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Thread: Half-Dwarven

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I know it's been mentioned elsewhere - but I wanted to create a thread devoted to solely to this issue. The idea of there being 'Half-Dwarven' folk in Arda. I wanted to go over the theory of it regarding Tolkien's original work and in Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth as well.


First off I'll consider the significant 'other half...

Dwarves & Elves - No. Just no in regards to Tolkien's original work and to my own feelings on it, I just don't think this has or ever would happen. Even if there was (by some miracle) a Dwarf/Elf couple I don't think they would be capable of producing offspring that combines both Dwarven and Elven heritage.

As for Peter Jackson... this Kíli/Elf thing can't be serious. Hopefully.


Dwarves & Hobbits - Am I the only one who finds such suggestions a bit... off-putting? To me Hobbits look like children, undoubtedly they're not and they marry and have children of their own together. Fine. But it seems a bit off (to me) for a Dwarf or Man to take a Hobbit-lass for a wife, as she'd be habitually mistaken for a child...


Dwarves & Men - This seems more likely to me - that there has been some mingling between these races at some point. The only possible hint or suggestion I found of it in Tolkien's work was this;

The new host that we had tidings of has come first, from over the River by way of Andros, it is said. They are strong: battalions of Orcs of the Eye, and countless companies of Men of a new sort that we have not met before. Not tall, but broad and grim, bearded like dwarves, wielding great axes. Out of some savage land in the wide East they come, we deem.
- Return of the King

Perhaps Men of a 'new sort' are derived from a Dwarf/Man couple... unlikely to be a Dwarf from Durin's Folk that we know most about from Tolkien's work - nor the Firebeards or Broadbeams who were originally from Nogrod and Belegost, but perhaps one from one of the others than awoke in the Orocani, in the East, like the Blacklocks/Stonefoots perhaps?

So - from the above quote I think that there being Half-Dwarven folk is possible (to some this isn't proof enough I imagine), from within Tolkien's work. The fact that they don't play a significant role in Middle-Earth doesn't surprise me - and it doesn't go against what I've gathered from the Sil, when Eru spoke of them. They're not Elves, and unlike the Half-Elven, they don't have great roles to play and so therefore don't feature at all in the books.

... though if we go by this quote, it would be that there aren't Half-Dwarven folk known anywhere in Gondor or beyond further West. That would suggest that the Dwarves of say, Durin's folk - the Firebeards and Broadbeams of the Blue Mountains don't breed with Men, or at least - they haven't known to have done so by Men in the South.


This raises some more questions for me, such as;

- How do/would Durin's Folk regard Half-Dwarven folk?

- How would Thorin Oakenshield regard them? Or say any other member of his Company?

- Would they (Dwarves) accept them (Half-Dwarves) into their own society?

- Would Half-Dwarven women be more accepted than men?

- And what becomes of these Half-Dwarven folk when they die? Are the counted alongside Dwarves or Men? Do they have a choice?


All in all, I think it would be a pleasing concept - for there to be Half-Dwarven folk. That the blood of Dwarves will, like that of the Elves, carry on in the Race of Men - so they won't be entirely gone from Middle-Earth even after the inevitable end of their people comes.

Wow Sigrun, you've really put some thought into this.

Although all three races (Including Hobbits who I class as Men) are indeed Eru's children, In my mind The Dwarves are biologically different to Men and Elves to the point that inter breeding would not be possible. 

I think that it would require unnatural power, as Melkor or Sauron wielded to help this interbreeding along.  Perhaps these swarthy men from the East were indeed breed by the dark arts, as initially the Orcs and higher trolls were.

I'm guessing that if Dwarves did exist in the early years of Mans history they would have been shunned or at least held in suspicion.  I also think that the Dwarf Houses would not look kindly upon them.

Interesting thread.

I thought so too at first, Brego - but with more reading and perhaps (more importantly) a true desire for it to be otherwise, I've come to a different conclusion. Or, I suppose a better word would be 'hope'.

In that I hope it's possible, because I feel that what they are - the Dwarves - deserves to be left some sort of living legacy, just as the Elves have in the lines of Elros, Mithrellas and Arwen.

