main protagonist of The Lord of the Rings,
of exceptional character. Frodo is also a friend of the Elves, knowledgeable
in their language and a lover of their songs. Like Bilbo—or any
other good Hobbit—Frodo loves good food and simple comforts, but
he is also thoughtful and curious and has a wisdom and strength
of character that set him apart.
in-depth analysis of Frodo Baggins.
Samwise (Sam) Gamgee
The former gardener at Bag End and Frodo’s indomitable
servant throughout his quest. Although Sam is not extraordinarily
wise or intelligent, his common sense and powers of observation
serve him well. Perhaps most important, he is stubborn, brave, and
deeply loyal to Frodo.
Gandalf the Grey
One of the five great Wizards in Middle-earth, second
in his order only to Saruman. Known to most Hobbits only as a creator
of fine fireworks, Gandalf is actually powerful beyond their imagination.
He is also wise, humorous, kind, and generous, though sometimes
in-depth analysis of Gandalf the Grey.
Elf from Mirkwood. Legolas is light on his feet and masterful with
a bow. After overcoming initial differences that stem from the historical
antipathy between their races, he and the Dwarf Gimli become fast
Dwarf, the son of Glóin (one of Bilbo’s company in The Hobbit
Gimli bristles when he feels insulted, but he is noble, stalwart,
heir of Isildur, one of the few Men from the great race of Númenor
left in Middle-earth. Aragorn is also known as Strider. Before the
coming of the Ring, he lived as a Ranger in the North, protecting
the Shire and other lands from servants of the Enemy. Aragorn is
a formidable warrior and tracker.
in-depth analysis of Aragorn.
of the Men of Gondor, from the city of Minas Tirith in the south.
Boromir is a valiant fighter and is always trustworthy in battle,
but his pride and recklessness make him vulnerable to the Ring’s
Peregrin (Pippin) Took
A young and somewhat rash Hobbit. Pippin is good-natured
and a bit of a smart aleck.
Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck
A young Hobbit from Buckland. Merry has a temperament
similar to Pippin’s, though he is more mature and, unlike most Hobbits,
not afraid of boats and water.
Enemies and Malevolent Beings
antagonist and title character of The Lord of the Rings.
Dark Lord Sauron, a servant of Morgoth, the Great Enemy, took his
master’s place after the First Age. The enormously powerful Sauron
is never seen at any point in the novel; he is represented only
by images of his Great Eye or the Dark Tower where he resides. He
fervently desires the One Ring, which he created long ago and which
holds a great part of his power. Sauron is wise, but he only thinks
in terms of desire—especially desire for power. He therefore does
not understand those who would want to destroy the Ring rather than
use it—which is perhaps his only weakness.
Nine minions of Sauron who ceaselessly search for
the One Ring. The Ringwraiths—also known as the Black Riders, the
Nine, or the Nazgûl (the Elvish term)—take the form of cloaked riders
on terrifying black horses. They pursue Frodo incessantly, and are especially
drawn to him at any moments when he puts the Ring on his finger.
Saruman the White
The head of Gandalf’s order of Wizards. Saruman
advises the other Wizards not to challenge the growing power of
Sauron. Gandalf, who suspects that Saruman intends to join Sauron’s
forces outright, confirms his suspicions when he travels to Saruman’s tower,
Orthanc. Saruman does not himself appear as a character until The
but his presence and influence are clearly
felt in The Fellowship of the Ring.
A hunched, miserable creature who was once Sméagol,
a young boy of a Hobbit-like race. Sméagol killed his friend Déagol
after Déagol found the One Ring on the bottom of the Anduin River.
The Ring corrupted Sméagol and changed him into his current form,
the creature called Gollum. Gollum maintained possession of the
Ring until he lost in it in his caves in the Misty Mountains, where
Bilbo recovered it.
mysterious, gigantic, terrifying elemental demon from deep inside
the earth. The Balrog, the “nameless fear” awakened by the Dwarves
in the Mines of Moria, emerges from the depths when the Fellowship
passes through the Mines, and it ultimately confronts Gandalf in
an epic battle. The Balrog, which brandishes an enormous flaming
sword and whip, is wreathed in flame and yet exudes shadow and darkness.
swarthy, wretched creatures that are seemingly limitless in number
and that serve the purposes of Sauron. Hordes of Orcs, which are
unable to withstand daylight and therefore emerge almost exclusively
at night, pursue the Fellowship through the Mines of Moria and beyond;
it is presumed that the Orcs are also responsible for the death
of Balin and the other Dwarves who returned to Moria in an attempt
to reclaim the ancient Dwarf realm there.
swarthy, suspicious fellow in Bree who appears to have been paid
off by the Black Riders to watch Frodo’s movements. Bill Ferny sells
the hobbits a half-starved pony at a high price to replace the ponies
the Black Riders set loose the night before.
