Prologue Dwarves

What I Know - What I Think

Getting information on matters like this is always a treasure hunt. People make guesses and post them as facts. People don't provide their source for what they present. Information is rarely dated - so you have two conflicting reports, you might not know that one predates the other by years. And even information from reliable sources can be wrong or conflicting

But sorting out these dwarves reminded me of one of those logic puzzles where you have 6 people at a party: 2 are women, 1 is a doctor, 3 are drinking wine, 1 is wearing a hat... you get the drift. One uses bits of information to try to piece together a larger, more complete understanding of the whole. All the while, in this case, keeping in mind that the information one is working with might not be correct!

For resources, I used the internet, the Extended Edition Appendices spanning all three movies, the documentary discs included with the Limited Editions, Decipher Collectible Card Game Cards and the books, "The Art of the Fellowship of the Ring" by Gary Russell and "The Lord of the Rings, The Making of the Movie Trilogy" by Brian Sibley. I'm not saying I found helpful info in all of those sources but I want you to know how thorough I've been.

After all that: Here's what I know and what I think.

There isn't a good shot from the movie that shows all 7 Dwarves from the front. So I used this one (from the Appendices Part 1 : Designing and Building Middle-earth > Design Galleries > Realms of Middle-earth > The Second Age) and numbered each Dwarf.


Step 1 : Gino Acevedo - Xander Forterie - Rich Mayberry

A number of similar images from one photo shoot can be found showing three of the Dwarf Lords:

Another photo of these three is shown in the book, "The Lord of the Rings, The Making of the Movie Trilogy" by Brian Sibley (pg. 130). Sibley writes the following: "Donning full prosthetics, Gino (Acevedo - prosthetics supervisor/airbrush artist for Weta Workshop) portrayed one of the seven Dwarf Lords seen in the prologue to "The Fellowship of the Ring.""

He refers to the picture which looks very much like the one above except that Richard Taylor is standing behind the trio and writes, "on the right, with Richard Taylor." Now, I take that to mean he is referring to the person on the right hand side of the picture as we look at it. But I have reason to believe that is not Gino. It is possible he meant 'to Taylor's right' which would be the person on the left hand side of the picture as we see it. I do think this is Gino. More on that later.

Through the process of matching visible elements (over a range of photos) and eliminating possibilities, I transferred the numbers I assigned from my first image to this image of the three Dwarf Lords.

Another version of this photo is found on this webpage at Herr Der Ringe Film. It is captioned: Gino Acevedo, Xander Forterie and Rich Mayberry as Dwarves. (Forterie & Mayberry were both prosthetics technicians at Weta Workshop). Acevedo confirms, in that interview, that he played a Dwarf but does not mention Forterie or Mayberry. It's not certain that the names given are correct from left to right but one might presume to think so. This arrangement is what I came to believe was correct.



Step 1a : Rich Mayberry

I was able to find an autograph that Rich Mayberry gave on a card:

The top image in that autograph card is a screenshot from the movie. Comparing it to known photos of Rich Mayberry, I believe this information to be accurate. And I believe this Dwarf to be #1 in my number assignment above.

Additionally, this Dwarf is depicted on a Decipher Game Card with the name, "Linnar".


So, I know consider : Rich Mayberry, Linnar, as Dwarf #1 to be accurate info.



If #1 is Mayberry, then it can't be Acevedo - one of the possible interpretations of Sibley's comment on the photo in his book. That means it might be #3, the other interpretation, leaving #2 to be Forterie. What can we learn about each of these people that will help us confirm this deduction?



Step 1b : Xander Forterie

In behind the scenes footage (Appendices Pt. 1 > Designing & Building Middle-earth > Weta Workshop) we see someone being transformed into a Dwarf through the application of prosthetics and make up.


I compared the final result of the transformation to one of the images I had from the photo shoot that shows the three Dwarves and, by flipping one, determined that this Dwarf is one of the three.


I found this photo of Forterie with Rogier Samuels (also from the prosthetics dept at Weta)

and this one of those same two


although... it's not immediately apparent which is which.

Both of these web pages refer to Forterie & Samuels as being part of the company, UNREAL. The UNREAL website does not mention Forterie but it has two images (link not safe for work or children) of the Dwarf Lords - one of the trio and one of the transformation. Amazingly, one of the people helping with the transformation (cropped out above but visible in the full image on the Picasa Site and in the UNREAL gallery) is wearing the same plaid jacket shown in the UNREAL photo above.


Therefore, I think we can assume that the dark haired gent is Samuels and the blond is Forterie.

Which means that Forterie is Dwarf Lord #2.



Step 1c : Gino Acevedo

If we take all we know or believe to be true up to this point, then we proceed under the assumption that Dwarf Lord #3 is Gino Acevedo.


However there is one bump in the path: a few sites on the net identify Gino as depicting Durin III on a Decipher Game Card and that Dwarf is from the prologue and is *not* Dwarf Lord #3, one of the three that we have so many images of. Durin III is Dwarf Lord #5. If Acevedo is Durin III, then he can't be the Dwarf we see posing behind the scene with Richard Taylor.

So let's try to prove or disprove this contention that Acevedo is Durin III. I can only find a three sites that identify Acevedo as depicting Durin III. Two are the fan sites Tolkien Gateway and Council of Elrond. Neither cites their source. The third is which cites Tolkien Gateway as their source. Also, in the group shot of all seven Dwarves, it's clear that Dwarf Lord #5 is short. Gino is not. I'm inclined to move past two fan sites - one of which likely copied the other - and trust that Acevedo is one of the three singled out to be photographed behind the scenes and with Richard Taylor.

We can try to compare Gino without makeup to Dwarf Lord #3.


The only thing I feel confident comparing are the nose and the mouth. The nose looks similar but the mouth doesn't (I've included an image of Acevedo as a Corsair because it's one of the few pics of him not smiling!). However, there are prosthetics at work here so I'm not sure we can use these comparisons to prove or disprove anything.

So, in the end, the only thing we have to convince us that Acevedo is Dwarf Lord #3 is the fact that he is identified in two photos (one with high veracity and the other with fairly good veracity) as being one of the three Dwarves in that behind the scene photo shoot. And he is not, we have determined, the other two. All in all, this is good enough for me.
Additionally, Dwarf Lord #3 can be matched with the Decipher Card, Sindri.


Especially if we flip one of the images


So, I call it a 'good probability' that Gino Acevedo is Sindri, Dwarf Lord #3.



Step 1d : back to Xander Forterie


Since Mayberry and Acevedo both had Decipher Cards made from their characters, I sought to determine if Forterie had one, as well. We know that Durin III is not one of the three Dwarf Lords so that left one other possible card: Uri

For the longest time, I felt this could not be Dwarf Lord #2 because the vambrace in this card does not match the one I can see in other images of DL-2. Then I had a revelation and looked through other images. This one gave me what I wanted.

The vambrace we see in the Decipher Card for Uri is not Uri's Vambrace. It's the vambrace of Dwarf Lord #7. It's hard to acheive 100% certainty that Sindri is Dwarf Lord #2 because we don't have a lot of info on the Decipher Card to compare but I'm fairly certain it is.


So now we can amend our previous statement to say: I think we can assume that Forterie is Uri, Dwarf Lord #2.


I don't have any other info on who might have depicted the other 4 Dwarf Lords.