A dwarf drawn from descriptions in The Lord of the Rings, a work which Harry Turtledove has frequently consulted.

In fantasy traditions dating back to Germanic mythology, a dwarf (plural dwarfs, dwarves, or rarely dwarrow) is a human-shaped entity that dwells in mountains and in the earth, and is variously associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting. Dwarfs are sometimes described as short and ugly, although some scholars have questioned whether this is a later development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. In real life, a dwarf is a human that has a condition (usually a birth defect) causing extreme shortness, and the fantasy portrayal is derived from the convenient ancient economic strategy of assigning such people to mining work. However, within the stories they are usually considered a separate species from humans. Fantasy dwarfs are depicted in modern popular culture in a variety of media.

Dwarf in "The Garden Gnome Freedom Front"[]

The dwarves of the Alps were described in detail in a chapter of The Standard History of Gnomes and Their Relatives by Professor Gottfried.

Dwarf in "Getting Real"[]

In the high fantasy world where Pablo Ramirez had been transported by Real, evil cannibal dwarves had kidnapped young women to ravish and then eat. Ramirez and his friend the Barbarian axeman engaged the dwarves in a fierce battle. In spite of the danger, the heroes triumphed, killing the dwarves and rescuing the women.

Dwarf in "The Old Grind"[]

Dwarves, along with giants and trolls, were among the indigenous people of Orkney. Among giants, dwarves had an imperfect reputation for respectability.[1]


  1. E.g., Chicks Ahoy!, pg. 180.