I manage to name all the dwarves quite easily these days, but I keep putting the wrong name with the wrong picture: for some inexplicable reason, I tend to get Dori & Nori and Oin and Balin mixed up, .
Anyway, what was Peter Jackson thinking when he agreed to make a film that featured a band of 13 dwarves?! They are all very similar in Tolkien's book - he only really gives Thorin a bit more of a personality. So, that's quite a challenge for a filmmaker, but it's also a great opportunity to fill in the blanks and shape the characters to fit the story that you're trying to tell.
As I discussed before, PJ didn't use the different colours that Tolkien assigns to each of the dwarves. He must be colourblind, as that would have been a perfect starting point for their character development.
But Sir Peter is smart: together with screenwriter Philippa Boyens and producer Fran Walsh, he has given the dwarves their own way of dressing, their own way of acting and fighting, their own hairstyle (and beard, of course!), their own weapons, their own history, their own reasons for going on this quest etc. And bit by bit, piece by piece, they have been feeding us these details. For the last year or so, we have had the time to get to know everything about these dwarves, so when we finally get to see the first film, we will be able to step right into the story without being distracted or confused by 'who was that again?'.
This is the official description of Thorin Oakenshield: (thanks to www.theonering.net)
Alias: Oakenshield, King under the Mountain, King of Durin's Folk in Exile
Date of Birth: T.A. 2746
Race: Dwarf, House of Durin
Date of Death: T.A. 2941
Parents: Thráin II (father)
"As a young Dwarf prince, Thorin witnessed the destruction and terror wrought when a great fire-breathing Dragon attacked the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. After slaughtering many of Thorin’s kin, the great serpent, Smaug, entered The Lonely Mountain and took possession of its vast store of gold and jewels. No-one came to the aid of the surviving Dwarves, and thus, a once proud and noble race was forced into exile. Through long years of hardship, Thorin grew to be a strong and fearless fighter and revered leader. In his heart a fierce desire grew; a desire to reclaim his homeland and destroy the beast that had brought such misery upon his people. So when fate offers him an unusual ally, he seizes the chance for revenge."
|"We will seize this chance to take back Erebor!"|
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) prepares his company of dwarves for the difficult task that lies ahead.