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RotK horses

The debate: Dwarves!

Posted by shieldmaidenjen on 01.13.2007 at 2.03.am
Current Location: apartment
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
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Many of us love Tolkien's Dwarves, but it is becoming obvious that the Dwarves seem to be the least favorite race for sorting_realm overall. Why do you all think this is?

Is it because many people have only seen the movies and haven't read The Silmarillion or, perhaps more importantly in this respect, The Hobbit? Is it because people don't look past the surface and think the Dwarves are simply ugly, smelly, nasty, and stupid, based on PJ's Gimli?

A lot of applicants say that they would rather not be a Dwarf because they don't want to live underground... well, many of the Elven strongholds were underground grotto-types like Nargothrond and Menegroth, and the Hobbits live in the ground to a lesser extent, so not wanting to live underground isn't really a valid reason, I don't think. And as for physical appearance... well, I bet that is where a lot of the Dwarf dislike stems from.

What say you?

Note: You don't have to agree with me - if you don't like the Dwarves, please, PLEASE come and tell us why! We don't bite. :) We simply discuss.


robotology at 2007-01-13 08:20 (UTC) (Link)

I always thought that it was odd that Dwarves seemed to get so little love.
Next to Hobbits, of course, Dwarves are my favourite of the Races. They are, to me, not like any of the other races. They have an amazing history, they have a history before the elves even came forth. They are strong, independent, proud, loyal and wise beings. Last time I checked those are pretty respectable attributes. They made a majority of the weapons that carved the history of middle earth. If it is appearance that turns people off from dwarves, well thats just foolish. Beards are awesome, silly silly people(coughelvescough). ;)
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-13 15:23 (UTC) (Link)
Beards are awesome

Hear hear! And why is it nobody seems to hold Gandalf's beard against him? He certainly isn't about to win any Middle-earth Sexiest Man of the Year awards. :P
kossatik at 2007-01-13 14:25 (UTC) (Link)
hm, I think it's because they are not romantic as elves are, and so cosiness-loving as hobbits. And they are more familiar with stone, than elves (loving nature, speaking thees etc.) or hobbits (living in villages). their destiny is the Middlearth is strange - they were not created by Eru. they seem to differ from men more, than elves or hobbits.

p.s. I can't say I dislike them - just I'm not familiar with them...
I'm Your Huckleberry
theguiltyone at 2007-01-13 15:10 (UTC) (Link)
Physical appearance has a LOT to do with it. You can have cute Hobbits, pretty Elves, handsome men....and short, hairy dwarves. Not much can be changed about that to make them very drool worthy. Unless you dig short hairy men to begin with.
What's in a name?
hothobbit at 2007-01-14 03:09 (UTC) (Link)
I commented pretty much saying the same thing without reading your comment... except you worded it better. Damn you ;)

Unless you dig short hairy men to begin with.

omg who doesn't?!
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-13 15:20 (UTC) (Link)
It's funny -- If you compare the Races of Middle-earth to the Houses at Hogwart's, then clearly the Hobbits are Hufflepuffs, simple and honest and steadfast; the Elves are Ravenclaws, wise and distant and self-sufficient; the Men are Slytherins*, proud and clever and power-seeking; and the Dwarves are Gryffindors, strong-willed and loyal and brave. In HP fandom, everybody wants to be a Gryffindor. But here -- nobody wants to be a Dwarf!

Of course, there are people who dislike each of the races, generally due to misconceptions. Those who dislike Hobbits often to see them as shallow and childish; those who dislike Men often see them as coarse and blustering and warlike. Those who dislike Elves often hold their beauty (and, by extension, their fangirls) against them, taking their irritation at Orlando Bloom out on the whole race of Elves; or else they see Elves as cold and humorless. And those who dislike the Dwarves seem to see them as having no positive characteristics at all -- just stumpy bodies and hairy faces and stubborn temperaments. These are all equally misconceptions, but for some reason the last one seems to be the most predominant.

I think it probably does have to do with there being so few Dwarves in LotR. Gimli doesn't exactly have a stellar role; he does his part, but he never does anything really memorable. And even in The Hobbit, we never really get to know the Dwarves very well, except for Thorin. And as much as I love Thorin, I'll admit, he probably isn't the right character to convert the masses to Dwarf-love.

Mainly, though, I think it's their appearances that turn people off to the Dwarves. Elves are beautiful, Hobbits are adorable, and Men are, well, just like us. But even Tolkien implied that the Dwarves were poorly made, designed not by Eru but by a lesser being who had little idea what he was doing. Superficially, they just aren't quite as pretty as everyone else... and even though that shouldn't make any difference, I think to many people it does.

