Dwarves were a race in Middle-earth also called Khazad, the Naugrim, meaning Stunted People, and Gonnhirrim, meaning Masters of Stone. They were typically blacksmiths and stoneworkers by profession, unrivaled in some of their arts even by the Elves.
"Aulë Prepares to Destroy His Children." Illustration by Ted Nasmith.
The Dwarves were made by Aulë, whom they themselves call Mahal, meaning “maker.” Aulë was unwilling to wait for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar, for he was impatient and desired to have someone to teach his lore and his crafts. Therefore, he made the first Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in secret in a hall under the mountains ofMiddle-earth.
It was, however, not within Aulë's power to create life. After being reprimanded by Ilúvatar and realizing his error, Aulë offered his creations to his father to do with as he would, including their destruction. Even as the offer was made, Ilúvatar accepted and gave the Dwarves a life of their own. So when Aulë picked up a great hammer to smite the Seven Fathers and destroy his presumptuous creations, they shrank back in fear and begged for mercy.
Ilúvatar was however not willing to suffer that the Dwarves should come before the Firstborn (Elves), and he decreed that the Seven Fathers should sleep underground and should not come forth until the Firstborn had awakened.
About a century after the Elves awakened, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were roused.
- Durin I, who was called the deathless.
- The others were called the Four Unknown Fathers
- Nomok, father of the Gargoyles
Each one of the
seven fathers became a king of his own clan, and each built his own great hall. Three major holds are known to have been built in the First Age. Belegost and Nogrod were built in the Blue Mountains, and the Dwarves of these holds formed alliances with the Noldor and fought in their wars. Durin I, on the other hand, wandered into a vale in the Misty Mountains he named Azanulbizar. In a still pool in that vale, he saw a reflection of himself with a crown of seven stars. Ever after, the constellation of stars that the Elves call Valacirca was called by the Dwarves Durin’s Crown, and it could be seen reflected in the water at any time of the day, though only Durin could see his own reflection. Durin I named the lake Kheled-zâram and proceeded to build his great hall, Khazad-dûm, in the mountains above. In the First Age, the Dwarves made alliances with the Elves, and both prospered from trade. Dwarves from Belegost invented the famous Dwarf-mail of linked rings and fashioned the finest steel the world had ever seen. They also constructed the hall of Thingol, Menegroth, and were rewarded with the pearlNimphelos. They fought alongside Elves and Men and participated in some of the major battles of the First Age, including The First Battle of Beleriand and the Nirnaeth Arnoediad in which the Dwarves of Belegost won great renown for being the only ones able to stand against the dragonGlaurung, for 'it was their custom moreover to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon', which 'set them good stead against dragons', and besides they were 'naturally able to resist fire better than elves or men'. In that battle, Azaghâl the Lord of Belegost was killed by Glaurung, who crawled over him. Before dying, the dwarf stabbed at the dragon's belly with his knife and 'pricked him so deep that he fled back to Angband'.
The Dwarves of Nogrod were famous for the craftsmanship of their weapons. Most notable amongst their smiths was Telchar. Dwarves from Nogrod crafted the necklace Nauglamír, and Thingol requested Dwarven smiths from Nogrod to set a Silmaril into that necklace. Thus were united the greatest works of Elves and Dwarves. Those Dwarf-smiths were driven mad by gold-lust, however, and murdered Thingol and stole the necklace and the stone, igniting the bitter rivalry between Dwarves and Elves that would rage between the two races until the end of the Third Age.
