I was wondering why Frodo was unable to cast the One Ring into the fire but Gimli struck it with his axe during the Council of Elrond?

Wouldn't any dwarf be attracted to the jewel, amplifying the Ring's corrupting power? How could Gimli strike with intention to break it when we see that he indeed is influenced by the Ring when they start to quarrel?

  • 4
    Gimli was given three strands of hair by Galadriel herself when the Fellowship visited her. The greatest elf ever couldn't even get one. Gimli is that awesome.
    – Zibbobz
    Mar 2, 2015 at 15:32
  • 4
    The One Ring of Power is not a jewel.
    – TylerH
    Mar 3, 2015 at 4:17
  • There's no mention of his motivation in any of the four dvd commentaries other than that it marks the point when he realises how dangerous the ring is.
    – Valorum
    Mar 3, 2015 at 10:51

3 Answers 3


Gimli striking the Ring is an invention of the movies. This doesn't happen in the actual Fellowship of the Ring. It is a silly scene in the movies, probably there to illustrate that the Ring cannot be destroyed except in the fires of Mount Doom.

In any case, Gimli wasn't in close contact with the Ring, nor was he its keeper like Frodo was, so it couldn't have exerted much influence on the dwarf. Consider that Frodo kept the Ring for some time before embarking on the adventure from the books.

Gimli trying to destroy the Ring after being close to it for some time, as part of the Fellowship, would have been more surprising.

  • 4
    @DarthSatan I assumed "jewel" meant "the ring", i.e. "wouldn't a Dwarf's natural attraction to jewels make him extremely vulnerable to the Ring?" But I reject the whole scene anyway :P
    – Andres F.
    Mar 1, 2015 at 23:09
  • 10
    Sometimes I am amazed how answers to the questions about something in the movie and not in the book usually start with the comments about silliness. At least this one doesn't also end with them like some others.
    – Malcolm
    Mar 2, 2015 at 4:03
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    I don't think that this was a silly scene in the movie. It was useful for the audience to see (rather than just be told) that the ring couldn't be easily destroyed.
    – Stephen
    Mar 2, 2015 at 4:48
  • 6
    @Stephen agree; The scene may been invented to demonstrate visually the ring's nigh-indestructibility. It may also have been meant to show a degree of naïvety or simple-mindedness in Gimli's approach to the quest: He may legitimately have believed that smashing this puny, unadorned ring hard enough would be the end of it, but the ring emerging perfectly unscathed showed to everyone how wrong he was. I can conceive of a dwarf just recently introduced to a visually unimpressive, plain gold band and then told of the necessity of its prompt destruction proceeding the way Gimli did in the film. Mar 2, 2015 at 6:47
  • 3
    @IwillnotexistIdonotexist I can also see Gimli, uncorruptable and good of heart, being able to strike at the heart of darkness fearlessly the way he did.
    – Zibbobz
    Mar 2, 2015 at 15:34

Gimli hadn't spent enough time with the one ring to consider it precious and the one ring was never in danger.

The ring is shown as having a will of its' own and passive intellect. The one ring actively persuades individuals to keep it and not destroy it. However striking the ring with an axe wouldn't cause the ring to be lost or destroyed. Gandalf was able, without pause, to throw the ring into the fire.

It's unclear if a character untouched by the ring could thrown it into Mt Doom. But if the one ring does have the power to compel people who have spent almost no time with it, there is still no reason for it to use that power when it's not in danger.

  • 2
    Gandalf was able to throw the ring into the fire, but Frodo strongly hesitated allowing him to do so – I always took it that this was out of fear that the ring might in fact get damaged, though Gandalf had already asserted the opposite – and I think Frodo did very much trust Gandalf. OTOH, in that movie scene Gimli believed he could destroy the ring (unlikely as it seems that he'd be so naïve in a matter of (magical) metalworking). Mar 2, 2015 at 23:00

Dwarves were in fact naturally resistant to the corrupting effects of Sauron, perhaps moreso than even Hobbits.

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age:

Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven Rings he gave to the Dwarves; but to Men he gave nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will. And all those rings that he governed he perverted, the more easily since he had a part in their making, and they were accursed, and they betrayed in the end all those that used them. The Dwarves indeed proved tough and hard to tame; they ill endure the domination of others, and the thoughts of their hearts are hard to fathom, nor can they be turned to shadows. They used their rings only for the getting of wealth; but wrath and an over-mastering greed of gold were kindled in their hearts, of which evil enough after came to the profit of Sauron.

LOTR Appendix A:

For the Dwarves had proved untameable by this means. The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them. But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by any Ring, to live either longer or shorter because of it.

Turned into shadows being 'turning invisible', the wraithform that leads eventually to ringwraiths. The Ring, as an extension of Sauron's power, this suggests, could incite Gimli to anger and rash action and to greed, but could not directly influence his mind to defend itself. Bilbo's band of dwarves seemed similarly unaffected by the Ring in their presence.

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