A Diamond in the Rough: Glóin, son of Gróin

Glóin, Dwarf of the Longbeard line, made his memorable appearance into the annals of Middle-earth when he, his brother Óin, and three other Dwarves entered Bilbo Baggin's home in a group in T.A. 2941. While the significance is not explained, each of the Dwarves wore hoods of differing colors, and Glóin's was white. Interestingly, of all of the twelve Dwarves included in "Thorin & Co.," Glóin is the only one who does not appear to play an instrument, as the other Dwarves and the instruments they carried from Erebor are mentioned, but Glóin is omitted. Perhaps he had the best voice of the ensemble.

There were two qualities of his personality which caused him to stand out from his companions. One was his ability to light fires even in the least desirable of circumstances, a talent which he shared with Óin. In fact, throughout the adventures in The Hobbit, the group always looked to Glóin and his brother when fires of any kind needed to be made, even though they both lost their tinderboxes during their capture by the Goblins.

The other was his tendency both to be opinionated and outspoken. When the twelve Dwarves were at Bilbo's home, Glóin was the Dwarf who voiced the comment that he felt that Bilbo was a poor choice for burglar, especially someone who would have to face the dragon, Smaug.

Even in Unfinished Tales, "The Quest of Erebor," it is Glóin who is prejudiced against Gandalf's suggestion to Thorin that they take someone non-Dwarvish with them on their quest, and a hobbit at that.

This tendency to speak his mind was further manifested during the Council of Elrond, when he interrupted Legolas' report of how Gollum had escaped from the Mirkwood Elves. He interjected how Gollum had been better treated than he and the other Dwarves during their imprisonment in Thranduil's halls, but acquiesced to Gandalf when the wizard pointed out that listing all grievances between Dwarves and Elves would render the council moot.

With the rest of Thorin & Co., Glóin fought in the Battle of Five Armies, and was one of the nine of the group who survived.

He was obviously held in high esteem by then-King Dáin II since he was one of only two Dwarves sent to Rivendell to the Council of Elrond. Gimli, his son, was the other. Presumably Glóin's older brother Óin would have gone in Glóin's place, had he not gone to Khazad-dûm with Balin and Ori, but that is speculation.

Like all Dwarves, Glóin was drawn to gems as evidenced in this description of him from "The Council of Elrond:" "He wore a silver belt, and round his neck hung a chain of silver and diamonds." It is at this council where it becomes obvious that after his dealings with Bilbo, he has had a change of heart about hobbits from his younger days. He greeted Frodo warmly, even rising from his seat and bowing to him before continuing their conversation. Finding Frodo an attentive listener, Glóin told him much about what had happened since Bilbo had returned to the Shire, including the Dwarves' dealings with the men of Dale.

Though mention is not made of it, Glóin probably bid his son Gimli farewell before the Nine Walkers left Rivendell since only members of Elrond's household were said to have been in attendance when they departed. His death date is F.A. 15, so it can be presumed that he fought with the other Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain when they and the men of Dale were attacked by orcs on March 17th, 3019. He survived the battle, and maybe even was visited by Gimli at least once after the War of the Ring.


The Lord of the Rings, "The Council of Elrond"
The Hobbit
Unfinished Tales, "The Tale of Erebor"

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