Part of the members of the Fellowship were chosen as representatives of their race: Legolas for the Elves, Boromir for mankind and Gimli for the dwarves. Of those three, two were the heirs of a ruler at the time (king Thranduil and the steward Denethor, who was de-facto king). Gimli, however, is simply the "son of Glóin", who, while surely significant, is of much lesser rank than the other two. According to this family tree, Gimli's most common ancestor with Dáin II Ironfoot, the ruler of his house at the time, was four to five generations in the past.

My question is: Why was Gimli, as the representatives of the dwarves, of such a low rank, compared to the other representatives? Furthermore, is this fact of larger significance?

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    Denethor, alas, was never part of a royal family in England. His family styled themselves stewards. Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 12:00
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    Me think the movie made Gimli the resident "comic relief" and that overshadowed his role as depicted in the book.
    – Max
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 13:47
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    @Max - pretty much correct, unfortunately. At least after the Fellowship split, it was obvious that Gimli was the comic relief in his group. In the first movie it was more Merry and (particularly) Pippin.
    – user8719
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:33
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    They are ranked by height, Gimli was too short
    – Huangism
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 15:58
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    Ah yes I believe his name was styled Sam, son of The Old Gaffer
    – fostandy
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 23:24

7 Answers 7


This is not significant.

The Council of Elrond was not convened in order to choose members of a Fellowship, but rather to discuss the matter of the Ring. Choosing members of the Fellowship was just something that happened after Frodo volunteering to take the Ring to Mordor, and the members were chosen from those who were in Rivendell at the time.

Glóin and Gimli just happened to be the Dwarves who were there (as ambassadors from Dáin), and therefore Gimli was the one chosen by Elrond (Glóin presumably being too old):

For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Glóin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond. For men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely.

The fact that those chosen for Elves and Men happened to be heirs is not relevant; Elrond was perfectly willing to choose other Elves who were not heirs or the final two members (before Merry and Pippin came onboard):

'There remain two more to be found,' said Elrond. 'These I will consider. Of my household I may find some that it seems good to me to send.'

Finally I should note that you're downplaying the rank of Gimli; as the son of Glóin he is also the son of one of the Dwarves who did the Quest of Erebor, and the son of an ambassador from one of the greatest Dwarf kingdoms, as we learn when Glóin is first introduced:

Next to Frodo on his right sat a dwarf of important appearance, richly dressed. His beard, very long and forked, was white, nearly as white as the snow-white cloth of his garments. He wore a silver belt, and round his neck hung a chain of silver and diamonds.

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    I wonder if Elrond was considering sending Arwen with them. Camping out isn't pretty; a few weeks/months of sleeping on the ground, with no regular baths, no makeup, no toilets, etc. and they might get over each other. ;)
    – Joe L.
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 13:29
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    Joke: (noun) Something said or done to evoke laughter or amusement, especially an amusing story with a punch line.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 13:45
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    @JoeL. - we're lucky he didn't send Tauriel!!!
    – user8719
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:30
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    And even those at the Council of Elrond weren't chosen for any particular reason, but just because they happened to be there - "called, I say, though I have not called you..." Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:32
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    It always seemed to me like Gimli was there for largely political reasons; the token dwarf, as it were Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 15:17

Let's begin by correcting what appears to be a misunderstanding: In the book, at least (I don't remember about the movie), Aragorn, not Boromir, is the one chosen as the representative of Men. Boromir is chosen simply because he and Aragorn happen to be going the same way as the Fellowship:

"I thought you were going to Minas Tirith with Boromir."

"I am," said Aragorn. "... But your road and our road lie together for many hundreds of miles. Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company."

(Lord of the Rings, Book II, Chapter 2, "The Council of Elrond")

The others are not chosen because of anything about them, as far as I can tell. Legolas and Gimli were chosen apparently because they happened to be there, at the Council.

As far as any greater significance: there is none. Nothing is ever made either of Legolas' position as the heir apparent, nor of Gimli's lack of such position.

  • DAMN good point @Matt and very, very subtle.
    – user38114
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 19:41

Huh? None of the Hobbits really had rank. Even if we take Frodo as Esquire and assume his cousins are of equal rank (if esquire even probably means diddly to Hobbits) Sam's still just a gardener. Gimli while not heir apparent still has a good solid claim to the throne.

So Dáin II Ironfoot is king.

