It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart.
– “Durin’s Folk”, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
Since it’s the second annual Starry Mantle Harvestmath guise extravaganza, I naturally had to do something ridiculous and completely inappropriate to the lore and the tone that I usually try to maintain on this blog! These guises are never going to win any accolades for being beautiful outfits but they might bring a few smiles! Last year it was the Crazed Murderer. This year, why not dress up your dwarf in this racy little number and show your friends and kin what you’re working with? Is your dwarf a Dwarf-man or a Dwarf-woman? Does it matter? Only your beard-dresser knows for sure!
On a more serious note, the appearance of Dwarf-women is something that’s often hotly debated. Appendix A pretty clearly spells out that their physical appearance and voices are very much like that of Dwarf-men, indeed that to outsiders the men and women are indistinguishable; in other words, there is little sexual dimorphism in the race of Dwarves. Given the importance and ubiquity of beards among Dwarf-men, the implication is that Dwarf-women too are indeed bearded — if not, it would be easy for outsiders to tell the genders apart. But what was Tolkien’s reason for depicting the Dwarves in this way? Was it just a silly joke? I don’t think so (though unfortunately it is all too easy to take in that direction). I believe the reason lies with the origin of the race of Dwarves. The Children of Ilúvatar, Elves and Men, had yet to awaken in Arda when the Vala Aulë grew impatient, wishing for creatures to love and teach. Because none of the Valar knew the whole mind of Ilúvatar, and Ilúvatar had not revealed his plans for his Children to the Valar, Aulë must have had only a vague understanding of what these incarnate creatures might be like when he set out to make creatures of his own. Furthermore, each of the Valar had an inherent gender, male or female, but as beings of spirit, the Valar could adopt any outward physical appearance that they wished. Thus, before the awakening of the Children of Ilúvatar, the Valar would have had no understanding of the concept of external gender differences. This incomplete understanding of the mind of Ilúvatar on Aulë’s part must account for the Dwarves’ lack of sexual dimorphism and generally alien appearance when compared to Elves and Men.
- Head: Rabbit Festival Mask (Harvestmath festival token barter reward), black
- Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Healing Hands (medallion barter reward — Captain’s Rise of Isengard set), white
- Chest: Bare-chested (Store)
- Hands: Leather Bracers of the Gentle Stag (Dunland quest reward), black
- Legs: Trousers of Restoration (commendation barter reward — Rune-keeper’s Ettenmoors set), white
Tips: Please note that the Bare-chested cosmetic can only be used by Dwarves. The shoulders from the Guardian and Captain Rise of Isengard sets, also available at the Ox-Clan merchant camp, have the same appearance as the shoulders used in this outfit. This outfit also looks quite nice (or maybe “nice” isn’t quite the word… maybe it’s better to say the colours also work) with the mask and gloves dyed burgundy.
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