August 2, 2021

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Why do Elves and Dwarves Hate Each Other?

7 min read
elves and dwarves

Throughout the Lord of the Rings, there are hints of a bumpy past between elves and Dwarfs. What happened to them and when did it all start hello friends, it’s Karl here, and today we’ll be exploring the enmity between the elves and the dwarfs. The elves were created by Eru Iluvitar the one supreme god.Vivitar was the only being that could create true life. Now the dwarfs were made by Aule the smith who was one of the Valar and these were angelic beings that served the Iluvitar.

when Aule made them, the dwarfs didn’t have true life, they were sort of puppets that were controlled by his will, and when his attention wasn’t on them they would become an animate once again. Now Iluvitar knew about the dwarfs and he eventually confronted Aule about these creations, but since he saw that the intent behind their creation was good, Iluvitar gave them true life and the dwarves became self-aware and they were the first 7 fathers of the dwarfs.

They were then put to sleep and they would awaken sometime after the Elves had awoken and Illuvitar warned Aule and I quote “but when the time comes I will awaken them and they shall be to thee as children and often strife shall arise between thine and mine, the children of my adoption, and the children of my choice” This basically tells us that from the very start before either the elves or the dwarfs had awoken Iluvitar knew that these two races would often clash. Now the elves and dwarves first encountered each other during the first age. At that time there was a subgroup of dwarf known as petty dwarfs. Also, read- dwarven last names

These dwarfs were exiled from the Dwarvenkingdoms and they were known to be shorter and less sociable than a normal dwarf. Now, these petty dwarfs had seen the Sindar Elves and they started to attack, them under the cover of night and stealth.The elves did not recognize them they had never seen dwarves before and they simply thought that the petty dwarf was some sort of cunning animal. These Elves then hunted them and culled their population for they were unaware that these creatures were fellow people. The petty dwarf starts to fear them and would avoid fighting back or attacking the elves as very few of them were left.

This hunt eventually stopped when the elves met true Dwarfs and at that point, they realized that the Petty Dwarfs must have been their kin. Now these Dwarfs did despise the Petty Dwarfs and shun them, yet they still acknowledged their kinship and they resented the injuries that were done to them. However, they chose to set aside these grievances and form treaties with the Sindar Elves, though we’re told that these grievances still smoldered in the hearts of the dwarves, for they were a proud people and they would not easily forget those who wronged them. As always I’ll be providing all the quotes in the description below. Also, read- kobold names

Now after this encounter, the elves and the dwarfs did work and trade together, and the dwarfs would often help the elves with building and smithing; such as when they built the Menegroth for the Elven king Thingol. However, it was with King Thingol that I believe the biggest change in the relationship would occur, one that would result in scars for both the elves and the dwarfs; scars that would never heal. Thingol was the King of Doriath one the most powerful elven realms of the first age. During his reign, two objects of immense craftsmanship came into his possession.First was one of the three Silmarils, gems of unmatched beauty, creations of Feanor, the greatest Elf Smith that ever lived.

The other object was the Nauglamir, a necklace that was made for Finrod, an Elven King of the Noldor. It was made by the dwarves of Ered Luin and it was adorned with gems from Valinor that Finrod had brought with him when he traveled to middle-earth. This necklace was known for its great beauty, and it also was highly coveted. King Thingol desired to combine the two together to form the grandest and most beautiful artifact in the middle-earth.

This was no easy task and he entrusted the dwarves that lived in Nogrod to smith them together. When the dwarves looked upon the work of their forefathers and the Wilmar their hearts were filled with lust yet they accepted the task. Thingol would often visit them in their smithies to observe their progress, and after much labor it was complete. The light of the Silmarils shone brightly and reflected onto the gems of the Nauglamir and it was truly a perfect work, entrancing to all who beheld it. King Thingol then attempted to take it and clasp it around his neck, yet the dwarfs withheld it from him.

They insisted it was theirs, and they said that he had no claim to the Nauglamir which was made by the dwarves for King Finrod and not for him. This filled Thingol with anger, his pride wounded, and he insulted them calling them stunted people, which infuriated the dwarves who rose up and killed him. The dwarves then fled with their new creation, but the elves learned about what had happened to their King, and they sent forth a party to hunt the dwarfs. The Elves caught up to them, and the Nauglamir was recovered. They then slew the dwarves but two managed to escape and flee back to their city Nogrod in the Blue Mountains.

Here they told their kin that their fellow Dwarfs were slain at the command of the elven King, as he wanted to cheat them out of their payment. This lit the fire of vengeance in the hearts of the dwarfs of Nogrod, and an army was assembled which marched towards the elven kingdom of Dorath. There they battled with the elves, and the dwarfs were victorious and they proceeded to ransack and plunder the elven realm and the halls of Thingol.

This event is of tremendous importance and in my opinion one of the most significant causes behind the enmity between the Dwarves and Elves. The elves would never forget what happened to this ancient elven realm and its King, while the dwarfs would not know how they were lied to, and they would still believe that the elves were responsible for it all. After this event, there would always be a level of mistrust between dwarfs and elves, though at times they would still cooperate with each other, such as the elves of Eregion and the dwarves of Khazad-Dum, who traded and worked together to make theWest door of Moria.

During The Hobbit when Thorin and the company are imprisoned in the halls of Thranduil, we’re told that elves of Mirkwood did not have much love for the dwarves, because in the past they had fought against them, as the dwarfs had stolen some of their treasure. The dwarfs on the other hand claimed that they only took that which was owed to them, as the elven King had contracted them to shape his gold and silver, but after he refused to pay them.

Some believe that this is a reference to King Thingolbut considering the context I think this is a separate story involving the Elves of Mirkwood and most likely King Thranduil. What’s important is that we see another example of dealings between elves and dwarves that had gone wrong. I think the Elves sometimes grew tired at what they viewed as dwarven greed and stubbornness. When the fellowship reached Lothlorien, and they inform Galadriel and Celeborn about Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog, Celeborn seems annoyed at how the dwarfs had stirred up evil in Moria Once again, and the way he says it almost seems to insinuate that the dwarfs can’t see further than their own desires, and these desires ended up releasing one of the worst Elf Slayers that ever existed, analog.

At the same time, you can see why the dwarfs would resent this point of view because the elves were fine accepting and trading with the dwarfs for their gems services and precious metals, yet they would automatically blame the dwarfs when misfortune came to pass. I feel from the very start elves and dwarfs were meant to be contrasting beings. Elves are tall slender and hairless, while dwarves are short stout and hairy. the Elves fight with precision and elegance using bows while dwarfs prefer brute force such as axes and war hammers.

The elves live in woods trees surrounded by nature and bright light, while dwarfs live underground in halls carved through the rock, giving an enclosed compression the Elves seek to preserve and coexist with nature, while Dwarfs seek to change the land, mine, build and transform nature to suit their needs. Neither philosophy is wrong, they were simply rival creations as their natures contrasted each other. Yet one can see how each of them would view the other as different, odd, and foolish. I’d like to end this video on a positive note – despite their differences, I think the friendship between Gimli and Legolas truly teaches us something.

Just like a blade when it’s forged, it’s first heated up to scorching temperatures and then cooled swiftly by dipping it in water, and this results in a harder less brittle blade, able to withstand stronger blows. And I think Gimli and Legolas’ friendship was similar to this. That not only was coexisting possible but together they could bring out the best in each other.

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