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Gimli - FOTR
Gimli, Son of Glóin


Biographical information

Other names
Lockbearer, Elf Friend
Lord of the Glittering Caves
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Unknown, (Departed to Aman, FO 120)
Realms ruled
Battle Axes

Physical description

Durin's Folk (House of Durin)
Hair color
Eye color

Gimli, son of Glóin, was a well-respected dwarf warrior in Middle-earth during the Great Years. He was a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, and was the only dwarf to readily fight alongside elves in the war against Sauron at the end of the Third Age. After the defeat of Sauron, he was given lordship of the Glittering Caves at Helm's Deep.


Early Life

Gimli was the son of Glóin and a nephew of Óin, both former companions of Bilbo Baggins. He was a remote descendant of Durin the Deathless, father of the first house of dwarven people. Gimli stemmed from, but was not an inheritor of, the royal line. (Gimli was also the first cousin once removed of Balin, Lord of Moria, and his brother Dwalin, two other former companions of Bilbo). It is also stated in the Unfinished Tales that Gimli was prevented from traveling with his father on the Quest of Erebor because Thorin and company thought him too young, though Gimli, being in his sixties, considered himself ripe for adventure and was disappointed to be left behind.

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."

Involvement with the Ring

When the one ring was taken to Rivendell, fate had brought Gimli, with his father, Gloin, to Rivendell to seek the advice of Elrond. As a result, they were summoned to the Council of Elrond, where Elrond believed they would find the answers to their questions and would be able to contribute. Whilst there, Gimli volunteered to accompany the Fellowship to Mordor to destroy the One Ring.

Gimli plan

Gimli without a helmet

He later volunteered to join the company at least in part because Legolas had just volunteered and he doubted the elf's intentions.

Gimli played by John Rhys-Davies.

Gimli journeyed with the fellowship southward along the Misty Mountains. Tolkien made it clear that Gloin and Gimli were fearful of Balin's fate, since communication had been cut off for five years. While in Moria, Gimli discovers Balin's tomb. After Gandalf's Death, the Fellowship entered the Woods of Lorien, thus making Gimli the first dwarf to enter the Realm since the balrog was awakened in Moria. He was given a strand of Galadriel's hair, though when he asked for one, he was given three, which would lead to his name in later years of "Lockbearer", given to him by Galadriel. When the Fellowship of the Ring fractured, Gimli accompanied Aragorn and Legolas in pursuit of Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, who had been captured by the forces of Isengard.
Gimli at the siege of moria


Eventually the three were reunited with Gandalf, and became more involved with the war. Gimli played a critical role in the defeat of the forces of Isengard at Helms Deep, where he was separated from Aragorn and Legolas and driven into the caves which he would later become Lord of. He fought his way out alongside Eomer when the forces of Isengard were driven from Helm's Deep. His skill with an axe led to his winning, by one orc, the friendly contest he and Legolas held over who could kill the most orcs, despite starting with a disadvantage. Gimli then accompanied Aragorn and Legolas through the Dimholt in an attempt to recruit the Army of the Dead. Upon freeing Gondor’s soldiers and capturing the Corsair's ships, the forces under Aragorn, including Gimli, sailed to Minas Tirith. After being victorious at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Gimli accompanied Aragorn and the Remainder of the Gondorian and Rohan armies to the Black gates. To Gimli son of Gloin, give his Lady's greeting. Lockbearer, wherever thou goest my thought goes with thee. But have a care to lay thine axe to the right tree! -Galadriel's message to Gimli (The Two Towers, Chapter 5)

Life after the War

Bakshi Gimli

Gimli as seen in the animated version.

After the War, Gimli led a large number of Durin's Folk south to establish a new Dwarf kingdom at Aglarond, the caves behind Helm's Deep where Gimli was trapped during the battle, and he became the first Lord of the Glittering Caves. The Dwarves of the Glittering Caves, led by their Lord Gimli, would repair much of the physical damage that was incurred during the War of the Ring. Most notably, they rebuilt the Great Gate of Minas Tirith with a new one made of mithril and steel, as well as improving upon the existing layout of the entire city. Gimli was 139 years old (born in 2879 of the Third Age) when the Fellowship of the Ring set out from Rivendell, making him 52 years older than Aragorn. His date of death is not known, and according to the Red Book of Westmarch, he traveled with Legolas into the West (perhaps granted permission at the request of Galadriel), thus becoming the first dwarf to visit the Undying Lands.

