Of the Seven Clans of Dwarves

Some use the term “clan” for many things… in dwarven terms it means their lineage… nothing more. Which means that it can only be used to refer to the 7 clans (Longbeards, Firebeards, Broadbeams, Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Stonfoots and Blacklocks).

Many have asked what we know about all of these, as most of the material we have relates to the Longbeards only.

Well, I’ve tried to compile all I could find of several sources and put that into a little document. I tells about general appearance, weapons, beards, weight, height, etc… . Hope it proves usefull for many RP-ers.

*1 Note that all dwarves, regardless of their clan become grey and/or white when reaching old age.
*2 Those Longbeards of Durin’s Line lived longer than other dwarves of their clan / Those of the line of the other fathers also were long-lived, though not as long as Durin
*3 All dwarves are Short, Stocky Strong with exceptionally strong limbs and sport beards (even the females).
*4 Quite a high number of the Broadbeams die before their natural age expectancy due to corpulence.
*5 When reaching old age the color of the eyes of dwarves often goes dim.
*6 Some Longbeards have been known to be as tall as 5′ 4″.
*7 Some shades of Black have a Blue tint to them, and some shades of Blond are referred to as Yellow. 

 

 

 

BUILD*3

Longbeards: Slightly taller than other clans. It is said that they grew higher slightly and every couple of generations, to support their longer beards.

Broadbeams: The Broadbeams, as their name implies in general are especially heavy. They are more stocky even then most dwarves from other clans.*4

Ironfists: Stronger in build then most other clans.

Blacklocks: Average Dwarven build

Stiffbeards: Shorter than most clans

Firebeards: Average Dwarven build, yet capable of tremendous display of power.

Stonefoot: Their feet are quite large and heavy compared to other dwarven clans.

 

Details / Usual Character

Longbeards: Known for their many halls through-out Middle Earth. Great merchants and craftsmen.

Broadbeams: Greatest armoursmiths of all dwarves. Unlike most dwarves eat 3 full meals a day and are known to drink large amounts of ale while eating.

Ironfists: Extremely war-like and xenophobic Tribe. Rarely trusting others, even those of their own clan at times.

Blacklocks: Extremely Loyal. Great artists, and renowned jewel makers.

Stiffbeards: Peaceful and clever merchants. Often found hunting in the frozen north and fishing on ice.

Firebeards: Fearless to the point of foolishness.  Supreme Smiths, renowned weaponsmiths.

Stonefoot: The most reclusive and silent of all dwarven clans. The location of their halls is a secret for many other clans even.

 

Average Weight (Male-Female lbs)

Longbeards: 170-140

Broadbeams: 195-165

Ironfists: 165-135

Blacklocks: 160-130

Stiffbeards: 145-125

Firebeards: 160-130

Stonefoot: 160-135

 

Complexion

Longbeards: Fair

Broadbeams: Fair

Ironfists: Fair

Blacklocks: Olive

Stiffbeards: Pale

Firebeards: Fair

Stonefoot: Fair

 

Hair Color

Longbeards: Black*, Brown, Red and Various shades of Blond*7

Broadbeams: Black, Brown and Dark Blond

Ironfists: Black, Brown and Dark Blond. Unlike most Dwarves often go prematurely grey before they reach old age

Blacklocks: Black

Stiffbeards: Different shades of Blond.

Firebeards: Different shades of Red, from Bright Red to light (almost Blond) Red

Stonefoot: Grey – Stonefoots are usually born with grey hairs, which go white as snow at old age (like old age of most dwarves)

 

Weapons & Armor

Longbeards: Usually Mattocks and Axes or swords.

Broadbeams: Usually Double-Handed Axes.

Ironfists: Mattocks and any kind of Axe. Usually in heavy double armor and heavy helms.

Blacklocks: Heavy armor is often decorated with gems.

Stiffbeards: Mattocks and Clubs mainly.

Firebeards: Unusual for Dwarfs they sometimes fight with short Stabbing-Swords. Firebeards are known for their mask shaped helmets

Stonefoot: Mainly mattocks. Have been known to use war-hammers.

 

Beard, clothing and decoration

Longbeards: Beards are usually never trimmed and grow faster than those of other clans, hence “Longbeards”. Tucking of the beard in ones belt is common. Colorful hats are popular.

Broadbeams: Beards are either trimmed fairly short, yet kept broad or they are woven into intricate patterns forming “belts” of beard.

