Dwarves at the Council of Elrond

Dwarves are a race in Middle-earth also called Naugrim, Khazâd, and Gonnhirrim.


Dwarf Lords

Dwarf Lords

" It was a dwarf with a blue beard tucked into a golden belt, very bright eyes under his dark-green hood."
The Hobbit

When Aulë created the Dwarves he had only a vague idea of what the Children of Ilúvatar should look like. This lead to the Dwarves being created much shorter (four and a half to five feet tall) and stockier than the other Children of Ilúvatar. Because of the threat of Morgoth over the world Aulë made them very strong both in body and character. Dwarves grew thick luxuriant beards in which they took great pride and often forked or braided them and tucked them into their belts.

They seem to have favoured simple durable clothing, coloured hoods and heavy cloaks for travelling, and belts of gold or silver. For battle they would don elaborately crafted armour and helmets bearing masked visors (after the manner of those used in forges for shielding the eyes) hideous to look upon.

There is no mention of the appearance or fashion of dwarf women, in fact there is only mention of one in the entire works of Tolkien. Dís the daughter of Thráin II and the mother of Fíli and Kíli.


Dwarves were a proud and stern race and were made to be sturdy to resist the dangers of their time. They were physically stronger than humans and had great endurance, especially in the ability to resist great heat and cold, and they made light of heavy burdens. Dwarves lived up to two hundred and fifty years and had the ability to learn new skills quickly. A normal dwarf was usually stubborn and secretive, but they had the capacity to be loyal friends. Dwarves were not hurt by insults, but their hate lasted a very long time. Dwarves were greedy, but still much less corrupt than Men, as shown by what happened to the Dwarven Rings of Power and their owners. Whereas the Men who owned the nine Rings were corrupted and became the Nazgul, the Dwarves were uncorrupted. The only power that the rings had over them was the power to inflate their greed for gold.

Dwarves were taught special skills by Aulë and lived by mining for precious minerals such as gold, iron, copper, and silver from all over mountains in Middle-Earth. In ancient times, the dwarves also found mithril in the mines of Khazad-dûm. They were also able masons, ans smiths. They crafted many famed weapons, armours, and items of art and beauty. Amongst them Narsil, the sword of Elendil, the Dragon Helm of Dor-lómin, and the necklace Nauglamír. They built many famed halls including Belegost, Nogrod, Khazad-dum, and Menegroth. Dwarves were also known for reforging the gates of Minas Tirith and rebuilding the walls of Helm's Deep, after the War of the Ring. They had a knack for starting a fire almost anywhere out of almost anything. Dwarves did not farm and herd because they lived mostly underground. They traded smithcraft to men and elves in exchange for food. Dwarves also protected the females of their race from other races because of the females' rarity, about 1/3 of their total number.

History of the Dwarves

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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 of Middle-Earth. It was however not within Aulë’s power and authority 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. 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.

The First Age

About a century after the Elves awakened the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were roused. Of those seven only the name of one is known, Durin I who was called the deathless. 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 Ered Luin (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, which 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 Kheld-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 form 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 participated in some of the major battles of the first age and fought alongside Elves and Men including The First Battle of Beleriand and the Nirnaeth Arnoediad where Dwarves of Belegost won great renown. They were the only ones able to stand against the dragon Glaurung because of their superior equipment and ability to withstand the heat of the dragon’s breath. In that battle Azaghâl the Lord of Belegost was killed by the dragon but in turn wounded the worm so badly that it fled the battle.

The Dwarves of Nogrod were famed for the craftsmanship of their weapons. Most notable amongst their smiths was Telchar. Dwarves from Nogrod crafted the necklace Nauglamír and Thingol requested smiths from Nogrod to insert a Silmaril into that necklace. Those Dwarves were however driven mad by gold-lust and murdered Thingol and stole the necklace and the stone.

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 were 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.

The Second Age


Durin III as depicted in the LOTR TCG.

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 the year 750. His reign was an era of great prosperity when 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 to resist evil domination. The only apparent effect of the rings was that the Dwarves became more greedy, 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 hordes. The ring of Durin, Sauron did not reclaim until the 2845th year of the Third Age when he captured Thrain II.

