The Instigator
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
jopo
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Gimili vs. Legolas (DDO Olympics - Nerd & Fandom)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2014 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 778 times Debate No: 49005
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (2)

 

larztheloser

Pro

Hello all and welcome to the second round of the DDO Olympics Nerd and Fandom event.

As with all DDO Olympics events, this one is going to be judged by a panel of voters, however, if you have feedback to give, I'm sure both my opponent and I would welcome it!

This debate is about the characters of Gimli and Legolas, who appear in the works of Tolkien, particularly "The Lord of the Rings". Voters should vote for who ultimately made the stronger case that their character was superior to the other, with me taking Gimli and jopo taking Legolas. Adaptations of the characters, including filmic and interactive, are certainly within the boundaries of the debate, but ultimately the original written trilogy of "The Lord of the Rings" takes precedence over other evidence.

What makes a character superior is itself a point of contention, not something we can define.

The first round is for last-minute clarifying of rules. Actual debate rounds start in round two.

Good luck!
jopo

Con

Just so we have it directly stated we are debating (lemme know if I got something wrong):

Drawing from Tolkein's works, it is clear that the character Gimili is superior to that of Legolas.

Superiority will be something we each define based on what aspects of our characters we find crucial. Let's go (which kinda looks like Legolas... kinda.......)
Debate Round No. 1
larztheloser

Pro

I'm going to deny that "Superiority will be something we each define based on what aspects of our characters we find crucial" because if my opponent doesn't agree with my conception of what makes a good character I fully intend to rebut him. Ultimately, this isn't really that much about the characters themselves as it is about how those characters fit in to the story.

Fallacy of character attributes

One can attempt to create "the coolest character of all time", making them omnipotent, invincible, and totally relevant to everything in the story. This kind of character has been dubbed a "Mary Sue". I'm going to make this distinction not because I think Legolas is one, but because it illustrates perfectly the flaw I want to highlight.

Common tropes for Mary Sues include being "too perfect, popular, powerful and talented. [A character] can't be good at everything! Boring, without flaws..." (http://is.gd...)

Here's the flaw: it doesn't matter how many cool powers a character has, or how many cool people a character has met, or how many great deeds a character has done. The more of these there are the weaker the character becomes. Of course, if it were a real person those facts would make them stronger, but as a literary character they would suffer from being more like a Mary Sue. Instead, it's important to look at what they contribute to the story. Romeo and Juliet are both incredibly flawed characters, for example, because they love each other to a fault, but they remain among the most powerfully written characters of all time because that's the point of the whole story.

It is my argument that Legolas mostly exists in the Lord of the Rings to be an elf for Gimli to like.

Racism in LOTR

One of the important things about the adventures of Gimli and Legolas is that they show two races who were previously enemies - dwarves and elves - coming together and accepting each other in Gimli and Legolas. This is the story role that both characters portray. In the very end, Gimli is taken by the elves to the Undying Lands.

The difference between Legolas and Gimli, however, is that as an elf doing so is Legolas birthright. He would go there anyway. For Gimli, going was by default forbidden. There is no evidence to suggest that Legolas actually befriended dwarves other than Gimli, and certainly Gimli's acceptance by more elves than just Legolas would be required for such an honor. More than that, Gimli had a kind of tragic doomed-to-fail love going on for Lady Galadriel, which is far more deep than anything Legolas was personally involved in.

This is particularly notable since Gimli has reason to hate Legolas, and Legolas has no reason to hate Gimli. After all, Gimli's father had been imprisoned by Legolas' father in a time of suffering for the dwarves. The very feud between elves and dwarves was in fact started by the elves, who insulted the dwarves as stunted and uncouth.

Importantly, while Legolas did not wish to venture in to Moria, Gimli had no reservations about going into any elven lands if that meant the quest to destroy the ring was better achieved. When Gimli saw the racist dwarves wanted to blindfold him at Lothlorien, he objected, and so symbolically, the whole fellowship was blindfolded - an excellent metaphor for the folly of racism.

Therefore Gimli is a much better symbol of the achievement of the goals that Tolkien set out for his own characters.

