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Balin was a Dwarf leader, the son of Fundin, and elder brother of Dwalin. He was one of the thirteen Dwarves who accompanied Thorin II Oakenshield on the quest to regain the Lonely Mountain.

A Dwarf Lord known for his wise counsel and willingness to listen, he was one of Thorin's closest friends and advisers. Balin was distantly related to him, and a descendant of the noble house of Durin.

He later went to re-establish the kingdom of Moria, but within five years it was overcome once more by Orcs, and he was killed there along with the rest of his companions.

Biography

Early life

Balin was likely born in the Lonely Mountain before the coming of the dragon Smaug. He had a younger brother named Dwalin, and was amongst those driven from their homes when Smaug attacked the Lonely Mountain. Afterwards, he may have lived in Dunland as a refugee, before fighting in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs which culminated in the Battle of Azanulbizar. Many years later, in approximately TA 2841, he accompanied Thráin II, the father of Thorin, when he attempted to go back to the Lonely Mountain himself, but Thráin was captured and lost.[1]

Quest for Erebor

Balin was part of the company assembled by Thorin Oakenshield in TA 2941 that journeyed to the Lonely Mountain with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf to defeat Smaug, and to retake the kingdom of Erebor. He was the second Dwarf to arrive at Bilbo's house, where, like his brother Dwalin, he played a viol as big as himself.[2] Following the meeting's conclusion and the company's initial departure to the Green Dragon Inn, Balin spotted Bilbo hurrying to reach them before they set out.[3]

Balin - The Hobbit

Balin visits Bilbo in The Hobbit films

Balin, along with his companions, underwent the journey through the Trollshaws and Lone-lands to Rivendell, including the encounter with the trolls Tom, Bert, and William.[3] The company rested in Rivendell for some time, and after setting out to cross the Misty Mountains, were captured by orcs on the High Pass, after taking refuge from a thunderstorm.[4] With Gandalf's help, the dwarves escaped, and subsequently Balin was posted as a lookout when Bilbo returned, having been separated from the company during their flight. Due to Bilbo's usage of the One Ring, which he had discovered in the orc tunnels, the hobbit crept by Balin unnoticed, puzzling the dwarf a great deal. Soon afterwards, the company was beset by wargs, which forced them to climb a number of pine trees until their rescue by the Great Eagles.[5]

The Eagles took them to their eyrie, and then to the Carrock, from whence the company traveled to the house of Beorn.[5] Gandalf decided to introduce the dwarves by pairs so as not to overwhelm Beorn, and Balin and Dwalin were chosen to come first. Having been welcomed by the skin-changer and given rest and provisions, the company set out to cross the forest of Mirkwood.[6] Despite having been warned to the contrary, the dwarves eventually left the path after running low on supplies, and were soon waylaid by great spiders, which intended to eat them. Bilbo used the Ring to escape notice, and returned to free them. Balin afterwards led the company in escaping from and fighting off the spiders, though the dwarves were captured by Wood-elves, and taken to the hall of the Elvenking, Thranduil. It was here that Balin spoke for his companions, arguing for their release. Thranduil refused, and imprisoned the dwarves, until Bilbo again rescued the company.[7]

The dwarves came to Lake-town,[8] and then to the Lonely Mountain. After opening the side-door to the mountain,[9] Balin was the only member of the company willing to go with the hobbit some way inside. The hobbit, after unintentionally disturbing the dragon Smaug, returned to the dwarves, but Smaug left his lair and attempted to kill the dwarves before turning to Lake-town, with the intent to destroy it.[10] The dragon was there slain by Bard, and the dwarves took possession of the mountain.[11] Thorin and Balin, not long after, came upon the raven Roäc, who brought word of the dragon's demise.[12]

Balin fought in and survived the subsequent Battle of Five Armies, which was fought against orcs led by Bolg, after tensions with the Lakemen and Wood-elves had run high, due to a disagreement about the division of Smaug's treasure.[13] He took up residence at the Lonely Mountain afterwards with the surviving members of the company, though he accompanied Gandalf to visit Bilbo in the Shire several years afterwards in TA 2949.[14]

Expedition and death

Balin's death

Balin at his death bed

In TA 2989, Balin led an expedition in an attempt to reclaim the ancient dwarf kingdom of Moria, hoping to reestablish Dwarven rule and to reclaim the last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves.[15] While in Moria, he discovered Durin's Axe and a Mithril helm. Ultimately, the search for the ring, which conferred great wealth and a curse of greed on its owner, was in vain, as it had been recaptured from Thráin II by Sauron. Although he was of royal blood, the colony was too small for a kingdom—thus Balin could only call himself "Lord of Moria". Balin himself, as were the rest of those that followed him, was slain by Orcs, bringing to an end the attempt to retake Moria.[16]Ironically he died in the same place and the same way as his father had been slain 195 years before in TA 2799.

Legacy

Durin's grave

Balin's tomb at the time of the Fellowship's arrival

Some twenty-five years later in TA 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring passed through Moria and discovered Balin's tomb, and the truth of what happened to his expedition, which had not previously been known, in the Book of Mazarbul. The knowledge of this brought much grief to Balin's cousin Gimli, who was a member of the fellowship.[16]

Characteristics

Balin was a discerning character, being described as the company's "look-out man": He spotted Bilbo approaching The Green Dragon Inn at Bywater; he spotted the trolls' fire, and; he was the first to spot the Elves in Mirkwood. He noted that not even a mouse had ever passed him on watch, and wondered why he did not notice Bilbo (hidden by wearing the magic ring) when he was lookout for the company after escaping the Orcs in the Misty Mountains. Among the Dwarves of the company, Balin was the second-eldest dwarf, and loosely held the position of deputy leader.

