The Hotties of ‘The Rings of Power’ Can’t Beat the Original Babes

·8 min read
Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/New Line Cinema and Amazon Prime Video
Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/New Line Cinema and Amazon Prime Video

After what feels like a lifetime, the beloved Lord of the Rings franchise finally has a television show. I’m relieved to say that the wait has absolutely been worthwhile. The Rings of Power, which premiered Sept. 2, feels every bit as epic and adventurous as Peter Jackson’s film trilogy. From what I’ve seen of the Amazon Prime Video series so far, it’s proof that an eye-wateringly massive budget can translate to astonishing television.

With every great new fantasy series comes everyone’s favorite thing. No, not new monsters, epic fights, or glorious political intrigue—but smoking hot men. There’s something about a new fantasy that brings out the sexiest heroes; just think of how many people have fawned over Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow, Geralt in The Witcher, or Legolas and Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies.

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If you’re starting to feel thirsty just thinking about these guys, then I have some great news for you: The men of The Rings of Power are here to follow in that tradition. This time around, it’s the elves that are here to cater to your wildest dreams. Look no further than Elrond and Arondir, the resident hotties of this Middle-earth tale.

There are plenty of reasons to fall for Elrond (Robert Aramayo), a young elven statesman. He’s loaded with ambition, which is sure to please your parents. By all accounts, he’s also immortal, so you never have to worry about dying alone. He’s not interested in participating in battle either, so strike those fears of him returning home one day incapacitated. Elrond is charming with soft features that invite you in, wanting to learn everything about him. He’s also a bit on the dorky side: While everyone in Rings of Power seems very serious, Elrond comes off like the kind of guy you could listen to deliver an important speech, then get goofy with later.

He’s also long-time friends with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), and it certainly seems like Elrond longs to be more than just friends. That sucks for us, but thankfully, Galadriel is so dead-set on her mission to stop Sauron that I don’t even think the idea of romance has ever once occurred to her. Elrond is just gonna have to find his love somewhere else, and why can’t it be with you? Of everyone on Rings of Power, he seems like the guy most likely to want to chill at home with some video games and a good pizza—things that don’t exist in Middle-earth, so perhaps you can while away the hours… I don’t know, jauntily throwing sticks?

If you fancy your elves less nerdy and more brawny, then Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) is right up your street. He looks every bit of his role as a silvan elf soldier, ready to be climbed like a tree. His musculature is staggering, and his face looks like it’s been chiseled by Michelangelo himself. He’s so devastatingly handsome that even the staunchest heterosexual men and lesbians will likely be a little bit intrigued.

Arondir’s only real downfall—and it’s significant—is that he’s already very much in a requited relationship, though the fact that she’s human and not elf makes things challenging. Still, you can take solace in the fact that when he professes his love for her, you can pretend that those sweet nothings are being spoken directly in your ear. It’s the little things.

While both Arondir and Elrond have much to offer (and I’m sure over the course of the show’s planned five seasons, many more sexy men will grace our screens), I couldn’t help but feel that they have nothing on the OG sexiest man in Middle-earth. No, not the elf archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom) or the human swordmaster Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen). I’m happy for all the people crushing on those two; I really am! But I can’t help but think that they’re missing out on someone far more remarkable if they just set their sights a little lower. I don’t mean that as an insult; I mean it literally—because the hottest character in the Lord of the Rings franchise was, and remains, the mighty axe-wielding dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies).

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I’d always find myself drawn to him when I was younger. An unstoppable grin would appear on my face every time he was on screen (which was never enough), and I’d race to play as Gimli in every imaginable Lord of the Rings video game. As I prepared for the premiere of The Rings of Power, I rewatched the original Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time in a long while. Immediately I realized that my youthful admiration (perhaps a gentler way of saying my lust) for Gimli has only grown stronger.

Perhaps my Canadian roots led me to find solace in the character that most resembles a lumberjack: I’d like to think that after a long day of battling, Gimli removes his suit of armor in favor of a red and black plaid shirt. I can easily imagine Gimli chopping down tree after tree, barely breaking a sweat. Plus he has more facial hair than actual face, sporting a spectacular weaved ginger beard that has no end—if that’s not a lumberjack vibe, I don’t know what is.

Gimli’s also the exact guy you’d want to have a drink with—and drink he does. He has plenty of stories and tall tales to tell from his immense life experience, and his husky, distinguished voice would make reading the phonebook (or a Middle-earth equivalent) a dream. Speaking of dreams, I’d very much like to wake up from a bad dream, only to roll over and receive the most comforting cuddle imaginable. Do you really think Arondir or Elrond can calm you back to sleep like sweet Gimli can? Not a chance. These young’ns have a long way to go before they can claim the title of Middle Earth’s sexiest man from my favorite dwarf.

What really confirms Gimli as the rowdiest, bawdiest, sexiest character in all of Middle-earth is watching him fight. You might think his smaller stature would be a disadvantage against larger enemies, but you’d be wrong. Watching Gimli slice and dice orcs and various other creatures with energy that screams “who’s next?” is the ultimate aphrodisiac. He’s capable of throwing his axe with impressive accuracy too. And just when you think his talents have run out when he’s pinned down by a particularly menacing enemy and doesn’t his axe, he simply elects to wring their neck.

Looking back on it, perhaps my attraction to these aspects of Gimli manifested itself in my husband, who had a similarly epic beard that felt reminiscent of the legendary dwarf when we first met. He may not be skilled with an axe—we went axe throwing recently, and I was better—but you have to accept that your wildest fantasies can’t always match reality. That’s simply too much power.

But he isn’t just a rugged, handsome face—he’s also determined and wise. When the fellowship faces their first crossroads, Frodo goes with Gimli’s idea to cut through the mines of Moria. It ends up being a…pretty awful decision, actually. But it allows the audience (and more importantly, me) to see Gimli open up and be vulnerable. He discovers that the once-thriving mines are now little more than a graveyard for his fallen dwarf brethren, and he screams out in devastation at the sheer number of corpses. Seeing someone so rough-and-tumble openly express such honest sadness was practically an out-of-body experience for those who worship at the house of Gimli. At that moment, I didn’t just want to get it on with Gimli—I wanted to hold him and make everything alright. Vulnerability is hot, fellas!

I’ll admit that he’s not perfect. He’s boorish and impulsive; in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gimli grows impatient with all the conversing and elects to cut to the good stuff, striking the all-powerful ring with his axe. It’s not his best decision, as the ring damages his axe, and he winds up on the floor. The fandom is clearly behind Gimli though, as a popular YouTube video turns the moment into a victorious one for the dwarf. Even if it’s not his finest moment in the film, his desire to roll up his figurative sleeves and get things done is certainly tantalizing.

Gimli clearly has his deserved fans (me chief among them) and there’s plenty of chatter online about what a cool dude he is. But while fans love to talk about how Legolas and Aragorn are delicious snacks (and now, thanks to The Rings of Power, they’ll be talking about Arondir and Elrond), they tend to leave out the 3-course steakhouse meal that is Gimli. Yet those people are sorely misguided, for there’s so much to love—and lust for.

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