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I think Mim the petty dwarf could not be acurately described as being allied with evil or good. He was on his own side, so to speak. He was looking out for himself and the handful of kin he had left. I think self-preservation and possibly petty revenge were the chief motives for his actions.

I feel the petty dwarves are a race to be pitied. They were persecuted by all, even the Sindar in the worst possible fashion. I wonder what their origins were? They don't seem to be connected with Aule's people, so what are they? and where did they come from?
very true, however i think that they are of Aule's people i remember something about them comming from belgost or norgod
From Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle Earth:

In 501, after the departure of Glaurung, Mim settled in the ruined halls of Nargothrond, which had first been delved by his people. There he was slain by Hurin, who thus avenged the betrayal of his son Turin. "

I think the part in bold is where the dwarves come in. I think that some dwarves who came to Nargothrond at some time claimed to have kinship with the original miners? This would make them the kin of Mim.
Who's mim? Duck Smilie
Still haven't read The Silmarillion yet, eh Tommy? Tongue Smilie

Mim The Petty-dwarf, in whose house (Bar-en-Danwedh ) on Amon Rdh Trin dwelt with the outlaw band, and by whom their lair was betrayed to the Orcs; slain by Hrin in Nargothrond. Read Smilie
Petty-dwarf as in small-minded dwarf? There was a whole race of mean little dwarves? Or does petty mean something different here? (I haven't read the Sil yet either, sorry...will do it soon Read Smilie )
The quotes below are from The Silmarillion, about one-quarter into Chapter 21, entitled 'Of Turin Turambar'.
For Mm came of Dwarves that were banished in ancient days from the great Dwarf-cities of the east, and long before the return of Morgoth they wandered westward into Beleriand; but they became diminished in stature and in smith-craft, and they took to lives of stealth, walking with bowed shoulders and furtive steps. Before the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost came west over the mountains the Elves of Beleriand knew not what these others were, and they hunted them, and slew them; but afterwards they let them alone, and they were called Noegyth Nibin, the Petty-Dwarves, in the Sindarin tongue.
So your meaning of petty is correct.
They loved none but themselves, and if they feared and hated the Orcs, they hated the Eldar no less, and the Exiles most of all; for the Noldor, they said, had stolen their lands and their homes. Long ere King Finrod Felagund came over the Sea, the caves of Nargothrond were discovered by them, and by them its delving was begun; ... the slow hands of the Petty-Dwarves had bored and deepened the caves through the long years that they dwelt there, untroubled by the Grey-elves of the woods. But now at last they had dwindled and died out of Middle-earth, all save Mm and his two sons; and Mm was old even in the reckoning of Dwarves, old and forgotten. And in his halls the smithies were idle, and the axes rusted, and their name was remembered only in ancient tales of Doriath and Nargothrond.
Read Smilie
D*mn! Must read the Sil, you're right Grondy. Very Sad Smilie But when oh when? Big Smile Smilie
I really thought Mim was great! I felt very sad when hearing about his history. Could never understand though why the Noldor would have hunted his people "as animals" as they were quite obviously humanoid in appearance and seemingly against Elven nature. But you can fully understand his (Mims) bitterness towards practically anyone, as practically everyone had *uc*ed him and his people in the past. I mean it was a miracle that he liked Turin as he was indirectly responsible for his sons death.

I really thought Mim was great! I felt very sad when hearing about his history. Could never understand though why the Noldor would have hunted his people "as animals" as they were quite obviously humanoid in appearance and seemingly against Elven nature. But you can fully understand his (Mims) bitterness towards practically anyone, as practically everyone had *uc*ed him and his people in the past. I mean it was a miracle that he liked Turin as he was indirectly responsible for his sons death.

I liked Mim too. I fell sorry for him, since he and his fellow Dwarves probably suffered a lot, and not only from those 'obviously evil' races like Orcs. Yes, he had his dark side -  he betrayed Turin and his company, but they harmed him and he couldn't forget what they have done to his son. He was also a  prisoner in his own house so I can see why he was so bitter. It is really frustrating that Turin's fate led to so many unnecessary evil. In my eyes Mim is just another victim of the tragedy of Turin.

