Nelson Dellis

If you’re gonna go see ‘The Hobbit’ in theaters next week (which if you aren’t, you need to seriously re-evaluate your life priorities), you’ll need some help memorizing some of the main characters’ names. There are many. They are especially common among dwarves. They all look alike and even have strange dwarven names. First, let’s get to the point. “Dwarves”, not “dwarfs”, is spelled with an “v” – it’s the ‘v’. It’s a Tolkien thing. Do not use the ‘f’ when you’re talking about multiple dwarves. Never. Your Gandalf-cosplaying Gandalf buddies will send you to Mordor.

Next, learn the names of all the dwarfs as a group. This will make it easier for you to answer “What are the names all the Hobbit dwarves?” You’ll say “bam, banm bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam So here we go….

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13 dwarves in all (in the order that they are introduced in the book and most likely the movie as well): Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Thorin. You are pretty cool if you can say all those words in one sentence without having to look. If you can’t, keep reading and picture the following story:

Imagine you’re facing a wall with a big painted ‘D’ on it (“d-wall” – Dwalin), when suddenly a ball comes flying out of nowhere and slams into the wall (“ball” – Balin). The ball strikes the wall and kills a flea (“kills”) – Kili. The wall becomes a door (or Dori). You are able to walk through this door without looking around. You suddenly trip and shout “Oi!” As you accidentally hit yourself in your groin (“oi”) – Oin. You wave goodbye to the furry creature (“bye fur”) that is puffing (“puff” – Bofur) as you get up. The bomb explodes right in front you (“bomb”-Bombur), and you can see Thor laughing off in the distance (“Thor”)

Now for the good stuff. You want to be able identify and name every dwarf while the action is happening on screen so you can annoyingly say to your friends, “That’s Bifur, did that happen?” “Isn’t Bombur so fatty, Bombur you fat!” Let’s take a look at them one-by-one. My older blog post on memorizing names will help you understand the process. Let’s recap: Create an association between your name and a distinguishing characteristic of the person or, in this instance, a dwarf.



Dwalin is the only dwarf who’s partially bald. A tattoo is also etched into his skull. His distinguishing feature is his bare dome. Dwalin is a name that sounds like “wall,” so think of him using his bare skull as a barge to climb a wall. He looks badass and headbutts people into walls. Yup.


Balin is pretty easy to recognize because he is the oldest of all the dwarfs, and he looks it. His distinctive feature is his grey/white beard. Straight-up cool and cool beard. Balin’s name reminds me of a ball. Imagine a ball being thrown into Balin’s big fluffy beard, and it landing softly and cushiony. Fun fact: Balin, Dwalin’s older brother, is Balin. Unfun fact: Balin, the same dwarf found in the Mines of Moria tomb by the fellowship (in LOTR), is also buried. I believe he was shot by Orcs. Bummer.


Kili is one of the youngest and I the least dwarf-looking of all of them. He has the shortest, smallest, and most non-existent dwarf hair (he looks exactly like me after a few days without shaving )….which, while it is against dwarf codes, is a poor design by Peter Jackson). Let’s not forget that he has the most short beard. His name is spelled “kill”, so it’s easy to imagine him killing people and then trimming his beard with that knife. He is also the most vision-impaired of all the dwarves. He is always sent out to find evil things… such as things that could “kill” Dun, dun.

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Kili’s bro. Fili Kili’s bro. Another dwarf who looks a bit “manish” but not dwarf-like. His most distinctive feature is his long, braided, blonde moustache. (I will need one for Movember next season). Fili means “fill”, so think braiding his moustache. Fili can also be described as “fill”, so imagine him filling his moustache with braids. It’s horrible. Fun fact: Kili & Fili are the children of Thorin’s older sister, Dis. (Dis is said to have possessed a rather mean beard). Also, she was a total babe.


Dori looks like the brother from the movie “Step Brothers” (John Reilly)…or at least he does to me. The movie featured a lot door-slamming, as both brothers initially hated one another. “Door” sounds like Dori. His potato-sized schnoz is his distinguishing feature if you have never seen Step Brothers (which is sad news). Next, imagine that you are going to smash a door into his nose, causing it to balloon up to the size a potato.

