Dwarves of The Hobbit: A Who's Who
A Quick Guide to the Characters of the Hobbit
Fans of Lord of the Rings are familiar with Bilbo and Gandalf the wizard, but do you remember all thirteen dwarves who hired the services of Burglar Bilbo Baggins, expert treasure-hunter, for their dragon-slaying expedition?
If you haven't read The Hobbit for a while, you may want to brush up on your dwarf lore to refamiliarize yourself with Tolkien's characters.
If you're interested in which actors are playing the dwarves in the new film, here's the cast of the new Hobbit movie.
Below is a who's who of all of the Dwarves in The Hobbit in order of appearance.
NOTE: Tolkien chose to make the plural of dwarf dwarves, not dwarfs.
Photo Credit: Lauri Rantala, Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
A Most Important Dwarf
Lineage: Thorin II son of Thrain II son of Thrór
Garb: Sky-blue hood with silver tassel, golden chain necklace (with key)
Weapons: Elf-sword Orcrist picked up in troll's cave and seized by Elves of Mirkwood; wielded axe in the Battle of Five Armies. (Update: as a commenter has pointed out, Thorin used a bow in Mirkwood. Beorn furnished the company with bows, but we don't know which other dwarves were carrying them.)
Musical Instrument: golden harp
Thorin, heir of Durin and nominal king of the dwarves, was the leader of the expedition. He had been 24 when Smaug attacked the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) and drove the Dwarves away. Thorin received his nickname Oakenshield in a battle with the orcs (goblins) of Moria. That battle had occurred to avenge the slaying of Thrór who tried to return to Moria during his time in exile. Thorin's cousin Dain had also aided in that battle, killing the orc who had killed Thorin's grandfather.
Thorin had lost his father Thrain as well, who tried to return to the Lonely Mountain and was captured and killed by Sauron who was then occupying the southern part of Mirkwood. It then fell to Thorin to reclaim his father's halls and defeat Smaug.
Thorin was proud, greedy and short-tempered, but honorable in a pinch. On several occasions, Thorin risked his life to rescue companions, and his last stand reflects this noble streak buried in his rather grasping personality.
*NOTE: Ages and family trees of all Dwarves are drawn from Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings, which was written later.
Dwalin, Brother of Balin
First of the Dwarves to Arrive
Lineage: Dwalin son of Fundin (distant cousin of Thrain),
Garb: Green hood, gold belt, blue (yes, blue) beard.
Musical Instrument: Viol
Dwalin flustered Bilbo by being first to appear on his doorstep. He made amends later by loaning Bilbo a dark-green hood and cloak which he wore again when he left his birthday party at the beginning of Lord of the Rings. Dwalin was a wise old dwarf, from what little we can tell of him; he was the first to notice Thorin's disappearance in Mirkwood after Bilbo rescued the others from the spiders.
Balin Son of Fundin
Friend to Bilbo
Lineage: Balin son of Fundin (distant cousin of Thrain)
Garb: Scarlet hood, white beard.
Musical Instrument: Viol
Balin became impressed with Bilbo after the hobbit managed to "creep along quietly" right under his nose and enter the Dwarves' camp, invisibly, after their escape from goblins. Balin's opinion of Bilbo was not dampened when Bilbo later revealed his magic ring. Having grown fond of the hobbit, it was Balin who volunteered to accompany Bilbo most of the way down the secret tunnel to visit Smaug the first time. At the very end of the story, Balin stops by Bag-end years later to catch up with his old friend. Alas, Balin soon after that followed Thrór's reckless attempt to retake Moria, and there Balin, too, was slain.
Fili and Kili, sons of Dis
Nephews of Thorin
Lineage: Only their mother, Dís, is named, the younger sister of Thorin
Ages: 82 and 77
Garb and gear: Blue hoods, yellow beards, silver belts, spades, bags of tools
Musical Instruments: small fiddles
Sister-sons of Thorin, they are nearly the only evidence we have in The Hobbit that women existed in this world. Dís their mother is only named in LOTR's appendices; their father is unknown. Young, spry, lively, they get called upon or protected because of their relatively young age. In the end, they fell in the Battle of the Five Armies defending Thorin.