*I'm sure some will take offense to the idea that Men are like Slytherins, since obviously most of the Men we know from LotR bear little similarity to the evil Slytherins of HP. But as a whole, Men are, in Tolkien's own description, more ambitious and more easily corrupted than other peoples; and while there are no evil Elves, Hobbits, or Dwarves, there are evil Men. Men, naturally, tend to share traits with the other races -- but their Slytherin traits are something no other races share.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-13 16:34 (UTC) (Link)
Well, there are evil Elves (Feanor), evil hobbits (Sandyman) and ...well...not neccessarily evil, as we only see them for a paragraph in the Simraillion, greedy Dwarves.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-13 16:36 (UTC) (Link)
Silmarillion, I meant. Oops.
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-13 17:59 (UTC) (Link)
True, I phrased that badly. Obviously, no race is completely immune to corruption, including Wizards. Even Smeagol could be considered a sort of "evil hobbit." What I meant was that there are entire populations of Men who have turned to Sauron's side, either out of weakness or ambition, and this hasn't happened to any other race. Individual members may turn, but the people as a whole don't have the same propensity to go bad.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-13 18:07 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's what I thought you meant.
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-13 16:35 (UTC) (Link)
Hm...when you put it like that I can see where you are coming from with the Houses(and you capitilize Houses too!). I am part of multiple sorting communities and everyone wants to be in Gryffindor, but they either get voted saying they are pushing or that they are not that House. I didn't push, I just filled out my application(so thought I would get Ravenclaw) and ended up in Gryffindor. I wish the application here would do that. Either people push Gryffindor or they push Slytherin. Whats funny is that those who push Slytherin sometimes get voted into Gryffindor.

You're right about the role in LotR. Gimli, in the movies, is reduced to comic relief. He doesn't seem that brave at times, nor does he give insipring speechs and, oh nos! he doesn't like Legolas!< / sarcasm> I wish the movie would talk more about what happened in the Hobbit at times, at least a little extended scene where Frodo asks Gimli if his father told him anything. Heck, if Frodo asked Bilbo about it too, that would have been good.

I do think that I need to read teh Silm now. I have it, but keep putting off reading it for some reason.

As a weird note, I always try to sort characters into Houses, because its either that or do work, and I always place Gimli in Gryffindor(I have trouble with some of the Men though, and some of the Hobbits).
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-13 18:09 (UTC) (Link)
I've wanted to join sorting_realm for a long time, but the fact that you get ousted if you don't sort a certain number of people every week has kept me from doing it. :P Oh well. I'm pretty sure I'd get Ravenclaw -- or, possibly, get squibbed for acting a little bit too Ravenclaw.

at least a little extended scene where Frodo asks Gimli if his father told him anything

That would have been great. They never even explain who Gimli is! Son of who? And we care why? Grr.

I do think that I need to read teh Silm now. I have it, but keep putting off reading it for some reason.

I haven't read all of it either, but the creation of the Dwarves is near the beginning, so you'll get to it pretty quickly. It's very interesting.
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-13 21:12 (UTC) (Link)
sorting_realm or another community? I know for Hogwarts sorting hogwartsishome is good(I'm a Gryffindor there) and if you're into hybrids, fawkes_reunion is good(I'm a Ravendor there). Hogwartsishome doesn't kick people out for not sorting, but fawkes gives you probation and such. I have never seen anyone act too Ravenclaw(I saw a one act too Slytherclaw though).

I know. They say he's the son of Gloin once. And then drop it. I don't think they ever say who Legolas' father is(because that would be important too).

Ah ok. I just have a lot of other stuff to read. I should try this summer. Back to Shakespeare now.

And now I know how to use the stupid tags...
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-14 00:05 (UTC) (Link)
*facepalm* I meant to say sorting_elite.

I might try out the ones you mentioned, though. Probation sounds reasonable, at least. If I remember right, I think sorting_elite kicks you out permanently if you go two weeks without sorting enough members. o_O
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-14 14:17 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, you get two weeks of it, plus there is a place to say that you are on hiatus. I always wanted to try elite, but I don't think my answers would be long enough for what they want.
What's in a name?
hothobbit at 2007-01-14 02:54 (UTC) (Link)
Oh I'm a Hufflepuff at hogwartsishome and that's a good community.

I'll have to look into the fawkes_reunion community as well :)

And someone mentioned that sorting_elite is a bit strict and I agree. You basically have to spend all your time there and while I like to dedicate myself to fun communities I do have a life, lol
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-14 14:19 (UTC) (Link)
I think I remember you. It is a good community. I really like the people. I just need to remember to sort more...

