15

Potter world has dragons, trolls, goblins and elves.

But what's missing is one of the other main races of any good role-playing game swords-and-sorcery world - dwarfs (their niche seemingly being filled by goblins).

Is there any good reason?

I'd strongly prefer a canon or JKR answer, though strong reasoning from source is OK (but not unsourced Wikia entries or random speculations).

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    "...any good swords-and-sorcery world..." Really, fantasy (the genre) is supposed to be about fantasy (the concept). Saying that any good fantasy must have X thing runs totally counter to that. – AlbeyAmakiir Jun 26 '12 at 22:12
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    @AlbeyAmakiir - in case the strike-through didn't make it obvious, I was being tongue in cheek :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 27 '12 at 0:28
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    I think the way this is phrased, is slightly too subjective. There are plenty of good fantasy worlds without dwarves, so the inferred requirement for them feels like pure opinion. – AncientSwordRage Sep 23 '12 at 10:22
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    Actually, any good swords-and-sorcery world needs a technologically inclined race of short humanoids. However, they can be called dwarves or goblins. The name doesn't matter. – b_jonas Sep 20 '16 at 17:08
49

There are dwarves in Potterverse, they don't seem to be very prevalent though. Professor Lockhart sent them around dressed as Cupid on valentines day, and they tackled Harry to sing to him.

Here is the quote:

Lockhart clapped his hands and through the doors to the entrance hall marched a dozen surlylooking dwarfs. Not just any dwarfs, however. Lockhart had them all wearing golden wings and carrying harps.

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    Good catch. I thought I had seen them mentioned somewhere but couldn't remember where. – Dason Jun 26 '12 at 16:04
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    I think there was a reason I blocked those from my mind. Need mental bleach. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 26 '12 at 16:25
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    @dvk Lockhart could sort you out with an obliviate if you want...? – AncientSwordRage Sep 23 '12 at 10:20
11

Harry also mentions "raucous dwarfs" in The Prisoner of Azkaban, just after his first night in the leaky cauldron.

Harry ate breakfast each morning in the Leaky Cauldron, where he liked watching the other guests: funny little witches from the country, up for a day’s shopping; venerable-looking wizards arguing over the latest article in Transfiguration Today ; wild-looking warlocks, raucous dwarfs and, once, what looked suspiciously like a hag, who ordered a plate of raw liver from behind a thick woollen balaclava.

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN | Chapter 4 | The Leaky Cauldron

It's entirely possible they aren't a race unto themselves, though source seems to imply they are, and seem never to have gotten on the bad side of major Wizarding wars. They may in fact be wizards themselves

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    Welcome to SFF.SE! You can improve this answer by adding the quote directly from the book. – Skooba Sep 20 '16 at 12:19
3

The licensed tie-in book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Character Guide specifically refers to the elevator assistant ("Red") as a dwarf.

enter image description here

However, in the final screenplay he's referred to as a goblin.

Newt and Tina reach an elevator. The doors open to reveal Red, a goblin bellboy.

  • Red the Dwarf? Is he friends with Dave and Rimmer? – Thunderforge Nov 27 '16 at 8:07
  • @Thunderforge - I rather suspect that was both the joke and the reason why they changed it. – Valorum Nov 27 '16 at 8:57
0

As firmly stated by J.K.Rowling, she tried to reimagine a universe almost completely based off British folklore. I think what she said on Pottermore about Vampires also apply for Dwarves:

Although vampires exist in the world of Harry Potter [...] they play no meaningful part in the story. The vampire myth is so rich, and has been exploited so many times in literature and on film, that I felt there was little I could add to the tradition. In any case, vampires are a tradition of Eastern Europe, and in general I tried to draw from British mythology and folklore when creating adversaries for Harry. (emphasis mine)

Dwarves are a fairly recent fantasy topos, being essentially re-introduced for the first time since Viking age by Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings saga, and adopted since then by almost every high fantasy writer.

Rowling was different: she tried to invent her own universe drawing autonomously from myth and folklore, not secondarily from other literary sources. In real world mythology we almost never hear of Dwarves in the fantasy sense, but extremely often we hear of Goblins or Elf-like creatures. Things like the Brazilian Curupira, the German Kobold and the irish Leprechaun seems all to be derived from the same stock of mythological Little People, a myth so ancient that we found it widespread in all human cultures. In this context the Norse Dwarf is just a local representative of this ancestral lore, while "Goblin" is a more generic catch-all term for all these entities (while still retaining a bit of britishness to it).

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