We've ranked every major character in the Lord of the Rings series by their likability, and nothing you say will change our minds. Now we're off to watch all three movies in a row (the extended editions, of course).
“So you have chosen ... Death.”
There’s no excuse for Saruman the White. His greed for power eclipses his wisdom, and truly he should’ve foreseen that he would be ultimately defeated. Betrayal begets betrayal. Plus, if you murder a bunch of sentient trees, they’re going to come for you. Nature is boundlessly more powerful than Saruman could ever be.
“You can not hide, I see you! There is no life after me. Only.. Death.”
At least Sauron admits he’s evil. He created power for himself. He didn’t piggyback on anyone else’s power or betray his order. Still, he was kind of responsible for loads of people dying and the near destruction of Middle Earth, and we’re not the forgiving type.
Yes, we feel sorry for him but unlike all of the below, he never put anyone before himself even when he had a brief epiphany about his newfound friendship with Frodo. Unfortunately, his journey with the Ring began with the murder of a friend, and while the guilt consumed him, he never sought redemption. Bilbo wasn’t far from what Gollum was when he was named Sméagol and he managed never to murder anyone.
“It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing.”
He sacrificed himself for the Fellowship, but not before his desire for the Ring drove away Frodo. Frodo’s journey would have fared much better with the aid of the Fellowship. As soon as he saw the Ring he wanted to use it, and all but refused to believe it could possibly be exclusively evil.
“You wish now that our places had been exchanged? That I had died and Boromir had lived?”
Only marginally more likable than his brother Boromir because we feel sorry for him. His father Denethor loves him far less than Boromir, but he has a lot to answer for after ambushing Frodo and Sam on their journey and breaking the trust between Gollum and Frodo. At least he had the sense not to take the Ring.
“A dwarf breathes so loud we could have shot him in the dark.”
Rude AF. Still, he did sacrifice himself for an army of men at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, so we can’t fault him too much.
“You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!”
Dude, you’re thousands of years old and you just send a ragtag bunch of strangers on a mission to destroy the Ring without any guidance whatsoever? Plus, he’s far too negative about his daughter Arwen’s relationship with Aragorn when he knows deep down that he’s the bravest and wisest mortal soul he’s ever met. His fault is that he would never truly trust men after watching Aragorn’s ancestor, Isildur, take the One Ring for himself.
“In place of a Dark Lord you would have a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Dawn!”
A bunch of frightened bereaved people come to you for shelter and aid and all you can do is invade their minds and spook them? You almost gave Frodo a heart attack when he suggested you might take responsibility of the Ring. A simple “No, thank you” would have sufficed. Also, those gifts you presented the Fellowship weren’t all on an equal level, were they? Legolos and Aragorn get a massive bow and sword and Pippin and Merry get little knives? What’s with that?
"After all, why not? Why shouldn't I keep it?"
Sorry, we just can’t shake that scary goblin transformation when he comes in contact with the Ring in Rivendell. It’s far too unnerving. He never truly loses his fondness for this destructive artifact even when he is separated from it. Even when it is destroyed, in fact. There’s a naïvete in Bilbo that will always be a little irritating, and the fact that he thinks himself better, in some ways, than his fellow Shirefolk is a most unlikeable trait. Still, he gives up the Ring without a fight, and his gifts of Sting the sword and Mithral the armor were invaluable to Frodo on his journey.
“Side? I am on nobody's side, because nobody is on my side.”
It took far too much persuasion to get him to go and take on Saruman at Isengard. Still, why should he trust anyone when so many of his friends are dead? He had a huge part to play in the defeat of Sauron, but if it wasn’t for Pippin and Merry, he wouldn’t have bothered.
“I am no man!”
Stop trying to snuggle with Aragorn, Eowyn, his heart clearly belongs to another. She seems to fall more deeply in love with him the more he politely rejects her. However, she believes in Pippin perhaps more than anyone else, and she defeats the Witch-king of Angmar when she goes to war Joan of Arc style.
“What about [dying] side by side with a friend?”
A little too proud and never one to ingratiate himself with the hobbits, he does at least break the age-old feud between elves and dwarves through his friendship with Gimli. Also, he kills a LOT of orcs. Never do his loyalties or his courage waver. Still, the only thing he says to Frodo in the entire trilogy is “...And my bow.”
“Why did you look? Why do you always have to look?”
Perhaps long-suffering, but also not very different from Pippin. He’s another who frequently scorns Pippin, though his fondness and loyalty for the young Took keeps them together and they draw strength from one another.
“What about second breakfast?”
The much needed comic relief among the Fellowship, but his carelessness eventually lands him in hot water and he is forced to find courage beyond anything he could ever imagine. By the time the Battle of the Black Gate comes around, Pippin and Merry are nearly the first to charge in battle, second only to Aragorn.
“Certainty of death? Small chance of success? What are we waitin' for?”
Possibly one of the bravest of all the characters, he’s never one to back down from a fight; he’s short, only marginally taller than a hobbit, and only capable of close combat, but his tenacity is astonishing. Despite a dwarf’s love of gold, Gimli never desires the Ring and indeed is the first to attempt to destroy it.
“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
His short-temper and habit of hiding that which he feels others are happiest not knowing drops him down the list. He takes his wisdom for granted and underestimates Pippin, but he does at least have a reckoning in the series, and his belief in the hobbits saves Middle Earth in the end.
“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.”
Her love for Aragorn transcends her need for immortality, plus she pulled some badass elf magic on the Ring Wraiths when she rode a nearly-mortally injured Frodo to the safety of Rivendell. Nobody in the series loves quite as strongly as Arwen… Which is kind of why we find Eowyn a little annoying.
3. Frodo Baggins
“I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.”
There’s something to be said about being honest about one’s feelings. Frodo is brave, but he never pretends he’s not afraid. Of course, the Ring turns him against his most loyal friend - he’s not immune to its powers and certainly towards the end the destruction of the One Ring was more down to Gollum’s intrusion than Frodo’s strength of will. He has his weaknesses, but they don’t matter when he has a treasured friend by his side. Never does he take for granted his humble gardener.
2. Samwise Gamgee
“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!”
Sam’s loyalty and bravery means more than Aragorn’s, given that he’s spent his whole life at home in the Shire, gardening and living an ordinary hobbit life, completely danger-free. And yet, he does not hesitate to head into deadly territory with his best friend, and in the end walks into Mount Doom itself with Frodo on his back. His love is even stronger than the pull of the One Ring, and that’s something that is truly special.
“My friends, you bow to no-one.”
Loyal, fearless, kind and true. This is a King whose nobility means far less than love, friendship and victory. His trust is not easily broken; his love for Boromir lingers strong even after he admits that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo. And by the time he is finally crowned King of Gondor, he still looks on with staggering humility at the four hobbits who saved Middle Earth.
Tagged in Movies