So I’ve talked in great detail about one of the main feature races to my story, elves… but what about dwarves?
So there are various descriptions of them. Most agree that they have long beards, are very stout, deceptively strong, and seem to have an odd fixation with mining. Other descriptions suggest noses and ears that match, or are even larger than those of humans and elves.
Classic literature such as the Elder Edda lists them as being violent creatures not unlike trolls. One might draw that a troll is part of their lineage, or a less-developed member of the same genome, but again, that depends on what version of troll lore you subscribe to. If we’re talking Harry Potter trolls, then forget I said anything.
The females… well there are theories that dwarves are asexual given the lack of reference in almost any literature to females of the species. Personally, I don’t think that this is the case. This is covered somewhat in Lord of the Rings Two Towers movie where Gimili states that the womenfolk are often mistaken for men because they are so similar in appearance. This could account for the lack of female mention, but again that’s just a theory.
Their weapon of choice seems to be a large ax, though many have been known to use crossbows as well. They have no real 6th sense and can’t use magic (that we know of), but they have a keen sense when it comes to geology.
This has been a point on contention for many fantasy writers. While most agree that mountains and/or underground mines are dwarves dwell. They build massive underground cities out of stone. Many stories say that they move so much stone building these cities, that dwarves may have been responsible for many of the mountains that appear in the world.
Here’s where things get hazy; many have said that dwarves are somewhat xenophobic and hide away from the rest of the world. They prefer to borrow deep into their mines. Others even go so far as to suggest that dwarves fear being out in the open because they are afraid they’ll fall off the earth.
We’ve seen the xenophobic mentality in many versions, including much of J.R.R. Tolkien. However, more modern pieces seem to disagree with this take and say instead that while yes the dwarven cities are underground, many prefer to venture out and either conduct trade or become skilled blacksmiths, thus joining the rest of society.
Dwarves have rather consistently been the comic relief in most modern literature. They drink hard, they play hard, and they swear a lot. They are known for being blunt and not afraid to tell it like it is. Thus they tend to come off as extremely abrasive and poorly mannered.
Dwarves seem to contrast elves in this manner. While elves consistently tend to prefer lighter, more vegetarian-style means with only the finest wine as their choice of drink, dwarves are the exact opposite. By many accounts, dwarves eat large, and often many, meals in one day. Their primary diet seems to be meat, potatoes, and malt beer. Many have noted their extremely poor dinner table manners and eating habits.
So with all that in mind, what’s my take on them? How have I characterized them in my writings?
Well… I’ve tried to keep close to the source material. Personally, I’ve seen too many people, myself included, who shy away from anything that strays too much.
In my writings, dwarves do not hit 4ft… ever. They are very stout with short arms and legs, but larger torsos. Their facial features are far closer to humans so they are not all that different in that aspect. They are fiercely loyal to their friends.
In many cases, they have left their underground homes and live as equals with human beings as contributing members of society. They share mankind’s disdain for elves and are known to verbally bash them to the point where humans have even become uncomfortable.
Female dwarves are very demanding, yet kind-hearted individuals. They genuinely care about the people around them, even if it means giving someone a slap upside the head when needed.
Though it’s considered stereotyping and a dwarf will take offense if anyone mentions it, dwarves tend to flock to careers such as jeweler, archaeology, appraisals, geology, masonry, construction, demolition, and mining. Pretty much anything that involves stone.
Most of them do not posses the long beards for which they are known. By this point, civilization has evolved and so have they.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it for me on Dwarves. Let me know what you think.
Catch you on the flip side,