The Elves of Doriath pursued the smiths to their deaths and reclaimed Nauglamír. But two of the slayers of Thingol escaped from the pursuit and in Nogrod told how Dwarves were slain by command of the Elven-king, who thus would cheat them of their just reward. The Dwarves of Nogrod lamented the deaths of their kin and their great craftsmen and took thought of vengeance. Though the Dwarves of Belegost tried to dissuade them from their purpose, the Dwarves of Nogrod invaded Doriath. After a hard battle in the Thousand Caves, the Dwarves of Nogrod were victorious and took Nauglamír and the Silmaril. On their return journey to the Blue Mountains, however, the Dwarves of Nogrod were assailed by a company that included Beren, his son Dior, and many Green-elves of Ossiriand. Many of the Dwarves were slain, and Beren himself slew the Lord of Nogrod and wrested from him the necklace Nauglamír. Some of the Dwarves escaped from the battle, but they were ambushed in the slopes beneath Mount Dolmed by the Shepherds of the Trees.
Some stories from the first age tell of petty Dwarves who were called Noegyth Nibin. Those were Dwarves exiled from their homes during the Peace of Arda and were the first Dwarves to enter Beleriand. It was petty Dwarves who first inhabited and carved out The Caverns of Narog, which they called Nulukkizdîn, but were later taken over by Finrod and called Nargothrond. The last of this line were Mîm and his two sons who lived at Amon Rûdh and aided Túrin in his adventures.
Durin III as depicted in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, holding his Ring
After the First Age most tales telling of Dwarves are about the Dwarves of the line of Durin, who are commonly called Durin’s Folk or Longbeards. Durin I enjoyed a very long life and lived through most of the First Age. Every now and then through the following ages a Dwarf was born of this line that was so alike to Durin that he was considered to be Durin reborn. Prophecy told that Durin would be reborn seven times and the coming of Durin VII would mark the decline of the Dwarves.
Durin II was born in the Second Age. It is not known exactly when, but he was in power when the smith Narvi built the west gate of Khazad-dûm in the year 750. His reign was an era of great prosperity in which the halls of Khazad-dûm were greatly expanded and the Noldorin Elves of Lindon moved into Eregion to trade with the Dwarves for mithril. Population boomed because many refugees from Belegost and Nogrod, which were destroyed at the end of the First Age, moved to Khazad-dûm.
Durin III was in power around the year 1600 of the Second Age. He was gifted with the seventh and most powerful of the Dwarven Rings of Power. It was the Elven smith Celebrimbor and not Sauron who gave him the ring. The rings of power did not have the effects that Sauron had intended, possibly because Aulë had made the Dwarves especially resistant to evil domination. The only apparent effect of the Dwarven rings was that the Dwarves became more greedy with gold lust, but they were not turned into wraiths like men. Sauron tried to recover the rings. Two he reclaimed fairly soon and four ended up in dragon hoards. Sauron did not reclaim the ring of Durin until the 2845th year of the Third Age when he capturedThráin II.
50,000 of Durin's folk helped the Last Alliance, and alone of the Dwarf clans none of that folk served Sauron.
Durin VI was born in the 1731st year of the Third Age. At that time the race of Dwarves had already begun to dwindle.
Awakening of the BalrogEdit
In the year 1980 of the Third Age the Dwarves were deepening their mithril mines when they stumbled upon a Balrog of Morgoth. Durin VI was slain by the Balrog, and a year later so was his son Nain I (TA 1832 - TA 1981). After that the Dwarves of Durin's line fled and abandoned Khazad-dûm — but the Balrog, now known as Durin's bane, remained.
Relocation from Khazad-dumEdit
Most of Durin’s Folk went to the Grey Mountains where they built new halls. However Nain's son Thrain I (TA 1934 - TA 2190), now King of Durin’s Folk, went to the Lonely Mountain and founded the kingdom of the Lonely Mountain in the year TA 1999. Deep within the mountain he found an extraordinary jewel that he called the Arkenstone and regarded it as the greatest treasure of his house.
Thrain's son Thorin I chose to stay in the Grey Mountains rather than in the Lonely Mountain, so between TA 2190 and TA 2590 the Grey Mountains were the seat of Kings. In TA 2589, however, the Dwarven halls in that region were attacked by cold-drakes from the north. The King at the time, Dain I (TA 2440 - TA 2589), was slain along with one of his sons, Frór (TA 2552 - TA 2589). His older son Thrór (TA 2542 - TA 2790) fled with his people to the Lonely Mountain.
