The Dwarves

In a great hall under the mountains of Middle-earth, Aulë, the smith of the Valar, fashioned the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves during the Ages of Darkness, when Melkor and his evil servants in Utumno and Angband held sway over all of Middle-earth. Therefore, Aulë made Dwarves stout and strong, unaffected by cold and fire, and sturdier than the races that followed. Aulë knew of the great evil of Melkor, so he made the Dwarves stubborn, indomitable, and persistent in labor and hardship. They were brave in battles and their pride and will could not be broken.

The Dwarves were deep-delving miners, masons, metalworkers, and the most wondrous stone-carvers. They were well-suited for the crafts of Aulë, who had shaped the mountains, for they were made strong, long-bearded, and tough, but not tall, being four to five feet in height. As their toil was long, they were each granted a life about two and a half centuries. For they were mortal, they could also be slain in battle. Aulë made the Dwarves wise in the knowledge of his crafts and gave them a language of their own called Khuzdul. In this toungue Aulë was called Mahal and the Dwarves Khazâd. It was a secret toungue unknown but for a few words to all but Dwarves who guarded it jealously. The Dwarves always gave thanks to Aulë and acknowledged that by him, they were given shape. Yet without Ilúvatar, they would have been destroyed in the beginning.

It is said that once Aulë made the first Dwarves, he secretly hid them from the other Valar as well from Ilúvatar. Yet Ilúvatar was aware of Aulë's deeds and judged that Aulë's act was made without malice, and thus he sanctified the Dwarves. Yet he would not permit this race to come before his chosen children, the Elves, who were to be the firstborn; so, though the Dwarves were full-wrought, Aulë took them and laid them deeply under stone, and in this darkness the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves slept for many ages before the Stars were rekindled and the time of awakening drew near.

So it was that the Elves awoke in Cuiviénen in the East in the First Age of Stars. In the years that followed the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves stirred, and their stone chamber was broken open, and they arose and were filled with awe.

It is said that each of the SevenFathers made a great mansion under the mountains of Middle-earth, but the Elven histories spoke only of three. These were the Dwarf-realms called Belegost and Nogrod in the BlueMountains and Khazad-dûm in the MistyMountains. The tale of Khazad-dûm is longest for this was the House of the First Father called King Durin I (aka Durin the Deathless) and the dwarves involved in most of Tolkien's works.

The Dwarves of Belegond and Nogrond were a boon to the Elves in Beleriand in the First Age of Stars. For they came into the realm of Grey-elves with weapon and tools of steel and displayed their great skills in the working of stone. And though the Grey-elves had not previously known of this people, whom they thought unlovely, calling them the Naugrim, the "stunted people", they soon understood the Dwarves were wise in the crafts of Aulë, and so they called them the Gonnhirrim, "masters of stone". There was much trade between Elves and Dwarves, and both races prospered.

And though an ungainly people without graceful form, the Dwarves brought forth much beauty. Their mansions had grand halls filled with bright banners, armor, jeweled weapons and fine tapestries. Starlight shone down great light-wells and played upon mirroring pools and sparkling silver fountains. In echoing domes by the light of crystal lamps, bright gemstones and veins of precious ores might be seen. In walls of jet polished like glass, dreaming marble forms were visible and winding stairs or twisting avenues might lead to a tall, fair tower or a court of many-colored stone. Tunnels led to court-yards and grottos with columns of alabaster, fluted by time and the gentle promptings of Dwarf-chisels.

In the Ages of Starlight, the Dwarves of the BlueMountains fashioned the finest steel that the world had ever seen. In Belegost, which was also named Gabilgathol and Mickleburg?, the famous Dwarf-mail of linked rings was first made, while in Nogrod, which was called Tumunzahar and Hollowbold, resided Telchar, the greatest Dwarf-smith of all time. At this time these Dwarves forged the weapons of the Sindar and built for the Grey-elves of king Thingol their citadel of Menegroth, the Thousand Caves, reputed to be the fairest of mansions in Middle-earth.

The War of the Jewels came in the FirstAge of Sun and in it most of the Dwarves fought with the Elves against the servants of Morgoth. Of all Dwarves of that Age, greatest fame was won by King Azaghâl, the lord of Belegost. In the Battle of Unnumbered Tears only the Dwarves could withstand the blaze of Dragon fire, for they were a race of smiths used to great heat of the smith, and on their heads they wore masks of steel that protected their faces from flames. Thus the Dwarves of Belegost could stop the advance of the Dragon-horde, and though slain in the act, Azaghâl drove his sword in the belly of Glaurung, the Father of Dragons, and so Glaurung and his hoard fled from the battle field. The dwarves of Belegost carried Azaghâl out of war in a barial march and no foe dared lay hand or sword on any of them and fled before them.

