LOTR: What happened to the dwarves in the Fourth Age?

So, it’s the Age of Men; the music’s dying and the Elves are catching the last boats for the coast; what happened to the Dwarves?

They can’t catch the boat ride (except for Gimli). Moira’s still a lost cause. Where did they go? did they just fade away?

I’m sure there’s speculation, but the sum of the material adds up to: we don’t know what happens to the dwarves. Given JRRT’s conceits about hobbits, I’d guess the answer is that there are still some around but we’re too dim to notice.

Yes, like the hobbits, I think they’re few in number and keeping a very low profile.

They went underground.

Well initially they do well. Gimli opens Aglarond, Durin VII re-opens Moria and and Erebor and the Iron Hills are still a going concern. And that just the Longbeards.

Ultimately though they do just fade away.

Yep, dwarves had been breeding well below replacement rate for many years. The Petty-Dwarves died out in the First Age (Turin sadly contributed to that, but since the world population was down to three males by then he didn’t have that much impact) but the Dwarves were headed that way. Making baby dwarves was just not a high priority; dwarvenkind was only about one-third female according to Of the Dwarves and many of those never married, either because they had no mating instinct at all or because the object of their desires was uninterested and they were not about to “settle”. And plenty of male dwarves were more interested in their craftwork than in getting married, too.

It’s not quite as bad as in RuneQuest, in which the dwarfs are explicitly averse to sex, have to have the horrible process explained to them and need therapy afterwards to get over the disturbing experience, but it was enough to see the dwarves die out over time. Like the proverbial boiled frog, it just never seemed urgent enough at any given time to need anything done about it, and so it went as the dwarven population dwindled from millions to thousands to hundreds to… :(.

Some started shacking up in droves with princesses. Others stood stil in gardens and pretended to be statues. The entrepreneurial ones started banks in Diagon Alley and other non-Muggle locations.

For other races, however, I think the orcs probably laid low for a few centuries and learned to take on the semblence of men (and women), but then when the industrial age dawned, they seized power and control.

The fact that the elves hunted them as animals, until they formally met the dwarves of Belegost and/or Norgrod, didn’t help either.

Some represent the Lollipop Guild.

One of them co-starred in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

They died out after legalizing gay marriage. (:p)

Without reading anything but the OP:

I’ve always assumed the Dwarves simply died out. Only one out of three Dwarf babies were female, and many of them never married because, if they couldn’t get their first choice, they wouldn’t take any husband at all. I somehow doubt they were much into pre-marital sex, either; Tolkien’s mindset wouldn’t allow it. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they were mutually infertile with humans (read: Men, Elves, & Hobbits).

Remember, the Dwarves were created by Aule, not Eru. And skilled though the former was with inorganic substances, I don’t think he was the best at biology. Even though Eru hallowed them (which I took to mean gave them souls), I think they were flawed in many ways.

For that matter, what happened to the Hobbits, Orcs, Orgres, Giant Eagles, and Tom Bombadils?

They all faded away. Their age was done and the age of Man was waxing.

For some races, like the Ents and elves, this was already more or less done. But it was inevitable for all of them.

Hobbits presumably interbred with humans until the two became indistinguishable, although the first chapter of The Hobbit states that they have simply become “rare and shy of the Big Folk”. Orcs were probably hunted to extinction by Men during the fourth Age. Ogres are not mentioned by name in Tolkien. Giant eagles, IDK. Tom Bombadil is probably still around somewhere.

I saw him at Woodstock, I swear…

I think he used to show up at Burning Man until it got too trendy.

I heard the dwarves went on to dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig in the earth the whole day through.

I believe they went deep, deep into the Earth, and finally surrendered all bonds to the Upper World. And they changed.

Robert E. Howard described their ultimate fate in the short story Worms Of The Earth.
Lovecraft made mention of them, too. Pickman’s Model.