Can an elf out drink a dwarf?

In “Lord of the Rings” the dwarf Gimli and the elf Legolas had a friendly rivalry with each other and always seemed to be in competition with each other.

One of the competitions they with each other was a drinking contest, which is shown in the movie adaption in “Return of the King” though it was not actually present in the novel. After downing several glasses, Legolas remarks that he feels a slight tingling in his fingers. Gimli makes a comment how the elf can’t hold his liquor, before falling over. Now props to Gimli drinking a lot, but in the end it was the elf princeling who emerged victorious.

This is one of many instances in fantasy fiction where it seems that elves have a higher alcohol tolerance than most races.

According to an article “One the topic of drunk elves,” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, Sindar elves are more powerful than Silvan elves in many ways, including having a higher alcohol tolerance. Since Legolas is at least half-Sindar, which he gets from his father Thranduil, this could be why he has a tolerance for alcohol.

Elves are also known for enjoying wine, which in some cases can be stronger than beer.

Although Legolas won the drinking contest in Tolkien’s world, there are some worlds where dwarves have an advantage over elves when it comes to tolerance.

One instance is in the game “Dungeons and Dragons.” In the 3.5 rule set, elves get a +2 bonus to their tolerance while dwarves get a +8 bonus/

If Gimli and Legolas had their contest during a “Dungeons and Dragons” adventure, Gimli would have had a better chance at defeating his rival.


About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.

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