Created by the Valar Aule before the elves awoke, the dwarves are mentioned throughout Tolkien’s works. From The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, many great dwarves have played a huge part in the history of Middle Earth.
Most people know about Gimli and Thorin but there are a few other notable dwarves. Some of the other most powerful ones include Durin the First, Azaghal, and Telchar.
Here are the most powerful dwarves in Middle Earth history:
5. Thorin II Oakenshield
Thorin II, son of Thrain II, was the exiled King of Erebor, the Dwarven kingdom under the Lonely Mountain. He is also one of the main characters in JRR Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit.
He is a member of the Longbeard clan, the most prominent of the seven Dwarven Houses. This makes him one of the direct descendants of Durin the Deathless aka Durin the First. The other notable descendant is his cousin Dain II Ironfoot, who became king of Erebor after Thorin’s death.
Unfortunately, Thorin was not king for long. His grandfather, Thror, was the king of Erebor when the dragon Smaug attacked and exiled them out of their home. Thorin only became the leader of his people after Thrain II disappeared in Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. He would then continue his father’s quest to reclaim Erebor.
Thorin succeeded in this quest, thanks to the aid of Bilbo Baggins and Bard of Dale. Together they defeated Smaug and retook Erebor. However, he succumbed to intense greed brought upon the Ring of Power he wore and the lust for gold. This only snapped during the Battle of the Five Armies, where he died in battle alongside his nephews, Fili and Kili.
He ranks fifth on this list because some of his victories don’t come from his own hands. He did have a mighty army once he became king of Erebor but he wasn’t as strong prior to that moment. It was Dain II who killed the orc lord Azog and Bard was the one who took down Smaug.
Unlike the other dwarves on this list, Telchar is not a king or lord of Dwarves. He is a smith and an apprentice of Gamil Zirak. Telchar is also one of the most ancient Dwarves, coming from the First Age.
There isn’t much written about Telchar except for the fact he is the most notable smith of all time. His skills compare to that of Celebrimbor and Feanor. Telchar later forged the sword Narsil, which King Isildur wielded to defeat Sauron. Isildur’s heir, Aragorn, later reforged the sword and renamed it Anduril.
Telchar also forged Angrist, the knife Beren used to steal away one of the Silmarils from Morgoth’s crown. The knife broke when Beren attempted to take another Silmaril. When it shattered, Beren injured and awoke Morgoth.
He also made the Dragon-helm of Dor-lomin, worn by Turin Turambar and the Dwarf King of the Blue Mountains, Azaghal.
Telchar is the fourth on this list because of his achievements. He didn’t have an army and he wasn’t a king but his creations would go on to affect the history of Middle-Earth.
Hailing from the First Age, Azaghâl is one of the strongest warlords in all of Middle-Earth. Born in the First Age, he was the first to wear the Dragon-helm of Dor-lomin but passed it down to Maedhros and eventually to Turin Turambar. He became the King of Belegost, the Dwarven nation in the Blue Mountains.
It was during his reign that Morgoth strengthened his fortress in Angband and attempted to destroy the nations of the Elves and Men. This became the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. During this siege, Morgoth unleashed the dragon Glaurung.
Azaghâl led the main retaliation force to drive Morgoth’s armies back to Angband. Without his leadership, Morgoth could’ve pushed forward and destroyed Beleriand. Unfortunately, Azaghâl died during his battle with Glaurung, seriously wounded the great dragon and forcing it and Morgoth to retreat.
He ranks third in his list because of his mighty army and the fact he seriously wounded the great dragon in combat.
2. Durin the Deathless
Durin the First, AKA Durin the Deathless, was the first lord and king of all Dwarves, being the first created by the Vala, Aule. However, Aule had to put the Dwarves to sleep because their creation interfered with Iluvatar’s plans for Elves and Men. Durin slept underneath Mount Gundaband, the northern end of the Misty Mountains.
He awoke during the First Age and descended to the southern end of the Misty Mountains. Upon reaching Lake Mirrormere, he started the first true kingdom of the Dwarves. He called his new home Khazad-dum aka Moria.
Many Dwarves consider Durin as the greatest who ever lived, having forged the Kingdom of Khazad-dum and later Erebor. He also wielded Durin’s Axe and Durin’s Helm, both of which became heirlooms in Moria. He is also known as Durin the Deathless for living longer than any other Dwarf.
Legends say that Durin will return six more times. Each reincarnation will come from his lineage, referred to as Durin’s Folk. King’s such as Thorin II Oakenshield come from this line.
However, he is only the second most powerful Dwarf in the history of Middle-Earth. Even with his legacy, there is one Dwarf who managed to achieve even more.
Gimli son of Gloin is the most powerful Dwarf of all. His father is already notable for being a part of Thorin II Oakenshield’s company that journeyed to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. However, Gimli himself did much more.
Gimli was the only dwarven member of the Fellow Ship of the Ring. During the War of the Ring, Gimli participated in multiple major battles and killed countless orcs. He fought in the Battle of Helm’s Deep, aided Aragorn in the Paths of the Dead, and then fought to protect Gondor in the Siege of Minas Tirith.
To take his achievements one step further, Gimli also fought in the Battle of the Black Gate, the last major siege during the War of the Ring.
Gimli wasn’t just a powerful warrior. After the war of the ring, Gimli along with Legolas ventured into the Glittering Caves beneath the mountains of Helm’s Deep and started a new kingdom there. Gimli then became known as the Lord of the Glittering Caves.
Perhaps Gimli’s greatest and most lasting achievement was the friendship he struck with Legolas and Galadriel. Due to ancient strifes, dwarves and elves long disliked each other. Gimli’s close friendship with Legolas brought the two races closer together, repairing years of conflict, and Gimli was later called ‘elf friend’ by the elves.
After Aragorn’s death in the Fourth Age, Legolas took Gimli with him to the Undying Lands, making Gimli the first and only dwarf ever to travel to Valinor. Along with this and his other great deeds, Gimli is arguably the most powerful, notable, and significant Dwarf in Middle-Earth history.