Dwarves (Knurlan in Dwarvish, singular knurla and Dvergar in the Ancient Language once known to all creatures) were one of the only races native to Alagaësia. Known as lovers of rock and stone, dwarves had a long lifespan and often lived in large, underground cities in the Beor Mountains. One of the most famous dwarf cities was located in Farthen Dûr ("Our Father" in dwarvish). The city itself, Tronjheim, was the secret hiding place of the Varden up until the Battle under Farthen Dûr. The dwarves had many clans such as the Dûrgrimst Az Sweldn rak Anhûin and the Dûrgrimst Ingeitum. With the fall of the Broddring Empire the Dwarves were accepted into the Dragon Riders along with the Urgals.
Before elves and humans came into Alagaësia, the dwarves and dragons fought in many battles against each other. Though never escalating into a full-scale war, these battles nevertheless left the two races with a rivalry.
The dwarves were not a part of the blood-oath pact between elves, men, and dragons. As a result, it was impossible for a dwarf to become a Dragon Rider. During Galbatorix's uprising, however, this proved to be something of a blessing, because the dwarves escaped the downfall of the Riders and the subsequent havoc wreaked by the new king and his minions.
Society and customs
The dwarves were split into thirteen distinct, miniature societies called clans. Each clan had its own clan chief, who was a member of the Council. The thirteen clan chiefs were responsible for electing a monarch: the monarch was the final authority over all the clans.
The forty-second dwarf king, Hrothgar, was in authority at the time of the Rider War. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the end of the war as he was killed at the Battle of The Burning Plains by Murtagh. Orik, as Hrothgar's heir, was made clan chief of the Ingeitum and subsequently elected as the next king.
During the Rider War, the dwarves supported the Varden, allowing them to stay at Tronjheim in Farthen Dûr, as well as fighting alongside them at the Battle under Farthen Dûr. One of the most treasured possessions of the dwarves was the contents of the library at Tronjheim, which contained many books and scrolls written in the same runes that humans used. Another of the dwarves' treasures was the Isidar Mithrim.
The dwarves believed that when a dwarf dies they must be sealed in stone so that they can join their ancestors in the afterlife. They refuse to say more than that to outsiders. They take great lengths to ensure burial in this way, for they believe that shame falls on the family or clan that does not bury their dead in this fashion. Under Farthen Dûr is a chamber for all the dwarves who have died while in the city. They consider this chamber a sacred grotto and a special alcove there was set aside for Ajihad after his death. Unlike Ajihad, however, Eragon may choose to be buried with the dwarves and "sealed in stone", as Eragon is a part of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum.
Some dwarves, the deep dwellers, abhorr the surface world and spend all their time below ground.
The dwarves elected their new leaders in an amphitheater, as did the Varden. The dwarven throne room was lined with statues of the kings of the past.
Dwarves have thicker bones then humans and elves, allowing them to drill through their knuckles and insert a metal piece that allows the dwarf to place spikes on their knuckles, known as Ascûdgamln. The procedure is very dangerous though and if done wrong, can cost the dwarf the use of his/her hands. Therefore, many dwarves are reluctant to have the procedure done.
Dwarven warfare favors weapons made for hacking and slashing, such as axes, single-edged swords, hammers, and occasionally double-edged swords. Their bows tend to be made of feldunost horns through a complex construction process, resulting in bows for their stature that are much stronger and more durable than wood that can stand up to the strength of their race's dense and compact musculature.
For mounts, dwarves favor donkeys, mules, or feldunost, as horses are far too large for dwarves to ride upon and feldunost are far better suited to the mountainous lifestyle and environment in which they dwell.
When dining with guests, the head of the household with eat first in a show of good faith to show that the food is not poisoned. This tradition was established when poisoning was rampant among the clans and is especially prominent when hosting foreign dignitaries, such as Dragon Riders or envoys from the elves.
It has been noted that human and dwarven cultures are similar enough that many humans have adapted to dwarven living and made homes among the clans, finding themselves at home among the proud people of stone.
