Aka: Kh. Khazâd”; Naugrim; the Stunted Folk or Stunted People; S. Nogothrim” or Noegyth” (sing. Nogoth”); Gonnhirrim”; Hadhod”; Folk of the Mountain; Mountain-folk; Dark Folk; Aulë’s Folk; etc.

Following the creation of Arda and its continents, Eru (the One”) resolved to populate Middle-earth with his Children. He chose the Elves as Firstborn and told his servants, the Valar, of his plan. In turn, they went about preparing the world in the long years before the Coming.

But Aulë, Smith of the Valar, grew impatient. He desired the awakening of Eru’s Children in order to teach them his lore and crafts, and slowly this passion consumed his thoughts. Finally, Aulë could carry no longer, so he secretly made Children of his own. He wrought the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves from earth and stone and molded them into the vague image Eru had described. In this, he strayed from Eru’s plan, for the Children’s forms were unclear to Aulë, and the Dwarves were born as they are now: short and stout, strong and unyielding, fierce and proud.

The One is never fooled, and Aulë could not long hide his handiwork. As the Dwarven Fathers awoke and the Smith began giving them speech, Eru spoke to Aulë and reminded him that the Valar were not to create. Those things a Vala makes are part of that Vala’s being and cannot act or think outside the thoughts of their maker; thus, the Dwarves were bound to Aulë. The Smith never desired such lordship, nor did he wish to displease Eru, and he acknowledged his folly and repented.

As part of his repentance, Aulë offered to destroy his own creations, but Eru accepted the Dwarves in the form they were made, as his own Children. The One gave them a life and a will, and then cast the Seven Fathers into a deep sleep in the chambers where they had been shaped. There they lay, deep beneath the mountains of Middle-earth, awaiting their time. Though the Elves came later, they were still Firstborn.

The Tribes of the Seven Fathers

Years after the birth of the Elves, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves awoke and came forth into the world with their Seven Kindreds. They began to explore their new land, finding things of beauty. During these wanderings, some Tribes chose to settle in wondrous homes beneath the heights of Middle-earth, while others traveled on in search of greater gifts. Although they are a race without physical grace, the Dwarves have always had an eye for those things splendid and magnificent, and this passion drives them to seek new riches.

Thus, the Kindreds went their own ways. The Seven Dwarf-kings quarreled over territory and the paths they should take in quest of fairer places to reside. Of the three tribes that marched into the Northwest of Endor, that of Durin I (The Deathless) left the trail in the Misty Mountains; the others went on into the Blue Mountains beyond Eriador.

A History of Durin’s Folk

Durin 1 was the First Father of the Dwarves and his House is the oldest of the Seven. Accordingly, he was first among equals when the Kindreds were together. The three tribes that reached the eastern edge of the Misty Mountains in the early First Age followed his bidding and advanced up the valley of the River Celebrant toward the Redhorn Pass in order to cross the range. Climbing the steep ravine, they came to the cool springs of Kibilnala, which feed the river: they camped in the vale that surrounded the water source.

One morning, Durin rose and scouted the upper valley where on a shelf protected by a lip of stone, lay a small, narrow lake. Despite his hardiness — and the fact that the pool was only a few hundred yards above the springs — Durin felt need for refreshment and bent down to drink from the lake. The pool’s surface was as glass and the shine beckoned him. As he lowered his hands, however, he stopped in wonderment: the reflection cast in the watery sheen was his own, but a Crown of Seven Stars” was around his head.

Durin deemed the vision a sign that the valley was the place from which he would rule his kingdom. He returned to the camp and proclaimed that he would stay. His host gathered round, and scouts were sent into the heights above the vale. They found a cave mouth in the mountainside, behind which lay a vast complex of richly endowed natural chambers. Durin chose the site for his home and named it Khazad-dûm, the Dwarf-mansion.”

Durin’s Kindred rallied around their King, but the other tribes decided to move onward. They knew that the wealth of Khazad-dûm would not be divided evenly, f or it was not the Dwarven way; nor was it comfortable for Kindreds to live among one another. All but Durin’s Folk crossed over the Redhorn Pass, leaving their brethren behind in the sacred vale.

The founding of Durin’s Mansion

Durin called the enchanted pool Kheled-zâram, the Glass-lake,” thus the Westron (Common) term Mirrormere. A stone obelisk was erected on the spot where he first gazed upon Durin’s Crown” and, to this day, no matter what hour or what f elm the light might take, one can see the Seven Stars in the water. Yet, no one’s face is ever reflected in the Mirrormere.

Since the valley surrounding the Glass-lake was shadowed by the three high peaks of Cloudyhead, the Redhorn, and the Silvertine, it was given the name Azanulbizar, which means the Valley of the Dim Rills” (Dimrill Dale). Durin counted both the vale and its lake as the entryway to, and the eastern-most part of, his new Kingdom. Durin’s Dwarves then carved twisting stairs along the face of the Silvertine to connect Dimrill Dale with Khazad-dûm. An eastward-facing porch was built at the top of the stairway, and a pair of huge steel doors were erected to protect the Great Gates (East-gate), then the only entrance to the Dwarven halls.

