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Raised in the Blue Mountains; later helped re-establish and settle Erebor
Pronunciation
glo'in
Meaning
Glóin is an Old Norse dwarf-name, probably meaning 'gleaming one'
Note
Glóin son of Gróin shares his name with a much earlier King of Durin's Folk who ruled in the Grey Mountains; for that earlier Glóin, see the entry for Glóin, King of Durin's Folk

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  • Updated 23 June 2019
  • This entry is complete

Glóin son of Gróin

Companion of Bilbo and father of Gimli Elf-friend

Gróin
Óin
Glóin
Gimli

Thorin's Company

The younger of the two sons of Gróin, a distant descendant of the royal line of Durin's Folk, the Longbeard Dwarves. Glóin's great-grandfather Borin had been the younger son of King Náin II, and thus through many generations Glóin son of Gróin could claim descent from King Glóin of the Grey Mountains. King Glóin was succeeded by his son Óin, strongly suggesting that Gróin's sons were named Óin and Glóin after these ancient ancestors.

Glóin was born into fraught times for his people. He was just seven years old when King Thrór was murdered in Moria, sparking the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs that lasted for the next nine years. After this War, The Dwarves of Durin's Folk wandered away out of Dunland, the land where Glóin would have spent his earliest years. Led northward by their leader, Thrór's son Thráin II, this band of Dwarves eventually settled among the Blue Mountains.

The Quest of Erebor

We know little of Glóin's life in the Blue Mountains, except that in III 2879 he had a son, whom he named Gimli.1 By this time Thráin had been succeeded as lord of Durin's Folk by his son Thorin Oakenshield, and Glóin was evidently high in Thorin's councils. When the Dwarves were visited by Gandalf to begin planning a return to Erebor, Glóin was one of the few invited to be present. At that meeting, Gandalf insisted that a company sent to reclaim the Lonely Mountain should include a Hobbit, but Glóin was outspokenly scornful of the idea.

Despite the objections of Glóin and others, Thorin reluctantly agreed to allow a Hobbit to join the quest. A company of thirteen Dwarves set out from the Blue Mountains, led by Thorin and including Glóin and his elder brother Óin. Glóin's son Gimli also wished to join the company, but at the age of sixty-two he was considered to be too young2 for such an expedition.

After the long journey from the mountains down the East Road and into the Shire, Glóin and his companions reached the home of the Hobbit who would act as their 'burglar'. Hooded in white, Glóin joined Thorin and the other Dwarves in the Hobbit-hole of Bag End to discuss their plans with a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. At their first meeting, Glóin was less than impressed by the Hobbit, but was soundly rebuked by Gandalf for voicing his doubts about the company's newest member.

With their new companion added to the group, the Dwarves set off across Middle-earth on the Quest of Erebor. Glóin's main individual contribution, at least in the early stages of the journey, was as a fire starter. In this both he and his brother Óin were said to be particularly skilled, but an encounter with Goblins in the Misty Mountains saw the Dwarves lose most of their gear, including the brothers' tinderboxes.

The Company escaped the Goblins, and continued an eventful journey across Middle-earth to the Lonely Mountain. Glóin played little individual part in these adventures, being captured with the other Dwarves several times, and each time making an escape. The worst of these from Glóin's perspective was an escape from the Wood-elves down the Forest River within a leaking barrel, an experience which left him barely alive, though he was able to recover. At some point he succeeded in collecting a new tinderbox, probably at Lake-town, because he used it to make light in the darkness under Erebor.

Across these adventures Glóin's scornful attitude towards Bilbo Baggins softened as the Hobbit proved his usefulness time and time again. On one occasion, when Bilbo wandered away from the Dwarves to explore the darkened halls of Erebor, his torch was seen to go out, and it was Glóin who hurried to make more torches and go to the Hobbit's rescue.

The events surrounding the Quest of Erebor led to the Battle of Five Armies in the valley and on the slopes of the Lonely Mountain. Glóin fought in that battle and survived, though Thorin was not so fortunate. The new King under the Mountain was Thorin's cousin and heir Dáin Ironfoot, and along with the other companions of Thorin, Glóin settled at Erebor under Dáin's leadership.

