Ri Family

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Gen Relationship
Relationship: Ri Family
Alternative name(s): Dori & Nori & Ori, Brothers Ri, Ri Brothers, House of Ri, Clan Ri
Fandom: The Hobbit
Type: Gen family (brothers)
Canonical?: Yes
Prevalence: Medium to high[1]
Archives:
See also:
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Ri Family or Ri Brothers is the fraternal relationship between Dori, Nori, and Ori, dwarves of Thorin's Company from the The Hobbit. The name "Ri Family" was invented by fandom, as Tolkien didn't given his dwarves family names or any other simple way to refer to family units. Fanworks from 2013 sometimes use the format -Ri Brothers or 'Ri Brothers, showing that the name originates from treating the shared part of their names as a suffix. On the movie set, they were referred to as the Brothers Ri.[2]

Ri Family relationships are frequently a major element in fanworks that ship one of the brothers romantically with someone else.

Canon

In the books, it's not made clear that Dori, Nori, and Ori are related, though the fact that other sets of brothers and cousins have rhyming names makes it likely. They are distantly related to the Durin line, but not close enough to appear on the family tree in Tolkien's works.[3] Tolkien never gave any particular interactions between them, so we have no real family information from the books.

In movie fandom, Dori is the oldest brother. He is fussy, precise, and proper. Nori, the middle brother, is a disreputable thief, always looking for an exit. Ori, the youngest, is a scribe and somewhat unprepared for the dangers of the journey, though he is very brave. The film crew created a headcanon that the three brothers were related to the Durin line "on the wrong side of the blanket" and that they all had different fathers, leading to their very different appearances.[2] Though some fans reject these ideas, others have adopted them as a way to talk about class issues and the stigma associated with single-parent families.

These three brothers, all sons of the same mother, could not be more different from each other. Dori, the oldest, spends much of his time watching out for Ori, the youngest; making sure he’s not caught a chill or got himself killed by Wargs or Goblins. Nobody quite knows what Nori gets up to most of the time, except that it’s guaranteed to be dodgy and quite probably, illegal. Dori, Nori and Ori are intensely loyal to each other – and whilst they are perfectly happy fighting amongst themselves, woe-betide anyone who means harm to one of these brothers.[4]

Fandom Tropes

Though there are a variety of interpretations of the Ri family history, a few common elements stand out:

  • Poverty - In many, though certainly not all works, the Ri family live in genteel (or not-so-genteel) poverty in Ered Luin. This is generally one reason Nori turns to a life of crime and all three join the quest.
    • In Erebor Never Fell works, their social position varies much more widely, from that of a minor noble house to the same poverty experienced as in Ered Luin, plus many options in between.
    • In Post-Battle of Five Armies works, their social position usually improves quite rapidly due to their place among Thorin's Company. Usually, Nori is the one who has the most trouble adapting to this change.
  • Orphans - In almost all works, the brothers do not have a father or do not know him. In most works, their mother is also dead. This is in part due to the cast and crew of the movies deciding that having different fathers could explain why the brothers look so different. It's also partly due to how much Dori mothers Ori in fanworks, which some fans assume is caused by no living parent being available to do so.
  • Illegitimate Durins - Another headcanon of the cast and crew that was widely adopted. This usually helps explain why the brothers are poor but are connected in some way to the rest of the Company.
  • Strength - Dori is canonically the strongest dwarf in the Company;[5] this is often exaggerated to the point of near-absurdity. It's also often extrapolated that his brothers are unusually strong for their size as well, despite their appearances. This can be dealt with humorously, in some cases by having little Ori do a startling feat of strength and then go back to being bookish, or it can be more serious.
  • Dwarven Beauties - The Ri brothers, particularly Dori, are often portrayed as epitomes of the dwarven standard of beauty, such as in Something Borrowed: The Legacy of a 'Ri by Lapin. This is sometimes contrasted with the "Hot Dwarves" - Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli - who are sometimes described as not being beautiful according to dwarven standards.
    • Sometimes their mother is also a famous beauty, or the entire family is descended from a line of courtesans, as in Pretty Bird by Thorinsmut.
  • Gender Changes - Of the Company, the Ri brothers are the most common set to all be gender-changed together. Works such as Three Daughters of Durin by sourassin, A Family of Secrets by Eudoxia, and The Fox's Tale by garafthel use these gender changes to discuss the difficulties of being female and impoverished in dwarven society, especially in a displaced community like Durin's Folk. Though the Ri Brothers are frequently poor in fanworks, the added dimensions of gender stereotyping and sexism combined with illegitimacy allow fan creators to grapple with issues not addressed by the original canon or by most fanworks with male main characters.

