Characters / The Lord of the Rings

This list covers the most important among the Loads and Loads of Characters in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

This page is for the books ONLY. For the characters as they were portrayed in the Peter Jackson film trilogy, see here.

For tropes associated with entire races or cultures, see here.

See also the character sheets for The Silmarillion and The Hobbit (or the latter's film versions), which are set in the same universe (and, indeed, feature some of the same characters).
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The Fellowship of the Ring

    Frodo Baggins 

"I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don't feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again."

Frodo Baggins is an adventurous hobbit of the Shire who inherits a seemingly-harmless magic ring from his eccentric cousin Bilbo after the latter's disappearance, only discovering what it actually is many years later. Despite his lack of experience and the dangers ahead, Frodo volunteers to carry the Ring to Mount Doom and there destroy it.
  • Achey Scars: Frodo's tend to ache on the anniversary of their infliction.
  • Actual Pacifist: Frodo is willing to use violence in self-defense early in the story (for instance, against the Barrow-wight), but after his ordeal with the Ring, he is unwilling even to draw weapons in the scouring of the Shire.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Frodo is the son of Drogo Baggins son of Fosco Baggins son of Largo Baggins son of Balbo Baggins.
  • Anti-Hero: As Return of the King progresses he fails to destroy the Ring, is tormented by his physical and emotional scars, and drifts into a more and more passive role, especially in "The Scouring of the Shire."
  • Asleep for Days: Frodo does this in Rivendell after being near-fatally wounded by the Nazgûl. It happens again to both him and Sam after getting rescued from Mount Doom, due to their near starving, wounded state.
  • Armor Is Useless: Mostly averted, since Bilbo's mithril chainmail armor from The Hobbit saves his life several times, until Shelob stings him on the neck.
  • Bad Dreams: Frodo is stated to have these throughout the quest, though they get worse as he approaches Mount Doom and the effect of the Ring increases.
  • Benevolent Boss: Technically he is Sam's employer (although Sam's duties were really more oriented toward weeding gardens and trimming hedges, not saving the world.)
  • The Chosen One: The trope is flip-flopped. This seems to be his role in the first part of the trilogy - Gandalf even says he was 'meant' to have the Ring - but The Corruption of the Ring is so strong that even a particularly steadfast, resilient Chosen One carrying it for the best of motives, with the fate of his homeland and all his friends at stake, may not have the strength to fulfill his destiny. In the end, after a long and horrible struggle, it breaks him.
  • Cool Sword: First the dagger/short sword from the Barrow Downs that Tom Bombadil gave him, which the Nazgûl shattered at the Ford of Bruinen. Later he also got Sting, an ancient Elvish blade given to him by Bilbo. Though it's really a knife, hobbits are just that small compared to Elves (and Men).
  • The Corruption: Linked to the Ring. It slowly wears away all his forms of resistance, even his memories of good things, in its effort to make him its slave. By the time Sam suggests that they carry it in relays to slow the terrible process, Frodo can no longer give it up.
  • Determinator: Despite the increasingly horrible things that happen to him, Frodo never stops trying to reach Mount Doom, and never gives in to the Ring's temptation until the very end.
  • Disney Death: He survives being bitten by Shelob. Of course, in this case, they actually give an explanation for why he survived via the Orcs when they discover him.note 
  • Dub Name Change: "Frodon Sacquet" in French ("sac" meaning "bag"). Or "Frodo Bessac" in the new translation.
  • Foreshadowing: In the second chapter, Frodo couldn't even throw the One Ring into his own fireplace. This foreshadowed his failure to throw the One Ring into the Cracks of Doom.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Despite enjoying a rather comfortable lifestyle in the Shire, he inherited from his uncle Bilbo a thirst for adventures.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Frodo tells Gollum that he must obey him, because if not, Frodo will put on the Ring, and order Gollum to jump off a cliff or the like. This astounds Sam, who had always assumed that Frodo's goodness made him soft, and reduces Gollum to whimpering terror.
    Frodo: "In the last need, Sméagol, I should put on the Precious; and the Precious mastered you long ago. If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey, even if it were to leap from a precipice or to cast yourself into the fire. And such would be my command."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sam.
  • Hidden Depths: His willingness to sacrifice himself for his country (see the folder quote above) surprises even Gandalf.
    ‘My dear Frodo!’ exclaimed Gandalf. ‘Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.…’
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Laments that he wished the Ring had never come to him at one point (before he's anywhere near his darkest hour), prompting Gandalf to respond that all who live to see such times wish this, and that all he has to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to him.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Frodo is the in-universe author of The Lord of the Rings (though based on recountings from his friends and comrades, and the final chapter is hinted to have been written by Sam.)
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While he could've meant in-universe, he says " is all too likely that some will say at this point: 'Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more.'"
  • The Load: A tragic and completely justified example. By the time the time he and Sam reach Mordor, the poor guy is just so beaten down from all the injuries he's taken and from carrying the ring that he begins to rely more and more on Sam just to get around.
  • Messianic Archetype: Carries a great burden, dies and gets resurrected, and is generally a very sweet guy? Check. Though he differs from most in that he is flawed and fallible.
  • More Hero Than Thou: He attempts to abandon all the rest so he doesn't drag them into danger, and almost succeeds entirely.
  • Music for Courage: He sings while he is held prisoner in the Tower of Cirith Ungol.
  • Named Weapons: The aforementioned Sting.
  • Older Than He Looks: Due to the Ring's power, Frodo looks like a thirty-three-year-old Hobbit (which is what he was when he initially received the Ring) until at least his fiftieth birthday. The Appendices reveal that he’s actually ten years older than Boromir. Thus, in terms of age, he’s exactly in the middle of the Fellowship (Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn are older; Boromir, Sam, Merry, and Pippin are younger).
  • Parental Abandonment: His parents drowned in the Brandywine River, leaving him to be raised by Bilbo.
  • The Power of Friendship: Sam's unwavering commitment to helping him is ultimately what sees the quest through to Mount Doom.
  • The Protagonist: Frodo is the central and focal character of the series. It focuses on his journey and development.
  • The Quest: He volunteers to be the one to take the One Ring across the continent to its destruction in Mordor - not from a love of adventure but from a sense of responsibility.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's a big supporter of Sam/Rosie. He even invites them to move into his house, since they can't afford one of their own.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Frodo realises after returning to Bag End that he cannot call the Shire his home, nor indeed any place in Middle-Earth. He's been changed too much.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Frodo is technically 'the hero' of the story as the story does centre around him, even though the Word of God has favored Sam as the more conventional hero of the story.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Already the least violent member of the Fellowship, he adopts this philosophy by the end of The Return of the King, even towards Saruman.
  • Tragic Hero: Tolkien has said that Frodo cannot be called The Hero, as he failed and that he was doomed to fail from the start. Part of this is because he wanted to be a hero.
  • True Companions: Sam brings Pippin and Merry into the group to help Frodo: as their adventure continues they gain and lose other companions, but Sam's with him the entire way.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: He's merciful towards both Gollum/Sméagol and Saruman.
  • Weapon of Choice: An elven knife named Sting, large enough compared to him to be his sword.

    Samwise "Sam" Gamgee 

"'Don't you leave him!' they said to me. 'Leave him!' I said. 'I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with.'"

Sam is Frodo's gardener and loyal friend, and the only working-class hobbit in the Fellowship. Even when uninvited, Sam is determined to follow his master wherever he goes and make sure he's taken care of, no matter how dark the situation. His practicality, devotion, and culinary skills make him a very big help as the quest goes on.
  • Act of True Love: The entirety of the book is one of these for Samwise. He followed Frodo into Mordor, being his keeper for the whole trip.
  • All There in the Manual: You may know that Sam eventually built a ship and headed to the Undying Lands, but did you know that he changed his family name to Gardner? Or that he was elected Mayor of the Shire for seven consecutive terms? Or that he, his wife, and his oldest daughter lived in Gondor for a year?
  • Author Avatar: In some ways inspired by the personal assistants assigned to British officers (i.e. Battle Butlers) during World War I, who were known as "batmen".
  • Badass Bookworm: Bilbo taught Sam to read and write, abilities that are relatively rare in the Shire outside uppercrust families like the Bagginses. (Sam’s dad hopes that “no harm will come of it.”) Sam proceeds to surprise his fellow hobbits with his book-lore, and Frodo winds up leaving the Red Book to him to finish.
  • Battle Butler: He's Frodo's groundskeeper. Not the most skilled fighter in the Fellowship, but dauntless.
  • Berserk Button: Go ahead, try and hurt Frodo. But you'll regret it. If you live long enough.
  • Call to Agriculture: After the War of the Ring Sam returns to his old gardener's life, also helping restore the Shire's trees, and marries a farmer's daughter. But he prospers enough to become Mayor.
  • Cool Sword: Like Frodo, he got a cool sword/dagger from the Barrow Downs courtesy of Tom Bombadil. Later he also wields Sting in Frodo's defence.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually he's rather polite, but when he gets angry, annoyed or impatient with someone, he displays a surprising creativity in thinking up biting comments. Unsurprisingly, he's at his snarkiest when dealing with Gollum.
  • Determinator: By the time they reach Mount Doom, Frodo is too weak to climb. Sam is little better, but he still carries Frodo up the punishing slopes on his shoulders.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did a hobbit just kick the crap out of a half-demonic Giant Spider? Oh yes.
  • The Everyman: Just a normal hobbit of the Shire, not even a gentlehobbit. Lampshaded by Faramir.
    Faramir: Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardeners be in high honour.
  • The Final Temptation: At the pass of Cirith Ungol, when he takes up the Ring and then puts it down.
  • The Gardener: Is Frodo's Mundane Gardener gardener.
  • The Hero: Is Sam the "real" hero of The Lord of the Rings? While Tolkien's "Letters" certainly favored Sam as the 'chief hero', he obviously started out with Frodo in mind for the role. It's probably safest to say that the story is so big that it contains a willingly-martyred Byronic hero and a plucky Horatio Alger hero.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Definitely.
    As far as he could remember, Sam slept through the night in deep content, if logs are contented.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Frodo. There's no question that Sam is unfailingly... maybe even obsessively... devoted to Frodo. Their parting at the end of the book is a moment of terrible grief.
  • Hidden Depths: Starts off as a Book Dumb gardener but shows signs of this just four chapters later when he starts philosophizing about Elves and the the future of the quest. Even Frodo is surprised.
  • Hot-Blooded: The contrast between Sam and his more reserved master is pretty clear, especially during the talk with Faramir. Sam is more likely to speak and act without thinking, is prone to Loose Lips, and quicker to strike out at threats.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: The Ring tries tempts him by showing him a vision of Mordor as a garden. It doesn't work because Sam only wants his own, small garden that he can tend by himself. This trope is also the reason that a giant garden is the only straw the Ring can grasp at in the first place.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He's tempted by the Ring to become a great lord, but he rejects it since he doesn't want to boss others around — even when the Ring plays on his love for gardening by telling him he could transform Mordor into a giant beautiful flower bed if he so wished.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make.
  • Jumped at the Call: Indeed, Gandalf gave him the call seeing how eager he was.
  • Meaningful Name: As Tolkien states in the Appendices, it's Old English (Anglo-Saxon) for "some-wise", that is "halfwit", given ironically because he appears to be Book Dumb but is full of Hidden Depths.
  • No-Sell: While several characters are able to resist the temptation of the ring, only Sam shrugs it off entirely. It can't offer anything he wants.
  • The Not-Love Interest: To Frodo. There's obviously strong affection and emotion between the two, and incredible devotion, especially on Sam's side.
  • Odd Name Out: "Sam" is a normal name in our world, so it stands out a little among Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, etc... (even if it is short for "Samwise").
  • The Power of Friendship: Sam loves Frodo somewhat like a brother, and his unwavering commitment to that friendship is ultimately what gets Frodo through all the horrors of Mordor to the Cracks of Doom.
  • The Reliable One: Indeed, he's the only one of the Fellowship who doesn't leave the path to Mount Doom.
  • Sidekick: He remains by Frodo's side for the entirety of the story, in which Frodo is clearly the protagonist as he bears the greatest burden and is bound for the worst place. Then he stops being the sidekick and becomes The Hero.
  • Simpleminded Wisdom: Sam is protected by the power of just a little Hobbit common-sense.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sam's presence averts the failure of the quest. Yet he was not part of anybody's plan. Even Frodo had no intention of taking Sam with him.
  • Supreme Chef: All hobbits can cook, and they're such gourmands one imagines that most hobbits are good cooks, but Sam is a good cook even by hobbit-reckoning — able to whip up a good meal with just a brace of coneys (that is, a couple of rabbits) and herbs of Ithilien.
  • Team Chef: It's genuinely sad when he finally has to abandon his cooking equipment in Mordor.
  • Tender Tears: Though pretty macho by hobbit standards, Sam's prone to Manly Tears.
  • The Mole: Frodo, already astonished to learn that his friends have been spying on him, is even more bewildered to learn that his gardener has been feeding them information all along.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Went from a timid gardener who had never wandered further than a few miles from home to outfighting giant demon-spiders and beating orcs in a fight.
  • Undying Loyalty: Sam almost defines this trope. He will follows and serve Frodo into Hell or to the ends of the Earth. His motivation is his simple loyalty, more than a desire to save the world (though that's part of it).
  • Weapon of Choice: A short sword/knife.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Sam feels this way when he sees Men killing Men (Rangers of Ithilien vs. the Haradrim) for the first time. He wonders about a dead Southron's name and family, and whether he was really an evil man or if Sauron tricked him or drafted him against his will.
  • Working-Class Hero: Out of the four main hobbits, two are the sons of chieftains (Merry and Pippin) and the other is a very wealthy heir (Frodo); Sam is the only one who is not a "gentlehobbit."

    Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck 
"You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin - to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo."

Meriadoc Brandybuck is a sensible, take-charge hobbit and one of Frodo's closest friends. Concerned about Frodo's safety, he joins the quest early on and organizes some conspiracies and shortcuts, some of which go better than others. Plagued by feelings of self-doubt, he nevertheless goes on to become a knight of Rohan and participates in the War of the Ring.
  • Badass Bookworm: Authored a variety of books, including a history of pipe-weed (Herblore of the Shire). In one version of the posthumously published epilogue, Sam remarks that he needs Merry’s help to finish writing the Red Book.
  • Badass Normal: Merry, just a normal hobbit, is the one who defeats the Witch-King alongside Éowyn, out of all the trained soldiers, Proud Warrior Race Guys and other larger-than-life figures present at the Battle.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: He, along with Éowyn (who also literally breaks her arm), nearly dies from contact with the Witch-King.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Unlike the identical Cool Swords that the other three hobbits received from Tom Bombadil at the Barrow Downs, Merry's sword ends up being extremely instrumental to his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Cool Sword: One he receives from Tom Bombadil at the Barrow Downs; see Chekhov's Gun above.
  • Deadpan Snarker: By far the snarkiest of the four Hobbits in the story; he's got a smart comment for every occasion.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Witch-King of Angmar vs a Hobbit. Merry (teamed up with Éowyn) won.
  • Going Native: Merry embraced Rohan's culture, swore fealty to King Theoden and received a name among the Men of the Mark, Holdwine. (The pun in English was probably intentional.)
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar on his forehead from injuries sustained at Parth Galen.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: He feels left out and useless when the Grey Company and the Riders of Rohan leave him behind because of his physical weakness, until Éowyn sneaks him into the cavalry with her.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He and the aged King Theoden become close friends over the space of a few weeks.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Most notably at the Battle of the Pellenor, against the Witch-King.
  • Letter Motif: Meriadoc is the son of Saradoc Brandybuck, and in a letter to a fan Tolkien said his son is named Periadoc.
  • The Magnificent: Later named Meriadoc the Magnificent as Master of Buckland.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Pippin is impulsive and readily distracted: Merry shares his adventurous, fun-loving nature but is more of a planner.
  • The Smart Guy: Of the hobbit foursome, Merry has the most common sense and is the most likely to think of what didn't occur to the others. Until they meet up with Aragorn, he's the planner (and the only one with much experience at traveling).
  • The Straight Man: He's far more levelheaded than Pippin.
  • Those Two Guys: Merry and Pippin appear together most of the time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the start of the series, he's very perceptive and capable, but not much good in a fight. By the third book, he helps take down the Witch-King.
  • Weapon of Choice: A leaf-shaped dagger wrought by the Men of Arnor long ago, large enough in his hands to qualify as a short sword. Destroyed on the Pelennor Fields.

    Peregrin "Pippin" Took 
"You must go - and therefore we must too. Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon's throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet; but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure."

Pippin, the youngest of the hobbits, is a cheerful tweenager and a bit of a rascal. His curiosity gets him into trouble at times, but his buoyant spirit helps carry him and his companions through the darkest parts of the War. He grows up quickly during the quest and later becomes a knight of Gondor.
  • Alliterative Family: Peregrin is the son of Paladin and the brother Pearl, Pimpernel and Pervinca.
  • Badass Boast: When Saruman's lackeys mock Frodo and company when they return to the Shire, Pippin lets them know whom they're dealing with.
    "I am a messenger of the King. You are speaking to the King's friend, and one of the most renowned in all the lands of the West. You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road and ask pardon, or I'll set this troll's bane in you!"
  • Badass Normal: He takes down a troll in the final battle, and he's just a hobbit.
  • Constantly Curious: Pippin is the one who drops a rock into an empty well in Moria just to hear how deep it is... with catastrophic consequences. He's also the one first drawn to the Palantír of Orthanc, although to be fair Sauron had made it almost irresistible to anyone who looked at it or handled it for too long.
  • Cool Sword: The dagger from the Barrow Downs that Tom Bombadil gave him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not to the extent of Merry, or even Sam, but he can snark with the best of them when the mood takes him.
  • Disney Death: A troll falls on him in the battle at the Black Gates, and the narration from his POV has him thinking about the fact that he is dying. Gimli finds him and gets him out in time, but after Pippin has blacked out. Tolkien actually did consider killing off Pippin at that moment, but ultimately decided against it.
  • The Fool: Pippin tends to act without thinking, and this can cause a lot of trouble (see Constantly Curious), but he's lucky and likeable, both qualities of the classic Fool.
  • Going Native: To repay the debt he and Merry owe to the deceased Boromir, Pippin enters the service of the steward Denethor. He doesn't fit in as well as Merry does in Rohan, but makes many friends in Gondor. And as King Elessar reminds him when he's headed back to the Shire, "You are going home now on leave... but I may recall you."
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make.
  • Jumped at the Call: Pippin is naively eager to follow Frodo's quest, and very unhappy at the thought that he won't "get" to follow him to Mordor.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Like Merry, Pippin discovers his inner courage when he saves Beregond by killing a massive troll at the Battle of the Black Gates.
  • Odd Friendship: He seems to have a particular gift for entering these. He develops a very close friendship with Gandalf, and once he's brought to Gondor, he befriends both Faramir, Beregond and Bergil, a child of the city.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: By far the most bumbling and comical of the main characters. He becomes less so as the story progresses, though his cheerfulness and eternal optimism remain.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He and Merry are both fun-loving and adventurous, but Merry is the thoughtful plan-making sort, while Pippin is impulsive.
  • Shout-Out: His name is an allusion to the Frankish king Pepin the Short (known as Pippin in English), father of the more famous Charlemagne (who was famed in legend for his twelve Paladins, including Roland who Boromir evokes, see below; Pippin's father is also named Paladin).
  • Those Two Guys: He and Merry almost always appear together.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From foolish young Took to hero.

Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion.

The modern archetypal wizard in appearance and style, he also is the Ur-Example of the Magic Knight. In the Third Age, the Valar (Celestial Paragons and Archangels) sent five Maiar (rank-and-file angels) to Middle-Earth to aid the struggle against Sauron, clothed in the forms of men and forbidden from using their power directly or trying to rule over Men and elves. Of these, two travelled far into the East: their tales are unknown. Of the remainder, Gandalf embodied wisdom, Saruman knowledge, and Radagast nature. Though Saruman is the head of the Council of the Wise, Gandalf was a wiser and greater Maia, but declined the position of leadership. The wise elf Círdan entrusted him with Narya, the Ring of Fire (one of the three mightiest Rings of Power created by the elves).

