I spend a lot of time on a microscope, picking minerals for thermochronology. You have to pay attention, but it isn’t something that requires a lot of thought, just vigilance and steady hands. To help pass the hours then, I often find myself listening to things, podcasts, NPR, and books on tape.
Recently I’ve been listening to the Lord of the Rings books on tape, and I had a realization. Gimli would have made an excellent geologist. Of all of Sauron’s evil, forcing Gimli to spend his life fighting evil likely robbed Middle Earth of one of its first Earth Scientists. This is likely true for many dwarves, but Gimli is the one I know best.
So what made me think of this?
1. Gimli has an epic beard. Male geologists have a high frequency of beardiness, and he’d fit right in.
2. Gimli was best friends with an Elf, who we all know would be forestry biologists if they existed today. They probably met in their required courses as first-years, and bonded over hacky sack and craft beer. They even served as each others field assistants, and shared an off-campus apartment when they moved out of the dorms.
3. Gimli loves beer. It is well known that geologists enjoy beer. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if dwarves did as well. This quote is from the movie, so take it with a grain of salt, but still, it rings true
“Soon Master Elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves. Roaring fires, malt beer, ripe meat off the bone.”
4. And the big one: Gimli loves rocks and caves. This is obvious, and a trait of all dwarves, but let’s check out some Gimli quotes (from the books only, nothing from the Peter Jackson films).
“Ever my heart rises as we draw near the mountains. There is good rock here. This country has tough bones.”
“do you know that the caverns of Helm’s Deep are vast and beautiful? There would be an endless pilgrimage of Dwarves, merely to gaze at them, if such things were known to be. Aye indeed, they would pay pure gold for a brief glance!”
“gems and crystals and veins of precious ore glint in the polished walls; and the light glows through folded marbles, shell-like, translucent as the living hands of Queen Galadriel. There are columns of white and saffron and dawn-rose, Legolas, fluted and twisted into dreamlike forms; they spring up from many-coloured floors to meet the glistening pendants of the roof: wings, ropes, curtains fine as frozen clouds; spears, banners, pinnacles of suspended palaces!… Do you cut down groves of blossoming trees in the springtime for firewood? We would tend these glades of flowering stone, not quarry them“
GLADES OF FLOWERING STONE! A true rock-hound if I ever heard one.