That one is great too. We are on a break now because of OWLs, but should start sorting again in maybe a week.

Oh, yeah. I tend to disappear off line for a little(like what happened when I joined here...damn over worked during the holidays.).
amarra_jade at 2007-01-13 22:26 (UTC) (Link)
If you mean sorting_elite, I've got the exact same problem. I applied to another community a while ago and got sorted into Ravenclaw, and since then, I've begun to identify myself as a Ravenclaw. I'm definitely going to apply because S_E looks so much fun and the community I'm in (lj user="_belong">) isn't very active, but it's going to be difficult to give a clear picture of myself without coming across as "pushing" for Ravenclaw.
amarra_jade at 2007-01-13 22:37 (UTC) (Link)
Oops, this is the comm I'm in: _belong
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-14 00:00 (UTC) (Link)
D'oh! Yes, I mean sorting_elite. *is an idiot*
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-14 14:22 (UTC) (Link)
I know what you mean. I was sorted into Gryffindor(no push!) and now I just keep thinking thats me. Like I'll do something stupid and think "oh, I'm just being a Gryffindor". Their application process seems harsh too. Like if you don't write your application so that you might be writting ten pages you are automatically not good enough.
Boromir II's Warg Mistress
b2wm at 2007-01-13 20:54 (UTC) (Link)

Whee, I'm rambling again, aren't I?

Good to see I'm not the only "sorter"-type... hogwarts_hocus also sorted him as a Gryf, I saw.

Now, maybe I've been hanging around with furiosity for too long, but I begin to see a similarity in the elf/dwarf sortings to the general mindset of the Gryffindor/Slytherin pushers. Slytherin is seen as evil, but then you get folks like Denethor and Granny Weatherwax Andromeda Black and Slughorn in there, too. Gryffindor, though concieved as the Home of the Good Guys, has its Percy Weasleys and Marauders to drive the staff nuts. If you're willing to look past the cliches, (or, if like someone else said, you like beards, big weapons, shiny things, and 1337 skillz to begin with,) you're generally more open to the dwarves than someone who only knows a bit about them, just as someone who tries to find what makes a Slytherin a Slytherin is more open to them than someone who just sees the major characters and makes a snap judgement.
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-13 21:19 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Whee, I'm rambling again, aren't I?

Oh, that community looks fun. I might try one there(but I am not sure if the character would be accepted, seeing as only a few people have read/heard of the book).

I know what you mean. I was talking with some of my friends(because these are the kind of conversations that we have) about Slytherin gets a bad look in the books. Sure we are seeing it from the Gryffindor side, but they have had the their good ones. And not all Gryffindors are good(like Peter Pettigrew). Also Slytherins and Gryffindors are very much a like. You're right with the Dwarves, they have skills, not to mention they are known for their jewlery too. See, people who like shinny things might be good as Dwarves.
Teller of Fortunes
lariren_shadow at 2007-01-13 16:26 (UTC) (Link)
I know I put that I didn't want to be a Dwarf, because, well, I don't think I am like one. I think people don't want to be placed with them because they want to be put in the Elves or the Hobbits(...not me...). They don't see much past what Gimli looks like(and possibly the hairy women comments).

I think that the Dwarves are great characters. They, at least in the movie and a little in LoTR(the book(I haven't read the Hobbit...but I saw the freaky cartoon!)), they show how the world is falling apart even more. Gimli is sad over what happened in Moria but knew nothing of it before hand. They had a way of life(at least from Gimli's description before going into Moria) that was like the Hobbits a little. They liked to drink and tell stories and have fun, but also knew about hardwork. I don't think that the people applying here see that.

I wish I was more coherent right now, because I could answer this better. I know my reasons, but for the most part I think its because the people here want to be Hobbits or Elves, but would settle for Men if they were voted for it. I like where I am, I think it fits me.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-13 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
Who really wants to be short and have a huge beard, even if you are a girl?

I find Dwarves amazing. I didn't believe I would be sorted as one, but I thought their creation was the most beautiful out of any of the races. The Elves and Men were there, simply by design, but the Dwarves were made by a Vala longing for someone to teach. And when Eru saw his work, he grew angry at first, but then, he allowed the Dwarves to live.

In many ways, the Dwarves are very important. I'm not sure if this was movie-canon, or canon, but according to Weapons and Warfare of Middle-Earth, if Dwarves had not won an important battle near the Lonely Mountain, the Rohirrim would have fallen to the Uruk-Hai and with it, Gondor.

