Okay, so in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey there are 13 dwarves running about, all of whom have strange names, some of which rhyme. These names include much alliteration, a bit of assonance, and are generally otherworldly sounding (no Bobs or Jims in this crowd). Holy moly is that a lot to keep straight! But never fear, with a handy mnemonic device (or 8), you'll have these dwarves down pat in no time at all. Here we go.
Before you can even think about figuring out which dwarf is which, you've got to get the names down, starting by memorizing the first letters to each. To do this, I have created a sentence. Once you memorize the below sentence, you're golden:
Before bugging busy dwarves, first kill Gollum over night or don't bother trying!
Each word in this sentence begins with the same letter as one of the dwarves' names. Here's the rundown:
Before = Bofur
Bugging = Bifur
Busy = Balin
Dwarves = Dwalin
First = Fili
Kill = Kili
Gollum = Gloin
Over = Oin
Night = Nori
Or = Ori
Don't = Dori
Bother = Bombur
Trying = Thorin
So, this sentence doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it is chock full of things that are easy to remember. It mentions dwarves (the things you are memorizing) and a distinguished Hobbit character (Gollum), as well as has a catchy ending — "don't bother trying" just rolls off the tongue.
This sentence also handily (well, I did it on purpose) puts all the dwarves with similar sounding names next to one another. So, once you remember Bofur it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with his brother Bifur. Same goes for Fili/Kili, Balin/Dwalin, Gloin/Oin and so on.
The other secret to learning the dwarves is to get certain key players down first. They are as follows:Thorin: Thorin Oakenshield (or the "trying" in the sentence) is the main dwarf, the big kahuna. He is front and center on the promotional posters and has the most lines. Just remember him. You don't need a fancy device to remember Bilbo or Gandalf's names, do you?
Bombur: Bombur, unfortunately, has no like-named companion. But, he is the big fat one that is always eating. So, if you remember that one of them loves a belly bomb, the name Bombur shouldn't be too far behind.
Kili: Kili is the hottest of the dwarves, so he should stand out in your mind. Also, in our sentence the word "killing" stands for Kili. Those are practically the same thing, so as long as you've got the sentence down pat, remembering Kili's name should be a no brainer.
Bofur: Much like with Kili, Bofur sounds a lot like "before," the first word in our sentence. This should trigger your memory. Then, once you remember Bofur you use the pair trick to get his brother Bifur (see how that works?).
Dwalin: Dwalin corresponds with "dwarves" in our sentence. Both start with "dw." Piece of cake. Directly proceeding him is his brother Balin.
Ori: Ori = or. Easy peasy.
Gloin: While Gloin in fact rhymes with "loin," it looks like it should be pronounced "glow-in," so use this to your advantage! Gloin is the redheaded one that is not Bombur. You know that the name that sounds like Gloin will be next to Gloin, so you know it starts with "O" and is therefore Oin. Gloin's brother Oin looks just like him except that he has white hair. So, like, drop the glowing part from Gloin (his hair) and you can figure out which one is Oin. So, basically, it's all like a puzzle. The key to getting it is not to worry about remembering them in order. Get the sentence down and then fill in the obvious ones (above). The rest will come to you. It's like magic, I swear.
Of course, if all else fails you could just study pictures with the dwarves' names written on them, like the ones included in this post. But where's the fun in that?
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros]