Durin’s Folk (History of Dwarves)
Pages To Read:
-RK.AppendixA Section III ‘Durin’s Folk’ (start) – “do not desire marriage, being engrossed in their crafts” (about 10 pages)
– Many strange tales are often told of the origin of Dwarves, but Tolkien decides to leave them out of this appendix. (Spoiler: They were crafted by one of the Valar, Aulë.)
– In the Elder Days, the primary father of Dwarves, Durin, slept alone until he awoke and made his dwelling in the Misty Mountains.
– Throughout the history of the Dwarves, there were five times that an heir was born in his likeness, almost like a reincarnation.
– Durin’s lineage held power in Khazad-Dûm (a.k.a. Moria) throughout the First and Second ages.
– In the mid-Third Age, Durin VI was King, and the Dwarves awoke the Balrog in Moria. Durin VI and his son were killed, and the Dwarves were forced out. (TA 1980-1981)
– Thráin I founded a new Dwarf kingdom under Erebor (The Lonely Mountain) and discovered the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain. (TA 1999)
– After a few generations, during which Dwarves also established footholds in the Iron Hills and made allies with nearby groups of Men, Smaug arrives and ransacks Erebor during the rule of Thrór. The royal family, including Thráin II, and Thorin II (Thorin Oakenshield) escape. (TA 2770)
– After years of wandering homeless, the elderly Thrór goes back to Moria with a single companion, Nár. Thrór enters alone, and when Nár finally goes in to look for him, the orcs throw out Thrór’s dead body. As the current occupants of Moria, the Orcs, led by Azog, threaten to kill any Dwarves that return to the halls of Khazad-Dûm. (TA 2790)
– Nár delivers this message to Thráin who musters the forces of the Dwarves and goes to war with the Orcs. (TA 2793-2799)
– Due to their fierce anger and proficiency in battle, the Dwarves demolish many Orc strongholds with ease. The war culminates in the Battle of Nanduhirion (Azanulbizar), in which Azog releases some final hordes. Both Thráin and Thorin are wounded in the battle. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills, led by Náin, save the day, although Náin is killed by Azog himself. Azog tries to retreat when he realizes the Orcs are losing, but Náin’s young son Dáin Ironfoot slays him. (TA 2799)
– After the victory, the Dwarves do not dare enter Khazad-Dûm, where the Balrog (Durin’s Bane) still dwells. Instead, having their vengeance on the Orcs, they disperse again. Dáin returns to the Iron Hills and Thráin & Thorin wander into the West.
– Before Thrór died, he had given one of the Seven Rings to Thráin. A brief history of the Seven Rings is given: Sauron’s evil power certainly flowed within them, but the Dwarves were not really able to fall under Sauron’s control. Much to Sauron’s displeasure, the Rings merely increased their greed for gold and wealth.
– Fueled by discontent coming from his Ring, Thráin eventually becomes restless and wanders back into the East. He is captured and taken to Dol Guldur. Eventually he is tortured to death and his Ring is repossessed by the Necromancer (Sauron). (TA 2845)
– Thus Thorin Oakenshield becomes the Heir of Durin, and meets with Gandalf in 2941 to discuss the retaking of Erebor. The tale of this adventure is of course detailed in The Hobbit.
– Long story short, Thorin’s company succeeds in retaking Erebor, but Thorin dies in the battle. Dáin of the Iron Hills saves the day again and becomes King Dáin II.
Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– The Arkenstone is often theorized to be one of the Silmarils – the jewels that drove most of the conflict in the First Age. At the end of the First Age, one is said to have been thrown ‘into the Earth’ so it would make sense that the Dwarves find such a powerful gem beneath the Lonely Mountain.
– A short description of Dwarf-women is also given at the end of this section, and a single name (Dís, sister of Thorin) is given. Essentially there is a skewed gender balance meaning less than half of dwarves actually marry and have children, leading to a slow population growth. Many dwarves, male and female alike, simple do not desire marriage and are instead engrossed in their crafts.
– There’s also a great family tree which shows the main Dwarves in the Line of Erebor. Thorin Oakenshield can be found in the bottom left, and Gimli (who we met during the Council of Elrond) is in the bottom right.
Links to Other Content:
– Sleeping Durin, by MirachRavaia (featured). Incredible artwork of Durin, crafted from crumpled paper.
– Durin at Mirrormere, by MatejCadil.
– Aule Crafting the Dwarves, by peet. Nice drawing of the creation of the first Dwarves.
Notes: Sorry for the wall of text! I tried my best to condense, but there’s a ton of historical details that are pretty relevant to understanding the situation of the Dwarves at the end of the Third Age. Don’t worry about getting everything, I’ll have some really great art this week to help visualize. ~Tom