Honouring those that fell

As a few of you may know, when I’m not working on the dwarvish dictionary, replying to some of your wonderful Tumblr questions, or posting other material available through www.dwarrowscholar.com, I greatly enjoy roaming LOTRO, Middle Earth as created by Standing Stone Games.

So, naturally, when I heard an Erebor region was to be added in the next update (Update 22: “Legacy of the Necromancer”), I could hardly wait. In fact, it turned out I could not wait at all, as I ended up heading to the test server, known as Bullroarer.

Erebor in Lord of the Rings Online

To say I’m of a fan of this game is a slight understatement really. Not only has it been a staple for me these past years (apart from the much-needed family outings and sampling my whisky collection, likely my go to “unwinder”), but it has even given inspiration to quite a few of the words you’ll find in the Neo-Khuzdul dictionary.

Great and pleasant was my surprise when, roaming the lush fields at the foot of Erebor, I stumbled upon a grand memorial for Thorin and his nephews Fili and Kili (in addition to the statue of Dáin Ironfoot in Dale). Well, to be clear, the surprise wasn’t the memorial, but the fact that the plaques on the memorial seemed to make use of the words seen in the Dwarvish Dictionary.

Dáin Ironfoot Statue in LOTRO’s Dale

When I had a closer look, I could clearly identify and read the words written here. Some of these were general Neo-Khuzdul, others specific to the version I had made. At the same time, I noticed a few minor mistakes in the runes used (specific runes and types of runes) and in the words themselves.  So, I sent the good people of Standing Stone Games an email with some suggestions to improve and correct these plaques.

Memorial for Thorin, Fíli and Kíli in LOTRO


I thought nothing more of it after that, to be honest, and went back to my dwarvish business. A few days later though, I got a nice reply in which my suggestions seemed to be greatly appreciated. Before long I was having an enjoyable email exchange on the topic with Chris Pierson, LOTRO’s World Designer & Loremaster.

Long story short, the plaques were updated and in the process of doing so, LOTRO artist Mark Lizotte achieved a new level of Nerd-dom. My congratulations Mark. 🙂

For those interested in what the plaques actually say, here’s a screenshot with translations below.

Dwarvish plaques in LOTRO (click to enlarge)

Now, all we need to do as die-hard dwarf-aficionados is hope for a few more of those dwarf -themed regions in LOTRO in the years to come.


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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5 Responses to Honouring those that fell

  1. Petal says:

    Great read. Thank you for the post. I have one question for you and this may sound naive but I thought the Hobbit fandom referred to Fili and Kili’s father as “Vili”. This is the first time I’ve seen the name as Kalin. Do you know where this came from? Just curious. Thanks!


    • Tolkien never specified the actual name of Fíli and Kíli’s father, so Kalin is as good as any of course. Though Víli is used by many in the fandom it would be rather an unlikely name. Reason for this is that “V” in names of Old Norse origin would have likely been written as “W” by Tolkien, if we take the names of the Völuspá as the standard, for instance, “Dwalin” originally is “Dvalin” in the Völuspá (where Tolkien got the majority of his dwarvish outer names). So using the fandom name and following that logic his father would have been Wíli, not Víli. Hence, Víli is rather an unlikely name for their father. Furthermore Kalin, like other Old Norse names has a rather interesting meaning to it, most likely derived from “Kala” (to be cold) – perhaps Kalin wasn’t the most affectionate of dwarrows?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, great explanation.


  3. Beki says:

    That’s great. However, I do have an issue. In Tolkein’s work, Fili and Kili were always referred to as sons of Dis. To my knowledge (which isn’t perfect) their father’s name was never mentioned. Where did their father’s name come from? I would think being that their mother was the “ranking” family member, and that I’ve never seen their father’s name on any family tree including Tolkien’s works, that they should have been referred to as son’s of Dis.


    • You are indeed correct that Tolkien never mentioned the name of Fíli and Kíli’s father. I do not know with certainty why SSG opted to add a name for him here (not my idea, I merely checked the runes and patronymic form – which were correct), but I can only assume that they followed the pattern seen in on Balin’s tomb, where the patronymic name is used as well. I think we must not forget that if it were not for the valiant deaths of her sons in the Battle of the Five Armies Dís would not be named at all in the family history even. So I personally would agree with the choice of SSG here to use a patronymic instead of a matronymic (which we have no proof of even existed in dwarvish culture). Because, of course, it is one thing to name a dwarf woman in a family tree, but another matter entirely to add a matronymic to a dwarf – which, I personally think, would be a bigger leap from lore than just to invent a name for their father.

      Liked by 1 person

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