With the passing years, Khazad-dûm was extended ever westward beneath the Silvertine. Natural supports of limestone, granite, and alabaster were sculpted into marvelous columns; chambers and grottos became grand halls, some asymmetric and natural, some formally proportioned. The Dwarves smoothed’ winding passages and lined them with finely cut stone. Majestic stairways interlaced the complex, uncoiling into the depths a reaching toward the spires above. Durin’s craftsmen provided rugs, tapestries, banners, and gilded screens to warm the rooms jewels and semi-precious stones accented reliefs and were inlaid into huge, embossed fountains and imposing statuary. Dwarven engineers tamed wild streams and falls, crafting beautiful stone channels to carry water to the driest subterranean reaches. Fantastic towns and deeply hewn windows gathered the outside air and welcomed the rays of the sun and the moon. Many-hued marbles and black, glassine obsidian adorned the walls, and the whole mansion was filled with the dancing light of a thousand crystal lamps.

Belegost and Nogrod

While Durin’s Folk labored to create Khazad-dûm, the two tribes that had gone onward across the Misty Mountains traversed the expanses of Eriador and founded their own dwellings among the peaks of the eastern Ered Luin (S. Blue Mountains”). Their delvings became sister cities of Belegost and Nogrod. Not long after their arrival, the Dwarves of Belegost encountered the Sindarin Elves of the region. This first meeting of Dwarves and the Firstborn was cautious, but created a bond between those of Belegost and King Thingol’s Grey-elves. Trade between the two races flourished and the Dwarves (whom the Elves called Naugrim, or Stunted People”) became renowned for their stone and metal craft. Belegost’s forges gave the world the first chainmail, and her craftsmen carved Thingol’s refuge at Menegroth.

Relations between the Elves and the Dwarves of Nogrod were not so friendly, however, and (heir commerce was limited. Although the smiths of Nogrod surpassed those to the north (including the exalted Telchar), their skills could not offset their coolness. Nogrod’s Dwarves demanded too much for their superb steelwork and coveted too many of the prizes owned by the Elves. But the differences between Elves and Dwarves did not interfere with their alliance against the Black Enemy Morgoth. Dwarven armies and weaponry proved instrumental in the struggle against darkness; Naugrim blood spilled onto many battlefields, and their presence often proved decisive. At the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, the Dwarf — Lord Azaghâl of Belegost led his warriors into the flames of Morgoth’s Dragon-host. Hardened by the fires of the earth and the heat of their own great forges — and wearing full-helms engraved with wicked face masks — the Dwarves withstood the drakes’ onslaught. Azaghâl faced Glaurung, and wounded the Father of Dragons, but the beast slew the Dwarven Prince (Azaghâl was the eldest son of King Dwálin). His valor, however, inspired the unyielding Dwarves, who then drove the injured Glaurung homeward with his brood.

The origin of strife between the Dwarves and the Sindar

Still, the Dwarves did not escape Morgoth’s Evil. Some succumbed to malice and greed. Of these, the worst hailed from Nogrod, Dwarven warriors and smiths who spawned much of the everlasting ire between the Sindar and the Naugrim.

Because of their absolute mastery of steel, stone, and gem-craft, the smiths of Nogrod produced occasional works for the Elven Lords. The necklace Nauglamír was the greatest such creation, and was held by a succession of Noldorin Elf-kings. During the late First Age, however, it passed to King Thingol of the Sindar. Thingol possessed one of the three almighty Silmarilli (Jewels of Power) — one that had been recovered from Morgoth — and he wanted the Jewel set in the necklace. Thus, he commissioned some of Nogrod’s craftsmen, hoping they could amend their own grand design, for in those days, some of these smiths worked and resided separate quarters within Thingol’s mansion at Menegroth. Coveting the high Jewel, the Dwarves murdered Thingol and stole the prize. They were pursued, and all but two were killed. The avenging Sindar reclaimed the Silmaril and bore it back to Menegroth.

Those Dwarves that escaped went home to Nogrod and told their kinsmen that their companions had been put to death at Thingol’s orders. Without knowledge of the truth and against the cautioning plan of the Dwarves of Belegost, the host of Nogrod armed themselves and marched on Menegroth. They sacked the Elven hold and captured the Silmaril.

Nogrod’s Dwarves quickly turned homeward, but word of their deeds passed more swiftly, and an army of Elves, Men, and Ents fell upon them all the ford called Sam Athrad. The Dwarven axes were no match for their pursuers’ wrathful vengeance, and the Naugrim were slaughtered. In the end, the Lord of Nogrod lay dead and the cursed Silmaril was cast into the River Ascar. An uneasy peace prevailed but, from this time on, the Dwarves and the Sindar have always been at odds.

Years later, Morgoth was overthrown by the Host of the Valar and northwestern Middle-earth was wrecked. Disaster befell its peoples as the cataclysmic Great Battle claimed much of the land. Most of Beleriand sank into the sea; quakes and fire destroyed Nogrod and Belegost. The surviving Dwarves fled westward into Eriador and began to wander. Eventually, they joined Durin’s Folk in Khazad-dûm, bringing both mesmerizing knowledge and their unswaying hatred of the Sindar. Their arrival crowded Durin’s home and tested the mettle of its inhabitants. It spawned an age of building and mining without equal in the annals of Dwarvenkind.

