In his newest piece, TORn friend and regular Tolkien blogger Michael Martinez considers the intriguing proposition of how Sauron might have distributed the seven rings of power to the dwarf lords (in their halls of stone).
It’s also a great little primer if you’re not aware of, or had forgotten, your history of the seven great families of dwarves — the Broadbeams and Firebeards of Ered Luin, the Longbeards of Moria and the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks and Stonefoots that dwelt in the eastern reaches of Middle-earth.
How did Sauron give the Seven Rings to the Dwarven kings?
by Michael Martinez
To the best of my knowledge, J.R.R. Tolkien never wrote an account of how Sauron could have bestowed seven Rings of Power upon Dwarf lords. It seems odd to think that Durin of Khazad-dûm, who had aided the Elves in their war against Sauron, would accept any gifts from Sauron. But if we’re going to venture down the path of wild speculation let’s back up and examine as many pertinent facts as possible.
To begin with, we know that the Dwarven kingdoms were scattered across northern Middle-earth. The Firebeards and Broadbeams originally settled in the Ered Luin between Lindon and Eriador. Most fans seem to feel that the Firebeards were the Dwarves of Nogrod and the Broadbeams were the Dwarves of Belegost. Azaghâl was on the only king from either of those peoples whom Tolkien named. He was slain by Glaurung but either his descendants or another family apparently continued the royal tradition of Nogrod.
Nogrod’s army was destroyed in a war with the Elves of Doriath. The recorded history of the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost technically ends with the destruction of both cities in the tumults of the War of Wrath. Many of the Dwarves eventually migrate to Khazad-dûm early in the Second Age. But where did their two kingly houses settle? It seems unlikely to me that Durin’s Line would have welcomed rival kings in their main city.
I see two possibilities: first, that the royal families for both tribes could have remained in the Ered Luin. Tolkien notes that Dwarves continued to live in those mountains throughout the Second and the Third Ages. Second, the two kingly families could have settled in Gundabad. A relocation for both families to Gundabad is an interesting idea because of what happens later.