Dwarves of the Iron Hills

From Tolkien Gateway
Dwarves of the Iron Hills
"Iron Hill Dwarves" by Angelo Montanini
General Information
OriginsDurin's Folk who settled in the Iron Hills in the First Age[1]
LocationsIron Hills
LanguagesKhuzdul, Westron
MembersDáin II Ironfoot, Grór, Náin, Thorin III Stonehelm
Physical Description
Lifespanc. 250 years
DistinctionsFierce warriors[2], exceedingly strong
Average heightFive feet or less
ClothingWell-armoured in combat
WeaponryMattocks, short-swords, and broad shields

The Dwarves of the Iron Hills were Dwarves belonging to the house of the Longbeards, otherwise known as Durin's Folk, who lived in the Iron Hills. They became well-known for making a metal mesh that could be used for making flexible items like leg-coverings.


First Age

The Longbeard Dwarves of Khazad-dûm colonized the Iron Hills already in the First Age.[1] The Hills were their primary source of iron-ore.[1] The Dwarf-road ran north-east from Khazad-dûm to the Hills for use by dwarf-traders and merchants[3] and before the end of the First Age, the Dwarves of the Iron Hills built a bridge over River Running.[4]

Second Age

After the War of Wrath, many dwarves emigrated from the Blue Mountains to Khazad-dûm and to the Iron Hills in the Second Age.[4]

During the War of the Elves and Sauron, Sauron devastated Eregion; Khazad-dûm was sealed and Orcs took control of the northern Misty Mountains and the Grey Mountains. This ended communication between the Iron Hills and Khazad-dûm for some time.[5]

Third Age

After the fall of Khazad-dûm in T.A. 1981, many dwarves fleeing the Balrog wandered as far as the Iron Hills, bolstering its population.[6]

Many Longboards in the Grey Mountains were greatly troubled by Dragons there, and one slew King Dáin I. His surviving sons led an exodus into the east: the elder, Thrór, recreated the Kingdom under the Mountain at Erebor, while his younger brother Grór led a part of the people further into the east to join their kindred in the Iron Hills.

Founding of Grór's Realm

Grór settled in the Iron Hills in the year T.A. 2590 and became Lord of the Iron Hills. During his reign, the realm became the strongest in the North, being the only realm standing between Sauron and his plans to destroy Rivendell and taking back the lands of Angmar.[7]

Meanwhile his brother's folk in Erebor, flew from Sack of Erebor by Smaug. Those wandering in exile, except for Thrór and his small company of family and followers, came to the Iron Hills.

War of the Dwarves and Orcs

During the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, many Dwarves from the Iron Hills fought several battles, but they are mostly remembered from the Battle of Azanulbizar in the year T.A. 2799.

Lord Naín led his army to the battle in the most crucial moment when the main Dwarven army was being decimated by the great host of Orcs. With these fresh reinforcements, the Dwarves routed their enemies, fighting their way all up to the steps of the East-gate of Moria. There, Nain duelled with Azog, the Orc commander, resulting in his death; his son Dáin avenged his father, achieving recognition because he was very young for dwarven standards.

After this battle, Dain led his Dwarves back to the Iron Hills.

Grór ruled the Dwarves of the Iron Hills for 215 years, and he died in T.A. 2805 at 241 years of age. Dáin Ironfoot became the next Lord of the Iron Hills.

Battle of Five Armies

Years later, Dáin's cousin Thorin attempted to restore the kingdom at Erebor, but he was trapped by the Elves of Mirkwood and Northmen of Esgaroth and sent to the Iron Hills for aid. Dáin arrived with 500 armoured Dwarves and as events developed, the Dwarves of the Iron Hills proved crucial in winning the ensuing Battle of Five Armies against the Orcs of the Misty Mountains. Thorin died in that battle, and with him the royal line of Thrór. Through his ancestor Grór, the Kingship of Durin's Folk then fell on Dáin. Dáin II Ironfoot removed from the Iron Hills and re-established a kingdom under the Lonely Mountain.

Portrayal in adaptations

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

It is possible for Dwarf player characters to choose the Iron Hills as their background, though this is only for aesthetic purposes and has no impact on the game's story or mechanics.
The Dwarves of the Iron Hills first make an appearance as non-player characters in the Mines of Moria expansion in the form of the "Iron Garrison", an expedition led by the sons and grandsons of Bifur and Bofur that attempts to colonize Moria and investigate Balin's fate.
After the War of the Ring, the player explores the Iron Hills themselves. According to an old rhyme the players can compile, the Iron Hills and the capital "Járnfast" were founded by "Farin Blackmattock", who in the First Age sought a sufficient source of iron that Khazad-dûm lacked. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills, here called the "Iron-folk", also appear in a flashback region depicting Azanulbizar during the battle. Among their number is the hero "Hermáth Stormhammer", whose written records of his experiences allow the players to see the battle through his eyes.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", p. 302
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", p. 323 (note 30)
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XX. Note on the Dwarf Road"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", p. 306
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VIII. The Tale of Years of the Third Age"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"