Dwarves

MithLuin

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A few comments from today's session.

The hosts are mostly against dwarf women having beards. They fear it would become a joke of ugliness. They did suggest some alternatives. Perhaps only the dwarf women of the Longbeards have beards (so, Moria, Durin's folk). Perhaps the rumor that dwarf women have beards was started by the elves, who didn't know any better. Perhaps the women never travel for trade, only for battle, so they're under helmets that obscure their faces. Perhaps the women wear veils which would disguise or leave in question the existence of beards, which would encourage the rumors.

They were okay with (but not married to) the idea that Telchar be a female dwarf. Telchar will be around in Season 3, and possibly interacts with Eöl.

Gamil Zirak will be introduced as a young smith named Zirak when he makes the Nauglamir (using mithril from Khazad-dum), and will then become the aged and venerable Gamil Zirak when he is brought to Doriath to add the silmaril to the Nauglamir. So, Gamil Zirak is no longer Telchar's teacher and will not be in Season 3.

'Durin the Deathless' will now apply to all Fathers of the Dwarves. So, Azaghal of Belegost and the Lord of Nogrod will be the original dwarf fathers, making their deaths even greater tragedies. So, both of these dwarves can appear now and die 500 years from now and the Hosts are okay with that. But other 'normal' dwarves will live roughly 250 years, so will have to be in particular timeframes.

We need a dwarvish (Khuzdul) name for the Lord of Nogrod. Any suggestions?

The dwarves of Nogrod will be mostly red-haired and light skinned, while the dwarves of Belegost will be mostly dark-haired with darker complexions. How dark is dark was not mentioned. As the dwarves do travel back and forth to each other's cities, it would be quite likely that there are some 'mixed' dwarves in both cities as these clans have a rivalry but get along well enough.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
. How dark is dark was not mentioned. As the dwarves do travel back and forth to each other's cities, it would be quite likely that there are some 'mixed' dwarves in both cities as these clans have a rivalry but get along well enough.
...Which means we get to decide if clan follows matrilineal or patrilineal affiliation. Text would suggest patrilineal, but we could play with the idea of dwarflings belonging to their mother's, not father's, clan if we like.

On the question of darkness... I still like the idea of them being vaguely Scandinavian (not Scottish!), in homage to Tolkien's sources. But that would limit the number of non-white roles, again. Or are we just not worrying about that until Men?
 

MithLuin

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Staff member
It would be rather suspicious if Aulë, who is hanging out with the diverse and vaguely humanoid Valar, made all of the Fathers of the Dwarves of the same complexion. He and his wife Yavanna have different color schemes all around. So, I would suspect that there is variation of skin tones among the clans.

That being said, we're only meeting 2 of the 7 clans here, and only 1 more of the clans will ever appear in the story. The other four clans are further east (and much further east), so we won't get to see them (unless some of them show up with Dain's forces from the Iron Hills in the Battle of Five Armies). So, we have three different shots at dwarvish societies. I certainly agree that at least one should be strongly Scandinavian, and that's probably not going to be the red-haired Firebeards. But it also just as clearly probably *should* be the Longbeards, Durin's folk.

But it's also true that Khuzdul is most closely related to Semitic languages, so basing one clan of dwarves on Jewish, Middle Eastern, or even Ethiopian peoples would be a fair interpretation as well. I do hesitate to reinforce the 'dwarves = Jews' connection, because it can easily become stereotypical rather than a homage inspired by, but Tolkien himself was certainly aware of the parallels. So, we could consider some of this when deciding on how to cast the Broadbeams (which so far, means Azaghal, the Father of the Broadbeams).
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
That being said, we're only meeting 2 of the 7 clans here, and only 1 more of the clans will ever appear in the story. The other four clans are further east (and much further east), so we won't get to see them (unless some of them show up with Dain's forces from the Iron Hills in the Battle of Five Armies). So, we have three different shots at dwarvish societies. I certainly agree that at least one should be strongly Scandinavian, and that's probably not going to be the red-haired Firebeards. But it also just as clearly probably *should* be the Longbeards, Durin's folk.
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.
 
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Marielle

Well-Known Member
By the way, side note, but isn't it interesting that there is not a single attested use of mithril for offensive objects? It's used for beauty, or defense. That might imply something about dwarves not always assumed. They can seem warlike and hot-tempered, but they seem to reserve this most useful and precious of metals for non-violent purposes (though sometimes for defense from violence).
 

MithLuin

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Staff member
The cynic in me wants to say, 'well, you don't make a blade out of silver'... but of course mithril is not ordinary silver and is referred to as silver steel - suggesting it could have enough of the properties of steel to have been used for a blade of some sort. So it's a fair point that we see it used for a chainmaille shirt, the ithildin moon runes on the gates of Moria, the (rebuilt) gates of Minas Tirith, various jewelry items...but not weapons.

Except for its strength, mithril has many of the properties of aluminum, which would not be found in its elemental form in its native state (rather being part of bauxite), and requiring a very significant source of energy (ie, a power plant) to convert one to the other. It doesn't tarnish, it's very lightweight, etc.

But of course the beauty and strength of mithril far outshines aluminum, so the analogy only goes so far ;)


So, we're suggesting a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Egyptian look for the Broadbeams? This is amusing to me, as my father (who is roughly half-Irish, half-German descent) was always told by the girls in high school that he looked 'just like' Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor (of Syrian and Lebanese descent). So maybe by the time we take the dwarven mixing into account, a lot of different actors would be (potentially) appropriate for dwarves. Omar Sharif did have a rather square face, and I'm sure he would have made a great dwarf, but of course he's no longer alive.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
A bit sad gamil is no longer telchars teacher...

