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The Fellowship of the Ring

""The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil."

Nine companions, including members of each of the free peoples (Men, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits), who were united at the Council of Elrond. Though their paths diverge, they remain always bound together by friendship and by a vow to destroy the One Ring and rid the land of Sauron's corruption, no matter how difficult that may prove to be.

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    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.
  • Badass Adorable: Frodo is a Hobbit and is as small and cute as they tend to be;
  • Badass Pacifist: During the Scouring of the Shire, he is able to lead the Hobbits to victory without ever drawing a weapon, and urges his friends not to hurt anyone. Mostly, it works.
  • 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.)
  • Break the Cutie: The story is largely an exercise in torturing him physically and mentally. He does not get better.
  • 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."
  • The Hero's Journey: Frodo undergoes the tragic version of the trope at the same time that Aragorn is undertaking the triumphant version: He ultimately fails his final temptation and rather than bringing him enlightenment, the journey leaves him shell-shocked.
  • 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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Blue Oni to Sam's Red Oni. Most noticeable with Gollum: Frodo is always calm and polite while Sam bristles at him.
  • 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.
  • Badass Normal: Like all the other hobbits in the Fellowship, Sam has no magical powers, ancient superhuman lineages, or combat training. He's just a random Hobbit. In fact even among hobbits he's this: Frodo is the heir of Bilbo, carries the Ring with him, and is decked out with a magical sword and armor. Merry and Pippin are Frodo's kin, and members of two of the Shire's most important and influential families (the Brandybucks and Tooks, respectively). This makes the three as close to aristocracy as can be found in the Shire. Merry and Pippin also became bigger and stronger after drinking the Ent-draughts. Sam, however, starts the story a humble gardener from a common family, is not the heir of any great house even among the reckoning of hobbits, and gains no supernatural boon. Despite this, he demonstrates more raw fearlessness and grit than any of the four hobbits, if not all the Nine Riders.
  • 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. The Ring even tries to tempt him with it at one point, promising him to give him the power to turn Mordor into a beautiful garden. Sam rejects this, as he doesn't hold any desire to rule over others, and coming to the obvious, but logical conclusion that tending to such a large garden simply wouldn't be practical in any sense.
  • 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 defense.
  • 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, often mimicking his speech patterns in mocking fashion.
  • 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. The text could say it little better:
    His will was set, and only death could break it.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did a hobbit just kick the crap out of a half-demonic Giant Spider? Oh yes.
  • The Dreaded: Sam accidentally makes some of the Cirith Ungol orcs respectful of or terrified of him before they even see him, because they see the aftermath of his Roaring Rampage of Rescue against Shelob (who even they won't try to fight) and assume only a great warrior could manage to win a battle with her.
  • 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. All he wants is to be a gardener; so when the Ring tempts him, he has no ambition it can use to persuade him. It's also implied the Ring is grasping at straws to stay alive.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Definitely.
    As far as he could remember, Sam slept through the night in deep content, if logs are contented.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Resolve: All summed up with one line on the slopes of Mount Doom: "Come, Mr. Frodo!...I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well."
  • 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 future of the quest. Even Frodo is surprised, and it comes back to bite Gollum after his treachery at Cirith Ungol when he underestimates the sheer depths of Sam's Heroic Resolve where Frodo is concerned.
  • 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 to tempt 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. He's the only one it's exposed to other than Faramir to not fall to it, and the only one other than Bilbo to give it up willingly after possessing 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.
  • 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. Because his ambitions are very modest and he has no desire whatsoever to rule over others, it can't offer him 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").
    • It should be noted that it's a case of Translation Convention, and his name, in Westron, would be Banazîr Galbasi. Samwise Gamgee is just the English translation of Banazîr Galbasi...sort ofnote .
  • 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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Red Oni and Frodo is the Blue. Sam's temper often gets the best of him, while Frodo is almost always calm.
  • 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 taking down the Witch-King.
  • 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Pippin, inseparable friends they are.
  • 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, and Merry refers to him as a second father.
  • 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.
  • Big Eater: Even more than most hobbits are. To the point that after nearly dying his first question isn't for medical aid or rest, but just food.
  • 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.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Peter Jackson films play this up a bit, but even early on Pippin gets dangerous or smart when things get ugly. He's the first hobbit to kill an orc in Moria, leaves his broach for Aragorn and company to follow when captured, and he tricks the Uruk-Hai by sawing his bindings when they're arguing amongst themselves then pretending he's still bound until he and Merry can escape. The Peter Jackson adaptation of Fellowship even has him, Legolas, and Gandalf as the only ones to come out unscathed from the troll battle in Moria.
  • 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."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Merry, friends since childhood who are never apart.
  • 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.
  • Trickster Archetype: An innocent version, as he's harmless but mischievous, though this is toned down as he makes his transition to badass.
  • Weapon of Choice: A short sword/knife from Arnor.

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.

