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These are the Loads and Loads of Characters in The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

This page is for the BOOKS ONLY. For the characters as they were portrayed in the Peter Jackson film trilogy, see here. Please do not add quotes or examples from the movies on this page.

See also the character sheet for The Silmarillion and The Hobbit, which are set in the same universe (and, indeed, feature some of the same characters).

The Fellowship of the Ring

Frodo Baggins

Frodo Baggins is a principal protagonist of The Lord of the Rings. He was a hobbit of the Shire who inherited Sauron's Ring from his Bilbo Baggins and undertook the quest to destroy it in Mount Doom.

Frodo was born on September 22, 2968 in the 3rd Age of the Sun, to Drogo Baggins and Primula Brandybuck. He spent much of his youth at Brandy Hall in Buckland, the home of his mother's people. He was considered something of a rascal, particularly by Farmer Maggot from whom Frodo stole mushrooms. In 2980, when Frodo was still a child, his parents took a boat out onto the Brandywine River and were drowned. Frodo had no siblings, so he was left alone in the crowded tunnels of Brandy Hall until his cousin Bilbo Baggins adopted him and made Frodo his heir.

Samwise "Sam" Gamgee

Samwise Gamgee, Frodo Baggins' loyal servant, was determined to follow his master wherever he went even when he was not invited. Sam proved to be a brave and loyal companion and became Frodo's closest friend. His Hobbit-sense and his love for Frodo saw them both through danger and hardship to the end of the quest. Sam was unwilling to give up hope even when things seemed darkest.

Unlike his three hobbit companions, Sam was not a gentlehobbit. His father Hamfast, known as the Gaffer, had been the gardener at Bag End for over 40 years, and Sam was his assistant. Sam had learned to read and write from Bilbo Baggins and he listened eagerly to Bilbo's tales about his adventures, particularly the ones about Elves. The Gaffer found his son's preoccupation with Elves and such a bit worrisome.

Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck

Meriadoc Brandybuck was a sensible Hobbit whose concern for his cousin Frodo Baggins led him to mastermind the "conspiracy" that ensured that Frodo embarked on his quest with his friends at his side. Despite his feelings of uselessness and self-doubt, Merry became a Knight of the Riddermark and played a significant role in the War of the Ring. Through his loyalty and courage he helped to defeat one of the Dark Lord's most terrible servants.

Peregrin "Pippin" Took

Peregrin Took was just in his tweens when he announced his intention to accompany his cousin Frodo Baggins on his quest. Pippin's youth and curious nature got him into trouble on occasion, but his steadfast friendship and unquenchable cheerfulness helped carry him and his companions through the darkest times. During the quest, he grew up quickly and became an important member of the Fellowship and a Knight of Gondor.

  • Audience Surrogate
  • Badass Boast: When Saruman's lackeys mock Frodo and company when they return to the Shire, Pippin lets them know who they're dealing with.

 "I am a messenger of the King. You are speaking to the King's friend, and one of the most renowned in all the lands of the West. You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road and ask pardon, or I'll set this troll's bane in you!"


The modern archetypal wizard. In the Third Age, the Valar (basically greater angels) sent five Maiar (basically lesser angels) to Middle-earth to aid the struggle against Sauron, clothed in the forms of old men and forbidden to use their power directly. Of these, two fled east and were never heard from again. Of the remainder, Gandalf embodied wisdom, Saruman knowledge, and Radagast, nature. Though Saruman is presented as the head of the Council of the Wise, the elves originally wanted Gandalf, who declined the position. They nevertheless entrusted him with Narya, the Ring of Fire (one of the three Rings of Power gifted to the elves), which had previously been held by Círdan the Shipwright.

Known as the gray wanderer, throughout both The Hobbit and this book (along with the prior thousand years), Gandalf went from place to place in the world, giving counsel and guidance, but never calling one place home. He ends up being a chessmaster of sorts, motivating many of the key players to their purposes while keeping his plays close to hand. This also serves as a justification for separating Gandalf from the other heroes time and again so that they don't have access to his storybreaking abilities.


Aragorn is the chief of the Dúnedain, Rangers of the North. One of the dying breed of Númenóreans, Aragorn is raised in secret by Elrond in Rivendell, unaware of his true identity as the Heir of Isildur. When he comes of age Elrond reveals all to him, and he meets and falls in love with Elrond's daughter Arwen. After she reciprocates, some 30 years later, Elrond tells Aragorn that he can only have her hand in marriage if he becomes the King of Gondor and Arnor. Aragorn spends the next few decades battling orcs and aiding Gandalf in tracking and opposing the agents of Sauron, particularly Gollum. In his youth he also travels far and wide, notably as a captain of Gondor and Rohan (under a pseudonym, Thorongil), to be the best he can in order to pursue his destiny.

