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Old 10-07-2007, 03:19 PM   #1
Hammerhand
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Dwalin the Dwarf

Right chaps, i don't recall a thread on this topic but there probably has been at some point!

As i sat perusing some fine literature, i lingered on a certain detail. Dwalin is written to have lived to the age of 340. Now, for a dwarf, that has to be nearly a century over average. Gloin lived to be 253 years, Thror was 248 and Dain Ironfoot was 252; all of these Dwarves were considered old. Is there a logical reason as to why Dwalin lived to be 340 years old? Because it has me in quite a pickle.
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Old 10-07-2007, 04:07 PM   #2
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It must be his blue beard . Frankly, I am more content with Tolkien's first choice of his lifespan, 251.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:53 PM   #3
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I believe (and this is pure speculation) that it may be to emphasize the end of an era. The same applies for Aragorn, who also was long lived for the standards of the time (although he had the "excuse" of having strong Numenorean blood).

To me, it makes it all the more bitter-sweet that all these great characters lead wonderful lives, lead their peoples to new heights and yet could not conquer death herself. I know that in Tolkien's world death was not to be a curse but rather a gift and yet...

But going back to my previous point, I think that Gimli's long life is just an example of the "greatness" of the "great" of the Third Age that will never be again.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:16 AM   #4
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Can we take the published age of Dwarves as a true indication of their potential life-span when so many of them died in battle, not of old age?.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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Of course, the most likely explanation is dormitat Homerus- the Appendices in fact contain numerous mistakes, especially as Tolkien assembled them in a dreadful rush, with public and publisher clamouring for The Return of ther King.

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Can we take the published age of Dwarves as a true indication of their potential life-span when so many of them died in battle, not of old age?.
Tolkien covered the lifespan of Dwarves in an essay published in HME vol XII. In it he declared that once they reached maturity, Dwarves aged little if at all until about the age of 240- after which they declined very rapidly, say in a decade or so, and died, 250 therfore being a typical lifespan. In fact, if you review those Dwarves in the family tree not said to have been killed, they all come within a very few years of 250 plus or minus...save Dwalin.

This BTW is the same essay in which he declares positively what had long been surmised- that Dwarf-women do indeed have beards just like the menfolk. Also, interestingly, that baldness is unknown among the Dwarves (sorry, Disney).
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:42 AM   #6
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Tolkien covered the lifespan of Dwarves in an essay published in HME vol XII. In it he declared that once they reached maturity, Dwarves aged little if at all until about the age of 240-
Is it mentioned anywhere when did they reach maturity? I have a conception that those of Durin's folk were mature at the age of 40-50, but I have no clue where has this conception of mine come from and whether it's right or wrong...
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:53 AM   #7
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Is it mentioned anywhere when did they reach maturity? I have a conception that those of Durin's folk were mature at the age of 40-50, but I have no clue where has this conception of mine come from and whether it's right or wrong...
Judging from the following passage I would say that age is 30:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durin's folk, HoME XII
Dwarves remained young - e.g. regarded as too tender for really hard work or for fighting - until they were 30 or nearly that
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:00 AM   #8
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Thanks, Raynor. I've been wondering about that for a while.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:09 AM   #9
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Question

Where did you discover that Dwalin lived to be 340? I have no explanation for his extraordinarily long life.

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Old 10-08-2007, 09:24 AM   #10
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Where did you discover that Dwalin lived to be 340?
It is found in the same essay about Dwarves, "Durin's Folk" - note 17.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:17 AM   #11
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More accurately, Note 17 to "Durin's Folk" comments on the anomalous dates given in the family tree in Appendix A.

One bit of evidence which might indicate a slip is that this is the only Fourth Age date in the table which is not expressed in Fourth Age terms. One might speculate that the date was originally 3012- an age of 240- but Tolkien then realized this contradicts Gloin's statement that all the survivors of the Battle of Five Armies, save Balin's expedition, were still alive in 3018, and he corrected it clumsily.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:53 AM   #12
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Just a note to this...

