Wanted: Information on a mysterious dwarf

Well folks, make no mistake. There is a mystery afoot. We were all treated to the 6th Hobbit production video a few weeks ago, and towards the end of the ~12 minute video, we catch a glimpse of an unknown dwarf. Before reading any further, take a look for yourself, then jump past the break for a discussion of just who this guy might be.

The dwarf in question can be spotted right around 12:16. Just in case you missed him, here are two still-frames from the video that show the mysterious dwarf a bit more clearly:

As you can see, not only is this dwarf not one of the thirteen members of Thorin's company, he's somebody we've heard nothing about so far! Now, there are a whole lot of possibilities about who this guy could be, so I've been brainstorming for a while trying to figure out which possibility is most likely.

But before we list the possibilities out, let's see what information we can glean from these photos:

  • First, there seem to be candles attached to this guy's helmet, which is pretty sweet, if you ask me (you can see the candles in the second photo . . . they're the green things sticking up above his head . . . I assume they're gonna put CG candles in after the fact).
  • Second, this looks to be a pretty old dwarf . . . or maybe the years just haven't been kind to him. Either way, if we compare him to the dwarves in Thorin's company, he looks quite a bit older than Thorin, Fili, Kili and Ori, and maybe even a bit older than Gloin and Dwalin. So this is a dwarf long in years.
  • Third and lastly, this dwarf's clothes aren't the finest we've seen . . . definitely less ornate than the stuff Thorin and Balin wear, more along the lines of Bifur, Bofur and Bombur's outfits. This could mean one of two things: either this is a poor dwarf, or a rich dwarf fallen on hard times. Either one seems plausible.
Okay, with that brief analysis out of the way, let's list up some possible identities for our dwarf John Doe:
  1. Random Unknown Dwarf.
  2. Nár.
  3. Dain Ironfoot.
  4. Thror.
Which of these four do I think is most likely? Well . . . 
Random Unknown Dwarf. This is certainly a possibility, but it's also no fun, so we'll ignore it.
Nar at the gate of Moria, by Tulikoura
 Nár. This is my personal favorite. Nár was the loyal dwarf (not to mention the only dwarf) that accompanied Thorin's grandfather Thror on an ill-fated attempt to reclaim the fabled mansions of Moria. So, why do I think the this dwarf could be Nár? First, the dwarf in the video looks old . . . and if I'm remembering correctly, Tolkien describes both Nár and Thror as being rather advanced in years by the time they set out for Moria. Second, the quick shot we get of the dwarf during the production video seems to suggest the dwarf is peering at something, while at the same time trying to remain hidden. This fits well with the story of Nár and Thror: when they finally arrived at the gates of Moria, Thror entered the dark halls alone . . . Nár, however, was too fearful to follow his lord into the shadows. Instead, he lurked at the entrance of the mines, and was watching when Thror's headless body was thrown back out. Filled with rage at the orcs who'd murdered Thorin's grandfather, Nár went looking for revenge, which eventually led to the War of Dwarves and Orcs. 
Now, I'll admit there are some issues with my Nár theory . . . for example, if this dwarf is Nár and the production video is giving us a glimpse of the part where he's hiding outside Moria waiting for Thror, why does he have candles on his helmet? He's outside . . . he doesn't really need the light, and I doubt he was planning on getting much mining done. Another problem is the dwarf's wardrobe. Thror was King Under the Mountain, and even in exile you'd imagine that he probably kept as many fine things about him as possible (dwarves being dwarves), and you'd expect that his closest friends and associates––including Nár––were probably rich and noble dwarves. In contrast, the dwarf from the video is certainly not dressed in such a fashion. On the other hand, Tolkien does seem to suggest that Thorin's family went through some tough times after being driven from the Lonely Mountain, so it's possible Nár really was reduced to poverty.
If the dwarf in the production video really is Nár, that suggests we'll be seeing at least a little bit of the history of Thorin's family . . . and possibly even some events from the War of Dwarves and Orcs, which I think would be fantastic.
Dain chases Azog, by Tulikoura
Dain Ironfoot.  The third possibility is that the dwarf is none other than Dain Ironfoot. During the climactic battle of Azanulbizar, which was the last battle of the War of Dwarves and Orcs and was fought just outside the gates of Moria, Dain Ironfoot won renown when he killed the orc chieftain Azog in single combat (right after Azog had killed Nár). After he defeated Azog, Dain stepped into Moria, and when he came out he claimed to have seen Durin's Bane (the Balrog) lurking within the shadows. It's possible that in the video production we're seeing the moment when Dain has just stepped into Khazad-dûm and he sees the Balrog.
This is a fun possibility, but I don't think it very likely. First off, Dain was considered very young by dwarf standards at the battle of Azanulbizar, which is why he gained so much respect for killing Azog. Second, Dain was also of the royal line of Durin, and the dwarf in the video just doesn't look rich enough to be the second-in-line heir to Durin's crown. Finally, the candles on the helmet just don't strike me as combat ready. The dwarf in the video doesn't really look like he's in the middle of a huge battle. So, in my opinion, our mystery dwarf probably isn't Dain.
Thrór.  Last but not least, the dwarf might be Thrór; but, to be honest, I doubt it. The clips from the production video might be giving us a glimpse of when Thrór first stepped into Moria . . . but this theory has the same problems that my Nár theory has, and some more besides. The dwarf is old, which fits with Tolkien's description of Thrór, but there is really no other indication that this dwarf is the lost Heir of Durin. And the candles . . . I just don't see the former King Under the Mountain wearing something like that. Do you? In short, I think this is the least likely of the four possibilities.
That, good reader, sums up my list of potential identities for the mystery dwarf. Of course, there are probably plenty of other possibilities. This could be a random dwarf (or not so random) watching the destruction of the Lonely Mountain when Smaug first attacks it. Or something completely differet . . . but I think the options I listed out above make the most sense.

