The Weaponry and Armour of Gimli [film version]
Many Dwarves favoured the axe over all other weapons and this was no different for Gimli. His battle axe was his primary weapon, though he also carried a variety of smaller axes as well.
– Throwing Axes
Two smaller axes were carried by leather loops on his belt; these sat at his left-hand side making it easy for Gimli to draw them quickly when needed. The throwing axes would have proved their use more then once as they would have served well when the Dwarf was faced with an opponent armed with a bow. Throwing axes would have also served well in close combat when Gimli was unable to swing his main axe.
These throwing axes were designed so that the shaft was lightweight, and to keep the full weight in the blade, the shafts would have measured at least a foot long. This would have ensured that when the small axes were thrown, the speed and spin of the axe increased through flight, thus hitting the target with the greatest force possible. With Gimli’s strength this would have likely proved fatal for the enemy.
– Hand Axe
Set on the right-hand side of Gimli’s belt was a ring that held in place his hand axe. This one would have served for day-to-day situations such as cutting wood and hunting.
– Walking Axe
Gimli also carried with him a walking axe; it was mainly used as a walking staff, but during battle it was another a deadly weapon. As Gimli constantly carried this axe it was rare that he would have been caught off guard, and so would be ready in the midst of an ambush. The walking axe measured nearly three feet in length; the shaft was square and bound in leather. This allowed Gimli to hold his hands further apart, and thus force all of his strength into the swing, giving a more dangerous blow to his foes.
When swinging his axe Gimli’s left hand would have traveled down the shaft to get better control. Gimli was well skilled and this meant that he would have been able to use this axe single handedly, and also be able to vary the angle and force of his blows.
– Balin’s Two-handed Axe
Gimli’s fighting style changed greatly when the Fellowship entered Moria, for here, when the tomb of Balin was shattered by the Cave Troll, Gimli was able to retrieve the Dwarf-lord’s mighty two handed axe. The great axe was a boarder and was double bladed. The shaft was somewhat smaller then Gimli’s previous axe and thus had more limited hand movement on the shaft. But this was well made up for by the increased striking power of the double blade.
Because this axe was double bladed it gave Gimli the advantage of swinging his axe both ways without having to shift his stance.
Gimli’s war gear would have been well made as the Dwarves had long been making armour, and for this reason it could be said that his armour would have had virtually no weak points.
Beneath his armour Gimli was likely to have worn a soft, loose fitting hose and shirt. A collar of leather would have sat around his neck, and from this sleeves of mail were attached, reaching to Gimli’s wrists. This mail consisted of flattened rings fastened together by hexagonal links held by fine gold wire. Gimli wore long leather gauntlets and vambraces that were made of boiled leather, and he wore also a plate that was laced to his hands that gave protection to his knuckles. Gimli’s arms were further protected by pauldrons of boiled leather and rerebraces that were etched and gilded in gold.
Shin guards were strapped to his boots and were made of the same boiled leather. To protect himself even more, Gimli also wore a mail skirt. This skirt would have been attached to his belt rather then his tunic as this would have added too much weight for the Dwarf.
The next layer consisted of a red mantle made of wool and edged in leather. This sat about the dwarf’s torso, shoulders and back. Last of all came his harness.
His belt was decorated in gold, and it held all of his axes save his walking one. His back pack contained two small pouches that held within them the means to repair his axes and travel supplies. His bedroll and blanket were carried across his shoulders, as this would have been the best place to keep them from getting in the way when Gimli swung his axe – but also kept Gimli’s own axe from hitting him when it was being carried on his back!
Despite all this it was the finery of Gimli’s helmet that was the most heavily worked piece of armour. The helm was worked about a skullcap of leather and it had a leather ‘skirt’ that was plated with interlinked mail. This gave protection not only to Gimli’s head but to his neck also. The helmet was well padded inside with wool and/or canvas and this prevented any impact of an attack affecting the Dwarf.
Around the edge of the helm was riveted a steel frame, and to this was riveted cheek guards. In reference to Gimli’s name (which means “star”) the helm was stylized in the fashion of a star. The topmost point of his helm was fashioned in a cross so that any attack there also made little impact on the Dwarf. At the center of this cross was a circle of onyx, a rare substance and a sign of his nobility.
With all of his armour it would have taken someone of great power to break through and wound Gimli. The only one to succeed in doing so was the Lady Galadriel when she stole through the Dwarf’s stubborn defenses and stole his heart.
“Weapons and Warfare”
Written and submitted by Eveligh