Heir apparent is his son Thorin III Stonehelm

Since I couldn't find a DOB for Durin VII (Thorin III Stonehelm's son)...I'm going to assume he wasn't born yet

Next would be Balin but he's dead....granted they don't know it at the time...

So Dwalin is 2nd in line for the throne

After Dwalin would be Óin...but Óin is also dead so...

Glóin is 3rd in line and Gimli is his heir

4th isn't an insignificant spot...especially in times of war (something about rulers personally leading the troops does that). It's certainly higher than Boromir being son of Denethor as Stewards are ultimately just high ranking servants.

That said the Fellowship was a group of VOLUNTEERS and weren't chosen by any save themselves.

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    @Mort but they were still from a free people. And as I said looking at the others steward is still a servant. Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:49
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    "None of the Hobbits really had rank" - huh? Pippin was the heir of the Thain, who was the King's representative in the Shire and nominal head of State; Merry was the heir of the house of Brandybuck, which is roughly the Thain's equivalent east of the Brandywine. Frodo was the head of the Baggins family which makes him the most prominent hobbit in Hobbiton. The Shire is based on 19th century England ("about the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee" according to Tolkien), and those three are effectively heads of the local government. Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 18:06
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    I'm glad you brought that up @jcast - no one ever does. They were basically the big men on campus before they left. When they came back as heroes of the War of the Ring, they were as close to kings as Hobbits ever get.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 21:26
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    Err Pippin and Merry are high ranking hobbit nobles look at the family trees! Frodo also a took albeit aminor one adopted into a nouveau riche family the SB having mad all their money in "trade" Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 16:07
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    @JonathanCast - The hobbits are definitely upper-class toffs, I'll grant, but their "nobility" is minimal. For instance, in terms of authority, the Thain was something of a mayor, meaning that Pippin is not even the mayor, just someone related to him. There hardly appears to even be a local government in the Shire, relegating Pippin and Merry to rich folks who can brag about their family trees. That does not really compare to "heir to the realm of Gondor" or "son of the Elf-King."
    – Adamant
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 11:21

Gimli wasn't of a low rank. As Glóin's son he had a very high rank among the dwarves of Durin's people — both in his own right and through the acclaim of winning back the Lonely Mountain.

Within the company none had 'ranks' really — other than Gandalf who was chosen specifically to lead and Aragorn who was in many ways his foster-son and given his knowledge of the world the natural choice to take over if Gandalf was not on hand.

Just look at the make-up of the company:

  • Gandalf - chief Maia of Irmo/Lórien and later chief of the other Istari.
  • Aragorn - king of both Arnor and Gondor, whether Denethor liked it or not.
  • Legolas - Sinda-prince and heir to Northern Mirkwood/Greenwood.
  • Gimli - son of dwarven nobility.
  • Boromir - heir to steward of one of the two Realms in Exile.
  • Pippin - eldest child and heir to the actual 'chief' of the shire.
  • Merry - wealthy counterpart to Pippin in the colony beside the Brandywine.
  • Frodo - SUPER-wealthy adopted heir to one of - if not THE - richest Hobbit in the shire.
  • Sam - Gardner... Poor Sam.

Really they were all of very similar 'rank' with Gandalf, Legolas and Aragon at the 'top' as measured from outside. From within though it really didn't matter — they chose to follow Gandalf and chose to help Frodo.



This answer is based upon my recollection of reading the books a few years ago, as well as the LotR Wiki.


He was attending not as much as a direct representative of the King Under the Mountain, but as a companion of the Representative of the King Under the Mountain.

As can be read here, Glóin had come to Rivendell seeking the advice of Elrond and he brought his son, Gimli, there.

As can be read here, Gimli's father Glóin, attended the Council as the Representative for the King Under the Mountain. Gloín had, as mentioned above, brought Gimli along as part of his entourage, and he was, thus, invited to join the council.


All of the members of the council represented their race. However, they were never sent for with the council in mind. Besides Gandalf, Aragorn, and the Hobbits; the others were seeking Elrond's council on other matters and as fate would have it been available for the council being the Fellowship affected all of Middle-earth

  • +1 I wish I could upvote this more than once. It is important to remember that the representatives were never called for. They all gathered at that important time to seek Elrond's counsel. Dain obviously thought Gloin more than important enough for that task. Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 23:26

Gimli was a member of the dynasty of Durin, and thus just a few lives away from becoming king of the most honored and prestigious royal family of his species. There were only a tiny handful of dwarves senior in rank and prestige to Gimli.

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