Maybe it's just Moria? And their appearances?
Miss Em
im_an_aaangel at 2007-01-13 17:15 (UTC) (Link)
I would think that reading The Silmarillion would turn one of to being a Dwarf. That's where you find out they're an unwanted race. You also have to consider living in mountains and not going out much, being short and hairier than hobbits..

I happen to love the hell out of dwarves. They have a cooler language, runes, weapons and all the jewels. Not to mention, they're pretty tough. Maybe it's just the overall unattractiveness about them that turns people off.
Jenny that is called Jenny
shieldmaidenjen at 2007-01-13 21:10 (UTC) (Link)
I would think that reading The Silmarillion would turn one of to being a Dwarf.

Really? I think quite the opposite - they aren't an unwanted race so much as they are an unplanned race. ;) If Iluvatar didn't want them, he wouldn't have breathed life into them, as he tells Aule.
Miss Em
im_an_aaangel at 2007-01-13 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
Well, when I say "unwanted" I don't mean it literally. Like you said, unplanned. Not to mention the way he locked them up for so long.. he was angry, at the very least.
Jenny that is called Jenny
shieldmaidenjen at 2007-01-14 02:58 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, LOL. Sorry. Yes, agree with you there. Although I don't think Iluvatar was angry - he just had his plan for the Firstborn and couldn't let the Dwarves come before them so he made Aule put them to sleep for a while.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-19 03:03 (UTC) (Link)
I actually sort of wanted to be a Dwarf because of the creation myth. Unplanned! I mean, really, it's a surprise to Middle-Earth. It's almost an elite club, a group of people that sprang up suddenly and out of nowhere, with nothing saying they were supposed to be there. Maybe it's just me, but I actually like that idea.
amarra_jade at 2007-01-13 18:57 (UTC) (Link)
A lot of applicants say that they would rather not be a Dwarf because they don't want to live underground... well, many of the Elven strongholds were underground grotto-types like Nargothrond and Menegroth, and the Hobbits live in the ground to a lesser extent, so not wanting to live underground isn't really a valid reason, I don't think.

Good point; I didn't think of it that way when I applied. I think a lot of people just assume all the Elves live in either Rivendell or Lothlorien. But I can still see myself living more comfortably in an Elven stronghold or Hobbit hole than a dark, scary, smelly mine - not that Dwarrowdelf isn't lovely. ;) And like _grayswandir_ said, the Dwarves don't really have much of a role to play in LOTR compared to the other races. The Hobbits have Frodo and Sam, the Men have Aragorn and Boromir, the Elves have Elrond and Galadriel (and now "OMGSOHAWT!!" movie!Legolas)...Gimli just kind of gets overlooked. He's a great character, but he's never been one of my personal favorites.

I got something like five Hobbit votes and three Dwarf votes on my application, so there's probably a good chance that I would've ended up with the Dwarves if I hadn't put that I didn't want to be a Man or a Dwarf. That would've been okay with me, but I honestly think the carefree, peaceful lifestyle of the Hobbits suits me better.
Anahana - Quentae for Balance - Just call me Anna!
sheiannasherra at 2007-01-13 20:36 (UTC) (Link)
I think most of the negative attitude towards the Dwarves is the looks and the fact that they're miners and live in mines/caves/underground cities.

What is overlooked by a lot of people is that the underground cities were incredible works of art and engineering; that the Dwarves are master craftsmen where metals and gems are concerned,creating powerful and durable armor and weapons and jewelry of great beauty; that they had strength and perseverance to balance their being headstrong and stubborn which is something they have in common with all of the races. Men, Elves and Hobbits all had individuals that showed those traits.
Anahana - Quentae for Balance - Just call me Anna!
sheiannasherra at 2007-01-13 20:41 (UTC) (Link)


Ooops... that didn't come out right! Please disregard the second part above since it should read:

What is overlooked by a lot of people is that the underground cities were incredible works of art and engineering; that the Dwarves are master craftsmen where metals and gems are concerned,creating powerful and durable armor and weapons and jewelry of great beauty. They had strength and perseverance to balance their being headstrong and stubborn which is something they have in common with all of the races. Men, Elves and Hobbits all had individuals that showed those traits.

Sorry about that! *blush*
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-13 22:03 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oops!

Exactly! These aren't dark, smelly caves, but lamplit and glittering underground cities. It's too bad that we never get to see the homes of the Dwarves. The Mines of Moria don't count, having been rendered totally uninhabitable by the orcs and, well, corpes. But in their glory days, the mines must have been beautiful works of art.

