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Balin son of Fundin
Balin, as he appears in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Balin

Biographical information

Other names
Titles
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Realms ruled
Spouse
Unknown
Weapon
Sword (film), Battle Axe

Physical description

Race
Culture
Gender
Male
Height
Hair color
Eye color
Actor
Voice
Character
What have we done, O king? Is it a crime to be lost in the forest, to be hungry and thirsty, to be trapped by spiders?

The Hobbit, Barrels Out Of Bond

Balin was a Dwarf leader, the son of Fundin and elder brother of Dwalin. He was one of the twelve dwarves who accompanied Thorin II Oakenshield on the quest to regain the lost kingdom of the Lonely Mountain, and the dwarf who sought to resettle Moria a few decades before the War of the Ring.

A Dwarf Lord, Balin is old and wise. He is one of Thorin's closest friends and advisers, and is always willing to listen and offer some wise counsel. Balin is distantly related to Thorin, and is a descendant of the noble house of Durin.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

Balin was a dwarf, son of 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 those driven from their homes when the dragon Smaug attacked the Lonely Mountain. Afterwards he may have lived in Dunland as a refugee. He fought in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. Many years later, in approximately TA 2841, he accompanied Thráin II, the father of Thorin, when he attempted to go back to the Lonely Mountain himself, but Thráin 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 - The Hobbit

Balin visits Bilbo

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 the Lonely Mountain. He was the second Dwarf to arrive at Bilbo's house, where like his brother Dwalin 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 their escape from the spiders and, absent Thorin, 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, and wondered why he did not notice Bilbo (hidden by wearing the magic ring) when he was lookout for the company after escaping the goblins in the Misty Mountains.

Balin gained respect for Bilbo's abilities, and was the only dwarf who 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 DeathEdit

Balin's death

Balin at his death bed

In TA 2989, Balin left the Lonely Mountain and entered Moria with Flói, cousin Óin (who was killed by the Watcher in the Water), 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 Thráin II, father of Thorin Oakenshield. Although Balin's quest for the ring-which conferred great wealth and a curse of greed on Dwarf Lords-was in vain (it had been recaptured by Sauron), according to Ori's Book of Mazarbul Balin recovered Durin's Helm and Durin's Axe and being descended from Kingly lineage then set himself up as the "Lord of Moria";  but the Balrog known as Durin's Bane had not left the place. Balin himself was killed by a Goblin archer in the Dimrill Dale in TA 2994, ambushed while going alone to look in Mirror Mere. Soon afterward the dwarf colony which was too small to occupy Moria was eventually overrun by Goblins and wiped out.

Balin's TombEdit

The tragic fate of Balin's colony remained a complete mystery to all Middle Earth until the TA 3019 arrival in Moria of the Fellowship of the Ring, which included his close kin (first cousin once removed) Gimli, the son of Balin's cousin Glóin and nephew of Óin.[1][2][3] Upon arriving at The Chamber of Mazarbul and finding Balin's Tomb within, the Fellowship learned of his fate within Moria, which saddened and angered Gimli, for on the single oblong block, about two feet high, were Dwarf Runes that Gandalf translated as:[4]

BALIN SON OF FUNDIN
LORD OF MORIA

EtymologyEdit

As explained by Christopher Tolkien, "My father's point was that Balin and Fundin are actual Old Norse names used as ‘translations’ [of their] real ‘outer’ names."[5]

Balin's Family TreeEdit

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Farin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Gróin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fundin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Óin
   
   
   
   
   
   
Glóin
   
   
Balin
   
   
   
   
Dwalin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Gimli


Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

Rankin/Bass versionEdit

In the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit, Balin was voiced by Don Messick.

The Hobbit film trilogyEdit

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 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.

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Balin persuades Bard the Bowman to take them safely to Lake-town in return for a huge amount of money (double Bard's usual barge fare), an event that did not occur in the book.

PersonalityEdit

Balin is portrayed to be the wiser, more social and skeptical individual in Thorin and Company. He is kind, sly and brave, an excellent fighter. Thorin, at one point, quoted on Balin's skill as a fighter. He develops an essentially strong relationship with the other Dwarves he travelled with and was willing to fight alongside them for any cause. He was sympathetic, sometimes cynical, towards Bilbo Baggins, remarking that the latter wasn't fit for the job they had set out to do. He got on brilliantly with Thorin, and seemed to share something of a grandfatherly view of the latter.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Each of the Hobbit film's actors had a voice in the nature and design of their own weaponry. Ken Stott, who plays Balin, asked the filmmakers for a weapon "somewhere between an axe and a sword."

Voice Dubbing actorsEdit

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Japanese Takashi Inagaki (稲垣隆史)
French (France) Jean-Claude Donda
Spanish (Latin America) Jaime Vega
Spanish (Spain) Jordi Vila
German Alexander Pelz
Italian (Italy) Carlo Valli
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Isaac Schneider (AUJ) / Pádua Moreira (DOS)
Polish Zdzisław Wardejn
Czech Oldřich Vlach
Hungarian Endre Botár
Russian Aleksei Borzunov (Борзунов, Алексей Алексеевич) † (AUJ)
Boris Bystrov (Быстров, Борис Евгеньевич) (DOS)
Ukrainian Eugen Maluha (Євге́н Малу́ха)
Thai Suphap Chaiwisutthikun (สุภาพ ไชยวิสุทธิกุล)
Hindi ????
Tamil ????
Telugu ????

GalleryEdit

Balin
Balin during The Hobbit
Young Balin
Balin after the Battle of Azanulbizar
Balin'ssword
Balin's sword/mace from Peter Jackson's The Hobbit
H-1-0236-balin
Balin in the animated version of The Hobbit
DainBalinMini
Balin (right) miniature by Games Workshop, for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
Balin figure
Balin figurine by Games Workshop for The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game.
YoungBalin
Young Balin, miniature by Games Workshop.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Hobbit
  2. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
  3. Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, III: "The Quest of Erebor"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter IV: "A Journey in the Dark"
  5. Hammand and Scull, The Lord of the Rings – A Reader's Companion (2005), p. 289.

External linkEdit

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