Official Description: Dwarf Lords in their own right, Balin and Dwalin are close relatives of Thorin. Beyond this, these brothers are two of his most loyal and trusted friends. An old warrior, Balin has lived through hard times and fought many battles, yet he harbors doubts about the wisdom of the Quest to retake the Lonely Mountain. Dwalin has no such forebodings – his belief in Thorin’s leadership is unshakeable. A powerful and bruising fighter, with a natural tendency to distrust anyone who is not a Dwarf, particularly anyone who might be an Elf, Dwalin is not someone to cross lightly.
TheOneRing.net Description: Dwalin is the first of the thirteen Dwarves to arrive at Bag End at the beginning of The Hobbit. While there, he and his brother Balin play the viol and help in the kitchen. He loans his spare hood and cloak (both dark-green) to Bilbo, who, after the adventure, keeps them “locked up as if they were something precious” until he wears them again when leaving the Shire at the beginning of The Lord Of The Rings. It is Dwalin who first notices that Thorin is missing after the party is rescued from the spiders. It also Dwalin who loses patience when looking for the secret passage into the Lonely Mountain and suggests that Bilbo use his magic ring to sneak into Smaug’s lair via the Front Gate. Dwalin lived a particularly long life for a Dwarf, finally dying of natural causes at the age of 340.
Analysis: While Dwalin’s life seems so long as to be a simple error –most Dwarves live no longer than about 250 years– Christopher Tolkien notes that his birth and death dates remained the same through several drafts (in The History of Middle-earth, vol. 12). His name in Old Norse means “dawdler”.
- “Where is Thorin?” (to the dwarves & Bilbo)
- “What is our burglar doing for us? Since he has got an invisible ring, and out to be a specially excellent performer now, I am beginning to think he might go through the Front Gate and spy things out a bit!” (to the dwarves & Bilbo)