Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular epics in the history of fiction. Over the course of three memorable novels, later adapted into three memorable live-action films, audiences witnessed the world of Middle-earth and the efforts of its heroes to defeat the darkness that has spread over the land due to the influence of the sagas spread a ring of power.
As befits an epic, there are a large number of characters from different backgrounds, all of whom play important roles Lord of the Rings. But the main cast consists of 10 specific people who start and end the saga. Let’s take a look at these 10 characters in terms of how much of a positive impression they leave on the audience, starting with the least important and ending with the most likable character in the series.
There’s no prize for guessing the least likable main character in Lord of the Rings is Sauron. Although he is never actually shown, Sauron’s malevolent presence hovers over everything and the entire plot of the books/films begins because of him. Sauron is an ancient mystical being with a singular focus on taking over Middle-earth and remaking it in his own image.
A similar attempt at control centuries ago had resulted in Sauron’s defeat and the loss of his magical ring, which gave him much of his power. Since then, Sauron, with the help of his many evil agents, had desperately searched for the Ring, spreading misery and terror in the process. The main goal in creating the Fellowship of the Ring is for the heroes to secretly travel to the only place where the Ring can be destroyed so that Sauron can never get his hands on it.
While Sauron represents the face of overwhelming, uncompromising evil, Gollum offers a different version of the same worst qualities. Gollum was once a hobbit named Smeagol whose friend came across the One Ring during a fishing trip. Gollum was so captivated by the Ring’s beauty that he killed his friend and ran away from his own people to revel in the Ring’s perverse magical allure.
A few centuries later, Smeagol had completely transformed into Gollum, a twisted creature who lost everything in the service of the Ring but still craved it like an addict. Many fans feel sorry for Gollum, but one must not forget that he brought most of the misfortune on himself and he does not learn any lessons from it until the end, as he plans to murder Frodo and Sam during the trek to Mount Doom. Gollum can finally do it again be united with his precious ring.
Some fans might raise their eyebrows by ranking Legolas the Elf among the least likable leads Lord of the Rings. After all, Legolas is essentially perfect. He is a very long-lived elf with the superhuman beauty, skills, and inherent goodness of his people. Basically, Legolas is this annoyingly perfect guy who you can’t help but resent for going through life on easy mode.
But the books also give the character a different, more serious antagonistic edge. Legolas begins with a bigoted attitude towards dwarves due to their people’s shared history. This is most evident in his relationship with Gimli, Legolas’ co-champion during the founding of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Luckily, Leogolas changes his attitude towards the dwarves as the story progresses and eventually becomes such close friends with Gimli that the duo sails across the sea together at the end of the story.
Meriodac “Merry” Took and Peregrin “Pippin” Took are hobbits, Frodo’s cousins and best friends. Of course, Frodo turns to her for help when he is beset by the forces of Sauron due to his possession of the One Ring. Merry and Pippin go to great lengths to help Frodo and become embroiled in the larger war against Sauron that the free people of Middle-earth are planning.
While Merry and Pippin seem very similar at first glance, they do have some distinguishing features. Because Merry is older, he often takes a caring and protective attitude towards Pippin, such as sending Pippin up first when they are being chased by an orc and climbing Treebeard’s trunk to escape. Merry’s protective instinct also makes him bossy and annoying at times, such as when he blames Pippin for their breakup because of his reckless actions.
As the younger of the duo Merry and Pippin, Peregrin “Pippin” Took is not yet of age in hobbit terms when he is called into battle on behalf of Frodo and his cousin Merry. But his minority makes Pippin not hesitate for a second to offer his services as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. Like Merry, Pippin is a brave little hobbit who becomes embroiled in the brutal war against Sauron’s forces.
Due to his impetuous and curious nature, Pippin makes many mistakes throughout the story, such as alerting the orcs in the tunnels of Moria and looking into the Palantir without permission. But despite his flaws, Pippin is an extremely brave and caring individual, not only participating in the war to the best of his ability, but also comforting the larger, most experienced soldiers when they feel fear and doubt about the inevitable confrontation with Sauron.
As the only dwarf member of the Fellowship, Gimli, son of Gloin, often seems to be the outcast in society. But that doesn’t stop Gimli from embracing his new family with all his heart. Despite his small size, Gimli is extremely brave and extremely strong, and is usually the first to launch an attack to protect the other members of the community.
Throughout the story, Gimli displays many rare and praiseworthy characteristics. He manages to overcome his deep-seated fear of the mines of Moria and get to the other side of the mountain. He overcomes his natural aversion to elves and becomes best friends with Legolas.
He doesn’t hesitate for a second to go on a huge chase to save Merry and Pippin from the orcs, even though the dwarves are anything but nimble on their feet and the little hobbits are fighting for the larger war against Sauron, the Gimli and Gimli , no real meaning his people fought.
The man, the myth, the legend. Gandalf the Gray is probably the most famous and popular character from history Lord of the Rings. Immeasurably old, knowledgeable and wise, Gandalf acts as the secret steward of Middle-earth, keeping an eye on Sauron and his activities to ensure that the Dark Lord and his ilk never become a catastrophic threat to the free people.
Given his power and the nature of his mission, Gandalf can often be irritable, uncommunicative, or impatient with lesser beings. But behind this hot temper lies a deeply caring nature that longs to help everyone, from the noblest elven king to the humblest, unassuming hobbit. Gandalf is in many ways the guardian angel for all of Middle-earth and one of the most stunning characters in all of fiction.
As the hobbit tasked with carrying the One Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it, Frodo Baggins faces obstacles that would be unthinkable for any other character in the series. Not only is Frodo forced to make his journey on foot from the Shire of Hobbiton to the Black Gate of Mordor alone, but he also constantly struggles with the lure of the Ring, which even Gandalf freely admits would overwhelm him.
Despite the toll it takes on his mind and body, Frodo manages to remain brave and pure for the most part. He constantly worries about his friends and even shows mercy to the wretched Gollum, even though he tries to kill him. Despite his great deeds and immense courage, Frodo remains extremely humble and prefers to spend his final days in quiet retirement in Hobbiton, even though he was considered one of Middle-earth’s greatest heroes at the time.
While Frodo and Gandalf play a more important role in the story, the real hero of Lord of the Rings is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. As the secret king of Gondor and an important link between men and elves, Aragorn faces the kind of responsibility and decisions in the decisive battle against Sauron that would change the face of Middle-earth forever.
At every step of the war, Aragorn does what is just and fair, regardless of his personal loss. He is a leader among men, a friend to all creatures, one of the greatest fighters in all the land and yet he has a gentle and poetic spirit that makes everyone he meets fall in love. Honestly, Aragorn would be a pretty annoying Gary Stu type if he wasn’t such a humble and good-humored badass throughout.
Samwise Gamgee is Frodo’s servant who refuses to let his master travel to Mordor alone. Despite being overwhelmed at every step, Sam’s devotion to Frodo never falters, and he is the only member of the original Fellowship of the Ring to accompany Frodo on the final leg of the journey to Mordor and Mount Doom.
Sam shows a kind of courage and patience against Frodo, Gollum, and the vile creatures of Mordor that is frankly more incredible than the magic of Gandalf. Despite being despised by Frodo under the Ring’s influence, Sam never abandons his master and even physically carries Frodo up Mount Doom at one point.
When Aragorn bows to the four hobbits at the end of the adventure along with the rest of the people of Gondor, it really feels like Sam should get a special encore just for himself.