I think that Aulë saw enough of what Men would be, in the Music - and what he created was derived from that and although they have differences, I think in fundamentals they're much alike - bodily, enough that would enable them to intermingle their bloodlines.

I like your idea of it being designed and brought about by dark arts implemented by a Dark Lord, but I think it would be a difficult task -  for Sauron in particular. Given how he greatly misjudged the strength Dwarves possessed in withstanding and resisting the "malevolent magic" of the Seven Dwarf Rings. I think that shows how little he understands them as a Race, which is strange considering he was a Maia of Aulë's himself once.

... that being said; I don't think it's so much an issue if they could - biologically - do this. I think in the case of Tolkien's work, in the true sense, is more down to would they WANT to?

They seem to lack the drive and need to reproduce and marry in the degree that Men possess - and completely lack the harmony and ease of which Elves marry and reproduce. They (Dwarves) choose not to, not because they don't find their women-folk attractive, I feel, but because - like Aulë - they love their craft, inventing and creating more than anything else and the haste/need/desire to reproduce wasn't at the forefront of Aulë's mind when he made them - more so, his concern about Melkor and how he made them to endure and resist.

As for Durin's Folk - this is where I become stuck. On how they would treat Half-Dwarven folk they encountered. I think perhaps because I know so little in canon to go off - but then, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is so fresh in my mind that it completely washes over what I recall from the books - since I haven't read them in some time.

But I feel their stubbornness has to count for something, and that if they decided upon loving and marrying someone - regardless of their Race - and if it was in their power to do so, they would do it. I think Gimli could be used as an example here, for his love of Galadriel. Okay, so he's not about to marry her any time soon but when there's a mere hint or suggestion of someone slighting her, he goes straight for his axe! Quite the u-turn, eh? I think when Dwarves love - they love deeply (ex: Gimli's open grief when he beheld Balin's tomb Moria, his love for Galadriel, for Legolas and Aragorn), and it's said they only marry once, if at all and when they fall for one - if they cannot have them, they'll have no one!...

So I suppose I'm left with more questions!

- What do Dwarf-men find attractive?

- What do Dwarf-men look for in a wife?

- Out of all the Men in Middle-Earth, which would be most compatible with Dwarves?

As for your "what do dwarf-men find attractive?" question....

I would suggest beards.  Tolkien states that dwarf-men are barely discernable from dwarf-women, and dwarves highly prize their beards...

so if a dwarf-women has a beard, then naturally I imagine it would be attractive.

Isn't Gimli's mother said to have a "particularly fine beard"? I have no idea where this came from... could be canon or fanon for all I know.

I have it in my head that they would appreciate hair and eye colour they could associate with precious gems, stones or metals. Like golden blonde hair. Emerald green eyes. Red hair that's like copper.

I think they'd have a certain desire for a skillful wife - one with talent in her own craft who is admired greatly, I think they'd like a wife who is coveted by others...


Thinking over more Tolkien vs. Peter Jackson, I think in the latter's 'universe' Half-Dwarven folk are likely.

Asea wrote: Tolkien states that dwarf-men are barely discernable from dwarf-women, and dwarves highly prize their beards...

Correct that Dwarf-women were bearded Asea, although technically Tolkien wrote that Dwarven women cannot be discerned from Dwarven men by other folk -- not in any way but that the women seldom leave their halls and do not go to war -- which obviously has nothing to do with appearance, so even the beards of the women should be considerable beards (not that you said otherwise), like enough to those of the men. 

To me, that the eyes and ears of other folk 'cannot' tell them apart is about as solid as it gets with respect to the perceptions of other peoples like Men and Elves, but it arguably leaves the notion open that the Dwarves themselves can mark differences too subtle for other races to discern.

In Lotr role-play there are a people called Umli that are the result of a mixture between dwarfs and men. They do however not exist in the books written by Tolkien.

i hope that the breed never existed, well maybe in Rhun.

The people of Umli do exist. Although we know them by their more common/familiar name. The Vikings. LOL.

If any kind of halv-dwarves would exist it would probably be a union between a dwarf and a man of some sort.