Dwarves are known for their short stature, typically standing no taller than four feet. The men tend to wear their beards long upon reaching maturity and are known to decorate them by grooming their facial hair into braids. Dwarven women are known to be stout, powerful, and tend to have broader faces than human women. Both sexes are known to possess seven toes on each foot, resulting in broader, surer feet than humans or elves, a trait they share with the Urgals. They are known to possess thicker and stronger bones than humans, resulting in them being proportionately more durable and able than mankind, though not on par with the elves. Their hair colors appear similar to humans, coming in shades of brown, blond, red, and black.
As lovers of rock and stone, they are known to ornament themselves in ornate gems, wearing them as jewelry or braiding them into their beards in the case of the men. Their weaving is known to be of similar quality to humans' and their dress style not dissimilar.
Occasionally a dwarf may be born with six or seven fingers on one hand, though it is not an unusual condition.
The dwarves were polytheists, believing in multiple deities. These included Gûntera, king of the deities, a warrior and scholar; Kílf, Gûntera's queen and the goddess of water; Urûr, master of the heavens and the air; Morgothal, the god of fire; Sindri, "mother earth"; and Helzvog, the dwarves' favorite deity, who created the dwarves from the roots of the mountains. Dwarves were not fond of elves, as they did not share in their religious beliefs and often reminded the dwarves of that. Whenever Arya visited a dwarf city, she often engaged in an argument with a priest.
The dwarves live throughout the Beor Mountains their cities within these mountains include
- Tronjheim in Farthen Dûr
- Orthíad (Ithrö Zhâda)
- Bregan Hold (Ingeitum)
Dwarves mentioned by name
- Fûthark, a legendary smith and Grimstborith of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum, under whom the elf-smith Rhunön first learned her craft.
- Gannel, Grimstborith of Dûrgrimst Quan. He gifted Eragon with the necklace that prevents anyone from scrying him and Saphira.
- Korgan, maker of Volund, first dwarf king, founder of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum, discoverer of Farthen Dûr.
- Hruthmund, the dwarf taught the first system of runes by Sindri in dwarven legend.
- Hrothgar, the forty-second dwarf king, Grimstborith of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum.
- Orik, Hrothgar's nephew and heir, current Grimstborith of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum and the forty-third dwarf king
- Ûndin, Grimstborith of Dûrgrimst Ragni Hefthyn, host of Eragon's party in Tarnag.
- Hvedra, Orik's wife. Her parents are Thorgerd One-eye and Himinglada.
- Eragon's dwarven escorts on the journey to Du Weldenvarden: Thorv, son of Brokk, Ama, Tríhga, Hedin, Ekksvar, Shrrgnien, and Dûthmér.
- Vardrûn, Hrothgar's sister, Orik's great-aunt
- Kvîstor, one of four Dwarves of Dûrgrimst Ingeitum bidden to guard Eragon while he is in Farthen Dûr for the clanmeet in Brisingr.
- Glûmra, the mother of Kvîstor, who is a deep dweller, living in tunnels deep below Farthen Dûr.
- Dûrok Ornthrond, maker of Isidar Mithrim. It took him fifty-seven years to carve it and after he was done carving he fell dead.
- Odgar and Hlordis, probably the first dwarf couple, like Adam and Eve. They are only mentioned in Orik's speech to prove to the other clans that Az Sweldn rak Anhûin had tried to murder Eragon: "Nor should those who are not the descendants of Odgar and Hlordis dictate our fate".
- Íorûnn, Clan chief of the Vrenshrrg. She supported Orik in his quest to become king and developed an unusual interest in Eragon.
See Category:Dwarves for a complete list.
Role in the film
It was rumored that the dwarves would not appear in the Eragon movie and this is true in a certain sense, as the dwarves in the Eragon movie are human-sized instead of being short people. This, however, is relatively unnoticed next to the other huge changes like Durza riding a shadow dragon.
In a Random Buzzers December 2011 interview with Chrispoher Paolini, Paolini confirmed that, in the past, a dwarf and a human have been in a relationship. However, whether there has been more than one relationship among a dwarf and a human is unknown.