Known as the Grey Pilgrim, throughout both The Hobbit and this book (along with the prior thousand years), Gandalf went from place to place in the world, giving counsel and guidance, but never calling one place home. He ends up being a chessmaster of sorts, motivating many of the key players to their purposes while keeping his plays close to hand. This also serves as a justification for separating Gandalf from the other heroes time and again so that they don't have access to his storybreaking abilities.
  • Back from the Dead: He was properly dead from the fight with the Balrog, but his boss dropped him back on top of the mountain where he died 'cause he's not allowed to stay dead until he's finished the job with Sauron.
  • Badass Beard: He is a wizard after all, and has quite impressive facial hair.
  • Badass Boast: He has several of these throughout the story, where he makes it quite clear that he is one of the most powerful people active in Middle-Earth.
    "I have written Gandalf is here in signs that all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin."note 
    "You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."
    "I am dangerous... far more dangerous than anyone you are likely to meet, unless you are brought before the feet of the Dark Lord himself."
    "Trapped! Why did I delay? Here we are, caught, just as they were before. But I was not here then."
  • Badass Bookworm: Though one of the lesser Maiar, he was one of the wisest.
  • Badass Grandpa: Takes the guise of an old man when he comes to Middle-Earth.
  • Bearer of Bad News: The Rohirrim gave him the name Stormcrow, for his habit of appearing out of nowhere to announce some calamity. Wormtongue names him 'Láthspell'; "ill news is an ill guest."
  • Big Good: Gandalf is the main "power behind the scenes" manipulating and directing events to help people resist Sauron, and make sure that they have the information and allies they need, as much as he can.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: That stick out past the wide brim of his hat, somehow. It's like a superpower.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: He dies from the ordeal of fighting a Balrog. (Don't worry, he gets better.)
  • But Now I Must Go: In The Hobbit he leaves the dwarves and Bilbo to try to persuade the White Council to attack Dol Guldur and destroy Sauron while he was still weak. He does this in the Fellowship of the Ring, not that he planned to be missing for so many chapters — that was Saruman's fault.
  • Came Back Strong: He dies after defeating the Balrog. As he hasn't yet completed his task of aiding the free peoples of Middle Earth in defeating Sauron, he is sent back as Gandalf the White. He is far more powerful, as the restrictions previously placed on his power (to prevent over-reliance or corruption) are relaxed.
  • The Chessmaster: He has been playing chess with Sauron over Middle-Earth for centuries.
  • Cool Old Guy: An old man noted for his skill in creating fireworks, smoke-rings and sarcastic comments. There are hints that he'd prefer Becoming the Mask rather than racing around the continent trying to thwart evil, but his time is not his own to spend.
  • Cool Sword: Glamdring, which he found in a troll-cave during The Hobbit. This is the sword that once belonged to the king of Gondolin, one of the famous Hidden Elf Villages of the First Age.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gandalf's temper is usually expressed through fairly harmless but snappy lines, such as telling Pippin to knock the Gate of Moria open with his head if he can't shut up long enough for Gandalf to figure out the password.
  • Determinator: He fought the Balrog for ten days straight. Ten days. Heck, his entire story is an example of this trope. By the end of the books, he's the only Wizard who remained fully committed to the purpose of opposing Sauron (although Word of God has waffled on whether or not Radagast abandoned his mission or not). Sarumon ended up being made into Sauron's lackey and The Starscream. No one knows what happened to the Blue Wizards. For centuries, Gandalf wandered all across Middle Earth by himself, working to bring about Sauron's downfall.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Old guy vs. Balrog. Old guy wins. (And dies, but he gets resurrected and the Balrog isn't.)
  • Elemental Powers: Fire, possibly thanks to Narya, The Ring of Fire (though its fire might be only metaphorical).
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Lampshades the conflict during the Council of Elrond:
    Gandalf: If all the grievances that stand between Elves and Dwarves are to be brought up here, we may as well abandon this Council.
  • Famous Last Words: "Fly, you fools!" He comes back later in the story, of course, but those remain the last words spoken by Gandalf the Grey.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's described as cantankerous and grouchy, is a Manipulative Bastard and whilst his bark is worse than his bite he is not above emitting a few growls from time to time and letting his reputation do the rest.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Definitely Good Smoking. When he's relaxing he'll usually get out his pipe and start making smoke rings.
  • Grumpy Old Man: It's an affectation, see Jerkass Façade.
  • Guile Hero: He's expressely forbidden from using his own raw power against Sauron, or to dominate the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. Everything that he accomplishes is done via wits and persuasion.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Implied by his critics to be this, hence the unflattering epithets "Láthspell" and "Stormcrow". It really isn't fair, though — he just wants to warn people when something bad is coming their way!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Moria, to save the rest of the Fellowship from the Balrog.
  • Hidden Depths: Particularly to the Hobbits of the Shire.
    ...[Gandalf’s] fame in the Shire was due mainly to his skill with fires, smokes, and lights. His real business was far more difficult and dangerous, but the Shire-folk knew nothing about it. To them he was just one of the ‘attractions’ at [Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday] Party.
  • I Have Many Names: "Many are my names in many countries. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Dwarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the east I go not." Then there's these names too, Gandalf Greyhame, Gandalf the Gray, Gandalf the White, Gray Pilgrim, Gray Wanderer, Greybeard, White Rider, and The Enemy of Sauron. Plus the insults Gray Fool, Láthspell, and Stormcrow.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Resisted the temptation of the One Ring at Bag End. Notably, he is a Physical God (more accurately, angel-like being) just like Sauron.
  • Jerkass Façade: Even at best of times, Gandalf tends to be a grumpy old man, but he likes to encourage people's perception of him as unpredictable and even dangerous person. Frodo, who has known him for decades and considers him a friend is at one point briefly convinced that he burned poor Barliman Butterbur alive for failing to deliver (a vitally important) letter. He also clearly enjoys scaring the crap out of Sam (who's afraid Gandalf will turn him into something "unnatural") when he catches him eavesdropping on his conversation with Frodo about the Ring.
  • Knight Templar: Wearing the One Ring would make him far worse than Sauron, while being convinced of his own righteousness, which is why he puts it in Frodo's care instead.
    "Understand. I would use this ring out of a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine!"
  • Magic Knight: With a magic staff and his magic sword Glamdring.
  • Man in White: After he comes back stronger in The Two Towers, Galadriel outfits him with white robes and gives him a new staff.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He pulls all manner of gambits, and is not above using both friend and foe as pieces on his chess board.
  • Meaningful Name: Old Norse for "wand-elf". Was given that name by Men since he carries a staff (being a wizard and all) but was often mistaken for an Elf due to his long life and magic powers.
  • The Mentor: He serves as a mentor figure for Frodo - and Bilbo before him - and is killed by the Balrog.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Though he gets better.
  • Messianic Archetype: Although Tolkien himself said that this was not intended, nobody listens because Gandalf dies and then gets sent back to finish his work.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Happens to (or at least involves) him fairly often, per the Appendices:
    • He returns to Bag End after escaping Isengard, only to find that Frodo had left six days earlier.
    • He then proceeds to travel to Bree, arriving somewhere around twelve hours after Frodo and co.'s departure.
    • He rides to Weathertop, gets ambushed by the Nazgûl, and drives them off — three days before Frodo and co. arrive.
    • After his resurrection, Gwaihir flies him to Lothlórien, and he arrives the day after the Fellowship left.
  • Mr. Exposition: Unlike other Big Goods who withhold crucial information until after it would have been useful to know, Gandalf tells Frodo absolutely all he knows about the Ring and its history once he's done enough research to be sure of what it is, around the second or third chapter of Fellowship.
  • Named Weapons: Glamdring, meaning "foe-hammer" in Sindarin.
  • Nice Hat: His wide-brimmed, conical hat is iconic to the character and appears in virtually all artwork and, of course, the films; it's likely the Trope Codifier for giving that sort of hat to wizards.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Gandalf is always taking care of far and away threats which are usually given indirect or passing mentions. His incursions against the Necromancer of Dol Guldur and his fending off of the Nazgûl at Weathertop are prominent examples.
  • Older Than They Look: He looks like he's about 80, but he's been in Middle-Earth for upwards of 2000 years and is in fact older than the universe.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Wizards are really angels disguised as humans.
  • Personality Powers: Specializes in fire magic and has a quick temper.
  • The Plan: He and Aragorn (and sometimes Frodo) are the chief planners of the Fellowship’s route. Subverted when Aragorn suggests that even Gandalf wasn’t sure of what path the Fellowship should take after Lothlórien.
  • Psychic Powers: He communicates without speaking with Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond using Telepathy at the end of the book.
  • Rasputinian Death: Like the Balrog with whom he struggled, it took a lot to kill Gandalf. And even then, he came back.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Really Older Than The World.
  • Ring of Power: He reveals he wields the elven Ring of Fire, explaining his proficiency with flame magic. It was given to him by Círdan the Shipwright when the Wizards first came to Middle Earth, and one of the reasons Saruman was jealous of him.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: One of the most memorable, and likely the Trope Codifier.
  • Story-Breaker Power: He's a Maia, an angelic being of the same order as Sauron, but he's actually forbidden from using his full power by the Valar. The victory over Sauron must come from ordinary people; Gandalf and the other Istari are only permitted to act as their guides and advisors. There is good reason for this; last time the Valar and Maiar used their full strength against the forces of evil, they shattered the subcontinent of Beleriand and it sank into the sea. (More on that in The Silmarillion.)
  • The Strategist: He's not allowed to use his powers (the last time the Maia did so, they broke a continent), so instead he's been carefully searching and manipulating for... ever.
  • Taking You with Me: He and the Balrog both die in their fight, but only he returns to life.
  • Team Dad: He's the leader of the Fellowship (until he dies and Aragorn takes over) and the oldest member, and despite his gruffness, he cares deeply for the others and has a particular soft spot for the hobbits.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Aragorn is The Hunter, seeking a place for himself in this world and to prove himself worthy to get what he wants, Elrond is The Lord, well-established, striving to maintain a balance and preserve what he has, Gandalf is The Prophet, the guide who tries to impress his wisdom on the young ones.
  • Time Abyss: He's older than time itself. Doesn't stop Treebeard from calling him "young Gandalf".
  • Token Super: Downplayed. Gandalf is an angelic spirit in human form, traveling with the otherwise non-magical Fellowship. His exalted origins are largely unknown to the party and his displays of power are minimal, since his Valar masters require that the victory over Sauron be won by the people of Middle-Earth.
  • Too Clever by Half: It took him longer than one might expect to figure out how to open the Doors of Durin. "I had only to speak the Elvish word for friend and the doors opened. Quite simple. Too simple for a learned loremaster in these suspicious days."
  • Took a Level in Badass: After becoming Gandalf the White.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Again, after becoming Gandalf the White, most evident in his interactions with Pippin, who remarks that Gandalf laughs more often and is more willing to indulge his curiosity.
  • Walking the Earth: He's not called "The Grey Wanderer" for nothing, being possibly even more well-traveled than Aragorn is.
  • Weapon of Choice: Staff and Sword.
  • Wizard Classic: One of the most iconic modern examples and a Trope Codifier.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Trope Namer. In the book it's "You ''cannot'' pass."


Aragorn is the chief of the Dúnedain, Rangers of the North. One of the dying breed of Númenóreans, Aragorn is raised in secret by Elrond in Rivendell, unaware of his true identity as the Heir of Isildur. When he comes of age Elrond reveals all to him, and he meets and falls in love with Elrond's daughter Arwen. After she reciprocates, some 30 years later, Elrond tells Aragorn that he can only have her hand in marriage if he becomes the King of Gondor and Arnor. Aragorn spends the next few decades battling orcs and aiding Gandalf in tracking and opposing the agents of Sauron, particularly Gollum. In his youth he also travels far and wide, notably as a captain of Gondor and Rohan (under a pseudonym, Thorongil), to be the best he can in order to pursue his destiny.

As a ranger, Aragorn takes the alias of "Strider" and seems a rough, coarse man but can shed this facade to unleash a great lordly presence which is part of his heritage as the last heir to the Númenórean kingdoms, and that stems in part from his people's trace of Elvish blood. As is mentioned elsewhere, in a normal epic, Aragorn would be The Hero and would defeat Sauron himself; Tolkien's decision to focus on the lowly and boot Aragorn to a supporting role was a conscious and deliberate subversion of that longstanding trope.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the Heir of Isildur and rightful King of the Dúnedain. He's a better tracker and woodsman than the Wood-elf Legolas, a deadly warrior, a skilled battlefield medic, strong-willed enough to use a Palantír and even wrench it out of Sauron's control, and wise enough to know he can't and must not use the One Ring.
  • Badass Boast: "I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!"
  • Bash Brothers: He becomes this with Éomer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When he arrives with an army behind him on the Enemy's own ships to save the day, just as Éomer and his Rohirrim were getting in a really bad position.
  • The Captain: Of the Rangers of the North, and of the Fellowship after Gandalf's passage. Also serves as one to the army and navy of Gondor as "Thorongil."
  • Combat Medic: A lot heavier on the combat side of things than most examples, but as is said in Gondorian legend, "the hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known."
  • Cool Sword: Andúril, reforged from the shards of Narsil, an ancient heirloom of his line.
  • Death Glare: He frightened the Mouth of Sauron.
    Aragorn said naught in answer, but he took the other’s eye and held it, and for a moment they strove thus; but soon, though Aragorn did not stir nor move hand to weapon, the other quailed and gave back as if menaced with a blow.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: For Éowyn, though he doesn't reciprocate her feelings.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: He must have the Enemy overthrown before he can become king and marry Arwen.
  • Engagement Challenge: To win Elrond's permission to marry Arwen, he first needs to help make sure Middle-Earth is a safe place for her to stay after her father leaves.
  • Family Theme Naming: The names of the chieftains of the Dúnedain of the North and of the kings of Arthedain following Argeleb I (his ancestors from father to son) all starts with the prefix "Ar(a)-" (meaning high or royal in Sindarin) until Aragorn.
  • Fisher King: His return to Gondor is supposed to bring healing to land, as symbolized by the old dead White Tree of Minas Tirith being replaced by a young sapling that will grow and bloom.
  • The Gadfly: His sense of humor takes the form of screwing around with his friends. Like the time when he agrees with Sam's continuing suspicions (even after getting Gandalf's letter that says "trust Strider") and then jumps at the hobbits. Or, when Merry asks for a pipe in the Houses of Healing, telling him all the learned things the herbmaster would say about pipeweed and that there is not any in keeping. (The pipeweed is in Merry's own pack at the foot of his bed.)
  • Good Is Not Nice: The first time he appears, he berates and frightens Frodo. As he puts it himself, 'I look foul and feel fair'.
  • Healing Hands: As Ioreth, a wise-woman of Gondor says, "The hands of the King are the hands of a healer and so shall the rightful king be found." It's ambiguous as to whether he has supernatural healing powers from his distant Elvish ancestry or if it's because he's the only guy in Middle-earth who knows what kingsfoil is for.
  • Heroic Lineage: Going back though umpteen heroic Rangers of Arnor, Kings of Arnor, Isildur, Elendil, the Lords of Andúnië, the early (good) kings of Númenor, Elrond's brother Elros, Eärendil the Morning Star, Dior, Beren and Lúthien, Tuor and Idril, Turgon, Fingolfin, and Thingol and Melian, and to generations of heroic Edain of the Houses of Bëor, Hador, and Haleth.
  • Homage: Aragorn is a Shout-Out to both King Arthur and Charlemagne.
  • I Have Many Names: Aragorn has been called the Dúnadan ("Man of the West/Númenórean"), Longshanks, Strider, Wingfoot, Elessar Telcontar ("Elfstone Strider"), Envinyatar ("the renewer"), Estel (Hope), and Thorongil ("Eagle of the Star"), among other things.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Like Faramir, Aragorn rejects the One Ring out of principle without needing to see it.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make. In his first appearance it's used to play up his mysterious nature, as he has the hood pulled up even when inside.
  • The Juggernaut: During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields he (along with two others) was unstoppable, didn't even get wounded, and the enemy was literally running away from his wrath.
  • King Incognito: Way incognito, to the point where he's considered a rather shabby and disreputable character, and living in the wilderness.
  • Kissing Cousins: Somewhat justifiably. Although he married a first cousin, the fact that she's a first cousin sixty-seven times removed makes it something of a moot point from a genetic standpoint.note 
  • The Lancer: When Gandalf's leading, Aragorn tends to be the practically minded and cautious second-in-command. He was particularly worried about Gandalf's personal safety when the decision was made to enter Moria.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is translated from Sindarin as "kingly valour".
  • The Medic: He has Healing Hands and other special healing abilities due to his lineage and training by Elrond.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The Ring of Barahir, over six thousand years old, originally given to Aragorn's very distant ancestor by Finrod Felagund, Elvenking of Nargothrond; it had many bearers, always leaders of the Dúnedain, and of the 'faithful' factions who never listened to Sauron (like Ar-Pharazôn did), and it was given to Aragorn by Elrond when the former was told his real name and ancestry.
  • Manly Tears: He weeps openly whenever there's something to justify it. He was crying so hard over Boromir's death that Legolas thought he was mortally wounded himself.
  • Mysterious Stranger: The first time the reader meets him as Strider he's hooded and lurking in the shadows of the Prancing Pony (before that kind of thing became a cliche).
  • Named Weapons: Andúril, "Flame of the West."
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Touched on when he displays kingly abilities like commanding the shades of the dead and healing people. He alone can do this because of his Númenórean royal bloodline, but he acts the way he does because he was raised to be a good and noble man. Many kings of Númenor and Gondor, no less royal, fell into evil.
  • Older Than They Look: Thanks to Númenórean descent, he is at his prime at 87.
  • Older Sidekick: He's older than most of the rest of the Fellowship, and largely serves a supporting roll until they escape Moria.
  • Psychic Powers: Not an actual telepath (unless one counts the example under Death Glare above), but when channeling through a device like a palantir his will is unconquerable. His special gifts in healing may also be an example. He openly demonstrates prescience - he's frequently able to accurately predict that something will happen in the future.
    ‘Thus we meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor lay between us,’ said Aragorn. ‘Did I not say so at the Hornburg?’
    ‘So you spoke,’ said Éomer, ‘but hope oft deceives, and I knew not then that you were a man foresighted.’
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: He starts with the Ring of Barahir, a remnant of the North-Kingdom's regalia, and the shards of Narsil, the (royal) Sword that was Broken. He later receives the scepter of Annúminas, the winged crown of Gondor, and (in the Unfinished Tales) the Elendilmir of Valandil and of Isildur.
  • Rightful King Returns: The best-known one in literature, except possibly King Arthur. Gondor's been waiting hundreds of years for The Return of the King. It's worth noting however, that although it is his birthright to do so, he refuses to enter Gondor as a king and just take the throne, believing that doing so would be the act of a tyrant. He only sets foot in the city when he is willingly invited and welcomed by the people.
  • Royal Blood: The purest now left, at least for the Dúnedain. Frequently, the narration points out Aragorn's kingly bearing that makes him seem taller and the other man smaller, along with something like a "white flame" appearing over his brow (i.e. the shadow of a crown).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: A Warrior Prince, healer, and tracker, and entirely willing to sacrifice his own life if necessary to help defeat Sauron.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: To the point of being able to read individual blades of grass. Though it's a remark by Gimli, he isn't exaggerating that much.
  • Standard Hero Reward: The throne of Gondor and Arwen's hand in marriage, for defeating Sauron.
  • Supporting Leader: Former Trope Namer. Aragorn may be more impressive than the Hobbits, but he's really mostly there to back up the Mannish kingdoms and distract Sauron long enough for Frodo to destroy the Ring.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Aragorn is The Hunter, seeking a place for himself in this world and to prove himself worthy to get what he wants, Elrond is The Lord, well-established, striving to maintain a balance and preserve what he has, Gandalf is The Prophet, the guide who tries to impress his wisdom on the young ones.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Aragorn has some elven ancestry a few thousand years prior to the events in the story due to him being the last heir of Gondor. He's also part-Maiar via Lúthien's mother.
  • Walking the Earth: As a Ranger he's patrolled the old regions of Arnor with the purpose of staying hidden until the right time and protecting their inhabitants, including those in Bree and the Shire. He's also served in Gondor and Rohan under an alias and journeyed as far as Harad, the south lands controlled by Sauron.
  • Warrior Prince: Like most princes of the Men, Elves, and Dwarves.
  • Weapon of Choice: His sword Andúril, reforged from Narsil.
  • Young and In Charge: Of the Three Hunters, per the Appendices: compared to Legolas’s hundreds of years and Gimli’s age of 139note , Aragorn is a relative tyke at the tender young age of 87. Justified in-universe due to Aragorn’s extensive travels and superior tracking abilities.


Legolas is the son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood, and is sent by his father to Rivendell to deliver news of Gollum's escape. There he becomes one of the Nine Walkers of the Fellowship. Compared to the rest of the Fellowship, he is rather lighthearted as is shown by his dialogue. He and Gimli do not get along well due to the longstanding animosity between dwarves and elves, but before the War of the Ring is over, they have become friends. After the breakup of the Fellowship, Legolas is warned by Galadriel that if he hears the cry of a gull, he will be drawn to the sea. True to Galadriel's prediction, he hears the cry of a gull and becomes overwhelmed with a desire to sail West. It is not until many years after the War of the Ring ends, however, that Legolas builds a ship and sails to Valinor.
  • Archer Archetype: He uses a bow almost exclusively — the only other weapon he ever carries is a knife. Like most Elves he's elegant and graceful with his chosen weapon. He also comes across as somewhat haughty.
  • Bash Brothers: with Gimli.
  • Body-Count Competition: Ur-Example, with Gimli.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: He has both a bow and a long knife for combat, although he prefers the bow.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the books, as opposed to the films. "Obviously, the hobbit grew wings and flew away to escape the orcs. All we need to do is grow wings ourselves!"
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: To start with, but subverted as he and Gimli become close friends.
  • The Empath: Sort of. Not for people, but for plants and animals and the land in general. He can hear the "thoughts" of stones and trees and grass. He can talk to horses and can understand how they feel from their neighs. And a few days in to the chase in Rohan when Aragorn comments that it is almost as though there is some power working against them in the land, Legolas tells him that there is in fact, and he noticed it the very moment they set foot on the plains.
  • Exposed to the Elements: The Fellowship has been crossing miles of wild terrain, as well as climbing a mountain, and instead of wearing boots like a normal person Legolas only has light shoes, and is just fine. And that snow storm that nearly killed everyone else? It "troubled him little".
  • Friend to All Living Things: Apparently elves in general are this, provided that animal itself is good. (Wood-elves, anyway. High Elves like Glorfindel apparently use saddles.)
    "A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was brought to Legolas. Arod was his name. But Legolas asked them to take off saddle and rein. 'I need them not,' he said, and he leaped lightly up, and to their wonder Arod was tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with but a spoken word: such was the elvish way with all good beasts."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Gimli.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Implied. When Galadriel is testing the fellowship, only Legolas and Aragorn could look her in the eye for long.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a Elven hooded cloak given by the Lady Galadriel. Though it's not said if he had his own cloak before this, like the others.
  • Knife Nut: When he runs out of arrows, e.g. at Amon Hen.
  • Nature Lover: When the Three Hunters come down from the rocky and barren Emyn Muil and step onto the plains of Rohan:
    "Legolas took a deep breath, like one that drinks a great draught after long thirst in barren places. 'Ah! the green smell!' he said. 'It is better than much sleep. Let us run!'"
  • Odd Friendship: With Gimli, which probably weirds out both their fathers and countrymen.
  • Oh, Crap!: He completely loses it when he sees the Balrog. Made all the more powerful by the fact that this is the only point of the series where he's afraid, and he is full on terrified.
    "Ai, Ai! A Balrog is come!"
  • Older Than They Look: Calls Aragorn and Gimli, both of particularly long-lived races, "children." His exact age is never given, but it's more than 500.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The aforementioned Oh, Crap!. Legolas even laughed off an angry, sentient mountain trying to bury them in an avalanche, but not this. (And for good reason: Balrogs are well-known Hero Killers. Even those who defeat them always end up mortally injured.)
  • Out of Focus: This tends to happen to him most among the Fellowship, especially during the first part of their journey. From the time they see crows in Hollin until the end of the storm on Caradhras he is not mentioned once. Partly justified as Legolas walked behind everyone else as the rearguard, so Frodo, the viewpoint character, would be much less likely to notice what he's doing.
  • Pretty Boy: "Legolas was fair of face beyond the measure of Men."
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something/Warrior Prince: He's the prince of Mirkwood.
  • Super Senses: This is common with elves. They have better sight and possibly hearing than mortals. Legolas can see much farther than anyone else in the fellowship. He can also hear the thoughts of trees and grass and stones... possibly. It might be figurative.
    "But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us, but they are gone. They are gone."
    • He can also walk on top of snow drifts leaving hardly an imprint in the snow, and walk on grass without bending the blades.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Gimli. The fact that Legolas's father kept Gimli's father captive in The Hobbit doesn't help.
  • Weapon of Choice: Bow and long knife.


