Nori

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Character
Name: Nori
Occupation: Thief, Adventurer, possible Con Artist
Title/Rank: none
Location: Ered Luin, Erebor
Status: alive
Relationships: brother of Dori and Ori
Fandom: The Hobbit, The Hobbit (film series)
Other:
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Nori is a character from The Hobbit, one of the 13 dwarves of the Thorin's Company, who went on the quest to reclaim Erebor. He is the middle brother of a trio, younger than Dori and older than Ori. He is a fairly common character in dwarf-centric fanworks.[1]

Canon

In the book, Nori is given little characterization beyond his relation to his brothers. Like most of Tolkien's dwarves, his name comes from the beginning of the Poetic Eddas, but he is given no personality there either. In the Jackson movies, however, Nori has a unique, star-shaped hairstyle that helps him stand out, as well as a visually distinctive mace as a weapon.

Most of Nori's characterization in fanworks comes from a paragraph about him released in the Warner Brothers ipod app, which says:

Perhaps the most elusive member of The Company of Thorin Oakenshield, Nori is often in trouble with the dwarvish authorities. Deciding it might be a good time to leave town, he readily joins the Quest for the Lonely Mountain, not realizing the journey ahead may well lead him into far more trouble than he has left behind. Nobody ever quite knows what the quick-witted and wily Nori is up to, except that it’s guaranteed to be dodgy and quite possibly illegal. Despite rarely seeing eye-to-eye with his brothers Dori and Ori, he is nonetheless immensely loyal and will protect them by whatever means possible.[2]

This biography is also listed in some other promotional materials related to the movie. In addition, Jed Brophy revealed a large amount of information about how he and the writing team imagined Nori from the inside in interviews with theonering.net.

Obviously he’s quite low status, because he’s not part of Thorin’s immediate family or wider group, people like Gloin and Oin, who are of that generation. Given that he was a thief, he wasn’t really part of his own family – so I started with that thing of him slightly being an outsider. And that informs you physically too; always looking for an exit! Every scene that I was in, I was always looking around to see where I could get out. I don’t trust these dwarves yet to look after me, because I’ve always had to look after myself. Also it helped being a little more nimble, a bit quicker – it’s that thing of having to be light on his feet to get out of situations, living rough; and also having that hardiness, and not taking a backwards step from people, not being cowed by anything; the fact that he’s been on his own.[3]

Relationships in Fandom

Family

Nori is the middle child of the Ri Family. In fanworks, Nori typically follows the movie characterization of thief and outcast. He is often shown as either disappearing from his family for long periods or being the cause of them (perhaps unwillingly) joining the quest. Most works where he plays more than a minor role focus heavily on his relationships with his brothers.[4]

In Nori-centric fanworks, Nori is often somewhat estranged from Dori, who is usually characterized as disapproving of Nori's choices. The degree of disapproval varies considerably from work to work and is often rooted in their different expressions of pride or in their mutual concern for what might be best for Ori. In many works, Dori and Nori eventually reconcile, especially if the story ends after the quest. In some works, Dori is shown as understanding why Nori behaves as he does and treating him with great patience from the start, even if Dori still disapproves.

Nori's relationship with Ori in fanworks is more consistently amiable, with Nori often being as protective of Ori as Dori is, but expressing it differently. Nori and Ori are often contrasted, with Nori's worldly and illegal ways clashing with Ori's innocence and good heart. Nori often deliberately tries to shield Ori from his illegal dealings; a key plot point in several works is someone making a threat against Ori in order to force Nori to do something he doesn't want to do.

In fanworks (as opposed to canon), Dori is typically a survivor of Erebor, with Ori being born long after they fled the mountain; Nori's origins vary, but he is generally not shown to remember his family's home or be going to Erebor for the purpose of reclaiming it. Though parents are not mentioned in either canon, many Nori-centric works make the three brothers orphans or leave only their mother still alive, as a reason for Nori to have turned to stealing to survive.

Shipping

Nori's largest romantic or sexual ships are Dwalin/Nori[5] and Bofur/Nori[6]. However, he is often shipped with other members of the Company. Other common ships include:

Fandom Tropes

  • The Rogue - Nori in fanworks is generally not only a thief but a general rogue type from the fantasy genre. He carries hidden knives, knows unsavory people, lies and cheats, and prefers to attack an opponent from behind if he can. Frequently these traits are framed as necessary for survival.
    • Charming Rogue - Sometimes Nori is shown to have sticky fingers and a ready smile. This is especially common in shippy get together fics, where the other party in the ship knows about Nori's behavior and still can't help falling in love with him.
    • The Spy - Nori is often a spy in Thorin's service, especially after the recovery of Erebor. This trope was first mentioned by karategal in An Unexpected Addition, which led to a prompt on hobbit_kink requesting spymaster Nori.[7] The trope spread steadily on that meme and among fans elsewhere over the next few months,[8] becoming a common way to keep Nori in Erebor after its recovery. Fan names for Nori's thief/spy network include "The Hidden Vine"[9] and "The Hidden Mountain"[10].
  • Heart of Gold - Despite his rogue tendencies, Nori is generally presented as either a compulsive thief who means well or as acting to help his family. His relationship with Ori often helps reveal his softer side.
  • Insecure Woobie - Nori generally takes a great deal of pride in his appearance and his skills, but he often expresses internal insecurity about his position in the company, how others will see him, whether his family loves him, etc. This frequently becomes clear during or after a lecture from Dori, but disdain from other company members can also cause him to reveal his inner thoughts.
  • Betting Pool - Nori is often the organizer (and winner) of various humorous betting pools, especially in romantic comedies or other light-hearted works.
  • Hair - Though dwarven culture is generally depicted as being obsessed with hair, Nori's hair is often a major character element or even a plot point in works, to the point where one fan called the second movie "the hobbit: the desolation of nori’s hair".[11]

Example Fanworks

Archives

Fanart

Fanfiction

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

References

  1. 2401 works on AO3 out of 16864 total works for The Hobbit on February 26, 2015.
  2. Nori the Thief on askmiddleearth. Accessed February 22, 2015.
  3. EXCLUSIVE – Jed Brophy talks to TORn: Part Two, posted October 8, 2014. Accessed February 22, 2015.
  4. The Dori & Nori & Ori tag on AO3 had 96 works as of February 24, 2015, a relatively high tagging rate for a gen relationship. The Nori & Ori tag had 17 works, Dori & Nori had 23.
  5. 361 works on AO3 by February 24, 2015.
  6. 254 works on AO3 by February 24, 2015.
  7. Spy Master Nori, posted January 15, 2013. Text: "Just read a fic (http://archiveofourown.org/works/626170/chapters/1130859) where it was mentioned that Nori has a secret network of informants that help him figure out who is plotting what. / An expansion of that please? Where Nori protects the Durin line with his awesome spy master skills. (Happy-everybody-lives AU I hope xD) / A pairing I'd love to see is Dwalin/Nori <- Dwalin protects Thorin from the front and Nori from the back. Gen, or any other pairing (but no incest please) would be lovely too!"
  8. Nori seriously hurt in line of Spymaster!Duty, Worried!Thorin and Company
  9. First used by SailorFish in Please Tread Lightly When Surrounded By Young Hobbits.
  10. First used by Moon_Rose in My Family in Blood and Soul, where Nori wasn't actually in charge of the network.
  11. Tumblr post by rayad.