Uncle Bob or Cousin Bofur?

I really like this analysis of dwarvishness. In particular, it answers the question I had about DOS — when Thorin and the crew were in Erebor, and Thorin taunts Smaug into breathing the fire that re-lights the forges, how did the dwarves escape getting burnt to a crisp just by standing behind the pillars? Surely the flames — or even the hot air — would have been enough to cause damage. But if dwarves are highly heat-resistant, that would explain how they made it through.

The Dwarrow Scholar

For those unfamiliar with the details of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the dwarves (at first glance) appear to be short, plump, grumpy men with big noses and long beards – much like my uncle Bob come to think of it, but I digress.

Sure, they are stocky, quite a bit shorter and have long beards that can be tucked into their belts.  But they still have a human form, unlike some of the talking beings of Tolkien’s world, such a dragons or ents for example.

So the question posted here today is… “What really makes a dwarf a dwarf?”

Could we for instance, sitting at a table in the Prancing Pony, mistake a stocky chubby strong-armed man with a long white beard (aka uncle Bob) for a dwarf ? I guess we could, but might quickly identify his true form when we took a closer look and talked to him for…

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