Was the enmity between Elves and Dwarves made worse - in clear attributable way - due to the negative influence of the Seven Dwarven Rings?

This question arose because someone noted in an answer that "The dwarves also caused endless trouble to the elves during the 3rd age, and that could be a useful side effect of the greed" in response to what the purpose of the Rings was.

NOTE: I'm aware of this question: Why don't Elves like Dwarves? - but the answers to it only deal with the origins of the enmity dating back to First Age, and not to the Rings. I'm asking whether the Rings made it worse, or had no specific effect

  • I can imagine there are things that the other issues doesn't raise. As asked here, the question is an exact duplicate, but if you aren't satisfied by the coverage of the topic in the previous question, edit this question to address what you're missing and we can reopen it.
    – user56
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 9:43
  • @Gilles - better? Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 12:49
  • 2
    Yes (hence reopened). Side note: please don't remove the “possible duplicate” bit, that happens automatically when the question is reopened. It makes it harder for viewers to track why the question was closed, and might break some scripts that parse the site.
    – user56
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 12:57
  • 1
    @Gilles - <facepalm/> Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 23:34

2 Answers 2


tl;dr: They may have played a small role in encouraging the anti-social behavior of the dwarves, but as they were merely encouraging the dwarves' inherent nature, I doubt the Rings' effect was significant enough to matter.

For starters, I'm not sure I wholly agree that the dwarves "caused endless trouble to the elves" during the Third Age (or the Second, for that matter.) The two races clearly did not like each other, but the dwarves mostly remained underground and the elves mostly remained in their forests. There was active trading between the races during the Second Age, and the dwarves participated in the Last Alliance for a while. In the Third Age, there was definite cooperation at certain points (e.g. the gates of Moria), and both elves and dwarves participated in the Battle of the Five Armies. However, by and large, the dwarves began to shut themselves away from the rest of the world near the end of the Second Age and didn't really emerge after that, even during the War of the Ring, unless they were forced to surface by dragons or balrogs.

As far as the Rings of Power themselves, we don't know a whole lot about the ones the dwarves had. The short list is:

  • In The Silmarillion we learn that the rings had only a mild influence on the dwarves. Sauron could encourage them to anger and greed via their rings, but they were otherwise unaffected (naturally resistant).
  • By the time of The Hobbit, the dwarves had lost all of their rings; dragons ate 4 of them and Sauron recovered 3.
  • In Lord of the Rings Gandalf repeats a rumor that the rings formed the start of the Dwarf Lord's hordes.

We don't know how long the dwarves held on to their rings, nor how many of them were "in play" during the Third Age. We do know that at least one of them was in the hands of its bearer until around III 2850 (the "Ring of Durin/Ring of Thror" that is mentioned at Elrond's council, actually held by Thorin's father until Sauron captured him) but that line of dwarves spent a large part of the Third Age fending of monster attacks and looking for a home, and probably not causing problems for the elves. I don't think we even know the names of the dwarves that got the other six rings (presumably they would all have been descendants of the seven Fathers of the Dwarves but otherwise, who knows.)

(For some reason, I always have always assumed that the dwarves didn't even wear their rings but rather kept them locked away with their rest of their treasures. I cannot find any reference for that last bit, though, so I may have made it up.)

Given that the dwarf/elf hatred dates back to the First Age, the fact that the rings only real effect was to magnify their already overwhelming greed, and that in the grand scheme of things, the dwarves probably caused more trouble for the elves by just avoiding them than anything they actively did, I don't think the Rings of Power had any significant impact on their behavior while they were active.

  • "the dwarves probably caused more trouble for the elves by just avoiding them than anything they actively did" How could the dwarves make anything better by not avoiding the elves? Stealing Nauglamír in the First Age was probably the main source of enmity. (By the way, I do not see many other examples of dwarven "overwhelming" greed.) Earlier their relations seemed to be good, with exception of Petty-dwarves.
    – BartekChom
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 14:39

The Dwarven-Elvish feud, as far as I can tell, dates to several causes, but I have four "historical" points it centers upon:

  • First and foremost: Elves are the intended firstborn of Ilúvatar. They were to prep the Earth for the second-born which was Man, Dwarves were the unexpected creation of the Ainu Aulë attempting to please Ilúvatar. He spared them but forbade their entrance upon the Earth until after the Elves.

  • Second, the killing of the Dwarf Mîm by Elves of I believe Nargothrond and his curse upon the treasure horde he was guarding.

  • Third, the epic of the Nauglamir (the necklace of the Dwarves) - this is probably the origination of most Dwarven-Elven enmity in that war occurred because of this.

  • Fourth, the abandonment of the lonely mountain by the Elves once Smaug drove out the Dwarves.

  • 1
    Several inaccuracies - Mim was killed by men, not elves. And the Elves abandoning the Lonely Mountain was a purely movie invention. Also, I'm not sure what Narvgorod is, but I've never heard if a city by that name
    – The Fallen
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 10:41
  • @SSumner: Bob could mean Nogrod (Dwarven city) or Nargothrond.
    – BartekChom
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 14:14

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