Dwarves in The Hobbit

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten a lot of traffic on my post “Casting the Hobbit” over the past few months. Lots of people looking for information about the dwarves we’re going to be seeing in the movies so I thought I would make a post just about them. All thirteen of them. In alphabetical order no less!

Before I begin: Jubilare has been writing a fantastic series on why the dwarves are her favorite race from Tolkien. Check out the posts here: Of the Free Peoples of Arda, Contrariwise, and Khazad Parts I, II (my favorite one so far- who knew caves could be so beautiful?) and III.

Also, I will be mentioning the fates of the dwarves, if known. So if you haven’t read the book and don’t know what happens to the characters, you have been warned.

And now,



Balin is one of the older dwarves in the company and brother to Dwalin. He also stands out in the book as he becomes a particular friend to Bilbo and is one of the first to recognize Bilbo for his worth. He’s a close relative of Thorin’s and at some point between the end of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, he and several other dwarves travel to Moria to attempt to reclaim it. They are unsuccessful as it is Balin’s tomb that the Fellowship finds when they are in Moria.


Balin is played by Ken Stott, a Scottish actor born in 1955. He’s acted in several TV movies and series and also was the voice of Trufflehunter in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.


Bifur is the cousin of Bofur and Bombur. The ax stuck in his skull is not in the book, of course, but is one of the movie’s attempts to individualize the dwarves. From what I’ve heard in interviews, the ax is going to mean that Bifur doesn’t talk much but he’s one crazy fighter. Bifur and his cousins are not related to Thorin and at the time of FotR, Bifur is still living in the Lonely Mountain under the rule of Dain.


Bifur is played by William Kircher. A New Zealand actor, he’s been in several TV shows and movies, primarily in New Zealand. A much more in-depth biography can be found on TheOneRing.


Bofur is the cousin to Bifur and the brother to Bombur. Not much is known about Bofur but he, like his cousin Bifur, is not related to Thorin. At the beginning of FotR he is still living in the Lonely Mountain under Dain.


Bofur is played by James Nesbitt. An Irish actor born in 1965, Nesbitt can be seen in Waking Ned Devine and Match Point.


Bombur is the brother to Bofur and the cousin to Bifur. He is known primarily for being extraordinarily fat, a condition that puts himself and others into danger at times.  But he does have his usefulness as the company cook. Like his brother and cousin, Bombur is not related to Thorin. We find out in FotR that Bombur is still alive at that point but has become so fat that he can’t even move from his couch to the table and that it takes 6 young dwarves to move him. Presumably he is still at the Lonely Mountain with Bifur and Bofur.


Bombur is played by Stephen Hunter. Another New Zealander, Hunter has been in several TV shows. You can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


Dori is the oldest brother to Nori and Ori. In the book, Dori is usually the last one to leave and helps Bilbo out  several times. It is likely that Jackson & co. used that to make movie Dori a bit of a worrier who’s always looking out for the others, especially for youngest brother Ori. He is also still living under Dain in the Lonely Mountain in FotR.


Dori is played by Mark Hadlow. From New Zealand, he has worked with Jackson before, most notably on King Kong. He was born in 1957.


Dwalin is the brother to Balin and close friend and relative to Thorin. He’s a powerful fighter and distrustful of non-dwarves, but it is his spare cloak that Bilbo uses during the journey (and still has when he leaves after his party in FotR). Dwalin was particularly long lived for a dwarf, finally dying at 340.


Dwalin is played by Graham McTavish. A Scottish actor born in 1961, McTavish has been in numerous movies and TV shows. Besides this, McTavish is also well known for his voice work in video games such as the Uncharted and Call of Duty series. You can follow him on Twitter.


Fili is the brother of Kili and nephew to Thorin. As one of the youngest dwarves, he is known for his better eyesight. He is also more sympathetic to Bilbo’s ideas towards the end of the book but follows Thorin’s leadership out of loyalty. He dies at the Battle of Five Armies defending Thorin.