It's silly to think that you have to hate sunlight and trees to be a Dwarf. You just have to be able to appreciate the beauty of mountains and stonework, too. I'm sure if there had been a Grand Canyon in Middle-earth, Legolas would have had no trouble seeing what Gimli was on about. ;)
Anahana - Quentae for Balance - Just call me Anna!
sheiannasherra at 2007-01-13 22:10 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oops!

Another point that I forgot to make is that the Dwarves cities also had shafts cut to the mountainsides where possible to let in sunlight, like the shaft of light that illuminates Balin's tomb in the Chamber of Mazarbul in Moria.
What's in a name?
hothobbit at 2007-01-14 02:50 (UTC) (Link)
This man has mad dwarf love ♥ lol

I think it has a lot to do with appearances. And if you've just watched the movies all they know is Gimli and that's it. People want more characters that they can relate/fangirl about.

In my defense I also said I would least like to be a Drawf just because I didn't think I'd fit there (personality wise), nothing against the race in general
(Deleted comment)
_grayswandir_ at 2007-01-16 19:44 (UTC) (Link)


many people are going to favor the races of the main characters

Yeah, that's a good point. There are lots of Men in the books, quite a few Hobbits, and even a fair number of Elves -- but only one Dwarf. It makes sense that, for people who have only read LotR (or only seen the movies), Dwarves would be harder to relate to.
Ithilien Ranger
shannon_zhang at 2007-01-19 03:06 (UTC) (Link)


Wow....Nice essay!

Moria is the only example of Dwarf craftmanship we see and look at it! It's skeletons lying about, goblins threatening to kill anyone who enters, and a Balrog. That leaves a bad taste in your mouth. By then, Gloin's rant in the chapter before the Council of Elrond would be forgotten.

But it's all about appearance. Most people dont' really want to have a beard. I think they wouldn't mind if the females got off, but as Gimli said in the movies (which is the only canon for some fangirls, not serious fans), the Dwarf women also have beards.
mirenaer at 2007-01-19 15:07 (UTC) (Link)


we did see some of it in the movies. and i thought tolkien actually did write a little about dwarves in the hobbit, if not in lord of the rings. still, i agree it's definitely not near enough to know them.

even with the prologue of the book dedicated to the hobbits, there's still so much to learn about them.
mirenaer at 2007-01-15 15:39 (UTC) (Link)
Hm, for me, I never really liked dwarves even before I read lotr. I've nothing against them -- they just don't interest me as much as the other folk do.

Perhaps as humans first impressions do count, and the first impression of a dwarf is short, stout, with a beard, grumpy, cunning? Not too appealing eh? When we get introduced to Tolkien's version, this notion has already been stuck in our heads. So perhaps we find ourselves having a litle bias, yes?

Still, dwarves are pretty awesome folk. I love the fact they put so much work into their craftsmanship.

Ps: i apologize if i've offended anyone about anything
laure_leaf at 2007-01-15 21:18 (UTC) (Link)
For me, at least, I find the dwarves to be an interesting race. Although, I am one of the ones who gave the reason of clausterphobia as a reason to not be a dwarf. In this my reasoning is as follows:

*Elves have a natural affinity for nature and only have underground strongholds as a means of defense. They also have large and airy caverns.

*Dwarves have a natural affinity for rock and stone and also have large caverns. They feel the same connection with this as the elves do with nature, however, they can continue to delve deeper and deeper into a mountains deapth. I would feel the oppressive weight more and more as we desended...*shudder* (I have difficulty in small elevators as it is)

Um, anyway, that was my reasoning. I find their blount (yet honest) manner refreshing, their greed slightly disturbing, and their craftmanship amazing. Their beauty is found not in their images, but their creations - which often outlast the being that created it!
Boromir II's Warg Mistress
b2wm at 2007-01-18 02:34 (UTC) (Link)
Another thing that tends to make me Pro-dwarf falls under about the same lines as what turned mandy_tdv against them at first: alternate fandoms. Once you have Cheery Littlebottom as part of your inner mental image of a typical dwarf, it's hard not to like them.
serendipity_m at 2007-04-06 19:46 (UTC) (Link)

If a person lives underground it doesn't mean that he looks like a prehistoric man

It depends how you see them. By a popular believes they are not pretty. Sabra Hart sees them in a different way. And I like it.
elgato_gamgins at 2007-04-13 20:40 (UTC) (Link)
If you don't think this Dwarven couple is adorable I will smack you!

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