Not all the deeds of Dwarves in that Age were praiseworthy. Although we have two accounts of the same tale; the dwarves believe that they were not paid for the work performed for King Thingol. The elves tale is told with the Dwarves of Nogrod desiring the Silmaril, and for it Naugladur led a host in the murder of Thingol and sacked the citadel of Menegroth. In turn the Dwarves were caught by the Laiquendi at the ford of Gelion and Naugladur fought with Beren and would have slain him, but stumbled and Beren in turn slew him to reclamim the Nauglamír with the Silmaril, and those who escaped the ambush were attacked by Ents and utterly destroyed.

From the endings of the FirstAge of Sun the histories of Elves and Men that speak of Dwarves tells primarily of those of Durin's line who lived in Khazad-dûm. When the destruction of Beleriand came with the War of Wrath, the mansions of Nogrond and Belegost were broken and lost. The Dwarves of those kingdoms came into the MistyMountains in the SecondAge and made Khazad-dûm, the greatest mansion of Dwarves on Middle-earth, greater still. The vast halls filled with these prosperous people, whose craftsmen achieved matchless deeds and whose miners delved deep and long into the mountain's heart. In the Second Age many of the Noldorin Elves of Lindon entered into Eregion near the West-gate of Khazad-dûm (HollinGate) and made a kingdom so that they might trade with the Dwarves for the precious metal mithril, which was found in abundance there. These Elves were the Gwaith-i-Mírdain who were called the Elven-smiths in later times. By the wisdom of these Elves and by Sauron's deceit, the rings of power were forged in this place. Though the Dwarves were given seven of these Rings, they were not drawn into the terrible wars that followed for all the years that remained in the SecondAge. In Khazad-dûm the Dwarves closed the doors of their mansions to the troubles of the world. None could force an entry to their realm; but ever after it was thought to be a closed and dark kingdom, and so Khazad-dûm was named Moria.

Thus the Dwarves of Durin's line survived into the ThirdAge of Sun, though by then they had seen their greatest days and the Dwarvish people had begun to dwindle. Yet Moria stood for five Ages of Stars and three of Sun and until the twentieth century of the ThirdAge were still wealthy and proud. But in the year 1980, when Durin VI was king, the delving Dwarves quarried too deep beneath the mountains and released a great demon. This was one of Morgoth's Balrogs, and it came in wrath and slew King Durin and his son Náin and drove the Dwarves of Moria out for ever.

Durin's people were made a homeless, wandering folk, but in the year 1999 Náin's son, Thráin I founded the kingdom under the mountain in Erebor. For a while Thráin I and some of the people from Moria prospered, for Erebor, the LonelyMountain, was rich in ore and stones. But Thráin I's son, Thorin I, left that place, and in the year 2210, went to the GreyMountains, where it was said that the greatest number of the scattered Dwarves from Moria already lived. Here Thorin I was accepted as king, and with his Ring of Power his people grew wealthy again. After Thorin I his son Gróin ruled, then Óin King of Durins Folk and Náin II, and the GreyMountains became famed for Dwarf-gold. And so, during the reign of Náin II's son, Dáin I, out of the Northern Waste there came many Cold-drakes of the deserts. Lusting for the wealth of the Dwarves, these Dragons came prepared for war and they slew the Dwarves and drove them out of the GreyMountains.

In the year 2590 the heir of Dáin I, Thrór, took part of the survivors of the GreyMountain? realm back to the Kingdom under the Mountain in Erebor, while in the same year his brother Grór took those others who remained to the IronHills. And again for a time all these people prospered, for there was great trade between Dwarves, Men of Dale and Esgaroth, and the Elves of Mirkwood. Yet for DurinsFolk the peace was short-lived, for in 2770, during the long reign of Thrór, the greatest Dragon of the ThirdAge, the winged Fire-drake Smaug the Golden, came to Erebor. None could stand before this great Dragon. He slew wantonly, sacked Dale, and drove the Dwarves from the Mountain. There for two centuries Smaug remained, lord of the LonelyMountain. Thrór and his son, Thráin II, fled from a secret exit and delayed their destruction.

So again the Dwarves were driven from their homes. Some retreated into the IronHills colony for shelter, but other survivors followed King Thrór and his son, Thráin II, and grandson Thorin II in wandering companies.