The token dwarf. Gimli son of Glóin attends the council at Rivendell and is chosen as the representative for his race within the Fellowship. After that he primarily runs around as a Boisterous Bruiser, forming an Odd Friendship with Legolas. Legolas even took him with him across the sea to Eressëa near the end of his life, making Gimli the only Dwarf to dwell in that land.
  • Alliterative Family: Gimli son of Glóin son of Gróin.
  • An Axe to Grind: His weapon of choice is a battle-axe he inherited from his father.
  • Badass Beard: Like all dwarves, even the female ones.
  • Bash Brothers: with Legolas, once they get past the dwarf-elf rivalry.
  • Berserk Button: Insults to Lady Galadriel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Éomer is tripped up and ambushed in Helm's Deep, Gimli appears out of nowhere to chop up his attackers.
  • The Big Guy: Despite being a dwarf. He's a very strong fighter with great endurance and a powerful weapon.
  • Body-Count Competition: Ur-Example, with Legolas.
  • Deadpan Snarker : Has his moments.
    "Well, (the horses) are gone," said Aragorn at last. "We cannot find them or catch them; so that if they do not return of their own will, we must do without. We started on our feet and we have those still.
    "Feet!" said Gimli. "But we cannot eat them as well as walk on them." He there some fuel onto the fire and slumped down beside it.
    "Only a few hours ago you were unwilling to sit on a horse of Rohan," Legolas laughed."You will make a rider yet."
    "It seems unlikely I shall have the chance," said Gimli.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Gimli is the Trope Codifier. Dwarfs in older myths were not too different from The Fair Folk. Tolkien's dwarves in The Hobbit established that his 'dwarves' were prosaic folk, with a tendency toward Greed but a strong sense of personal loyalty and family honor: it also established their ancient hatred of goblins/orcs. Gimli's characterization expanded on the fixtures of the trope: the dwarves' Proud Warrior Race Guy code, their tendency to go armed and armored in all situations, their preference for axes, and a personality that's gruff and often Comically Serious.
  • Duel to the Death: When Éomer speaks ill of 'the Sorceress of the Golden Wood,' Gimli immediately challenges Eomer to such a duel. Events call for a postponement. The honorable Éomer’s the one who reminds Gimli of this appointment after they've triumphed, but Gimli decides to call it off.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Galadriel has this impact on him, despite her being a completely different species. He has strong words with anyone who repeats the usual rumors of how dangerous and witchlike the Lady of Lorien is.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Gets along much better with Éomer after they've fought alongside each other in Helm's Deep.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Initially, but subverted when he becomes friendly with Legolas and admires Galadriel's beauty.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Legolas, as they travel Middle Earth together after Aragorn becomes king. Gimli even accompanies Legolas to the Isles of the Blessed.
  • Hidden Depths: Though he often behaves in a fashion typical of dwarfs (that is to say, boisterous and standoffish), he frequently surprises others - especially elves - with his silver tongue and reverence for natural beauty. He does it often enough to qualify as a Running Gag, but the very best examples are with Éomer and Galadriel.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Gimli proudly declares that dwarves like him can out-endure the other races. After that day's trek, Boromir jests that they're all ready to drop except "our sturdy dwarf", who is nodding where he sits.
  • Implacable Man: Although it turns out that Gimli still has enough energy to battle the ambushing Uruk-Hai and follow Aragorn for four days in the hopes of rescuing or avenging Merry and Pippin.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears a traveler's hooded cloak just like the Dwarves in The Hobbit. Later, it's replaced by one of Elven make.
  • Jumped at the Call: He wanted to join the original Quest for Erebor from The Hobbit, but at "only" 62, was thought to be too young.
  • Lady and Knight: He essentially becomes Galadriel's knight, since she gives him a type of favour in the shape of three of her hairs, he's ready to defend her honour, and he nearly fights a duel with Éomer when he insults her.
  • Odd Friendship: With Legolas. Considering what went on between their fathers in The Hobbit, one wonders how Glóin's going to feel about this.
  • Oh, Crap!: Unlike his companions (except perhaps Gandalf), Gimli knows the history of Moria. He's appalled when he learns "Durin's Bane" is approaching.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Dwarves are very strong for their size.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Marginally: Gimli is a cousin of Dáin II, King of Durin's Folk and King Under the Mountain, but he's not the heir to that title.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Legolas.
  • Warrior Poet: Especially when he's describing the Glittering Caves beneath Helm's Deep, or the beauty of Galadriel. When the Fellowship leaves Lothlórien to continue its quest, he is heartbroken:
    "Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would have never come, had I known the danger of light and joy."
  • Weapon of Choice: Axe. Several of them.


The favorite son and heir of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor. Boromir is a mighty warrior of his people and their champion, more focused on feats of arms than his wiser and more bookish brother Faramir.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Rather, item - as Heir of the Steward, he carries the Horn of Gondor at all times. Becomes a Tragic Keepsake for his father after he dies.
  • Annoying Arrows: Subverted. It takes a hell of a lot, but they do eventually kill him.
  • Anti-Hero: The reason he tries to claim the One Ring is to bring glory to Gondor.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Loves his younger brother deeply, and tries to protect him from the harsh treatment of their father.
  • The Big Guy: He's tall and broad enough to serve as a human snowplow when trying to cross Caradhas. Stated as the physically strongest member of the Felloswhip.
  • Blue Blood: The Stewards have always been very powerful Blue Bloods in Gondor (which is why they managed to keep the title in the family at all, until it eventually became hereditary), without ever being "royalty".
  • Broken Ace: He was a proud, gallant warrior but the pressure put on him as the Steward's heir to protect his people and his despair of winning without using the power of the Ring eroded his common sense. This made him a perfect target for the One Ring.
  • The Chosen Wannabe: He wants to use the ring to save Gondor. The ring plays on these feelings until he finally assaults Frodo to take the ring.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong:
  • The Determinator: You could pretty much rename this trope 'The Boromir' and it would still be accurate.
  • Dying as Yourself: As soon as Frodo flees and takes the Ring with him, its effect on him wears off and he instantly repents his attempt to steal it. His Heroic Sacrifice trying to save Merry and Pippin is his atonement.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Slays dozens of orcs defending Merry and Pippin until he is riddled by arrows.
  • Fallen Hero: He was a valiant warrior trying to save his country, his people's champion, but he couldn't resist the temptation of the Ring.
  • Family Theme Naming: Boromir and Faramir.
  • Foil: To Faramir, who's less militaristic and more studious. Also, Faramir is able to resist temptation.
  • Glory Seeker: Unlike Faramir. Boromir loves Gondor and wants to save it for its own sake, but he also wants the renown of being its savior.
  • Go Out with a Smile: After Aragorn promises to take up the defense of Gondor in his stead, Boromir smiles and passes.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Several (dozen) generations removed. He and Faramir (as well as their maternal uncle, Prince Imrahil) actually are descended from elf maiden Mithrellas, the legendary handmaiden of Nimrodel who married a Prince of Dol Amroth. May explain why many characters think they appear noble and regal like the ancient Dúnadan kings.
  • In the Hood: Like most of the Fellowship, he wears an Elven hooded cloak given by the Lady Galadriel.
  • Killed Off for Real: He is only member of the Fellowship that doesn't have a fake death, nor does he come back to life. He's the only one that dies permanently.
  • The Lancer: He never tries to assert leadership, but he regularly suggests alternate courses of action - usually good, solid advice, but clearly centered on his own concern: saving Gondor.
  • Large and in Charge: Tall and broad-shouldered: he often led the forces of Gondor in battle, and was slated to replace his father as Steward eventually.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After realizing what was doing after trying to take the Ring from Frodo.
  • Manly Tears: As he lays dying, in remorse for attacking Frodo and then being unable to prevent Merry and Pippin's capture.
  • Meaningful Name: His name means "faithful jewel" from Sindarin "bôr" and Quenya "mírë".
  • Pride: One of his defining trait. and one which leads to his downfall.
  • The Proud Elite: The Steward's heir, tall, fit, good-looking, his people's champion: men used to say he was the best in Gondor, and he agreed.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: His brother had a lot of those, and Boromir at least one: it drove him to seek Rivendell and the counsel of Elrond.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: A Númenórean trait. Both he and his brother are said to be attractive.
  • Redemption Equals Death: See Dying as Yourself. He atoned for his attack on Frodo by sacrificing himself trying to safe the other Hobbits.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ruling Stewards' firstborns, rather.
  • Sanity Slippage: Happens gradually as his desire for the Ring slowly drives him mad until he finally snaps and attacks Frodo. He gets better though, for a short time.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Boromir is a warrior born, strong, proud, and a favorite of the Proud Warrior Race Guys of Rohan. This is in contrast to his equally brave, but more thoughtful and less prideful brother.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Tried to pulled off a Heroic Sacrifice to atone for trying to steal the One Ring, but it ended up being a Senseless Sacrifice to his despair, as he couldn't stop Merry and Pippin from being captured in the end. Pretty much everyone still gives him credit for trying, though.
  • Shout-Out: His great horn and some aspects of his character is a homage to the medieval French epic The Song of Roland, where the paladin Roland, nephew of Charlemagne, bears the horn Olifant. Like Boromir, Roland blows his horn to summon help when surrounded by enemies, but still dies. Roland's fatal flaw is also pride, as he refused to sound his horn earlier thinking that he could defeat his foes by his own power. Boromir is convinced of his and Gondor's ability to defeat Sauron on their own if the Ring was allowed to be used.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: He's the opposite of his brother Faramir, though that doesn't spoil their close friendship.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Both he and his brother.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: The Hunter in the Steward family (Denethor and his sons). He used to dream of being King despite it not being an option. Now he is trying to find his place in the world and is ready to take risks to further his goals.
  • Tragic Hero: He is desperate to save his homeland, but cannot see how it can be done. The One Ring seems to present a way to do it.
  • Warrior Prince: Unlike his brother he's particularly enamoured of the warrior ethos and the "glory" of warfare, as he sees it. The Rohirrim, who knew him well, thought he was more like themselves than a man of Gondor.
  • Weapon of Choice: Sword and shield.



King of Rohan, uncle of Éowyn and Éomer. Théoden is betrayed by his servant Gríma who enfeebled and confused him. While Gandalf helped him come to his senses, the damage has already been done: his armies are in disarray, bands of wild men have ransacked the countryside and his only son and heir is dead. Théoden faces the challenge of standing amongst legends in the midst of his failure trying to find his own strength again which he eventually does in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.
  • Alliterative Family: Théoden son of Thengel, father of Théodred and brother of Théodwyn.
  • Badass Beard: Long and snow-white.
  • Badass Grandpa: He fights at Helm's Deep and Pelennor at the age of 71, and makes a good accounting of himself. Tolkien said he was supposed to be the embodiment of the Nordic theory of courage — he fights on even though he knows he's doomed.
  • Battle Cry: "Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just after the door of Minas Tirith was broken and with the Witch-King seemingly about to be victorious, he arrives with his Rohirrim army and gives hope back to the good guys.
  • Expy: Has many similarities to Beowulf, being an old but still strong warrior and much-beloved king who dies in his final battle and is buried with honour. Note that Tolkien was a well-known scholar of Old English and based the Rohirrim on the Anglo-Saxons.
  • Foil: To Denethor. Both began as good rulers, but where Denethor succumbed to grief, madness and suicide, Théoden 'woke' from his madness, set aside his sorrow, and made a Heroic Sacrifice to save his land.
  • He's Back: After Gandalf awakened him. Each successive soldier who sees him standing upright and strong again immediately kneels and says "Command me, lord!" in shock and joy.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: He was trapped in a perpetual one until members of the Fellowship arrived.
  • Humble Hero: He considers his position a grave responsibility and a burden, and is haunted by his failures. In speaking with Saruman he refers to himself as 'a lesser son of greater sires'; even after the heroic deeds he performs on his dying day, he mentions that he 'need not now be ashamed' to join the Kings of Rohan who died before him.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Merry.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Théoden, son of Thengel.
  • The Last of His Kind: He's of the second male line of the Kings of Rohan. With the death of his only son at the Battle of the Fords of Isen and later his own death at Pelennor Fields, the second line died out.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: According to Gandalf, Théoden was the only person in the Kingdom of Rohan who referred to Wormtongue as Gríma.
  • Meaningful Name: "People-king" in Anglo-Saxon, and presumably his real (untranslated) name meant something similar.
  • More Than Mind Control: Théoden isn't under a magical enchantment as in the films, but he's being manipulated and possibly poisoned by a minion of Saruman to make him weak and ineffective.
  • Named Weapons: His sword is called Herugrim.
  • Parental Substitute: To Éowyn and Éomer. And oddly enough to Merry, apparently, even though Merry's father Saradoc is alive and well. At least Merry claims Théoden was as a father to him.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: As all Rohirrim are.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After Gandalf nullifies Wormtongue's misdirections.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He seems to think so. He's very hard on himself about his failures until he finds the courage to come to Gondor's aid. As he's dying, he smiles knowing that he's earned his place in the halls of his fathers.
  • Rousing Speech: To the Rohirrim before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He adamantly refuses to stay behind or go to hide in safety when the rest of his people ride to the Battle of Helm's Deep, despite being 71 years old.


Théoden's nephew, and leader of a substantial cavalry unit, Éomer does not approve of the advice Grí­ma has been offering, and the orders Théoden has issued on the basis of it. He is on an unauthorised mission when the three hunters first meets him, and in prison on charges of mutiny and assault when they reach Edoras. As Théoden's nearest male blood relative, the role of heir-apparent devolves onto him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Éowyn, his sister.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: At the very end, he says he'll duel over the Lady Arwen's beauty. Gimli calls it off, saying that Arwen is the evening to Galadriel's morning so they're basically even.
  • Family Theme Naming: Éomer son of Éomund and brother of Éowyn.
  • Hot-Blooded: In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, his fury nearly cost him and his men their life, as his reckless charge lead to them being surrounded on all front by enemies.
  • The Juggernaut: One of the other two in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields who was unstoppable.
  • Large and in Charge: Described as being the tallest of the Rohirrim under his command.
  • Last Stand: He is ready to make one when he is caught in a seemingly hopeless situation during the Battle, right before Aragorn comes to save the day.
    He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark.
  • Like a Son to Me: Although Théoden calls him "sister-son" at first, he decides to call Éomer just "son" after a while, since Théodred has died and Éomer is now his direct heir, on top of Théoden having raised him since the death of his sister and brother-in-law.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His reaction to seeing his sister apparently dead was to charge headlong at the enemy, resulting in the above mentioned Last Stand.
  • Meaningful Name: "Horse-famous" in Anglo-saxon. Presumably his real (untranslated) name had the same meaning.
  • Named Weapons: Gúthwinë
  • Not So Stoic: When he finds Théoden dead, and believes Éowyn to be dead as well.
  • Parental Abandonment: Orphaned at a young age, raised by his uncle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: like most of the Rohirrim.
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": He was having a lot of fun on the Pelennor fields, singing and laughing.
    For once more lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He listens to what Aragorn has to say when he catches him with Legolas and Gimli in Rohan, and helps them by giving them mounts.
  • Rousing Speech: He gives one of these twice in a row to the Rohirrim: right after finding the bodies of his uncle and sister on the battlefield, and again when he realizes they're surrounded and probably going to die.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something/Warrior Prince: He's the nephew of Théoden, and grandson of the previous king Thengel.
  • The Stoic: When he's not in battle.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he sees his sister's body on the battlefield.
  • Warrior Poet: He improvises some rather dark verses when he sees the carnage of the Pelennor Fields.
    Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
    I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
    To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
    Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
  • You Are in Command Now: He becomes King of the Mark when Théoden falls at Pelennor.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: His words: "the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived."


Éomer's sister, and much beloved of Théoden... as well as Gríma. Éowyn yearns to fight for her country and win honor like her brother and uncle, and falls in love with Aragorn. When both desires are rejected and the victory of Mordor seems inevitable, she becomes a Death Seeker, hoping to fall valiantly in battle before Sauron conquers everything.
  • Action Girl: Women have to stay behind while the men go to war? Screw that!
  • All Love Is Unrequited: To Aragorn.
  • Badass Normal: Compared with all the elves, dwarves, wizards or other super-powered men of exalted lineage in this book, Éowyn was just a normal woman. It didn't keep her from taking down the Witch-King with the help of Merry, an even more "normal" badass.
  • Berserker Tears: There were tears on her cheek when she was facing the Witch-King of Angmar.
  • Beta Couple and Birds of a Feather: With Faramir.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Her and Merry saved the Day in a big Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Broken Bird: She has been forced to nurse an ailing uncle and endure the sexual harassment of his Evil Chancellor for years. Not to mention her Parental Abandonment issues, her cousin dying in battle, her beloved older brother being imprisoned, and of course a war coming that may destroy them all...
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: She literally broke her arm in the struggle against the Witch-King, but it was her other arm that was the problem—mere contact with him through the sword nearly killed her.
  • Call to Agriculture: After Sauron is defeated, Éowyn no longer desires to be a slayer and even possibly a queen, instead resolving to be a healer who loves "all things that grow". Faramir proposes that they start a garden somewhere.
  • Death Glare: At the Lord of the Nazgûl. He was not amused.
  • Death Seeker: Already a Glory Seeker, she becomes this as well after Aragorn chides her for Loving a Shadow. Her expression is described as "the face of one who goes seeking death, having no hope."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She was cold before, but in the Houses of Healing she slowly warms up to Faramir, eventually falling in love with him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Goes up against the Witch-King of Angmar and, with Merry's help, defeats him.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: She says this to Faramir with the line, "I desire no man's pity." (Faramir responds with a rare defense of pity: "Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart.")
  • Emotionless Girl: She seemed very cold and dispassionate to the other characters before she went to battle, and she stays cool and collected even while facing the Witch-King.
  • Family Theme Naming: "Éowyn" is a mix of her parents's names Éomund and Théodwyn, and her brother is Éomer.
  • Glory Seeker: Since she's from a Proud Warrior Race, she frets at missing out on all the great deeds in battle because she's a woman. Amplified by becoming a Death Seeker, since death in battle is most glorious for the Rohirrim. Even after she's injured killing the Witch-king, she doesn't like being stuck with the medics while the army of Rohan confronts Sauron.
  • The Good Chancellor: Théoden left her in charge of the kingdom in his absence, possibly leaving her the throne if he and Éomer didn't return. However subverted as she followed him to war in disguise.
  • Go Through Me: She stood before the Lord of the Nazgûl to protect her uncle.
    A cold voice answered: ‘Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’
    A sword rang as it was drawn. ‘Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.’
  • Lady of War: She manages to keep an air of grace and beauty usually associated with Proper Ladies while still being a very capable warrior.
    Still she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel-blade, fair yet terrible.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Théoden initially refers to her as "sister-daughter" but eventually drops that and simply calls her daughter.
  • Loving a Shadow: This is how Aragorn describes her attachment to him to her brother, comparing it to a soldier's love for a valiant captain. He proves it via calling out to her borderline comatose self as he heals her with athelas, and then telling Éomer to do the same when she doesn't reply. Éomer easily succeeds where Aragorn fails, and Aragorn takes it as a proof.
  • Mama Bear: Inverted. When Théoden is attacked and defeated by the Witch-King, she steps between them and says that she'll kill the Nazgûl if he gets close to her uncle, and demonstrates the credibility of her threat by effortlessly decapitating his mount when he mocks her.
    "Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I shall smite you, if you touch him."
  • Meaningful Name: "Horse-joy" in Anglo-Saxon. Presumably her "real" (untranslated) name meant something similar.
  • My Girl Back Home: She was this for her father, brother and uncle until she decided to go with them instead.
  • Nerves of Steel: The Nazgûl's main ability is the power to inspire fear in the heart of the bravest of men: their cry and shadow can reduce experienced soldiers to a broken crying mess, trained warriors flee before them. The Witch-King is the worst of them. But when he threatens Éowyn, standing alone before him, to an eternity of torture in the houses of lamentation beyond all darkness, she doesn't even flinch. And then she laughs at his face.
  • No Man of Woman Born: Aside from Macbeth, probably the most famous example of this trope. The Witch-King is quite smug, quoting that prophecy in 'Dernhelm's' face...
  • Not So Stoic: She breaks for a moment when she falls on her knees and begs Aragorn to take her with him on the Path of Death, in desperation. She also has a little moment of weakness when she is asking Faramir to order the healers to let her go.
  • Parental Abandonment: Orphaned at a young age, raised by her uncle.
  • Pair the Spares: With Faramir. Accomplished uncommonly well.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter, and you stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him."
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: This King's niece fights for her country and takes down the leader of the Ringwraiths himself.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Rohirrim are a proud, fierce and war-loving people, who value courage, loyalty and truthfulness above all and hold warriors in the greatest of honor. Éowyn shares this worldview (at least at first), which is why it is even more unbearable for her to just sit and wait as others do all the fighting.
  • Rebellious Princess: Although she doesn't carry the title of "princess", her uncle the King raised her as his daughter and she is his second in line of descent after his son's death. When he leaves for war, she chooses to disobey him and follow him into battle.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is of the Royal House of Rohan and she will not be left behind.
  • Samus Is a Girl: She took up the alias of "Dernhelm" to go to war. However, it may be that the soldiers around her knew but looked the other way.
  • Second Love: She ends up with Faramir after having had a short soldier crush on Aragorn.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She falls in love with Faramir for his more admirable qualities after having pursued Aragorn for the wrong reasons.
  • Spirited Young Lady: We see this side of her when she is teasing Faramir on the walls of Minas Tirith in particular.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell and made the Witch-King, Captain of Despair, spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, doubt himself.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: For years she is relegated to tending Théoden and being stalked by Wormtongue while the men ride off to war. When Théoden himself finally rides off to war she wants to go too, but she's left in charge in his absence. Later she wants to follow Aragorn, but is rejected. She goes in disguise to the Battle of Pelennor Fields anyway where she kills the Witch-king. When Éomer wonders why she did such a thing, Gandalf and Aragorn point out that at least he could relieve his stress and despair by going out to kill Orcs while she had no such option.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Aragorn, Legolas and Merry describe her as cold and stern when we see her in Rohan, but she shows a much warmer and affectionate side to Faramir in the Houses of Healing, even before he declares his love for her.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Dresses up as "Dernhelm" so she can sneak into the army.
  • Threat Backfire: No living man may hinder the leader of the Ringwraiths... but Éowyn is a woman.
  • Tranquil Fury: Before the Lord of the Nazgûl. Calm and deadly.

    Grí­ma Wormtongue 

A man of Rohan who was seduced by Saruman's promises of power, Wormtongue was King Théoden's adviser. He used clever words and "leechcraft" to wear down the aging king's mind, weakening the kingdom and allowing Saruman's armies to run rampant.
  • Dirty Coward: Despite repeated offers of forgiveness from the good guys, he is too spineless to leave Saruman — especially when proving his loyalty to Rohan requires saddling up and joining the army at Helm's Deep.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Killing Saruman once he has had enough of his mistreatment.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Théoden, as an agent of Saruman.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Frodo offers him a very-undeserved chance to turn his life around, and he seems to want to accept it; then, Saruman reveals what Grí­ma did to Lotho Sackville-Baggins, and everything just goes to hell.
  • Humiliation Conga: The way Saruman treats him, especially after the fall of Isengard.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Though how much of that was Saruman's ideas isn't clear.
  • Meaningful Name: "Grí­ma" is an Old English word meaning both mask and spectre/goblin/nightmare.
  • The Mole: In Rohan, the spy and agent of Saruman.
  • Obviously Evil: Everyone in Rohan is blond, tall, and broad. Grí­ma is described as dark-haired and generally... slimy-looking.
  • Oh, Crap!: Realizing that his men failed to confiscate Gandalf's staff. In The Unfinished Tales, Tolkien's notes reveal he had a run in with the Nazgûl while he was on his way to see Saruman - whom they had just been interrogating on the whereabouts of the Shire - and was so terrified that he revealed Saruman had lied to them.
  • The Quisling: He turned traitor on Rohan after Saruman promised him money and/or power.
  • Smug Snake: He loses control as soon as Gandalf enters the scene and flies back to hide behind his master.
  • Stalker With a Crush: To Éowyn.
  • Sycophantic Servant: To Saruman, especially towards the end.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Saruman planted him in Rohan solely to weaken the king so the country could be easily conquered.

