Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


In the rich tapestry of Arthurian literature, dwarves emerge as intriguing and often enigmatic figures, adding depth and diversity to the legendary tales of knights and chivalry.

Servants and Companions

Dwarves are frequently portrayed as servants or companions to knights and noble figures. They often undertake tasks similar to squires, albeit without the expectation of becoming knights themselves. Examples include Gareth’s dwarf, who accompanies him on his adventures, and Tristan’s tutor and servant, Gouvernail.

Physical Characteristics

Descriptions of dwarves vary, but they are typical depicted as diminutive in stature compared to humans. Some may have physical features that set them apart, such as a “great mouth and a flat nose,” as described in one instance. However, their size does not diminish their significance within the narratives.

Intelligence and Resourcefulness

Despite their stature, dwarves are often portrayed as intelligent and resourceful beings. They may demonstrate cunning and wit in their actions, contributing to the success of their masters’ quests. For example, Dame Elyzabel’s dwarf accompanies her on a dangerous mission, showcasing his reliability and competence.

Role in Society

Dwarves occupy various roles within Arthurian society, from servants and attendants to skilled craftsmen. They may assist knights in tasks such as armor-making or provide valuable insights and advice. Their contributions, though often overlooked, are integral to the functioning of Arthurian society.

Interactions with Other Characters

Dwarves interact with a wide range of characters, from knights and ladies to other mythical beings. They may form unique bonds with their masters, as seen in the case of Gareth and his dwarf. Additionally, they may play roles in the broader narratives of the Arthurian world, influencing events in subtle yet significant ways.

Dwarves in the Arthurian legends
Characters marked with an * are not specifically described as a dwarf.