Born from Stone

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Stone Children, Carved from Stone
Related: Cabbage Patch Hobbits
See Also: Dwarven Culture (Tolkien), Dwarves
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Born from Stone is a fanon trope in The Hobbit fandom. It involves the ability of dwarves to carve some or all of their living children from stone.

Sometimes the gift to carve their own children is given to all dwarven parents, while sometimes it's particular to Durin's Folk or is an ability used only when dwarves can't become parents another way. The practice is usually kept secret from other races.

Origins

The first seven dwarves were said to be carved from stone by Aulë.[1] The lack of visible female dwarves caused elves to mistakenly believe that dwarves were born from stone.[2][3] Some fanworks take this belief as true.

One early prompt on hobbit_kink had Bilbo born from the Arkenstone:

There is an old legend that says dwarves are born from the earth itself. Most races believe it is a joke, designed to poke fun at how both male and female dwarves alike have beards. Little do they know, the legend comes from truth.

Gold is precious to dwarves because gold is what their children are made from. Deep in mountains and mines, there are reserves of raw gold that shines more brilliantly and runs more pure than any other, and from this, special goldsmiths form children, which they bury back into the mountain. These golden babes, nourished from the mountain, pop up from the ground, and are given to waiting parents to love and care for them.[4]

Another prompt explained that dwarves really are born from holes in the ground:

Remember the story about dwarf babies coming from holes in the ground Gimli told? Well, it is true. Dwarves really do come from holes in the ground,[5]

Similar to the first prompt, one speculated that dwarves might hoard gold because that's what their children were born from:

I've seen prompts/stories where Hobbits plant a seed in the garden and that's where baby Hobbits come from - How about this?

Baby Dwarves come from a gem buried in gold.

More gold, larger gem equals healthier baby.[6]

None of the above prompts were filled as of April 2015. Instead of dwarves being born from jewels, gold, or holes in the ground, the fandom trope became instead that children were carved from stone by their parents, more in the style of the original creation of the dwarves.

The first work on AO3 to use this trope was probably Mahal's Gift by Venrajade, which was posted on May 14, 2013. In February, there was a hint of the idea in Gardening by The Feels Whale:

"It’s a bit odd, tilling stones into your field." Hamfast observes at length. "…but perhaps it’s different, when sowing a dwarf."

Bilbo’s hands falter and he finally stops his labors with a sigh. “I think so.” He admits. He looks a bit glad, perhaps because someone has guessed and that means he doesn’t have to explain. “The old stories say the first Dwarves were carved from the living stone. It occurred to me that one would be happier, growing among the rocks.”

…and not just any rocks. Hamfast has never seen stone like the broken and jagged chips that Bilbo Baggins has plowed into his garden. It’s green and striped all the way through with darker bands of color. It’s certainly not the good gray granite found in the West. Bilbo must have brought it from abroad, although to what purpose Hamfast can only guess.[7]

"Gardening" inspired sunryder's Carving series, posted in October of that year.[8]


Example Fanworks

Archives

Fanfiction

References

  1. "Of Aulë and Yavanna", chapter 2 of the Quenta Silmarillion.
  2. "Appendix A", Lord of the Rings.
  3. The Dwarrow Scholar answered an ask that said "I've been trying for a while to translate 'Forge-born' 'Child of Living Stone' and 'Stone-Skinned' into Neo-Khuzdul, as names/titles for dwarflings carved from stone (that then need to be 'hatched' in a forge) instead of conceived in the usual fashion." Their reply included "An interesting concept, not unlike what most men thought of dwarves (that they sprung out of the very stone of the earth)." Posted January 1, 2016. Accessed February 11, 2016.
  4. Thorin/Bilbo, dwarves have weird births au, prompt posted February 10, 2013.
  5. Gen, Dwarves babies really come from holes in the ground prompt on hobbit_kink, posted June 13, 2013.
  6. Why Dwarves hoard gold, prompt posted to hobbit_kink on December 30, 2013. To avoid breaking formatting on the wiki, an equal sign in this prompt was replaced by the word "equals".
  7. Posted on February 13, 2013.
  8. "Also, this fic was totally inspired by The Feels Whale's fic, Gardening." Felek, introductory notes, by sunryder. Posted October 17, 2013.