Men of Gondor

See also Boromir above.


Boromir's younger brother, but the two are quite different; while Boromir is constantly tempted by the Ring and succumbs to it, Faramir rejects it on principle without even seeing it. (This was changed for dramatic reasons in the films.) He becomes even more central in the third novel, as the action moves to his homeland of Gondor.
  • Always Second Best: Men have deemed him second to his brother Boromir all his life, being more gentle and scholarly, less flamboyant than his brother in times of war when warriors were honored above all (even his father loved Boromir most). And after the War, he became second best to King Elessar. Note that he never grew bitter about his eternal second place (quite the opposite really).
  • Author Avatar: Tolkien has stated that Faramir is the character the closest to his personality except in courage. This was shaped by Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
  • Badass Bookworm: Far more scholarly than his brother Boromir, and far more interested in the history and lore of Gondor, but a very capable soldier and commander as well.
    And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.
  • Beta Couple: With Éowyn.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Faramir is one of the sweetest, gentlest characters in the setting, but see the entry for Badass Bookworm above.
  • Blue Blood: The Stewards have always been very powerful Blue Bloods in Gondor (which is why they managed to keep the title in the family at all, until it eventually became hereditary), without ever being "royalty".
  • The Captain: Of the Rangers of Ithilien, played straight.
  • Call to Agriculture: Sounds like he's having such a call when he and Éowyn confess to each other. At that point, his demotion from "Ruling" Steward was imminent. But later the newly-crowned king Aragorn makes him Prince of the province of Ithilien.
  • The Creon: Unlike his brother Boromir, Faramir seems to have no intentions of grabbing any power - rejecting an overwhelming opportunity and motive to become the Ruling Steward of Gondor or even the King.
  • Cultured Warrior: Offers a history lesson to the Hobbits after having taken them prisoners in the aftermath of a bloody battle with the Haradrim.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: He often dreams of the Downfall of Númenor, the isle that sank under the sea three thousand years ago. It is based on Tolkien's own of a land being drowned beneath a rushing wave.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Unfavorite son who lost his beloved older brother, fighting a doomed war against the Dark Lord, and nearly becoming the victim in a murder-suicide by his own dad. Gets better, gets a princedom, gets true love.
  • Family Theme Naming: Faramir and Boromir.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Several (dozen) generations removed. He and Boromir (as well as their maternal uncle, Prince Imrahil) actually are descended from elf maiden Mithrellas, the legendary Nimrodel's handmaiden who married a Prince of Dol Amroth. May explain why many characters think they appear noble and regal like the ancient Dúnadan kings.
    • Word of God also has it that the Steward family is somehow descended from Anárion (Elendil's second son and Isildur's brother) - probably through a daughter since they have no claim to the throne. That would make them far far away descendants of Elros Half-Elven and ultimately Lúthien, like Aragorn.
  • A Father to His Men: His men are extremely loyal to him because they know he cares for them and puts their welfare ahead of his own and will not waste their lives seeking for glory. Heck, he even inspires great loyalty in soldiers who aren't under his command.
  • Foil: To his brother Boromir. They have very different ideologies in the book and make very different choices, most notably with the Ring. Although the brothers loved each other dearly, Faramir knew Boromir well enough to guess that the Ring found him easy prey.
    "[Boromir] was a man after the sort of King Eärnur of old, taking no wife and delighting chiefly in arms; fearless and strong, but caring little for lore, save the tales of old battles. Faramir the younger was like him in looks but otherwise in mind. He read the hearts of men as shrewdly as his father, but what he read moved him sooner to pity than to scorn. He was gentle in bearing, and a lover of lore and of music, and therefore by many in those days his courage was judged less than his brother’s. But it was not so, except that he did not seek glory in danger without a purpose."
    • Also to his father, Denethor. Both are noble and powerful pure-blooded Númenóreans with the abilities to read the hearts of other men and to command over them, who share a love for ancient lore and other scholarly pursuits over feats of arm. Yet all these similarities only highlight their differences: the son is warm, gentle and understanding where the father is cold, harsh and scornful. Although both are very insightful into others' characters, Faramir pities and loves others, while Denethor looks down on them. Faramir chooses to keep on fighting despite having lost all hope, Denethor succumbs to despair. Faramir demonstrates humility and open-mindedness, Denethor displays arrogance and stubbornness, etc...
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Highly intelligent and scholarly, he is also a gracious host and very pleasant individual, able to have a good and friendly conversation with various people from very different cultures and background (Frodo, Sam, Éowyn, Merry, etc...).
  • The Good Chancellor: He comes from a whole line of those: despite being actually better rulers than their royal predecessors, none of the Ruling Steward ever tried to take the throne for themselves, and instead they did everything they could to preserve the realm against the growing threat in Mordor in the Name of the King. Faramir went on to be Aragorn's loyal Steward, his First Adviser and Head of the Council of Gondor.
  • I Gave My Word: In The Two Towers, he rejects the temptation of the Ring in part because of this: "Not if I found it on the highway would I take it, I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take these words as a vow, and be held by them."
  • Martial Pacifist: Violence is a last resort for him, which is why he spares even Gollum and treats him as well as he can while he is his prisoner. His men are also forbidden to harm animals.
  • Meaningful Name: "Faramir" is Quenya for "jewel of the seashore", from "fára" (seashore) and "mírë" (jewel) - his mother was fond of the sea. Mardil Voronwë, the last Steward to a King and first Ruling Steward, was also the last of the stewards to have a Quenya name until Faramir, the last Ruling Steward and first Steward to a King since Mardil.
  • The Men First: The first time we saw him in The Return of the King, he was ready to face five Nazgûl riding their fell beasts, alone on horseback, to protect three of his men who had fallen to the ground. Later, while holding the outer defenses against the armies of Mordor, he wouldn't leave his men behind and return to the safety of Minas Tirith, arranging instead for Gandalf himself to escort the wounded back. In the end, as captain, he was the last one to enter the city (or be carried in as it happens).
  • Missing Mom: His mother Finduilas died five years after his birth.
  • Nice Guy: He treats Frodo and Sam very well, in the circumstances, and is kind to Éowyn in the Houses of Healing.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Extremely honorable (to the point he wouldn't lie even to an orc) and impeccably courteous (even toward his war prisoners).
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Has these sometimes. His repeated dream about seeking the Sword That was Broken was what impelled Boromir to seek out Rivendell. His repeated dreams of the Downfall of Númenor was based on Tolkien's own dreams of a land being drowned beneath a rushing wave.
  • Psychic Powers: Like his father, he is repeatedly said to be able to "read the heart of men", and demonstrates this ability when he sees in Gollum's mind (which apparently has a lot of "locked doors and closed windows, and dark rooms behind them").
  • Rage Breaking Point: He breaks for a second after his father admits to him he wishes Boromir - his most loyal son - had lived in his stead, resulting in Tranquil Fury: "For a moment Faramir’s restraint gave way. ‘I would ask you, my father, to remember why it was that I, not he, was in Ithilien. On one occasion at least your counsel has prevailed, not long ago. It was the Lord of the City that gave the errand to him.’" Precise and chillingly polite, yet adorned with that ironic my father to maximize impact. He goes straight for the jugular, blaming his father for his brother's death (and in the end it was one of those things that made Denethor snap - guilt over his sons' deaths).
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: A Númenórean trait. Both he and his brother are said to be attractive.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He provides assistance to Frodo and Sam once he learns of their quest (after making them sweat a bit) and shows mercy to Gollum when Frodo vouches for him (though Gollum doesn't realize it).
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Faramir is the sensitive one in this pair. And being the sensitive one of the pair he is shown leading a commando team well behind enemy lines, holding troops together with nothing but charisma while the Nazgûl are hovering above him, and defeating a great warrior in single combat. From all of which you will infer, he is part of a Badass Family.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Boromir; see Foil.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He and his brother are described this way.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: He is the Prophet in the Denethor-Boromir-Faramir trio, the wise one despite being also the youngest.
  • The Unfavorite: Note that his brother Boromir (who was the favorite) deeply loves him and Faramir, far from being jealous, feels exactly the same. As the books themselves describe:
    'Between the brothers there was great love, and had been since childhood, when Boromir was the helper and protector of Faramir. No jealousy or rivalry had arisen between them since, for their father's favour or for the praise of men. It did not seem possible to Faramir that anyone in Gondor could rival Boromir, heir of Denethor, Captain of the White Tower.'
  • Warrior Poet: Despite being a more than competent warrior, Faramir is first a scholar and devotes a lot of time to philosophy, lore and music.
    "War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom."
  • Warrior Prince: Though not technically royalty, he's the son of the Ruling Steward and de facto king of Gondor. He becomes a real Prince after the war when King Elessar offers him Ithilien as a principality.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Even to ensnare an orc. He does use half-truths and omissions however (against both Frodo and his father).
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Subverted in that, while Denethor makes it clear he is a disappointment to him, Faramir doesn't compromise himself in trying to get his father's approval. Which actually is one of Denethor's major complaints about him.
    "Your bearing is lowly in my presence, yet it is long now since you turned from your own way at my counsel."
  • The Wise Prince: Practically his defining trait.


Denethor is the Steward of Gondor, ruling the nation from Minas Tirith in the absence of the King. He is used to being in charge, and does not like the idea of having to give up power to the (possibly) rightful claimant to the throne. Denethor denies Aragorn's kingship on the basis that he is not Anárion's heir, whom the council of Gondorian nobles has always held the be only proper holder of the title 'King of Gondor.' Aragorn does descend from Anárion through Fíriel, daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor, but he is not a direct male-line descendant.
  • Always Second Best: Despite being very competent himself, in his youth Denethor was always placed second to captain Thorongil not only in the hearts of men but also in his father's love and esteem. He grew really bitter about this and rather insecure. By the time of the War of the Ring, he couldn't bear the thought of being second best to Gandalf in his son's heart and respect (whether this was true or not), nor second to Aragorn in honor and glory, which ended rather tragically for him.
  • Armchair Military: He is the supreme commander of Gondor's troops but never steps on the battlefield himself.
    Denethor laughed bitterly. ‘Nay, not yet, Master Peregrin! [Sauron] will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending even my sons? For I can still wield a brand.’
  • Blue Blood: The Stewards have always been very powerful Blue Bloods in Gondor (which is why they managed to keep the title in the family at all, until it eventually became hereditary), without ever being "royalty".
  • Break the Haughty: He loses his wife, both his sons, his city and people, and ends up lighting his own pyre in madness and despair.
  • Burn Baby Burn: How he meets his end.
  • The Caligula: Gradually devolves into this. Although he starts out as tough but reasonable — lighting the beacons, sharing in the rationing — his slide into despair erodes his sanity, and he starts becoming more paranoid and unreasonable.
  • The Chessmaster: He thinks of the war as a duel between him, Gandalf and Sauron, and the participants as his pawns or theirs. He has been setting up his pieces into place for years, waiting for Sauron to finally strike. According to Unfinished Tales, he did a rather good job.
    Thus Sauron tested the strength and preparedness of Denethor, and found them more than he had hoped.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Faramir's apparent death and an extremely large invasion force at his doorstep, along with visions in the palantír which caused him to believe that Sauron had captured Frodo and thus obtained the ring:
    "[Gandalf's] hope has failed. The Enemy has found it [the Ring], and now his power waxes; he sees our very thoughts, and all we do is ruinous."
  • Determinator: It's often overlooked, but he used the palantir for years to contest his will against Sauron's, but was not overpowered the way Saruman was (despite Sarumon being a Maia, a being on the same order as Sauron). The reason Sauron shifted from attempting to dominate Denethor directly to pushing him over the Despair Event Horizon was because Denethor's will was too strong. It is also stated that Denethor was protected from corruption by the fact that he, as Steward ruling in the king's stead, possessed the legitimacy to use the palantir, something that Saruman lacked.
  • Driven to Suicide: And he very nearly takes Faramir with him.
  • The Eeyore: The man lives on Sauron's doorstep... and his main information source is being manipulated by Sauron. Is it any wonder he's a pessimist?
  • Fallen Hero: The tragedy of his fall lies in how great he could have been, had he been a little less proud and a little less desperate.
  • Family Theme Naming: Most of the names in the family tree of the Stewards of Gondor belonged to First Age heroes (Húrin, Túrin, Echtelion...). Denethor was named after the leader of the Laiquendi (the Green-elves) in Ossiriand during the Years of the Trees, and he married Finduilas of Dol Amroth, who was named after the daughter of King Orodreth of Nargothrond (another first-age elf).
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride and Despair.
  • Foil:
    • To Théoden. While Théoden managed to pull himself out of his despair and find the courage to save the day, Denethor went mad from grief after having seemingly lost both his sons and Gondor. He's also a whole lot more haughty and unforgiving (and from a much greater lineage) than the noble but kindly Théoden.
    • To Gandalf. They represent two different ideologies and two different images of "stewardship". In particular, Denethor is The Chessmaster moving his pawns and watching over the board from his tower, while Gandalf is The Strategist fighting on the field and personally overseeing the realization of his plans. Both are terrible and powerful old men with a short temper (Pippin even thinks Denethor looks more like a wizard than Gandalf).
    • To Faramir. Both are nearly pure-blooded Númenóreans, windows on ancient Númenor, but Denethor represents its fallen glory, the pride and envy that led to its downfall, whereas Faramir stands for its greatness and wisdom. While Denethor ends his life in fire and despair, Faramir embraces hope, love and life, and dies at the advanced age of 120 years old.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He is willing to sacrifice anything for Gondor, although this depends on how "good" you consider him to be.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: vs. Sauron, via the palantír. Sauron looked back.
  • Insufferable Genius: He is after all a great lore-master and a competent ruler, though not a very charming or nice one.
  • Jerkass: To a degree, but he's given enough positive traits to balance him out to Good Is Not Nice, such as knighting Pippin and being overall a strong-willed and forceful leader.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Very deep down, but he does love both his sons.
  • Just the First Citizen: Although he has nearly as much authority as a king, and he begrudges the little authority he doesn't have...
  • Living Lie Detector: Gandalf mentions it is difficult to deceive him, as he can perceive much of what is in the mind of men, and dangerous to try. His son Faramir seems to have inherited this ability, as he is able to immediately detect when Gollum lies to him.
  • Murder-Suicide: Burns himself alive and very nearly takes a comatose Faramir with him.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: In one of his letters J. R. R. Tolkien points out that Denethor thought of Sauron primarily as a threat to Gondor rather than as evil, and if he had won by force of arms he would have tried to become an imperialistic conqueror over Sauron's former empire. And in Unfinished Tales it is said that Denethor loved Gondor too much to be pushed into treachery in the manner of Saruman; he could only be pushed over the Despair Event Horizon by becoming convinced that Gondor was doomed. This is precisely what Sauron does.
  • Prophecy Twist: The Ships of Umbar. The palantír didn't tell him that Aragorn had captured the ships, driven off the Corsairs, and loaded them with thousands of soldiers from coastal Gondor.
  • The Proud Elite: A man of high lineage and status, tall, intelligent and competent. He also comes off as arrogant, cold and disdainful.
  • Psychic Powers: He is repeatedly said to be able to read the mind of men to some extent, and indeed he does seem to understand much more in conversation than what other characters willingly reveal.
  • Regent for Life: He knows Aragorn is coming to reclaim the throne, but refuses to cede authority as long as he lives. Which isn't long.
  • Releasing from the Promise: He does this to Pippin just before his sanity goes. Pippin refuses to accept it.
  • The Resenter: He's been resenting Aragorn ever since they were rivals in his father's court and Ecthelion openly favored the stranger over his own son.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's been happening gradually for a while now, but he only breaks after the seemingly fatal wound of his second son.
  • Self-Immolation: He lights his own funeral pyre.
  • Sour Supporter: He agrees with Gandalf that they need to cooperate, but still makes it clear he isn't happy at all with his plan and thinks it's doomed to fail.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: The Lord in the Denethor-Boromir-Faramir trio. He struggles to maintain his position when it is threatened (by Sauron or by Aragorn), to find a balance between risking too much and not enough.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Seen as a symbol of his stubbornness and pride, but also redeeming values thereof.
    [Denethor] stood up and cast open his long black cloak, and behold! he was clad in mail beneath, and girt with a long sword, great-hilted in a sheath of black and silver. ‘Thus have I walked, and thus now for many years have I slept,’ he said, ‘lest with age the body should grow soft and timid.’


Denethor's brother-in-law and the Prince of Dol Amroth, a fiefdom of Gondor. Imrahil is a noble man with a bit of elven blood who leads the knights of his city to the defense of Minas Tirith. He becomes the acting ruler of Gondor after Denethor's suicide but promptly recognizes Aragorn to be his king. After the War of the Ring, Éomer marries his daughter Lothíriel.
  • Blue Blood: The Princes of Dol Amroth are a very important family in Gondor, and the rulers of their own fiefdom in Belfalas.
  • Combat Medic: While nowhere near as good a healer as Aragorn, Imrahil was the one who removed the arrow that felled Faramir. (He also cleaned the wound.) Notably, he was also the one who discovered that Éowyn was Not Quite Dead.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Many generations removed. One of his distant ancestors married Mithrellas, an elf-woman. Legolas bows to him on sight.
  • Humble Hero: Unlike Denethor, he immediately recognizes Aragorn as the Heir of Isildur and the legitimate ruler of Gondor.
  • The Juggernaut: Along with Aragorn and Éomer, he emerges from the Battle of the Pelennor Fields without a scratch despite being in the thick of the fighting. Later, when the army of the West is surrounded at the Black Gate, Imrahil and his men are stationed facing Mordor and the heaviest part of the assault.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Played straight.
  • The Remnant: Imrahil and his people are actually a unique case among the fiefdoms that make up Gondor. Dol Amroth is one of precisely two still-extant mainland kingdoms of Númenórean origin that pre-date the Fall of Númenor and the founding of Arnor and Gondor (the other being Umbar). When Gondor was established, Dol Amroth willingly became part of the larger kingdom. As such, the Princes of Dol Amroth are afforded a special degree of respect among Gondorian nobililty.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: During the Last Debate with Gandalf and company, he raises some very important questions regarding the defense of Minas Tirith.
  • Reluctant Ruler: While not strictly reluctant to rule, he’s quick to recognize Aragorn as his king and shows no hesitation about returning the Stewardship of Gondor to Faramir.
  • Supporting Leader: To Aragorn, although Imrahil appears relatively little: even while officially remaining interim Steward of Gondor, he insists that Aragorn’s his king (despite the latter’s deliberate refusal to claim the title until after Sauron’s defeat) and takes his suggestion of marching on Mordor as a direct order.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Despite supporting Gandalf’s Batman Gambit, Imrahil questions whether Sauron will really fall for it.
  • The Wise Prince: Plays this trope completely straight. He even offers to personally escort Legolas and Gimli to the Houses of Healing to visit Merry, although Legolas politely declines and sends him to participate in the Last Debate instead.
  • You Are in Command Now: Gandalf places him in command “in the Lord’s [Denethor’s] absence,” and once he learns that said absence is in fact suicide due to Sanity Slippage (and that Faramir is also in no shape to rule), he assumes the role of interim Steward of Gondor.

A common man of Gondor who serves as a soldier in Minas Tirith. Beregond is appointed Pippin's guide to the city and quickly becomes close friends with the hobbit, as does his son Bergil.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: During the siege of Minas Tirith, he deserted his post and killed the porter with the keys to the Silent Street, as well as two members of the Guard. However, he only did this to protect Faramir from a premature funeral pyre, and only slew the others because they would not listen to him and attempted to kill him first. After the crowning of King Elessar, Beregond is brought before the new King. King Elessar spares him from execution because of the circumstances, but discharges Beregond from the Guard and orders him out of Minas Tirith... so that he may be reassigned to Faramir's newly formed personal Guard in Ithilien as its captain.
  • The Everyman: Beregond represents the average citizen of Gondor.
  • Odd Friendship: Strikes one up with Pippin.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: As a result of the "Lifesaving" above.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Stay at his post knowing what's going on, or ditch it (and risk the death penalty) to go save Faramir from a premature cremation? Not that it's much of a question in the moment, it just comes back later.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Faramir. Even though Beregond isn't under his actual command, he still admires him greatly and considers him to be the best Minas Tirith has to offer.
  • You Shall Not Pass: He leaves his post in order to pull one of these to stop Denethor from succeeding in lighting Faramir's pyre.


See also Legolas above.


The Half-Elven, Master of Rivendell, father of Arwen, and bearer of one of the three elven Rings, Vilya the Ring of Air, given to him by Gil-galad before the latter's death at the end of the Second Age. He was a great warrior during the Second Age, and is a great healer and scholar as well as a cunning strategist; however, he also acts as opposition to Aragorn from a much less lofty post: that of Overprotective Dad.
  • Alliterative Family: Elrond's brother is Elros and his sons are Elladan and Elrohir.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Fellowship defeated Sauron, restored the kingdom of Gondor and Arnor, and saved Middle-Earth. But Elrond had to part with his daughter Arwen forever, even beyond the end of the world. His sons may have become mortal as well, which would leave him with no surviving children.
    • It's said in the Appendices that for Elrond, "all chances of the War of the Ring were fraught with sorrow." Either Sauron prevailed, or Aragorn became king and he lost Arwen.
    • Read his backstory in The Silmarillion and the Appendix to The Lord of the Rings. Elrond was separated from his parents, his brother chose to be a Man, and his wife was so thoroughly traumatized by being tortured by Orcs she had to leave for Valinor. Even his foster-father Maglor, whom he seems to have been happy with despite the way they met, eventually vanished when Elrond was a young adult. Elrond's experiences with his family is nothing but this trope.
  • Cultured Badass: A renowned loremaster, he also led Gil-galad's army against Sauron in the Second Age.
  • Divine Parentage: His ancestor Melian is a Maia.
  • Elemental Powers: The Ring of Air presumably gives him these, though his main demonstration is in making the river Bruinen flood.
  • Happily Adopted: By Maglor. Rather remarkable, considering that Maglor took him and his brother prisoner (when they were about five years old), and was among the people who tried to kill his mother and successfully killed his grandparents. See Stockholm Syndrome below.
  • Healing Hands: Though a capable commander in wartime, his skills and inclinations run mostly towards medicine. He's good enough to prevent the Morgul-knife wound from turning Frodo into a wraith.
  • Heinz Hybrid: Hence Elrond the Half-Elven. (Technically he's 9/16 elven, 3/8 Man, and 1/16 angelic, but that was too long for a nickname.)
  • Heroic Lineage: His ancestors were mostly famous heroes in Beleriand in the war against Morgoth. His brother Elros became the first King of Númenor, so he's also closely related to the Heroic Lineage that produced Aragorn.
  • Parental Abandonment: His parents were both chased out of his homeland by an invasion when he was a little kid, and his father then became the Morning Star. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Parental Substitute: For Aragorn, whom "he came to love as a son." He also fostered several of Aragorn's ancestors.
  • The Philosopher King: People of all races and from all around Middle-Earth will go to Rivendell to seek his counsel.
  • Psychic Powers: He communicates without speaking with Galadriel, Celeborn and Gandalf using Telepathy at the end of the book.
  • Overprotective Dad: Demanded that Aragorn become king of both Arnor and Gondor before marrying Arwen. At the time the books take place, Gondor hadn't had a king for almost a thousand years, and Arnor hadn't even existed for more than a thousand years.
  • Really 700 Years Old: More like Sixty-five Hundred Years Old.
  • Stellar Name: "Vault of the Stars" or "Star-dome."
  • Stockholm Syndrome: In The Silmarillion he and his brother Elros were taken in by Maglor, one of the Sons of Fëanor, who led the invasion that killed their grandfather and raided their home in pursuit of a Silmaril. Maglor was kind to them, and only he and Maedhros showed remorse for the actions they took in pursuit of their Oath.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Theme Twin Naming is a thing with Half-Elven twin boys, one he kept up with his own sons.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Aragorn is The Hunter, seeking a place for himself in this world and to prove himself worthy to get what he wants, Elrond is The Lord, well-established, striving to maintain a balance and preserve what he has, Gandalf is The Prophet, the guide who tries to impress his wisdom on the young ones.