Sack of the Lonely MountainEdit
Smaug enters the city of Erebor.
For 200 years the wealth and fame of Lonely Mountain grew, until the coming of the fire-drake. Small dragon attacks were prevalent as the dragons continued to notice the Dwarves' increasing stores of gold, jewels, precious metals, and other minerals, as well as crafted treasures and artifacts.
The Attack on the Lonely Mountain
Eventually, the inevitable came; Smaug the Terrible came to the Lonely Mountain in TA 2770. The dragon attacked the nearby town of Dale, knocking down towers and breathing fire down upon the buildings, but causing little damage and death, for his main target was the treasury of the Lonely Mountain. He went down to the ground towards the Lonely Mountain and broke through the main door, and proceeded straight through the legion of Dwarven soldiers who were behind the door. The massive fire-drake completely disregarded the Dwarven soldiers' attacks and firepower and simply shrugged off anything they threw at him. The dragon went straight towards the treasury, ignoring the rest of the city and it's people. The Dwarves began to evacuate from the city in a vain attempt to get out of their city and to save what they could. The city of the Lonely Mountain was lost.
Thrór managed to escape through a back door with his family with most of the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain evacuated, and the city and wealth of Durin's Folk lost.
War of the Dwarves and OrcsEdit
A dwarven unit on the march in BFME2
Some time later Thrór gave his son Thráin II (TA 2644 - TA 2858) the Ring of Power and started wandering the world with his friend Nar. He ended up in Khazad-dûm where he was murdered and mutilated by the Orc king Azog. This was the catalyst of a war that was called the War of Dwarves and Orcs. The war lasted seven years and ended in the Battle of Azanulbizar, in which Dáin Ironfoot(TA 2767 - TA 3019) slew Azog. In the years to come the Ring of Power slowly poisoned Thráin'sheart with greed, and in 2845 he (Thráin II) set out alone to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. This resulted in his being captured by Sauron, and he died in the dungeons of Dol Guldur.
The Quest of EreborEdit
In 2941 Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thráin II, along with a company of 12 other Dwarves and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, reclaimed the Lonely Mountain (with the help of three or four armies), but at the cost of Thorin’s life. Dain Ironfoot took up rule in the Lonely Mountain after that, and for a while the kingdom prospered in trade with the Elves of Mirkwood and Men of Dale.
Balin's Expedition to reclaim Khazad-dumEdit
In TA 2989, one of Thorin’s companions, Balin (2763-2994), took a host of Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain in an attempt to reclaim Khazad-dûm. For five years they fought the Balrog and an army of Orcs. Balin was killed by an Orc arrow in 2994 and the remainder of his host was cut off when the Orcs captured the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and the east gate. Not so much as one Dwarf lived to tell the tale.
War of the RingEdit
Gimli son of Gloin won considerable renown for the role he played in the War of the Ring. After the war he founded a new Dwarf Kingdom namedGlittering Caves in the caves behind Helms Deep. Near the end of his life Gimli is said to have sailed with his Elven friend Legolas to the undying lands of Valinor which, if true, would have likely made him the only Dwarf to ever have made that journey.
After the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a force of 30,000 Longbeards and 20,000 Men of Dale held the Lonely Mountain in a similar siege against 200,000 Men of Rhun who had taken all of Brand's lands, leaving only his capital city of Dale. The Dwarves and Men of Dale stood for three days against the Easterlings, and once the news of Sauron's death spread to the Lonely Mountain the Easterlings retreated, having lost over 100,000 troops, as opposed to the defenders who lost 14,000 Dwarves and 12,000 Men. The sturdy nature of the Mountain Rock, combined with the Dwarven masonry and the Dwarven quality of the defenders' weapons, reduced the hitting power of the Easterlings' two-armed catapults and semi-automatic ballistas, and allowed the defenders to drive the attackers from the Mountain and out of Brand's realm.
