EVERYTHING you've always wanted to know about Dwarves !

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    • EVERYTHING you've always wanted to know about Dwarves !

      Hi guys,

      Don't know if this has been discussed earlier, or already taken into account anywhere else.
      It seems not, however– I've looked the word « jew » in the Search field, and I'm the only one associating Dwarves and Jews in two different threads.
      So I'm seizing this opportunity to better illustrate my thoughts.

      Now, it appeared in the discussion that some people might find using the word « Jew » as offending, so I've decided to edit this post and replace that word by « Hebrew » or « Israeli » as they'd be more neutral and less likely to provoke defensive reactions.

      So the idea is : in the WHFB world, I've always understood Dwarves in the Empire to play the same role as Hebrew people did in Europe in the Middle-Ages.
      The heck, even in the Lord of the Rings they're the same.
      I'm not actually litterally saying that Dwarves are Hebrew (despite the title for this thread, hum hum). I mean they play the same social role.

      By social role, I mean that in a lot of countries, in Europe in the Middle-Ages and in many parts of the world today, some social functions, jobs, etc. are/used to be reserved to specific ethnic groups.
      For example, in modern Côte d'Ivoire where I live, bus drivers and mechanists are from Mali and Djula ethnic group, tyre repairers and house builders are from Bénin, tuna fryers are from Niger, farmhands are from Burkina, small shopkeepers are from Mauritania, pop singers are of the Bété ethnic group, vegetable merchants are Guro women, factory owners are from Lebanon, soldiers are Géré men, attiéké-makers are Ébrié women, cooking ladies are Baulé women, cattle herders are Fulani, etc.
      It is well known also that in France until a recent period, tailors were German, coal sellers were from Auvergne, and so on.

      And Hebrews also played a specific role.

      It should thus not be surprising to see different ethnic/racial groups in the Empire (be it Sonnstahl or Sigmar Empire) play different social roles as well.


      What is it that makes Dwarves look like traditional Hebrew people ?

      – They practice a whole range of specialized crafts that have a lot in common with the ones Hebrew people used to practice in older times.
      As Thorín Oakenshield lists them in The Hobbit : « After all, what are we ? Merchants, miners, tinkerers, toy-makers » ; historically, Hebrews in European cities were also that, people specialized in clockwork mechanisms, jewellery, gold-lenders, pawnshops owners, etc.

      – They long for the Promised Land.
      In the real world, that is Israel. In WHFB, that was Karak Eight-Peaks and other lost holds. In LotR, that's Erebor and the Moria.
      They all have in common that they were kicked out from their homeland a long time ago by enemies (Romans then Muslims, Orcs and Skaven, the Balrog and the Dragon) and, despite having lived abroad for ages, they still keep their old customs and spend whole evenings crying about how they will come home one day.
      Discworld dwarves don't really have this, but there's still the whole « Koom Valley » stuff.

      They have their own secretive religion that they don't really promote outside their own circles
      That was especially the case in WHFB with Dwarves having their secret temples underground in the main Imperial cities, where they worshipped their own gods Grungni, etc. Because of that, other people see them as weirdos.
      This feature was taken to a new extreme in the Discworld universe (see Thud! in particular), with the « Deep Dwarves », orthodox dwarves who fully cover in clothes to go outside, so that the light of the sun will not touch them.

      They have a link with the established religion
      Israel is Jesus's motherland. Sigmar's religion was likewise born in the World's Edge mountain – not exactly, but Sigmar's hammer, the original « Warhammer », was gifted to him by the dwarves, and he disappeared in the dwarven mountains at the end of his reign – and that is the reason why all Sigmarite temples have their altar turned East, towards the World's Edge Mountains (and possibly towards Karaz-a-Karak, don't remember quite)

      They are rumoured to hold lots of gold
      Hebrews hide gold in their homes, it's a well-known « fact ». The LotR dwarves have a mountain full of gold. In WHFB too, the connection between dwarves and gold was quite strong.The Discworld dwarves have whole songs about gold, where they just repeat « Gold, gold, gold, Gold ! »

      They have their own districts
      I mean, every old city in Europe has its own « Old Jewish district » or Ghetto, just like the WHFB fluff (and Discworld fluff) tells us Dwarves have their own districts in most big cities.
      Well, actually, most foreign/minority communities in every city in the world tend to form their own districts, like all those « China towns » and « Small Athens », so it's not really relevant, agreed. Still…

      There are pogroms
      Yep. In the real world, Hebrew people were always accused of everything bad happening in the country, but in the WHFB world too, there are many accounts of local human communities turning against the local dwarves, for all sorts of reasons. Whole RPG scenarios were written around that theme.

