Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Inspired by this question: Is the theory that dwarf women look like dwarf men limited to the works of Tolkien?

The answer to the above question is no as there are other works which continue the trend of dwarven men and women being indistinguishable from one another. However, the examples provided in the answers to that question are all relatively recent.

As the title states, I'm wondering if there are any works which pre-date Tolkien that also describe or depict them as being nearly identical in appearance. Note that I'm not looking for a list of works, I'm simply after a "yes" or "no" answer - though in the case of a "yes" answer I'd also be looking for a single example as proof.

For the sake of this question we'll consider pre-dating Tolkien to be any work produced prior to 1937, which is when (according to Wikipedia) The Hobbit was published and he began writing The Lord of the Rings.

share|improve this question
You'll have to specify whether such a race would need to be called "dwarves" to qualify and/or whether they have to look and act like Tolkien's dwarves. – Michael Borgwardt Nov 22 '12 at 12:24
Closed-as-list in 3..2..1.. – DVK-in-exile Nov 22 '12 at 13:07
@mh.: Amazons do not look like men, they merely act like men. They're quite distinguishable; that's kind of the point. – Martha Nov 22 '12 at 14:38
@DVK: how is this asking for a list? It's asking for an example. If you're gonna consider everything with an example a "list", you might as well close the entire site. – Martha Nov 22 '12 at 14:39
@Martha - don't have to convince me. I'm all for yes/no questions and examples. But mine routinely get closed/DVed "because it's a list" – DVK-in-exile Nov 22 '12 at 17:22

I've never come across a mention of female dwarves looking like male dwarves outside Tolkien, but then I think you're overplaying its significance in Tolkien's work. As far as I know only one female dwarf is mentioned in any of the books I've read, Dís, and Aragorn's remark seems more of a throwaway line than anything significant. I wonder if Tolkien was just having a bit of fun.

share|improve this answer
You should read some of the Discworld books. – DaveP Nov 23 '12 at 18:50
Oops yes, I meant independent of Tolkien. I'm not sure Pratchett counts as independent of Tolkien. – John Rennie Nov 23 '12 at 20:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.