Probably some form of man that resemble dwarves a bit, some form of short, mountain-dwelling bearded people. If a group of men would ally themselves to the dwarfes somewhere and basicly live with them in mountanious areas and then more and more resemble them in clothing and style (beards) and share their love for craftmanship and gems, this might be possible.

But I'm a bit unsure if the dwarf part would be the man or the woman, dwarves might find female humans more fysicly attractive then their dwarven ones, but on the other hand they like beards which female humans doesn't have, so if a nice male human came along some dwarven woman and let's say that he was skilled in craftmanship, un-.humanly strong (since dwarves are stronger than men), and with a mighty fine beard perhaps some magic could happen. But the lack of beards would probably be a problem for male dwarves and the lack of strength a problem for female dwarves. The uglyness of dwarves (especially female ones) would be a problem for humans.


Concerning hobbits and dwarves this is maybe even more unlikely than other humans. Hobbits live simple lives and don't enjoy hard labour that much as dwarves do, and interbreed with hobbits would be even worse for dwarves than with men since they would become smaller than dwarves and weaker than a dwarf-normal human mix. 

Buuuut on the other hand some of the 3 races of hobbits have some resemblence to dwarves

Stoors: "They were broader in build than the other Hobbits, and had large hands and feet. Among the Hobbits, the Stoors most resembled Men."

Harfoots:T"he Harfoots liked highlands and hillsides, and were accustomed to living underground longer. They were also on very friendly terms with the Dwarves, who travelled through the High Pass on the Great Road."

Harfoots seems quite a match but then: "They were shorter and smaller than the other breeds, browner of skin, HAD NO BEARDS, and did not wear any footwear. They lived in holes they called smials, a habit which they long preserved."


Stoors are bigger than other hobbits, and resemble men more and probably also had beards, the physical appearance of stoors are closer to that of a dwarf.

Harfoots were apperently friends of dwarves and lived in holes under the ground but were shorter than other hobbits (and dwarves of course) and had no beards, and that is a mayor issue.


And then it is worth to mention that dwarves aren't very socialb ewith other races, they never learn other peoples their language, Khuzdul and doesn't even use it or their actual names when non-dwarves are present. There is just no way a dwarven society would accept a union between a dwarf and a non-dwarf.


"To answer some questions: How would Durin's folk regard half-dwarven folk?"

They would not accept interbreeding between dwarves and other races but would probably be sort of friendly to halv-dwarvs if such a folk would be discovered, if we say that the Umli existed they would probably be seen as a sort of kin by dwarves but not equal to dwarves themselves, and intermarriage could happen, but i do think that such an intermarriage wouldn't be accepted that much either since it would also mix out their blood, if not as much as if it happened with a full human. I picture Durin's folk as more proud than other dwarves so they would probably be the least accepting of such things and the last to mix with anything non-dwarfish. So intermarriage with non-dwarves would not be accepted but if a people that were halv-dwarven were discovered dwarves would probably regard them as kin even if they would have wish that sucha union never happened in the first place.


"How would Thorin Oakenshield regard them? Or say any other member of his company?"

He would dislike such things a lot, proud dwarf as he is he would see such race mixing as treason agains tthe dwarves. If a people such as the Umli would be discovered he would probably be the last to referr to them as "kin" and dislike their entire existence. But as all other dwarves he would enjoy their company more than the company of other non-dwarves.


"Would the dwarves accept half-dwarves into their society?"


Some societies maybe, but i think that they would be more like allies and that intermarriage between the to would be sparse if not completely avoided. Seeing half-dwarves and dwarves living together would only happen out of emergency, like war and such things, and intermarriage would be the result of close contact. But no doubt there would be great friendship between the half-dwarves and the dwarves.


"Would half-dwarven women be more accepted than men?"

No, beacuse less beards probably. But idk they would probably both the accepted in the same way.


As a last commentary i would say that the grade of acceptance would vary with how dwarvish the halv-dwarves are, If they live like men with men they would probably be considered as not much more than men, but if they themselves lived under ground and mined and lived dwarvish they would be seen as more like dwarves and kin.


And dwarf-elven? No. Dwarf-orc? Only through eventual rape bu seen how strong dwarves are and how it's hard to see the difference between a male and a female dwarf this is ot likely either. Dwarves would not accept an individual that is half-orc.