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Rating the Lord of the Rings Characters


Art by Mia Walker

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.” – Bilbo Baggins


Lord of the Rings is a huge fandom, and for a reason. There are so many elements of these stories that make them amazing. The plot, the visuals, the dialogue, but really, above all, the characters. I have some *ahem* favorite characters, and a WHOLE lot of opinions, so, why not share them with you? This being said, I was surprised at how many people who were part of this fandom had conflicting views on…everything. Whatever the case of your support for each character, I hope it’s entertaining to hear my explanations.


I’m going to rate each character out of 5 stars with a rubric and then explain why exactly I like (or dislike) each one. Just keep in mind that this article may have some spoilers! If you haven’t seen all of the movies, or read the books, just keep in mind that I will be discussing the plot. Additionally, this article may be a bit confusing for people who aren’t super familiar with the characters and scenes.


How I’ll rate the characters

Each character will have an overall rating out of five stars, then, a score out of ten in each of the following categories:


Visual (Not how aesthetically pleasing they are, just in terms of character design)

Character development (Through the movies or through their time on screen)

Likeability (How much did they make me want to see them on screen?)

Overall personality (How annoying are they? Are they funny?)

Skill (Fighting mostly)

Impact or memorability (How they did/didn’t move the plot; Would I remember their name out of the many?)


KEEP IN MIND: I am NOT ranking the characters, the order that they are in means nothing.


Without further ado folk, let's be judgy. To quote Bilbo Baggins, “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”



#1: Frodo Baggins

All images from the Lord of The Rings Wiki page

Visual: 8/10

Character Development: 9/10

Likeability: 7/10

Overall Personality: 6/10

Skill: 6/10 (gets better though)

Impact or Memorability: 10/10


Starting off strong with our main character, Frodo Baggins sporting a ⅗ stars. I have very mixed opinions about Frodo. I think, first off, that he is a perfect main character for these stories. He's the underdog, not the strongest or most skilled, but he does his best and his character development is very important. He had a huge burden to carry, so I respect him for that as well. Frodo makes some… questionable decisions over the span of his adventure, and his treatment of Sam is infuriating. You can very easily argue that this was not his fault, but as seen with Bilbo, he didn’t turn to those measures. His personality (unaffected by the ring) is sweet, but demands respect. I don’t know how to explain it, but he has this way about him that is passive-aggressive towards people when they don’t treat him with the UTMOST respect. This weird demandingness is more present in the books than in the movies, but noticeable in both. Frodo’s appearance in the movies doesn’t really match their descriptions in the book, as in the books he is described with softer and more approachable features, which I can say I like better than how they did it in the movies.


Overall, I LIKE Frodo well enough, but examining his actions leaves me to wonder if a lot of conflicts could have been avoided if he had been a little bit more observant.


#2: Galadriel


Visual: 9/10

Character Development: N/A

Likeability: 7/10

Overall Personality: 7/10

Skill: 10/10

Impact or Memorability: 8/10


I think it’s safe to say I have some problems with our Lady of Lothlorien…


Galadriel is beautiful, powerful, and helpful, but all in all, she's a jerk. She uses her power for fear, even if she doesn’t say it. I feel like she masks her need for it behind an innocent act that cracks when someone doesn’t do exactly as she says. This said though, she has her good moments. She was a key figure in making sure the fellowship made it safely through the perils of their journey with her gifts and words of encouragement. I mean, she gave Gimli three strands of hair. What COULDN’T you do with three strands of hair?


Jokes aside, Galadriel is intimidating. Remember when Frodo wanders down to the courtyard at Lothlorien when she comes down and presents him with his “future?” Yeah, that was terrifying. When she gets like that though, she’s unstoppable. Another one of these cases is in the Battle of The Five Armies when she mind-fights Sauron and mocks him for serving Morgoth. If I had a spirit elf lady whispering mean things to me in my head, I would back down too.


#3: Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took (Merry and Pippin)


Visual: 8/10

Character Development: 9/10

Likeability: 10/10

Overall Personality: 10/10

Skill: 8/10

Impact or Memorability: 9/10


You know…they kind of come as a package.


Merry and Pippin are the characters that are sometimes just there for laughs, which I can get behind. Through all the seriousness of LOTR their comedy relief is refreshing. Also, their names are fun to say.


As Merry and Pippin accompany Frodo and the Fellowship on their adventure there are *multiple* times when they are split off from the group, only to further prove their worth. One of these instances is when they are kidnapped by the Uruk-Hai orcs in Two Towers and escape in what seems to be impossible circumstances. They then make their way to Treebeard (the ent) and fight in the Last March. And win. And somehow find a bunch of food. And stop the place from burning down.


How??


After rewatching this scene MULTIPLE times, I keep wondering how they acquired the skills to fight. They were never able to before! They just hid behind trees and watched the other people. Maybe it was the ent magic. Maybe it was just luck. In either case, they were amazing and gained my respect on the fighting front.


