Dwarves

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
we've forgotten about that scene in which aule makes the dwarf fathers (and mothers?)

of course durin is there with his six brothers (and sisters?).

it's only a brief scene but he's there!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, Durin has a prominent role in that scene as the first dwarf made and the 'assistant' who goes all automaton.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
List of features actors don't need in order to play Dwarves:

-Big noses
-"Craggy" faces
-Beards
-Any particular height​

These things will all be done by makeup and/or effects.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
So you object to the ideas? Or what do you mean?
Nono I just think so far people have been casting much too small of a net. For Elves, we need to cast "people who sort of look like Elves". For Dwarves, we do NOT need to cast "people who sort of look like Dwarves". We can cast anyone at all, because even the Dwarfiest of people is still going to need so much makeup that they might as well have been anyone at all.

ETA: The very first person in the thread is a great example of someone we should cast - Daniel Craig doesn't look particularly Dwarfy at all.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Nono I just think so far people have been casting much too small of a net. For Elves, we need to cast "people who sort of look like Elves". For Dwarves, we do NOT need to cast "people who sort of look like Dwarves". We can cast anyone at all, because even the Dwarfiest of people is still going to need so much makeup that they might as well have been anyone at all.

ETA: The very first person in the thread is a great example of someone we should cast - Daniel Craig doesn't look particularly Dwarfy at all.
Oh I agree. And I don't mind you objecting to the sort of Dwarfy looking actors I've suggested - that's basically the MO I was using and mostly as a starting point or more of a feel of the group. In the end, we should end up with a group that is more thought through.
Let's keep looking.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Question: are we thinking about casting dwarf women?
Yes yes yes.

Question. How many pronouns in the text are applied to Telchar the Smith? How many "he"s would we be contradicting if we made a female Telchar? If I had an e-book I'd search it myself...
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Yes yes yes.

Question. How many pronouns in the text are applied to Telchar the Smith? How many "he"s would we be contradicting if we made a female Telchar? If I had an e-book I'd search it myself...
... if we can do this, I vote we do. I don't have by books in front of me...
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
We could decide to make the two Dwarf houses have different customs, perhaps? One could be more gender equal than the other?
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
That's a possibility - depends on how... overt we want those sorts of things to be. All dudes is an implicit statement about gender. An even mix of dudes and ladies is a different implicit statement about gender. Directly contrasting one against the other is an explicit statement about gender.

Not that we can't or shouldn't make explicit statements. Just that it's a choice to be made deliberately.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
We could decide to make the two Dwarf houses have different customs, perhaps? One could be more gender equal than the other?
I have feels about this. Good lordy, I have feels.

One, is that we need, need, need to avoid stereotypical, "barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen" attitudes among our men and dwarves. That is not to say that they need to be gender equal, just that it needs to be handled in a more nuanced way. I'm thinking, especially with the dwarves, that any unhealthy social norms be of the "benevolent sexism" sort. And if you're not familiar with that term no, it's not a good thing.

A lot of Hobbit fanfic is terrible (but of what genre is that not true), but one thing the good ones tend to be really good at is considering the consequences of a "male-dominated but female-dependent society". That is -- dwarf women are one in three, and Tolkien says many choose not to marry. So you will always have more males than females, especially more unmarried males, and what does that mean for your culture? Tolkien's Word of God indicates that dwarf females at least have the right, first to choose whether or not they wish to marry, and second whom. Beyond that, I think it's in keeping with canon to depict females as sheltered: either by being kept at home or being presented as males to outsiders.

The major struggle a female dwarf is likely to feel isn't that she's considered weak/silly/incapable -- I see no reason we can't depict them as well-educated, trained craftsmen just like their brothers -- but that they're too precious. The dwarfling girl who wants to be a warrior won't be told female's aren't strong enough to fight, but that the society can't risk it. Dwarf women can't be forced to wed, but do many of them, especially perhaps in noble families, feel a pressure to do so in order for family/blood lines to continue?

If women are so few, and "breeders" (to be blunt) are fewer, than a lot of archaic human attitudes we're familiar with won't apply. A dalliance before marriage, for example, probably won't ruin a girl's prospects -- it's not as if her suitors have a plethora of other options, after all. A female -- any female -- might have to fight tooth and nail not to be stuck on a pedestal, worshiped and adored from afar.

All this is to (for me, briefly?) say that dwarf gender issues are there, but they're going to be very different from our average experience.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
OK, I like where this goes. What about *gasp* a rich tradition of unwed mothers *faints*?

It is established that the line of ancestry is followed through the lads, but just because Mr. Late-1800s doesn't explicitly say "extra-marital relations" because it probably wouldn't even occur to him, doesn't mean we can't have them be an accepted norm.

