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Dwarves were a race of Middle-earth also known as the Khazâd (in their own tongue) or Casari, Naugrim, meaning "Stunted People", and Gonnhirrim, the "Masters of Stone". They are the oldest of the Free Peoples of the World.



The Dwarves were made by Aulë, whom they themselves called Mahal, meaning “maker.” Aulë was unwilling to await the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar, for he was impatient and desired to have someone to teach his lore and crafts. Therefore, he made the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in secret, in a hall under the mountains of Middle-earth.

TN-Aule the Destroyer

"Aulë Prepares to Destroy His Children" by Ted Nasmith

It was, however, not within Aulë's power to create life. After being reprimanded by Ilúvatar for creating them, and realizing his error, Aulë prepared to destroy his creations. But Eru intervened, adopting the Dwarves as his own Children, so that when Aulë picked up his great hammer to smite the Seven Fathers and destroy his presumptuous creations, they cowered in fear and begged for mercy.

Ilúvatar willed that the Dwarves would not emerge before the Firstborn Elves, and so he decreed that the Seven Fathers should sleep underground, and come forth after the Firstborn had awakened.[2]

First Age

Some time after the Elves awoke in Cuiviénen, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were roused. Of them, only the name of one is known, Durin I, who was called "the deathless". Each of 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 this period. Belegost and Nogrod were built in the Blue Mountains. Durin I, on the other hand, wandered into a vale in the Misty Mountains which 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 called 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 halls of Khazad-dûm within the mountains above.

Later in the First Age, the Dwarves made alliances with 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 pearl Nimphelos. They formed alliances with the Ñoldor and fought alongside Elves and Men, participating in major battles of the First Age, including The First Battle of Beleriand and the Nírnaeth Arnoediad in which the Dwarves of Belegost won great renown for being the only ones able to stand against the dragon Glaurung, 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 and 'pricked him so deep that he fled back to Angband'.[citation needed]


Elderly Dwarves

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, stealing the necklace and the stone, igniting the bitter rivalry between Dwarves and Elves that would rage until the end of the Third Age.

The Elves of Doriath pursued the smiths to their deaths and reclaimed the Nauglamír. But two of the slayers of Thingol escaped from this, 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 the 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 Nauglamír necklace. Some of the Dwarves escaped from the battle, but they were ambushed in the slopes beneath Mount Dolmed by the Ents.

Some stories from the First Age tell of "Petty-dwarves" who were called the Noegyth Nibin. Those Dwarves had been exiled from their homes during the Peace of Arda and were the first Dwarves to enter Beleriand. They first inhabited and carved out the Caverns of Narog, which they called Narukuthûn, later overtaken by Finrod and renamed Nargothrond. The last of the Petty-dwarves were Mîm and his two sons who lived at Amon Rûdh. Mîm aided Túrin in his adventures, but subsequently betrayed him to Orcs.

Second Age

The Line of Durin

Some of Durin's Folk as seen in The Hobbit films

After the First Age, most accounts of Dwarves concern those 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. Occasionally in the following ages, a Dwarf was born of this line so resembled Durin that he was considered to be Durin reborn. Prophecy told that Durin would be reborn seven times, and that the coming of Durin VII would mark the decline of the Dwarves.

Durin II was born in the Second Age. It is untold exactly when, but either he or Durin III was in power when the smith Narvi built the Doors of Durin. His reign was an era of great prosperity in which the halls of Khazad-dûm were greatly expanded and the Ñoldorin Elves of Lindon moved into Eregion to trade with the Dwarves for mithril. The population of Khazad-dûm boomed, because many refugees from Belegost and Nogrod, which were destroyed at the end of the First Age, moved there.

Dwarf lords flashback

Seven Rings of Power were given to the Dwarf lords, who would remain uncorrupted by them.

Durin III was in power around the year SA 1600. He was gifted with the 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 subsequently 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 year TA 2845, when he captured Thráin II.

Of the Dwarves, few fought upon either side in the War of the Last Alliance; but the kindred of Durin of Khazad-dûm fought against Sauron.

Third Age

In 1980 of the Third Age, after centuries of greedily digging for mithril and other minerals, the Dwarves woke a Balrog that was sleeping in the deeps of the Misty Mountains since the First Age. The Dwarves fled Khazad-dûm, which from then on was called Moria, which means "Black pit".