Additionally, they are always there for people. Like with Sam, they talked to him when he was feeling scared and made sure he was fine, and they helped Frodo get out of a multitude of bad situations.


Their obsession with food also makes for some funny scenes. Like in Fellowship of the Ring when Legolas tells them that one bite of the lembas bread can make a grown man feel full, and then Merry asks Pippin how many he ate, the latter responding with, “four…”


This is also a good example of how they work as a pair to be this highly rated in my system. They complete each other in the best way possible and it creates those little moments in the story that make me smile.


#4: Aragorn


Visual: 10/10

Character Development: 9/10

Likeability: 10/10

Overall Personality: 9/10

Skill: 10/10

Impact or Memorability: 9/10


It’s the hair I know it is. It’s giving… .Jack Sparrow mixed with Robin Hood.


I like Aragorn simply because he’s so kind. He doesn’t create problems, he’s always there when you need him, he makes people feel safe and looked out for, and he always knows what to say, and his love for Arwen is unmatched. Also, he can FIGHT.


In the scene where Frodo realizes he needs to split off from the Fellowship to keep everyone safe, instead of trying to stop him or saying he couldn’t do it, Aragorn simply looks into his eyes, and says, “I would have gone with you to the end.”


Then, immediately after this scene that made me burst into tears, Aragorn takes on an entire hoard of Uruk-hai alone. I literally love him in this part and he looks so good when he fights.


Aragorn has so many other great moments as well, like at the end of Fellowship of the Ring when the ending line of the entire movie is him saying, “Let’s hunt some orc.” *Insert determined face*


In addition to being an amazing fighter, he also leads the group flawlessly and looks out for Merry and Pippin like their his little brothers. Personally, I don’t think the Fellowship would have made it even a fraction of how far they did if it wasn’t for him. Him, along with Legolas were the only two who had the adequate tracking and direction skills for the job. Also, Mr. King of Arnor has a soft spot for our troublemaking hobbits. Like, when Merry and Pippin are kidnapped, that was the FIRST thing he wanted to address, even before making sure Sam and Frodo were safe. He also is always tending to their (many) needs and teaching them skills with patience and some sort of pride. A worthy mention Aragorn moment is his entrance at Helms Deep. This moment made me want to drop EVERYTHING for this man, and my only thoughts were, “STRIDER IS BACKKK!” Then Legolas roasts him. I love that.


#5: Tauriel


Visual: 9/10

Character Development: 6/10 (but only because there isn’t much for her to go on…)

Likeability: 10/10

Overall Personality: 9/10

Skill: 10/10

Impact or Memorability: 5/10


Taking a small detour into The Hobbit, let's talk about a character that gets easily forgotten.

With her forest theme and fighting skills, you would think she would make more of an appearance in discussions or write about LOTR. The simple fact though is that she doesn’t, and even die-hard fans sometimes forget about her (including me). Although, I am a little bit of an exception because when I first got into the fandom I watched The Hobbit first, and she was the one who stuck in my mind. Subsequently, through my obsession with her, I decided she would provide my Halloween costume and boom, I was an elf. Even then though, after I had gotten more into Lord of the Rings, she kind of faded.


This is not surprising to me though. Tauriel was a character created by Peter Jackson for the movie as what I think was a device for Kili. She never actually appeared in the original books and was there to be the warrior female character and have Kili die lovingly in her arms.

Putting her original use aside for a second though, Tauriel is a really good character for a couple of reasons. She is one of the only female captains of the Elven Guard and does a really good job at it too. As she was leading the force to clear Mirkwood of those giant spiders, she saved the dwarves. But if you think about it… SHE WAS LEADING THE FORCE TO CLEAR THE SPIDERS. If she hadn't done that and taken initiative, things would have been a LOT different. Second of all, her relationship with Legolas.


They grew up together, and his love for her is so pure in both ways. The fact that they didn’t end up together was a good plot point, and after Kili died Tauriel would seek comfort in him. They make a good pair when they fight as well and complement each other’s skills. Third of all, she’s just sweet. Although I think she tries to maintain her serious outside, she’s kind, and puts helping people above all else. Plus, she has some great lines.


“If this is love I do not want it. Why does it hurt so much?”


#6: Sam


Visual: 8/10

Character Development: 9/10

Likeability: 10/10

Overall Personality: 9/10

Skill: 5/10

Impact or Memorability: 10/10


Sam is really lovable, I mean, he was written to be that way. He’s arguably Frodo’s savior, and maybe the savior of all Middle Earth. No no, I take that back.


Frodo would be DEAD without him, they would have never made it to Mordor, the ring would be in possession of the orcs, and Middle Earth would fall to its doom.

Let me explain.