Maybe Dwarf relationships are intense, exclusive, and short-lived. Serial monogamy.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
The following is from an appendix I wrote on Dwarrowdams attached to an (unpublished) fanfic. It veers slightly from canon (I gave dams sideburns rather than full beards, for example), but in general it's how I think of dwarrowdams in Middle Earth.

Dwarrow males outnumber dwarrowdams two to one at the best of times. In periods of peace and plenty, daughters represent ⅓ of births. In times of warfare, wandering, or other stressors, daughters can fall to one out of seven. As such, even in prosperous times, the birth of a healthy girl results in celebrations larger than almost anything else, not only among the family and friends, but in the community at large.


Dams are carefully protected, as much as her individual temperament will allow. Dams are not typically barred from participating in the more dangerous professions or actions of dwarrow culture (warfare, mining, etc.) but nor can they be mustered or recruited -- they must volunteer. For in dwarrow culture, forbidding any dwarf from pursuing their passions is anathema, though discouragement and distractions often greet a dam’s stated desire to be a warrior or otherwise place herself in danger. But, in extreme or extraordinary circumstances, a King does have the authority to ban a dwarrowdam from inclusion in a dangerous enterprise: hence why no dwarrowdam accompanies Thorin Oakenshield on his desperate Quest for the Mountain. Generally speaking, however, dwarrow do not distinguish between “male” and “female” professions, as their females are as hardy in battle and strong in craft as their males. Adult dams are held to the same social mores standards as males.


Dams do not look like dwarf males to dwarrow eyes, though the uninitiated among other races often confuse them for their brothers, and some go so far as to theorize that dwarrowdams do not, at all, exist, but dwarves rather reproduce by some other mysterious (or perverse) means. This is helped in that dwarrowdams have sideburns, often quite long, that can look like beards if braided or combed in certain ways, as is typically done while traveling, to disguise the females from non-dwarrow, or even unfriendly clans (while assault of a dam is a horrific crime, one that not even kin would excuse or protect a male from, females also make incredibly valuable hostages). When not traveling, a dam’s hairstyle is often elaborate, and her braids are a treasured setting for the family to show off their wealth, and so is usually liberally decorated with beads, gems, and costly ribbons. No one would limit a dam to a single hairstyle, that freedom of self-decoration being associated with the freedom of creativity and crafting, and so unlike male dwarrow, dams do not always wear their wedding braids -- a dam’s husband’s bead, however, is always visible in her hair whenever she leaves the private family quarters of her home.


In noble families, a daughter is even more protected than her common fellows. Noble dams, once they leave the nursery (age 10), are accompanied whenever they leave the family quarters by a handmaid, who serves as chaperone, guard, confident, and attendant (princesses have two handmaids, and queens three). A young dam’s first handmaid is traditionally significantly older than her, to act as a guide with an impeachable reputation for good sense. As the dam grows in maturity, and settles into her marriage or craft, her later attendants could be of age or even younger than her. Handmaids are either unmarried or widowed, and must receive the permission of their lady to wed. Being a handmaid to a dam of higher social status is a good way to improve one’s marriage prospects.

Dwarrowdam freedom, if more widely known, would be astonishing in most human communities of the day. Some aspects of their lives would be familiar: the role their family and wealth plays in their social status and marriage reliability, but even here dams are more autonomous, and dwarrow do not hold their females to a higher standard of “purity” than their males, though the expected self-control and proper behavior is high for both. Females cannot be, in mannish terms, “ruined” by a dalliance or rumors. A flirtatious dam may not appeal to certain dwarves, but so too could a timid or too-serious one. It goes without saying that an assault engenders no shame upon the dam.


In fact, there is little crime more reviled in dwarrow society than assault of a female. It is a crime held even worse than treason, for that is a crime against your kingdom, while harming a female in such a way -- possibly making her fear the touch of any dwarf ever again -- affronts the race as a whole. Men (or theoretically, elves, though this is unattested to in history or myth) who so attacks dam are tortured to death: dwarves who do so suffer even worse. Every bone of their hands, arms, feet, and legs are broken, and the dwarf is left in a public place to the mercies of the crowd, until he expires from their abuse or from hunger and thirst, at which point his body is cast out of the settlement, left for wild beasts or birds to consume and desecrate.


Generally speaking, crimes against dams are punished more harshly that those against males. Punishment for harms inflicted against males is usually a fine, proportioned according to the suffering or loss afflicted, and the same hardship inflicted upon the perpetrator: a thumb cut off in punishment for cutting off a thumb, for example. For cases with female victims, the fine is doubled, and the hardship inflicted is increased fivefold: a whole hand amputated in punishment for cutting off a thumb.