What do you think? Do you agree with my guesses, or not? Who is this nameless dwarf? Post your theories in the comments section below.


  1. Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

    I'll give my thoughts on each of your options, then add my own.

    1. Random dwarf: Seems unlikely given that Jackson made it appear like a “this is going to be important but you don't yet know why, hee hee” moment at the end of the vlog.
    2. Nar: Possible, but I can't see the reason for (what we all assume is) the mining helmet.
    3. Dain: I'd scratch this one off. Billy Connolly appears to have just gotten to NZ this week, and PJ made it sound like Dain is going to a warrior (like he should be). I personally feel this dwarf is a miner/explorer of some sort, and I don't see them fitting that into the Dain storyline.
    4. Thror: I see this as the most possible of your list. It could be Thror poking around Moria, right before he bumps into Azog and buddies. Wouldn't that be horrible?? (and awesome!) I don't see the wardrobe as being too problematic since they are supposed to be refugees, and Thror is a bit mad by then. But, I also believe the dwarf fighting Gandalf is Thrain, and he's wearing tattered velvet (after years in captivity??), so as you say, Thror may also be similarly attired, despite the relative poverty. [Always good to base your speculations upon the backs of other speculations!] If you look at pictures of the actor, Jeffrey Thomas, who is going to play Thror, his eye color is very different, but his facial structure is not too far off. We know they made dark-eyed Orlando Bloom into a blue-eyed elf, so they are not above tweaking eye color (though why they would here, I can't imagine). Check out this shot of Thomas for comparison.

    But, I feel like the other mystery dwarf in the vlog, with the white hair, could be Thror. http://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/v-log-6-mp4-part_000213000.jpg
    Those pictures are not clear enough for me to see his eye color. Also wondering if we don't see a slightly younger Thrain in this shot, near the bottom? http://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/v-log-6-mp4-part_000225291.jpg
    Sharpish nose and dark grey hair seem similar to this
    So little to go on, but fun to guess.

    My thought was that this mystery dwarf could be Thrain the First, explorer of Erebor, and discoverer of the Arkenstone. They never really said how or where exactly he found it, except in the Mountain. Could the glow on his face be the light of the stone? This is my personal favorite theory, because it makes the film go back into the EPIC PAST, but that assumes they will even mention the Arkenstone (how could they not do that when it is so important to Thorin's motives, you ask, but I imagine they might dump that artifact and replace it with the treasure as a whole as the thing that sets him off. I'd hate for it to be that way, but that is a fear I have).

    Plenty of reasons why this theory of Thrain the First is unlikely. Thrain I is not in the cast listing yet, and it would make it very confusing to have two Thrains. And worse, I'm not sure the discovery of the Arkenstone is important enough to anyone but Thorin to make into the film.

    Another theory I've read is that is it a dwarf “digging too deep” in Moria and discovering the Balrog. About as likely as my Arkenstone theory, but more cinematically interesting, perhaps, though far less to the point of the Hobbit. Still, PJ may want more ties with LOTR, and that would be one of them.

    Whew! Sorry for the short novel! Hope you don't mind my sharing your post on my site. Maybe others will have additional thoughts.