The Golden Years of the Second Age

Khazad-dûm boundaries moved steadily north and westward during the first seven hundred and fifty years of the Second Age. With hammer and mattock, with ferocity and fire, the Dwarves beat back every obstacle and unearthed seemingly endless mineral wealth. As the centuries passed most of the stone beneath the upper Silvertine was somehow touched. Everywhere, the Naugrim delved relentlessly: rock was carved and modeled for support; caverns and fissures became halls and passages; the Orcs bound beneath the earth surrendered metals, both precious and practical. The greatest Dwarven hold became still grander.

Elves also prospered during these untroubled times, for those who survived the fall of Morgoth built new Kingdoms in Lindon (what remained of Beleriand) and western Eriador. Noldor settlements began buying raw materials from Durin’s Folk soon after the end of the First Age, and trade routes sprang up. Caravans bearing Dwarven wares left the Great Gates of Khazad-dûm and ascended the stairway road that ran out of Dimrill Dale and over the Redhorn Pass. After descending the foothills of Eregion, they made their way westward across the wild open country of Eriador, finally reaching destinations in the Tower Hills, or Grey Havens. The Elves paid for these shipments with precious jewels and finished goods.

Over time, many of the Noldor (Deep-elves) moved east to the western edges of the Misty Mountains, and some settled along the trade routes of Eregion. These Elves lived amicably beside Durin’s Kindred, since no animosity existed between Noldor and Naugrim. Commerce expanded, prompting still more Dwarven mining.

Around S.A. 700, Dwarf engineers extended their iron and silver mines to the northern edge of the Silvertine and uncovered a vein of an entirely new metal. It could produce alloys harder, lighter, and stronger than steel, yet it was as malleable as copper. They called it True-silver,” or mithril” (S. Grey Brilliance”) in the Elven tongue, because it gleamed and did not tarnish or weaken when worked. No metal possessed its combined properties of strength and beauty, and none inspired so much demand. The already affluent Dwarves of Khazad-dûm became even wealthier.

The discovery of mithril prompted a Noldor migration into Eregion. Coming in search of new material for their wondrous crafts, these Elves settled in smaller Elven towns and built a great city at the junction of the rivers Sirannon and Glanduin. Mithril excited the ever-curious Noldor, Elves who rivaled — and often surpassed — the Dwarves in the arts of smith craft. Noldor jewelry was precious and required the finest materials. Mithril was a prize they could not ignore.

Within decades of finding mithril, Durin’s Folk had completed a subterranean road beneath the Silvertine that connected their city and mines to the Elven realm of Eregion. The West-gate of Khazad-dûm was opened, and goods bound for the Noldor stores and forges no longer had to travel the long route over the Redhorn Pass. Khazad-dûm spanned the Misty Mountains. Elf-crafts and Dwarven things flowed freely and the Dwarf — city became known for its increasingly opulent splendor. It was truly a golden time.

The Migration of Thranduil’s Elves

Beginning in the year 800 of the Second Age, a threat to the friendship between Durin’s Kindred and the folk of Eregion appeared. Sindar Elves from King Thranduil’s Kingdom in Lindon migrated into the Noldor lands and took residence among the Deep-elves. Coming out of western Eriador in search of a new realm, they brought the old memories of the Sorrow of the Nauglamír, the Sack of Menegroth, and Battle of Sam Athrad. Like all Dwarves, Durin’s Folk never forgot a right or wrong, nor did they easily relinquish a well-nurtured grudge, and the eight centuries since the passing of the First Age did not erase the suspicion and hatred between Dwarf and Sinda.

The proud Noldor politely accepted Thranduil’s people, but the arrival of Sindar simply alienated the Dwarves. The Naugrim slowed their trade with Eregion and refused b deal with the Grey-elves. For the first time, disputes with the Noldor became a problem, and strife spread.

Eregion’s leaders — notably Celebrimbor, Galadriel, and the Sinda Celeborn (Galadriel’s husband) — realized that harmony was gone and that the threat to peace increased daily. They pressured Thranduil to remove his people from Eregion and seek a new home. Their words rang true, and Thranduil sought council among the Sindar. Since Grey-elven folk felt subjugated among the mightier Deep-elves, they agreed to depart and, around S.A. 850, the Sindar crossed the Redhorn Pass in search of territory they could call their own. (They eventually settled in northern Mirkwood.)

With Thranduil’s Grey-elves gone, relations between Khazad-dûm and Eregion improved, but they never again reached a state of amity. The Dwarves maintained distance and, although outright hostility vanished, suspicion and uncertainty remained. Naugrim ways did not normally embrace cooperation and concord, and Durin’s Folk felt betrayed by their own weakness. From this day on, Thranduil’s arrival was remembered as a sign of Noldor allegiance. The Dwarves did not forget the dark times.”

The Lord of Gifts and the Rings of Power

In the three hundred and fifty years following the time of Thranduil’s exodus from Eregion, both the Elves and Dwarves continued building their kingdoms and trading carefully when need arose. An uneasy balance prevailed; peace reigned. Then, Annatar, the bewildering Lord of Gifts,” appeared in Eregion. Fair-seeming and wise, Annatar preached that, with his aid, the Noldor could build a land as fair as any, anywhere. His words seduced the Deep-elves, for they loved their realm and Middle-earth, but longed fix the beauty of the Undying Lands of the Uttermost West. Like the Dwarves, they loved Aulë and rejoiced in the creation of things of power and elegance.