The only other constant difference in the lives of dwarrowdams from their male fellows is their living arrangements. While younger sons move out of their parents home upon earning journeyman status and beginning their careers either within or without their Craft, even if single, dams remain within their family home unless departing as a bride. Craftwed dams will live with their fathers, and then brothers or father’s heirs, their whole lives. Females retain all rights to remain in their childhood home, no matter who inherits it: halls, being considered familial property, not individual, cannot be inherited by dams, whose marriage would take it out of the family. Widowed dams, as well, have the right to remain within their late husband's’ family’s halls; for commoners, that is usually in the same home they entered as a bride, but noble families and royalty tend to have familial halls set aside for single and widowed dams.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
OK, I like where this goes. What about *gasp* a rich tradition of unwed mothers *faints*?

It is established that the line of ancestry is followed through the lads, but just because Mr. Late-1800s doesn't explicitly say "extra-marital relations" because it probably wouldn't even occur to him, doesn't mean we can't have them be an accepted norm.

Maybe Dwarf relationships are intense, exclusive, and short-lived. Serial monogamy.
I've not ever thought of it like that -- probably afraid the good Professor would rise from his grave to murder me, for dishonoring his dwarves so, *laughs*.

But it's something to consider... I wrote another short essay on courtship/marriage, for comparison:

The absolute laws of marriage among dwarrowfolk are: 1) the bride must be at least 65, and the groom 75 and 2) either dwarf or dam must be the instigators of both courtship, betrothal and marriage. Absolutely no marriage is arranged, and no coercion down by either family to force the union is permitted. Any violation of this is a crime to which the accused must answer directly to the king, or to his highest subordinate in settlements owing fealty to a non-present monarch.


Dwarrowdams have a great deal of freedom in choosing whom and if to wed, with few exceptions. Societal pressure may prevent a dam of high birth uniting herself with one of low, and it is absolutely anathema for a dam to marry a non-dwarf, though on occasion a dwarf male may marry a woman (or hobbit). If a dam wishes to marry, she tends to have many options; given their rarity (even at the best of times there is one dam for every two male dwarfs), dams are often courted even before they come of age, but a proposal comes only from a dam; and if her chosen dwarf rejects her, she remains single for the rest of her life.


Even so, courtship is generally speaking a male-initiated affair. A dam may begin courtship, but this is rarely done -- a dam is more likely to propose without a courtship period than to initiate one. Courtship is typically begun by the offering of a gift to the dam: this gift need not be costly, but should be thoughtful and unique in some way, often made by the giver’s own hands. Throughout courtship, the dwarf continues to give gifts (normally small) to show off their Craft, increasing understanding/appreciation of the other, and what they can offer to a marriage. Accepting a gift does not imply any commitment on part of the dam; she may receive gifts from a dwarf she dislikes, or from several dwarves at once, without censure. She is not, however, to mislead a dwarf about her feelings in the hopes of gaining more gifts, or to demand more in exchange for her favor. Courtship has no set time limits or an abundance of rituals attached to it. If a dam engages in a series of long courtships, or has several long courtships at the same time, her peers will generally suspect that she is engaging in “dishonest dealings” with her suitors. As in most things dealing with dams, societal pressure acts as an influence more than set tradition or written law.


Dams usually propose in public, as if she is successful, she will wish to be considered betrothed as soon as possible, a state that is achieved once three witnesses can attest to their betrothed status, either by witnessing the proposal and acceptance or being told of it by the couple together (and they must be together -- it is not at all binding evidence for dwarf or dam to tell a witness without the other being present).


Betrothals in dwarrow culture are typically of some duration, even in cases where both families approve of the match. The fathers of both bride and groom, host a joint dinner to celebrate the betrothal no more than a week after the proposal and acceptance, and the next day the Heads of the families meet to begin negotiations on the yasath'khajamu, or bride-price. This is a gift offered to the bride by the groom, signifying both his gratitude for her regard and his promise to care for her and any children they may have; the size of the gift is determined by custom, in relation to his profession and his status within, his social status, as well has her craft, professional status, and social status. The Letterers’ Guild sells charts helping dwarrow families determine the appropriate amounts, but often the final amount is the result of months of negotiations. When the final amount is agreed upon, in a formal ceremony witnessed and notarized by at least three scribes not affiliated with either family, the groom has one week to deposit the yasath'khajamu into the bride’s father’s keeping. The bride must be away when it is delivered, or sequestered away, as she is not to see her yasath'khajamu until the wedding ceremony. A week after that, to allow time for the gift to be carefully counted and recorded, the wedding can take place.