The Third Age

Durin IV was born in the 1731st year of the Third Age. At that time the race of Dwarves had already begun to dwindle. In the year 1980 of the Third Age the Dwarves were deepening their mithril mines when they stumbled upon a Balrog of Morgoth. Durin IV was slain by the Balrog and a year later his son Nain I (1832-1981). After that the Dwarves of Durins line fled and abandoned Khazad-dûm but the Balrog remained. Most of Durin’s Folk went to Ered Mithrin (Gray Mountains) where they built new halls. However Nain’s son Thrain I (1934-2190) now King of Durin’s Folk went to the Lonely Mountain and founded the kingdom Erebor in the year 1999. Deep within the mountain he found an extraordinary jewel that he called the Arkenstone and was regarded as the greatest treasure of his house. Thrain’s son Thorin I chose to rather stay in Ered Mithrin than Erebor so between 2190 and 2590 Ered Mithrin was the seat of Kings. In 2589 however the Dwarven halls in that region were attacked by cold-drakes from the north. The King at the time, Dain I (2440-2589) was slain along with one of his sons, Frór (2552-2589). The older son Thror (2542-2790) fled with his people to Erebor. For 200 years the wealth and fame of Erebor grew until the coming of Smaug the Golden in 2770. Thror managed to escape through a back door with his family but most of the Dwarves of Erebor were slain by the dragon and the wealth of Durin’s folk was lost. Some time later Thror gave his son Thrain II (2644-2858) the ring of power and started wandering the world with his friend Nar. Somehow 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 where Dain Ironfoot (2767-3019) killed Azog. In the years to come the ring slowly poisoned Train’s heart with greed and in 2845 Thrain set out alone to reclaim Erebor. This resulted in him being captured by Sauron and he died in the dungeons of Dol-Guldur.

In 2941 Thorin Oakenshield son of Thrain, 12 other Dwarves, and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, reclaimed Erebor, at the cost of Thorin’s life. Dain Ironfoot took up rule in Erebor after that, and for a while the kingdom prospered in trade with the Elves of Mirkwood and Men of Dale. One of Thorin’s companions, Balin (2763-2994) took in 2989 a host of Dwarves from Erebor 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. 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 named Aglarond in the caves of Helms Deep. The last dwarf of Durin’s Folk was Durin VII who lived at some point in the Fourth Age.


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

The Dwarven language was a harsh sounding tounge created by Aulë and was called Khuzdul. The Dwarven language was strange to non-dwarves, but few learned to speak it because the dwarves kept it secret. The dwarves used the Elvish runes Cirth as their written language.


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 Noldor, 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.

Many dwarven names in the works of Tolkien are taken from the poetic Viking prophecies Völuspá. 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) 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.

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 bread sword at his side and a roundshield 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

Dwarves 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 also used hatchets, mattocks, short swords, shields, pick axes, war hammers and short bows and arrows. Sometimes the dwarves threw their axes and hammers at the enemy. At the ends of battles dwarves often collected old axes because they didn't have the heart to leave them behind.

For armour dwarves favoured ring-ring mail and other metallic armour. The most expensive and precious of which was ring mail made of mithril. The dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod wore heavy helms with mask-like visors that were hideous to look upon.

The Seven Clans

The Dwarves' seven clans were:

  • Note: There was a 8th group of dwarves, Petty-dwarves, but they were hunted to extinction by the Elves.


The Dwarves lived and mined in several places throughout Middle-earth many times, which included:

Moria or Khazad-dûm and other places in the Misty Mountains.

Erebor, in the Lonely Mountain.

The Emyn Engrin or Iron Hills.

The Ered Luin or Blue Mountains, where the cities Nogrod and Belegost existed during the First Age.

The Ered Mithrin or the Grey Mountains, although the dwarves were later driven out by dragons.

Possibly the Orocarni or the Red Mountains of the Ea.

Known Dwarves

In the earliest versions of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology (see: The History of Middle-earth) the dwarves were evil beings created by Melkor.

Races of the Creatures of Arda
Free Folks:

Ainur | Dwarves | Ents | Hobbits | Men | Elves | Great Eagles

Servants of the Shadow:

Dragons | Orcs | Wargs | Werewolves | Spiders | Trolls


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