Episode 71: Solitary Fae: Duergar
The folklore of duergar in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and this faery translated to Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about duergar in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
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We’re continuing our exploration of Solitary Fae.
Today’s Faery: Duergar
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
“Duergar” can refer to the race of dwarfs in Norse mythology or the Simonside Dwarfs.
In Germanic mythology, dwarfs are small human-shaped beings (sometimes short and ugly) that dwell in mountains and in the earth. They are usually associated with mining, smithing and crafting.
The Simonside Dwarfs are a race of dwarfs associated with the Simonside Hills in northern England. They apparently delight in leading travellers astray in the manner of the will-o’-the-wisp. Mentioned in newspapers (the Morpeth Gazette, 1889) and books (The Duergar in Folk Tales of the North Country by F. Grice, 1944, and Legends and Folklore of Northumbria, 1930) these menacing dwarfs are led by one known as Roarie.
In Norse mythology, duergar are entities deriving from rocks and earth. They are known for they craft, metalwork, wisdom and greed. They are described as having corpse pale skin and jet-black hair.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: duergar
“Duergar” is interchangeable with “Dwarves” (not Dwarfs), depending who in the Faerie realm you are talking to. For most, Duergar means that huge Dwarves have arrived, ready to conquer.
Though not part of either the Seelie or Unseelie Courts, they are feared nonetheless by most Fae.
Duergar are as tall as short humans. They have rough beards, big muscles, sturdy bodies, and hands that can crush skulls and create intricate metal designs in equal measure. Depending on from where they hail, Duergar have skin tones ranging from snowy white to ebony brown.
Most Duergar generally keep to themselves, playing with gems and metal yielded by the earth, though there are those who have excessive greed. It had led them to dig extremely deep into the earth, nearly to the dungeon Tartarus where evil immortal creatures are kept prisoner.
Some Duergar have gone to work for Dagda in the Underworld. Here they have unlimited access to the treasures the earth holds. They work as bodyguards and general servants to Dagda.
All Duergar are extremely gifted where it comes to working with gems and metal. The objects they create thereof is renowned. They’re also known for their strength and magical powers.
Those who prefer to conquer (give in to their greed), do not have qualms about augmenting their powers with dark objects. They are the worst of their race. Those who cross the Dark King through their greed (by, say almost opening Tartarus), become part of the Unseen Unseelie and lose all they had as Duergar (their culture, homes, personality. Etc.) – it’s a fate worse than death.
As a little bonus, let’s look at this faery translated to Afrikaans: dwerg/dwerge (this is of my own making)
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.
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No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.