Sam saves Frodo countless times. I can actually name more than 8 off the top of my head. Here:

  • In Bree, with the Black Rider and the tree

  • When Frodo tries to have a staring contest with a Nazgul

  • Outside of Minas Morgul with the weird green beam of light

  • Shelob (WHAT THE HECK HOW DID SAM DO THAT???)

  • When Frodo is being strangled by Gollum

  • Sam giving up his meals for Frodo the entire journey

  • Acquiring thought-to-be-dead Frodo from the orcs

  • Carrying him up the mountain (best scene istg)

  • Saving him from the fires of Mordor after he decides to go full Isildur and the “Don’t you let go.”


See what I mean now? There IS no Frodo without Sam. He wouldn’t have even made it out of Bree.


The rest of Sam doesn’t even need that much explaining. It’s evident that he’s kind, caring, understanding, patient, an AMAZING friend, and so much more. Even when Frodo tells him he can’t help him anymore, he puts up with it. Even when Frodo tries to send him home, he puts up with it. Even when Frodo is about to sacrifice everything they worked for because he fell into the mindset he wanted to stay away from, SAM PUT UP WITH IT.

Best bromance in history.


#7: Gandalf


Visual: 10/10

Character Development: 10/10

Likeability: 9/10

Overall personality: 9/10

Skill: 10/10

Impact or Memorability: 10/10


Do I even really have to explain this one?


Gandalf is the G.O.A.T. for Lord of the Rings. Let’s make a checklist. Powerful? Check. Kind? Check. Interesting? Check. Basically immortal? Check. Looks cool? Check.


Besides literally being reborn and fighting entire armies by himself, Gandalf is just a good character overall. He seems like he always knows what's best and leads the Fellowship AND the Hobbit crew to safety. I mean, he literally gave up his life to get Frodo to Mordor by fighting the Balrog. (“Fly, you fools!” will forever be my favorite quote.)


Additionally, as I mentioned before, his power is immense and compares to few (one of those few being Galadriel but I could go on about which one of them would win in a fight for a LONG time.) and he’s held strong in so many situations where others fell.


There are a few situations in which I think Galdalf was fantastic, one of those being his defense of Minas Tirith. I strongly believe that if he didn’t organize that force and fought well, the city would have fallen.


My second Galdalf moment to mention is his de-possessing of Theoden King in Rohan. He uses his appearance and cleverness to trick Grima Wormtongue into letting him keep his staff, saying, “You wouldn’t part an old man with his walking stick, would you?” and then progressing to free the King from Sauron's grasp. Well done. This is also a good example of just how smart and resourceful Gandalf is in situations when the odds are against them.


Of course, Gandalf also has his faults, but unlike a lot of characters in LOTR, he does his best to make sure that his mistakes don’t spread. An example of this is when he is defeated by Saruman while trying not to fight him. This… admittedly is a little bit stupid, but it was well-intentioned.


Overall, Gandalf plays a really important part in the entirety of the stories, and some stuff would just never have gone anywhere without him.



#8: Legolas


Visual: 1000/10

Character Development: 10/10

Likeability: 10/10

Overall Personality: 10/10

Skill: 10/10

Impact or Memorability: 10/10


And so, we have made it to our final, and my favorite character. Legolas, the arrow-shooting, white-haired, pointy-eared GOD.


Now, you may be thinking I’m crazy. There isn’t anything special about him if not for the Lucious Malfoy hair. But, I beg to differ. Let’s look at him in each of the categories.


Visual, with an obvious 10/10. I mean LOOK at him. He’s beautiful, ethereal dare I say. Also, Orlando Bloom is just attractive so…bonus points.


Character development, from being the cold, closed-off prince in The Hobbit to working seamlessly with the fellowship. You can also easily tell how much better he can create bonds with people from one movie to another.


For likeability, his 10/10 comes out of the fact that he’s really funny (mostly with Gimli), careful and brave. He’s also caring, thoughtful, and surprisingly well-rounded. This also plays into his overall personality which makes you just want to see him on screen more and more.


For skill, it doesn’t take much explaining. By watching just one scene with him in combat you can tell that his experience and skills outmatch most. He also uses a weapon that is hard to master, or at least requires more skill to wield than a sword or a spear.


Legolas’s impact on LOTR is significant in that his carefulness and leadership saved them from death many times. He also is the one who can track, hunt, and live outside of civilization with ease. All in all, he makes the top of my character list.


#9: The Other Ones

There are a LOT of Lord of the Rings characters, over 750 in fact. Obviously, I can't go into detail about every single one of them. There are probably some characters I didn’t include on this list that you might see as really important, (ahem, Bilbo and Gollum) but that's because I wanted to talk more about characters I thought were worth deep analysis. If I tried to rate all of the characters I thought deserved a spotlight, this article would break the Erscream site.


All in all, you can probably tell that LOTR is one of my favorite things to talk about, and, if it’s one of yours, I hope you enjoyed reading this. And, if you're STILL here and you haven’t read or watched any Lord of the Rings….go do that.


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