      – They feel like everyone hates them
      Dwarves have so many enemies, everyone wants to fight them, but they'll always be there lol. Just like Hebrew people « Why does everyone hate us ? »

      Dwarf language sounds like Hebrew
      From the few dwarvish texts in LotR to names of dwarvish holds in the WHFB world as well as in T9A, their language really sounds like just a whole lot of « Khava Raka Sharin Makha Yom Nifla » or whatever lol


      I'd just like it if those features were also taken into account in T9A background and universe ;)

      What do you think about it ??

      @Karak Norn Clansman
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Ghiznuk ().

    • Same here, I've always associated dwarves with scandinavic lore. Runes, short, bearded folk that don't take kindly to strangers, unless mead, or beer. In D&D too, you have the evil dwarves called "Duergar", which is pronounced basically as we say dwarves in norwegian (dverger / dvergar)

      My impression is not that everyone hates dwarves. They are mostly let to their mines, and know how to throw a drinking binge. Arrogant, uppity, "holier than thou" elves on the other hand..

      Spelling out "everyone hates them" and then stating "jews" is not cool btw.

      Also, your link between a certain culture belongs in certain jobs seems more like generalization on your part, than actual facts. "Every [some culture] is a [some occupation]", is of course not true, and to claim so is to create harmful stereotypes.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by jarnalyrkar ().

    • I would have said Tolkien based his dwarves on Norse peoples, from whence the mythological 'dwarf' comes. The love of gold is straight from this mythology (and unlikely to have any Jewish connection, as the old norse peoples probably never encountered one). Their predilection for runes (which are old norse writing) is a direct connection, and all dwarf names and language from Middle Earth we have are Norse-inspired. Mining is also an old association that predates Tolkien - even Disney couldn't screw that up. (Snow White released the same year as Tolkien published the Hobbit - so unlikely either influenced the other.)

      If someone told Tolkien he based his dwarves on the Jewish people, he probably would have looked at that person in confusion.

      Now, I can't speak to WHFB dwarf language, but their primary inspirations would have been Tolkien and D+D.

      As an aside, you might want to keep in mind that Jewish people can be sensitive about things like your title, and some of your comments ('Jews always keep gold around', really?) are scandalous at best. I understand you're not from a country which has much of a native Jewish population, nor a history of persecuting Jews, but many other people are. You may wish to declaim the accuracy of such things, at least, and you might be wary that accusing, say, WHFB of doing this could be seen as problematic by GW.
      Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.

      Legal

      Playtester

      Chariot Command HQ

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Squirrelloid ().


    • Below is the translated fragment recording the names of the dwarves from the stanzas of the Dvergatal of the ‘Völuspá’:



      ’10. There was Motsognir | the mightiest made
      Of all the dwarfs, | and Durin next;
      Many a likeness | of men they made,
      The dwarfs in the earth, | as Durin said.
      11. Nyi and Nithi, | Northri and Suthri,
      Austri and Vestri, | Althjof, Dvalin,
      Nar and Nain, | Niping, Dain,
      Bifur, Bofur, | Bombur, Nori,
      An and Onar, | Ai, Mjothvitnir.
      12. Vigg and Gandalf | Vindalf, Thrain,
      Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit,
      Nyr and Nyrath,– | now have I told–
      Regin and Rathsvith– | the list aright.
      13. Fili, Kili, | Fundin, Nali,
      Hepti, Vili, | Hannar, Sviur,
      (Billing, Bruni, | Bildr and Buri,)
      Frar, Hornbori, | Fræg and Loni,
      Aurvang, Jari, | Eikinskjaldi.
      14. The race of the dwarfs | in Dvalin’s throng
      Down to Lofar | the list must I tell;
      The rocks they left, | and through wet lands
      They sought a home | in the fields of sand.
      15. There were Draupnir | and Dolgthrasir,
      Hor, Haugspori, | Hlevang, Gloin,
      Dori, Ori, | Duf, Andvari,
      Skirfir, Virfir, | Skafith, Ai.
      16. Alf and Yngvi, | Eikinskjaldi,
      Fjalar and Frosti, | Finn and Ginnar;
      So for all time | shall the tale be known,
      The list of all | the forbears of Lofar.’

