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Kit Richards

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Disablism and Dwarfism in Medievalist Fantasy

My thesis explores the representation of dwarfs in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1954-55),the Watch’ arc of Pratchett’s Discworld (1983-2015), and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-) and suggest the potential impacts these may have on society’s attitudes towards people with dwarfism. My thesis will be structured around four key questions: what implications are raised by the classification of dwarfs as biological and cultural others; what does the spiritual and moral codification of height suggest about social attitudes towards impairment; what messages do the depictions of dwarfs’ sex and sexuality send about impairment; and to what extent are actors with dwarfism exploited in film and tv adaptations?

Research Area

  • English Language and Literature
  • Languages and Literature


I have given research papers at the following conferences:

  • 'Marvels and Miracles' (2022) by the Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (CCASNC). My paper was entitled: '"[V]ar hann svartr ok ljótr eftir skapan sinni": Marvellous Bodies in the 14th-century Göngu-Hrólfs Saga'.

Other Research Interests

Other research interests include:

  • medicine in literature
  • Old English and Old Norse literature
  • disability studies
  • transgender studies
  • queering the Middle Ages


I am a member of the:

  • Viking Society for Northern Research
  • Tolkien Society
  • Restricted Growth Association