Monday, April 1, 2013

The Dwarves' Appearances

The Movie: Each dwarf is clearly and distinctly visually different. They all have beards, in all "realistic" colors (brown, black, red, white, etc), of varying lengths and styles. They all dress uniquely: in furs, cloaks, leather armor, and the like. You can tell each of them at a glance - some of them even by their silhouettes.

That way you can tell which ones are singing.

The Book: The dwarves each have a different colored beard and hood... and practically no other distinguishing features. For the sake of completeness, here's how they're described:

  • Dwalin: blue beard, dark-green hood, golden belt
  • Balin: white beard, scarlet hood, old
  • Fili and Kili: yellow beards, blue hoods, silver belts, young
  • Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin: two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, a white hood, with gold and silver belts (the book did not say which hood/belt belonged to which dwarf)
  • Bifur, Bofur: yellow hoods
  • Bombur: pale green hood, fat
  • Thorin: sky-blue hood with silver tassel

What does it matter? Absolutely not at all. Never is the appearance of the dwarves used as a plot point, and cosmetic changes such as these (like, say, turning Dwalin bald and making his beard black) has no bearing on the storyline whatsoever.

My Opinion: This was one of the most important changes Peter Jackson made. It'd be very difficult to follow what was going on, or care about any of the individual dwarves, if the only real differences between them were the color of their hats. Honestly, it's hard enough to tell which one's Bifur and which one's Nori as it is. Imagine only knowing them as "the one with the blue beard." I won't pretend I like all of the dwarves' appearances; Ori in particular I find quite obnoxious. But for the most part, they're all pretty solid.

I would like to add, something, though. See these things? These are beards:


This, though?

Dwarven women think he's the ugly one.

This is not a beard. This is stubble. This is my chin after a lazy weekend. Dwarves have beards! That's, like... the only defining quality they share no matter what. Elves have pointy ears, wizards cast magic, and DWARVES HAVE FUCKING BEARDS.


  1. This is my main problem with the visuals in the film. The dwarves look *so* cartoonish, most of them. In the LOTR movies, we basically just had Gimli to look at, so if he looked like a cartoon, that's fine. Now we have 13 dwarves, who all have very exaggerated appearances in order to be easily distinguishable. They should be easily distinguishable, but it seems like a bit much.

    Also, the couple dwarves that look like humans while all the rest of them have huge noses and ears - what's up with that? There's *no way* you'd guess that guy in the last pic is a dwarf except that he's with all the others. He just looks like a dude, not a dwarf.

    1. Yeah... it looks like Jackson was interested in equal parts "make them look like dwarfs" and "we need some sex appeal SOMEWHERE."

  2. Nice blogs, im also here because of my hate towards beardless dwarves

  3. Despite the fact that the book never mentions which hoods Bifur, Bombur, and Bofur wore, with only colors mentioned, I'm more inclined to believe that Bofur and Bomber wore the yellow hoods, while Bifur had the green hood. Bofur and Bombur are brothers, while Bifur is their cousin, so it's very likely that Bofur and Bomber had the same color hoods. I also believe Oin and Gloin are most likely the owners of the purple hoods.

    Some of the dwarves in the movie look like dwarves, but some of them just look like regular people. It's sad.

    Bifur has an axe in his head too.