A dwarf of Durin’s Folk, TA 2763 – TA 2994, son of Fundin, and brother of Dwalin.

Balin was born in the Lonely Mountain in the year TA 2763 and was still a child when Smaug drove the dwarves into Wilderland with Thrór, their King.

After the Battle of Azanulbizar in TA 2799, in which his father Fundin was slain, Balin followed Thráin II and settled in the Blue Mountains.

In TA 2841, Balin was among those who joined Thráin II on a quest to claim back the Lonely Mountain but Thráin mysteriously disappeared and his companions returned to the Blue Mountains.

A hundred years later Balin joined Thorin and Company and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the Quest of Erebor. He was the group’s look-out, first to spot the trolls’ campfire and first to see the elves feasting in Mirkwood. He bravely led an attack on the Mirkwood Spiders and was spokesman in dealings with the Elvenking. Rescued from prison first by Bilbo he kept watch while the others were released and was last to be packed into a barrel for their escape. On the approach to the Lonely Mountain he protectively brought up the rear with Bilbo leading the pack-ponies.

Balin had been a companion of Thorin in TA 2770, the day the dragon came, and although he could only have been 7 years old at the time he remembered the way from the Front Gate to the old watch-post on Ravenhill He seems to have liked Bilbo from the start, showing an interest in his tale of Gollum and the riddles, and was the only one who offered to accompany Bilbo down the tunnel into the Lonely Mountain and later went with Bilbo, Fili and Kili to reconnoitre the Front Gate.

After the Quest of Erebor Balin visited Bilbo at least once in the Shire, reporting the recovery and restoration of Dale and the fortunes of Dain II, as King under the Mountain, but in TA 2989, encouraged by false information, he led a group of his kinsmen south to re-establish the Kingdom of Khazad-dûm. At first they were successful, but after a while, all news of them ceased and by the time of the Council of Elrond there had been none for 25 years.

In fact Balin was slain by an orc only five years after he entered the mines, long known as Moria, the Black Pit. His folk were eventually trapped by the Orcs of Moria in the Chamber of Mazarbul where Balin lay buried. There the Fellowship found their bones in TA 3019 surrounding the great tomb.

Balin was polite, friendly and protective and probably rather brighter than the other dwarves. He was musical and played the viol. He was partial to beer and seed-cake. He had a wry sense of humour, commenting that you don’t need a map to find a dragon once you are close enough. A dwarf with Balin’s qualities would have been much loved and as he was also first cousin of Gimli’s father Glóin, the depth of Gimli’s grief can be better understood. Gandalf reads:

'Here is written in the tongues of Men and Dwarves


’He is dead then’ said Frodo. ‘I feared it was so.’
Gimli cast his hood over his face.

The tomb was broken in the ensuing fight and then buried in the collapse of the chamber, leaving Balin deep beneath the earth.

NOTE: Additional information from Cirdaneth.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Ainulindale