Ironfists: Very sober clothing. Prefer helms to hats, very armor oriented clothing

Blacklocks: Blacklocks often use a mixture of coal and black-mud to color their beards a deep black when it naturally turns grey. Often braided into one long and thick rope-like beard, which they decorate with many gems. They also carry heavy amounts of jewelry and often decorate their clothing with gems.

Stiffbeards: The Stiffbeards are known for their strange way of wearing their Beards as long and pointed thorn-like knots. They often use to the winds and snow of the North-East (where they live) to freeze their beards.

Firebeards: Beards are often trimmed, sometimes braded. It is usual for Firebeards to trim their beards so the beards is divided in 2 or 3 “forks”.

Stonefoot: They usually wear heavy iron boots to make their feet look even bigger and heavier.

 

Average Height (Male – Female “)

Longbeards:  5’1” (6*) – 4’7”

Broadbeams: 4’8” – 4’4”

Ironfists: 5’0” -4’6”

Blacklocks: 4’9” – 4’5”

Stiffbeards: 4’5”-4’1”

Firebeards: 4’9”-4’5”

Stonefoot: 4’9”-4’5”

 

Average Lifespan (Male / Female)

Longbeards:  230-270 / 240-280

Broadbeams: 210-250 / 215-255

Ironfists: 200-240 / 205-245

Blacklocks: 220-260 / 225-265

Stiffbeards: 225-265 / 230-270

Firebeards: 220-260 / 225-265

Stonefoot: 215-255 / 220-260

 

Eye Color

Longbeards: All shades of Brown, Green and Dark Blue

Broadbeams: All shades of Brown, Green and Dark Blue

Ironfists: All shades of Brown, Green and Dark Blue

Blacklocks: Dark Brown

Stiffbeards: Mainly Blue

Firebeards: Usually Pale Brown with light reddish tint

Stonefoot: All shade of Brown, Green and Dark Blue

 

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About The Dwarrow Scholar

The Dwarrow Scholar first experienced the brilliance of Tolkien when he received a copy of The Hobbit from his uncle as a kid, reading it feverishly again and again. Some years on, when he got his very own walk-man (aye forget about tiny iPods, this thing was a brick and played cassette tapes) he made his own little audiotape of The Hobbit, so he could listen to it on his bike on his way to school. Between reenacting the Battle of Five armies with 4 of his school friends (still feel sorry for the kid that had to be the Orc) and before the days of internet, you would find Roy frequently in libraries trying to find all he could about Tolkien and his beloved dwarves. When Roy isn’t delving into Neo-Khuzdul or searching for lost dwarven treasures on the net he’s enjoying time with his wife and son, re-reading his tormented Tolkien paperbacks, watching a good movie, learning new languages or playing a game of LoTRO on Laurelin as Kandral Strongbeard.
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10 Responses to Of the Seven Clans of Dwarves

  1. Matthew says:

    You forgot to put in that the Broadbeams and the Firebeards had their Halls in Nogrod/Belegost, in the Blue Mountains (with the Firebeards being the probable inhabitants of Nogrod, and were likely nearly exterminated between the War against Doriath (over the Nauglamir/Silmaril), and the subsequent Fall of Beleriand.

    The Dwarrows of Belegost were said to have better relations with the Elves, and their halls somewhat survived the Fall of Beleriand (you can see, in some of the early maps of Middle-earth from the Third Age, the remains of Belegost, where Thorin & family relocated for a while, and the remains of Nogrod, which remained uninhabited).

    If it is indeed the case that it is the Broadbeams who inhabited Belegost, then they are also responsible for helping to arm the Noldorin in the First Age, and they created the Dragon Helm of Dor-Lomin. They were renown smiths.

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    • I did not forget though. This is a brief overview of their traits, I purposly didn’t add the names of their halls. So this is not a history of the dwarves, as that would take over 50 pages, merely a brief overview of the traits of each clan.

      Reason is that (especially for the Longbeards) the list would be quite extensive (Khazad-dûm, Lonely Mountain, Grey Mountain Settlements, Iron Hills, Thorin’s Halls, etc…), while for most others it would not.

      So adding the Halls of Tumunzahar (Nogrod) and Gabilgathol (Belegost) would not fit in this overview.