Later Life

The Dwarves of Erebor set about rebuilding their kingdom and the town of Dale, and they grew in prosperity as the years passed. With the succesful re-establishment of Erebor, certain of the Dwarves began to consider an even greater quest: to reclaim the ancient city of Moria beneath the Misty Mountains. The leader of these Dwarves was Glóin's friend Balin, and among Balin's followers was Glóin's brother Óin. In the year III 2989, after nearly fifty years of peace in Erebor, Balin led a group of companions away to reclaim the glory of old Khazad-dûm. Glóin never heard from his brother Óin again, though it was later discovered that the expedition had been overwhelmed by Orcs and destroyed.

The dangers in Moria were far away from Erebor, and under the Lonely Mountain the Dwarves continued to prosper. Nearly thirty years passed before trouble came upon them again, in the shape of a messenger from Mordor. This messenger sought news of Hobbits, and demanded that they find Glóin's old companion Bilbo Baggins, who was known to have taken a trinket that Sauron desired. At first King Dáin refused to give an answer, but the messenger returned to Erebor twice more, and threatened dire consequences should he be refused again.

Concerned by the fell messenger, and the earlier loss of Balin and his company, King Dáin resolved to send an emissary westward to seek advice from Elrond in Rivendell, and also to send a warning to Bilbo that the Enemy was seeking him. Glóin was chosen for the task, and with him he took his son Gimli. The journey was evidently a difficult one, and the aid of the Beornings was needed to complete the passage, but at last Glóin and Gimli reached Rivendell on the very eve of the Council of Elrond.

Glóin appeared at Rivendell richly dressed as befitted his station, wearing a silver belt and a silver chain of diamonds around his neck (his choice of silver perhaps recalled the white hood that he had worn when he arrived at Bag End nearly eighty years earlier). His beard by this time had grown long and white, and split into a fork at its end. At Rivendell he met Frodo Baggins, and immediately recognised that he was kin to Bilbo.

At the Council of Elrond, Glóin related the events that had brought him to Rivendell: the loss of Balin in Moria and the menacing messenger of Sauron. He discovered in turn the nature of the Ring, the so-called trinket that Sauron's emissary had sought. At that Council it was decided to send Nine Walkers on a quest to reach Mount Doom in Mordor and destroy the Ring. Being 235 years old at this time, Glóin himself could hardly take part, but his son Gimli was chosen to represent the Dwarves as part of the Company of the Ring.

After the Council of Elrond we hear no more of Glóin himself, though his name was used many times by the great of Middle-earth as they addressed 'Gimli son of Glóin' of the Fellowship of the Ring. Glóin had been sent west to gather news and counsel, and it seems reasonable to conclude that he would have quickly returned to Dáin in Erebor. He was therefore likely to have been caught in the siege of Erebor some five months later (if so, he evidently survived).

We know that Gimli returned to Erebor after the War of the Ring before settling in the south, and at that time father and son would presumably have been reunited. Glóin may even have accompanied Gimli on his return to the southern lands, and settled in Aglarond with his son. Whether he travelled south or remained in Erebor, we know that Glóin lived on for some seventeen years after the War of the Ring. He died in the year IV 15 at the age of 253.


Notes

1

Glóin's choice of the name Gimli for his son may be a meaningful one. The name Glóin can be interpreted as 'glowing one', and Gimli as 'little fire' or 'spark', so together the names carry the idea of a larger fire creating a lesser fire. It's perhaps notable that Glóin was said to have had special skill in the making of fire, which may also tie into the same theme.

2

It was common for Dwarves to live for two hundred and fifty years, so Gimli's age of sixty-two would make him the equivalent of about twenty years old on a human timescale. The youngest Dwarf to be allowed on the expedition was Thorin's nephew Kíli, who was seventy-seven years old at the time (or about twenty-five in 'human years').

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About this entry:

  • Updated 23 June 2019
  • This entry is complete

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