In the LOTR there are many occasions where people in the Shire mention that strange folk are abroad, including dwarves. Now, it is known that the dwarves did not have any large fighting in the War of the Ring, as a matter of fact not much part at all. However, why were dwarves in the Shire at the time?

This is obviously not a normal occasion in the Shire. The Shirefolk mention that times are getting strange with dwarves passing through, which indicates that dwarves usually do not enter the Shire. Could the increasing number of dwarves passing through the Shire and its borders and Bree be related to the War of the Ring? It just so happens that when the war is beginning the Dwarves' numbers increase in the region of Eriador?

Obviously with the mountain retaken, you would think most would be heading toward Erebor, but it does not seem like they all did so. I am guessing they were also dwelling in Ered Luin but overall I am confused of their purposes in the Shire.

  • 2
    I don't remember any mention of Dwarves stopping or settling in the Shire. I always took it to mean traders and merchants passing through, in which case an increase in their numbers could be anything from increased trade growing since the recapture of Erebor, something connected to Balin's attempt to retake Moria, or even just idle Hobbit gossip over nothing at all.
    – Nerrolken
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


First off, the Dwarves were involved in the war – Sauron had Erebor under attack at the same time as Gondor, though the books themselves mention it only indirectly:

'Now why did not we wish for some of our kinsfolk?' [said Gimli.]
Legolas stood before the gate and turned his bright eyes away north and east, and his fair face was troubled. 'I do not think that any would come,' he answered. 'They have no need to ride to war; war already marches on their own lands.'

More precisely, from Appendix B

... and Brand was driven back into Dale. There he had the aid of the Dwarves of Erebor, and there was a great battle at the mountain's feet. It lasted three days, but in the end both King Brand and King Dáin Ironfoot were slain, and the Easterlings had the victory. But they could not take the gate, and many, both Dwarves and Men, took refuge in Erebor, and there withstood a siege.

That's pretty involved, I should say.

However, the Dwarves that passed through the Shire didn't necessarily have a lot to do with that. As Nerrolken commented, they were mostly just traders and merchants travelling, well, on their own account. Much like my favourite character:

A fox passing by on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.
'Hobbits!' he thought. 'Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a Hobbit sleeping out doors under a tree. Three of them! There's something mighty queer about this.'

...no, the Shire is blissfully well-protected... Rangers, you know...

Anyway. The exact passage about hints to evil goings in the wide world is this:

The ancient East-West Road ran through the Shire to its end at the Grey Havens, and dwarves had always used it on their way to their mines in the Blue Mountains. They were the hobbits' chief source of news from distant parts – if they wanted any; as a rule the dwarves said little and the hobbits asked no more. But now Frodo often met strange dwarves of far countries, seeking refuge in the West. They were troubled, and some spoke in whispers of the Enemy and the Land of Mordor.

So, yes, some of those dwarves were in fact passing through the Shire in hope to avoid the war, but dwarves weren't really an unusual sight.

  • 3
    +1; the Quest of Erebor also establishes that Dwarves are familiar with the Shire and with Hobbits: "'What!' cried Glóin. 'One of those simpletons down in the Shire? What use on earth, or under it, could he possibly be? Let him smell as he may, he would never dare to come within smelling distance of the nakedest dragonet new from the shell!'"
    – user8719
    Jan 20, 2015 at 22:44

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