Gimli, most of us know and love him from the movies, as played by John Rhys-Davies. Unfortunately Gimli’s character in the LoTR movies was used almost entirely as raw comic relief, which in my mind was logical perhaps, but a shame none the less as Gimli is such a deep character… worth exploring as more then just a quirky little dwarf.
If you know anything at all about Gimli, you probably know that he is the son of Glóin. Gloín (one of the main characters from The Hobbit) being of the noble line of Durin’s Folk. He really enjoyes proclaiming all he can about his lineage whenever he can, though most don’t realise the importance of it. Gimli’s father was one of the original companions of Bilbo throughout the The Hobbit. He accompanied the Hobbit in his greatest adventures and became a dear friend to the Bilbo.
Gimli isn’t just a dwarf that walks along with Men, Hobbits and an Elf against the forces of evil, for each member has a unique story and so does Gimli. Gimli is a remote descendant of Durin, who is like the Abraham and Adam roled into one for the dwarves. Through his father’s side, he is the third cousin once removed of Dáin II Ironfoot, king of Durin’s Folk, and the first cousin once removed of Balin, also one of Bilbo’s former companions, and later Lord of Moria. Although his mother’s side is not known, he was born and raised in the Blue Mountains west of Eriador. His family moved to Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) in 2941 when the Dwarves reclaimed that land as their own.
Some time in TA 3017, a messenger alerted Glóin and his son about Bilbo and the purpose of the Ring he found years earlier. They set off to Rivendell to consult Elrond on the matter. The Council of Elrond was attended by both Dwarves on the 25th of October, 3018, as it was decided that the Ring must be taken to Mount Doom and destroyed once and for all.
Gimli was chosen as the Dwarven representative to accompany the Fellowship on their journey, and his true adventures began. At first, the traditional animosity between Elves and Dwarves reared its ugly head as Gimli and Legolas often bickered. In most adaptations, this animosity isn’t explored, yet there is actually good reason for these two in particular to be at odds with each other.
At one time, Legolas’ father Thranduil had imprisoned Gimli’s father Glóin, along with the other Dwarven companions in The Hobbit. Thranduil’s greed angered the Dwarves as he demanded a share of the treasure of Erebor. War was averted as an onslaught of goblins invaded the Mirkwood Elves, but the unresolved hostility remained. Later in the Fellowship’s story, Gimli and Legolas actually became quite good friends as Gimli’s view of Elves changed drastically. This was mainly as a result of his meeting with Lady Galadriel, but his respect also grew for Legolas as the two proved their worth (often quite competitively) in the front lines of battle.
Galadriel gave Gimli three strands of her hair at his request, which he proclaimed to treasure more than any gold or magical items. This earned him the nickname “Lockbearer” by Galadriel.
After the Great War, Gimli led a clan of Durin’s folk south to Aglarond, to establish the Glittering Caves, where he would rule for over 100 years until the age of 260. Upon his well-earned retirement in the year of F.A 120, he travelled with Legolas to the Undying Lands where he was honored as the first Dwarf to ever set foot there.
Gimli’s character is one of power and pride, yet also compassion. We have a lot to learn from that Dwarf, and this couldn’t be more evident than in one of his most famous quotes, “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” The fact that he overcame his prejudices and befriended an Elf proves his strong moral character.
- adapted article from “Lotro Lore”