Who's Who in the Lord of the Rings
From Aragorn to Ring Wraiths
by Laura Hayes
The Lord of the Rings is epic in scope and features a host of characters. Here are the most important characters you'll meet.
The Fellowship of the Ring / The Nine Walkers
The members of the Fellowship of the Ring are selected by the Council of Elrond, in year 3018 of the Third Age. Its members are charged with taking the One Ring to Mount Doom, deep in Mordor.
Frodo is a young hobbit and Bilbo Baggins's cousin. He shares Bilbo's interest in the world beyond the Shire and is more introspective than other hobbits. The two hobbits also share the same birthday, September 22. On Frodo's 33rd and Bilbo's 111th, they throw a huge birthday party. Bilbo announces that he intends to leave the Shire and gives his greatest treasure, a golden ring, to Frodo. When Gandalf convinces Frodo that it is no ordinary ring, but the One Ring of Sauron, Dark Lord of Mordor, the courageous hobbit sets out on a perilous quest to destroy it.
Samwise is Frodo's gardener and closest friend. Gandalf orders Sam to accompany Frodo on his quest after catching him eavesdropping on their discussions of the Ring. Although Sam is not nearly as eager to travel as Frodo, he is compelled by his loyalty to follow Frodo on his quest. Sam will prove to be the most steadfast of friends.
Another of Frodo's friends from the Shire, Merry "the Magnificent," demonstrates great valor in the Quest of Mount Doom and plays a significant part in a great battle.
Pippin is another friend of Frodo's. At 28 he is the youngest member of the Fellowship of the Ring and, some would say, the most foolish.
Hobbits, or halflings, are very similar to humans, except that they are very short (averaging 3 1/2 ft tall) and have large, hairy feet. They are a pastoral people who enjoy good food (11 meals a day preferably) and parties. They rarely leave their homeland and are wary of outsiders.
Aragorn (aka Strider, Estel)
Aragorn is the rightful heir to the kingdom of Gondor. He was raised by Elrond in Rivendell, where he learned the ways of both elves and men, and fell in love with Elrond's daughter Arwen. Elrond forbade his daughter to marry him—for she is an immortal elf, and he a mortal man—until he can regain the lost Crown of Gondor. Aragorn leaves Rivendell to become known as Strider, the mysterious ranger who roams the wilderness of Eriador and protects the land of hobbits. Aragorn is a close friend of Gandalf's, and an invaluable member of the Fellowship.
The eldest son of Denethor II, Steward of Gondor and Minas Tirith, Boromir is a formidable warrior. When Minas Tirith is assailed by the forces of Mordor he sets out to find aid. At the urging of dreams he makes his way to Rivendell and joins the Fellowship of the Ring. Unlike the others, Boromir is not sure that the One Ring should be destroyed, but believes it could be wielded against Sauron.
Gimli's father made the journey to Erebor with Bilbo Baggins (as told in The Hobbit). He is chosen to represent the dwarves in the Fellowship of the Ring and becomes the first of his people to enter Lórien and Khazad-dûm in more than a thousand years. He distrusts elves, but falls in love with the beauty of Galadriel and becomes close friends with Legolas.
Legolas is a valiant elf chosen to represent his people in the Fellowship. He hails from Mirkwood and is a great archer. Legolas's father, King Thranduil, played a role in the The Hobbit—he was the elven king that took Bilbo and his companions prisoner.
Gandalf (aka Mithrandir, "the Grey Pilgrim")
Gandalf the Grey is one of the five chief Istari, or wizards, sent to combat Sauron in Middle-earth some 2,000 years before the War of the Ring. Gandalf, more than the other Istari, cares for the creatures of Middle-earth. He mentors Aragorn, advises kings, helps the dwarves regain their kingdom at Erebor, and draws out the courage of the hobbits. Gandalf possesses one of the Rings of Power—Narya, the Ring of Fire—which helps him lend strength to the hearts of his companions.