  • Angel Unaware: He's actually a Maia from the Uttermost West.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: One of Middle Earth's most trusted advisers and one of Middle Earth's greatest ass kickers.
  • 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.
    "It will be my turn to get angry soon. If you say that again, I shall. Then you will see Gandalf the Grey uncloaked."
    "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: Renowned to be one of the wisest Maiar, if not the wisest. He's also a very capable Magic Knight, who's far stronger, tougher, and more mobile than he appears.
  • 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 Horse: Gandalf rides Shadowfax, the lord of all horses, who rides as fast as the wind, understands human speech, and will let none but the old wizard ride him.
  • 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, suggesting that his mission may or may not have been more nature related than the others). Saruman ended up being made into Sauron's lackey and The Starscream, and no one really knows what happened to the Blue Wizards - again, Word of God was ambiguous, suggesting that either they lost their way and inspired magical cults in the East, or that they didn't, and were the Hero of Another Story, inciting revolts against Sauron and limiting the strength he could bring to bear. Either way, there's no doubt that 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.)
  • Doting Parent: Towards Frodo, mostly, whom he always tries to protect and help. He does the same for most Hobbits, but Frodo seems to be his most beloved Hobbit.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: You Shall Not Pass!, where he goes up against a Balrog for ten days straight.
  • Eccentric Mentor: To Bilbo and Frodo. Aragorn even lampshades that he's "always speaking in riddles."
  • Elemental Baggage: "I cannot burn snow.". So says Gandalf when asked to burn away a snowstorm.
  • 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.
  • Fiery Stoic: Bearer of Narya, the Red Ring of Fire, which may account for his skill with fireworks and flames in general (e.g. the wargs outside Moria). He's an archetypal wizard with all the calmness and wisdom that entails (although he does have a temper occasionally — subtle and quick to anger and all that: "Bilbo Baggins! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!").
    Gandalf: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass.
  • 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, he's not really as grumpy as he acts. 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 roasted poor Barliman Butterbur for failing to deliver (a vitally important) letter - as it happens, he didn't, but he did give him a scare. 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.
  • 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 — as he points out, he just wants to warn people when something bad is coming their way. Unfortunately, however, that's pretty much the only time he shows up to most people (visits to the Shire excepted), so the association is entirely positive or without reason.
  • 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.
  • 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: After his resurrection, he strives with the will of Sauron from Lothlorien to get Frodo to take off the Ring on Amon Hen, though it exhausts him. He also 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.
    • Even in the film version of Fellowship of the Ring when he's still Gandalf the Grey, he's quite a bit less stern than in the original book.
  • 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: After Sauron's defeat, Aragorn is at long last crowned king of Gondor and marries 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'.
  • The Good King: Of Gondor, once he claims the throne.
  • 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.
  • Large and in Charge: He's 6'6" and becomes King of Gondor.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Borrows a shield for pitched battles but otherwise goes without one.
  • 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.
  • Nothing Left to Do but Die: The appendix reveals that after just over 120 years of successful rule, Aragorn finally began to feel his age. He figured he had done all that could be expected of him, his son was ready to take his place as king, and he had nothing to look forward to except increasing decrepitude and senility. Since his Númenórean ancestry allowed him to die at will, he said his goodbyes and willingly laid down in his tomb.
  • 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 role 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.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The Shards of Narsil before they were reforged.
  • 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 initially do not get along well due to the longstanding animosity between dwarves and elves, but over the course of the Fellowship's travels, they become close 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 with Gimli.

  • 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".
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Gimli.
  • 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: Becomes this with Gimli; when the fellowship disbands at the end, the pair do not part, but instead travel Middle-Earth together. Even later note  they sail to Valinor together.
  • 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 threw 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.
  • 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; not solely for her appearance, but because she's the only Elf he's met to show an appreciation and respect for Dwarven culture. He has strong words with anyone who repeats the usual rumors of how dangerous and witchlike the Lady of Lorien is.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • With Legolas
    • He also 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.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Legolas; they travel Middle Earth together after the War of the Ring, and Gimli even accompanies Legolas to the Isles of the Blessed about a century after the events of the story.
  • 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.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Borrows a shield for pitched battles, but otherwise goes without one. Amusingly, his height means he's given a child-sized shield made for a young Theoden.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Dwarves are very strong for their size. He's the only one to wear armor openly, while the others went light for stealth.
  • 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.
  • The Team Normal: Downplayed, but of the three hunters, Gimli is by far the most 'average,' being only a brave and skilled Dwarf while Legolas is an immortal Elf prince and Aragorn a Númenórean King. Most clearly seen during the Paths of the Dead, where the other two are more or less unfazed while Gimli is barely able to stand for sheer terror.
  • 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.


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".
  • Boisterous Bruiser: As most Gondorian men, he was quite fond of battle and boisterous about it.
  • 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. Before the quest of the Ring even starts he goes to Rivendell, where he had never been to before, on foot after losing his horse on the way.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: His pride, which eventually drives him to folly and leads to his death.
  • 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.
  • Honor Before Reason: A twisted variation of it. What dooms Boromir in the end is his honorbound oath to protect Gondor, which the Ring uses to twist his mind until he tries to claim the Ring for itself.
  • 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.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The only one in the Fellowship who has his own shield. It's wrecked in his final battle.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After realizing what he 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 traits. 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. Also note that, unlike Isildur and Denethor, two other characters whose fatal flaw is pride and whose deaths are ignoble, Boromir's death is dignified, and he dies with a smile.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Faramir's Blue. He was the vivacious charismatic warrior while Faramir was the more reserved intellectual.
  • 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 an 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.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: His death occurs in the first chapter of the The Two Towers.
  • 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.
  • Wrecked Weapon: His sword, shield and horn were all smashed or broken by the end.

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