5 Weirdest Facts About Gimli and Dwarf Bodies

Dwarves were one of the most warlike races in Middle-earth, and there’s a good reason for that in The Lord of the Rings.

When JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, he made Thorin’s company of dwarves his main supporting cast. Of course, Bilbo was the main character, but the Dwarves provided the context and the means for the titular Hobbit’s adventure. Even so, when Tolkien developed his bedtime story and wrote The Lord of the Rings, the dwarves took more of a back seat. Gimli had a place in the community, and John Rhys-Davies’ portrayal made the character a fan favorite. However, the affairs of men and elves were much more important.

Taking nothing away from Aragorn, Legolas or anyone else, it’s worth paying a little more attention to the Dwarves. They have lived most of their lives underground, so it makes sense that they are forgotten. But the Dwarves had as much history as any other race in Middle-earth. So, here are some interesting facts about Gimli and the Dwarves, focusing on their weird anatomy.

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Aulë made them stubborn and stern to resist evil

The hobbit Thorin and his dwarfs

The elves were the firstborn of Ilúvatar, and the race of men was the second. The dwarves, however, were late adopters. Unwilling to wait for Elves or Men to awaken in Middle-earth, the Valar Aulë tried to create life on their own. After some reprimands, Eru assisted Aulë, letting his creations live and bringing them to life.

Aulë created the Dwarves with particular care. He knew that Morgoth was already corrupting Middle-earth, so – as the great craftsman that he was – Aulë designed the Dwarves to be a stubborn and warm-hearted people. As such, few Dwarves ever joined Morgoth or Sauron. In fact, Aulë’s designs were the reason Sauron’s rings did not corrupt the Seven Dwarf Lords of the Wraith world. Sure, their stubbornness has often alienated them from others, but you can’t win every battle.

Dwarves could withstand heat and dragon fire

Aulë’s designs didn’t just make Dwarves mentally stubborn. They were also physically strong. They could withstand heat or cold, lift heavy loads, and travel great distances. Naturally, these traits served them well in battle, making them a fearsome and warlike race. In fact, in The Peoples of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien described the Dwarves as “the most fearsome warriors of all the Speaking Peoples”. Dwarves have fought many wars against many enemies, even dragons. In the First Age, the Dwarves of Belegost were the only ones who could resist the dragonfire of Glaurung during the Battle of Countless Tears. So, although it may have seemed foolhardy to challenge Smaug in The Hobbittheir resistance to heat has allowed them to defeat many dragons over the ages.

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Beards! Beards! And more beards!

Gimli Lord of the Rings

Besides being shorter than most other beings in Middle-earth, the most identifiable physical feature of the Dwarves was the uncanny ability to grow noticeable facial hair. They were proud of their beards and swore or even exclaimed by it. The thing is, it wasn’t just men who had beards. In The War of the Jewels, Tolkien said that dwarves “have had beards from the start of their lives, both male and female”. So everyone had beards, men, women and children. As an interesting note, dwarves were also blessed with hair on top of their heads as dwarves never went bald even in old age.

No, the dwarves didn’t come out of the holes in the ground

Gimli in Moria Lord of the Rings

In The two towers Gimli and Éowyn had a conversation about dwarven women. Gimli told him about his bearded wife and how most people confused dwarf women with dwarf men. This, combined with the relative scarcity of dwarf women (only a third of all dwarfs), has led to the widespread belief that there are no dwarf women at all. Then Gimli had a blast when he talked about how many people thought dwarf children just popped out of the ground. So, it looks like dwarves have babies in a very traditional way.

Dwarves only buried their dead in stone

Tomb of Lord of the Rings Balin in Moria

Dwarves spent most of their time underground, mining and working their crafts. As such, they had a special respect for rocks and stones. Over time this developed into the custom of only burying their dead in slabs of stone. The exact reason for the custom was unknown, but it might have something to do with how the Seven Dwarf Fathers woke up under a mountain. Anyway, an example appeared in The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Fellowship found Balin’s grave in the Chamber of Mazarbul. When war made this custom impossible, the Dwarves would choose to burn their dead, rather than burying them only in the earth.

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