      Concering the halls that remained. Thorin and a hoste of Longbeards did not settle in the remains of Belegost, they founded Thorin’s Halls (2800 T.A – when they settled in the Northern Blue Mountains comming from Dunland), a completely different settlement than the one created by the father of the Broadbeams.

      Also, I do not believe that Nogrod remained uninhabited. Tolkien never mentioned that the remains of both these halls were left uninhabited, in fact he stated that while the Firebeards and Broadbeams left their father-halls in 40 S.A for Khazad-dûm, many did later return to the ruins of their former halls. Meaning that it in fact is very likely that both of these Halls were (at least partialy) rebuilt and resettled.

      The fact that the Firebeards are the smallest clan (in numbers) of the dwarves is likey very true indeed. As the force of King Naugladur was completely destroyed (“Many of the Dwarves were killed, and those who were not fled right into the hands of the Ents, who drove them in turn into the forest, from which none escaped”) – Though later is it mentioned that the dwarves from the ruins of Nogrod also went to Khazad-dûm, so they did not perish all, as likely some stayed in the city and did not join the force of King Naugladur (likely the majority of the women and those not of battle-ready age).

      About the Broadbeams being renowned smiths, aye, no question about that, it is also mentioned in this overview by the way. They indeed had excellent relations with the elves. Telchar (a broadbeam smith that lived in the Firebeard Halls of Tumuzahar, likely the greatest of all smiths in ME) forged the Dragon-Helm of Dor-lómin for his Lord Azaghâl, also known as the Helm of Hador, it was a visored steel helm, embossed and embellished with gold, that bore as its crest the head of the Great Worm of Angband Glaurung. Azaghâl, later gives it as a gift to the prince of the Noldor, Maedhros. In addition, Maedhros had the help of the dwarves, both in armed force and in great store of weapons; and the smithies of Nogrod and Belegost were busy in those days. So even the Firebeards helped with the arming of the Noldor.

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      • Do you have a source for Telchar being a Broadbeam, or is that conjecture?

        Also, the Firebeard-Nogrod Broadbeam-Belegost mapping of clans to holds; as far as I can find there is no specific textual evidence for this (the names certainly imply the characteristics of the two holds so far as we can find, of course) – do you have any references I haven’t stumbled across on the matter?

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      • There is (rather scanty) evidence from volume 12 of the The History of Middle-earth that tells us that Telchar’s home of Nogrod was populated by Dwarves of the Firebeard clan. This would fit with Gabilgathol, being the home of Azaghâl, lord of the Broadbeams. We also know that he made for his lord Azaghâl (who was King of the Broadbeams) the dragon-helm of Dor-lómin. Hence for me that has always meant that Telchar was a Broadbeam that resided in Nogrod.

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  2. Tharonin says:

    While I admit I’m extremly late in asking, this is the first time I’ve come across this site, so forgive my lateness!

    I was wondering where the reasoning for the Broadbeams being the best weaponsmiths stems from? In my mind it has always been that the Broadbeams were the better armoursmiths, in keeping with their invention of chainmail and famed masked helms, while the Firebeards were the best overall smiths and weaponsmiths, in keeping with their warlike tendencies.

    -Tharonin Silverbeard

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    • Hello there Tharonin,

      This should indeed be “armoursmiths”, seems to be an error on my part.
      Thanks for noticing it, I’ll see to update at once.
      And yes, it would be logical indeed that the Firebeards were the superior weaponsmiths.

      Cheers

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  3. Pingback: RP-ing Dwarves in LoTRO | The Dwarrow Scholar

  4. Elistariel says:

    Out of curiosity, what are you sources saying some of the Longbeards could be as tall as 5’4″? The only sources I’ve found just say they were 4′-5′.

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    • This is actually based on a bit of movie-trivia, where I read movie-Thorin was 5’4″. I found that rather tall for a dwarf (most just under 5′) and thought that might be a on the end scale of the chart, hence put that in as maximum height. This is not based on any Tolkien writing, to be clear.

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      • Elistariel says:

        I remember reading that too. I believe it was in an article where Richard Armitage was talking about Thorin. Although, further reader leads me to believe that he was actually referencing the height of his scale-double. WETA has his height as 4’10 I believe. I’ve also seen one other height listed. But I think 4’10 is what’s son the WETA scale. There should be an image (also in the back of one of the Chronicles books) online somewhere. (Sort of in a rush as I type this, so no links, sorry).

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