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My little brother claims that the dwarves in The Lord of the Rings were created out of jealousy by one of the Valar who looked at what the others had created (namely, Elves) and said "I should have my own people", and made the Dwarves.

I trust him, since he's read the books many, many more times then I have, as well as the appendices. He claims this assumption is from the Silmarillion, which I have not read. Is he correct?

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    Your brother deserves a down vote for telling you that... – Nuno Freitas Dec 12 '12 at 19:05
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They weren't created out of jealousy, but out of impatience. In chapter 2 of the Quenta Silmarillion, it says:

It is told that in their beginning the Dwarves were made by Aulë in the darkness of Middle-earth; for so greatly did Aulë desire the coming of the Children, to have learners to whom he could teach his lore and his crafts, that he was unwilling to await the fulfillment of the designs of Iluvatar.

And later, when Ilúvatar found out about his creation and asked him why he acted beyond his authority:

Then Aulë answered: 'I did not desire such lordship. I desired things other than I am, to love and to teach them, so that they too might perceive the beauty of Eä, which thou hast caused to be.1 For it seemed to me that there is great room in Arda for many things that might rejoice in it, yet it is for the most part empty still, and dumb.

It's important to note that Aulë was well-intentioned and meant no harm: he even offers to destroy his works:

[']I offer to thee these things, the work of the hands which thou hast made. Do with them what thou wilt. But should I not rather destroy the work of my presumption?'

Then Aulë took up a great hammer to smite the Dwarves; and he wept. But Ilúvatar had compassion upon Aulë and his desire, because of his humility; [...] And the voice of Ilúvatar said to Aulë: 'Thy offer I accepted even as it was made. Dost thou not see that these things have now a life on their own, and speak with their own voices?[' ...] Then Aulë cast down his hammer and was glad, and he gave thanks to Ilúvatar, saying: 'May Eru bless my work and amend it!'


Note 1This echoes a passage out of Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks—those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.

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    +1 nice answer. This kind of knowledge and research into a mythical universe always helps me feel less nerdy :P – rlemon Dec 14 '11 at 20:14
  • Nice answer, my brother says this is correct. I wouldn't know the difference :P – jrg Dec 14 '11 at 20:20
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    +1 for the detailed answer, but I'm not sure I see the relevance of Thus Spoke Zarathustra quote. Is there any evidence Tolkien drew on Nietzsche? Otherwise it seems like speculation. – Unsigned Oct 7 '14 at 18:54
  • Had long forgotten this passage, and it almost makes me tear up. – Jackalope Nov 6 '17 at 16:10
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http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Dwarves

The Dwarves were made by Aulë whom they themselves call Mahal meaning “maker”. Aulë was unwilling to wait for the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar for he was impatient and desired to have someone to teach his lore and his crafts, therefore he made the first Seven Fathers of the Dwarves in secret in a hall under the mountains of Middle-earth.

It was however not within Aulë’s power and authority to create life. After being reprimanded by Eru Ilúvatar and realizing his error, Aulë offered his creations to his father to do with as he would including their destruction. Even as the offer was made Ilúvatar accepted and gave the Dwarves a life of their own. So when Aulë picked up a great hammer to smite the Seven Fathers and destroy his presumptuous creations they shrank back in fear and begged for mercy.

And for further reading the Wikipedia page has this to say on the subject:

In Tolkien's works, the Dwarves (in the form of seven patriarchs) were created during the Years of the Trees (also known as the Ages of Darkness), when all of Middle-earth was controlled by the forces of Melkor. They were created by the Vala Aulë, in secret from the other Valar, intended to be his children to whom he could teach his crafts. Ilúvatar, however, knew of their creation, despite Aulë's efforts. When confronted by Ilúvatar, Aule confessed his deed and raised his hammer to destroy his creations. Upon seeing this, and understanding that Aulë had not acted in defiance or intent for domination, Ilúvatar decided that their creation was not an evil deed and sanctified them, though he did not allow them to "awake" before the Elves (whom he had designated as "The Firstborn"). Aulë sealed the seven Fathers of the Dwarves in stone chambers in far-flung regions of Middle-earth to await their awakening.

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