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Good god, Nori has one of the most amazing braided facial hair set-ups I’ve ever seen! His eyebrows are twisted upwards into his hair. This is just absurd. Just imagine his facial hair being so beautiful that it’s hard to ignore. Nori = “ignore.”


Fun fact: remember in the first LOTR movie when Gandalf reads from the book that was laying against Balin’s tomb in the Mines of Moria? Ori was the one who wrote it. He died right after ‘The Hobbit’. Ok, Ori has one of the worst haircuts out of all the Dwarves (although this is debatable). It’s a bowl cut. Ori is pronounced like “ore”, as in gold. Imagine that his hair was actually a bowl, and that if you turned it over it was filled with mounds upon mounds of gangsta gold (or ore). Another funny fact is that Dori, Nori and Ori are brothers (their parents were clearly very creative with their names …).).


Oin is brothers with Gloin and to me, is in serious need of some facial hair grooming – it’s all just a bit overgrown for my liking. As his main feature, you can choose to use his huge curving moustache or his amazingly braided beard. They both stand out quite prominently so let’s make use of them. Oin reminds me of a British punk who says “oi!” So let’s pretend Sid Vicious, from the Sex Pistols, is an ass. He ties his handlebars and pigtails together and shouts “Oi!” Oi! Oi!


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Gloin is easy because he’s the dad of Gimli (the only dwarf in the Lord of The Rings trilogy – Gimli son of Gloin) and they look nearly identical. If you don’t believe so, or don’t know anything about LOTR (ughh), then try his dark reddish hair. It isn’t very clear in the picture but it’s there. He’s the only dwarf to have such deep brown-reddish hair. Bombur also has red hair, but it’s lighter orange than red. Gloin is the same as “groin” and you’ll hear the old expression “does it match the drapes?”” gets the red haircut is probably the same as the hair that surrounds his groin. This is not an ideal thought, especially as he’s a Tolkien dwarf. However, it works. Fun fact: Gloin was in the first LOTR movie with Gimli at the Council of Elrond. He’s sitting there in that scene, but it’s hard to tell which one is him….

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This dwarf has a piece of axe stuck in his head (no idea why – I don’t even know if that was ever mentioned in the book). Imagine a furry creature waving goodbye and saying “bye!” Then, he will throw the axe in his head as if he is trying to kill him. “Bye Fur” = “Bifur” FYI, he loves raspberry jam and apple tart. He’s also a cousin to Bombur, Bofur, and Bombur.


He’s the only dwarf with a hat, and a pretty massive hat at that. Let’s try that. Bofur is hard to find a picture for. However, it sounds like “puffer”, which is how it’s pronounced. Imagine diving under his cap and puffing up until the hat is as big as it can be. Another way to look at “boff” is as the sound you might make when being hit on the head. Imagine someone “bombing” him on the head, making sure his hat stays on tight.


The fattest dwarf EVER. This alone makes his name easy. He is round like a bomb. Bombur is the plural of bomb. Think of it as this: He eats so many that he’s constantly on the brink of exploding, just like a bomb. He’s da bomb(ur), yo! Frodo asks Bombur about him in LOTR. He is told that Bombur became so obese that he couldn’t move from his couch or bed when six dwarfs lifted In other words, he likely got his own Discovery Channel special.


Thorin reminds me of “Thor,” which reminds me of Thor’s hammer. Thorin, who is the clan leader, is a descendant king-dwarves of ancient times and the most prominent dwarf of them all. He can rule the other dwarfs with a big, heavy hammer. You can also see grey streaks in Thorin’s beard that are probably the same color as the hammer. So imagine him using big, heavy blows to cause his hair to go grey.

Andddd we’re done. Now, go buy your tickets to the midnight show this Thursday. Be cool and know each character. Aren’t those movies too confusing? You can’t remember any of the characters. NONE OF THIS.

You can test it yourself to be certain:

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