Could never understand though why the Noldor would have hunted his people "as animals" as they were quite obviously humanoid in appearance and seemingly against Elven nature. 



Well the Silmarillion tradition doesn't give the fuller details here. According to Quendi And Eldar at least (War of the Jewels, see below) the Petty Dwarves first attacked the Eldar by stealth at night, and when they were ultimately recognized as a variety of Dwarf, were left alone by the Elves.

The great Dwarves were said to despise the Petty-Dwarves, but still acknowledged their kinship and still resented injuries done to them. The grievance against the Eldar for hunting and slaying their kin was set aside when treaties were made between the Dwarves and the Sindar, in consideration that the Petty-Dwarves did not declare themselves to the Eldar, nor presented claims to land or habitation, and had at once attacked the 'newcomers' in ambush. The grievance still smouldered, as was later seen in the case of Mim.  


The Petty-dwarves. (...) The Eldar did not at first recognize these as Incarnates, for they seldom caught sight of them in clear light. They only became aware of their existence indeed when they attacked the Eldar by stealth at night, or if they caught them alone in wild places. The Eldar therefore thought that they were a kind of cunning two-legged animals living in caves, and they called them Levain tad-dail, or simply Tad-dail, and they hunted them. But after the Eldar had made the acquaintance of the Naugrim, the Tad-dail were recognized as a variety of Dwarves and were left alone. There were then few of them surviving, and they were very wary, and too fearful to attack any Elf, unless their hiding-places were approached too nearly. The Sindar gave them the names Nogotheg 'Dwarflet', or Nogoth niben 'Petty Dwarf'.

JRRT, Quendi And Eldar, War of the Jewels  

Mim is a very complicated character used by Tolkien as a mirror image to Hurin. Mims house has all but failed. His fortunes are low. He losses a child to a foreign combatant. Is haunted by hatred, somehow confounded. He shares his doom with Hurin and ultimately is destroyed by him due to his now dead childrens actions. I find these chapter brilliantly written and like so many of JRRR's tales Is Heartbreakingly raw and sad.

Yes, this is a good comparison, Brego. I like the way you wrote it. Hurin and Mim are quite similar to each other - and they treat each other the same way - with a contempt and distrust, both of them are looking for a way to outsmart each other. Both of them are out of place in this situation - they shouldn't even met. Both of them will lose everything in the end.

Further to my post above, and thanks for your comment Indis. I think that perhaps to the Petty Dwarves, the Returned Noldor were just as disastrous as was Melkor to the free people's of ME. Their life and freedom somehow was restrained by the Noldor who seemingly saw them as beneath respect. Perhaps this was because of the curse and ban. The Noldor's Elven pity and respect for other sentient beings, including their own kind, seems to reduce over time. They seem to become more and more like the Dark Valar himself in greed and pride, seeing little in those who can't offer them anything tangible and or profitable. Perhaps more so regarding Feanor's sons and Kin rather than the children of Nerdenal and theirs. I think the Professor wanted us to see the Petty Dwarves as some kind of untouchable class, disowned by all including their own people. Very sad and cruel. Mims betrayal of Turin to the Orcs is tinged with sadness and regret, as if he had not betrayed the Men camped out in his "House Of Ransome" he surely would have been killed, leaving his only surviving Son to live alone, the last of The Petty Dwarves. Hurin's actions in killing Mim in the halls of Nargothrond therfor confirms that the curse of Morgoth had blinded him from seeing both sides of history during his 28 years of Thralldome and that Morgoth's plan would ultimately run right through his remaining life. No redemption for those unjustly killed or hurt during both Hurin and Turins years under his curse, including poor Mim.

I'll take some issue with Mim's claim against the Exiled Noldor.

Issues to possibly consider: how many Petty-Dwarves were even around by the time the Noldor returned? And did these Dwarves make themselves and their habitations known to the Noldor? And what realms exactly did the Noldor wrest from them? And what of Nargothrond?

