Dwarves

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
We meet the dwarves in Episode 4 of this season, and introduce the following characters.

Norn, a Broadbeam of Belegost who serves as translator and later as ambassador to the Sindar. He is more enthusiasticly pro-elf than your average dwarf, but he gets along best with the dour Mablung.

Telchar, a young female smith from Nogrod (Firebeard) who is very enthusiastic about designing weapons and taking on new technical challenges.

Gamil Brog, a taciturn older dwarf and Telchar's master. Though skilled, he is not thrilled about adapting dwarvish designs to elvish needs. He has his own forge on Mount Dolmed, and dwarves of both Nogrod and Belegost work there.

Azaghal, king of Belegost. We will not see Belegost itself on screen yet, and therefore the king and his court and army will have to convey much about dwarvish culture to the audience.

Any suggestions for character designs?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Did we already decide to make the Firebeards a bit more celtic and the Broadbeams more like Finns or Balts?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
maybe a bit simple... but i thought, maybe the ealry dwarves were a more practical race and it was not until they become wealthy by trading with the sindar that they develope a taste in finer clothes and fabric.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Here is what Marielle suggested, following up on the suggestions made during the November 3rd, 2017 Session where the Hosts discussed Dwarves:

Giving the Scandinavian look to the Longbeards is 100% okay in my book!

So we have seven families, in theory we can have seven different looks. Thinking "out loud", as it were, how if we used the following "types" for inspiration?

Firebeards -- redhaired and paled. Irish/Scottish/Celtic features. Architecture and fashion inspired by gemworking, glassblowing, and flame? Gemworking most exalted craft.

Broadbeams -- dark haired and swarthy skinned. Italian features? Architecture and fashion inspired by the straight edges and sharp points of weaponscraft? weaponsmithying most exalted craft.

Longbeard -- Scandinavian features. Focus on big and grand architecture, mining, mithril. A lot of silver used in thread/jewelry to mimic mithril. Masonry or armoursmithying most exalted craft?

Ironfists -- Indian features? Even more martial than the other Families.

Stiffbeards -- Ethiopian features? Only other Family than Longbeards to fret over beards, but width rather than length focus.

Blacklocks -- Korean features? Weaving and other thread crafts most exalted.

Stonefoots -- Germanic feature? The best miners tend to be Stonefoots, have a "sixth sense" for stone.

EDITED TO ADD: And, going along with my earlier idea of extensive trade networks, I think we *can* get individuals of the other clans in, if only as background merchants, ambassadors, or sell-swords.
So, I would say that the Broadbeams are a bit darker than Finns - dark hair and more Mediterranean features. Their clothing/culture can draw from other sources, though, as there's nothing particularly Mediterranean about a people who lives under a mountain a vast distance from the Sea!
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I have discussed the seven dwarf tribes many times... thing is the dwarves all but durin awoke in pairs, we know the two easternmost tribes awoke in the orocarni which would be as far away as lake baikal if these were the mountains from which the many streams emtied into cuivirnen... the two other tr7bes would have been somewhere in the middle , probably in the northern areas too, like ered luin and gundabad. So personally i prefer the stonefoots and blacklocks more eastern asian in look and culture and the ironfists and stiffbeards more indo-iranian...

I gave a nod to this by basing the petty dwarves look on scythian fashion, as they are supposed to be outcasts from some eastern houses.

I am kind of tired of celtic scottish types so i made the firebeards more gaulish- ironage looking, a bit more pompous than the early irish.

We can still give the broadbeams a more mediterranean outlook though...
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Maybe: stiffbeards: northern or siberian, stiffbeards an allusion to their cold enviroment

Ironfists: sellswords and traders in metals, vaguely sarmatian or hunn in culture

Blacklocks: darker in hair and complexion, like pre- aryan indian tribes

Stonefoots: stoic miners, ancient chinese cultural pattern
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I know pointed shoes and pointed hoods& caps are today a rather outdated cliché from a different time... they don´t have much spce in modern fantasy settings, but many people would be surprised how many ancient cultures actually sported such looks...
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Agreed that stubble is not a beard!

I really do like the second one you posted, Haerangil. I guess that's Assyrian?

For personal reasons, I want one dwarvish culture to be Ethiopian. They are an ancient Semitic culture, as well as a more unusually unique ancient African culture than Egypt.

You can even play the 'Dwarf or Ethiopian icon?' game:








Of course, we're only going to see three main dwarf cultures in our project - Broadbeams, Firebeards, and Longbeards. Other dwarf peoples only will appear on the periphery, such as if we depict merchant dwarves travelling between the many dwarf kingdoms. And, as Haerengil pointed out, the Petty Dwarves can be exiles of other houses as well.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Ethiopian Blacklocks then ... if you want! I´ll see what i can find!

My short sketches are just very raw ideas so far...
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Is it too late to comment about visual arts? I've been reluctant to say anything but I hope I'm not too late.

I like the second version of the Broadbeams more than the first ones. In general I like the clothes for the men, and the armbands on the Firebeards.

