Fíli and Kíli are brothers, the youngest of the thirteen Dwarves who set out on Thorin Oakenshield's quest along with Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins to reclaim the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) for the Dwarves.
Fíli and Kíli are Thorin's nephews (he was the elder brother of their mother Dís, as well as nephews of Frerin, grandsons of Thráin II, and great-grandsons of Thror), and are identified by their blue cloaks and yellow beards. Fíli's most distinguishing feature is his long nose, the longest of any of the Dwarves on the Quest of Erebor.
As the youngest Dwarves, Fíli and Kíli have the sharpest eyes and so they are often sent scouting or searching. They find the Goblin's cave in the Misty Mountains. Fíli hooks the boat on the other side of the Enchanted river in Mirkwood. They scout Ravenhill and the Front Gate with Balin and Bilbo. They also find the Lonely Mountain (Erebor)'s secret door with Bilbo. Fíli and Kili are the two most active Dwarves of Thorin's company, and apart from Balin, and possibly Bombur, they appear more frequently as "individual" characters in Tolkien's book than the rest of Thorin's companions who are most often named only in "group" references to the entire company. Fili has blond-ish hair, while Kili has dark hair.
Behind the scenesEdit
Tolkien borrowed the names of Fíli and Kíli from characters in the Edda by Snorre Sturlason. Although Fíli is described as being the youngest in Chapter 8 of The Hobbit, in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings his birth year is given as TA 2859 whereas Kíli's is given as TA 2864.
Some readers have pointed out the interesting fact that Fíli and Kíli are the only two Dwarves of Thorin's company to die at the Battle of Five Armies despite, being more popular and certainly treated more sympathetically by Tolkien than the rest. From this perspective, the "singling out" of Fíli and Kíli for death appears unusual. There are two possible (and not mutually exclusive) explanations for why Tolkien chose to treat these characters in this way.
Thorin Oakenshield was Fíli and Kili's maternal uncle. They were his "sister-sons." Tolkien often referred to the special relationship between maternal uncle and nephew in early Anglo-Saxon culture. In his 1953 essay and play about the Battle of Maldon, "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, Beorhthelm's Son," Tolkien refers to this bond twice; once in the essay itself and again during an exchange between the play's two characters, Tidwald and Torthelm. Torthelm, stumbling upon a slain English knight whom he mistakenly believes is Beorthnoth's nephew, exclaims "His sister-son! The songs tell us, ever near shall be at need nephew to uncle." Another example of this special bond is the relationship between Théoden and Éomer in The Lord of the Rings. Éomer is the son of Théoden's sister.
Viewed in this context, Fíli's and Kíli's defending Thorin to their death is a perfect example of the Old English concept of a special bond of love and loyalty between uncle and nephew.
A possible second factor in Tolkien's decision to kill off the two younger Dwarves at the end of The Hobbit concerns the succession to the throne of Erebor. Thorin, patriarchal head of Durin's Folk, becomes King Under the Mountain upon the death of the dragon Smaug. Dáin Ironfoot, his cousin and the eldest surviving direct descendent of Durin, succeeds him. However, had Fíli and Kíli not been killed at the Battle of Five Armies, then one of the two brothers would have assumed the kingship, as they would have been the sole surviving heirs of the senior line. If the genealogy cited above in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings is correct, Fíli would have been King under the Mountain. If Thorin's statement in The Hobbit that Fíli was the youngest is correct, then Kíli, as the older brother, would have become king. It could be that Tolkien had already envisioned the venerable Dáin as becoming king after the battle, and that he felt it would be somewhat awkward for one of the two young brothers to become King and play such a central role; when he noticed the problem of succession as he revised the book's draft, he decided that the noble deaths of the yellow-bearded Dwarves defending Thorin was a fitting end.
A final note sometimes raised by fans of Tolkien's works concerns the age of Gimli relative to Fíli and Kíli. In the story of "The Quest for Erebor" that appears in Tolkien's Unfinished Tales, Gimli states that he was considered too young to join Thorin and Company on the quest. Gimli, according to Appendix A, was born in TA 2879, and was therefore 62 years old when the Dwarves and Bilbo set out for the Lonely Mountain. Fíli and Kíli, his cousins, were slightly older, being 82 and 77 years old respectively (if Appendix A is accepted as accurate). All three were still "minors" according to Dwarf-reckoning, and given that Dwarves commonly lived to over 250 years old, the age differences between the three young Dwarves were minimal. It is therefore interesting that Fíli and Kíli were allowed to accompany the rest of Thorin's party (all much older) while Gimli remained in the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin). Perhaps it is because they were related to Thorin, that they were allowed to go.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
In the animated version of The Hobbit their roles are relatively minor compared to the book and have few lines; both brothers are voiced by Don Messick.
Fíli was born into the royal line of Durin and raised under the stern guardianship of his uncle, Thorin Oakenshield. Along with his brother Kili, Fíli is one of the youngest in The Company of Dwarves. He has never travelled far, nor ever seen the fabled Dwarf City of Erebor. A skilled fighter, Fíli sets off on the adventure ahead with little idea of the challenges and dangers that lie before him.
The studio has released the following statement about Kíli in the upcoming films:
Younger brother to Fíli, Kíli is a loyal nephew to Thorin Oakenshield. Carefree and somewhat reckless, Kíli has led a charmed and untroubled life to this point. Handsome and physically able, Kíli possesses the invincible courage of youth. He is a skilled fighter and expert archer, having been trained with weapons from an early age. As one of the youngest in The Company of Dwarves, Kíli is determined to make his mark and prove his worth.
As in the books, Fíli and Kíli serve as the scouts of the Company. It is they who discover the ponies have gone missing in the Trollshaws and investigate the trolls with Bilbo. Kíli is distinguished as the only member of the Company who carries a bow, unlike in the book (which implies more than one dwarf had a bow), and he is shown to have proficient aim, taking out several wargs when they are attacked on the way to Rivendell.
They are also shown as being some of the more adept fighters of the company. They, along with Dwalin, charge to the defence of Bilbo and attack Azog's wargs when cornered on the clifftop. Kili also kills Grinnah in the fight in the caves where "Goblin Town" is located.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: There and Back Again
|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|
- ↑ The Hobbit, Flies and Spiders
- ↑ The Hobbit, Over Hill and Under Hill
- ↑ The Hobbit, The Return Journey