And so azaghal, who was only called a lord in the books is now one of the fathers..,

But i can see the wish to have at least one long- lived reappearing dwarf for the series.

Thinking of khuzdul names for dwarves...

Burkzahar - bold axe
Kibilkûn - silver- man
Gabilkhuzd - great dwarf
Barazbund - red read
Baraztarg-red beard
Uzbadkhuzd- dwarf lord
Sharuzbad - bald lord
Targnarag - black beard
Kibiltarg - silver beard
Burkuzbad - axe lord
Zigilmahl - silvermaker
...
Uzbadkhuzd is more or less a direct translation of Goldogrin Naugladur...


Fangluin and Bodruith cannot be translated by our known khuzdul words, but could be Targhalk/Targhârn and Gaginbulik in some neokhuzdul variants.
 
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Richol Richards

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For some reason, I've completely fallen in love with the idea of Sydney Tamiia Poitier as our female Telchar (if we do indeed cast Telchar as female). I can easily see her as one of the greatest dwarf smiths of all time. I love that she looks like she can absolutely be at home in a forge while having a softer side to her features. She wouldn't be a female dwarf that looks masculine; she'd own the role and sell its credibility while maintaining her femininity. There's also bright, alert, and intelligent look to her eye that (to me) speaks of cleverness and diligence in whatever she puts her hands to. I'd love to see her as our celebrated dwarf smith.


Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 9.17.09 AM.png Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 8.37.24 AM.png Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 9.18.07 AM.png
 
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Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
A bit sad gamil is no longer telchars teacher...

And so azaghal, who was only called a lord in the books is now one of the fathers..,

But i can see the wish to have at least one long- lived reappearing dwarf for the series.

Thinking of khuzdul names for dwarves...

Burkzahar - bold axe
Kibilkûn - silver- man
Gabilkhuzd - great dwarf
Barazbund - red read
Baraztarg-red beard
Uzbadkhuzd- dwarf lord
Sharuzbad - bald lord
Targnarag - black beard
Kibiltarg - silver beard
Burkuzbad - axe lord
Zigilmahl - silvermaker
...
Uzbadkhuzd is more or less a direct translation of Goldogrin Naugladur...


Fangluin and Bodruith cannot be translated by our known khuzdul words, but could be Targhalk/Targhârn and Gaginbulik in some neokhuzdul variants.
Maybe 'red lord' could be Barazbad or Baruzbad (shortened a bit from Barazuzbad).
 

Haakon

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Just so we're on the same page. What did we say about the female Dwarves and beards? Do they have them or not? Not, right?
 

Richol Richards

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Yes, I think the decision was to leave the beards out. I think we're making the misconception that female dwarves resemble male dwarves originate a rumour (because the females are hardly distinguishable from the males on the battlefield). And the dwarves just never bother to correct this rumour. Also, I think someone had suggested maybe some of the females occasionally put on fake beards ...but I can't recall the reason for this.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I was looking around and I've kind of fallen in love with the idea of Rose McGowan as Telchar. She could play a craftsman who knows a lot about life and about hard work. But she could be one of the human women as well. She's got a lot of charisma.
upload_2017-11-6_14-51-15.jpeg
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Yes, I think the decision was to leave the beards out. I think we're making the misconception that female dwarves resemble male dwarves originate a rumour (because the females are hardly distinguishable from the males on the battlefield). And the dwarves just never bother to correct this rumour. Also, I think someone had suggested maybe some of the females occasionally put on fake beards ...but I can't recall the reason for this.
The idea was that dwarf women (fanon name seems to be dwarrowdams, but I'm not sure of the origin of this) could either be veiled or wear false beards while in the presence of outsiders or travelling, to conceal themselves. I personally lean more towards false beards than veils, but either or neither still seems up in the air: I don't remember a firm decision being reached.

Right now I'm leaning Poitier over McGowan for Telchar, though either could certainly do it. This being the first time I ever considered McGowan for a Tolkien role, my immediate thought was "she looks like the belongs in the Children of Hurin", but as Morwen or Niennor I'm not sure.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
This being the first time I ever considered McGowan for a Tolkien role, my immediate thought was "she looks like the belongs in the Children of Hurin", but as Morwen or Niennor I'm not sure.
Yeah I was thinking Morwen as well.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Veils i would like...
Really? I was thinking I would prefer false beards/fronting as men. It's a narrow distinction, perhaps; both are hiding the female from view, and perhaps false beards could be seen as denying an individual's femaleness (first typed femininity, but that's not quite right) from outsiders, but... I guess it depends on what the point of the veils or beards are. Veils would make females more immediately identifiable to outsiders, not less, after all. If the idea is that outsiders cannot ever look upon a female, than fine, though we'd have to be careful how we did it to avoid associations (good or bad) with real-life parallels.

In reading the short appendix on dwarves in LotR, however, (and I don't have the text in front of me to quote, unfortunately) I always got the sense that dwarves did not want outsiders ever to realize that they were looking up or speaking to a female at all. Now, that's Third Age, so we certainly can have that attitude change and develop over time, but it fits my assumptions and thinking about dwarves (relayed in voluminous detail earlier, I think on this thread!) that they would try to hide not the faces of their women, but their identities as such, from men. That women would be so precious, and rare, that they would be protected from discovery from all not deemed completely trustworthy. Maybe even when travelling to other dwarf settlements not formally allied with their own!
 
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