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The halls of Dwarves in the Blue Mountains


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 December 2020
  • This entry is complete


One of the young nephews of Thorin Oakensheild


Thorin's Company

Kíli was the younger of a pair of brothers descended from the ancient Kings of Khazad-dûm, though at the time he and his brother Fíli were born, his people had long abandoned that ancient stronghold. Kíli was a grandson of the old King Thráin II through his mother Dís, and therefore both he and Fíli were nephews of Thráin's successor, Thorin Oakenshield. Thorin had no children of his own, and so Kíli was second in line of succession to Thorin (after his slightly older brother Fíli, who was five years his senior).

Kíli was born and raised in the halls of the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains, alongside his brother Fíli. The two were similar in many ways, each with a yellow beard, and commonly wearing a pair of matching blue hoods and silver belts. Both brothers showed musical talent, too, being able to play a melody on both the fiddle and the harp.

Journey to Erebor

After a meeting with the Wizard Gandalf, Kíli's uncle Thorin determined to lead a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the old Dwarf-kingdom of Erebor from the Dragon Smaug. He formed a Company of twelve Dwarves to accompany him, including his heirs Fíli and Kíli. At seventy-seven, Kíli was the youngest of the Dwarves to join Thorin's Company.2

Kíli and his brother Fíli were the most eager and energetic of the Dwarves and had the sharpest eyes, and during the long eastward journey they were often called on take on tasks too taxing for the older members of the Company. They started their journey by passing down the East Road from the Blue Mountains into the Shire, where they visited and recruited the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and from there they travelled onward into the East. As they passed through the Misty Mountains, it was Kíli and Fíli who searched out a dry cave among the stormy peaks, though on that occasion their sharp eyes failed them. The cave was later revealed to be the secret 'Front Porch' of Goblin-town, giving rise to a dangerous adventure that the Dwarves only barely survived.

The Company travelled on for hundreds of miles, accompanied for much of their journey by Gandalf, and faced many more dangers along the way. Kíli and his brother Fíli encountered several of these, and early in the journey - even before they found themselves in Goblin-town - they were nearly drowned in a river while trying to recapture an escaped pony. Much later, the Dwarves were captured by Wood-elves, and made their escape down another river hidden within empty casks. All the Dwarves survived this ordeal, but once again Kíli came close to drowning in his barrel, though he soon recovered from the experience.

Immediately after their escape, Thorin set out for nearby Lake-town, leaving most of his followers to recover by the river-bank, but taking with him his heirs Fíli and Kíli, as well as their companion Bilbo Baggins. The people of Lake-town feasted the Dwarves, whose return had been prophesied, and as descendants of the royal line, Kíli and Fíli were given seats of honour at these feasts beside their uncle Thorin.

The Lonely Mountain

At Lake-town, the Dwarves were able to find new provisions (Kíli had set out on the journey equipped with a bag of tools and a spade, but these had been lost long before the Dwarves reached the Long Lake). They made their way up the Running River toward the Lonely Mountain, and during this phase of the journey Kíli was among those selected to act as scouts. Along with Fíli and Bilbo, Kíli was with the party that located a hidden stair on the mountainside, leading to the secret Dwarf-door that provided a way into the Lonely Mountain.

The Company established a camp on the shelf that formed the 'doorstep' of the hidden door, far above an earlier camp that they had made in the valley below. As the youngest and most active of the Dwarves, Kíli and his brother were lowered down on ropes from time to time to bring supplies from the lower camp to the shelf on the mountainside. Eventually the Company succeeded in opening the door, and sent their Hobbit 'burglar' down the tunnel behind it to explore.

This exploration seemed successful at first, but the Dragon within the mountain immediately noticed that his treasure had been disturbed, and this eventually led to an attack on the mountainside. Thorin set about rescuing those Dwarves trapped in the lower camp, but sent his nephews Kíli and Fíli to safety within the tunnel.

While the Dwarves sheltered within the Lonely Mountain, they searched through the Dragon's abandoned hoard, and Kíli found a magical golden harp there that he used to fill the deep hall with music. Meanwhile, as the Dwarves later learned, Smaug had been slain as he attacked Lake-town, and the Wood-elves and Men of the Lake were making their own way towards Erebor in force. The Dwarves fortified the Mountain, and Kíli was sent out along the valley, travelling for four days to recover supplies from the few ponies that had survived Smaug's original assault.

Kíli and his companions expected a confrontation with the Men and Elves, but the true danger came from an unforeseen direction. Months earlier in the Misty Mountains, when Kíli had failed to spot the hidden entrance to Goblin-town, his mistake had started a chain of events. During the Dwarves' escape from the Goblins, the Great Goblin had been slain, and Orcs gathered from throughout the Misty Mountains to plan their revenge. Without warning, these Goblins descended on the Dwarves, Elves and Men at the Lonely Mountain, who suddenly found themselves in a desperate battle.

During the Battle of Five Armies that followed, Kíli fought beside his brother Fíli in Thorin's guard. The Orcs were led by Bolg son of Azog, an old enemy of the Dwarves, and Thorin led an attack against Bolg and his bodyguard. This attack failed; Thorin was slain by the Orcs, and Kíli and Fíli both fell beside him as they fought to defend their uncle and their King.

Despite the loss of Thorin, the Goblins were defeated and the Kingdom under the Mountain was reclaimed. Thorin was entombed beneath the Lonely Mountain, and presumably3 Fíli and Kíli were also buried there. Thorin's nephews were the only remaining heirs of his line (indeed, if Kíli had survived the battle, with Thorin and Fíli slain, he would have become King under the Mountain). With Thorin's line at an end, the Kingship instead passed to Dáin Ironfoot, who had also fought in the Battle of Five Armies, and was a descendant of Kíli's great-great-grandfather, King Dáin I.



Kíli is a 'real' Dwarf-name from the Völuspá. Some sources suggest that the name means 'wedge', but the etymology is uncertain, and it may not have a specific meaning.


Dwarves typically lived to about the age of two hundred and fifty, so at seventy-seven, Kíli was considered little more than a youth. Indeed, his distant cousin Gimli, who was sixty-two at the time, was considered too young to make the journey. Incidentally, given that Kíli and Gimli both belonged to the same generation of the royal family, we can probably safely assume that they were at least acquainted with one another, though no such connection is directly mentioned.


In fact we're not told specifically where Kíli's tomb was located, but it is hard to imagine that it could have been anywhere but beneath Erebor, beside his royal uncle Thorin whom he had died to defend.


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 December 2020
  • This entry is complete

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