Annatar was versed in high lore and gave amazing presents to the smiths of Eregion. The skills of the Deep-elves reached inestimable heights and their leader, Celebrimbor, believed every utterance from the Lord of Gifts. Followers of Galadriel and Celeborn advocated restraint, but did not allay the desires of their brethren. A schism resulted and Galadriel’s folk decided to leave Eregion and journey to Lorinand (later called Lórien), east of the Misty Mountains. Galadriel asked for safe passage through Khazad-dûm, and the Fair Lady was permitted to lead her people out via the Dwarven Road. Meanwhile, Celebrimbor’s smiths continued to work closely beside their new teacher and Eregion’s fortunes blossomed. The dissenters had left with Galadriel and all was well, except that Annatar was actually Sauron, the Dark Lord and loftiest servant of the Evil that was Morgoth.

Eventually, Sauron persuaded Eregion’s Noldor to create Rings of Power, and the smiths labored many years under his guidance. They forged Nine Rings, and then Seven more. Ten years later, Celebrimbor completed the Three Elven Rings, works of his own making that possessed still greater power.

Dwarves watched these events carefully and dwelled on Galadriel’s fears. Never weak, they disliked and feared things unknown and took little comfort in Annatar’s presence. Word of the wroughting of powerful rings concerned King Durin III, so he sent envoys to Celebrimbor. The Elf-lord appreciated the needs of his neighbor and desired to maintain friendship with the Naugrim. Thus, he gave Durin III the first and greatest of the Seven Rings.

The gift pleased Sauron, for the Dark One planned to control all those who held the Rings of Power and, in so doing, dominate the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Durin III was King of the Khazad-dûm, the mightiest Dwarf alive, and Sauron thirsted for the wealth of the Dwarf-lord’s realm. The Dark Lord retired to Mordor to complete the task of mastering the great Rings.

Nearly a decade after his return to the Black Land, Sauron secretly forged the One Ring in the fires of Orodruin (Mount Doom). It was the Ruling Ring, born of the same knowledge that made the others and, with it, the Dark One became the Lord of the Rings. But as he placed it on his finger, Celebrimbor realized the plight of the world and ordered the Three Rings removed from use. Sauron was furious, since his tools could not hold sway over those who did not wear them. Worse yet, he found that he was unable to control the Dwarf-king, who still wore one of the Seven. Durin III, like all Naugrim, was difficult to comprehend and did not submit to domination.

The War and the Naming of Moria

Nine decades passed while the Dark Lord assembled his host and prepared for war. Then, in S.A. 1693, armies poured out d Mordor and crossed the Anduin, driving westward. Celebrimbor reacted by sending the Three Elven Rings to safety in Lindon, where King Gil-galad maintained a vigil. Sauron’s servants invaded Eregion four years later. Both the Noldor of Eregion and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm braced themselves, but the terror and fury of the assault seemed unstoppable. Dwarven warriors refused to leave the protective confines of their city, while the Deep-elves battled the Dark One’s host through the ravines and holly-covered hills of Eregion. By day, the Noldor withstood waves of pitiless Men; at night, the assailing ranks were filled with countless Orcs and Trolls. Sauron’s horde broke through and stormed the Elf-city of Ost-in-Edhil. Seeking refuge for his beleaguered people, Celebrimbor sent envoys to Durin III.

The Dwarf-king refused to open the West-gate to the Elves, just as he had denied warriors for the defense of Eregion. The escape route was closed, and the Noldor slaughtered. Celebrimbor fought to the end, but Sauron and his Orcs captured, tortured, and then executed the Master-smith. After sacking the treasuries and craft-halls of the House of the Jewel-smiths, the Evil One took the remaining six of the Seven, and all the Nine Rings of Power. Eregion lay in waste, the Elf-kingdom forever gone. Its few survivors fled northward to Rhudaur, where their leader — Elrond son of Eärendil — founded the haven called Imladris (Rivendell). The secret of the Three Elven Rings went with them, and Sauron was denied his greatest prize.

After a futile pursuit of Elrond’s company, the Dark Lord’s forces turned on an army of Durin’s Dwarves and Elves from Lórien. The Evil Horde prevailed and reached the West-door of Khazad-dûm but, once again, the gates were shut. Sauron’s throng wheeled, and overran all of Eriador. A year later, the Lord of the Rings’ worst fear came true. After a five-year delay, a Númenórean army landed at the Grey Havens and supported a successful defense of Lindon. Then, the Númenóreans sailed southward and weighed anchor a t Lond Daer by the mouth of the River Gwathló. A series of battles followed, and the High Men of Númenór — allied with Gil-galad’s from Lindon and Galadriel’s warriors of Lórien — swept Sauron’s servants out of Eriador. Middle-earth enjoyed peace for fourteen hundred years thereafter.

