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Old 01-06-2013, 12:04 PM   #1
Andsigil
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Dwarven Demographics

Lately I've been seeing some articles on China's demographics as they relate to gender and war. After 4 decades of a one-child only policy, there is now a surplus of males in the country, since parents are more likely to abort females than males. The articles I've seen mention that societies in which there is a surplus of males have a tendency to be more aggressively warlike/conquest-minded.

And this brings me around to Middle Earth's dwarves, of whom only a third were female.

What are your thoughts on the noticeable lack of dwarven "imperialism", then:
  • a panda-like lack of fecundity tends to cancel out the drive for conquest?
  • Overriding cultural insularity?
  • It's magic and not biology? I wouldn't say that there is a lack of aggressive-inducing testosterone among dwarven males, given their hirsute appearances and bulky muscles, so perhaps one should simply assume that, yes, dwarves have the physiques of pocket strongmen, but it's not because of hormones.



(BTW, if anyone is interested in the China articles I mentioned, a few of them are here, here, and here.)
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
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Hmmm people have goals in their life. Either they are neurotic pleasure or thrill seekers or they want love or they want status or money. Many of those dwarves probably were obessed with mining and riches hence why they didn't get frustrated over not having a girl friend. That is why they didn't conquer others, because they were too busy conquering the mountain. Also notice how many dwarves are bald, that is the testosterone. When males find girl friends and have sex etc their testesterone is lowered. Have a lot of sex and you won't get bald as easily

I wonder what a female dwarf looks like though...
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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Well, the dwarves were aggressive and war-like, just not naturally evil nor particularly hostile. They were tough for Sauron to tame, because they didn't take well to be dominated by others.

I would put their lack of Numenorean-esque "Imperialism" down to they pretty much wanted to be left alone to their underground halls and mining. Imperialism requires a certain hubris that means "my particular race is superior to yours and you should therefor adapt our customs/ways of life, because your ways are inferior." This is exemplified in the Numenoreans who believed they were the superior race of Men and were bringing "light and teaching" to all other men.

The dwarves don't have this superior hubris, but they're still extremely warlike and aggressive:

Quote:
A warlike race of old were all the Naugrim, and they would fight fiercely against whomsoever aggrieved them: servants of Melkor, or Eldar, or Avari, or wild beasts, or not seldom their own kin, Dwarves of other mansions and lordships.~Of the Sindar
And they didn't like orcs/goblins very much either.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:51 PM   #4
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I am not sure I agree with your premise, because demographics do not indicate who has control of the country. One country may have a high percentage of women, but the power could be in the hands of hawkish group of men. That apart surely the country involved in the most wars is probably America and not China.

I would agree with Boromir, but i think the other reason for Imperialism is a lack of satisfaction with what you have. The need to rule a greater land, have greater riches etc. Using the example of Numenor they were at their happiest when they were content with their own island. Erendis is a good example of this. She was perfectly happy with Numenor had no need to try and gain anything else.

Back onto the subject of dwarves I believe they held a similar position to Erendis. They were often content with their own kingdoms. It provided them with everything they needed: gold, silver, jewels and iron to work with. They saw no need to try and gain what others had.

The other reason mentioned by Boromir88 is the hubris required for imperialism. The dwarves had no desire to share their secrets with others. They did not share their language or even give out their real names. So they would have no desire to go out and save the world.

Thus it is not surprising they never conquered other lands or created empires.

However, they were a war like people and were quick to go to war if they were attacked of felt that there pride had been offended. Dain was quick to march to war to help Thorin, all the dwarves took part in the Great battles against the orcs after Thrain's death.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:56 AM   #5
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There is no anomaly here to explain. It just sounds like the article the original poster read was using a very simplistic, one-size-fits-all explanation for something much more complex.
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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Regardless of what the articles are like, I think this is a valid question. I can't think off the top of my head of any war the dwarves initiated that did not have something to do with vengeance and/or reclaiming lost property (the Nauglamir, Moria, Erebor...). I agree with pretty much everything that has been said so far, but I'd also like to add that overpopulation is a big motivator for war, and the dwarves hardly had a need to expand their habitat.

I would also argue that speaking about testosterone is irrevelant because the dwarves are not children of Ilúvatar but reflect Aulë's beauty ideal instead. If it was about testosterone, more dwarves would marry, but as it is, few but their kings and chieftains do (HoME11).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulvenok
I wonder what a female dwarf looks like though...
The Later Quenta Silmarillion in The War of the Jewels says the following. I was very happy to see Peter Jackson included bearded dwarf women in the Hobbit film.
Quote:
For the Naugrim have beards from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike; nor indeed can their womankind be discerned by those of other race, be it in feature or in gait or in voice, nor in any wise save this: that they go not to war, and seldom save at direst need issue from their deep bowers and halls.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:21 AM   #7
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"I wouldn't say that there is a lack of aggressive-inducing testosterone among dwarven males, given their hirsute appearances and bulky muscles"

Maybe the Dwarves did steroids, which shriveled their 'nads?
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post

I would put their lack of Numenorean-esque "Imperialism" down to they pretty much wanted to be left alone to their underground halls and mining. Imperialism requires a certain hubris that means "my particular race is superior to yours and you should therefor adapt our customs/ways of life, because your ways are inferior." This is exemplified in the Numenoreans who believed they were the superior race of Men and were bringing "light and teaching" to all other men.
Yes, this is exactly it. They could have had a very 'masculine' society without ever feeling the need to wage war and conquer other lands. As shown, they were more than willing to defend their own territory and to defend themselves, but they did not have the impetus to attack in order to gain more room.

And facetiously, Middle-earth is actually quite big in the first place, not much competition

Dwarves seem to have directed their masculine drive into the pursuit of finding more wealth, crafting better goods and trading more stuff. Which is in itself an incredibly male thing to do.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:59 AM   #9
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So what it comes down to is that Moria was the man cave/shed par excellence?

Reminds me of a theory I had that Nerdanel asked her husband for a baby monitor and nightlights and he got carried away and made the palantiri and Silmarils.
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