Marriages are traditionally held at night. The groom will depart his halls alone, hair unbraided, dressed in clothing, weapons, and gems exemplifying his Craft, strength, wealth, and all he has to offer to his bride. As he walks along, family and friends will meet with him, holding crystal lanterns, as will members of the public who wish to take part in the celebration, until a veritable parade escorts him to the halls of his intended’s family. All but the groom remain outside. The husband-to-be enters alone, going to the private family sitting room all halls have, where the bride and her close kin await him. In contrast to the groom, the bride wears little jewelry -- either none at all, or a tiara gifted by the groom in cases of noble/royal weddings. Her family, however, is dressed in all their finery and have donned the symbols of their status, craft, and martial strength (if applicable).

The wedding ceremonies themselves are actually incredibly private affairs, with only the bride’s nearest kin (parents and siblings, perhaps a particularly close uncle/aunt or cousin) present. The father stands with his daughter before their family hearth, and, once the groom reaches the threshold of the room, asks Mahal to come in witness of the union. Then he gestures to invite the groom over the threshold and towards the hearth.
When the groom reaches the hearth and taken the bride’s hands in his, the bride’s father turns to her and asks the bride seven times:

“With ____, a Father of our People, as witness, do you freely, truly, and ardently wish to bind your fate together with this dwarf, from now until the remaking of the world?”

(each time invoking the name of a different Father of the Dwarf, in order of seniority, save that the Father of the bride’s clan jumps ahead of Durin, if she is not a Longbeard).

In response, she vows, “yes, by my honor and my life” -- also seven times. Her father then turns to the groom, asking him the same series of questions and receiving the same response each time. After this, the father announces his daughter’s true name to her spouse, and he in return confides (in much lower tones) his true name to her alone. The yasath'khajamu (or a symbolic portion of it, if it is quite large) is handed from the father to the bride. The groom and bride then weave a marriage braid into each other’s hair (beneath the left ear, pointing down towards the heart). Another part of the yasath'khajamu, a choker or necklace, is then handed to the groom, who secures it around his wife’s neck.

After the hair has been braided and the necklace fastened, the bride’s father leads the couple out of his halls, and proclaims them as married to the waiting assembly, to be greeted with a cheer. Traditionally, the wedding is followed by a procession, made up of of the couple and family, friends and public who remained outside during the ceremony (her parents and close kin, who witnessed the ceremony, remain behind), to the home the husband has prepared for the bride. These usually begin serious and solemn, but rarely reach the husband’s home in such a tone, as the songs wishing blessings and happiness change to those wishing fertility and luck. The bride-price also accompanies the couple, carried behind them in a hand-cart (or carts) pulled by servants or hired hands, to be displayed for the only time in the couple’s marriage. After it has been safely deposited in the new couple’s treasury, it can not even be touched by anyone save the wife without her express permission, not even her husband.

Once reaching the new home, and ensconcing the couple and bride-gift inside, the revealers leave, to depart for the halls of family and friends of the newly wedded pair. Parties then begin in earnest, as they toast the absent couple and send them the goodwill believed to give them a happy wedding night and happy marriage: these are much less formal than the preceding ceremonies, and get less so as the night goes on. These parties continue, going from house to house, for three days, the last of which is at the home of the newly married couple, beginning on the fourth morning, in which they partake in the merriment and teasing of their friends and family. If the family is of some social significance, this private merriment is followed, on the fifth day, with a public celebration in a public space (often a rented Guildhall or some similar space) lasting anywhere from one to three days (royal weddings’ public celebrations lasting four days, making the wedding ceremonies eight days long -- all others are limited to seven). In the cases of royal males’ weddings, the ninth day sees the crowning of the new princess/queen.


In extreme cases, in which one or both families refuse to approve the match, the betrothed couple may ignore their kin’s role in the proceedings. A dwarf may negotiate directly with his soon-to-be father in law on the bride-price, if his father or Head of family will not do so for him. If the dam’s family refuses to participate at all, or three times rejects the bride-price (in an attempt to delay, hopefully permanently, the marriage) then there is no further negotiations over the b.p; rather, the couple is considered wed if she: 1) remains one night unattended in his halls, and 2) remains there the next morning, greeting visitors as the mistress of the home. This method of marriage, while valid, is considered scandalous if seen as mere impatience on the part of the couple; typically, couples wait three years or more before taking such a step. Most families, particularly the bride’s, do give in eventually, especially as failing to ensure a daughter the best bride-price possible is a real mark of shame on a father, and a dam has the right to refuse access to her children to any family seen as hindering their conception: such as relatives who tried too long to prevent the marriage.


Dwarves are stubborn and hard-headed, as even they admit, and marriages are frequently uneasy. Divorce is impossible in dwarrow culture, but separations are not unheard of, and are in fact governed by a mix of custom and laws. In the case of separations involving non-adult children, an impartial judge must step in to oversee the situation. The distinction mainly is that separated dwarrow are not free to remarry.
 
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