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Is it mentioned anywhere when did they reach maturity? I have a conception that those of Durin's folk were mature at the age of 40-50, but I have no clue where has this conception of mine come from and whether it's right or wrong...
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Judging from the following passage I would say that age is 30:
Actually, I was also convinced that the Dwarves reached maturity at the age of 50 and have no clue from where I have it, (but surely not from HoME); and personally I am inclined to believe that it indeed is somewhere - though now I don't know where. Maybe I am mistaken. But the fact that Lommy said it as well makes me more convinced of that it's not just from my head. Dáin was 32 years old at Azanulbizar, and what he did was considered a great deed because he was indeed young. But why have I for ten years (or how long) thought that the Dwarves are mature in 50? Sorry, cannot help it I have to look at the subject.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:45 AM   #13
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The Essay on Durin's Folk has two seemingly contradictory statements, but which I think are actually congruent: one that states that Dwarves aren't 'war-high' (ready for fighting or really hard work) until 30; another that indicates that their 'maturity' (meaning a period of no visible physical change or aging) lasts from ca. 40 to ca. 240. This is only an apparent disconnect- it just means that 30-40 is a period between between having adult size and actual maturity, analagous say to RW ages between 16 or 17 and 21.

Dain was indeed a 'stripling' at Nanduhirion- but had he been under 30 he wouldn't have been there at all!


FWIW, JRRT also tells us that Dwarves are effectively immune to disease (not really a surprise)- but that they can be prone to one serious health problem: corpulence. Some Dwarves from around age 200 or so become morbidly obese, so much so as to preclude physical activity (as with Bombur, who needed a crew of young Dwarves to propel him from couch to table).
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:43 PM   #14
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Well, Dwalin aside, Gimli died at 262 which is the highest i have been able to find. I couldn't find supporting dates for Durin the Deathless, though from his name and mention in literature, he must surely have been old - if anyone can enlighten on him it would be grand...

Which reminds me, i was absolutely gutted when reading LotR that there was hardly any mention given to our old friends at the Lonely Mountain, Dale, Mirkwood, Lake Town and the principalities surrounding.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:51 AM   #15
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Maybe Dwalin was just one of those people who have a really long life...it happens.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Maybe Dwalin was just one of those people who have a really long life...it happens.
Maybe...maybe not. That would be like someone today living to be 170 or something crazy.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
Actually, I was also convinced that the Dwarves reached maturity at the age of 50 and have no clue from where I have it, (but surely not from HoME); and personally I am inclined to believe that it indeed is somewhere - though now I don't know where. Maybe I am mistaken. But the fact that Lommy said it as well makes me more convinced of that it's not just from my head. Dáin was 32 years old at Azanulbizar, and what he did was considered a great deed because he was indeed young. But why have I for ten years (or how long) thought that the Dwarves are mature in 50? Sorry, cannot help it I have to look at the subject.
I bet you it has something to do with the fact that Gimli, in "The Quest for Erebor" in Unfinished Tales, says that the reason that he did not go on the quest in The Hobbit was that he was considered too young--though he was already over fifty (sixty-two is what I want to say... but I could be pulling that number out of thin air, given that I'm not looking it up). Mind you, it doesn't say that he was underage, but it does seem that Glóin and others thought he was still a bit of a wild youngster.

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Maybe...maybe not. That would be like someone today living to be 170 or something crazy.
Well, you never know. If you say that the normal lifespan of a human is about eighty, and you consider that one hundred fifteen is about 140% of that lifetime, then 340 as a lifetime compared with a norm of 250 would be comparable--which, I suppose, would clearly make Dwalin at about the uppermost possible limit for a Dwarf, about as likely as you or I living to be 115 (under current healthcare and such): within in the realm of human possibility, but highly unlikely.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:45 AM   #18
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in the realm of human possibility, but highly unlikely.
It happens.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
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It happens.
It does indeed, and there are a few. I read once about a French woman living to 122 or something... its amazing isn't it.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:23 AM   #20
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Did Dwalin do any great deeds as to have gained favor from the Valor, particularly Aule?
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:29 PM   #21
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Did Dwalin do any great deeds as to have gained favor from the Valor, particularly Aule?
I don't recall anything. And mainly, I believe that prolongating someone's lifespan would not be even in the power of Valar, but solely in the power of Eru. I am not sure, of course, if there is not any evidence that would contradict that, but given the fact that all the life stems from Eru himself (meaning the "true" life, cf. the story of Aulë and the Dwarves), I presume the opinion I hold here is correct.
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