In the LotR movies, Gimli leaves Rivendell with the Fellowship directly following the Council of Elrond. Yet he seems to have an absurd number of axes with him. One is destroyed when he tries to chop the Ring in half at the council - I assume this was his main axe; yet although he has no time to go home and get a replacement, he has at least 3 more LARGE axes on him during the quest. One - at least 4 feet long - is destroyed when he throws it at Gandalf (because he thinks Gandalf is Saruman). He also throws at least one more in battle (I believe at Helms Deep), and presumably never gets it back (we certainly never see it again). And throughout the trilogy he wields a massve double headed axe in battle. He has no bags, certainly none large enough to hold axes, so where do the axes keep coming from?

Do the books address where all these axes are coming from, how he carries them all, and why we never see him with more than 2 at a time (in the scene where he throws one at Gandalf, we see the 4-foot throwing axe in his hand and the double headed axe on his back, but I don't remember seeing more than one axe at a time in any other scenes)? Does he have fewer axes in the books? Or does it simply never come up in the books?

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    There were other Dwarves at the council. He almost certainly borrowed one from them before setting off. – Valorum May 9 '15 at 22:24
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    "...and my infinite axe supply!" – Tim Pederick May 10 '15 at 3:52
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    Why do you think dwarves have such long beards? They're littered with pockets. – terdon May 10 '15 at 22:20
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    People have been so focused on Legolas's never-ending supply of arrows that we didn't notice that Gimli has him beat there, too! – KSmarts May 11 '15 at 14:04
up vote 143 down vote accepted

In the book, Gimli doesn't try to destroy the ring at the council, so no lost axe problem there.

And he doesn't lose an axe to Saruman in the Eaves of Fangorn either.

As far as the book is concerned, Gimli has one axe and keeps it throughout.

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    Yes. Movies always get things wrong. – jamesqf May 10 '15 at 4:43
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    In the book, Gandalf does disarm Gimli (who thinks he's Saruman) in Fangorn, but the axe isn't destroyed, merely dropped. – cjm May 10 '15 at 6:18
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    @Joel: The problem is that the answer is fairly obvious. "All these axes" simply don't exist in the books, nor do some of the described actions, like Gimli trying to smash the Ring at the Council of Elrond. You just have to deal with the fact that pretty much every moviemaker will screw things up in search of good visuals :-( – jamesqf May 10 '15 at 17:52
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    @jamesqf: I personally don't care much about the movies, except that I see the characters faces in my head as they are in the movies, and that is OK since the casting was really good in my opinion (well except, Aragorn should be taller and other small things like that). But the stories are deeply embeded in my head from many readings of the books, so I see no big problem there :-) – Joel May 10 '15 at 18:24
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    Besides, Tolkien had at least some experience in a real military at real war time (others certainly know more about this). Silly things like throwing away your weapon at every opportunity probably never crossed his mind. – John Robertson May 11 '15 at 17:51

Per my comment above, in regards the first missing axe, there are at least 2-3 other dwarves at the Council of Elrond. It seems reasonable to assume that one of them would have been willing to lend Gimli an axe for the vital journey ahead.

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Later in FotR we see him carrying at least 4 axes about his person; a longer "walking axe", 2 belt-mounted "throwing axes" and a smaller "hand axe".

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    Not sure if this matters, but the council axe seems to be solid and relatively plain looking (although it is very hard to see and is only visible for a second or so) - not like the double headed axe he uses throughout the trilogy, which is decorated with brass fittings, elaborate engraving, and seemingly non-functional cutaways (i.e., geometric holes between the faces and the stave) - it seems unlikely that the less decorated axe is his primary weapon, but why bring the plain looking one to the council - wouldn't you want to show off the good stuff in such rarified company? – Wad Cheber May 10 '15 at 0:10
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    @WadCheber - I think it was around the 2:00:00 mark. You can see them a bit more clearly here: bplusmovieblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/… – Valorum May 11 '15 at 5:55
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    The big double-headed axe he got from Balin's Tomb after the Cave Troll smashed it. At least according to the Lord of the Rings Weapons and Warfare book. – TheRealSpartacus May 11 '15 at 13:30
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    It prompts the question of why he bothered to bring an axe to a meeting anyway. Imagine showing up to my weekly status meeting on Tuesday with an axe. Just doesn't seem reasonable. – corsiKa May 24 '15 at 22:44
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    @corsiKa - Clearly you've never worked in a school. – Valorum May 24 '15 at 22:45

In addition to the other answers, if you watch closely he picks up some axes when making the barricade in Moria and doesn't use all of them in the barricade, including that double-headed one he uses for quite a bit thereafter.

Gimli would have had access to a forge in Rivendell, Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith. He probably wouldn't have had time at Helm's Deep to do more than sharpen his axe, but he had plenty of time in Rivendell and Minas Tirith to perform more significant repairs. The armouries in those three strongholds would certainly contain a number of battleaxes of varying quality, from which Gimli would have had his pick.

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    How do you confuse a dwarf? Offer him a selection of battleaxes and tell him to take his pick. *rimshot* – David Richerby May 12 '15 at 14:52

Gimli doesn't actually destroy his own axe during the council of Elrond, he picks up the dwarven smith Thrarin's axe who is sitting on the right of Gimli and tries to destroy the ring with his axe.

  • This addresses one point in the question (One is destroyed when he tries to chop the Ring in half at the council), but it doesn't answer the full question of how many axes Gimli brought. Your post might be better as a comment rather than an answer? – Rand al'Thor Jun 14 at 23:06

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