High & Mightyness

Legolas was born (and as far as we know, forever remained) a prince of the elves of Mirkwood. Gimli, by contrast, earned his place as the leader of the dwarves of Moria, by proving his worth in the Lord of the Rings. Whereas Gimli answered the call to fight alongside elves and men, in the books Legolas does not answer the call to fight alongside dwarves in the Hobbit (Gimli does but is rejected because of his young age). As Machiavelli put it, it is nobler to be raised to a throne than born to one.

In the War of the Ring

Although both Legolas and Gimli have only incidental roles in the War of the Ring, both are important because they illustrate the different approaches the two characters took.

Legolas proved to just be naturally otherworldly in his talents from the start, as a near-perfect archer and scout. Not until the battle of the Hornburg, where Gimli slew one more orc than Legolas did, do we see Legolas losing stuff, and then right when it was probably most important for him to actually perform. Likewise Legolas fought in the battle of the Morannon, but he didn't do much important in it. His participation in this war was as one of many elves, whilst Gimli was the only dwarf in the war.

Gimli starts off as quite flawed but develops and grows as a character. The reader gains satisfaction through seeing Gimli overcome the obstacles in his life. These include obstacles that also develop during the course of his journey, such as his coming to terms with the death of his cousin, the lord of Moria, in a relateable way. While he did win the competition he had with Legolas at the Hornburg he was also wounded in that battle. Rather than simply killing orcs indescriminately, however, he also went out of his way to save the life of Eomer. Gimli overcomes Saruman's sweet voice with his blunt honesty. He later saved the life of Peregrin Took.

These actions are important because they actually further the story, providing relateable depth that otherwise wouldn't be there. Gimli proves himself an exceptional warrior, and Legolas an exceptional scout, but Legolas' scouting is not used in any way that actually contributes to the plot (I mean sure, he scouts ahead at Caradhras, but the fellowship ends up going through Moria anyway) . Legolas is just great because he's great, but for Gimli, he has to suffer before he can work his way towards greatness. What he really achieved is that while Legolas was mostly preoccupied with taking enemy lives, Gimli tried to save the lives of his friends, and still beat Legolas with his courage and determination. Legolas never really shows much greif, even when Boromir dies.

Filling in the character gaps

When the Peter Jackson films were produced it was soon realised that both Legolas and Gimli were not particularly strong characters on their own, and so more was added to their mythos. Legolas became captain obvious ("a diversion") and Gimli became some sort of Scottish bluntly-to-the-point-of-comedy character. It's worth noting that such changes were a point Tolkien emphasized, since he did not intend to write an exhaustive history of middle-earth but allow other writers to fill in the gaps.

While neither is perhaps what you want to see in a person, both changes certainly add something of value to the characters. But this is an important difference - one is a lot more interesting than the other. Legolas is never played for a point of comedy, and is rather justa annoying to viewers when he points stuff out that they already know. Gimli, on the other hand, provides many entertaining moments, such as his excitement about and subsequent loss in a drinking competition with Legolas.

They also added that Legolas now wins every competition despite the obstacles that Gimli overcomes to earn the title. Which is probably a bad thing since film-version Legolas is thus absolutely perfect by comparison.

Conclusion

Gimli would be far from a perfect person, but he is close to a perfect supporting character. He contributes much to the story and helps us to empathise with the world of Middle Earth. He's superior to Legolas not because he's great, but because he earns greatness without becoming too powerful, making for himself what Legolas simply claimed and expected as his birthright.

The resolution is affirmed.
jopo

Con

jopo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
larztheloser

Pro

Gimli is also superior in that he stands up for what he does, and doesn't forfeit when called upon to stand up for why he's a superior character to Legolas. Extend all arguments.

I look forward to seeing something that isn't a forfeit.
jopo

Con

jopo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
larztheloser

Pro

Oh well. Vote for Gimli.
jopo

Con

jopo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MoralityProfessor 3 years ago
MoralityProfessor
larztheloserjopoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: "Gimli is also superior in that he... doesn't forfeit when called upon to stand up for why he's a superior character to Legolas." Brilliant. That argument won it for me. Oh, and conduct to Pro for the forfeit,
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
larztheloserjopoTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.