How to Remember the Dwarves

21 Jan 2013

Original Blogger tags: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Tolkien

OK, this is how we’re memorizing the dwarf names at the Potts House. The dwarves can be organized into five groups of relatives: two groups of two, and three groups of three. Each pair is two brothers, and each trio is two brothers plus another brother, cousin, or uncle.

You can memorize the nickname for each group and rattle them off using the fingers of one hand. The groups are:

They run almost like the list of vowels: A, O, I, O, U). Remember this list, and “two twos, three threes,” and you’re almost there.

The 2 ALINS (“ah-linz”) are the brothers BALIN and DWALIN.

The 2 ÓINS (“oh-inz”) are the brothers ÓIN and GLÓIN.

The 3 ILIS (“ee-leez”) are the brothers FILI and KILI and their uncle THORIN.

The 3 ORIS (“or-eez”) are the brothers ORI, NORI, and DORI.

The 3 URS (“urz”) are the brothers BOFUR and BOMBUR and their cousin BIFUR.

Got that? Practice counting the five groups off on the fingers of one hand and reciting the members of each group a few times, and you’ll be a true Tolkien nerd!

There are two naming rules that apply to most of the the thirteen dwarves, with exceptions. It’s probably easier just to memorize them, but you brain can’t help but start coming up with rules.

I don’t have an rule for Thorin. His name makes it sound like he could be related to Glóin and Óin, but he’s not. You’ll just have to remember that he goes with Fili and Kili.

Now for a few details to help you get their biographies and faces into your head. This will help you recognize them easily in the movies and know just a bit about their roles in the group.



Note: Balin and Dwalin are first cousins to Óin and Glóin. Their father, Fundin, is the brother of Gróin, the father of Óin and Glóin. I could have put the four of them into the same group, the INS, but it seemed easier to memorize the dwarves primarily as groups of brothers, with two exceptions, rather than mixing up the groups. If you prefer, think of the ALINS and the ÓINS as one big group and use the brother and cousin naming rules to keep track of their relationships.




Note: the two brothers in this group have names that are more similar (both start with “Bo”). Bombur’s name breaks the brother name rule.

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