Note: I found Was there racism in Middle-earth? shortly before posting this, but I think that they differ enough because the other question focuses on racist attitudes, whereas this question is not dependent on the mental attitudes of beings but instead the applied treatments.

Elves and Men are called the Children of Ilúvatar because they were the two races he created, excluding divine beings such as the Ainur. Dwarves, on the other hand, were created by an Ainu named Aulë.

Are Dwarves ever treated as - for lack of a better word - second-class citizens by Elves and Men because they were not directly created by Ilúvatar?

  • 1
    Perhaps this needs to be clarified to eliminate the possibility that any different treatment was simply because they WERE different. I certainly don't treat my dogs the same as my horses, and I don't expect either would appreciate it if I tried. And in the mythos, Dwarves and Elves/Men are far more distinct than dogs and horses, being believed to be the results of separate acts of creation.
    – jamesqf
    Jun 12, 2015 at 17:35
  • 1
    I think the question is clear enough that the OP wants to know if they are treated differently due to the circumstances of their creation as opposed to just being different. Jun 13, 2015 at 8:44
  • @CearonO'Flynn That's accurate, yes. But jamesqf has a point: There would need to be absolute proof that any treatments was just because of their creation.
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 13, 2015 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


I cannot recall anything where it implicitly states that they are treated differently because they were created by Aulë

They are treated differently (and held in contempt) by elves due in part to their actions during the wars with Morgoth, stealing the treasure of Doriath including the Nauglamír (with Silmaril) and killing Thingol:

Thingol, gazing upon Nauglamír, thought to have it remade to hold the Silmaril of Fëanor, with which he had become obsessed, as had its previous keepers.

Dwarves from Nogrod still stayed on occasion in Doriath to assist with metal- and stonework, and Thingol revealed his desire to them, and looking upon the Silmaril, they coveted it also, but consented to the task.

When it was finished, Thingol sought to take it back from them, but they withheld it from him on the pretext that Nauglamír had been made by their fathers and given as a gift to Finrod Felagund, who was dead, but Thingol saw through their claims to their lust for the Silmaril and ordered them to leave his halls.

The Dwarves rose up against him and killed him, taking Nauglamír and the Silmaril.

The Silmarillion - "Of the Ruin of Doriath"

This hatred is shown by:

Celeborn had no liking for Dwarves of any race (as he showed to Gimli in Lothlorien), and never forgave them for their part in the destruction of Doriath.

Unfinished Tales - "Of Galadriel and Celeborn"

Celeborn being a kinsman of Thingol


In ancient days [the elves] had had wars with some of the dwarves, whom they accused of stealing their treasure.

It is only fair to say that the dwarves gave a different account, and said that they only took what was their due, for the elf-king had bargained with them to shape his raw gold and silver, and had afterwards refused to give them their pay.

The Hobbit - "Chapter VIII: Flies and Spiders"

The animosity between them was prophesied by Ilúvatar:

But when the time comes I will awaken them, and they shall be to thee as children; and often strife will arise between thine and mine, the children of my adoption and the children of my choice.

The Silmarillion - "Of Aulë and Yavanna"

Also, after Aulë tells Yavanna of the Dwarves, she speaks almost prophetically of some reasons for this strife.

Yet because thou hidest this thought from me until its achievement, thy children will have little love for the things of my love.

They will love first the things made by their own hands, as doth their father. They will delve in the earth, and the things that grow and live upon the earth they will not heed. Many a tree shall feel the bite of their iron without pity.

The Silmarillion - "Of Aulë and Yavanna"

So whilst the strife here is caused by the actions of the dwarves, and not because they are adopted children of Ilúvatar, which led the elves to bear them ill because of this. However it was always destined to occur, it was just the form it would manifest in that was not yet known.

  • The Elves hunted dwarves and slaughtered them like animals before any of this happen because they thought they weren’t even sentient beings. They also thought they were ugly.
    – Shamshiel
    Feb 18, 2022 at 13:29
  • 1
    @shamshiel I think that refers to the "petty-dwarves" such as Mim, not the main dwarves.
    – LAK
    Feb 19, 2022 at 15:32
  • 1
    @LAK: It's pretty clearly stated that the Dwarves as a whole held that against Elves. Indeed it was one of their [Dwarves] grievances against the Eldar that they had hunted and slain their lesser kin, who had settled in Beleriand before the Elves came there. And they thought all the Dwarves were ugly: Caranthir was haughty and scarce concealed his scorn for the unloveliness of the Naugrim, and his people followed their lord."
    – Shamshiel
    Feb 19, 2022 at 16:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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