Where do we find information and inspiration to play a dwarf woman ?

When I had the idea to play Kveltrild as a dwarf woman, I also had hesitations. Yet the support of my friends in Durin’s Folk gave me courage to start this journey. It has been a learning process for me because RP is learned in the process and RPing a dwarf woman has its challenges as well as immense fun and inspiration.

So, what was Kveltrild like ?

I looked at the canonical texts and Kandral’s blog to have an idea about dwarf women. Here follows the main source, Tolkien’s paragraph at the Appendix A in the Lord of the Rings the Return of the King:

“It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart. This has given rise to the foolish opinion among Men that there are no dwarf-women, and that the Dwarves ‘grow out of stone’.

It is because of the fewness of women among them that the kind of the Dwarves increases slowly, and is in peril when they have no secure dwellings. For Dwarves take only one wife or husband each in their lives, and are jealous, as in all matters of their rights. The number of dwarf-men that marry is actually less than one-third. For not all women take husbands: some desire none; some desire one that they cannot get, and so will have no other. As for the men, very many also do not desire marriage, being engrossed in their crafts.”

For over a year now, I have been thinking and working with my friends how to extend the concept of the dwarf women and channel it into RP. The challenge before me was to let my character interact with the other while trying to keep loyal to the description above. At last I have come to realize that there are three paths one can follow:

  1. Orthodox Lore: Your character may stay in the Hall (kinhall, homesteads and in Thorin’s Hall in occasion) and live her entire life there. This must be the most appropriate way.
  2. Character Story Effect: Your character might have an individual story which makes her leave her father’s/husband’s hall and step out into the world.
  3. Hobbit Movie Lore: Just remember the women-folk in the Market of Dale at the beginning of the Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. Those women dwarves were not supposed to be there, yet we see them under sunlight, conversing with the folk of Dale. Moreover, they are dressed like women, they do not disguise their gender.

In Kveltrild’s story I use the second and the third styles. I know the third option is not much lore-friendly, but if played in a balancing way, it enhances RP and lets your character meet other races and make friends with them. To my personal understanding, the final point of Tolkien’s work is to let individuals with differences come together and make friends with each other. That is why I take Kveltrild out to the Shire and Bree despite the lore deficit. Also her story as a middle-aged widow gives her some space and social status.

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