Gimli, born in T.A. 2879, is a dwarf from the Darin's clan, a son of Gloin who took part in the quest to the Lonely Mountain. Gimli spent his childhood in the Blue Mountains.
We get acquainted with Gimli at the Council of Elrond which he attended together with his father. The dwarf speaks about Moria and the hard life of people living under the Mountain. Frodo notices that Gimli's speech is particularly interesting for him, unlike other stories about the wide lands east of the Mountains. A special part of Gimli's tale is dedicated to the tidings of Sauron's messengers. The dwarf has never suspected the existence of the Ring before. But having known the great importance of the journey to Orodruin, he agrees to join the Fellowship of the Ring.
During the journey Gimli befriends Legolas. Of course, these two have slight arguments every now and then about relations between their people. But when the time comes to fight, they do it with all their might and bravery. Gimli is not afraid of any danger. He supports the idea of going through Moria, as it has always been his dream to see the ancient kingdom with his own eyes. And his wish is granted.
When going to Moria, Gimli narrates a lot about his people, recalls an old poem about Durin the Great, the first dwarf. He knows Moria well and together with Gandalf finds the right way, full of adventure. Together with his axe he easily puts the enemy to rout, but when seeing Barlog, Moria's ancient horror, his eyes become glassy and his axe falls out of his hands. There are, however, forces in Middle-earth able to subdue the strength of such a brave warrior as Gimli.
As to his appearance, it is not that different from his kind. He is stocky, broad-shouldered and as strong as a horse. Gimli's pride is in his beard. The dwarf has armour with the emblem of the people of Darin, i.e. the hammer and the anvil surmounted by a crown with seven stars, which all the dwarves have been famous for since olden times. Every tribe of dwarves has its own peculiarities when forging an axe. According to the shape and form of an axe, warrior's belonging to a particular tribe could be identified.
Gimli is not an ordinary dwarf. He is the first representative of his people who enters Lyrien. The elves accompanied the Fellowship through the Golden Wood with their eyes blindfolded because Gimli, without any grounds, was accused of spying. Of course, he is absolutely furious about it. Taking into account that it is in his nature to argue, Gimli even pulls his axe out. But Aragorn helps to solve the dangerous situation and gives an order to blindfold the eyes of all the members of the Fellowship of the Ring.
But this is far from being the only example demonstrating Gimli's individuality. When going on the Paths of the Dead, Gimli together with Legolas and Aragorn went to the Stone of Erech to break the oaths from the Grey Company. That could only be done by Isildur's descendent. To pay the debt and to untax their souls they join Aragorn. All of a sudden fearless Gimli gets frightened and, when riding, sits quietly behind Legolas. After the journey Gimli shyly tells about his worries to the hobbits. The War of the Ring changed people, even the most confident ones like Gimli.
Gimli earns the title of "a friend of elves", so honourable for a dwarf. This says a lot because elves are extremely fussy when choosing friends. Gimli returns their feelings with affection and even decides to sail away northwards together with Legolas. Such things never happened in the history of Middle-earth before.
Gimli's nickname - the Lock-bearer - is also connected with the elves. When visiting Lyrien the dwarf is fascninated by Galadriel's beauty and when leaving her asks the Queen for three golden hairs. "Nothing, unless it might be - unless it is permitted to ask, nay, to name a single strand of your hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine. I do not ask for such a gift. But you commanded me to name my desire"- poetically says Gimli. And his request is granted.
Like Aragorn Gimli goes from a warrior to a sovereign. After the end of the War of the Ring he along with the Erebor folk comes back to the caves of Aglarond. The dwarves built anew the Glittering Caves and Gimli becomes their King till F.A. 120 (the year of Elessar's death).
Before sailing westwards (F.A. 120) Gimli manages to perform one more great task - to compile the genealogical tree of the Ereborian dwarves. Also under his supervision the dwarves of the Glittering Caves forge new mithril gates for Minas Tirith instead of the old ones, broken by Sauron's hordes.
Gimli's last days remain a mystery. The last pages of the Red Book of Westmarch narrate that the Eldars accepted Gimli in their Golden Halls and he, probably, gained immortality. Indeed, it is the best award for such a hero.