balín, ori and Óin
These three dwarves are surviving members of Bilbo’s original expedition to the Lonely Mountain in The Hobbit. It is thanks to them that Glóin has come to Rivendell to join Elrond’s council. In the Mines of Moria, the Company discovers what has become of them: Balin, Lord of Moria, was killed in Dimrill Dale when an orc shot him from behind a stone while he was looking in the mirror. The watcher in the water, the tentacled serpent at the western gate of Moria, killed Óin. and ori’s fate is unknown, but since he is the one who wrote the chronicle of the death of the other two and his last sentences are, “we can’t get out. the end is coming […] they are coming” (2.5. 11) , we’re pretty sure he died in moria.
dáin is the king under the mountain, the dwarven lord of the lonely mountain fortress. he became king under the mountain with the death of thorín oakenshield at the end of the hobbit. he is over 250 years old, “venerably and fabulously wealthy” (2.1.101). Dáin is also a just man: when messengers from sauron came offering the dwarves’ rings of power in exchange for the only ring worn by a known hobbit of dáin (i.e., bilbo), dáin sends glóin to rivendell to warn bilbo “that he is wanted by the enemy, and to know, if possible, why he wants this ring” (2.2.24).
durin lord of moria
the great ancestor of the dwarves; it was he who delved into the mines of moria and built the dwarven city of khazad-dûm. His symbol appears at the gate of Moria: a hammer and an anvil topped by a crown with seven stars. But Durin’s people dug too deep into Moria, awakening an ancient evil now called Durin’s Bane. Since the day of Durin Vi (not the first Durin, but a descendant) Moria has not been safe for people to travel. When Gandalf and company have reached a vast empty hall high above the mines, Gimli is encouraged to sing a song about Moria. gimli sings that darkness has fallen on khazad-dûm, but “still the sunken stars appear / In a dark and windless mirror; / There lies his crown in deep water, / Until durin awakes again” (2.4.180 ). so the dwarves believe that one day, durin will return to them. he is like king arthur to the british.
dwalin, dori, nori, bifur, bofur and bombur
In The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield has twelve companions: Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Glóin. Of these thirteen dwarves, three die at the end of the novel in the battle of the five armies: Thorin, Fili, and Kili. ten survive. Of these ten, Glóin tells Frodo, seven remain by the side of Dáin, King under the Mountain: Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Glóin himself. Glóin tells Frodo that Bombur (never slender) is now so fat that he cannot move from his sofa under his own power, and it takes six young dwarves to lift him.
flói, frár, lóni and náli
These four dwarfs appear in the ori log of the expedition to moria led by balin thirty years before the search for the ring. all died in battle with the orcs.
Glóin was one of Thorin Oakenshield’s band of dwarves in The Hobbit. (see our hobbit learning guide for more details on his adventures). he has never been the most distinctive character, even in the hobbit, where he has a much bigger role, he appears mostly as a background player in the fight scenes. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Glóin appears at the party celebrating the Ringbearer’s safe arrival in Rivendell. he is an important-looking dwarf with a “very long and forked” white beard, “a belt of silver, and about his neck hung a chain of silver and diamonds” (2.1.89). he and frodo start talking about their lonely mountain home, as frodo doesn’t want to talk about the ring at dinner.
gloin serves the useful narrative function of telling us about everything that happened to the dwarves since bilbo’s adventures in the hobbit almost eighty years earlier. He tells Frodo about Grimbeorn, son of Beorn, Dale’s men, and Dain and the ten fellow dwarves who survived the Battle of the Five Armies. Again, this is one of the rare Fellowship of the Ring pages that will make a lot more sense if you’ve read The Hobbit (and/or our Hobbit Shmoop Learning Guide) first.
Of course, glóin also serves the useful function of being gimli’s father; gimli is much more central to the events of the lord of the rings than glóin. Gimli is heir to Glóin’s role in the Adventure of the Ring, just as Frodo is heir to Bilbo.
narvi is the dwarf who built the western gate of moria, through which gandalf and company pass. this gate is only visible by starlight and moonlight, because it is marked in ithildin. the door will open if you say the word friend – mellon – in elvish.
thrór was grandfather of thorín oakshield and father of thráin. he died in the mines of moria after smaug the dragon stole the kingdom from him. he was the only dwarf since the sons of durin who dared to enter the gates of khazad-dûm, at least until balin and his people went to reopen the mines thirty years before elrond’s council. we also discover that he wore one of the seven rings of power belonging to the dwarf lords; sadly, thrór passed the ring on to thráin, his son. thráin died in the dungeons of the necromancer in dol guldur, which means that sauron has taken thráin’s ring.