanulbizar, where, amid battle, Fundin and several other kinsman were slain. Despite this, the war was won. After the victory, Thráin was counselled by Dáin Ironfoot not to enter Khazad-Dûm, so, Thráin and his son Thorin Oakenshield settled in the Ered Luin.[4] At some point, Dwalin and Balin joined Thráin in the Blue Montains, along with the other survivors of the war.

King Thráin's expedition

In T.A. 2841, Dwalin, Balin and a few other dwarves accompanied Thráin when he left the Ered Luin to reclaim his lost homeland, Erebor. The small party was dogged by the emissaries of the dark lord, Sauron, because Thráin carried one of the seven dwarven rings of power. In T.A. 2845, Thráin and the rest of the company were separated by a black rain in the eaves of the dark forest, Mirkwood. Unbeknonwst to Dwalin and the company, Thráin had been captured by Sauron. After a fruitless search for their leader the Dwarves gave up and returned to inform Thorin of the mision's failure, who became the new King of Durin's Folk.[3]

Quest for Erebor

Dwalin by Adlpictures

A century later, in T.A. 2941, Dwalin and Balin joined Thorin's expedition to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. Per the instructions of the wizard, Gandalf, they were invited to a smial named Bag End, which is located in the the Shire, to form their plan. Dwalin was the first dwarf to arrive, alone, when the unexpected party began at the hobbit, which was owned by Bilbo Baggins. He was wearing a dark-green hood and walked in as if expected and hung his hood on one of Bilbo's pegs. A greatly surprised hobbit invited Dwalin to tea. Soon, Balin arrived and he and Dwalin sat talking while Bilbo kept answering the door for the arrival of more and more Dwarves. Later, when Bilbo griped aloud in his kitchen about the lack of help in setting out refreshments, Dwalin and Balin were the first dwarves to lend a hand. Later still, when Thorin called for music, Dwalin and Balin said that they forgot their instruments on the porch and are sent by Thorin to bring his instrument as well. When they returned; Dwalin and Balin brought viols as large as themselves and Thorin's harp.[1]

The next day, the company met at the Green Dragon Inn. When Bilbo told the company that he had forgotten to bring his hat or his pocket-handkerchief, Dwalin gave him his spare dark-green hood and cloak to keep in place of a hat, but told him that he would "have to manage without pocket-handkerchiefs, and a good many other things before the journey's end". Soon afterward, Gandalf arrived and brought several of Bilbo's assortments.

In Eriador, at the Trollshaws, Dwalin along with the entire company were captured by Trolls after Bilbo went to explore a fire. The three trolls: William, Bert and Tom soon began to argue among themselves, and Gandalf managed to save them. Shortly afterward, the company located and looted the nearby troll cave.

Later on, the company arrived at Rivendell and stayed with the half-elven lord Elrond for about 14 days with food and something for everyone. On one night Elrond disclosed the swords Thorin and Gandalf found in the troll-hoard as Orcrist and Glamdring. Elrond also read the moon letters of the map of Thror, which read: "Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the key-hole."

After seeking refuge from a storm in a cave which was, unbeknownst to them the Front Porch of Goblin-town, they were captured by Goblins. They were saved by Gandalf, and Bilbo, fleeing after his encounter with Gollum, also escaped. The company were then chased by Wargs and they rushed into the trees. Dwalin and Balin managed to swarm up a tall slender fir that had few branches for sitting, and they were later then saved by the Eagles of the Great Eagle.[5] The next day, when the company arrived at Beorn's hall after the eagles left them on the Carrock, Dwalin and Balin were the third pair of Dwarves to appear during Gandalf's story, trying to intrigue the skin-changer. They were later served well in dinner and breakfast and were also given ponies to ride until they arrived at the forest of Mirkwood, the same place where Thráin was lost nearly 100 years before.[6]

At the Enchanted River in Mirkwood, Dwalin was in the last boatload to cross with Bombur. He exited the boat just before a deer charged down the path and caused Bombur to fall in the water, which put him in an enchanted sleep for six days, and when he woke up, he had forgotten the whole journey. Later, after the Dwarves had been captured by the spiders and rescued by Bilbo, it was Dwalin who first realised that Thorin was missing,[7] for at that point, though unknown to the Dwarves, Thorin had been captured by the Wood-Elves.

At the opening of the barrels after the escape from the halls of the Elvenking, Dwalin and Balin were two of the most unhappy Dwarves and did nothing to help pull out other Dwarves as they arrived in Lake-town, where they were greeted extremely fondly.[8] Afterwards, though the Master of Lake-town didn't believe that Thorin was truly the King under the Mountain, they left for the mountain. When the last week of autumn arrived it was Dwalin who complained the most about Bilbo's inactivity. He felt that Bilbo, with his "invisible ring", ought to go through the Front Gate of Erebor and spy things out.[9]

After Smaug went to destroy Lake-town, the dwarves entered and Thorin's search for the Arkenstone began. Dwalin later fought in and survived the Battle of Five Armies along with several others from the company (all but Thorin and Fíli and Kíli). Afterwards he received his fourteenth share and chose to live in Erebor under the rule of Thorin's cousin and new king after his death, Dáin II.[10]

Later life

Dwalin lived in great wealth in Erebor after the Battle of the Five Armies. In T.A. 2989, his brother Balin set out on a quest to reclaim Moria though Dáin was against it. He set out with others (such as Óin and Ori). For about 5 years messages came from Moria and it seemed good, until suddenly news stopped (though unknown to him, the colony was destroyed by Orcs).