      Shamelessly stolen.
    • In addition to the important points mentioned by other posters, I'd like to mention two facts:

      1) In the real world the concept of human races is a social construction without a biological basis.
      In the last two centuries there's been a lot of attempts at bringing down this fact using pseudo-science backed by political agendas, cumulating in the aberrant "hierarchy of races" constructed to justify slavery, conquests and worse (fun fact: the political-driven delirium of fascist ideologues led them to classify the Japanese as "honorary Aryans").
      --> Let's be very careful when comparing a people from a fantasy world in which context it's acceptable to divide intelligent beings into "races", and a cultural or national group from our own world.

      2) There are important differences between the Dwarven Holds people from T9A and the other dwarvish folks from WHFB, Middle-earth and Warcraft.
      Simply read the fluff regarding the former here: Background: Dwarven Holds
      Most of the ideas listed by Ghiznuk above are missing.
      --> The comparison just isn't pertinent in T9A.

      @Cam stealing is done with profit in mind. This is an hommage, in my opinion.
      For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
    • If you read the OP he is actually very carefull not to offend. But just pointing out similarities in history and roles in society both practical/historicly and percieved/fantasy-myth.
      Stating that jews have been percieved as something is not racist.
      and I still believe; Light infantry should fight and shoot in 3 ranks, Imperial Guards should have weaponmaster and both parent and support, and that halbardiers should wear heavy armor. For Sunna and the Emperor!!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Smythen ().

    • Scylla wrote:

      In addition to the important points mentioned by other posters, I'd like to mention two facts:

      1) In the real world the concept of human races is a social construction without a biological basis.
      In the last two centuries there's been a lot of attempts at bringing down this fact using pseudo-science backed by political agendas, cumulating in the aberrant "hierarchy of races" constructed to justify slavery, conquests and worse (fun fact: the political-driven delirium of fascist ideologues led them to classify the Japanese as "honorary Aryans").
      --> Let's be very careful when comparing a people from a fantasy world in which context it's acceptable to divide intelligent beings into "races", and a cultural or national group from our own world.

      2) There are important differences between the Dwarven Holds people from T9A and the other dwarvish folks from WHFB, Middle-earth and Warcraft.
      Simply read the fluff regarding the former here: Background: Dwarven Holds
      Most of the ideas listed by Ghiznuk above are missing.
      --> The comparison just isn't pertinent in T9A.

      @Cam stealing is done with profit in mind. This is an hommage, in my opinion.
      When I read the DH background description I pretty much thought it sounded like WHFB DH.
    • Hi guys, thanks for all the outrage :D


      @Happy Aspid , @Kirmiath @jarnalyrkar :
      When I wrote « Everyone hates them », I was not writing about the fact that players or the public hate dwarves (indeed, they are much loved), but rather about the fact that Dwarves have a huge part of their culture that gravitates around the idea of « We do not doing anything bad but then everyone attacks us all the time », they like to think themselves as victims, they like to cry for lost ones, for the lost land, etc.
      Just like Jewish people.
      Still, I've updated the post above to better express what I wanted to say.

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      @Squirrelloid
      I work in an Israeli company and have many Jewish friends from Israel and Belgium, with whom I love discussing whole nights in a row.
      The sentence « Why does everyone hate us ? » is a direct quote from my Israeli boss a few weeks ago. I don't have a recording, sorry ;)

      I know that some people can get upset about stereotypes, and so on, but hey, we already replaced the Mongols by Ogres and the ancient Mayas by Lizardmen, with every single prejudice about them piled up in their fluff.
      It's meant to be humour, right ?
      Also what I wrote is, I'm sure of it, 100% acceptable by the Jewish people I know.