DwarvesInBOFA JustinGerard

Dwarves fighting in the Battle of Five Armies, by Justin Gerard

Most of Durin's Folk left for the Grey Mountains in the North, while some followed the new king, Thráin I, who went to Erebor. His son Thorin I later relocated to the Grey Mountains. For more than 300 years the Dwarves of the Grey Mountains prospered until the dragons in the far north started to gain strength. Some fled to the Iron Hills, while most followed the new king Thrór back to Erebor to start a new Kingdom under the Mountain. There, they prospered for over 200 years until the dragon Smaug descended in TA 2770. The King and his company went in exile south, while most of the survivors went to the Iron Hills.

The exiled King Thrór and his followers eked out a living in Dunland, but wearying of poverty, Thrór traveled north to Moria where he was killed by the Orc chief Azog. Thrór's son Thráin II (who had received the last of the Seven Rings from his father before his departure) summoned all the Houses of Dwarves to war. Thus began the War of Dwarves and Orcs, in which the Dwarves destroyed all the Goblin strongholds in the Misty Mountains culminating in the great Battle of Azanulbizar. The Goblin hosts issuing from Moria were strong and relentless until the arrival of fresh Dwarves of the Iron Hills. The Battle ended with the victory for the Dwarves, but at great cost. The Dwarven clans however were unwilling to repopulate Moria as Durin's Bane remained inside. Thráin therefore went to the Blue Mountains and established his realm there.

John Howe - Roac, Son of Carc

Dwarves conferring with Roäc, a raven of the Lonely Mountain, by John Howe

The Wizard Gandalf was instrumental into helping Thráin's son Thorin II in reclaiming the Kingdom of Erebor. Thorin gathered around him twelve Dwarves, mostly from his own line, and was joined by Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins. The Quest of Erebor ended with the death of Smaug. After a quarrel with the Lake-men and Elves over the unguarded hoard, the Dwarves - assisted by those from the Iron Hills - united with the Men and Elves to fight the attacking Goblins and Wargs, in what was called the Battle of Five Armies, where Thorin was killed.

Gimli profile

Gimli, son of Glóin, joined the Fellowship of the Ring against Sauron, befriending the Elf Legolas

Gimli son of Glóin joined the Fellowship of the Ring as a representative of the Dwarves and befriended Legolas during the War of the Ring. After the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a force of Longbeards and Men of Dale held the Lonely Mountain against a siege by an army of Easterlings who had overrun the Kingom 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.

Fourth Age

During the Fourth Age, which began after the destruction of Mordor and Sauron, Dwarves and Men re-forged their friendship. Dáin II was killed during the War of the Ring, and was succeeded by his son, Thorin III, who ruled well into the Fourth Age. During this time, Dwarves from the Lonely Mountain helped rebuild cities in Gondor and the fortress of the Hornburg, and some went to the newly established Dwarven realm of the Glittering Caves where Gimli was lord. The Kingdom under the Mountain apparently continued to prosper into the Fourth Age.[4][5] Subsequently, Gimli went on many undocumented travels with his friend Legolas. In FO 120, Gimli and Legolas boarded a ship that sailed down the river Anduin, and then sailed to Valinor. Gimli was thus 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 till the "world grew old and the days of Durin's race ended." 



"It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, very bright eyes under his dark-green hood."
The Hobbit, Chapter 1: "An Unexpected Party"
Dwarf Lords

Dwarf-lords raising their rings

When Aulë created the Dwarves, he had only a vague conception of what the Children of Ilúvatar should look like. Because of the threat of Morgoth over the world, Aulë made them very strong in body and character.

Dwarves were a short, stocky race, a little taller than hobbits, but much broader and heavier. Most had thick, luxuriant beards in which they took great pride, and in some cases forked or braided them and tucked them into their belts.


Dwarves' armor was masked with symbols (after the manner of those used in forges for shielding the eyes) that, in some cases, were "hideous" to look upon.

