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All the characters of the Fellowship seem to play critical roles to the story and enjoy full character arcs, except for Gimli and Legolas.

While they assisted at various parts of the story and provided race-specific perspectives - what is their primary role in the narrative when compared to every other character in the Fellowship?

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    Are you talking about the book/s or the films? – Valorum Feb 3 '15 at 1:36
  • @Richard I believe in both it didnt matter because all people called to th Elf city under favor due to the leader. – Virusboy Feb 3 '15 at 1:39
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    @Virusboy - Huh? – Valorum Feb 3 '15 at 1:40
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    @Virusboy - I do believe you just made that up. Please re-read the books and find out the real reason. – user8719 Feb 3 '15 at 8:51
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    The fellowship started about in the middle of book one and ended a few chapters later. They didn't really had a chance to do something noone else could do. I think nobody except for Gandalf (Balrog) did during that part of the journey. – Einer Feb 3 '15 at 10:03
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You're asking two separate questions. Were they critical to the Fellowship and the success of its mission? Probably not: they didn't achieve any specific things that couldn't have been done by anyone else, in the way that Frodo, Aragorn and even Merry did.

But did they have character arcs? Yes, definitely, particularly in the case of Gimli. From his initial anger and distrust of the Elves, he came to love Galadriel and count Legolas as his closest friend.

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    What about Legolas’s elven eyes? – Paul D. Waite Feb 3 '15 at 9:56
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    There weren't any times when those were crucial, were there? He saw the Riders approaching from a distance, but they would have seen them anyway sooner or later; same for the Eagles and whatever the flying thing was he shot by the River (don't think it was ever explicitly stated that it was a Nazgul). – Daniel Roseman Feb 3 '15 at 12:42
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    What about his bow? And Gimli’s ax? Naw you’re right. – Paul D. Waite Feb 3 '15 at 12:55
  • Not sure, both of them brought some muscle to the team. If you wanted to replace that, you probably would have to go for a bigger fellowship - which attracts more attention. Of course Legolas and Gimli were not specifically needed, but I'm sure it helped the course! – Einer Feb 3 '15 at 12:59
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    His love of Galadriel and friendship with Legolas is pretty important, seeing as how Gimli was the first (and possibly only) Dwarf to ever travel to the Undying Lands. Those relationships were no small part of that development. – user31178 Feb 3 '15 at 21:01
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Legolas and Gimli were representatives of the Elves and Dwarves so that all free folk would be represented in the Fellowship. Additionally, Gimli and Gloin were at Rivendell as emissaries of Dain, to warn Bilbo that a rider from Mordor was asking after hobbits and The Shire.

Were they critical to the Fellowship until its breaking at the river Anduin? Probably not although useful to have around. I'd say Merry and Pippin were more surplus to requirements. Not sure how you can think they didn't have full character arcs. After their heroic pursuit of the Uruk-Hai, they meet Gandalf the White, ride with him to Rohan, survive the assault at Helm's Deep and finally follow Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead to join the Battle of the Pelennor fields. Their unlikely friendship becomes legendary in Middle-Earth and in Unfinished Tales it's reported that Gimli even manages to locate a secret door in Orthanc and restore the Elendilmir to Aragorn.

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    Gimli didn't just survive Helm's Deep, he was pivotal in the caves fighting alongside Eomer. Those caves he later became Lord of. – user31178 Feb 3 '15 at 20:59
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Gandalf conferred with Gimli while in Moria, although it was always Gandalf that made the decision. Still, Gimli was very much at home in the caves of Moria and likely provided valuable assistance.

Gimli represented the dwarves in the character development, which to me was a significant part of the story as he and Legolas developed a friendship.

While Aragorn was known in Lothlórien, Legolas was also a key participant in translating to some of the elves that didn't speak in the common tongue. His abilities provided scouting information.

Critical roles? I think perhaps, one of the main ideas of the whole story is that we all play the role we are given. While they may not be characters of the stature of greater elves or dwarves, they rose to the occasion of the role they found themselves in.

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Legolas and Gimly were a big part of the story and of great moral support to the fellowship when they became good friends. They shared heartache and trials and adventures together. Because there was much strife and distrust between their races this was a most unlikely friendship. The result of their loyalty and friendship actually infected everyone around them, including Galadrial. Their friendship actually strengthened the fellowship and Frodo himself. The world is worth fighting for when two lifelong enemies can overcome a lifetime of enmity to become lifelong friends.

A side benefit of this friendship even resulted in Gimli being invited to travel West. A Dwarf in Valinor!? Wow!

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