      By the way, I didn't write « Jews always keep gold around », I wrote « Jews are rumoured to hold gold »
      –– as most prejudice around Jewish people centres around their supposed connection with gold, same for Dwarves.
      Whereas actually most of those Jewish people living in Paris or Kiev in the 19th century were surely not any richer than most Dwarves in the Altdorf craftsmen district.

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      @Squirrelloid

      On the language : it is well-known to Tolkien fans that the names in « The Hobbit » and « Lord of the Rings » are actually translations of what they actually were in Tolkien's imaginary languages. So Bilbo's actual name was not Bilbo, the Rohirrim did not speak Old English, and so on. And the Dwarves in « The Hobbit » were actually not named Fili, Kili, Ori, etc.

      « In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Westron was presented as having been completely translated into English. This had certain important implications: first of all, proper names with derivations somewhat evident to speakers of Westron had been 'translated', to preserve the effect. Thus, names like "Baggins", "Bagshot Row", "Peregrin", "Rivendell", etc. are presented as not the actual names. For example, Meriadoc Brandybuck's actual name is supposed to have been Kalimac Brandagamba, short Kali (meaning jolly, merry). 'Meriadoc', short 'Merry', is designed to maintain the reference to merriness contained in the original name. Likewise Peregrin Took's actual name was Razanur Tûc, short Razar (name of a small apple). 'Peregrin', short 'Pippin' contained both the actual meaning of the full name (traveller, stranger) and the reference to an apple. Sam Gamgee (shortened from Samwise Gammidgy) was actually named Ban Galpsi, short for Banazîr Galbasi. The ending of the 'true' Hobbit name Bilbo was also changed: in Westron it was Bilba, but Tolkien changed this to -o because -a is usually a female ending in English, whereas it was a male ending in Westron. »

      Tolkien used Old Norse and Old English to translate the names of those languages because the original Dwarvish and Rohirrim languages' connection to standard Westron was thought to be the same as the connection between Old Norse/Old English and Modern English. See here :

      « In the novels it is always represented by the Mercian dialect of Old English, because Tolkien saw the relationship between Rohirric and the Common Speech to be similar to that of Old English and Modern English, which was used to represent Westron. Only a few actual Rohirric words are given by Tolkien: kûd-dûkan, an old word meaning "hole-dweller" which led to kuduk, the name the Hobbits had for themselves. Even these terms were translated in the book: "hobbit" is said to derive from the Old English word holbytla, or hole-builder. »

      Sorry but you have to know all those things before seriously discussing this topic :D

      Else we're not talking about the same thing !! :largegrin:



      The Dwarvish language designed by Tolkien, called « Khuzdul », is very distinctively semitic in inspiration.

      The only actual words of Dwarvish spoken in LotR are Gimli's famous battlecry :

      « Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu! »

      BY THE WAY, see here what the Wikipedia article says :

      « Tolkien noted some similarities between Dwarves and Jews: both were "at once natives and aliens in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue…". Tolkien also commented of the Dwarves that "their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic."

      ……

      The highest level of secrecy applied to Dwarves' "inner-names", their personal names, with the possible exception of the Petty-dwarves. The names of all Dwarves are "outer-names" either from another language (Dalish) or nicknames/titles, sometimes in Khuzdul: e.g. [i]Azaghâl, Gamil Zirak. »

      « The Dwarves had a great reverence for Aulë. Because of this, Khuzdul remained unchanged in respect for Aulë, and that all Dwarven clans could speak with each other without difficulty despite the great distances that separated them, and Khuzdul having existed for more than 12,000 years. » –– that is another similarity with Hebrew remaining practically unchanged during thousands of years, despite the fact that the language was uprooted from its mother country.

      « Dwarves were unwilling to teach outsiders Khuzdul, even to their non-dwarf friends. Dwarves would speak the languages of the region "but with an accent due to their own private tongue..." » –– adding to the idea of « dwarves sticking together » and developing something like a form of the Yiddish language. »


      Got it ?