Arwen Undómiel, the Evenstar, is a half-elven woman of great beauty whom Aragorn hopes to marry. Unfortunately, she shows up in only three chapters of the story, the second one being her wedding to the King of Gondor. Tolkien rectified by including more about her romance with Aragorn in the appendices.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Arwen and Aragorn.
  • Author Appeal: Of the Raven Hair, Ivory Skin variety. She's the second-most beautiful woman ever born (after her ancestor Lúthien, whom she greatly resembles) and like Lúthien, her hair is very black and her skin very white.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: While Aragorn aged fairly normally (for a 200-year-old guy), Arwen remained youthful right up until her death. She still hadn't become weary of Middle-Earth by the time Aragorn died.
  • Bittersweet Ending: She gives up her immortality to stay with Aragorn, but it's indicated that he eventually dies, and she follows him not long afterward.
  • My Girl Back Home: For Aragorn during most of the book.
  • Heinz Hybrid: 25/32 elven, 3/16 Man, and 1/32 angelic.
  • Heroic Lineage: Descended from Galadriel, Celeborn, Eärendil, Tuor, Idril, Dior, Beren, Lúthien, Barahir, Turgon, Fingolfin, Thingol, and other famous characters.
  • Hero's Muse: She functions in this role for Aragorn: the driving force behind his striving to regain his crown is his love for Arwen and the fact that he can only marry her once he is king.
  • The High Queen: Of Gondor.
  • The Lady's Favor: Wove a flag for Aragorn; gave him the Elfstone via Galadriel.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: With a mortal, leading her eventually to give up the Elvish immortality which she'd had for the past 2700 years.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother Celebrían, unable to endure the woes of Middle-Earth any longer, had sailed West centuries ago.
  • Princess Classic: Not really a princess in title, but in everything else.
  • Proper Lady: nearly her defining trait.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: A family trait.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Twenty-seven hundred years, to be precise. And like an elf, she looks eternally youthful.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: When Aragorn decided to die of old age 120 years after the War of the Ring, she finally understood how unpleasant dying of old age can be. But by then it was too late to change her mind.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Literally (after Lúthien died).

"In Dwimordene, in Lorien
Seldom have walked the feet of Men,
Few mortal eyes have seen the light,
That lies there ever long and bright.
Galadriel! Galadriel!

Clear is the water of your well,
White is the star in your white hand,
Unmarred, unstained is leaf and land,
In Dwimordene, in Lorien,
More fair than thoughts of Mortal Men."

The Lady of Light, Galadriel is a Noldorin Elf who co-rules Lothlórien as the Lady of Lórien, with her Sindarin husband Lord Celeborn. One of the oldest, mightiest and wisest Elves in Middle-Earth, she is a powerful sorceress (possibly; magic is very rare in Middle-Earth, and her true power, and its nature, are only hinted at) and wields Nenya, the Elven Ring of Water, which aids her people in their fight against Sauron's forces.

See the character sheet for The Silmarillion for tropes that apply to her in that work.
  • Action Girl: In her youth. According to one version in Unfinished Tales, she fought for the Teleri in the first Kinslaying. And that she was an Action Girl actually means a lot more than it sounds like — the elves believed women had a special role as healers, a task no less critical than that of warriors, most of whom were men. Women could fight (and certainly trained to know how), but it was believed that the act of fighting endangered their abilities as healers. And it's hinted in the novels that she still is an Action Girl, if single-handedly destroying Dol Guldur in the War of the Ring is anything to go by.
  • Battle Couple: Galadriel and Celeborn. While Frodo and Sam are on their way to Mordor, Celeborn marshals the forces of Lórien to cross the Anduin and lay siege to Dol Guldur. After a long battle, Celeborn captures the fortress and Galadriel throws down its walls and purifies it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: You would not want her to take the One Ring, not at all.
  • Big Good: Frodo even offers her the Ring because of this, although this turns out not to be a good idea. Her title of "the Lady of Light" also puts her in direct thematic opposition to the Big Bad Sauron, who is known as "the Dark Lord".
  • Dream Weaver: Owns a magic pool that shows the person who looks into it visions of the past, present, and possible futures.
    • Not to mention that she was single-handedly responsible for the transformation of a fairly ordinary woodland realm into the Golden Wood of Lothlorien (a name that even means "Dream Blossom" or "Land of Dreaming Blossoms") a living memory of old Eldamar in which the effects and even perception of time are neigh nonexistent.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Has this effect on Gimli, despite that whole Elves vs. Dwarves thing.
  • Elemental Powers: Wields Nenya, the elven Ring of Water, and uses its power to keep her kingdom more or less frozen in time.
  • The Fair Folk: The Rohirrim think of her as this, and she isn't entirely sure she isn't one herself.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The phial that she gifts to Frodo contains water from her mirror that has been infused with the light of the star of Eärendil which itself is a Silmaril being pulled around the night sky in a chariot by Elrond's father, Eärendil. The phial ends up being invaluable to Frodo and Sam later on as they use it to escape Shelob's lair.
  • The Final Temptation: When Frodo offers her the Ring, she speculates what she could become if she took it.
  • Fisher King: Over Lothlórien, thanks to Nenya. When the Rings fail and she leaves, its beauty and enchantment quickly fade.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: The description of her in the books is clearly meant to evoke this trope. Her famous hair is of the deepest gold woven with silver and she primarily wears flowing white gowns of the deepest white adorned with jewellery made from gold and/or Mithril. It is clearly meant to symbolise her divinity as one of the oldest, wisest and most powerful beings in all of the realm and perhaps the sole being (other than Gandalf himself) in Middle-earth that Sauron actually fears. Due to her own powers combined with her ring Nenya he cannot see into her mind without the power of the One Ring. Also, she is the Lady of Light and Light Is Good.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Galadriel's temptation shows that she could be this, but she resists.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Like all the House of Finarfin. They were the wisest and kindest of the Noldorin royal houses (though Galadriel is still badly tempted by the One Ring), the most friendly to mortals, and the ones least guilty of wrongdoing in the rebellion. None of them took part in the Kinslaying even by accident. In his last writings Tolkien even decided that Galadriel didn't participate in the rebellion at all, but left Valinor separately.
  • Hidden Depths: She too lusts after the Ring, but overcomes its temptation.
  • The High Queen: Technically she is not a Queen as she and Celeborn did not wish to take royal titles, but she is still the leader of Lothlórien.
    • As the daughter of Finarfin and the highest ranking Noldorin Elf left in Middle-earth, she could have become the actual High Queen after the death of her kinsman Gil-galad, but neither she nor Elrond (a descendant of her cousin Turgon) succeeded as monarch for unknown reasons.
  • I Have Many Names:
    • Artanis, "noble woman," was her father-name, or the name given to her by her father Finarfin.
    • Nerwen, "man-maiden," was her mother-name, or the name given to her by her mother Eärwen. This was in reference to her unusual tall height and strength for a woman.
    • Alatárielle, "maiden crowned with a radiant garland," was given to her back in Aman by her Telerin lover Teleporno, in reference to her silver-gold hair.
    • Altáriel was the Quenya semi-calque of Alatárielle. The full calque would have been Ñaltáriel, but this was not used as her Quenya form.
    • Galadriel was the Sindarin calque of Alatárielle, after she and her husband went to Middle-Earth. Teleporno took the name Celeborn, the Sindarin calque of his own name, presumably to stop everyone from snickering. If your name was Teleporno, you too would want to change it to anything else.
    • Her titles include Lady of the Golden Wood.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Played with. Galadriel seems so perfectly good that Frodo offers her the Ring (apparently forgetting Gandalf's reaction to the same offer). She reveals that she is not incorruptible — that Frodo has unthinkingly presented her with a terrible temptation. She overcomes that temptation long enough to send the Ring away.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: She gives each of the Fellowship a gift at their parting, and specifically hints that the Phial of Light she gave to Frodo may be much more useful than it looks. It is. Subverted with her gift to Sam (a box of soil from her garden "for [the] little gardener and lover of trees"). She even lampshades that, saying that it is a gift that will only ever be useful if he completes the quest.
  • It's Personal: Galadriel had even more reason than most to want Sauron destroyed as he was directly responsible for the death of her older brother Finrod and much of the rest of her family (including her other brothers Angrod and Aegnor) were slain in the many battles against his former master, Morgoth.
  • Just the First Citizen: Galadriel and Celeborn made the decision not to take royal titles (which is why they are the Lord and Lady of their realm rather than the King and Queen) as they saw themselves as the guardians of Lothlórien rather than it's rulers.
  • Last of Her Kind: Not the last Elf, but the last of the – named, at least – Noldor who were exiled from Valinor. Also, incidentally, the only one to return (without dying first).
  • The Lady's Favor: Three golden hairs from her head. Which is more than Fëanor got, incidentally...
  • Light Is Not Good: She's referred to as the Lady of the Golden Wood or Lady of Light, and while firmly on the side of good for the purposes of the story, has serious implicit (and in The Silmarillion explicit) power trip tendencies.
  • Meaningful Name: Galadriel is Sindarin for 'maiden crowned with a radiant garland'. It's actually not her birth name (her father-name was Artanis and her mother-name was Nerwen), but was instead bestowed upon her by Celeborn.
  • The Philosopher King: Probably one of the wisest still in Middle-Earth.
  • Psychic Powers / Telepathy: She greets each of the Fellowship with a searching telepathic question, which greatly unnerves some of them. She also communicates without speaking with Gandalf, Celeborn and Elrond using Telepathy at the end of the final book.
    • Appears to be a family trait, her brother Finrod could not only communicate telepathically, but was actually able to full-on read people's minds (he used it to become an omniglot).
  • Reused Character Design: Literary example: the terms and attributes she is described with make her resemble strongly Goldberry, who was introduced before her and might even have been created earlier in Tolkien's mind.
  • Royal Blood: Galadriel is of quite a complex mixed royal Elven heritage. She is the only daughter of Finarfin, who was at the time of her birth a prince of the Noldor who eventually ascended to be the High King of the Noldor in the Undying Lands. Finarfin himself is of both Noldorin blood (from his father Finwë's side) and Vanyarin blood (from his mother Indis's side). Also, Galadriel's mother and Finarfin's wife is Eärwen who (being the daughter of Olwë) was also a princess of the Teleri in the Undying Lands. Therefore, despite being identified as a Noldorin Elf, she is actually descended from the royalty of three separate Elven houses and is really part Noldor, part Vanyar and part Teleri. This is most likely how she got her infamously beautiful silver-gold hair when the Noldor are usually identified as being dark haired. The gold would be from her Vanyarin heritage and the silver from her Teleri heritage.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's one of the bearers of the three Elven Rings (Nenya the Ring of Water), and has kept Lothlórien free of stain for centuries with it. She also regularly assists in repelling Orc attacks against her realm and during the War of the Ring, she and Celeborn marshal their forces and cross the Anduin to lay siege to the armies of Dol Guldur where, following a long battle, Celeborn captures the fortress and Galadriel throws down it's walls and purifies it of its evil.
  • Ruling Couple: Galadriel and Celeborn have been Happily Married for thousands of years and co-rule Lothlórien together. The wood elves that they rule over seem to revere and love them both, most likely because they have made the Golden Wood a peaceful, safe and prosperous place to live for millennia.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Galadriel and Celeborn aid and shelter the Fellowship in Lothlórien.
  • Shrouded in Myth: She seems to have developed something of legend status amongst Dwarves and Men alike. Even some of the Elves who live in other realms of Middle-earth don't appear to know if she actually exists or is just a myth. Éomer comments that the people of Rohan call Lothlórien 'Dwimoden, the Haunted Vale' because every once in a while a member of the Rohirrim will go wandering in the Golden Wood and, if they return at all, they are 'changed somehow'. No non-Elf (besides Aragorn) had entered into the heart of Lothlórien for centuries until the Fellowship were allowed access by Galadriel and Celeborn.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's described as being incredibly beautiful and at, around 6'4, one of the tallest Elf women ever born.
  • Time Abyss: Definitely qualifies, being older than the sun and the entire Man race. She was born in the Year of the Trees 1362, before the First Age of the Sun and the awakening of mortal Men. When the Fellowship meet her (depending on the length of First Age years and Years of the Trees), she's between 8,370 and over 13,000 years old.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman:) Galadriel's granddaughter Arwen was often said to be the most beautiful Elf in Middle-earth at the time of the War of the Ring, but Galadriel's great beauty was every bit as much the stuff of legend. Tolkien described her as being 'the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth'. The subject of Galadriel and Arwen's beauty and whose was greatest actually nearly brought Gimli and Éomer to arms. Éomer, having seen them both, preferred Arwen to which Gimli (also having seen them both) replies, "You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning."


The great-nephew of Elu Thingol, High King of the Sindar, Celeborn was a prince of Doriath who is the Lady Galadriel's husband and Lord of Lothlórien. He and his wife aid and shelter the Fellowship on their quest. After the destruction of the One Ring, he and Galadriel lead an attack on Sauron's citadel of Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood, destroying and purifying the last of the Dark Lord's strongholds. The prologue states that Celeborn was the last of the 'Wise' to sail west for the Undying Lands and with him left "the last living memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth".
  • Battle Couple: Celeborn and Galadriel. While Frodo and Sam are on their way to Mordor, Celeborn marshals the forces of Lórien to cross the Anduin and lay siege to Dol Guldur. After a long battle, Celeborn captures the fortress and Galadriel throws down its walls and purifies it.
  • Big Good: With Saruman defecting from the White Council and Gandalf killed by the Balrog, Celeborn and his wife take over as the strongest forces of good.
  • The Good King: To both the Elves of Lothlórien and those who live outside of his kingdom's borders. One of the main reasons why Celeborn and his wife remain in Middle-earth is to prevent Sauron from returning, and they assist both the Fellowship and surrounding kingdoms of Men at numerous points.
  • Heroic Lineage: He's a Sindarin prince of Doriath and the nephew of Elu Thingol, who was the Elven Lord of Beleriand and instigated the Quest for the Silmaril.
  • Just the First Citizen: Celeborn and Galadriel made the decision not to take royal titles (which is why they are the Lord and Lady of their realm rather than the King and Queen) as they saw themselves as the guardians of Lothlórien rather than it's rulers.
  • Meaningful Name: Celeborn in Sindarin means 'Silver Tree' (Celeb = Silver, Orn = Tree) referring to his silver hair and great height. He may have also been named for the White Tree in Tol Eressëa (home of the Teleri in Valinor) which is also called Celeborn.
  • The Philosopher King: Known as one of the oldest and wisest Elves in Middle-earth, Galadriel calls him 'Celeborn the Wise'.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Celeborn's a former prince of Doriath and the Lord of Lothlórien, and he's more than willing to team up with his wife to assist the Fellowship and kingdoms of Men in destroying the One Ring. He also defends the Golden Wood against numerous Orc invasions and leads the final attack on Dol Guldur, beating the enemy into submission while Galadriel razes Sauron's stronghold to the ground.
  • Ruling Couple: Celeborn and Galadriel have been Happily Married for thousands of years and co-rule Lothlórien together. The wood elves that they rule over seem to revere and love them both, most likely because they have made the Golden Wood a peaceful, safe and prosperous place to live for millennia.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Galadriel and Celeborn aid and shelter the Fellowship in Lothlórien.
  • Time Abyss: Although Celeborn's exact age is uncertain, he was born some time before the First Age, which puts him at around the same age or slightly younger than his wife. And since most estimates place Galadriel's age at around 10,000 years, it's likely that Celeborn is also one of the oldest elves still left in Middle-earth.


An Elf-Lord of Rivendell.
  • Back from the Dead: Tolkien's letters stated that Glorfindel from Gondolin and Glorfindel from the Lord of the Rings was the same elf, just reincarnated.
  • Cool Horse: Asfaloth.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Dialog states that he was possibly the most powerful elf in Rivendell at the time the fellowship was there. Elrond implies that for the Fellowship's mission of stealth, his degree of power would have been a case of Cursed with Awesome: too obvious to avoid attention from Sauron and not powerful enough to overcome him.
  • Taking You with Me: His death in the backstory.
  • You Shall Not Pass: When the refugees of Gondolin were escaping, he barred the way to the group of orcs and the Balrog that were chasing them. He killed most of the orcs and killed the Balrog as well, at the cost of his own life.

    Gildor Inglorion 

The leader of a band of wandering Elves of Eriador.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In one of the calmest examples of this trope, Gildor and his companions save Frodo and the other Hobbits from a Ringwraith simply by wandering by and and singing.
  • Forest Ranger: He and his companions have the trappings of Woodelves; they know the secret paths of the forest, have contact with nature spirits like Tom Bombadil and seemingly transform a clearing into something like a hall for feasting by their mere presence. However, they are in fact Noldor(or at least Gildor is)
  • Magic Music: Uses Elven song and the invoking of the Name of what amounts to the Patron Saint of the Elves to chase away a Ringwraith. This is not surprising considering his possible lineage (see below.)
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Introduces himself as "Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod", which depending on where in Tolkien's notes you look could make him the son of the legendary King of Nargothrond and brother to Galadriel and/or Gil-Galad or Galadriel's (great-)nephew, or the son of a servant of the King of Nargothrond. Cue much fan speculation and fan fiction concerned with his identity.
  • Mysterious Informant: In the typical elvish way he seems to have knowledge about what is going on in the Shire, despite never being seen. He also spreads information about Frodo's journey as far as Rivendell and Tom Bombadil, which is even weirder given that he and his group are explicitly traveling in the exact opposite direction.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Serves as a new reader's first introduction to the charm, magic and wistfulness of Tolkien's Elves.
  • Time Abyss: A standard trope with Elves in the Lord of the Rings, but Gildor spells it out to Fordo and the other Hobbits when he reminds them "But it is not your own Shire, others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more."
  • The End Is Nigh: Continues the above quote with: "The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” thus somewhat foreshadowing Saruman's takeover of the Shire. It could also be a read as a simple warning, but Tolkinian Elves often have a knack for prophecy.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: One of many in this early part of the story. The Hobbits spend an evening with Gildor and his Elves and never see them again until the end of the story, though they are mentioned a couple of times.

Other Characters

    Bilbo Baggins 

The main character of The Hobbit, who inadvertently sets The Lord of the Rings in motion with his discovery of the Ring. Frodo's "uncle" (really his older cousin) and father-figure, Bilbo's 111th (and Frodo's 33rd) birthday opens the story; Bilbo, feeling the Ring's effects on him, leaves the Ring to Frodo and sets out on his last adventure. Years later, Frodo meets Bilbo again in Rivendell, where he has retired.

See The Hobbit character sheet for tropes that apply to him in that work.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Why he found the Ring in the first place, according to Gandalf.
  • Benevolent Boss: To his gardener, "Gaffer" Gamgee (Sam's father).
  • Cool Old Guy: He's 110 years old at the beginning of Fellowship, and fond of entertaining young hobbits with tales of his adventures and giving out gold as a party favor.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Going solely by the first chapter, one could easily assume that Bilbo was the central character, until the focus shifts to Frodo in the second.
  • Dub Name Change: "Bilbon Sacquet" in French; became "Bilbo Bessac" in the newer translation of the books.
  • Eccentric Mentor: He is this to his nephew Frodo, much to the despair of the majority of the respectable hobbits of the Shire.
  • Family Theme Naming: An odd theme. Bilbo is the son of Bungo Baggins son of Mungo Baggins son of Balbo Baggins.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: In contrast to his attitude in The Hobbit. He's a scion of the upper-class Took family, and by the time he retires from "adventures" he's had several.
  • Heroic Willpower: The One Ring has been with Bilbo for DECADES by the time of the Fellowship of the Ring. Considering the fact that the ring eternally tries to corrupt its owner and Bilbo only started feeling the effects of the ring after that time before passing it to Frodo, it shows just how moral of a man he is. That he spared Gollum when he first got the ring might've helped...
  • Hidden Depths: During Frodo’s first meeting with Aragorn, Frodo receives a letter from Gandalf that mentions Aragorn and contains a few lines from a poem. (Aragorn’s referring to this poem, without seeing the letter, is a strong hint that he really is who he says he is.) Later, during the Council of Elrond, Bilbo reveals to Frodo (and the reader) that he wrote the poem — about Aragorn.
  • In the Hood: When he leaves Bag End, he wears his old hooded Dwarven cloak from The Hobbit as he is "on the road" again.
  • My Girl Back Home: He is this to Frodo during the Quest to Mount Doom, being his only relative.
  • Hero of Another Story: Of The Hobbit.
  • Hobbits: Bilbo is the Ur-Example.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: He is the in-universe author of The Hobbit, and translated The Silmarillion out of Elvish.
  • No Immortal Inertia: The Ring was starting to corrupt him as it had Gollum long ago, and when it is destroyed his 131 years catch up with him.
  • Older Than They Look: At the beginning of the story, he is 110 years old but looks only 50 due to the Ring's influence. After he gives up the Ring, age begins to rapidly catch up to him, until he looks his age (131) at the end. The Appendices reveal that he’s older than Aragorn's mom.
  • Parental Substitute: To Frodo, after his parents drowned in a boating accident.
  • Passing the Torch: When he disappears to go travelling again, he wills his house and most of his possessions, including his "lucky ring", to Frodo. Later, he gives Frodo his old sword and armor from The Hobbit, which he wore on the road, to protect Frodo on his own journeys.
  • The Power of Friendship: Gandalf's friendship and concern is what ultimately helps him give up the Ring of his own free will.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Bilbo puts on his old gear from The Hobbit, down to his borrowed Dwarven cloak, when he leaves home again.
  • Shrouded in Myth: After he came back from his journey to Erebor (and more so after vanishing from his birthday party), hobbits started telling tales of "Mad Baggins" who would "vanish with a bang and a flash and reappear with bags of jewels and gold."
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Due to the Ring's influence he became Gollum-like in his mannerisms, as pointed out by Gandalf. No, he has not begun to look Gollum-like just yet (well, if you've read the books, he thankfully never does reach that stage), but his hunger and his growing obsession over the Ring is certainly a stepping stone towards reaching the Gollum stage. When he sees the One Ring in Frodo's possession in Rivendell, he briefly falls under its power again, causing Frodo to perceive him as “a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands.” However, Bilbo quickly comes to his senses again, and he immediately apologizes and requests that Frodo never show him the Ring again.
  • Uncle Pennybags: His share of the treasure from The Hobbit (as well as coming from a wealthy family) kept him very well-off for the rest of his life, and he was very generous toward poorer hobbits.