After the Third AgeEdit
During the Fourth Age, which began after the destruction of Mordor and Sauron, Dwarves and Men re-forged their friendship. Dáin was killed during the War of the Ring, and was succeeded by his son Thorin III Stonehelm who ruled well into the Fourth Age. During this time, Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain helped rebuild cities in Gondor and the fortress of Helm's Deep, and some went to the newly established Dwarven realm of theGlittering Caves where Gimli was lord. Nevertheless, the Kingdom of Erebor apparently continued to prosper throughout the Fourth Age.
Not much is known about the Dwarves in the Fourth Age. After the War of the Ring, Gimli brought a part of Durin's Folk from Erebor to the Glittering Caves behind Helm's Deep and founded a colony there. Subsequently, Gimli went on many travels with his friend Legolas, and History lost track of their fate. Through their friendship and influence, the feud between the two races that had lasted for millennia finally ended, shortly before the departure of the last Elves from Middle-earth. It is rumored that Gimli and Legolas eventually boarded a ship that sailed down the river Anduin, out to sea and across to Valinor in the year Fo.A. 120. Gimli would thus have become the only Dwarf to ever be permitted to cross to the Undying Lands.
Durin VII (the Last), retook Moria and brought Khazad-dûm back to its original splendor, and the Longbeards lived there.
Dwarves evolved into Gnomes. The Dwarves were being numbered put. The last remaining Dwarves were killed by Cyclops. Gnomes dominated.
The Last Dwarf was discovered. The Last Dwarf past his power into Basill, making him worthy to be King of the Gnomes.
The lifespan of Dwarves was varied depending on their ancestry. Occasionally, they would live up to 250-350 years of age, but such a phenomenon was rare, comparable to a Man living to 100. Between the approximate ages of 40 and 240, Dwarves were mostly middle-aged, equally hale, able to work, and fight with vigor. Dwarves were considered too young for heavy labor or war until they were around 30 years of age. By the age of 40, Dwarves were hardened into the appearance that they would keep for most of their lives.
The Dwarves were created by Aulë to be strong, resistant to fire and the evils of Morgoth. They were hardier than any other race, secretive, stubborn, and steadfast in enmity or loyalty. They were generally less corruptible than Men. When Sauron attempted to enslave the Free Folk of Middle-earth using the Rings of Power, the Elves completely resisted his power (indeed, his hand had never sullied the Three Rings), while the Nine Rings utterly corrupted the Men who bore them into the Ringwraiths. In contrast, the Dwarves were sturdy and resistant enough that Sauron was not able to dominate them using the Seven Rings. At most, the Seven Rings sowed strife among the Dwarves and filled their wearers with an insatiable greed for gold, but they did not turn them into wraiths subservient to the Dark Lord, and he considered his plan to have failed. Sauron was furious at the Dwarves' resistance, spurring his drive to recapture the Seven Rings from them.
Sickness was almost unknown to the Dwarves, as they were immune to human diseases. Corpulence, however, could effect them. Despite being 4.5 - 5 feet (1.35 - 1.52 m) tall, they were known for their strength and endurance in battle, as well as their fury, particularly when avenging their fallen kin, and for being some of the greatest warriors in all of Middle-earth. They fought valiantly in many wars and battles over the Ages holding axes. In appearance their more distinctive characteristic was their beard which they have from the beginning of their lives, male and females alike; and which they shave only in shame.
As creations of Aulë, they were attracted to the substances of Arda and crafts. They mined and worked precious metals throughout the mountains of Middle-earth, but had a tendency toward gold lust, and committed their share of rash and greedy acts. Among these was the dispute over the Nauglamír, which led to the slaying of Elu Thingol and stirred up the initial suspicion between Elves and Dwarves to open hatred. Dwarves are fiercely devoted to their children. In their desire for their children to grow up hardy and enduring, they may treat them harshly, but they will protect them at all costs. Dwarves resent injuries to their children and to their parents more than injuries to themselves.