Balin was a dwarf leader, the son of Fundin and elder brother of Dwalin. He was well known for being one of the thirteen dwarves who went on the quest to regain the lost kingdom of the Lonely Mountain or Erebor, and the dwarf who sought to resettle Moria a few decades before the War of the Ring.
Balin was a dwarf, son to Fundin and likely born in the Lonely Mountain before the coming of Smaug the dragon. He had a younger brother named Dwalin and was one of Thorin II Oakenshield's companions on the day the dragon came to Erebor. Afterwards he may have lived in Dunland as a refugee. He fought in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. Many years later, approximately TA 2841, he accompanied Thráin II, the father of Thorin, when he attempted to go back to the Lonely Mountain himself but he was captured and lost. Unsuccessful in their search for him, Balin and the others went back to live with Thorin in his settlement in the Blue Mountains.
The Quest of EreborEdit
Balin was part of the company assembled by Thorin Oakenshield that traveled to Lonely Mountain with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, to defeat Smaug and retake the mountain kingdom of Erebor. He was the second dwarf to arrive at Bilbo's house. The one before him was his brother Dwalin and like him he played a fiddle. Among the dwarves of the company, Balin was the second-eldest dwarf on the quest, and loosely held the position of deputy leader. He led the dwarves in the escape from the spiders, and spoke for the party when the Elvenking Thranduil captured them.
He is described as "always their look-out man": He spots Bilbo approaching The Green Dragon Inn at Bywater, he spots the trolls' fire, and he's the first to spot the elves in Mirkwood. He noted that not even a mouse had ever passed him on watch. Conversely he did not notice Bilbo (hidden by wearing the magic ring) as lookout for the company after escaping the goblins in the Misty Mountains.
After this bit of trickery, Balin gained respect for Bilbo's abilities and was the only dwarf that volunteered to accompany Bilbo down the secret passage to Smaug's chamber. Of all the dwarves in the quest, Balin was the only one known to have visited Bilbo at Bag End after their experiences on the quest for the Lonely Mountain.
Moria Expedition and Death Edit
In TA 2989, Balin left the Lonely Mountain and entered Moria with Flói, Óin, Ori, Frár, Lóni, Náli and others intending to re-establish the ancient kingdom and find the Ring of Power that had last been seen in the possession of King Thrór, but the Balrog known as Durin's Bane had not left the place. Their small group was overrun by Goblins and wiped out. Balin himself was killed by a Goblin archer in the Dimrill Dale in TA 2994, ambushed while pacing through a hall regarding his dead friends. The tragic fate of Balin's colony remained a complete mystery to all Middle Earth until the arrival of the Fellowship of the Ring. 
Behind the ScenesEdit
In The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship discovers his tomb in the Chamber of Mazarbul. His tombstone refers to the late Balin as "Lord of Moria". During the Fellowship's travels through Moria, Balin once had a double bladed battle axe before his demise during the Goblin and Orc attack on Dwarrowdelf and now it apparently belonged to his cousin Gimli.
Balin's name is Old Norse in form, but its meaning is obscure. Possibly means "hero" from dangerous but extended.
Portrayal in AdaptationsEdit
In Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation is portrayed by Scottish actor Ken Stott. He is ranked as the eldest member of Thorin's party, in contrast to the book where Thorin is Balin's elder by about twenty years. Whereas in the book he wields a battleaxe, Balin in the Peter Jackson films uses a bronze sword with a unique cross-shaped tip (promotional material however describes the weapon as a flat-bladed mace). The studio released the following statement about Stott's Balin in the upcoming trilogy:
A descendant of nobility and a Dwarf Lord in his own right, Balin is one of the oldest members of The Company of Dwarves. Wise and gentle by nature, he has been forced to live a life fraught with war and the ongoing struggle for survival. Related to Thorin Oakenshield, Balin is one of his closest, most trusted advisers – but deep in his heart, this wisest and most loyal of Dwarves harbors troubling doubts about the wisdom of the Quest for the Lonely Mountain.
Farin | ----------------------- | | Gróin Fundin | | ---------------- ----------------- | | | | | | | | Óin Glóin Balin Dwalin | | Gimli (Elf-friend)
|Dwarves of Middle-earth|
Azaghâl | Balin | Bifur | Bofur | Bombur | Borin | Dáin I | Dáin II Ironfoot | Dís | Dori | Durin(s) | Dwalin | Farin | Fíli | Flói | Frerin | Frár | Frór | Fundin | Gamil Zirak | Gimli | Glóin, King of Durin's Folk | Glóin | Gróin | Grór | Ibûn | Khîm | Kíli | Lóni | Mîm | Náin | Náin I | Náin II | Náli | Nár | Narvi | Nori | Óin | Ori | Telchar | Thorin I | Thorin II Oakenshield | Thorin III | Thráin I | Thráin II | Thrór
|Thorin and Company|