The Master of Rivendell. Elrond is descended from
a Man and an Elf—thus, “Halfelven.” He had the choice to be mortal
or immortal and chose the latter. As a consequence, Elrond must
leave Middle-earth when the time comes, most likely at the end of
the War of the Ring. He is renowned for his wisdom and learning.
Lady of Lothlórien and perhaps the wisest of the Elves. Galadriel
bears one of the Elven Rings of Power and uses it to read Sauron’s
mind. Like Elrond, she sometimes appears as less a character than
an embodiment of physical, mental, and spiritual perfection.
husband of Galadriel. Celeborn and Galadriel, who both appear to
be timeless, ageless beings, rule as Lord and Lady of Lórien, the
beautiful daughter, who plays only a minor role in The Fellowship
of the Ring,
but becomes more prominent later in The
Lord of the Rings.
An Elf whose approach saves the hobbits from an
encounter with one of the Black Riders. Gildor tells Frodo that
the mysterious Black Riders are servants of the Enemy and must be
avoided at all costs.
Elf-lord and friend of Aragorn. Glorfindel, who lives in Rivendell,
attends the Council of Elrond, which is called to determine what
should be done with the Ring.
Elf-lord who attends the Council of Elrond. Erestor suggests that
the Ring be given to Tom Bombadil, over whom it has no power; the
others at the Council, however, worry that even Bombadil could not single-handedly
leader of the group of Elves who halt the Fellowship’s entry into
the forest of Lothlórien. Haldir then leads the Fellowship into
the heart of the forest to meet Galadriel.
hero of The Hobbit
and Frodo’s cousin and mentor.
Bilbo is clever and loves a good joke or song. The effects of having
kept the Ring for so long only occasionally mar his thoughtfulness.
Bilbo is an object of curiosity in the Shire for his learning and
his wandering ways, and he is trying to write a book detailing his
A relative of Bilbo who buys Bag End from Frodo
when he leaves the Shire to go on his quest. The disagreeable Lobelia
has been trying to get her hands on the house at Bag End for some
Fredegar (Fatty) Bolger
A friend of Merry who helps the hobbits move Frodo’s
things to his new house across the Brandywine River. Fatty stays
behind at the house to keep up the pretense that Frodo still lives
in the Shire.
Ham Gamgee (the Gaffer)
Sam’s father, who lives next door to Bag End. Just
before Frodo leaves the Shire, the Gaffer is visited by one of the
Ringwraiths, which asks him about the whereabouts of a Mr. Baggins.
farmer who drives Frodo and company to the Brandywine River ferry
in his wagon. Farmer Maggot once caught Frodo stealing his mushrooms,
so Frodo is afraid of him.
Other Allies and Benevolent Beings
The innkeeper at the Prancing Pony in Bree. Though
a forgetful fellow, Butterbur does finally remember to deliver Gandalf’s
letter to Frodo when the hobbit passes through Bree.
jovial, mysterious, and powerful being who dances around his small
realm, singing songs in doggerel. Tom is extremely old, perhaps
immortal, and his origins are unknown. He has great power and is deeply
connected to the earth, but he is unconcerned with the world outside
Bombadil’s wife. Goldberry has a presence that moves Frodo in a
way similar to that of the Elves.
father. Glóin, one of the Dwarves who traveled with Bilbo on the
adventures that take place in The Hobbit,
at the Council of Elrond where the Fellowship is established.
Gwaihir, the Windlord
The swiftest of the Great Eagles, who rescues Gandalf
from the top of Orthanc and takes the wizard to Rohan.
swiftest of all horses, whom Gandalf tames for his own use.
ancient Elven-king who fought in a climactic battle against Sauron
ages ago. Gil-galad was killed in the battle, in which Sauron lost
the One Ring at Isildur’s hand.
ancient king of Westernesse who allied his armies with Gil-galad’s
to take on Sauron. Elendil, an ancestor of Aragorn’s line, was killed
along with Gil-galad in the battle.
eldest son and heir of Elendil. In the great battle against Sauron
in ancient times, Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, but
then lost the Ring in the Great River, Anduin.