Fathers of the Dwarves

In the Norse Mythology and in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were the first of their race.

It is told in "The Silmarillion" that the Vala Aulë created the Dwarves because he was impatient for the arising of the Children of Ilúvatar (Elves and Men). He created seven Dwarves, and was teaching them the language he had devised for them (Khuzdul) when Ilúvatar confronted him. Aulë offered his creations to Ilúvatar, who accepted them and gave them life.

However, the Fathers of the Dwarves had to wait until the Elves first arrived, and Aulë laid them to rest in various places in the continent of Middle-earth.


Durin I was the eldest of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves the first of his kind to awake in Middle-earth. Durin I belonged what later became to be known as the clan of Longbeards. The Dwarves were created in ancient times by Aule, one of the Valar. Aule was a smith and a craftsman and he wanted to teach his skills to the Dwarves. He made Durin first and then six others. But Eru had intended the Elves to be the Firstborn race so he commanded Aule to put the Dwarves to sleep until after the Elves awoke. Eru gave each of the Dwarves a lifeforce so they could exist as independent beings.

Two others were laid in sleep near Mount Dolmed in the Ered Luin or "Blue Mountains", and they founded the lines of the "Broadbeams" and the "Firebeards" who later lived in Belegost and Nogrod respectively.

The other four Fathers of Dwarves were laid down in the far east, two of them at the northern end of the Orocarni, and the other two near the southern end of the range. These founded the lines of the "Ironfists" and "Stiffbeards", and "Blacklocks" and "Stonefoots". No Dwarves of these lines appear in the tales: however, as noted below, the Longbeards may be formed out of Dwarves from all lines, and Dwarves from Durin's Folk may therefore have ancestors from these other lines. During the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, forces from all clans took part in the fighting under the Hithaeglir, at the request of Durin's Folk.

Of the Fathers of the Dwarves, only Durin is said to have "lain alone". This can be interpreted as referring to the fact he was indeed laid down to rest alone while the other Fathers were laid to rest in pairs, but older versions of the story suggest that it meant Durin alone had no female companion. The other Fathers did: references are made by Tolkien to the "Thirteen Dwarves" created by Aulë (Durin and the six pairs). By this version of the story, Durin's Folk was formed out of Dwarves from the other six lines, as a mixed people arose when all Dwarves went to Gundabad.

After the end of the First Age, when the ancestral homes of the Broadbeams and Firebeards were ruined, many dwarves from these clans crossed Eriador and merged with Durin's Folk in Khazad-dûm, although remnants of these two western nations may well have survived as independent entities in the Ered Luin; seven rings were given to 'the Dwarf Lords' by Sauron in the Second Age, for example, and certainly the Blue Mountains remained permanently inhabited by dwarves of one clan or another throughout the history of Middle-earth: Thorin Oakenshield, for example, grew up there as an exile from his homeland Erebor, and several of his companions on his quest to reclaim that realm were not related to him (Bifur, Bofur and Bombur).

Concept and creation

Portrayal in adaptations

ee also


External links

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