Legends say that Durin III was somehow affected by his Ring of Power when he rejected Celebrimbor’s pleas. Unreal fears of having to divide the wealth of Khazad-dûm may have surfaced, with or without Sauron’s prodding. Dwarven tales, however, hold that the Dwarf-king acted out of concern for his people, knowing that the defense of Eregion was fruitless and that the Dwarven City was too gravely endangered to risk opening the gates. A chaotic migration of fleeing Elves might have brought doom. In any case, Durin III withheld aid when it was sorely needed, and the Elves never forgave him or his kindred. From that day forth, the many of the Elven peoples sustained an enduring hate for Durin’s Folk. (Only the Elves of Lórien, Galadriel’s followers, maintained friendship with the Dwarves.) The others now called Khazad-dûm Moria,” the Black Chasm.”

The Fate of the Seven Dwarven Rings

Although the end of the War Between the Elves and Sauron concluded an era of turmoil, the Dwarves counted the remainder of the Second Age as Accursed Years.” Sauron retired to Mordor and slowly nursed his wounds. Quiet ruled, but the Dark Lord’s make still lurked.

Despite his repose, the Evil One touched the Dwarves soon after his retreat from Eriador. Direct force had failed, so he decided to apply other means of control. Agents bearing the remaining six of the Seven Rings of Power approached Durin’s fellow Dwarf: kings. Sauron hoped that the Rings would enable him to sway the Dwarves but the Dwarven Lords, like Durin III, did not submit to the Abhorred One’s will. Once again, the Khazâd foiled the Black Servant’s plans. So did all Dwarves earn the undying hatred of the lad of the Rings. Sauron fumed and cursed all Dwarvenkind, resolving that a special fate would befall the Naugrim.

The malediction proved slow, insidious, and effective. Dwarven resolve prevented Sauron from taming the Seven Tribes, but the Rings of Power still inflamed the worst &sites of the Dwarf — kings. Overtime, their fascination with crafts and precious things became an unquenchable obsession that grew into a greed for gold, silver, ad jewels. Items of wealth and power became the focus of Dwarven life, and those that denied the Naugrim such riches frame their enemies. Some Kindreds delved deeper into the earth, while others abandoned their homes in search of grander treasure. Increasingly, the Dwarves warred with their neighbor’s ad feuded among themselves. During these times, the Dwarf-lords held the Rings until death, wanting them above all things, for without them all seemed pale and valueless.

The Dwarves remained preoccupied throughout the remaining Accursed Years and, in this, Sauron’s purpose was served. While the Elves and Men struggled against Sauron’s Darkness, Dwarven Fries marched into remote lands in quest of new hoards. The vitals of the world passed them by. Númenór colonized and conquered vast lands in Middle-earth, only to fall prey to the Dark Ow’s machinations. The High Men’s continent perished, betrayed by pride and swallowed by Eru’s Great Sea. Yet her faithful sons survived and built the Kingdoms of Arnor and Condor in Middle-earth. In turn, they allied with the Elves and crushed the Lord of the Rings, thus ending the Second Age. Large numbers of Free Peoples lost their homes and lives, but through it all the proud, fierce Dwarves accumulated wealth and remained secluded in shielded halls.

With the dawn of the Third Age, Endor was again at peace. Unfortunately, however, Dwarven fortunes reversed, and a wave of calamities struck the rich Naugrim. Wild beasts, particularly Dragons, stirred and raided many of the Dwarf-hoards. Greed led to further kin-strife, and the Tribes turned against one another frequently. One by one, the Dwarves of the Seven Houses were robbed and battered until they took leave of their refuges and began wandering. Even the Rings of Power came to misfortune for, by the middle of the Third Age, many were lost. Dragon-flame consumed some; others simply disappeared.

The Coming of the Balrog

Only Durin’s Folk escaped the afflictions and deprivations of their brethren. Protected by the impregnable gates of Moria, they labored for three millennia, digging, sculpting, and fortifying their awesome hold. Builders added and strengthened stately stairs and lofty towers; artisans hewed sumptuous halls; miners cut shafts farther north and west, and ever deeper into the earth under the Three Peaks. The city embodied seven levels; its mines spread over many more.

Durin’s kindred amassed wealth beyond comprehension during these long days, largely because they held the only known source of mithril in Middle-earth. Demand for the exquisite metal ran high and, due to the mithril vein, Moria reached far beneath the Redhorn. With each passing year, mithril became harder to claim and therefore more valuable. The delving progressed unceasingly until the Dwarves unleashed a terror that drove them from the mines.

It was in the time of Durin VI that the Dwarf-miners struck a natural fissure, a deep pit which seemed without end. Within it lay the hideous creature that was the Doom of Moria and Durin’s Bane. The thing of horror was a Balrog, a Demon of Might” which had escaped the fall of its master Morgoth at the end the First Age and flown to safety. Hiding deep within an abyss, it was removed from the world for over fifty-four centuries.

Once unearthed, the Balrog wasted little time. It rose up, bearing a tremendous whip and a flaming sword as large as a man. The Dwarven miners at first stood in abject awe; but as the fiery demon approached, they ran in fright, only to be butchered like small beasts driven to slaughter. Those that survived warned King Durin VI, and an elite guard sallied forth against the intruder. This brave group of warriors prevented the Balrog from entering the inner city, but the stand cost them their lives. The Dwarves’ foe burst upon their line, struck down the King, and dispatched the noble retainers amidst a furious conflagration. As the fur receded, Dwarven bodies lay strewn about the Baraz Hall.

