Ring-bearer and main protagonist of The Lord of the Rings
Frodo, a lowly Hobbit, has accepted the tremendously dangerous task
of returning the Ring to the fires of Mordor in which it was created—the
only place where it can be destroyed. In the later stages of the
novel, the Ring becomes a difficult burden for Frodo, who relies
increasingly on his friend, Sam,
in-depth analysis of Frodo Baggins.
Samwise (Sam) Gamgee
The Hobbit who serves Frodo, traveling with his master
on his quest to return the Ring to Mordor. Sam is more practical
and sensible than Frodo, but is also more emotional and less able
to control himself—as when he blurts out to Faramir that Faramir’s
brother, Boromir, was a traitor.
Gandalf the White
A Wizard of supreme good and a staunch enemy of
the corrupted Saruman and the evil Sauron. Gandalf the Grey, seemingly
killed in The Fellowship of the Ring
when he falls
into a chasm, returns from beyond the grave as Gandalf the White,
or the White Rider. The enormously powerful wizard aids the Hobbits
in their quest to destroy the Ring.
in-depth analysis of Gandalf the White.
only Elf in the Fellowship, possessed of superhuman eyesight that
serves him well in warning his traveling party of approaching Orcs.
fierce Dwarf hero, expert in wielding his axe
against Orcs, fond of caves and rocks, and unhappy in forests. Gimli
follows Aragorn and Legolas in pursuit of the hobbits.
human warrior, the heir of Isildur. Aragorn is in league with Gimli
and Legolas to aid the Hobbits in their mission to destroy the Ring.
Aragorn is the last to see Boromir alive.
Lord of Gondor and the elder brother of Faramir. Boromir enters
the Fellowship to help convey the Ring to Mordor, but he becomes
corrupted by the Ring’s power and ultimately attempts to seize the
Ring for himself. Boromir repents, however, just before his death
in battle against the Orcs.
Peregrin (Pippin) Took
A Hobbit who, along with his friend Merry, is cut
off from the rest of the Fellowship during a battle with Orcs. Pippin
and Merry spend much of The Two Towers
rejoin Gandalf’s group.
Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck
Pippin’s companion, also separated from the Fellowship
at the beginning of The Two Towers.
Merry and Pippin
make their way to join their companions, pursued by Orcs who mistakenly believe
them to be in possession of the Ring.
Enemies and Malevolent Beings
Dark Lord of Mordor, the primary antagonist in The Lord
of the Rings.
Sauron, who created the One Ring, is driven
only by his desire to retrieve the Ring. He never appears during
the novel; we see only his Great Eye and his Dark Tower in Mordor.
Sauron’s rule has made the land of Mordor barren and inhospitable.
messengers of Sauron who soar above Middle-earth on fearsome winged
steeds, constantly searching for the Ring. The Nazgûl—also known
as the Ringwraiths, the Black Riders, or the Nine—rely on intimidation
and terror, striking fear into the hearts of those who see them
Saruman the White
The most powerful Wizard in Gandalf’s order. Saruman,
once a force of good and a cohort of Gandalf, becomes corrupted
by power and takes over the realm of Isengard. There, Saruman plots
to seize the Ring and breeds a new race of evil Orcs that do not
The wicked and deceitful advisor of King Théoden.
Wormtongue, who is secretly in the employ of Saruman, is exposed
by Gandalf, and flees to Saruman’s headquarters.
A strange, froglike creature. Gollum once carried
the Ring himself, but lost it, and now attempts to get it back.
Though at times pathetic and even somewhat sympathetic, Gollum is
deceitful and treacherous to the core, feigning humility to his
masters Sam and Frodo after they tame him, only to then lead the
hobbits to danger in Shelob’s lair.
unimaginably ancient, enormous, and evil female spider that lives
in the tunnels near Mordor, ever hungry for prey. Shelob, who is
even older than Sauron, serves as a kind of guard for one of the
entrances to Mordor. Gollum deceitfully leads Frodo and Sam into Shelob’s
lair, where the spider paralyzes Frodo and nearly kills both hobbits
before Sam drives her away.
swarthy, wretched creatures that serve the purposes of Sauron. Orcs,
unable to withstand daylight, attack at night, by force of numbers.
fearsome breed of Orcs specially created by Saruman to be able to
Orc warrior and captor of Merry and Pippin in the early chapters
of The Two Towers.
Uglúk is killed in battle at
the hands of Éomer.
Gorbag and Shagrat
Two Orc warriors who carry Frodo’s paralyzed body
away into Mordor.
of the Riders of Rohan, the horsemen to whom the Lord of Gondor
has given land in exchange for guarding his territories. Éomer encounters
Aragorn’s traveling party early in The Two Towers,
information implying that Merry and Pippin are still alive.
King of Rohan and keeper of the Golden Hall. Théoden is a good man,
but his wily and two-faced counselor, Wormtongue, has misled him,
urging him to support the evil Saruman. Gandalf reveals the truth
of Wormtongue’s deception to Théoden, who then supports the members
of the Fellowship.
Lady of Rohan. Éowyn in Theoden’s niece and Éomer’s sister.
Lord of Gondor after the demise of his elder brother, Boromir. Faramir
initially distrusts Frodo, whom he suspects of having killed Boromir.
When Faramir learns the truth, he aids the hobbits in
Mablung and Damrod
Two of Faramir’s warriors. Damrod threatens to kill
Gollum upon finding the creature bathing in a pool in Gondor.
doorman at the gates of the Golden Hall, who is initially very suspicious
of Gandalf and company.
Other Allies and Benevolent Beings
of the Ents, a race of giant, mobile, treelike creatures. The fourteen-foot-tall
Fangorn is one of the oldest creatures in Middle-earth. An authority
figure to the other Ents, he shows great hospitality to Pippin and Merry,
who are given food by him in his Ent-house.
younger Ent who befriends Merry and Pippin during the Ent assembly.
swiftest of all horses, whom Gandalf has borrowed from Théoden and
who later becomes an outright gift from the king to the wizard.