Balin gained respect for Bilbo's abilities, and was the only dwarf who volunteered to accompany Bilbo down the secret passage to Smaug's chamber. Of all the Dwarves in the quest, Balin was the only one known to have visited Bilbo at Bag End after their quest for the Lonely Mountain.

Portrayal in adaptations

Rankin/Bass films

In the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit, he was voiced by Don Messick.

The Hobbit film trilogy

In Peter Jackson's live-action adaptation, he was portrayed by Scottish actor Ken Stott. The studio released the following statement regarding Balin in the films:

A descendant of nobility and a Dwarf Lord in his own right, Balin is one of the oldest members of The Company of Dwarves. Wise and gentle by nature, he has been forced to live a life fraught with war and the ongoing struggle for survival. Related to Thorin Oakenshield, Balin is one of his closest, most trusted advisers – but deep in his heart, this wisest and most loyal of Dwarves harbors troubling doubts about the wisdom of the Quest for the Lonely Mountain.

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Balin shows his wisdom when he tells Fíli and Kíli and Bilbo about Thorin’s dislike for orcs.

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Balin persuades Bard the Bowman to take them safely to Lake-town in return for a huge amount of money (double Bard's usual barge fare), an event that did not occur in the book.

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Balin fights in and survives the battle, during which he helps to man a dwarven war chariot and transport Dwalin, Fíli, and Kíli to Ravenhill. He later personally bids Bilbo farewell at his leaving.

Personality

Balin is portrayed to be the wiser, more social and skeptical individual in Thorin and Company. He is kind, sly and brave, an excellent fighter. Thorin, at one point, quoted on Balin's skill as a fighter. He develops an essentially strong relationship with the other Dwarves he travelled with and was willing to fight alongside them for any cause. He was sympathetic, sometimes cynical, towards Bilbo Baggins, remarking that the latter wasn't fit for the job they had set out to do. He got on brilliantly with Thorin, and seemed to share something of a grandfatherly view of the latter.

Appearances

Films

Books

Trivia

  • While in the Book, Balin is about twenty years younger than Thorin, in Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation, Balin is ranked as the oldest member of the company.
  • In the 1977 Rankin/Bass adaptation of 'The Hobbit', Balin, voiced by Don Messick, is one of the few dwarves to have a major role in the film.
  • In Peter Jackson's films, Balin fights with a weapon with similarities of a sword and a mace, which Ken Stott, asked for himself.
  • Of all the dwarves on the quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, Balin was the only dwarf known to have visited Bilbo Baggins after the journey.

Voice dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Japanese Takashi Inagaki (稲垣隆史)
French (France) Jean-Claude Donda
Spanish (Latin America) Jaime Vega
Spanish (Spain) Jordi Vila
German Alexander Pelz
Italian (Italy) Carlo Valli
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Pádua Moreira / Isaac Schneider (AUJ)
Polish Zdzisław Wardejn
Czech Oldřich Vlach
Slovak Dušan Kaprálik
Hungarian Endre Botár
Russian Aleksei Borzunov (Борзунов, Алексей Алексеевич) † (AUJ)
Boris Bystrov (Быстров, Борис Евгеньевич) (DOS)
Ukrainian Eugen Maluha (Євге́н Малу́ха)
Thai Suphap Chaiwisutthikun (สุภาพ ไชยวิสุทธิกุล)

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ባሊን
Arabic بالين
Armenian Բալին
Belarusian Cyrillic Балін
Bengali বলিং
Bulgarian Cyrillic Балин
Chinese (Hong Kong) 巴林
Czech Balin
Georgian ბალინი
Greek Μπάλιν
Gujarati બલિન્
Hebrew באלין
Hindi बलिन्
Japanese バーリン
Kannada ಬಾಲಿನ್
Kazakh Балин (Cyrillic) Balïn (Latin)
Korean 발린
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Балин
Macedonian Cyrillic Балин
Marathi बॅलीन
Mongolian Cyrillic Балин
Nepalese बलिन्
Pashto بالین
Persian بالین
Punjabi ਬਾਲਿਨ
Russian Балин
Sanskrit बलिन्
Serbian Балин (Cyrillic) Balin (Latin)
Sinhalese බැලින්
Tajik Cyrillic Балин
Tamil பாலின்
Telugu బాలిం
Thai บาลิน
Ukrainian Cyrillic Балин
Urdu بالین
Uzbek Балин (Cyrillic) Balin (Latin)
Yiddish באַלין


References

  1. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers, III. "Durin's Folk"
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter I: "An Unexpected Party"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Hobbit, Chapter II: "Roast Mutton"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter IV: "Over Hill and Under Hill"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Hobbit, Chapter VI: "Out Of The Frying-Pan Into The Fire"
  6. The Hobbit, Chapter VII: "Queer Lodgings"
  7. The Hobbit, Chapter VIII: "Flies and Spiders"
  8. The Hobbit, Chapter X: "A Warm Welcome"
  9. The Hobbit, Chapter XI: "On the Doorstep"
  10. The Hobbit, Chapter XII: "Inside Information"
  11. The Hobbit, Chapter XIII: "Not At Home"
  12. The Hobbit: Chapter XIV: "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  13. The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  14. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years, "The Third Age"
  15. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Ch. I: "Many Meetings"
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Ch. V: "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm"
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