There are a great many universal constants in our lives that we can rely on as eternal truths. Water is wet. Gravity exists. The Earth is round. The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest stories that has ever graced the planet. These are all just accepted as truths, because they simply are. There is no contesting them.
Gimli, son of Glóin, is one of the Nine Walkers, the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring, also known as the Company of the Ring. Because there are nine main protagonists to follow, everyone has their favorites, but the dwarf Gimli has some of the best quotes in the entire franchise.
10 “Nobody tosses a Dwarf!”
What better place to start on a list of Gimli’s top ten quotes than with this iconic one-liner from him? In The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn helps little Hobbit Sam cross a gap by simply tossing him to the other side. He then sets his sights on Gimli, who immediately bristles at the insinuation. He shouts at Aragorn, “Nobody tosses a Dwarf!” before he makes the leap himself, nearly falling in the pit in the process. In The Two Towers, however, there’s a callback to this moment; Gimli needs Aragorn to toss him over a distance he can’t jump, and, before Aragorn can, Gimli stops him and says, “Don’t tell the Elf.” Aragorn assures him, “Not a word.”
9 “Not the beard!”
Another iconic and oft-quoted line is Gimli’s legendary, “Not the beard!” that he shouts at Legolas in The Fellowship of the Ring. This line actually comes directly after “Nobody tosses a Dwarf!” in the movie, so it naturally also has to come directly after the same line in this list. When Gimli attempts to leap across the gap by himself, he nearly falls, as mentioned earlier; however, what we didn’t mention is that, when Gimli is trying to balance and save himself, Legolas is the one who actually ends up saving him. Tragically, he does this by grabbing the closest thing attached to Gimli, and that turns out to be his beard. Legolas does exactly this, prompting Gimli to shout at him, “Not the beard!”
8 “Well, here’s one Dwarf she won’t ensnare so easily.”
Gimli is known for thinking he’s somewhat more of a warrior than he may actually be. True, he is a brave and valiant fighter, but it’s also a running gag in the story that Gimli thinks he’s incredibly impressive and takes himself far too seriously. This is especially apparent when he hears about Galadriel, “a great sorceress,” “an Elf witch of terrible power,” who is not all that impressive to Gimli. After finding out that all who look upon Galadriel “fall under her spell and are never seen again,” Gimli says, “Well, here’s one Dwarf she won’t ensnare so easily. I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox!”
7 “Henceforth I will call nothing fair unless it be her gift to me.”
Gimli utters a line anyone would be happy to hear in The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Fellowship sets sail down the river from Lórien and leaves the Elves behind. Gimli and Legolas are in the boats together, and Gimli says to Legolas, “I have been dealt a wound beyond all healing, for I have looked the last upon that which was fairest. Henceforth I will call nothing fair unless it be her gift to me.”
When Legolas asks what Galadriel’s gift was, Gimli answers, “I asked for one hair from her golden head. She gave me three.” Legolas simply smiles in response.
6 “If anyone was to ask for my opinion, which I note they’re not…”
Gimli and Legolas are two of the funniest characters in the entire The Lord of the Rings series. Though every character has their funny moments, Gimli and Legolas have the most, and Gimli especially, who often serves as a comic relief in especially tense times. He delivers many lines along these lines, including one that’s perfect to quote when anyone seems to be ignoring your very excellent advice: “If anyone was to ask for my opinion, which I note they’re not, I’d say we were taking the long way around.” Also works perfectly for those times when your companions won’t stop for directions when you’re hopelessly lost!
5 “Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!”
When Gimli is speaking with Haldir, the exchange is somewhat tense. Haldir states that the Elves “have not had dealings with the Dwarves since the Dark Days,” which prompts Gimli to respond, “And you know what this Dwarf says to that? Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!” Aragorn then says, “That was not so courteous,” so the audience knows this was an insult, even if they don’t speak Dwarven. Luckily, we do, and so we can tell you that “Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!” translates to “I spit upon your grave!”
4 “Roaring fires, malt beer, ripe meat off the bone.”
In the world that Tolkien created for The Lord of the Rings, Moria is considered one of the wonders of Middle-Earth. Also known as Khazad-dûm, Moria runs under and through the Misty Mountains, and was once the greatest Dwarven city in all of Middle-Earth.
Gimli knows of what Moria was, knows of the amazing and ancient city founded by Dwarves, and so he tells Legolas: “Soon, Master Elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the Dwarves. Roaring fires, malt beer, ripe meat off the bone.” He evokes such a vivid image of the inside of the labyrinthine Moria that one can’t help but want to be there in the word picture he painted.
3 “Let them come. There is one Dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath.”
Tragically, the Moria that Gimli remembers is not the Moria that exists any longer. The Dwarves were, eventually, driven out of Moria, and were unable to return until well into the Fourth Age. At that point, Durin VII led the Dwarves back to Moria, where they all sealed themselves into the tunnels so they could not lose their ancient city again. There the Dwarves remained, “until the world grew old and the Dwarves failed and the days of Durin’s race were ended.” Though the Dwarves have all gone from Moria, Gimli will not let it be destroyed without a fight. When the Goblins start breaking down the doors to get to the Fellowship, Gimli simply says, “Let them come. There is one Dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath.” What a powerful moment.
2 “And my axe.”
This is one of the most iconic sequences in the entire franchise; if you have seen The Lord of the Rings, you know exactly which scene we’re talking about already. Heck, this is probably one of the most iconic sequences in film history, with how impactful The Lord of the Rings is on popular culture and the zeitgeist of our time. In this scene, the Fellowship of the Ring are swearing themselves to Frodo and the journey of the Ring. Aragorn gets the ball rolling, swearing, “If by my life or death I can protect you, I will. You have my sword.” Legolas continues with, “And you have my bow.” Gimli, of course, has to add, “And my axe,” completing everyone’s favorite triumvirate within the series.
1 “Aye. I could do that.”
Gimli’s greatest line comes at the very end of the series in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Right before the final battle, Legolas and Gimli are contemplating the impossible task that lays ahead of them, and Gimli is the first one to break the silence. After three movies’ worth of growing to not only appreciate Elves, but to love Legolas, Gimli warmly says, “I never thought I’d die fighting side-by-side with an Elf.” Though the words are antagonizing, he means only to tease; the fond way he says this makes that clear. Legolas smiles at him and asks instead, “How about side-by-side with a friend?” After a moment of contemplation, Gimli tells him, “Aye. I could do that,” instantly melting over seven billion hearts.