Dwarven women were alike in manner, voice and appearance to their menfolk. They were few in number, less than a third of all dwarf-kind, and they were seldom seen outside their own halls, often not venturing far due to their duties as caretakers and crafters in Dwarven society. They typically only travelled when in great need, and they usually dressed similarly to Dwarf men. This often led other folk to believe there were no women among the Dwarves, that Dwarves grew from stone when created. Few female Dwarven warriors were known, but some tales say that female Dwarves were as fierce as their male counterparts, especially in protecting their families and offspring. Dwarves were usually monogamous, and fewer than one-third of Dwarven men took a wife, the rest busying themselves with their crafts.[citation needed]

Dwarven Emissary



A depiction of King Dáin II during the timeframe of The Lord of the Rings

Dwarves were a proud and stern race and were made to be sturdy to resist the dangers of their time. They were physically very strong, had great endurance, especially in the ability to resist heat and cold, and they made light of heavy burdens. Dwarves had the ability to learn new artisanal skills quickly, especially those dealing with metal or stone.

Dwarves lived longer than Men,[2] often up to two-hundred-and-fifty years, though Durin I may have lived as long as two-thousand-and-five-hundred years. As many of their later kings seemed in likeness to the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves, most Dwarves believed that the spirits of the Fathers were able to return to their dead bodies during times of importance or struggle, coming back to life in order to save their people. King Durin I was thought to have returned to life six times, ruling over his folk with seven lives.

Dwarves were typically stubborn, secretive, and fiercely loyal to friends and family. They treat and care for each other, even strangers among their kind like family. They cared greatly for mining, crafting, gold and gems, their acquisition of which often fueled the envy of the Elves. Dwarves were easily offended by rude comments, and had a propensity to hold long-lasting grudges. Dwarves were often seen as greedy, but their nature gave them resistance to many external influences, including to the evil of the Rings of Power given them. Whereas the Men who owned the nine Rings were corrupted and became the Nazgûl, the Dwarves were unaffected, save by an increase of their goldlust and hatred for anything that stood between them and what they perceived as their treasure.


Dwarves were taught special skills by the Vala Aulë and spent most of their time crafting, smithying and mining in their massive underground cities.

The Dwarves were some of the greatest miners ever to exist in Middle-earth. The Dwarves dug immense halls under mountains where they built their cities. Dwarven miners dug for precious minerals such as gold, iron, copper, and silver from all over mountains in Middle-earth, though the Dwarves considered coal mining degrading. In ancient times, the Dwarves found mithril in the mines of Khazad-dûm. While mining beneath the Lonely Mountain, they discovered the Arkenstone at the heart of the Mountain.

They were also capable masons and smiths - Dwarven smithying skills were said to be rivaled only by those of the Elves, and their masonry creations were bested by none. The skill of the Dwarves was unmatched; they crafted objects of great beauty out of diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire. Everything Dwarven was beautifully crafted and intricate. They crafted many famed weapons, armors, and items of art and beauty, among them Narsil, the sword of Elendil, the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin and the Nauglamír necklace.

They had a knack for starting a fire almost anywhere out of almost anything. Although they knew how, Dwarves did not farm or herd often, as they preferred to spend their time underground mining and crafting. They rather traded crafted items with Men and Elves in exchange for food.



The deep halls of the Lonely Mountain

They built many famed halls including the Lonely Mountain, Belegost, Nogrod, Khazad-dûm, the Halls of Thranduil, and Menegroth. The Dwarves also re-forged Minas Tirith's Great Gate and rebuilt the walls of the Hornburg after the War of the Ring.

Their cities appeared to be constructed just under mountains or mountain ranges. Dwarven miners would excavate into the mountains to create an entrance, and then dig through and under the mountain to create the groundwork for their cities. Dwarven cities were very expansive, reaching the far depths of the earth. Dwarves continued to mine in their cities to expand them and discover more resources like precious metals and minerals.

Dwarven cities ran throughout mountains and mountain ranges, stretched up, down and side-to-side in the massive caverns beneath the surface, but it was largely unknown how cities were structured and sectioned off. In Khazad-dûm, there was a section of the city known as the Chamber of Mazarbul, the Chamber of Records. There were also sections of the city mentioned in the Book of Mazarbul such as the "First Hall", "Second Hall", "Third Deep", and the "Twenty-first Hall of North end".[6]

One stronghold, Erebor (located in the Lonely Mountain), gained its wealth from precious gems hewn from rock and in "great seams of gold running like rivers through stone."

