In this week's Know Your LotRO Lore, we're exploring the life of our favorite quirky dwarf, Gimli. You know and love him from the movies as played by John Rhys-Davies, or perhaps his animated adaptation as voiced by David Buck in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 Lord of the Rings cartoon.
Yet Gimli is a much deeper character than portrayed in Peter Jackson's movies or any cartoons. He is born of distant noble lineage and is the son of a main character in The Hobbit. His story is much more than that of a Dwarf accompanying some Men, Hobbits and an Elf through Middle-earth, for each member of the Fellowship has their own unique importance to the tale. Follow along below for more on the Dwarf known as Gimli.
If you know anything at all about Gimli, you know that he is the son of Glóin. He loves to proclaim his paternal lineage whenever the chance arises, yet you may not be aware of how important that fact really is. Gimli's father was one of the original companions of Bilbo Baggins throughout the story of The Hobbit. He accompanied the Hobbit in his greatest adventures and became a dear friend to the eldest Baggins.
Gimli is also of noble blood, as he is a remote descendant of Durin, who we've discussed in previous Know Your LotRO Lore articles. 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.
Gimli's time in the Fellowship
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 until the age of 120. Upon his retirement, he travelled with Legolas to the Undying Lands where he was honored as the first Dwarf to ever set foot there.
Gimli in the game
Gimli doesn't play a huge role in the game itself, unless you're a Champion. He appears in Rivendell's Guest House and is connected with about a half dozen quest lines for the Champion class. He's present in one quest where he's actually named as a "dwarf-champion", as he grants you the all-important level 45 Champions class quests. These include The Artisan Blade, The Joy of Battle and The Tome of Swords "page quests".
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.
Eventually, we'd like to give a similar explanation of each Fellowship member down the line in Know Your LotRO Lore, but we hope you've enjoyed this one as the second (Gandalf being the first, of course). Look for next week's article to dive into deeper lore, and be sure to check out our handy gallery summary linked below.