A seemingly minor character from The Hobbit who played a key role in the series. Sméagol, once a member of a clan of Stoor Hobbits that lived alongside the Anduin river, was fishing with his cousin Déagol when they encountered the One Ring. They both immediately coveted it and Sméagol murdered Déagol for it. Eventually banished, he retreated for over 600 years deep into the mountains and became a degenerate creature named Gollum (after a horrible noise he makes in his throat), feared by the goblins and driven insane due to solitude and the Ring's influence over him. The Ring, having a mind of its own, slipped from Gollum's fingers intending to be found by a goblin, but it was instead found by Bilbo, who used it to confound Sméagol and escape his current danger. When Bilbo had the chance to strike down Gollum, he pitied him and let him live.

In the time since then, Gollum has been hunting for the Ring, travelling to his old home on the Anduin and then to Mordor, where he was captured and personally interrogated by Sauron himself, who released him. Gollum eventually catches up with the Fellowship in Moria, stalking them until Frodo left most of his companions behind. At this point, Gollum attempts to reacquire the Ring, but failing and being taken prisoner, he serves as a guide for Frodo and Sam, earning the fleeting hope of redemption before ultimately betraying his new masters. He nevertheless plays a key role in the completion of the quest.
  • Accidental Hero: Stealing the One Ring from Frodo was for his own selfishness and corruption, but then he slipped and fell into the lava, fulfilling the Quest that Frodo could not.
  • Anti-Hero: Briefly sides with Frodo in The Two Towers before slipping back to his old ways.
  • Anti-Villain: Most characters believe him to be this, as they're under the impression that Gollum was an innocent twisted by the Ring's power. However, Gollum was a rather nasty character even before he fell under the influence of the Ring: "Gollum was pitiable but ended in persistent wickedness. His last act worked good but of no credit to him... The Ring was too strong for Sméagol but he would never have had to endure it if he had not already been a mean sort of thief. His dawning love for Frodo was too easily withered by jealousy of Sam before Shelob's lair and he was lost."
  • Arch-Enemy: He holds a grudge against the Bagginses for tricking him. Since Frodo and Sam spend most of their journey away from the rest of the characters, Gollum serves as his main antagonist and foil.
  • Ascended Extra: In the first edition of The Hobbit, he was a pretty unimportant side-character. Then Tolkien realized that Ring was much more than it seemed, and his role expanded hugely.
  • Cain and Abel: Murders his friend Déagol to steal the Ring from him.
  • Cargo Ship: Canon in-universe with the One Ring. Though seeing as how the Ring is the ultimate corrupter and Really Gets Around, it's not really his fault.
  • Can't Live Without You: Without the One Ring, Gollum's five-ish centuries of existence would catch up to him and he'd age into dust.
  • Catch-Phrase: "My Precioussss", and "Gollum, Gollum!"
  • Chronic Villainy: Skulking, treacherous, murderous, depraved. He'll behave as long as you watch him like a hawk and make it clear that punishment will be swift and terrible.
  • The Corruption: He wasn't a nice guy to begin with, but the Ring ate away what decency and humanity he had and really, really messed him up.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Is described as having long, bony, unnaturally strong fingers.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: He got that way thanks to living for centuries underground (probably exacerbated by the Ring to give him glowing eyes). And apparently can't adjust back.
  • Determinator:
    • Drawn irresistably to the Ring, he follows Frodo from Moria to the Cracks of Doom. He will climb up and down cliffs (head first!), wade through the Dead Marshes, whatever it takes to get the thing back.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by Gandalf’s exposition, Unfinished Tales, and a bit of Fridge Logic. Gollum has racked up an incredible travel log: sneaked through Mirkwood and back without getting caught by the Wood-elves? Check. Tracked Bilbo to Esgaroth (Lake-town), and then to Dale (at the feet of the Lonely Mountain)? Check. Discovered a way through the supposedly impassable Dead Marshes? Check. Went to Mordor and discovered the secret stairs to Cirith Ungol? Check (although that didn’t go so well for him). Entered Moria through the East-gate, managed to survive the Orcs infesting the eastern area, and somehow made it all the way through to the West-gate? Yup, check that too.
    • Ironically, his escapades come to a complete halt when he can’t figure out how to open the West-gate of Moria (and even if he had figured out that the gate could be opened from the inside simply by pushing it, he wouldn't have the strength to do so). In fact, he’s said to be starving, as all the food (along with all of the aforementioned Orcs) is in east Moria — and then a certain Fellowship comes blundering in…
    • And, lest we forget, by the time of the trilogy, Gollum is several-hundred years old. Holding onto the One Ring extends its bearer's life by "stretching them out," as the narrative sometimes refers to it. However, once the bearer loses (or relinquishes) the Ring, all that extra time catches up to them fairly quickly, as it did with Bilbo. However, note that all of Gollum's travels listed above took place after he lost the Ring, which he'd been holding onto for centuries. Yet none of that slows him down in the slightest. He just keeps chugging along, all for the sake of reclaiming his Precious.
  • Disney Villain Death: At the Cracks of Doom he falls into the fires along with the One Ring.
  • Eats Babies: In Fellowship, he's accused of this during his period of wandering between leaving Mordor and following Frodo. Don't put it past him.
  • The Exile: Was cast out of his community for his trickery and murdering his cousin.
  • Evil Counterpart: He was a formerly a hobbit himself, and shows what could happen to Frodo if he allowed himself to be corrupted by the ring which it eventually does.
  • Family Theme Naming: Sméagol and Déagol.
  • Famous Last Words: "Precious!", screamed as he falls into Mount Doom.
  • Fangs Are Evil: He sharpened his six remaining teeth into fangs.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: His eyes are described as luminous and lamp-like, with their color changing depending on which personality is in control: Green is for Gollum, yellow is for Sméagol.
  • Hobbits: Originally, he was a Stoor Hobbit.
  • Handy Feet: During the Council of Elrond, Legolas notes that Gollum has demonstrated the ability to hang from trees by his feet as well as by his hands.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Was about to repent after seeing Frodo sleeping, when Sam shouted at him.
  • Hidden Depths: Arguably, all Hobbits possess (to some extent) an extraordinary resilience to the evil of the Ring, but it’s particularly notable in Gollum: Gandalf notes that, even after 500 years of mental enslavement, Gollum still controls a tiny portion of his mind. Unfinished Tales takes it Up to Eleven by revealing that, while personally torturing Gollum, Sauron himself noticed this trait.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Intended to eat Bilbo if he won (and even if he lost) the riddle game in The Hobbit.
  • Lost Food Grievance: Any time his raw meat gets cooked.
  • Man Bites Man: Chomps off Frodo's finger to get the One Ring back.
  • Madness Makeover: Went from a Hobbit to a shrivelled skeletal creature with fangs and Glowing Eyes of Doom thanks to the One Ring.
  • Monster Sob Story: The reason why Frodo (and, later, Sam) decide to spare his life.
    Frodo: Now that I see him, I do pity him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Gandalf remarks that the murder of Déagol haunted Gollum, prompting Gollum to make excuses for it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In the climax of Return of the King, Gollum seizes the Ring from Frodo, before falling into the lava in Mount Doom.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Pleads with Frodo not to destroy the Ring because without it he would crumble to dust.
  • Not So Different: He was once a hobbit himself, making him this to Bilbo and Frodo under the power of the Ring.
  • Odd Friendship: With Frodo. As Frodo becomes increasingly aware of the terrible nature of the Ring, he can empathize with Gollum's tortured mind; while Gollum, wicked and hopelessly addicted, clings to Frodo's kindness with a pathetic desperation.
  • Pre-Insanity Reveal: Originally a hobbit named Sméagol, he was corrupted mentally and physically by the Ring by the time Bilbo meets him in The Hobbit.
  • Primal Stance: He moves on all fours.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Sméagol was raised by his grandmother.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Sam never completely trusts Smeagol, even after he starts having doubts about betraying them. But Sam was right to have doubts.
  • Sanity Slippage: The ring slowly drove him mad over 500 years in the Misty Mountains. He may have gotten slightly better in The Two Towers, but then got even crazier at the very end.
  • Shadow Archetype: Gollum is a shadow to both Bilbo and Frodo. He is the Foil to Sam.
  • Sssssnaketalk: Among his other speech peculiarities is a habit of hissing like this.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the clan of Stoor Hobbits living beside the Anduin river.
  • Spanner in the Works: "Even Gollum may have something yet to do..."
  • Split Personality: Less so than in the movie, where the Sméagol/Gollum schism is greatly played up, but still present. Sam even names the “duo” Slinker and Stinker.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: He murdered his best friend, but only because of the Ring. Its corrupting effect on him was terribly swift, but maybe after five hundred years corrupting nothing more than fish, it seized hard on the first two people it found.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Everyone who says that it would have been better to kill him from the start ends up sparing his life when it's in their hands.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: This is your Hobbit on Ring of Power.
  • Torture Always Works:
    • When Sauron realized the "Precious" Gollum was talking about was the One Ring, he interrogated Sméagol personally, learning of the existence of Hobbits and the Shire in the process.
    • Subverted in Unfinished Tales: Gollum doesn’t know where the Shire is, but he pretends that it's near the Gladden Fields where he grew up, causing Sauron to send the Nazgûl on a wild Baggins chase.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Raw "fisssh." He also likes orc flesh.
  • Tragic Villain: For all that he started out as a murderer, it was the Ring that made him the horrible person he became, while mentally torturing him and destroying his identity. His near-repentence in The Two Towers is particularly tragic.
  • Verbal Tic: "My Precioussss", and "Gollum, Gollum!"
  • Verbal Tic Name: Gollum is the noise he habitually makes in his throat.
  • Wall Crawl: He climbs head-first down a sheer cliff face, though exactly how isn't addressed.
  • Was Once a Man: Smeagol was once a Hobbit before the One Ring corrupted him.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Although there are many Time Abyss characters who are older than Sméagol, he's not meant to be immortal. Though his relentless addiction drives him onward, there are signs that the 'real' Sméagol is weary beyond imagination.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: After centuries of misery and torment, he nearly destroys the quest (dooming Middle Earth to tyranny) because of a Heel–Face Door-Slam. Ironically, Frodo knowingly claims the ring after suffering months of psychological torment because of it. Fortunately, the quest would have failed without his attempt to prevent it. Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam taking pity on Gollum was necessary for the Ring's destruction; and expressly choosing not to attack and kill him on four separate occasions, even on the slopes of Mount Doom...
    Frodo: But do you remember Gandalf's words: "Even Gollum may have something yet to do?" But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.
  • Yandere: He 'both loves and hates the Ring.'

    Tom Bombadil 

A strange... person who lives in the Old Forest just outside the Shire. Tom is the forest's "Master" and nothing can harm him within its borders. His nature is a mystery — he was old even when the first Elves entered his part of the world. He lives in a little house with his wife, the river-spirit Goldberry. Tom was the first person the hobbits met after leaving the Shire and he provided them safe passage along the early part of their journey. He also gave them their swords after he rescued them in the Barrow-downs. He refuses to get involved in the War of the Ring and sits the whole thing out.

Tom was originally Tolkien's doll, and later became the star of a humorous poem Tolkien wrote in 1934 that had no connection to Middle-Earth. He only appeared in The Lord of the Rings as a sort of guest-star. He later got his own spinoff in 1962, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, a book of poems presented as in-universe poems from the Shire.
  • Adapted Out: The three chapters where he appears were completely left out of the film (his name isn't even mentioned), although a few of his lines were given to Treebeard in the extended cut of The Two Towers.
  • Almighty Idiot: It's telling that smuggling Hobbits into Mordor with only nine persons who barely worked together is considered better odds than convincing Bombadil to do something, even keeping the One Ring he is immune to until they sort things out.
  • Ambiguously Human: He looks sort of like a Man, and sort of like a Dwarf. Whatever he is, he isn't either of those.
  • Arcadian Interlude: The time the hobbits spend with him is a light-hearted happy sequence full of singing and eating in his idyllic patch of country.
  • Call on Me: He instructs the Hobbits to call upon him with a silly rhyme if they need his help, which they most definitely do when confronted by the Barrow-Wights. He shows up almost immediately to save them.
  • The Cameo: As mentioned above, Tom's presence in the book is a nod to one of Tolkien's older poems.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Tells stories to the four Hobbits, and is rather bonkers.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Except badgers. And Old Man Willow.
  • Great Gazoo: A silly, oddly-dressed fellow who goes around singing nonsense... who can cow Old Man Willow and barrow-wights just by said singing, and can put on The One Ring as if it was just any piece of jewelry. Even Gandalf speculates that, were Sauron to triumph over the forces of good, Bombadil's territory would be the last place to fall.
  • Happily Married: To Goldberry, daughter of the river.
  • I Have Many Names: "Tom Bombadil" is just what the Hobbits and the Men of Bree call him, though he does call himself this way before the main characters, presumibly for this reason. He has many other names, including Iarwain Ben-Adar ("Oldest and Fatherless") to the Elves, Orald ("very ancient") to the Northmen, and Forn (not said, but presumably a similar meaning) to the Dwarves. If he has a real name, we never get to see it.
  • Immune to Mind Control: The Ring does not strictly control minds, but it does have a strong ability to influence them, enhancing their greatest desire and, given enough time, warp whoever is wearing it into an evil mutant of what they once were. Not Tom Bombadil, however. Tom is not impressed by the Ring at all, and casually plays with it before handing it back to Frodo. It seems he can even see Frodo when he's wearing it.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: More like Incorruptible Pure Neutrality. The Ring has no power over him — possibly because he has no ambition to speak of, even less than the Hobbits.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: He can banish evil trees, barrow-wights, and it's implied even Nazgûl. Also, he can apparently teleport, the Ring has no effect over him, and has some damn catchy songs. It is notable that even the Valar are unable to understand exactly what or who Tom is. It is said that after immediately they had created the world, they discovered, much to their puzzlement, that Tom already existed in it. The Valar were all sure that they were not responsible for creating Tom, and therefore could not explain his existence; he just was there all of a sudden.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Subverted. Someone does suggest giving the Ring to Bombadil since it has no effect on him whatsoever, but Gandalf shoots him down because Tom would probably lose the damn thing specifically because it's no big deal to him. (Also, even Tom's power couldn't keep out the entire host of Mordor indefinitely once Sauron learned its location.)
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Rather, savage trees.
  • Nature Spirit: This is more-or-less the closest we can come to a guess at what he's supposed to be, helped by a cryptic hint in Letters by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • Nice Hat: "Bright blue is his hat." Also has a feather in it.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: He appears outside the barrow as soon as the hobbits sing his calling rhyme.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Is prone to breaking out into song. Even when not rhyming, he almost always speaks in poetic meter.
  • Single Specimen Species: He's not a Vala, not a Maia, not a Man, not an Elf. What he is is up for debate, but one thing's for sure: with the possible exception of Goldberry, he's the only one like him that we see.
  • Time Abyss: He is apparently as old as Arda, if he is not Arda itself as suggested above.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The time with Bombadil is an interesting and amusing interlude, and the possibility of leaving the Ring with him is discussed later at the Council of Elrond, but it doesn't really contribute much to the story besides world-building and giving the hobbits barrow-blades, and the tone is much lighter than the rest of the narrative. It is worth mentioning that Sam wished he was present when they encountered Shelob. Which led him directly over to the memory of Galadriel's lamp.


Tom Bombadil's wife, also known as the "River-woman's daughter", who lives in the Old Forest along with him. A figure as misterious as him, if not actually more, she appeared for the first time in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, where he captures her into hisbride.
  • Adapted Out: Just like Tom, she is absent from all film adaptations.
  • Ambiguously Human: She looks like a human, but is clearly not.
  • Duel of Seduction: A sort of lyric variation in their first meeting with Tom: she tried to lure Tom to the river, but it's him who lured her into his clutches at the end.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Has golden hair and is a helpful and good-natured character.
  • Happily Married: Her marriage with Bombadil is described by authors quoted in The Other Wiki as "the only functioning one in The Lord of the Rings". Which is ironic, given that it started with Tom kidnapping her.
  • Nature Spirit: Tolkien considered her as "the seasonal changes in nature".
  • Satellite Character: While Tolkien left Tom's nature open as a deliberate enigma, he bothered even less with Goldberry, whose main characterization seems to be Bombadil's wife and possibly a Nature Spirit on her own.
  • Time Abyss: She is clearly very ancient. Possibly not as much as Tom, though: she notably avoids describing herself in the same terms of immeasurable age as him, and refers to him as oldest than any other being in Middle-Earth, implying she is counting herself among them.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: While Tom's not explicitly ugly, he still looks like an intermediate step between Men and Dwarves; meanwhile, Goldberry is described as an Elven-like beautiful human.

    Radagast the Brown 

The third wizard mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, though he only appears second-hand, through Gandalf's account. Radagast is of the same order as Gandalf and Saruman, though he has mostly retreated from the world of Men and Elves to look after the birds and beasts of Middle-Earth. He lives in Mirkwood, in a dwelling called Rhosgobel. Saruman uses him as an unwitting dupe to lure Gandalf to Isengard, but Radagast also unwittingly rescues him by sending an eagle to report news to Saruman.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: In The Hobbit, Gandalf only briefly mentions him as an old friend and "cousin" (not literally, as it turns out), with whom Beorn is also acquainted.
  • Friend to All Living Things: In the Backstory, he was chosen by Yavanna, the Vala of all plants and animals.
  • The Ghost: In The Hobbit he only receives an off-hand mention, and in The Lord of the Rings he appears only in a flashback, both told by Gandalf. The reader never gets to see Radagast on page.
  • The Hermit: He lives isolated at his home Rhosgobel, somewhere in Mirkwood, and doesn't seem to get involved in much of anything unless called upon by another Wizard.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Wizards are really angels disguised as humans.
  • Spanner in the Works: Radagast was sent by Saruman to ask Gandalf to rush to Isengard. (This was a Spanner for Gandalf's plans.) Then he was sent by Gandalf to ask Gwaihir the Eagle to rush to Isengard as well. (This was a Spanner for Saruman's plans.)
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: He can communicate with birds.
  • Time Abyss: Like all Wizards, he's technically older than the whole universe.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To Saruman’s plot to get Gandalf into Isengard. In a delicious twist of irony, he winds up unwittingly foiling the plot as well.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: According to Gandalf, Radagast is “a master of shapes and changes of hue.” That's pretty vague, but it definitely sounds like some power of shapeshifting, glamour or both.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we hear of him was that he wasn't at home. Tolkien's answer seems to be that he went native among the flora and fauna and neglected the affairs of the Free People, but changed his mind over whether this was a failure of his missionnote  or fulfillment of itnote .


An old Ent, and master (and namesake) of Fangorn Forest.
  • Badass Grandpa: One of the oldest living beings in Middle-earth, Treebeard is still more powerful than most of them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Under all ordinary circumstances, Treebeard is a Gentle Giant. When he realizes that his forest's survival is at stake, he turns his (enormous) strength and patience against Saruman.
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed, but notably present: Treebeard appears to hold Wizards in significant esteem (ordinarily), but he repeatedly calls both Gandalf and Saruman "young" in a condescending way, as if he was older and wiser than them, when in reality they are much older than he is.
  • Constantly Curious: Downplayed. Treebeard thinks he's Seen It All, so when anything genuinely new comes along (such as hobbits), he's fascinated.
  • Heroic Neutral: He regards the rest of the world as "none of my business," and only worries about Fangorn.
    Treebeard: I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me; nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays.
  • Hidden Depths: At first the hobbits take him for some strange monster. Then they discover that he's kindly, if rather long-winded and indolent. And after persuading him that Saruman is a threat, they discover that his wrath is fearsome.
  • Neutral No Longer: After seeing the devastation Saruman has wrought, Fangorn leads the Ents and their trees to war. Stone walls are ripped to fragments. Armies disappear into the trees and are never seen again.
  • Name That Unfolds Like A Lotus Blossom: A major Entish cultural trait. Taken Up to Eleven, as Ent names are lengthy summaries of their whole lives.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Treebeard and his Ents were left out of Saruman's calculations when he decided to Take Over the World.
  • Overly Long Name: His real name is the story of his life, according to him. Like most Ents, he is therefore Only Known By His Nickname. One of which is his Sindarin name, Fangorn. Yes, the whole forest is named after one guy.
  • Time Abyss: Perhaps the third-oldest physical creature (Maiar don't count) in Middle-Earth. Círdan, having awoken with the first generation of Elves at Cuivienen way back in the Years of the Trees, is older still, and Tom Bombadil is older than the world.
  • Treants: As the primary Ent character in the books, he has one of the stronger claims for being the Trope Maker. The books mostly depict him as a giant but otherwise fairly standard humanoid whose anatomy and appearance are reminiscent of plant life (unless one goes for the interpretation of the first Ents having originated as spirits that fused with living trees).
  • Verbal Tic: Hoom, hmm, don't be hasty, now...

A Ranger of the North and kinsman of Aragorn. At the urging of Elrond, Halbarad leads the Grey Company, a squad of thirty Rangers (plus Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir) to bring Aragorn the standard Arwen made for him and urges him to enter the Paths of the Dead. Halbarad becomes Aragorn's standard-bearer and follows Aragorn until the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where he dies, never to see Eriador again.
  • Prophecy Twist: Upon arriving at the door to the Paths of the Dead, Halbarad declares that “[his] death lies beyond it.” While technically true (he does indeed die some time after entering the Paths), he survives the Paths of the Dead and seems to be doing perfectly fine until the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He shows up for the first time shortly before the Paths of the Dead and dies on the Pelennor Fields just a few chapters later.

The Forces of Evil


The eponymous Lord of the Rings. The lieutenant of Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, Sauron was responsible for much suffering of Elves and Men in the Elder Days. When Morgoth was banished, Sauron ultimately picked up in his place. His first gambit was to teach the Elves to craft magic rings (ultimately the three for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves, and nine for Men). He then crafted his own One Ring as an extension of his being through which he meant to dominate each race. However, the elves were on guard against this evil and the dwarves were too focused on material wealth. Sauron made his first bid through force but was routed and his body destroyed. However, his ring anchored him to our realm and would allow him to return.

In the narrative, he is simply the Big Bad, an ominous evil presence that grows stronger as the heroes near his realm. If he reclaimed the One Ring, the doom of Middle-Earth would be swift and final. Even without it, he seems poised to win, leaving the destruction of his Ring as the only means of defeating him.