      So names like Thorin, Ori, Gloin, are just « convenience » names, they are translations into Old Norse names of what the outer-names of those dwarves would have sounded like to the Westron-speakers.

      Whereas their real names are not known.



      Other (actual) Dwarvish names of places :

      Khazad-dûm, Barazinbar, Zirakzigil, Bundushathûr, Tumunzahar, Tharkûn, Nulukkhizdîn, Nargûn, Gabilân, Kibil-nâla, Sigin-tarâg, Kheled-zarâm, Felak-gundu, Sharbhund……

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      (As a side note, the « Jewish connection » also explains also a lot of the possible link between the obviously semitic culture of the Infernal Dwarves culture and the « secretive » semitic culture of the Hold Dwarves.)


      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      @Kirmiath
      On the good relationship between Men and Dwarves in Warhammer lore, it depends on the point of view and source material.
      There is a strong alliance between Dwarves and Men on an « international » level, in their common fight against Orcs and Chaos, but in the streets of the big cities, there was a lot of distrust, and pogroms happened rather often, if you read the original RPG lore.

      This led the Dwarves having their own districts in some cities (such as Middenheim), which only added to their level of secrecy and distrust of the different communities.

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      Finally, the fact that Dwarves have Nordic elements in their artstyle is to me totally irrelevant in this discussion.

      They could even be inspired from Aztecs or Maōri, that would not remove the idea that the social role the exiled dwarves fulfill in Imperial and other human societies is identical to the one Jewish people traditionnally fulfilled in Old Europe : peddlars, tinkerers, toy-makers, gold-lenders.

      Actually, the fact that there used to be so many Nordic elements in WHFB lore always appeared strange to me, as there was already Norsca. Same thing in T9A : we have Åskland, and Dwarves live in what is basically Switzerland – so why would they look like small vikings ? We can change that :D

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      @Scylla I've read (and translated) that background, don't see anything that would pose a problem with them having something Jewish.

      ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

      @Niedfaru, @Scottish Knight, what's your say ?
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Ghiznuk ().

    • Squirrelloid wrote:

      I would have said Tolkien based his dwarves on Norse peoples, from whence the mythological 'dwarf' comes. The love of gold is straight from this mythology (and unlikely to have any Jewish connection, as the old norse peoples probably never encountered one). Their predilection for runes (which are old norse writing) is a direct connection, and all dwarf names and language from Middle Earth we have are Norse-inspired. Mining is also an old association that predates Tolkien - even Disney couldn't screw that up. (Snow White released the same year as Tolkien published the Hobbit - so unlikely either influenced the other.)

      If someone told Tolkien he based his dwarves on the Jewish people, he probably would have looked at that person in confusion.

      Now, I can't speak to WHFB dwarf language, but their primary inspirations would have been Tolkien and D+D.

      As an aside, you might want to keep in mind that Jewish people can be sensitive about things like your title, and some of your comments ('Jews always keep gold around', really?) are scandalous at best. I understand you're not from a country which has much of a native Jewish population, nor a history of persecuting Jews, but many other people are. You may wish to declaim the accuracy of such things, at least, and you might be wary that accusing, say, WHFB of doing this could be seen as problematic by GW.
      I have seen before where Tolkien said something about his dwarves being Jews. I will investigate.
    • @Scylla in the background that's already been written they're just saying that .

      – Dwarves don't do magic
      – They long for their lost empire
      – They are gifted jewellers and engineers
      – They are very conservative
      – They are secretive

      I don't see anything that contradicts my thesis here.
      GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
      First T9A player in West Africa
    • i applaud your efforts - but i suggest your heading change to something with a little more nuance...

      Otherwise - i'm not touching this with a ten foot pole.

      Head of Lectors

      Quick Starter Team

      "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

      - Grouchy Badger

    • Just for the record, I want to say that I mostly really enjoy reading your threads and comments, as you're always positive, engaging and have lots of great suggestions, but this one took me by surprise.

      Your edit of the text and title made it better, though :)