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Dwarves of The Hobbit: A Who's Who

Updated on January 15, 2015

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.

Thorin Oakenshield

A Most Important Dwarf

Lineage: Thorin II son of Thrain II son of Thrór

Age: 195

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),

Age: 169

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)

Age: 178

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"

Age: Unknown

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

Age: Unknown

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

Age: 174

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

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Dwalin

      Balin

      Fili and Kili

      Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Oin, and Gloin

      Gandalf

      Thorin

      (I'm watching the movie right now)

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Awesome information about each of the dwarves.

    • tinw profile image
      Author

      tinw 4 years ago from Middle Earth

      @anonymous: Wow. No, sorry, I could tell you for the book, but not the film! (It should be out soon, though, then we can check)

    • tinw profile image
      Author

      tinw 4 years ago from Middle Earth

      @anonymous: Oh, good catch. (Come to think of it, a number of the Dwarves had bows provided by Beorn -- presumably not all of them, as I doubt he had reason to keep 13 bows on hand, but certainly several).

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thorin's weapon was also a bow, which he used to shoot down the 'flying deer' in the chapter, 'Flies and Spiders'.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      10/10 and I'm 11!!!!!!! i love lord of the rings!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Does anyone know in what order the dwarves entered Bilbo's house in the movie??

    • sharppencil profile image

      sharppencil 4 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to retrieve this dwarf information from the LOTR appendices. The movie version fails to show the dwarves with their coloured hoods and Thorin should look older then all of the dwarves.

    • melissiaoliver profile image

      melissiaoliver 5 years ago

      6/10 on the quiz - it's been so long since I've read The Hobbit!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      10/10 on the Quiz!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! I should have done much better on the quiz, though :) I guess my dwarf lore is a little rusty.

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Welcome!