As Bilbo packed some oddments in T.A. 3001 before departing the Shire, Bilbo brought Dwalin's green hood he had given him, though the colour had worn out. Dwalin was one of seven of the ten Dwarves of Thorin's company who were still living in Erebor when Frodo Baggins came to Rivendell, as reported by Glóin before the Council of Elrond.[11] It is possible that he fought in the Battle of Dale against Sauron's forces, the Easterlings, under King Dáin (though the king was slain). Dwalin lived until Fo.A. 91, passing at the age of 340,[4]


In Norse mythology, Dvalinn is a chief Dwarf.[12] The origin of the name is uncertain; suggested etymologies are "one lying in a trance",[13] "numb" and "dawdler".[14] Both words, dvalen ("to sleep") dvelja ("to delay") derive from the same root.[15]


Náin II
2338 - 2585
Dáin I
2440 - 2589
2450 - 2711
2542 - 2790
2560 - 2803
Thráin II
2644 - 2850
2662 - 2799
2671 - 2923
2746 - 2941
2763 - 2994
2772 - Fo.A. 91
2774 - 2994
2783 - Fo.A. 15
2879 - Fo.A. 120+

Other versions of the legendarium

In the early version of The Hobbit, it was Dwalin rather than Balin who spotted the Trolls' fire in the woods (and it was stated that Dwalin was always the Dwarves' look-out).[16] This contradicted the fact that Balin was the Dwarf who was looking for Bilbo at the inn at the start of the adventure[17] and Tolkien eventually made Balin the permanent look-out. However, Dwalin remained the first Dwarf to arrive at Bag End[1] (what would be expected of the Company's look-out). Dwalin was also the first to notice that Thorin was missing after the battle with the spiders,[7] a testament to his observational abilities.

Portrayal in adaptations

Dwalin in adaptations


1967: The Hobbit (1967 film):

Dwalin is omitted. Thorin Oakenshield only travels with an unnamed guard and the princess of Dale.[18]

1977: The Hobbit (1977 film):

Dwalin does not have a blue beard, but a white one with a long nose and a green hood (looking as Balin, though he wears a red hood and glasses). He speaks only one line on his own (by Paul Frees), when the Dwarves are in front of the Back Door saying" "Well, what now?"; otherwise, he only speaks in unison with the rest of the Company though it is unknown whether he survived the Battle of the Five Armies, as seven dwarves passed away during the battle.

2012-14: The Hobbit (film series):

Dwalin is played by Graham McTavish.[19] A description of Dwalin in The Hobbit films was released by the studio:

Renowned as a great Warrior, Dwalin speaks his mind plainly and is not one to suffer fools lightly. Fiercely loyal, he is Thorin Oakenshield’s staunchest supporter with an unshakeable belief in his friend’s leadership. A powerful and bruising fighter, Dwalin has a natural tendency to distrust anyone who is not a Dwarf and is particularly suspicious of Elves. Proud, brave and one of the tallest of the Dwarves, Dwalin will bow to none but those who have earned his respect.

Radio series

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Lockwood West plays the role of Dwalin.

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

Carl Hague is uncredited as the voice of Dwalin.[source?]

1980: Der Hobbit (1980 German radio series):

Dwalin is played by Friedrich W. Bauschulle.

1989: Hobit (1989 Slovak radio series):

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


1982: The Hobbit (1982 video game):

Dwalin is omitted; Thorin is the only companion of the player, Bilbo Baggins.[21]

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Dwalin is a blue-bearded Dwarf, who is not seen in the game (other than cut-scenes) until Lake-town.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

In T.A. 3016, during the default introduction for new Dwarf and Elf player characters, Dwalin leads a party of dwarves from the Lonely Mountain to Thorin's Hall to investigate why the Steward appointed by Thorin, Gormr Doursmith of the Dourhands, has ceased sending tribute to Erebor. After the Dourhands' treachery is revealed and they are expelled, Dwalin becomes the new Steward of Thorin's Hall and maintains this position through the War of the Ring.
Following the Siege of Erebor, Dwalin travels to Erebor to pay respect to the new king Thorin Stonehelm and, along with the other surviving dwarves of the Company, visits the tomb of Thorin Oakenshield.

2021: The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War:

If the player chooses the Erebor faction at the start of the game, Dwalin will be received as part of the game's tutorial.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk", The Line of the Dwarves of Erebor
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Warm Welcome"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "On the Doorstep"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  12. Snorri Sturlusson, Prose Edda, "Skaldskaparmal"
  13. Ruth S. Noel, The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth, p. 32
  14. Henry A. Bellows (ed.), Völuspá, "Poetic Edda"
  15. 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
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 91
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The Second Phase, "Trolls", p. 89
  18. "The Hobbit.mp4" dated 5 January 2012, YouTube (accessed 10 January 2012)
  19. Peter Jackson, "Production begins in New Zealand on The Hobbit" dated 20 March 2011, Facebook (accessed 23 December 2011)
  20. Warner Bros., "Hobbit Movies" dated 7 September 2012, Apple iPhone/iPad App (accessed 19 September 2012)
  21. 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' lair · 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