Portrayal in Adaptations

In the Peter Jackson adaptation, Gimli leads a deputation of dwarves who have been summoned to the Council of Elrond to discuss the fate of the One Ring. In this adaptation, he attempts to destroy the ring by hitting it with his axe, but the axe breaks on the ring, which is itself unblemished by the encounter. He later volunteers to join the company at least in part because Legolas had just volunteered and he doubted the elf's intentions. In the Peter Jackson adaptation, it was his idea to travel through the mines of Moria, though in the books it is Gandalf's.



Movie axes used by Gimli.

In the books Gimli uses one single axe. In Ralph Bakshi's ill-fated animation film he follows the books description, while in the trilogy by Peter Jackson, Gimli was known for his skill with the Axe, and during the War of the Ring he wielded five different types of axes.

  • A bearded axe
  • Two throwing axes
  • A walking axe
  • A battle axe
  • Double-Blade Axe

Melee Axes


Gimli with 2 of his axes from the movie.

Like most Dwarves, Gimli favoured the axe and carried an assortment of variations of the weapon throughout his travels.

Gimli With Axe

Gimi in battle at Parth Galen

At the beginning of his journey, Gimil was already equipped with a long handled axe which doubled as a walking stick, to ease the strain of long open walks through the vast open grasslands of Middle Earth, which was a value to the heavy clad Dwarf. As with most Dwarven Axes, the staff was square edged, with tightly wrapped cross-cross leather strapping, which kept the axe from slipping through his grasp. The length of this staff gave Gimli's axe a much longer reach, which combined with his great strength, enabled him to hack into enemies at a three foot distance.

During the Fellowship's travels through Moria, Gimli was able to retrieve a double bladed battle axe which apparently belonged to his cousin Balin, who had perished during the Goblin and Orc attack on Dwarrowdelf. Being double bladed, it allowed Gimli to swing it in both directions, without any need to constantly change the angle or grip. But it was much heavier, with a shorter staff, which meant it was more suited to close combat, but was compensated by its great striking power. He is never seen using it during the Return of the King film, as it remains pinned to his cloak. Gimli used all the axes mentioned above throughout the War of the Ring. He used them depending on the battlefield conditions and the types of enemies that he would have to face. No matter what axe, however, Gimli used them all with devastating power in every battle he faced, working in perfect conjunction with Aragorn's swordplay and Legolas's bow skill.

Throwing Axes

In addition to his melee weapons, Gimli utilized several throwing axes for his ranged attack. These axes, though obviously not the ones with the most range, could effectively kill whatever they were thrown at (with the exception of large, heavily armored enemies like trolls); however, he rarely uses them in the films. In the movies, Gimli threw an axe at the cave troll and at Gandalf in Fangorn Forest. He also throws one at an Uruk at beginning of the battle of Amon Hen. It is apparent that he prefers engaging in direct combat rather than using his throwing axes. Only on the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube platforms of the Two Towers Gimli has 25 throwing axes and Gimli has 30 throwing axes in The Return of the King video game on the same above mentioned platforms as well as Mac and PC. This game also came out on the Gameboy Advance. Throwing axes however makes this function different in the Two Towers and The Return of the King on the Gameboy Advance it is available but to perform this function at the cost of certain points to do this certain ability. Though they can effectively damage/kill enemies when charged, they are actually the weakest among Gimli's ranged attacks unlike the ranged attacks of Aragorn and Legolas. Still, they do have potency up to some extent.

Preceded by
Gimli Succeeded by
The Fellowship of the Ring
Gimli at the siege of moria
Frodo · Sam · Merry · Pippin · Gandalf · Aragorn · Legolas · Gimli · Boromir
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Locations: Gondor · Mordor · Middle-earth · Rohan
Other: Mithril · The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game · The Fellowship of the Ring (novel) · Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien · The Lord of the Rings · The Lord of the Rings (1978 film) · Ainulindalë · Tolkien vs. Jackson · Tengwar · Quenya


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