The beard photos are indeed awesome. In my mind most Dwarves have longish beards, more like in the photos and less like some of the drawings, with Longbeards having beards that hang down at least far enough to tuck into their belts. Firebeards in mind have somewhat shorter but flowing/wavy beards, similar to the Longbeard in Haerangil's picture. But my rough mental picture of Stiffbeards is of short-ish bristles sticking out straight like somebody who's been electrocuted in a cartoon (I don't know if that would look good or silly in practice).

Since the curled and looped beards are so awesome, and most of the Dwarf-clans will hardly be seen on screen at all, I propose giving the epic curled beards to either the Broadbeams or the Firebeards. I would also like the Broadbeams to have darker skin, a light brown shade, and perhaps to have slightly thicker arms and legs (and maybe torsos?) than the other Dwarves.



I also wish to say something about the Dwarf-women. I know that the Hosts are opposed to the bearded Dwarf-women in the books because they're concerned it would look weird or silly. I know that the hijabs and veils are a compromise, an attempt to hide this change from the books, so it won't be obvious to viewers that they don't have beards. So I'm not criticising that as an attempt to hide the change.

But, I think it would actually be easy to depict bearded Dwarf-women who don't look weird or silly at all (I'll explain below how I think it can be done). I would like to request, of those people who attend the Friday podcasts live, if anyone feels up to it, to please consider trying to persuade the Hosts that Dwarf women can have beards (like in the books) without looking weird.


So, the way that I think Dwarf-women can have beards without looking weird is by making them look 100% exactly the same as Dwarf-men, with no visible differences and without feminine voices. If they look like that, they wouldn't look any more strange than the male Dwarves. They would merely look identical. That would be confusing, but Dwarf-women do indeed confuse Elves and Men

The reason I think we should and could do this, is because of this passage in the Later Quenta Silmarillion, War of the Jewels p. 205. The paragraph describes how all Dwarves, "male and female alike", have beards from birth and are never seen shaved. It also says:

Later Quenta Silmarillion said:
nor indeed can their womenkind be discerned by those of other race, be it in feature or in gait or in voice, nor in any other wise save this: that they go not to war, and seldom save at direst need issure from their deep bowers and halls.
I interpret this passage to mean that Dwarf-women are 100% identical to Dwarf-men in every perceivable way, and don't look like human bearded women would look. They not only have beards, they also have no visible or audible traits that Men or Elves can perceive as feminine, or even different from male Dwarves. That must mean that they don't have visible breasts, wider hips, narrower shoulders, delicate faces, shorter stature, high-pitched voices, or any other feminine trait. (Unless they're naked I suppose, but they won't be except when Aule creates them, and clever camera angles would hopefully cover up everybody's groin in that scene.)

There is also a passage in the LotR, Appendix A, which says the same thing more briefly and also says Dwarf-women dress the same as the men:
Appendix A said:
They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart.
If also making them dress identically to the male Dwarves would be too confusing on screen, we could give them a different style of clothing, although I would prefer to avoid highly feminine clothing such as dresses, skirts, and hijabs. This would be a smaller change from the books, reducing some of the confusion without changing Dwarf anatomy.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
I think we intend to cast a female actress for Telchar. So, while we can lean androgynous, she's not going to look or sound indistinguishable from a male. While it is certainly possible that outsiders have trouble telling dwarf men from dwarf women, I imagine the differences are more clear to dwarves.

It remains to be seen whether or not our show will be as elf-centric as the source material, but I doubt we will be seeing the dwarves strictly as outsiders.

Personally, I think that if we portray the dwarves as a culture where everyone looks and sounds like men, the viewer will conclude that there are no dwarf women.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Personally i could not convince myself to draw bearded dwarfwomen. But honestly, considering the explicit mention of darves male and female bein almost alike, i honestly would prefer bearded dwarfwomen. But would it be worth a rebellion against the hosts?

The only reason so far was that our hosts dislike bearded women. I can.t say that im satisfied with that as an accaptable reason.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I'm not certain what is being said. Has an absolute final decision already been made to change the books, and nobody is allowed to disagree with it at all? The constumes session already happened? I'm not familiar with the session schedule because I haven't found where it's written down.

I don't think there's any difficulty in Dwarves using dialogue to tell the Elves (who are the point of view characters this season) that Telchar and some others are women. I think that using dialogue would work. It's been done in television before, in Farscape.

If Dwarves will be point of view characters in a later season, that is a reason to establish some difference visible to audiences. But that visible difference can be clothing style, without including any large anatomical differences. Whatever Dwarves use to tell the difference (pheromones? subsonic frequencies?) does not need to be obvious to audiences. Clothing would be enough, after dialogue is used to point out the difference, and with pronouns to remind. As I said, this was done on Farscape and I wasn't confused at all.

Is there any reason to make this change, other than "it looks weird to humans"? I think it's clear that Tolkien intended it to look weird to us, and be noticeably different from the Children of Illuvatar. I would rather follow the author's intentions, especially the explicit intentions, unless there's something wrong with them.

Edit: My suggestion addresses the Hosts’ concern by not putting breasts and beards together.
 
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