Some Sindar dwelt in Mithrim when the Exiles returned, and Thingol notes: ‘In Hithlum the Noldor have leave to dwell, and in the Highlands of Dorthonion, and in the lands east of Doriath that are empty and wild; but elsewhere there are many of my people, and I would not have them restrained of their freedom, still less ousted from their homes.’ [Silmarillion]

I doubt Gondolin was once the home of any Petty-Dwarves, and even when Maedhros moved to the Hill of Himring, it's noted that Caranthir ultimately came upon Dwarves with whom he made alliance, despite their differences (but not Petty-Dwarves in any case). I don't think it's noted that the Noldor took Amon Rudh from the Petty-Dwarves.

With respect to Nargothrond, among the Narn papers is a plot outline which includes this from Tolkien: ‘He [Mim] says Elves have caused the end of his race, and taken all their mansions, especially Nargothrond.’


And Quendi And Eldar (an essay published in The War of the Jewels) notes the following chronology as I read things: the Petty-Dwarves attack the Eldar of Beleriand. The Eldar do not know these are incarnates, and think them beasts. But after the Eldar made acquaintance with the Naugrim, the Pettty-Dwarves were recognized as a variety of Dwarf and left alone. And... 

There were then few of them surviving, and they were very wary, and too fearful to attack any Elf, unless their hiding places were approached too nearly.

They are few and hiding seemingly before the Noldor even return. And the Great Dwarves even consider the Sindarin plea that the Petty-Dwarves had never declared themselves, nor presented any claims to land or habitations, but had attacked the Elves in darkness and ambush. Did they change their ways later when the Exiles turned up?

The Dwarves pass into Beleriand in Valian Year 1250 (Grey Annals) and help with Menegroth in year 1300. The coming of the Noldor is noted in the year 1497 -- this is quite a length of time after the Petty-Dwarves had been hunted and so on.

It's implied that Ulmo put a dream into Finrod's heart, after which, with help, he ultimately found his future realm of Nargothrond. JRRT adds this:


'In that labour Finrod was aided by the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains; and they were rewarded well, for Finrod had brought more treasures out of Tirion than any of the princes of the Noldor.' [Silmarillion]

In the 1977 Silmarillion it is merely noted that Finrod was not the first to dwell in the caves beside the river Narog.

And this is Finrod.

'Now Finrod,' he [Pengolodh] says, 'was renowned among the Eldar for this power which he had, because of the warmth of his heart and his desire to understand others; yet this power was no greater than that of the least of the Maiar.'

This relates to how Finrod quickly learned the tongue of the folk of Beor [this citation is from Quendi And Eldar]. I note too that Finrod rewards the Dwarves well, and there is no mention (that I recall at the moment anyway) of him ousting any Petty-Dwarves. And it wouldn't seem to fit for this noble Noldo in my opinion. In a note dated 1959 Tolkien wrote:

The name Felagund was of Dwarvish origin. Finrod had help of Dwarves in extending the underground fortress of Nargothrond. It is supposed originally to have been a hall of the Petty-Dwarves (Nibinnogs), but the Great Dwarves despised these, and had no compunction in ousting them -- hence Mim's special hatred for the Elves -- especially for great reward. Finrod had brought more treasure out of Tuna than any of the other princes.

My take is that Mim is oversimplifying things here. Finrod's dreams and the help of Dwarves result in the realization of Nargothrond. Mim could hate the Noldor more than other Elves simply because Nargothrond became a Noldorin realm, and especially if his folk didn't receive any of the treasure that went to the other Dwarves.

Unless I've forgotten something in which Finrod is specifically said to have ousted the Petty-Dwarves, or something else here.

If so... never mind

Thats true Galin and as with our own history stories grow and change wth time. Perhaps Mim was simply repeating stories from the distant past, told from generation to generation, exagerated along the way. Too true of life unfortunately and many wars and battles have been entered due to distant rumour and untruths. I guess this is exactly as Melkor would like it.