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1. Compare and contrast Frodo
and Sam as heroes. What are their heroic virtues? In what ways are
those virtues distinctively Hobbit-like?
2. What are some of the various
powers Gandalf displays throughout the novel? Which of these is
the most effective in the conflict against Mordor? What religious
overtones, if any, surround the wizard’s role and actions?
3. How does Tolkien use the geography
of Middle-earth to contribute to the themes he explores in the Ring-quest?
4. Describe some of the various
races of Middle-earth that Tolkien portrays in The Lord
of the Rings. What are their distinguishing characteristics?
How do their different physical appearances relate to their personalities,
beliefs, customs, and so on?
5. Few female characters are
mentioned in The Lord of the Rings. Describe some
of the various appearances of female characters. How does Tolkien
depict women? Is this depiction intended to be realistic? Idealistic?
6. In what sense might The
Lord of the Rings be read as an allegory for Tolkien’s
Christian beliefs or the history of modern England? Are such readings
of the novel apt or inadequate? What other methods does Tolkien
use to convey his moral or religious intentions in the text?
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Return of the King!