    1. Thanks for the shout-out! I gotta admit, the idea of Thrain and the discovery of the Arkenstone hadn't even crossed my mind, but I think you've probably nailed it. The situation we see in the v-log seems to fit that scenario well. I wonder if we'll see it as a flash-back while Thorin is describing the history of the dwarves to Bilbo. Thrain's name wouldn't even have to be mentioned, necessarily . . . we'd just see the dwarf uncovering the Arkenstone, and those in the "know" could smile and wink at each other.

      I was looking at the images you mentioned above, and I noticed a suspicious character standing to the left in this image:


      Is this our first glimpse of a dwarf woman? There's a hint of a beard, but the characters seems to be wearing a dress. Thoughts?

    2. That is true, it could still be a nameless dwarf, while the stone itself is the real star. Would a king be mining? The book says Thrain I found it, but he could have had his mining crew discover it, and, like a head archaeologists at a modern site, claim the discovery even though a worker/student was doing all the digging. But as for dwarves, I suppose it is so in their nature that it would not seem a menial thing to do, especially not into undiscovered areas.

      Yeah I'm wondering about that female on the left as well. Certainly a woman, but of what kind? It is just possible it is a group of humans too, but looks like dwarves from here. Is that just a fall of her hair across the side of her face, or a beard (ARE they going with the bearded lady interpretation or not? Do they realize how inconclusive all these video frames are?? Do they do this on purpose?) Is this the exiled royal family kicking around Dunland somewhere? Is it Dis, or Thrain's wife, or what? ARGH I want details!

    3. Ha! Glad you knew which image I was talking about . . . I just realized I pasted the wrong URL into that last reply. The only problem I see with the mystery dwarf being Thrain I is that it looks like there are some plants (ferns, grass?) in the background of the screencap. If I remember right, the arkenstone was found at the heart of the Lonely Mountain . . . not the sort of place you'd expect to find plants.

      Course, like you said, it's hard to make out too much detail in these screencaps, so the green things I'm seeing could just be crystals, or colored stone . . . . I remember them mentioning in one of the v-logs that they had to put a lot of extra color into the raw scenery to make it look right in post-production.

    4. I also thought that those were plants at first, but I think that's just the reflection of the greenscreen upon the rocks; It really plays a trick on you.

    5. Yep, greenscreen reflection off of water-slick rocks, I've no doubt about it.

  2. Excellent write-up!

    My belief is that this showcases, as DarkJackal noted, the discovery of the Arkenstone. The mining helmet (if you're carrying a mining pick, you don't have room in your hands for a proper torch, thus, candles on your helmet) and the less regal clothes (you're not going to wear your finest robes when working the mines) would certainly fit the situation.
    Now, it might be confusing for the movies to have two dwarves going by the name of Thráin, but my thinking is that they don't need to reveal the name of this mystery dwarf; It could be that they merely show the discovery of the Arkenstone during a flashback, without elaborating on who found it (alternatively, mentioning that it was Thorin's ancestor), the importance of this shot being what happened, rather than the identity of the dwarf.

    Really, it being Thráin the First would be a bit like a cameo, in such a case; Those familiar with the backstory of the dwarves would recognize him as Thrain the First, even if he is not given a name (it would be similar to what happened in the Trilogy, where the Tolkien-crowd recognized some of the characters despite them not being given a name), whereas the crowd not familiar with the backstory won't be burdened with another (unimportant in the long run) name to keep track of.

    1. Macfeast>> You and DarkJackal present some convincing arguments about the identity of this dwarf . . . I agree that Thrain and the Arkenstone is the most likely posibility. It just fits well with the little clip we see in the v-log.

      I think you're right about the "cameo" appearance. It's a great chance to give a nod to the uber-geeks among us while keeping the narrative simple for the rest of the audience.

    2. Ah, yeah, what Macfeast said about the stone, I agree. Very good point about naming vs. insider knowledge.

  3. maybe just a random dwarf from the 'Battle of the Five Armies'

    1. you could be right . . . it's just more fun to speculate :)

  4. Well, the moment of truth has arrived! He's... just a random dwarf after all. Shown in the first part of the movie, he is the dude who discovers the Arkenstone (which they did a FABULOUS job on, by the way).

    1. Ha! I had the exact same thought in the movie theatre. On the one hand I was a little disappointed that he wasn't a dwarf of more importance. But as you so rightly point out, the scene was so gorgeous, I quickly got caught up in the moment. Wonderful!

  5. Well, according to the imbd website, Billy Connolly was casted for Dain, and this guy kinda looks like Mr. Connolly; so maybe that's what we're looking at.

  6. he is the dwarf in the intro when they are discovering the ARKENSTONE.