Relationship Tropes

In movieverse works, the brothers typically take on very distinct roles relative to one another.

  • Dori - Dori is the proper, fussing, yet caring older brother. Typically, he raised Ori or even Nori himself. He often makes significant sacrifices for his brothers, though he tends to hide these. He usually has high hopes for Ori and high standards for Nori, which can lead to conflict when they don't agree with him.
  • Nori - Nori is the black sheep of the family. He is often absent from home for long periods in an effort to protect them from the consequences of his criminal activities. Sometimes he protects them from the shadows as well, but his activities also sometimes endanger them. He often struggles to connect with his brothers, partly out of guilt.
  • Ori - Ori is the youngest and most protected member of the family. He is quiet and generally accepts the worried attention of his brothers. Though he seems on the surface to be naive, he often is aware of the tensions in his family and tries to ease them. He is the one who tries to keep Dori and Nori on speaking terms. In a few works, Ori is not Dori and Nori's brother but instead one of their children, disguised as a brother.
  • Dori & Ori - This relationship is usually the closest of the three. Dori tends to be depicted as raising Ori from a young age, mothering and protecting Ori on the quest far more than we usually see from similar dwarven relationships, such as Thorin and Dís with Fíli and Kíli or Glóin with Gimli. Ori varies in his response to this: sometimes showing extreme patience and understanding, sometimes rebelling or fretting about Dori's reactions. In some works, Ori represents Dori's hopes for the family, which can be a difficult dynamic for both of them. However, they do tend to be very close, even in works that contain this kind of tension. They often share the craft of knitting and give one another clothing as a sign of affection.
  • Dori & Nori - This relationship is usually the greatest source of tension in the family. In some works, Dori is also protective of Nori, but in others, their relationship is strained almost to the breaking point by Nori's profession and behavior, often with the added strain of Dori not wanting Ori exposed to criminal activity. Sometimes works mix the two approaches. A partial or complete reconciliation between Dori and Nori is often a major plot point in Ri-centric works, though sometimes it's a background element that happens slowly throughout a work.
  • Nori & Ori - This relationship often receives less attention than the other two, but it usually involves Nori being protective of Ori, often with a cynical twist. Nori sometimes teaches Ori some of his own survival tricks (usually against Dori's wishes), and Ori tends to waver between hero worship and disappointment where Nori is concerned, mostly because Nori often isn't home or isn't reliable. Ori is often more accepting of Nori's profession and behavior than Dori is, in many cases because Nori has been like this for most of Ori's life, or because Ori is more worldly and understanding than he lets on.

Example Fanworks

Archives and Communities

Fanart

Tenshi-Inverse has an entire sequence of paintings representing major fanonical moments in Ri Family history, as well as some unique additions. The time order of the pieces can be roughly inferred from the brothers' hair and Ori's size, but some may not be exactly in order:

Fanfiction

References

  1. On March 19, 2015, there were 1698 works tagged with Dori, Nori, and Ori on AO3. This was over half of all works tagged with Ori, who had the most works of the three siblings (3037). It also represented about 9.7% of all Hobbit works on the archive at the time (out of 17,465). This is a better estimate than using the canonical gen tag, since such tags are usually highly underused.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dori, Nori, and Ori: Appreciating the not-so-hot Dwarves by Anjy Roemelt. Posted January 24, 2013. Accessed April 13, 2015.
  3. Lord of the Rings, Appendix A.
  4. First Look: Dwarves Dori, Nori & Ori In Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ quoted by Russ Fischer on slashfilm, posted July 7, 2011. Accessed June 20, 2015.
  5. The Hobbit, chapter 8, "Flies and Spiders".