Dori, Nori, Ori
"Also of the House of Durin"
Lineage: ROTK Appendix A says they're "also of the House of Durin, and more remote kinsmen of Thorin"
Garb: Purple hoods (probably Dori and Nori), grey hood, gold and silver belts
Musical Instrument: Flutes
They are probably brothers, since all the other Dwarves with rhyming names are brothers.
Dori is distinguished chiefly by the fact that he keeps playing porter to Bilbo, carrying him on several occasions to save him from goblins. Dori inadvertently played a fateful role in the history of Middle-earth by dropping Bilbo in the goblin-caves so that the hobbit became separated from the dwarves and bumbled his way to Gollum's lair.
According to The Lord of the Rings, Ori accompanied Balin to Moria years later; Ori could write with Elvish characters (flowing script as opposed to Dwarf-runes) and wrote the fateful words, drums, drums in the deep... they are coming.
Nori doesn't get any especial mention that i can recall.
My Favorite Edition of the Hobbit
Here is the best edition of The Hobbit, unless of course you can ever get your hands on a first edition (where the story of Gollum is actually different). The cover art is Tolkien's own.
Oin and Gloin
Sons of Groin
Lineage: Óin and Glóin, sons of Gróin
Ages: 167, 158
Garb: Brown hood, white hood, gold and silver belts, tinder boxes
Musical Instrument: None mentioned
The appendix of The Lord of the Rings confirms that they are brothers and adds an accent over the o in each of their names (not present in The Hobbit to show how they are pronounced -- otherwise their father's name would sound rather odd. They are first cousins of Balin and Dwalin. Not much is made of them in The Hobbit save that they were experts at starting campfires. Gloin helped goad Bilbo into coming along by sniffing that he looked more like a grocer than a burglar (thief).
Gloin is, of course, father of Gimli the Dwarf in The Lord of the Rings. According to the family trees in LOTR, Gimli was actually 62 at the time of the expedition of Thorin & Company; a rejected draft of LOTR shows Gimli lamenting that he was made to stay behind because he was too young.''
Gloin attended the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring and revealed that his brother Oin had accompanied Balin to Moria, where he must have met his end.
Bifur, Bofur, Bombur
Dwarves of Moria
Lineage: Unknown, but Bifur calls the other two his cousins
Garb: Two yellow hoods, one pale green
Musical Instrument: Two clarinets, drum
Not much is known about these three, since they always come last in every list and Tolkien had tired of listing specific details. Bombur is the frequent butt of fat-jokes.
Appendix A in ROTK notes that unlike all the other Dwarves, these three are not kinsmen (however distant) of Thorin and Durin the founder of his house, but are descendants of the Dwarves driven out of Moria.
Dain Ironfoot son of Nain
NOT a member of Thorin's Company
Lineage: Dáin son of Náin who was cousin of Thráain
At the end of The Hobbit, Thorin sends for reinforcements from his second cousin Dáin from the Iron Hills. (Note that Dain's name gets an accent in Lord of the Rings to show it's two syllables.)
D´in's dwarves had also fled the sack of the Lonely Mountain by Smaug. D´in's father Náin had been slain in the goblin and dwarf war before the gates of Moria. D´in, quite a young dwarf at the time, had avenged his father and Thorin's grandfather by slaying Azog, chief of the orcs. When Thráin pressed the Dwarves to recapture Moria, D´in had refused, despite his cousin's status as heir of Durin and leader of the Dwarves: D´in had seen inside the gates of Moria and caught a glimpse of the Balrog lurking within. He knew that this was a power beyond them. So he led a portion of his father's folk to the Iron Hills east of the Lonely Mountain.
After Thorin's death, D´in was the eldest heir of Durin and so became King Under the Mountain. He fell defending the body of King Brand grandson of Bard during the War of the Ring.
© 2011 tinw