A name for where the Dwarves' were located was Phurunargian, which meant Dwarf-delving in the Common Tongue.[7]

Notable Dwarven realms

Language and writing system

"Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!"
Ancient dwarven battle cry meaning "The axes of the dwarves! The dwarves are upon you!"


The Dwarven language was created by Aulë when he created the Dwarves themselves, and called it Khuzdûl, which simply meant 'Dwarvish'. The language was harsh sounding, and was strange to other peoples' ears. Only Dwarves were permitted to learn any of its words, for it was guarded jealously. When around other races, the Dwarves seldom spoke in it.

In the First Age, when Dwarves first made contact with Elves, the only tongue in Beleriand would have been Sindarin, as the Ñoldor had not yet returned from Aman. Consequentially, Sindarin was spoken by the Dwarves. In fact, they were so impressed by the Elvish runes (the Cirth, made by Daeron) for writing Sindarin that they adopted them for use in writing Khuzdul, and used them forever more.[8]

Writing system

The Dwarves devised Angerthas, a rune-system based on Cirth. There were different variations of Angerthas, varying by each Dwarven clan; the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm had their own variation with a number of unsystematic changes. The Dwarves of Erebor also used a further modification of the system, which was known as the mode of Erebor. This mode was notably exemplified in the Book of Mazarbul.[9]

Some examples of Angerthas were seen in notable Dwarven texts, including the Book of Mazarbul, Thror's Map, as well as other objects such as the Key to the Side-door.

Weapons and armour

"Each one of his folk was clad in a hauberk of steel mail that hung to his knees, and his legs were covered with hose of a fine and flexible metal mesh.... In battle they wielded heavy two-handed mattocks; but each of them had also a short broad sword at his side and a round shield slung at his back. Their beards were forked and plaited and thrust into their belts. Their caps were of iron and they were shod with iron, and their faces were grim."
The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"

Dwarven soldiers usually used axes as their weapon of choice because it can be used as a tool or a weapon, but in addition to axes they used hatchets, mattocks, short swords, war hammers, and very occasionally there is mention of Dwarven archers.

As for armor, Dwarves favored chain-mail and other metallic armor — the most expensive and precious of which was ring mail made of mithril. A vest of mithril was given to Bilbo Baggins by Thorin before the Battle of the Five Armies. He wore it during the battle and it later protected his nephew Frodo throughout his quest.) Gandalf said that this small coat was worth more than the whole of the Shire combined.[10]


Many songs were sung in the halls of the Dwarves. One very notable song was "Far over the Misty Mountains Cold", also known as the "Song of the Lonely Mountain," and commonly referred by fans as the "Dwarf Song."[11] Another song sung in Dwarven culture was In Moria, in Khazad-dûm!, which told of the history of Khazad-dûm (Moria) and honored Durin, first King of Durin's Folk.[10]

Wicked Dwarves

Of the races of Arda, Dwarves were the most resistant to corruption and influence of Morgoth and later of Sauron. The seven Rings of Power of the Dwarves did not turn them to evil, but it did amplify their greed and lust for gold. It is said that very few willfully served the side of darkness. The Hobbit refers to these as "wicked dwarves". Of the seven houses. few fought on either side during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men at the end of the Second Age, and none from the House of Durin ever fought on the side of evil.[12] However, in times of war, Dwarves often refused to ally themselves with Elves or Men, choosing to remain neutral or oblivious to the clashes between good and evil. During the early parts of the Third Age, it is known that in some places wicked Dwarves had made alliances with the goblins and Orcs.[13] It is suggested by J.R.R. Tolkien in some of his notes that the Dwarves that turned to wickedness most likely came from the far eastern mansions, and came under the Shadow of Morgoth and finally turned to evil. It is however unclear if these refer to Dwarves beyond the Iron Hills (the most eastern known stronghold of the Dwarves)[14] Because Dwarves were not evil by nature, few ever served the Enemy of their own free will.[7]

In some of Tolkien's earliest writings the Dwarven race as a whole was portrayed as an evil creation of Melkor, but Tolkien's ideas evolved as he continued to write about the Dwarves.