In this period Thrór had an itch to return to the halls of Moria and was slain by the Orcs as he entered the East-Gate? (DimrillGate) and his body was mutilated and his severed head was delivered to his people with Azog carved into it. The Dwarves, who had already suffered grievously from various evil hands, felt they could not bare this last insult. All the houses of Dwarves gathered together and they decided to wage a great war.

This was the terrible and bloody War of the Dwarves and Orcs. It raged for seven long years, and through all the Westlands the Dwarf army hunted out every Orc cavern and slew every Orc band, until at last it reached Moria's EastGate? in the year 2799. Here was fought the Battle of Azanulbizar, which is famous even in the histories of the Elves. In that battle the Orcs of the North were all but exterminated by the Dwarves. Yet the Dwarves had little joy in their victory for half of all their warriors perished in that war. Such a loss could never be regained by this already dwindling folk. Even in spoils and territory they gained little from this war for though the Orcs were slain, the Balrog still held Moria and Dragons occupied the kingdom under the mountain in Erebor and the Dwarf-realms of the GreyMountains.

The Dwarves returned to their kingdom filled with sadness. The grandson of Grór, Dáin Ironfoot, returned to rule in the Iron Hills, while Thráin II with his son Thorin II (now called Oakenshield) went West to the BlueMountains and made a humble kingdom there. Yet Thráin II did not rule long, because while travelling he was captured by Sauron near Mirkwood and imprisoned in DolGuldur. The last Ring of the Dwarves was taken from him and he was tortured to death.

Yet Thorin Oakenshield remained in the BlueMountains, for he did not know the fate of his father. Many wandering Dwarves came to the BlueMountains and high halls grew, but he was unhappy and desired to return to Erebor to the kingdom under the Mountain, which had been his grandfather's. With such thoughts in mind, Thorin Oakenshield ran into the Wizard Gandalf in the year 2941 and then immediately fell to a plan of great adventure, which is told by the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the "Red Book of Westmarch". This one Hobbit and thirteen Dwarves accompanied Thorin in his mission to regain his kingdom. They were: Ori, Nori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Balin, Fíli, Kíli, Dwalin, Dori and Thorin. As is well told in the Hobbit's tale, Thorin achieved his aim. For, in the end, the Smaug was slain, and Thorin II took possession of his rightful kingdom yet his grasp of it was brief. There followed the Battle of the Five Armies, in which Orcs, Wolves, and Bats battled against Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Eagles. And though the Orcish legions were destroyed, so too was Thorin's life.

This was not, however, the end of Durin's Line, for Dáin Ironfoot had come to the Battle of the Five Armies with five hundred warriors out of the IronHills, and he was Thorin's rightful heir being like Thorin a great-grandson of Dáin I. So Dáin Ironfoot became Dáin II and he ruled wisely until the last days of the War of the Ring, when he fell with King Brand of Dale before the gates of the Kingdom under the Mountain. Yet this Dwarf kingdom withstood the attack by Sauron's minions, and Dáin's heir Thorin III, who was also called {Thorin Stonehelm}?, ruled there long and prosperously into the FourthAge of Sun.

Balin's attempt to repopulate Moria will be here.

Yet the kingdom under the Mountain was not the last and only home of DurinsFolk in the Fourth Age. Another noble Dwarf descended from Borin, brother of Dáin I, had founded a kingdom of Dwarves at the beginning of the Fourth Age, after the War of the Ring. This Dwarf was Gimli, son of Glóin; he had won great fame in the war and he had been of the fellowship chosen for the Quest of the Ring. He had acquitted himself well in the task and the song of his axe had been a terror to his foes at the {Battles of the Hornburg}?, PelennorFields? and before the BlackGate. At the war's end, Gimli had taken many of the Dwarves out of the kingdom under the Mountain into the wondrous caverns of Helm's Deep, and by all he was named lord of Aglarond, the "glittering caves".

For more than a century Gimli the Elf-friend ruled Aglarond, but after the death of {King Elessar}? he allowed others to govern and went to the great realm of his friend Legolas, Elf lord of Ithilien. Here it is claimed Gimli boarded an Elven-ship and with his companion sailed over the Great Sea to the Undying Lands.

This is the last that the histories of Middle-earth tell of Dwarves. It is not known if their kingdoms survived the Fourth Age and the Dominion of Men. It is known that they dwindled further, but whether they still live within secret caverns of the World or have now gone to the Mansions of Aulë cannot be learned.



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