Fili is played by Dean O’Gorman. Born in 1976 in New Zealand, O’Gorman has acted in several TV shows and a few movies. Besides acting, he is also a photographer. Check out his website to see some of his work, including some with his Hobbit costars.


Gloin is the brother to Oin and a distant cousin to Thorin. Gloin and Oin are known particularly for their abilities to start fires. Gloin is also notable as one of the few married dwarves and as the father of Gimli, who joins Frodo as one of his companions in the fellowship. Gloin is still alive in FotR and it is through his conversation with Frodo at Rivendell that we learn what has happened with the dwarves since the end of the events in The Hobbit.


Gloin is played by Peter Hambleton. Born in New Zealand, Hambleton is known for his theater work but has also done some film and TV work.


Kili is the brother to Fili and nephew to Thorin. Kili in the film seems like he is going to be portrayed as the more reckless of the two brothers due to his youth and inexperience. Like his brother Fili, Kili is very sympathetic to the ideas of Bilbo but follows Thorin’s leadership out of loyalty. Kili also dies at the Battle of Five Armies while protecting Thorin.


Kili is played by Aidan Turner. Aidan is an Irish actor born in 1983. He is probably best known for his role as John Mitchell, a vampire in the BBC TV show Being Human.


Nori is the middle brother of Dori and Ori. Nori in the movie is going to be a bit shifty and more likely to steal the silver than use it but he is just as loyal to Thorin and his cause as his brothers. At the time of FotR, Nori is still living in the Lonely Mountain under Dain.


Nori is played by Jed Brophy. Brophy has worked with Jackson before in Heavenly Creatures and as various parts in The Two Towers and Return of the King (mostly unrecognizable as an orc!). You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.


Oin is the brother to Gloin and distant cousin to Thorin. Oin and Gloin are know for their ability to start fires. He is also one of the dwarves that travels to Moria with Balin and is killed a few years after arriving by the Watcher in the Water.


Oin is played by John Callen. A New Zealand actor, Callen has been in many TV shows and movies and has done plenty of voice work as well.


Ori is the youngest brother of Dori and Nori. Ori is rather timid and is clearly a journaler. Ori is young and inexperienced but he shows remarkable determination. He travels to Moria with Balin and, in FotR, we come across what is likely the remains of Ori by Balin’s tomb with the record of the dwarves’ attempt to reclaim their ancient home.


Ori is played by Adam Brown. This is Brown’s first movie but he has been acting for many years as the co-founder of the group Plested and Brown. You can also follow him on Twitter.

And last, but most assuredly not least:


Thorin Oakenshield is the leader of the company and king of Durin’s Folk. After witnessing the destruction of his home and most of his friends and family by the dragon Smaug, Thorin has spent the majority of his life in exile. He is now attempting to reclaim his home and the treasure that was stolen from his people. His pride and stubbornness create problems among the company, especially towards the end. Thorin is fatally wounded during the Battle of the Five Armies.


Thorin is played by Richard Armitage. Armitage is an English actor born in 1971. He is probably best known for his roles in North & South, Robin Hood, and MI-5.

Ok, so there are the dwarves! That’s a lot of people to keep straight and I’ve only put about a fourth of the information on here that’s available. If there’s something you are curious about that isn’t mentioned here, ask me in the comments! If I don’t know the answer I’ll probably know where to point you. And don’t forget, theonering.net is always an excellent resource.

As a parting gift, enjoy this quick interview with the dwarves (minus Ken Stott and Richard Armitage):



8 thoughts on “Dwarves in The Hobbit

  1. jubilare says:

    A plethora of Dwarves!


  2. Briana says:

    I never noticed the ax in the skull before. That’s somewhat disturbing. I also didn’t recognize Armitage from Robin Hood before! Thanks for the great summary!


    • Mary says:

      It is disturbing! I’m hoping it won’t be too distracting during the movie; I really don’t want to be cringing every time I see him.

      I’m glad you liked it!


  3. […] Update: I’ve written a more recent post about the dwarves with lots more pictures. Read it here! […]


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