The Seven Clans

  • Firebeards & Broadbeams. Originally from the Blue Mountains, they were paired but Tolkien never clarified which tribe built Nogrod and which Belegost. After the First Age they merged with the Longbeards.
==Line of Kings of Durin's Folk==

Durin I
Durin II
Durin III
Durin IV
Durin V
Durin VI
Náin I
Thráin I
Thorin I
Náin II
Dáin I
Thráin II
Thorin II
Dáin II
Thorin III
Durin VII and Last



The Dwarves called themselves the Khazad, the name Aulë gave them; this translates as the Hadhodrim in Sindarin, and the Casari in Quenya. Casari was the common word for Dwarves among the Ñoldor, but the Sindar usually called them the Naugrim or Nogothrim, the Stunted People.

Dwarves would, as a rule, not tell people of other races their real names, but take names in Westron instead, and keep their real names secret, not even on their tombs would they inscribe it.

Many Dwarven names in the works of Tolkien are taken from the poetic Viking prophecies, Völuspá (Old Norse: Vǫluspá). A significant part of the prophecy describes the pagan world view of the Vikings, and in that part can be found the Count of Dwarves, which is mostly a list of names. All the dwarf names from The Hobbit are taken from that source as well as the name of Gandalf. Some other names, such as Gimli (meaning shelter from fire), and Harlan are taken from the Icelandic language, but not from Völuspá. Only a few Dwarves in the works of Tolkien have original names in Khuzdul. These include Azaghâl, and Telchar.[7]

Earlier versions of the legendarium

In the earliest forms of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology, the Dwarves were mistaken to be evil beings created by Melkor, and were also called the 'Nauglath'.[15]


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Dwerge
Albanian Xhuxhët
Arabic الدوورف
Armenian Թզուկները
Azerbaijani Cırtdan
Basque Nanoen
Belarusian Cyrillic Гномы
Bulgarian Cyrillic Джуджета
Catalan Nans
Chinese (Simplified) 小矮人
Chinese (Hong Kong) 矮人
Croatian Patuljci
Czech Trpaslíci
Danish Dværge
Dutch Dwergen
Esperanto Enanos
Estonian Kääbused
Filipino Unano
Finnish Kääpiöt
French Nain
Galician Ananos
Georgian ჯუჯები (Dwarves) ნაუგრიმები (Naugrim)
German Zwerge
Greek Νάνοι
Gujarati ડ્વર્વેસ
Haitian Creole Nains
Hebrew גמדים
Hindi बौने
Hungarian Törpék
Icelandic Dvergarnir
Indonesian Kurcaci
Italian Nani
Japanese ドワーフ (Dwarves) ナウグリム (Naugrim)
Kannada ದ್ವಾರ್ವ್ಸ್
Kazakh Гномы (Cyrillic) Gnomı (Latin)
Korean 난쟁이 (Dwarf), 나우그림 (Naugrim)
Kurdish Hacûckan (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic карлик
Latin Nani
Latvian Rūķi
Lithuanian Nykštukai / Dvorfai
Luxembourgish Zwergen
Macedonian Cyrillic џуџињата
Malayalam ഡ്വാർഫുകൾ
Marathi ड्वर्वेस
Maltese Nanu ?
Mongolian Cyrillic одой
Nepalese ड्वर्वेस
Norwegian Dverger
Persian دورف
Polish Krasnoludowie
Portuguese Anões
Punjabi ਡੁਅਰਵਜ਼
Romanian Pitici/Gnomi
Russian Гномы
Scots Droichs
Scottish Gaelic Troichean
Serbian Патуљци (Cyrillic) Patuljci (Latin)
Sinhalese ක්ලවුස්
Slovak Trpaslíci
Slovenian Škrati
Spanish Enanos
Swedish Dvärgar
Tamil டோவ்ஸ்
Telugu ద్వార్వ్స్
Thai วกคนแคระเรีย
Turkish Cüceler
Ukrainian Cyrillic Ґноми
Urdu بونوں
Uzbek Дwарвес (Cyrillic) Mitti (Latin)
Vietnamese Người lùn
Welsh Corachod
Yiddish דוואָרווז