See the character sheet for The Silmarillion for tropes that apply to him in that work.
  • Achilles' Heel: The One Ring.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He represents ambition, and his ambition lead to his corruption.
  • And I Must Scream: His ultimate fate. The destruction of the ring crippled him completely, leaving him nothing but a 'spirit of malice', unable to ever assume physical form or influence anyone or anything ever again.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: A downplayed example since Sauron's greatest strengths were his strategic mind and his magical abilities. His physical strength, while immensely superior to most Men and Elves, was fairly average for a Maia; he could hold his own against Elendil and Gil-Galad at the Siege of Barad-dûr, but was wounded in the process. It's a common theme throughout all his appearances in Tolkien's works: Sauron will only engage in physical combat when all other options have been exhausted... and he will almost always lose.
  • Ax-Crazy: Much of Saurons' perceived motiveless malice can be explained by him being batshit crazy. While Tolkien considered Morgoth the madder of the two due to being an Omnicidal Maniac, Sauron is no shining example of sanity either and has long abandoned any constructive goals he might once have held. His plan to conquer Middle-Earth and run it into the ground stems from overwhelming, impotent rage at how life has turned out for him, and while he is often capable of taking A Form You Are Comfortable With when it suits his purposes, behind these fair forms is an entity consumed with self-loathing and hatred for all things well beyond the point of reason. The slightest rejection or criticism can provoke him to torture and kill you even if it serves no purpose to do so (or is even counter-productive to his larger plans) and well before the end he loses the ability to feel any genuine emotion beyond anger, hatred and fear.
  • Big Bad: The moving force behind nearly all evil in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Black Speech: Sauron at one time made an artificial language as a way to communicate across his empire and his allies earlier in the backstory. Thousands of years after being killed in the final battle of the Last Alliance and getting a new form, the Nazgûl, Olog-hai, and many Orcs still use it.
  • The Chessmaster: Used disguises and clever tactical planning to make the Elves create the Rings, and to later undermine Númenor until its downfall.
  • Classic Villain: Sauron represents Ambition and Greed.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicted on several unfortunates who have information he wants. Unlike Morgoth, it isn't made clear whether he also tortures people for fun in his spare time, but don't put it past him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He gets his angelic ass handed to him by Eru for meddling with the lives of mortal men. He does not look divine when he eventually recovers and reforms.
  • Dark Is Evil: Darkness is his big visual motif, as with Morgoth before him. Black are his flags, darkness is what he spreads from Mordor to shield his sun-phobic armies, and of course he's the Dark Lord.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: He has spent so much of his power on evil pursuits and attempts to subjugate Middle-Earth that by the time he infuses his essence into the One Ring he becomes incapable of sustaining himself without it. As long as the Ring survives, so does he - but as soon as it is destroyed, he is instantly and irrecoverably undone.
  • Dirty Coward: He hates fighting unless he either really has to or he thinks his opponent is no match for him; the reason he survived so long is that he ran like Hell every time battles were not going his way or if he ever got wounded. He has no compunction about torturing and beating upon helpless, defenceless prisoners, however, especially if they were warriors themselves.
  • The Dreaded: It's quite literally his name... well, one of his names, anyway. Fear is one of his greatest weapon, and his most powerful servants and creations have the power to inflict fear upon those around them.
  • Emperor Scientist: As Morgoth's servant he was engaged in many "scientific experiment", most notably, he had a heavy hand in the creation of orcs. And of course after Morgoth's downfall he created the Rings with the help of the elves.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • One of the reasons the whole gambit to destroy the Ring works. Sauron believes that anyone who possesses the ring would use it for themselves, leaving them susceptible to its corruption. Only when it's too late does he realize that his enemies wish to destroy it. But...he turns out correct in the end, as nobody actually has the resolve to destroy it willingly. Instead, it gets undone as an unforeseen consequence of Bilbo and Frodo's act of pity, something else his evil could not comprehend.
    • More generally, Sauron in his fall utterly lost the ability to comprehend or empathise with anyone who wasn't as evil and selfish as him, and couldn't imagine any non-selfish motivation. He convinced Denethor that Gandalf wanted to take over Middle-Earth for himself because that's what Sauron genuinely believed.
  • Evil Genius: He's one of the smartest beings in Middle-Earth from the very beginning.
    Gandalf: Let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Literally, as his physical form emanates enough heat to kill anyone just by touching. In general, he is associated with fire as well.
  • Evil Mentor: To Celebrimbor in Eregion, tricking him into forging the Rings of Power.
  • Evil Sorcerer: As the Necromancer, people mistakenly thought he was one of these.
  • The Evils of Free Will: He considers free will to be the root of chaos, and as a being who desires perfect order above all else he cannot tolerate it.
  • Evil Overlord: The Trope Codifier for modern fantasy.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Originally, Sauron was an angelic being and servant of Aulë, the godlike patron of craftsmen and maker of the physical aspect of the Earth; this is how he became such a master at creating items of power. However, he was corrupted by the first Dark Lord, Morgoth, with promises of power.
  • Fallen Angel: He once was a good Maia, though that was tens of thousands of years ago.
  • Faceless Eye: He appears as a great eye of fire in the minds of those who perceive him. Unlike in the Jackson movies, in the books this is not his actual physical form — which is hideous but humanoid, complete with a missing ring finger.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sauron has made destroying the Númenóreans one of his major goals.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. See Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. His pride kept him from even considering that anyone would want to destroy his pet Artifact of Doom.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: He ends as a bodiless spirit too weak to influence anyone ever again.
  • The Ghost: Tolkien never gave a clear description of what Sauron actually looked like in the original books. Pippin sees him in person, but he doesn't want to describe him.
  • God-Emperor: He sets himself as a god-king in Mordor.
  • Foil: To Gandalf, who was sent to Middle-Earth specifically to be his adversary.
  • The Heavy: Though not present for much of the story, his actions drive the plot.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He did this at the end of the First Age, when he mostly reformed and wanted to help rebuild Middle-Earth...
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: ...but the threat and fear of punishment was too great, and he didn't resist the temptation to use "reconstruction" as an excuse to to conquer the world.
  • I Have Many Names: Sauron's other names are these: Annatar, Gorthaur the Cruel, Thû, The Nameless Enemy, Dark Lord of Mordor, Lord of the Rings, Base Master of Treachery, the Dark Power, Lord of Barad-dûr, The Eye, Ring-maker, and The Necromancer. Also the Lord of Werewolves back in his shapeshifting days and Tevildo, Lord of Cats (!) in another version.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: How he caused Númenor to fall. See the The Silmarillion characters page for more.
  • Irony: As chancellor to Ar-Pharazôn, he was known as Tar-Mairon. In other words, the entity that was responsible for taking the corruption of Númenor to its logical conclusion rendered his name in Quenya, the language of the Faithful.
  • Keystone Army: Raised — and lost — several.
  • Light Is Not Good: In his guise as Annatar, Lord of Gifts, he appeared as an angelic being of incredible beauty. This was how he deceived the Elves and corrupted the Númenóreans.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: His malign will was functioning as his Evil Tower of Ominousness' foundation, not to mention the primary motivating and dominating force of his slave armies.
  • The Magnificent: Referred to as Sauron the Great by his followers. Also, before he turned evil, he was called Mairon ("Admirable").
  • Mind Rape: His specialty. "Thy flesh shall be devoured and thy shriveled mind left naked to the Lidless Eye." Brrrrr.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: After he lost his beautiful Annatar form in the fall of Númenor, he was stuck in a humanoid but horrendously monstrous form for the rest of his existence.
  • Motive Decay: Justified in-universe: his original motivation was to give order and peace to the world. As his evil grew, he lost sight of this goal - a desire for order became a desire to dominate everything, and a desire for peace became a lust for revenge against those who resisted him - the Eldar, the Númenóreans, and lastly the men of Gondor. His goal remains 'order' but his motivations change.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Sauron" is Quenya for "abomination." His less-often-seen Sindarin name, Gorthaur, means "terrible dread."
  • The Necromancer: It's one of his titles and the alias he used while recuperating at Dol Guldur, and his specialty as a Maia was in manipulating the connection between minds and physical bodies/objects. However, he does not seem to have the 'stereotypical' Necromancer's entourage of rotting animated corpses.
  • Not Quite Dead: Gandalf notes that, even with the destruction of the Ring, Sauron isn't actually dead as he is a Maia whose essence cannot truly perish. Instead, he's just reduced to an impotent "spirit of malice" that can never again grow or take form.
  • Obviously Evil: After the Downfall of Númenor, he can only take shape as something hideous that wears all his hate and corruption on the outside, where everybody can see it plainly.
  • Oh, Crap!: Understandably, he freaks the hell out when he realizes that his ring is in the very place it can be destroyed.
  • Orcus on His Throne: He never engages anyone in physical battle after his previous defeat by the Last Alliance. Though this isn't to say that he's inactive. His Eye is always on the move, as are his servants, propelled by his malevolent will. Justified in that, while he is immensely powerful, physical strength is not his forte. If Sauron is personally coming out to fight, like he did at the end of the Second Age, it generally means he's on the brink of defeat and getting rather desperate.
  • Order Versus Chaos: When Sauron was originally created as a good being, the greatest virtue that was instilled in him was a love of order and perfection, leading him to dislike anything he considered wasteful. Over time though, this virtue became twisted and corrupted as Sauron began to seek to impose order upon everyone and everything and came to view unrelenting tyranny as the easiest way to do so, leading him to fall from the side of good and join Morgoth as his lieutenant.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Sauron, like the Wizards, is an angel in humanoid form. Unlike them, however, he possesses his full power and knowledge.
  • Out-Gambitted: He Out Gambits everyone, and then is in turn Out Gambitted by Gandalf. See Unwitting Pawn below.
  • The Paranoiac: Both he and his master Morgoth fit this disorder, particularly as they got progressively weaker over the Ages and increasingly spiteful, envious, controlling, petty and grandiose as a direct result of that. Sauron especially, as by the end he simply wants to control absolutely everything and is completely enraged by any challenge to his. It also causes Sauron to have a cautious streak, both personally and as a strategist. Like his master, he generally does not attack unless assured of success, and heavily hedges his bets; his assault on Minas Tirith, for instance, only involves a fraction of his forces, with the bulk remaining in Mordor. His defeat there causes Sauron to fall back and regroup, when a second assault would likely have conquered the city easily.
  • Playing with Fire: His Dark Lord form is described as looking very dark, like it is blackened from the immense heat of his body, and anybody who gets too close is burned by him.
  • Present Absence: Sauron is never present in a scene, and very few of the characters have actually been in his presence. His only lines are spoken to Pippin when he looks into the palantír, and we only know them because the incident actually happens off-page, with Pippin telling the rest of the characters about it after the fact.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning. Does appear yellow at one point, however.
  • Red Right Hand: He cannot grow back the ring finger he lost at the end of the Second Age. "There are only four fingers on the Black Hand, but they are enough."
  • Shadow Archetype: Sauron is a Shadow to both Gandalf and Galadriel.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: After the destruction of Númenor, he can never again assume a form that isn't hideous, hateful, and Obviously Evil.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Of Mordor and the surrounding lands, with his thought ("Eye") alone and with the Palantír from Minas Ithil.
  • Super OCD: This was the beginning of his downward spiral. Even when he was once good, Sauron hated what he perceived to be disorder and complexity. All things having their own free-wills and destiny, frustrated him. He wanted all creation to pull in one direction, one way. His way.
  • Take Over the World: His goal, literally. And if he gets his Ring back, he probably can thanks to his enemies being far weaker than they were in the Second Age.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Sauron was this to Ar-Pharazôn and Celebrimbor, as well as an Evil Chancellor.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Sauron is one of the most skilled craftsmen in all of existence, which is one reason the Ring is so incredibly hard to destroy. While there are smiths of similar or greater skill, most of them live in Valinor, outside the reach of Middle-Earth.
  • Ultimate Evil: In the book itself, he's a quintessential go-to example of Ultimate Evil. The fact that there's a Bigger Bad in the Back Story is therefore Up to Eleven. Then again, Tolkien states that Sauron at the height of his power was more powerful than Morgoth during the War of the Jewels when compared to their respective opposition. Interestingly enough, he's not motiveless Evil Incarnate: his Start of Darkness was motivated by a desire for order and control. This helps explain the reactions of Gandalf and Galadriel when Frodo offers them the ring.
  • The Unfought: Due to Present Absence. Sauron always sends his minions to do the fighting for him. This may be justified as he usually gets the worst of any fight he actually takes part in.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Marching most of his army up to the Black Gate was a trap and he walked right into it.
  • Villains Never Lie: While normally a huge liar, this is how he corrupts both Saruman and Denethor. Sauron uses his own palantir seeing-stone against his enemies by controlling what they see through their own; while the palantir cannot show false images, Sauron can subtly guide the other side into seeing what he wants them to see. Sauron used this to show off his immense armies and power, to both drive his foes to despair and tempt them to join his side.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Before his physical body was destroyed in the fall of Númenor. Even afterwards he's implied to still possess the ability, though he never really gets a chance to use it — he just can't conceal his evil nature any more, meaning it's no longer useful as a disguise.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goal at the beginning was to establish a lasting order in Middle-Earth. By the time of the novel, he's long since lost any good intentions and now just wants absolute power for the sake of it.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: According to Gollum, even after regaining his physical form he's still missing the finger that Isildur lopped off.

    The One Ring 

Yes, the One Ring is a character: the one around whom everyone in the series bases their actions. Sauron made it, lost it, and wants it back. Gollum is addicted to its presence. The White Council want to destroy the Ring, Frodo volunteers, and the Fellowship of the Ring protect him on his quest. The thing is animated from afar by Sauron's will and malice, and seeks constantly to tempt its bearer to do evil and/or get itself back to Barad-dûr.
  • All Your Powers Combined: To the other Rings, though it doles out power based on its wielder's native abilities and strength of will.
  • Affectionate Nickname: It likes being called "precious", as evidenced by both Gollum and Bilbo calling it that.
  • Amplifier Artifact: It will increase the native power of whoever wields it, in proportion to what they had before. A mere Hobbit like Gollum or Frodo gets invisibility, a certain sharpness of hearing, and not much else, but somebody like Galadriel or Gandalf would be terrifyingly dangerous wielding it.
  • Artifact of Attraction: Even looking at it can bring weaker-willed people under its power.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Ring is treated as a WMD.
  • Battle Aura: Bestows one to Sam and later Frodo, terrifying an orc Mook and Gollum.
  • Black Speech: The hidden inscription on it.
  • Brown Note: Possessing the ring for extended periods of time will corrupt the bearer.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It will betray anyone who wields it and take another bearer at the worst possible moment, always seeking to get back to its true master, Sauron.
  • Compelling Voice: It's indicated a few times that it can talk to people (it does in the films), and its voice is always used to corrupt and tempt whoever has it.
  • The Corruption: It can and will corrupt anyone and everyone that takes it.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: It wants to be found. It wants you to keep it.
  • Happy Fun Ball: It looks like a golden ring, but is the Soul Jar of an evil angel.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Wearing the Ring makes you invisible in the normal world, but you become visible in the Wraith-World, where you can be seen by Sauron and his Ringwraiths. Like the Nine Rings, this also has the effect of corroding non-immortal wielders until they fade from the world and become wraiths themselves - a process that Hobbits (and Dwarves, according to the Appendices) are partially resistant to.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: To Sauron, and Sauron only. It allows its current bearer to access some powers, but only Sauron can make it work to its full strength. And if it is ever separated from its master, it does everything in its power to return. Nevertheless, according to Elrond at the Council of Elrond if one of the Wise, someone with great native power, were to wield the ring and use it to successfully overthrow Sauron, they would then set themselves on Sauron's throne and a new Dark Lord or Queen would appear; the implication here is that the Ring's loyalty would also change to the new Dark Lord or Queen, but they would be thoroughly corrupted and end up just as bad as Sauron, or even worse, because unlike Sauron previously they would have the Ring in their possession and could wield it at will. Because of this, it's dangerous even to the Wise as Elrond said.
  • Lust Object: Once you've had it, you will lust after it forever.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: It can only be destroyed in the same furnace where it was made — the volcanic depths of Orodruin.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The full capabilities of the Ring are never really explained or understood, to the characters or the reader. This is because it, like its creator Sauron, is not truly of Middle Earth: its nature is beyond mortal comprehension. This becomes all the more scary as the Ring's power and sentience grows as it nears its source, and its malignant influence begins to find footholds in Frodo's mind.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: In order to gain complete physical mastery of the world, Sauron an angelic being, had to intertwine his very spirit, malice, and will to dominate, with Arda. He poured it all into The One Ring, thus ensuring his hold and power remains, his spirit endures, even if he is defeated. He will return. This evil plan though would have profound implications and consequences. If the One Ring is destroyed, he loses the lion's share of his god-given strength. He will end up reduced to a mere shadow that gnaws itself in darkness, unable to create or reform again.
  • Ring of Power: The Ring of Power.
  • Soul Jar: The better part of Sauron's power is sealed in it.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: A very good person who has possession of the Ring will gradually succumb to restless paranoia. An evil person will grow much worse.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: In The Hobbit, it's a seemingly innocuous magic ring Bilbo finds that makes him invisible and proves to be useful on his journey. Imagine the surprise when it's revealed later that it's the Dark Lord's Soul Jar.


The leader of the Wizards and the White Council, Saruman the White possessed great knowledge and skill at crafting, but was proud and haughty. He dwelt in the tower of Orthanc at Isengard. Saruman was originally a steadfast enemy of Sauron, but in time came to envy Sauron and began searching for the One Ring. At first he steered the White Council away from opposing Sauron, hoping that the Dark Lord's rise would bring the Ring back into the open, but Sauron ensnared him through his use of the Seeing-stone of Orthanc and Saruman became his servant. Saruman raised an army of Orcs and subverted the land of Rohan through his minion Wormtongue, but still searched for the Ring in hopes of betraying Sauron and claiming his power.

Saruman was the foremost of the Wizards, but his greatest power was not magic, but his sheer charisma and compelling voice. With these he subverted the White Council and brought Rohan to its knees.
  • Above Good and Evil: Tries to invoke this by boasting he's not just white, but many colours. His terrible actions upon Middle Earth by assisting Sauron, demonstrate to cast and audience alike otherwise.
  • All Your Colors Combined: He tries to claim the name 'Saruman of the Many Colours.' Subverted when Gandalf points out that this is in fact inferior to being 'Saruman the White,' since multiple colors are what come of white light being broken.
  • The Archmage: Chief of the Istari and head of the Council of the Wise.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Leader of the wizards, and the most powerful.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He wants to replace Sauron as the Dark Lord of Middle-Earth.
  • Big Good: He was the most powerful and respected of the Istari and was considered their leader until he had a Face–Heel Turn sometime before the story starts and Gandalf had to take over.
  • Break the Haughty: The ruin of Isengard by the Ents, people he had completely written off. And then getting a big Shut Up, Hannibal! from Théoden King, and then having Gandalf command him and break his staff. And, finally, to be killed by Wormtongue. He brings all of it on himself.
  • Compelling Voice: Even when you bring an army to his ruined doorstep after his thorough defeat, he can make you doubt your self-worth.
  • Consummate Liar: Coupled with his literally magical charisma, he's also a highly effective liar.
  • Dirty Coward: After his army's defeated, he is driven mad with fear of repercussions. He shuts himself inside the Orthanc and refuses to leave, even with Gandalf's pardon; not out of fear of Rohan or the Fellowship, but of Sauron.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: He intended to betray Sauron and claim the One Ring for himself.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: After Frodo spares him following his overthrow at the Shire, Saruman assumes that Frodo did it to force him to live knowing that he's only alive because of his enemy's mercy. This is despite Frodo stating, while standing right next to Saruman, that he (Frodo) would rather not have a Maia killed, even a fallen one.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Gandalf. He even says that he is what Saruman should have been.
  • Evil Is Petty: When he takes over the Shire, he orders trees cut down and rivers despoiled solely to spite Frodo and company.
  • Evil Old Folks: Like the other Istari, he has the appearance of an elderly man.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Being a corrupted wizard.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He was once on the side of good, before his lust for power got the better of him.
  • Fallen Hero: Was once a Maia, an angel, who came to Middle-earth to help the people fight against Sauron. Then he was corrupted by Sauron, and wound up helping him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Polite, charming, composed — when he wants to be, anyway. When the mask slips due to pride or rage, on the other hand, he proves himself to truly be arrogant and contemptuous.
  • Freudian Trio: With Gandalf and Radagast; is the Superego in the group.
  • Gadgeteer Genius
    • In his speech to the Council of Elrond, Gandalf reveals that Saruman provided the weapons and/or strategy that evicted Sauron from Dol Guldur (an incident that is briefly alluded to in The Hobbit). In fact, Gandalf initially went to Isengard hoping that Saruman had discovered an anti-Nazgûl contingency.
    • He intends to bring about a one-man industrial revolution to Middle-earth, and he fills the caverns under his tower with gears, pulleys, cogs, and flamethrowers. Treebeard notes that “he has a mind of metal and wheels,” and the narration strongly disapproves of these “improvements.”
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He's jealous of Gandalf, and has been secretly having agents follow him, and imitating him — smoking pipe-weed, for instance. Unfinished Tales reveals that he's been jealous of Gandalf at least since they set sail from Valinor for Middle-Earth, probably even before that.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Saruman became too obsessed with using the powers of the Ring against Sauron.
  • Ignored Epiphany: When Gandalf offers him a Last-Second Chance, it's clear that he truly wants to leave Orthanc, but his pride, jealousy, and hatred overcome him.
    • In Unfinished Tales, he realizes he's in over his head with Sauron and considers asking Gandalf to let him rejoin the good guys. Unfortunately, this comes right after Gandalf escapes Isengard and Saruman's fury at being beaten like that drives the thought of redemption from his mind.
  • I Want Them Alive: And as captured, with no spoiling, to make sure that they still have the item of great value that he wants.
  • Karmic Death: He was killed by Gríma, who he had constantly berated and abused.
  • Last-Second Chance: He's offered one, and turns it down.
  • Light Is Not Good: His "white" robes and title of "the White" are belied by his evil nature.
    • Subverted: He's always been "The White", and was good for most of his life. His move to the "Dark" Side involves him claiming to be "Saruman of the Many Colors".
  • Mage Tower: Orthanc, a black tower in the middle of Isengard.
  • Man in White: Clothed in white robes, he is Saruman the White after all.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He screws over the White Council and tries to be The Starscream to Sauron, all the while slowly invading the Shire behind everyone's backs.
  • Non-Elemental: Saruman's specialty.
  • Not So Different: Upon Gandalf’s return as Gandalf the White, he informs Gimli and co. that he is Saruman — or, rather, Saruman as he should have been. Unfinished Tales reveals that, even while publicly denouncing Gandalf’s idiosyncrasies (most notably pipe-weed smoking), Saruman secretly picked up several of them in imitation of him — thus, in this case, he wasn’t so different from Gandalf.
    • Likewise, Frodo notes that Saruman's setup after taking over the Shire is a pale imitation of what Sauron had done in Mordor.
  • Oh, Crap!: He panics when he realizes Sauron knows he planned to betray him.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: A Green Aesop.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Wizards are really angels disguised as Men.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: But fails to convince Gandalf into joining him.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Saruman originally had black hair, which got whiter as he got older (and more evil).
  • The Resenter: He pretty much hates Gandalf due in no small part to how much everyone else (notably Varda and Galadriel) aren’t shy about saying Gandalf is the better of the two. The fact that Círdan chose to give Gandalf his elven ring of power Narya instead of him, is something he really resented.
  • The Rival: To Gandalf, due to the aforementioned resentment of him. Gandalf never tries to be a rival to him, though.
  • Shadow Archetype: After his Face–Heel Turn, he's this to Gandalf.
  • The Starscream: Intended to betray Sauron.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Saruman's actions have a major effect on the plot and his corruption is one of the major themes of the book. However, he only actually appears in four chapters (out of a total of 62): "The Council of Elrond" in The Fellowship of the Ring (in a flashback recounted by Gandalf), "The Voice of Saruman" in The Two Towers, and "Many Partings" and "The Scouring of the Shire" in Return of the King.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks he is a Magnificent Bastard but he really can't manage it.
  • Smug Straight Edge: In Unfinished Tales, it's noted that Saruman disparaged Gandalf's use of pipe-weed. However, in imitation of Gandalf, Saruman starts smoking it himself in secret, hence why Merry and Pippin find some barrels of Longbottom Leaf in Isengard (which also serves as foreshadowing of the Scouring of the Shire).
  • Treacherous Advisor: To Théoden, usually via Wormtongue but also directly. His goal is to weaken Rohan so he can conquer it.

