Quick search

Advanced search



Major Dwarven Characters

Thorin Oakenshield
Gimli son of Glóin


In the time when the Valar had created the world, they waited for the time when Ilúvatar would create his children (elves and men). One of the Valar, Aulë, couldn't wait for the fulfilment of Ilúvatar's plan. In secret, he created the seven fathers of the dwarves so that he would be able to teach them. Because of the evil that Melkor had done in the world he made them strong and dwarves were always unusually resistant to domination.

Ilúvatar knew what Aulë had done and also knew that he did not have the power to create beings that had life of their own since that power was his alone. Since he understood that Aulë's intentions were good, he didn't destroy the dwarves but instead gave them life. The elves were meant to be the firstborn so Ilúvatar caused the dwarves to sleep until after the elves had awakened in Middle Earth. Aulë originally created 13 dwarves in total. The seven fathers and 6 companions. The eldest of the fathers, Durin, was said to have walked alone.

There are times in the history of the dwarven people when a dwarf is born who is so similar to one of the seven dwarven fathers, that the dwarves believe that it is indeed one of the fathers returned. Eg. Five different dwarves were given the name Durin for this reason. In Fellowship of the Ring, when Gimli refers to the Balrog as Durin's bane, he referred to Durin VI, who was killed by that same balrog long before.

The elves had been living in the west of Middle Earth for a long time before Dwarves began to arrive from the lands in the east. The Sindar elves of Beleriand called them Naugrim (stunted people) but the dwarves called themselves Khazâd in their own language. The elves were surprised at first as they had believed themselves to be the only intelligent race in Middle Earth. The elves had difficulty learning the language of the dwarves but the dwarves quickly learned the language of the elves.

Gimli and LegolasInitially, dwarves got along well with elves, especially the Noldor elves. This friendship turned to mistrust, largely due to a dispute between King Thingol of Doriath and the dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost. This dispute lead to blood shed and there was mistrust between dwarves and elves from that time onwards. An exception was the dwarf Gimli and the elf Legolas. These two members of the Fellowhip of the Ring didn't trust each other to begin with, but soon became inseparable friends.

These dwarves who came to Beleriand lived in two cities in the mountains on the east of Beleriand. These were Tumunzahar (called Nogrod by the elves) and Gabilgathol (called Belegost by the elves). The greatest of all the cities of the dwarves was further to the east. This was Khazad-dûm, the great mansion of the dwarves in the Misty Mountains. This was known to the elves as Dwarrowdelf or Hadhodrond, though it was known after its decline as Moria.

When Morgoth was defeated and Beleriand was destroyed, most of the dwarves from Nogrod and Belegost moved east to join their kin in places like Khazad-dûm. The dwarves here became friends with the noldor who lived nearby in Eregion (Hollin). When Sauron began to make war in Middle earth and destroyed Hollin, the dwarves retreated in to Khazad-dûm and shut its doors. For a long time they were safe in there but as their numbers declined, Sauron began populating some of the abandoned areas of Khazad-dûm with his own creatures. Finally, the dwarves mined too deeply in their halls for the prized metal Mithril and awoke a balrog, who had fled from Thangorodrim after Morgoth's defeat thousands of years before. Their king Durin VI was killed by the balrog and the rest of his people scattered to different regions.

Shortly before the time of The Hobbit, a descendant of Durin named Thrór entered Khazad-dûm (now known as Moria) and attempted to reclaim it for his people. He was cruelly killed by the orcs who now lived inside, in an incident which lead to a long war between those orcs and the dwarves. In the end the dwarves won that war but the cost to the dwarves was high and they weren't interested in taking Moria at that time. Balin, a relative of Thrór, later led a group of dwarves to settle Moria but they too were all killed after being there for five years. It wasn't until after the final defeat of Sauron that dwarves were able to live in peace in Khazad-dûm.

Thorin and his party visit Bilbo BagginsThe Hobbit, tells of the journey of Thrór's grandson Thorin II. He had been living in the Blue Mountains in the West of Middle Earth and went east with a small group of dwarves. With the aid of Gandalf and the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, they went to the halls of Erebor to the east which had once been the kingdom of Thorin's ancestors. A dragon named Smaug had destroyed and driven away the people there. Gandalf wanted to help the dwarves take it back from the dragon which they did with the help of the men of nearby Dale. During the later wars with Sauron, the dwarves of Erebor proved instrumental in holding Sauron's forces back in the northern regions.

It is said that the greatest of the seven dwarven rings had been kept in secret by the descendants of Durin. Thorin's father Thrâin II was captured and tortured by Sauron and the last of the dwarven rings was taken from him. Many years later during the time of Lord of the Rings, Glóin, one of the companions of Thorin, came to Rivendell and the council of Elrond to tell them that a messenger from Sauron had come to Erebor. He had offered king Dáin one of the seven dwarven rings in return for information about Bilbo Baggins. The dwarves there had refused to help Sauron and instead, sent Glóin to ask Elrond's advice. Glóin's son Gimli, who came with him to Rivendell, left as one of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring.


Dwarves are a race of people who play an important role in Tolkien's stories. They are typically shorter than humans with a stouter build. They are very strong and have a greater endurance than any other race. It is never definitely stated that all dwarves have long beards but it is implied in The Hobbit where Bilbo wears a dwarven cloak, but feels confident that no-one will mistake him for a dwarf since he has no beard.

Little is said of dwarven women except that they are few in number. According to Gimli, only about one third of all dwarves are female and not all of them marry, so the population of dwarves grows slowly. Dwarven women rarely go abroad and when they do, they dress and appear so similar to their men that other races often cannot tell them apart.

Since Dwarves were created by Aulë, who was renowned among the Valar for his crafts, the dwarves are likewise known for their skill in crafts. Especially in working metal and stone. They were strong and resistant to any form of domination, and it was extremely rare for any dwarf to fight on the side of evil.

Petty Dwarves

During the First Age of middle earth, a race of dwarves known as Petty Dwarves (Noegyth Nibin) lived in the west of Beleriand at Amon Rûdh. They had moved there after being banished from the dwarven halls in the east. When the man named Túrin came to Amon Rûdh, most of them had died out. All that remained were Mîm and his two sons. One of his sons was killed by accident by one of Túrin's men. Mîm betrayed Túrin and his men and himself was later killed by Túrin's father Húrin.

Home | Characters | Glossary | Books | Facts & FAQs | Maps/Charts | The Movie | Links