I don’t know why, but in general I don’t like dwarves or at least I don’t care about them.
Even though they are one of the classic fantasy creatures (alongside Elves, Fairies, Trolls, etc.) I never really payed attention to them …
All those novels about them, be they by the German novelist Markus Heitz or someone else, just didn’t sound interesting to me.
Only if they were part of a story it was ok for them to be there. They make good side characters and antagonists.
But before I want to give you some examples of dwarves I (dis)liked, I’d like to explain a fact I find rather interesting:
Grammatically there are two plurals of the word dwarf: dwarfs and dwarves. And even though I had dwarfs in mind when I started with this post, it seems I have to go with dwarves, according to this:
„Dwarfs is the standard plural of the noun dwarf. Dwarves is a newer variant popularized (though not invented) by English author J.R.R. Tolkien in his fantasy fiction works, including The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The Tolkien spelling is appropriate when referring to little people in fantasy worlds. Dwarfs is better everywhere else.„
I think that is pretty cool. I consider origins of sayings or words to be quite interesting anyway. And having a plural for a fantasy version of something is, well, pretty cool. 🙂
But now onwards to some of the different dwarves that crossed my path so far.
The first dwarves every kid notices are probably the seven dwarves from Snow White. So did I. Probably. My favourite dwarf however in Disney’s Snow White was the grumpy one, but even as little kid I felt somewhat betrayed when he turned into one of her willing „slaves“ towards the end. Still I kind of vividly remember the scene where the dwarves chase the queen over the edge of the cliff. Pretty cool scene. Though, I kind of felt bad for the queen .. .and annoyed by Snow White … so not one of my favourite versions of it. But Once Upon a Time‘s Grumpy kind of makes up for his cartoon versions lack of personality(?). His rough attitude and his comments are just hilarious and fun. And I really liked the story of how his name changed. Yet, it is a creepy thought thinking about dwarves hatching from eggs … I’m not sure whether I’ve read/heard something akin to that before. I just don’t want to think about it …
Another Snow White adaptation with focus on the dwarves is from the German comedian/actor Otto Waalkes: 7 Zwerge – Männer allein im Wald (7 Dwarves – Men Alone in the Wood), where nearly every dwarf is portrayed by a German comedian (including Otto).
It is a pretty funny movie that gives a different view on the whole story. And of course the re-occurring joke – as none of the actors is that small – that it is a prejudice that dwarves are small. 🙂
Well, there are far to many versions of this fairytale to explore them all and I don’t really want to dwell on Snow White any longer (or even get into the latest versions with Snow White and the Huntsman or Mirror Mirror as I’ve seen neither of them so far.)
As you read in the quote earlier the word „dwarves“ was popularized by Tolkien and he has quite a bunch of dwarves in his stories – so I heard. I belong to those people that never read Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Though I watched the LOTR movies. Well, and didn’t understand them, but that is a different topic. Maybe one day I will read the novels …
Even older than both Snow White and LOTR are myths surrounding dwarves. They were mostly depicted as miners or other craftspeople, so they are more common in areas where those industries where widely spread. Unfortunately (or luckily?) I do not live in such areas, so I can’t tell you any local myths.
But I can however tell you about the dwarves in Norse myths. 🙂 The dwarves that have utterly complicated names, which I can’t remember. But I know that they forged things like Odins ring, an automatic boar, Thor’s hammer Mjölnir and one of them sewed Lokis lips when he had told one too many lies or rather mocked them one too many times. One does not mock a dwarf. 😀
Just as one does not make fun of a certain warlock, but this is about dwarves, so my focus will not be on Richard form the webcomic Looking for Group. The comic has its fair share of dwarves, with the bardic smith Pella being the most famous one. A kick-ass woman that knows how to swing her hammer for forging and her axes in battle. She has however a relationship of understanding for the warlock, but no I am not diverting to give him attention. He already gets that more than enough in the comics. 😀
Speaking of attention: I’d like to draw your attention to some other dwarves.
The dwarves I used in my own stories.
For once there is Bogie the tall dwarf from my „Weltenbaum“ (Worldtree) short stories. He is among the youngsters from the Underworld who find their way unto the Surface, into the world of humans. These stories are written in German, so it might not be understandable for some. Not sure if I’ll translate them one day, but after reading them again I might at least add some more to them or edit them a bit.
Nevertheless, I’d also like to introduce you to the newest addition to my blog: „The Quest for Ore“ – whose title is obviously not inspired by Van Canto’s „Quest for Roar„.
An English short story inspired by my first experiences with Minecraft – the more or less addictive game, where you have to build your own world through crafting blocks into whatever is possible.
As the guys I’m playing with are planing to create a dwarven city I started thinking about stories about dwarves. And the one above is the first product of that.
There probably will be more – one other is already half done even – stories within this world I created for it. I’m kind of curious what I will come up with next.
But what I write in this case might be inspired by running around in Minecraft, but it is not a tale from what I actually experienced. And I think you can’t call it a FanFiction either.
(Spoiler: E.g. did we run through the „mines“, but we did not encounter any spiders.)
And yes I know: You don’t really read that the characters are supposed to be dwarves. They could just as well be humans.
But I think they are (still nameless) dwarves that will get some screentime again
And I have to say: It was fun writing a normal fictional story again, instead of adding something to an existing world.