    The Lord of the Nazgûl 

The nine Nazgûl were kings of Men to whom Sauron gave nine Rings of Power in the Second Age. Seduced by power, they fell into evil, and eventually passed into a state of undeath. The Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, are extensions of Sauron's will who exist only to do his bidding. They are his most terrible servants, and the greatest among them — known variously as the Black Captain, the Lord of the Nazgûl, and many other names — rules Minas Morgul as the Dark Lord's right hand.

Roughly two-thousand years before the War of the Ring, when Sauron was in hiding, the Lord of the Nazgûl was sent into the north to found the kingdom of Angmar under the identity of the Witch-king. There, he undermined and ultimately destroyed the North-kingdom of Arnor in a series of wars. At that time, it was foretold that no man could slay him. When Sauron declared himself openly, the Witch-king returned to Mordor, conquered Minas Ithil, and slew the last king of Gondor. When the War of the Ring began, he led the hunt for Frodo and the Ring, going so far as to corner him on Weathertop and stab him near-fatally with a Morgul-blade.
  • Badass Boast: Delivers one to Gandalf during their standoff at the ruined gate of Minas Tirith, and backs it up with a Flaming Sword as well. However, the Rohirrim arrive before he can follow through on it.
    "Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!"
  • Black Cloak: Like the other Nazgûl, he wears one while passing himself off as a "rider in black." Apparently this is their idea of looking more normal: Gandalf claims that they use the garments to "give shape to their shapelessness".
  • Carry a Big Stick: Wields a mace against Éowyn in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The movie changes it to a truly epic flail.
  • Dark Is Evil: Shrouds himself in a black cloak.
  • The Determinator: Unfinished Tales mentions that the Nazgûl are weakened and distracted by sunlight and dislike crossing running water, to the point that Sauron launched an attack on Osgiliath to get them across the Anduin. The Witch King, however, is largely unfazed by both of these and can even keep his fellows from succumbing to them.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Sauron fell, the Witch-king basically became the interim Dark Lord and launched a brutal (and centuries-long) campaign against the northern kingdom of Arnor, which had played such a large part in Sauron's downfall. Afterwards, he gathered the other Nazgûl, captured the city of Minas Ithil (along with its palantír), ended the line of Gondor’s kings, and participated in the rebuilding of Mordor in preparation for Sauron’s return.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Nazgûl all have the ability to inspire terror in others, particularly with their voices, and the Witch-king was particularly good at it. Even Saruman was terrified of him, as revealed in one of Tolkien's drafts.
    • Aragorn tells of an encounter with them, and it's one of the few times we see him shaken by anything.
    • Eärnur's entire elite cavalry troop were terrified of him. When the Witch-king road out to rend Eärnur with his bare hands, his trusty steed was so scared it fled before him, along with many other cavalrymen. Eärnur himself wasn't particularly afraid of the Witch-king, but was still slain by him
  • The Emperor: As the Witch-king of Angmar.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": We just know him by his title. He doesn't have a name proper.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Like the other Nazgûl, his breath and touch feel deathly cold.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's not called the Witch-king for nothing.
  • The Faceless: Due to being a wraith, and wearing a black cloak. When Frodo put the Ring on his presence, he saw his true face, and didn't like what he saw. When he takes off his hood, there is nothing there except for a pair of red points of light where his eyes should be.
  • Flaming Sword: While it's typically a normal sword, he makes flames run down it when he faces off against Gandalf in Minas Tirith.
  • Geas: It has been noted that while it is not referred to as such, the prophecy that he shall not fall by the hand of Man is functionally a geas.
  • Giant Flyer: His later mount, the Fell Beast.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: The only part of him that can be seen without his cloak are his glowing eyes.
  • Grand Theft Me: They were once kings of men. They are now mere puppets to Sauron's will. Only when Sauron is defeated their souls are finally free from the shackles the dark lord placed to keep them tethered to the world. Their wraith bodies, then implode.
  • Hero Killer: A formidable, dreadful foe. He kills Théoden, and killed Eärnur, the last king of Gondor before Aragorn. On that note, he also destroyed the kingdom of Arnor and conquered Minas Ithil, both of which made the War of the Ring much more difficult.
  • I Have Many Names: Well, many titles at least.
    • The Witch-king of Angmar.
    • The Black Captain.
    • The Lord of the Nazgûl.
    • Lord of Minas Morgul.
  • Implacable Man: He and the other Nazgûl can't be truly killed while the One Ring exists.
  • Mysterious Past: His past was never fully revealed. We only get hints of who he used to be. Which is a lot more than we get of his lieutenant, Khamûl the Black Easterling, and the rest of the Nazgûl.
  • Name Amnesia / No Name Given: He doesn't have an actual name though he presumably did, since he's not truly a person anymore, just an undead finger-puppet of Sauron's mind. Instead he's called Witch-king of Angmar (his alias, used only in the Appendix but remembered by everyone because of how cool it sounds), Lord of the Nazgûl, High Nazgûl, Black Captain, Captain of Despair, Morgul-lord, etc.
  • The Necrocracy: Founded two, the country of Angmar and the city of Minas Morgul.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: His anticipated showdown with Gandalf at the gates of Minas Tirith is cut very short by the arrival of Rohan.
  • No Man of Woman Born: In fact, it's rumored that his death was a Take That! against William Shakespeare's Macbeth, whose Prophecy Twist Tolkien thought was a cop-out.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Éowyn reveals she's a woman, he's actually struck silent in sudden doubt for a few moments.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Stabs Frodo with a Morgul blade, which would have turned him into a lesser wraith if it killed him.
  • Prophecy Twist: When you're prophesied to be killed by "no man," it's generally a good idea to notice that the world is full of people who aren't men.
  • The Undead: Wraiths are the remains of Men who have been forced to remain in Middle-earth long, long past their time, past Age Without Youth, to the point that their bodies don't really exist anymore. They're kept "alive" (and indeed, impossible to permanently destroy) by the One Ring, via their Nine Rings. And their existences are apparently perpetual agony.
  • Undying Loyalty: Rarely is the trope as literal, or as horrible, as this. When Sauron was 'destroyed' at the Battle of Dagor-lad, the Witch-King spent thousands of years preparing for his master's return, acting as the 'chief villain' for most of that time without even dreaming of supplanting him as Sauron supplanted Morgoth. (Sauron started his slide into evil in an effort to end the 'evils' of free will, and it looks like he succeeded in nine cases.)
  • Weakened by the Light: Gandalf drives him away (and even keeps him away again later) by shooting a bright white light into his face.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: As with the other Ringwraiths, sunlight reduces his 'vision' and the scope of his powers; fire can frighten and injure (but not destroy) him.
  • Was Once a Man: He used to be Man, before his ring twisted him into an undead wraith and wiped out his free will.


The only other Nazgûl individually known apart from the Witch-King of Angmar and the only one whose name is known. In life, Khâmul was one of the nine Kings of men seduced by the power of the One Ring. In his case, he was a King of the Easterlings, but now a loyal servant to Sauron and second only to the Witch-King in authority among the Nazgûl. Just as the Witch-King ruled over Minas Morgul, Khamúl ruled over Dol Guldur, in the North.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When he asks about Baggins to Farmer Maggot, the farmer essentially tells him to buzz off. According to Maggot, Khamúl then made sound that sounded somewhat like a laugh before riding off. Presumably he was amused at the sheer gall of the Hobbit to think he could threaten a Nazgûl.
  • All There in the Manual: His name and role is only present in the Appendices and in the Unfinished Tales.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: A shadowy rider, strongly implied to be a Nazgûl, with a similar description to Khamúl rides up to Erebor and offers Dáin Ironfoot an alliance with Sauron if he'd deliver them Baggins (Dáin refuses, but it's unclear if this is Khamúl himself, another Nazgûl or even another dark emissary of Sauron like the Mouth of Sauron.
  • Dark Is Evil: Between him and the Witch-King, he's far more associated with the night and darkness (thus one of his names being "the Shadow of the East").
  • Dragon Ascendant: He's the Witch-King's dragon (who's subsequently Sauron's Dragon). After the Witch-King falls in Pelennor Fields, he becomes the leader of the remaining 8 Nazgûl, leading them against Aragorn's forces in the Black Gate.
  • The Dreaded: The Hobbits soon become absolutely terrified of him.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Maggot's dogs (who are normally very ferocious) are cowering in terror when Khamúl rides up.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: It is mentioned the temperature seems to drop severely whenever Khamúl arrives.
  • The Faceless: Khamúl doesn't even have red eyes like the Witch-King.
  • Hellish Horse: His black steed that Frodo and company gaze upon.
  • The Hunter: His primarily role in Fellowship is hunting down the Ring and he's the one who actually discovers Frodo has it.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The story is fairly light-hearted in the preceding chapters in the Shire. Khamúl is the first servant of Sauron to make a appearance in the story, and with him he brings a foreboding dread that will acompany the entire narrative.
  • The Nose Knows: Khamúl is often described as sniffing the air not unlike a hound to pick up the Ring's scent.
  • Opt Out: When he's confronted by legendary badass Glorfindel, he wisely retreats. Same thing happens when he senses a host of Elves nearby.
  • Red Baron: Known as "the Black Rider", "The Black Easterling" and "The Shadow of the East".
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Khamúl is the Ringwraith who tracks down the Ring to the Shire during Fellowship of the Ring and who hunts Frodo during the early chapters. Frodo makes note he keeps finding them no matter how many detours they take.
  • Underestimating Badassery: None of the inhabitants of the Shire seem to quite realize they are talking with one of the most powerful servants of darkness.
  • Villain of Another Story: As the Lord of Dol Guldur, Khamúl was tasked with commanding Sauron's northern forces, which attacked King Thranduil's woodland realms, Mirkwood, Lórien (which resulted in the Battle Under the Trees, which resulted in a great deal of the forest going down in flames) and may even have a hand in the Battle of the Dale, in which the Sauron-allied Easterlings stormed Dale and the gates of Erebor. But since the focus of Lord of the Rings is in the West, we only get rare offhand mentions to this.
  • Weakened by the Light: He had a severe weakness to sunlight which diminished his powers during the day.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Gaffer Gamgi says he spoke with "some kind of foreign tone" and Maggot says he sounded "queer", which either refers to the odd, unnatural manner Nazgûl speak or possibly to Khamúl's Easterling origin (i.e he may still speak with a Rhún accent).

The captain of a company of Uruk-hai whom Saruman sent to search the area of Amon Hen. He and his orcs kill Boromir and abduct Merry and Pippin. Probably the most detailed orc character in the trilogy.

  • Bad Boss: Ugluk openly threatens the lesser orcs under his command with execution (and tends to cut a few up whenever things go wrong.)
  • Badass Boast: His Uruk-hai clearly think of themselves as a superior cadre.
    Ugluk: We are the fighting Uruk-hai! We serve the White Hand - the Hand that gives us man's flesh to eat!
  • Enemy Civil War: He's got a mixed group of Uruk-hai, orcs from Mordor, and Moria-goblins in his command. The factions come to blows a couple of times.
  • Hidden Depths: Saruman obviously didn't choose Ugluk on an idle whim. Like all Uruk-hai, he regards himself as an elite Blood Knight: but he's also a capable tactician, skilled in the orcish art of healing, and knows an awful lot about the politics behind all this hobbit-snatching.
  • Implacable Man: He sets a pace of travel that's right at the limit of orcish endurance.
  • Large and in Charge: The Uruk-hai are considerably larger than other orcs, and Ugluk is described as one of the largest.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The narration indicates that after Merry and Pippin managed to escape, Eomer confronted Ugluk in a duel to the death.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He mends the head wound that Merry received at Amon Hen, so that Merry can be forced to run rather than being carried.
  • Villainous Valor: While some other orcs in his company attempt to flee, he fights to the last.

    The Mouth of Sauron 

The Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, an evil Man of the same high race as Aragorn who serves as Sauron's herald. The Mouth meets the forces of Rohan and Gondor before the final battle of the War of the Ring and tries to convince the remaining Fellowship that Frodo is a captive and at Sauron's mercy.
  • Ass in Ambassador: He spends the entire "negotiation" insulting Aragorn and Gandalf, implying the torture of Frodo, and demanding that all of the West immediately surrender to Sauron.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: From his dialogue, one gets the impression that he's the one in charge of actually doing this to people who have offended Sauron in some manner.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Appeals to this while taunting the good guys:
    "Where such laws hold it is the custom for heralds to use less insolence."
  • Dirty Coward: Freaks out when threatened, and ultimately turns and runs when given a Death Glare.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": 'His name is remembered in no tale for he himself had forgotten it, and he said "I am the Mouth of Sauron."'
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's learned the Black Arts (Morgul) from Sauron, which is the extent that Men can learn "magic" at all in Middle-Earth.
  • Giggling Villain: Not "giggling" per se, but he laughs incessantly at Aragorn and Gandalf's terms.
  • Hellish Horse: Rides one, in contrast to the Black Riders who ride ordinary black horses stolen from Rohan.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Pretty much his whole "negotiation" with Gandalf.


A monstrous demonic thing in spider shape, the mother of the Spiders of Mirkwood featured in The Hobbit, and the last surviving offspring of Ungoliant from The Silmarillion, who spins her deadly webs in a dark cave in the mountains of Mordor. Shelob is Sauron's "cat" — he doesn't control her, but lets her prey on would-be intruders (and many unlucky Orcs). Gollum leads Frodo and Sam into her lair.
  • Achilles' Heel: Subverted. Her underside is just as tough as the rest of her body. The book emphasizes that unlike dragons, Shelob has no weak spots save for her eyes. Sam is only able to pierce her skin and tissue because she unwittingly slams on his blade with her own, massive strength.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The main reason Sauron let her set up shop right on Mordor's back door step. She captures and kills everything that wanders into her nest, making her a more effective watch than a full gate regiment. Even the orcs don't mess with her.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Like Ungoliant, she is an ancient demonic entity that vaguely resembles a spider.
  • Casting a Shadow: Like her mother, she weaves webs of darkness that, while not as powerful as her mother's Unlight, are perceptible to the Hobbits, as well as the other creatures that intrude upon her lair.
  • Dark Action Girl: A female spirit in the form of a spider who gives Sam a challenge in combat.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Sauron treats her as his pet. Shelob doesn't care. He actually compares her to a pet cat, as she was a pet that rejected his authority.
  • Eye Scream: Sam stabs her in one eye with Sting during their fight, and then blinded her other eyes with the Phial of Galadriel.
  • Giant Spider: Really just a spider-like monster, described to have pincers in her feet and great insect-like eyes, among other taxonomical oddities.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Of the "pure evil" variety. She was stated to be immune to the Ring's temptations because power holds no interest for something that just wants to eat everything. Also, similarly to what happened between Sauron's boss and Shelob's mom, the spider's spirit is so purely evil that Sauron has no control over her whatsoever. Doesn't stop him from amusingly considering Shelob as some sort of pet, though.
  • Meaningful Name: "Lob" is an archaic English word for "spider." She's female. "She-Lob".
  • Monster Progenitor: Is revealed in the narration of the story to be the mother of the Spiders of Mirkwood.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Nothing could pierce her hide, not even the swords of Númenor, until she accidentally put her own weight into the blow.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Like her mother Ungoliant, her ultimate goal seems to be to eat the whole planet. Mercifully, she's nowhere near accomplishing that.
  • Physical God: Thanks to being the daughter of both an "ordinary" Giant Spider and Ungoliant, who was more or less an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Primal Fear: Before she reveals herself, Frodo and Sam can feel her presence as a lurking, stalking menace in pitch-dark tunnels.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Especially when they're enormous demonic ones.
  • Time Abyss: Although not to the same extent as her mother, Ungoliant, Shelob is still very ancient. She was born (spawned?) in the First Age, and came to Mordor before even Sauron did. Thus, she would be nearly seven thousand years old at the time of the War of the Ring.
  • The Voiceless: The fact that she was able to work out a deal with Gollum implies she can speak, but she never does during her appearance in the text. Or just that she understands speech, and relented her attack when Gollum begged for his life and promised to bring her tasty things to eat. Her mother Ungoliant in The Silmarillion could talk, as could her descendants in The Hobbit. All told, Shelob herself being able to talk seems pretty likely — she probably just didn't have anything to say to 'food'.
  • Weakened by the Light: The light from the Phial of Galadriel drove her back.

    Durin's Bane/The Balrog 

An ancient and terrible demon who fled deep underground after the Wars of Beleriand in the First Age, the unnamed Balrog was awakened from its torpor in the Third Age when the dwarves of Moria Dug Too Deep for mithril. The monster killed the dwarves' king and drove them out of their halls into exile. Centuries later, the Balrog, now known as Durin's Bane, was encountered by the Fellowship as they traveled through Moria. Gandalf held off the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.
  • Casting a Shadow: Though it is a fire-demon at its core, it's surrounded by a vast and terrifying shadow that it can stretch out around it "like wings." When its flames are temporarily extinguished, it becomes a creature of pure darkness.
  • Dark Is Evil: As part of the darkness motif of most demons.
  • The Dreaded: Overawes the fellowship with its mere appearance. Even Legolas, who casually regards an army of ghosts as harmless, runs away yelling in terror. Gandalf can't bring himself to say the word Balrog after their encounter.
  • Dual Wielding: Sword and whip.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": This particular Balrog is known by his title, Durin's Bane. Presumably he has an actual name, but he's not on a first-name basis with anybody in the story. He's known merely by his (sub)species or by the nickname the Dwarves gave him.
  • Fallen Angel: The Silmarillion and assorted other backstory reveal that the Balrog is just one of a race of formerly-angelic creatures that made the Ringwraiths look like pansies. The Balrogath are Maiar, of the same lesser angelic order as Sauron, the five Wizards, and Dragons.
  • Hero Killer: He's not called Durin's note  Bane for nothing. Since Gandalf the Grey dies killing him, he's also responsible for his death as well.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The story was already serious, but he upped the ante and paved the way for the Fellowship's breaking by bringing down Gandalf. (Of course, Gandalf got better.) It also introduced the epic one-on-one fights that would occur later in the story.
  • Large and in Charge: Possibly. The descriptions are vague and can be interpreted differently. On one hand, its wings are described as spreading "wall to wall" in a great chamber. On the other hand, he's also described as "like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater." He is certainly much more imposing than the orcs and trolls in Moria, and they seem to be almost as afraid of him as the Fellowship is.note 
  • Last of His Kind: Possibly. He's the only known Balrog to have survived the First Age, but it is possible that more of them did.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Durin's Bane." Also, "Balrog" is the Sindarin form of the Quenya term Valarauko, "Demon of Might."
  • Playing with Fire: The flames are hidden, but he (it?) is still a fire-demon who wields a flaming weapon.
  • Rasputinian Death: Falls down a deep pit along with Gandalf, as they try to stab one another as they plummet down to the bottom. Once they land, they are immediately submerged, carried down the stream presumably, race through natural caverns, and climb the Endless Stair to the peak of Celebdil, where they fought until Gandalf manages to pierce its heart, causing it to fall down to its death.
  • Red Baron: Durin's Bane.
  • The Remnant: He, like the other Balrogs, was a servant of Melkor, the first Dark Lord, until the latter was captured by the Valar at the end of the First Age. This Balrog was one of the few that survived the War of Wrath, and he becomes the de facto ruler and deity of Moria's population of Orcs and Trolls, which are also (at least partially) derived from Melkor's defunct armies.
  • Villain of Another Story: This horror has nothing to do with Sauron and it was bringing ruin to Middle Earth long before he entered the picture. It served under Morgoth, destroyed the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, and ended the line of Durin kings. As a Maiar, the Balrog could have easily been a Big Bad in its own right, but the Fellowship run into it purely out of bad luck.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Though he is unquestionably a terrible threat, the Balrog has nothing to do with Sauron (aside from the two of them serving the same master thousands of years previously). The Fellowship could have avoided him entirely if not for being forced to enter Moria... with Peregrin Took.
  • Whip It Good: He uses a flaming whip in conjunction with a Flaming Sword.
  • Winged Humanoid: He can cast a shadow around him appearing "like wings". Whether they are actual, functional wings or just an illusion is left ambiguous.

    The Watcher in the Water 

A tentacled monster that guards the western gates of Moria at least since 30 years ago. It is encountered by the Fellowship upon their arrival to the walls of the dwarven realm, and it briefly battles them before closing the doors behind them, leaving the Fellowship trapped in Moria.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: A literal example. Only its appendages are seen.
  • Combat Tentacles: Pale green, foul-smelling 'tentacles' with fingered tips are all that the Fellowship sees. The text states they are twenty one or so, but this could just be literary license for 'tentacles everywhere!'
  • Enigmatic Minion: It is not revealed whether the monster serves Sauron or has its own agenda.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Tentacles usually come attached to cephalopods, but we just don't know for sure. In fact, Sam initially mistakes them for snakes, and later Gandalf can't even say if they were all part of a single creature.
  • Guardian Entity: It appears to guard the western gates of Moria from its pool, and it's implied to have done so for a long time before the events of the story.
  • Hero Killer: When it attacks the Fellowship, it goes straight to the Ring-bearer, and some of the better combatants of Middle-Earth can do little more than fending its tentacles off for a while before running for their lives. It's mentioned in the book Gandalf finds as having grabbed Óin (one of the company from The Hobbit) and drowned him.
  • No Name Given: The book of Mazarbul speaks of a "Watcher in the Water" before the gates, so the reader can assume it is speaking of the monster.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Watcher's main body (or bodies - it may be a colony) is never seen, and this has led people writing about the series to speculate about kraken, water-dragons or any number of unwholesome possibilities.
  • Outside-Context Problem: It does not appear to have any ties to Sauron, or Saruman, or even the Balrog. It may just be one of those nasty things that lurk in the darker corners of Middle-Earth - another Smeagol or Shelob.