Náin I succeeded his father as King of Moria, and immediately set about defending the city. The Dwarves were determined to avenge the loss and rid the Kingdom of the wicked creature, their sturdy ramparts and stalwart character proved no match against the Balrog, however, for the beast was an evil Maia, a spirit born before time and possessed of the gifts of the Undying Lands. When the Demon of Might stormed the Dwarven hold early the next year (T.A. 1981), it massacred Náin and his household guard and overwhelmed the defenders. Durin’s Folk fled out of the East-gate of Moria, surrendering the city to the cruel legacy of Morgoth.

Led by King Thráin I, the displaced Dwarves wandered through the Anduin Valley and Rhovanion (Wilderland) for eighteen years before finding a new home. They ended their long journey at Erebor, the Lonely Mountain’ the source of the River Celduin. In caverns reminiscent of those in Moria, the Dwarves carved out a new settlement and mine complex. Erebor proved an ideal site, fad t was a natural fortress and served as a source of iron and gems. In addition, Durin’s Kindred quickly established trade relations with the nearby Northman settlements of Dale and Esgaroth Upon the Long Lake. The Tribe survived and flourished, although the city in Erebor never approached the beauty or splendor of that found in Mona.

The Tale of Thrór

While the hold at Erebor was built, many of Durin’s Folk wandered onward to the north and east. Most of these adventurous Dwarves sought riches akin to those of Khazad-dûm and despaired of the lodes found in the Lonely Mountain. Instead, they began mining in the Ered Mithrin (S. Grey Mountains’), a region rich in silver. Dwarf colonies followed soon afterwards and, by T.A. 2210, King Thorin I moved his home from Erebor to the site in the Grey Mountains.

Other Dwarves built mines to the east, particularly in the Iron Hills (S. Emyn Engrin’). There they worked in peace for nearly four hundred years. Then in T.A. 2589, a great tragedy struck the Dwarf-towns of the Ered Mithrin. Stirred by the constant excavation of the mountains, Dragons came southward out of the Grey Mountain’s Withered Heath and devastated everything in their path. They killed King Dáin and drove the Dwarves from their cavern holds. The Naugrim withdrew from all their mountain settlements by the end of the next year. King Thrór took most of them back to Erebor, but some migrated to the safety of the Iron Hills. One hundred and eighty years later, the Dragon Smaug the Golden flew south to the Lonely Mountain. The great Drake turned Dale into a pile of smoldering rubble and annihilated a Dwarven army. Erebor’s Dwarves fled, and all Durin’s Folk reunited in the Emyn Engrin.

Weary of the world and hoping for a new and permanent home, King Thrór refused to stay in the Iron Hills for more than a few months. He took a small host of followers and set out on a twenty-year expedition that fruitlessly carried him down nearly every trail in Rhovanion. The empty-handed wanderers turned southward and reached Dunland in southwestern Eriador in T.A. 2790.

By this time, Thrór realized that Durin’s Ring had urged him onward on a maddening venture, and that his every thought was consumed by the Ring’s suggestions. The King was concerned for his people’s safety and turned the Dwarven Ring over to his more vigorous son, Thráin II. As he passed the gift, he spoke like one beaten by time and circumstance:

This may prove the foundation of new fortune for you yet,
though that seems unlikely. But it needs gold to breed gold.”
—LotR III, Appendix A, p. 441.

Soon afterwards, Thrór departed from his company, taking his aged servant NM as his only companion.

Thrór’s second journey took him north, and then east over the Redhorn Pass to Dimrill Dale. His object was Mona. Old, desperate, and somewhat crazed, the King hoped to explore or re-found the lost city. At the very least, he desired to enjoy its wonders.

Whatever his motives, Thrór met his end. NM — saw folly and abandon in the mission, and cautioned his friend, but the King persevered and entered the open doors of the East-gate. It was the last time Thrór was seen alive.

Old Nár remained behind and waited for days until the blare of horns and a wild shout roused him. Crawling from his hiding place, he saw a headless body flung upon the stairs. Face down beside it lay ahead. The frightened Dwarf climbed up and discovered that it was Thrór’s corpse, and that the head had been defiled by a runic brand that read Azog.’ Suddenly, out of the gate’s darkness he heard the voice of the Orc-lord that slew his King, Nár ran.

The War Against Azog and the Orcs

The old Dwarf brought the news to Thráin II and, for seven days, the new King brooded in silence. Then, the Dwarf-lord stood and called for a war to avenge his father’s death. Thráin’s word passed throughout the land, yet it took three years to muster the united host of the Dwarves. When the armies came together in T.A. 2793, it was the greatest gathering of Dwarves since the Elder Days.

The Great War Between the Dwarves and Orcs, a strange and bloody struggle, raged throughout the Misty Mountains for six long years. To this day, Dwarves weep and Orcs cringe at its melt mention. With the war-cry Azog!’, the Dwarven armies sacked every Orc-hold they could find, driving ever southward from the pass of Cirith Gundabad. A determined hatred spurred the Dwarves toward Moria, the home of the one they sought so bitterly. Still, progress was slow, since most of the battles were fought deep beneath the earth (although the Naugrim pursued the Orcs wherever they could find them). Whole Orc Tribes were obliterated in pitched melee, while the Dwarves hunted others like animals across the rugged mountain landscape.

