Thanos killed 300 dwarves on Nidavellir, thus stopping it from producing new weapons, but he did leave one single dwarf alive there, their king Eitri.

He should have known that a single dwarf can operate the forge by himself, should Thor appear there, Thanos is always a few steps ahead of everyone else.

So what's the reason he let Eitri live?

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    This is just like why didn't Shah Jahan killed the masons after building Taj Mahal, why did he just chop their hands
    – Surya Tej
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 13:57
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    300 dwarves , 3000 minutes. we should say we love 300 too
    – Vishwa
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 5:32
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    Also if there is no one left alive, then no one would know what happend and that it was Thanos who killed them.
    – TK-421
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 7:36
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    @SuryaTej, I think thats a valid point even if it's not using any MCU reference. Basic hystory would imo make a good answer. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 11:21
  • I'm pretty sure Eitri was the only one they could have because they only had one Peter Dinklage. They didn't even show any of the bodies. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 4:31

3 Answers 3


Because Eitri's life was given to him by Thanos.

Three hundred Dwarves lived on this ring. I thought if I did what he asked, they'd be safe. I made what he wanted: a device capable of harnessing the power of the Stones. And he killed everyone anyway. All except me. 'Your life is yours', he said. 'But your hands... Your hands are mine alone.'

Source: Eitri (Quote at Top of page)

From what Eitri says to Thor, he made the Gauntlet alone hoping to save his people and according to the wiki, it was also Thanos's own threat.

Thanos went to Nidavellir, asking Eitri to make an object that can harness the power of the Infinity Stones. The Mad Titan promised if he refuses to forge an object, Thanos would exterminate all of the Dwarves. Eitri successfully made the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos proceeded to put it on and, ready to act on his quest to gather all six stones. Having successfully obtained the gauntlet, Thanos proceeded to massacre every dwarf, leaving Eitri by himself and telling him that his hands were his alone.

Source: Massacre of the Dwarves > Massacre

We know that Thanos is honorable so by sparing Eitri he kept his end of the deal by not exterminating all the dwarves, while at the same time prevent Eitri or any other dwarf from forging anything else to be used against him by casting his arms in metal and exterminating the rest.

As for anticipating Thor's actions, maybe it was an oversight but it was stacked against Thor to be rescued by the Guardians since he was just floating in space, had he not smacked against their ship they might have just left.

It's possible that Thanos just knew that Eitri would need help with the Neutron Star and it was likely that anyone who did would end up dying in the process as Thor would have died himself had Groot not made a replacement handle for Stormbreaker. If it was anyone else than Thor, I doubt they would have been able to keep the forge lit for the blade to have been made.

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    Did it really matter, anyway? Thor wasn't able to stop the Snap, and while Thor used Stormbreaker to kill Thanos after the Snap, he probably could have killed him without it, and Thanos seems to consider himself dying to be part of the plan. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 22:33
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    "He fulfilled his contract. He's an honorable man." – The Road Warrior (not that I disagree, but I'd like to see a cite for "we know that Thanos is honorable")
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 23:08
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    @Acccumulation hindsight is a great thing because we could also say why didn't Tony's crew not just impale Thanos when Mantis had him instead of trying to take the gauntlet (or even better, cut off his arm). though i am inclined to think that Stormbreaker was needed because aside from just a cut lip on Titan from fighting that many people, look what happened in Endgame to Banner's arm when he just had the gauntlet on compared to Thanos who's more or less fine after a sudden serge of power (yeh he says he almost died but that was from using the gauntlet's full power)
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 2:59
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    @Mazura: “ I'd like to see a cite for "we know that Thanos is honorable"” — I got the impression from Infinity War that Thanos has a specific and particular idea of fairness, and he's putting all his might into making it reality. So in his head, it's only fair he lets Eitri live. Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 9:20
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    Equating hono(u)rable with honest: I seem to recall that Nebula says something like "My father is many things but he is not a liar" at the start of Endgame.
    – mwardm
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 17:21

He should have known that a single dwarf can operate the forge by himself, should Thor appear there, Thanos is always a few steps ahead of everyone else.

Eitri didn't and couldn't operate the forge all by himself, Thor did a lot of the work with the help of Rocket and Groot even helped at the end. They simply wouldn't have been able to get the forge started again without Thor and Rocket.

As for why he didn't kill Eitri it probably comes down to a couple of things.

  1. He'd rendered Eitri largely useless for forging having encased his hands in molten metal.

    Eitri: Then he killed everyone anyway. All except me. "Your life is yours." he said. "But your hands are mine alone."

    Avengers: Infinity War

  2. Eitri created the Infinity Gauntlet, he probably let him live in case he ever needed a new one and as thanks for doing it.

  3. Killing all but one of the Dwarves already goes against Thanos' MO he probably didn't want to break it further by killing all of them.

So why kill all but Eitri? Stephen McFeely just states it's because "he's a ruthless SOB" but one could argue it's more down to wanting to keep the knowledge of the Infinity Gauntlet secret.

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    One would think that he could simply destroy the forge instead. He had several of the Stones already by that point which is more than enough power to do so, and even without them he had a fleet of warships that presumably could be capable of such a thing. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 13:32
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    @DarrelHoffman, Thanos didn't have several of the Stones. At most he had one (the Mind Stone in the scepter) and he even lost that one temporarily. He had the Gauntlet at the end of Age of Ultron, and at that moment he wasn't holding any of stones, and it is unclear when the Gauntlet was forged. Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 0:23

That was to show how ruthless Thanos is:

Unfortunately, Infinity War isn't particularly consistent with the idea of Thanos's relentless commitment to logically pursuing his goal. When Thor arrives on Nidavellir, for example, he discovers that Thanos has committed a horrific act of genocide. Where usually Thanos wipes out half of a people's population, as part of his insane idea of balance, on Nidavellir he had slaughtered them all. It's possible to argue that he had a reason for this - he didn't want knowledge of the Infinity Gauntlet's existence to be revealed, or for the Dwarves to forge a weapon that could defeat him - but that still doesn't track with Thanos leaving Eitri - King of the Dwarves - alive. As co-writer Stephen McFeely explains in The Art of Avengers: Infinity War, this was intended to show "that he's a ruthless SOB." - screenrant

Even when he left Eitri alive he made his hands useless, that's crueler than killing.

  • hmm... think I saw somewhere that those 300 killed on Nidavellir were only "builders", and there are other dwarves living elsewhere. Can't find any source to confirm that now though. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 13:58
  • @ShadowWizard Eitri's line is "300 Dwarves lived on this ring. " which implies, to me at least, that other Dwarves live elsewhere. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 13:59
  • @TheLethalCarrot exactly. So any hint where those dwarves are? Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 14:00
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    @ShadowWizard Probably worthy of its own question but I can't remember anything relating to other Dwarves. If there is any information though it is probably hidden in a interview or maybe one of the prelude comics. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 14:02
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    @ShadowWizard I had a quick flick through the relevant prelude comics, Only interesting mention is one calls Nidavellir a planet and depicts it as a normal planet with a big city which was either retconned or Nidavellir is both the planet and the ringed forge. I'll leave it there though unless you want to post a question. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 14:33

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