Finally, on a sunless day in the dark of winter, the Dwarves reached Dimrill Dale and marched up the vale toward the East-gate of Moria. As they approached, they saw the Orc-horde of Azog arrayed on the slopes and stairway above, but the Naugrim pressed onward with singular zeal. They endured the chants and missiles cast down upon them with scorn and carefully swung past the Mirrormere. Then, Thráin’s army caught sight of Khazad-dûm and let out a thunderous shout. Outnumbered, they plunged into battle with audacious ferocity. The Dwarves spared no one; with axe and mattock, hammer and flail, they harvested Orcs like wheat and drove up the slopes toward the gates. Hours passed and the slaughter continued unabated until, at the height of the Orkish rout, a young Dwarf named Din (Ironfoot) sliced off Azog’s head with a red axe. What was left of the Ore army scattered, and the impassioned Naugrim tracked most of them down within hours The Battle of Azanulbizar had ended. Barely half the Dwarves survived, but the Great War was over and Thrór’s score was settled.

The Loss of Durin’s Ring

The war losses convinced King Thráin II that he had too few warriors to hold Moria. With Durin’s Bane alive and waiting inside, he feared another battle, so he decided not to enter the city. Since the many bodies precluded proper burial, the Dwarves took their axes to the woods and hacked down the trees for funeral pyres. They burned the dead, gathered their gear, and went their own way, leaving Dimrill Dale forever bare of forest.

Dáin led many of the Dwarves back to the Iron Hills, but the others scattered once again. Thráin could not quell his wanderlust, and returned with a company to Dunland. Soon afterwards, they crossed Eriador and built a new home in the eastern Blue Mountains, not far from the places where Nogrod and Belegost once stood. There the Dwarves mined iron and slowly multiplied.

Unfortunately, there was little wealth in the Ered Luin, and thoughts of Thrór’s words concerning the Ring and its need for gold to breed gold haunted the King. Although he remained in exile in the Ered Luin until T.A. 2841, Thráin II grew vexed and restless. His thoughts turned to a need for gold, and he decided to return to the halls of Erebor. Gathering a party, the King ventured eastward.

No sooner had the adventurers set out than they met misfortune. Wolves hounded their trail, and evil Crebain shadowed their movements. Still, the adventurers made good time, crossing Eriador and the Misty Mountains by fall, and passing over the River Anduin as the leaves fell. Once in Rhovanion, however, their luck ran out. Orcs countered all their attempts to turn northward, and mishaps multiplied. They meandered about for almost four years until, one black, rainy night, they took shelter at the edge of Mirkwood. At dawn, Thráin’s companions discovered that their King was gone.

Sauron’s agents took Thráin to their Dark Lord, who was then in Dol Guldur. The Evil One promptly cast the King into a dank prison where, five years later, he died. Just before his death, the Dwarf-lord received a secret visit from the Wizard Gandalf (the Grey) but, by then, Sauron had reclaimed the Ring of Durin. Thus ended the long and noble reign of Thráin II, the last victim of the Ring-curse. His son Thorin II (Oakenshield) was crowned King of Durin’s Folk that same year.

Thorin II’s Quest to Erebor

Thorin II ascended the throne as a Dwarf in exile, without a proper home for his Kindred or the Ring that was his birthright. He continued the works of his father, and the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains prospered, bathe never forgot Thráin’s quest to return Erebor to Durin’s Line. Thorin longed to slay Smaug and reclaim the wealth taken from his House.

Years passed, and there came a time when King Thorin returned from a journey to the East and happened upon Gandalf at an inn in Bree. A union followed and, in T.A. 2941, Thorin led a company composed of Dwarves, Gandalf, and the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins back to the Lonely Mountain. There, they entered Erebor and stirred Smaug the Dragon from his slumber. The enraged beast ravaged the surrounding countryside, but was felled by an arrow when he attacked nearby Lake-town. Unfortunately, Thorin’s Company was allowed no respite after Smaug’s demise, for a force of Elves marched on Erebor with claims on the Dragon’s hoard. Bard the Dragon-slayer led yet another army, one of Men from Lake-town, with a similar goal. Thorin was besieged in the Lonely Mountain and awaited aid from the Dwarves of the Iron Hills.

In turn, an army of Orcs, Wolves, and Wargs arrived on the scene. Led by the Orc-Lord Bolg of Gundabad (son of Azog), they fought the combined armies of Free Peoples: the Elves, Bard’s Men, Thorin’s Company, and Dáin II’s Dwarves from the Iron Hills. So, at the Battle of Five Armies, the allied forces vanquished Bolg’s host with the aid of Giant Eagles and the Northman Shape-changer Beorn. Thorin died before Erebor’s gate, but his dream prevailed. Dáin II was crowned King and the home of Durin’s Folk was once again centered in the Lonely Mountain.

Balin and the Return to Moria

Thorin’s Company included Balin, a Dwarven warrior who accompanied Thráin on his last mission. Like all the Dwarves who survived the battle against Bolg, Balin was excited about Erebor’s refounding, but his enthusiasm eventually bred a desire to pursue the rebuilding of Durin’s House to its ultimate end. Balin wished to wrest Moria from the Balrog.

He got his chance in T.A. 2989, when the New Kingdom had settled and a large number of its Dwarves agreed to follow him to Khazad-dûm and build a colony in the ancient halls. That same year, Balin’s group marched south to Dimrill Dale and entered the East-gate unopposed. All was quiet within Moria, so the well-provisioned Naugrim set about restoring the city. They crowned Balin King of Khazad-dûm — the first who was not also Lord of Durin’s Folk — and established a permanent, vigilant home.

Not long after the founding of Balin’s Kingdom, Orcs, Trolls, and other beasts gathered in the depths of Moria and assailed the Dwarven colony. The Dwarves threw the assault back, but it was only the beginning: for the next five years, the evil throng harassed the Naugrim and picked away at their strength. Insidiously, the noose tightened around the settlement as more and more dark creatures responded to the challenge. A great kraken, the Watcher in the Water,” came up the River Sirannon and dammed its flow, thereby creating a pool which closed Moria’s West-gate. With each month’s passing, Balin’s Folk retreated until, at last, they were surrounded. The harried Dwarves eventually saw no recourse but to fight their way out. Striking eastward, they strove toward the East-gate, but they never reached their goal. A vast assemblage of Orcs met them just inside the entry and turned the Naugrim back after a bloody brawl. The Orcs wounded Balin and the Dwarves retreated northward to the hallowed Chamber of Records (The Hall of Mazarbul). Balin expired as the battered Naugrim prepared the final defense. Just as his Dwarf-guard sealed the stone burial crypt, the Orc-host struck. No Dwarf survived. Moria had once again become a province of Darkness.

The End of the Third Age

Twenty-five years after Balin’s last stand, during the last months of the War of the Ring (T.A. 3019), the Fellowship entered Moria. Bearing the One Ring, they intended to cross beneath the Misty Mountains in secret; thus, they chose the time-honored Dwarf-road. Their coming signaled the beginning of a new era in Khazad-dûm.

The tale is well known, for it is recorded by Frodo in the Red Book of Westmarch. From Eregion, the party passed through the city’s West-gate. It was winter, and the lack of run off, coupled with long years without much moisture meant that the Watcher’s pool was low enough to allow them to sneak by virtually unmolested. The Watcher struck to no avail, and the Fellowship slipped in via Durin’s Doors.

Although dark and forbidding, Moria was quiet throughout the first day and a half of the Fellowship’s journey. Its guardians did not awaken to the intrusion until a foolish Hobbit (Peregrin Took) cast a stone into a shaft. Two rests and many hours after the alarm sounded deep below, Moria’s Orcs came forth, led by a great Troll. The Fellowship realized their plight as they stood in the Chamber of Records, reviewing the fate of Min. Orkish drums prompted them to flee south, and then eastward, toward the East-gate. While crossing Durin’s Bridge they encountered the Balrog, and there Gandalf stood before him while the others escaped out the Great Gates and down into Dimrill Dale_ The Wizard struggled with Durin’s Bane, and the Bridge broke beneath them. They fell into the lowest Under-deeps and battled through Moria for ten days before the spirit of the Balrog — and the body of Gandalf — perished.

With the Balrog dead, Moria’s evil defenders were vulnerable. Yet even after the fall of Sauron, Durin’s Folk made no immediate plans for the refounding of the Dwarf-mansion. Damn II died at the hands of Easterlings before the gates of Erebor. Although the Kindred prevailed in battle, the House was again diminished. The new King, Thorin III, decided to rest his people. He realized that Moria remained an elusive prize, one to be won when Durin’s Folk were stronger. The Dwarf-lord swore that, once restored, Khazad-dûm would never again be abandoned.

Docu­ments de la section

While Durin’s Folk was the oldest and most noble of the Dwarven lines, the six other tribes of Naugrim deserve mention. They include the lines of the other original Dwarven Fathers.

All Dwarves are descendants of the Seven Fathers, the original lords crafted from the earth by the Vala Aulë. Born of Aulë’s thoughts, they forever carry much of the Smith’s own loves and hates.

Since there are so many individual Dwarves of note mentioned and recalled in the song and lore of Middle-earth, we have chosen a limited number of characters to focus upon in some detail.

A series of short descriptions covering the majority of the Dwarves in the lore of Middle-earth.

The Noegyth Nibin are a lesser branch of the Khazâd, banished from the great Dwarven cities of the east in the elder days. Mistaken by the Elves of Beleriand for evil creations of Morgoth, the Noegyth Nibin were for many years hunted and slain. This time of persecution weighed ever heavily in their hearts, and from it grew bitterness and a hatred for all the Quendi.

Like the Men called Lossoth, the Umli are masters of the Far North. They live in the woods and highlands to the east of the Lossoth, in the bitterly cold regions of north-central Middle-earth. The Umli remain in these wilds year-round, residing in caves and braving the terrible frosts of the dark winter.

A list of all the known Dwarves from Middle-Earth.


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