As a ranger, Aragorn seems a rough, coarse man but can shed this facade to unleash a great lordly presence which is part of his heritage as the last heir to the Númenórean kingdoms, and that stems in part from his people's trace of Elvish blood. As is mentioned elsewhere, in a normal epic, Aragorn would be The Hero and would defeat Sauron himself; Tolkien's decision to focus on the lowly and boot Aragorn to a supporting role was a conscious and deliberate subversion of that longstanding trope.


Legolas is the son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood, and is sent by his father to Rivendell to deliver news of Gollum's escape. There he becomes one of the nine members of the Fellowship. Compared to the rest of the Fellowship, he is rather lighthearted as is shown by his dialogue. He and Gimli do not get along well due to the longstanding animosity between dwarves and elves, but before the War of the Ring is over, they have become friends. While traveling with the Fellowship, Legolas is told by Galadriel that if he hears the cry of a gull, he will be drawn to the sea. True to Galadriel's prediction, he hears the cry of a gull. It is not until many years after the War of the Ring ends, however, that Legolas builds a ship and sails to Valinor.


The token dwarf. Gimli son of Gloin attends the council at Rivendell and volunteers to participate in the Fellowship, at least partially because his arch-nemesis Legolas has just done the same. After that he primarily runs around as a Boisterous Bruiser, forming an Odd Friendship with Legolas. Legolas even took him with him across the sea to Valinor, making Gimli the only Dwarf to dwell in that land.


Son of Denethor the steward of Gondor. Boromir is a mighty warrior of his people and their champion.



King of Rohan, uncle of Éowyn and Éomer. Théoden is betrayed by his servant Gríma who enfeebled and confused him. While Gandalf helped him come to his senses, the damage has already been done: his armies are in disarray, bands of wild men have ransacked the countryside and his only son and heir is dead. Théoden faces the challenge of standing amongst legends in the midst of his failure trying to find his own strength again which he eventually does in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.


Théoden's nephew, and marshal of the great corps of mounted riders which is the main strength of Rohan. Gríma has him exiled to further throw the country into disarray, but Éomer is not so easily dissuaded. As Théoden's nearest male blood relative, the role of heir-apparent devolves onto him.


Éomer's sister, and much beloved of Théoden... as well as Gríma. Because Arwen has such little face-time in the novels, Éowyn is essentially the token female of the story. Being an Action Girl only made things worse.


Boromir's younger brother, but the two are quite different; while Boromir is tempted by the lure of the Ring, Faramir tosses it away with ease. (This was changed for dramatic reasons in the film.) He becomes even more central in the third novel, as the action moves to his homeland of Gondor.

  And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.


Denethor is the Steward of Gondor, ruling the nation from Minas Tirith in the absence of the King. He is used to being in charge, and does not like the idea of having to give up power to the (possibly) rightful heir to the throne. Denethor denies Aragorn's kingship on the basis that he is not Anarion's heir, whom the council of Gondorian nobles has always held the be only proper holder of the title 'King of Gondor.' Aragorn actually is Anarion's heir as well, but he is not a direct male-line descendant as he is from Isildur.

  • Adaptational death: In the animated Return of the king. Rather than burn himself to death along with Faramir Denethor simply orders his own execution. How he is executed is never shown.
  • Burn, Baby, Burn
  • Anti-Hero: Type III before jumping off the slippery slope.
  • The Caligula: The movie version depicts him as a Caligula through and through. In the book, he was actually a far more competent leader and also strong-willed, and he didn't completely lose his sanity until immediately near the loss of his life, when Faramir apparently dies.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Despair Event Horizon: Faramir's apparent death and an extremely large invasion force at his doorstep, along with visions in the Palantir which caused him to believe that Sauron had captured Frodo and thus obtained the ring:

  "[Gandalf's] hope has failed. The Enemy has found it [the Ring], and now his power waxes; he sees our very thoughts, and all we do is ruinous."


Denethor's brother-in-law and the Prince of Dol Amroth, a fiefdom of Gondor. Imrahil is a noble man with elven blood who leads the knights of his city to the defense of Minas Tirith. He carries Éowyn off the battlefield and becomes the acting ruler of Gondor after Denethor's suicide, but cedes authority to Aragorn, the rightful king. After the War of the Ring, Éomer married his daughter Lothíriel.


A common man of Gondor who serves as a soldier in Minas Tirith. Beregond is appointed Pippin's guide to the city and quickly becomes close friends with the hobbit, as does his son Bergil.

  • The Everyman: Beregond represents the average citizen of Gondor.



The Half-Elven, Master of Rivendell, father of Arwen, and bearer of one of the three elven Rings, Vilya the Ring of Air, given to him by Gil-Galad upon the latter's death at the end of the Second Age. He is a venerable warrior and cunning strategist, but also acts as opposition to Aragorn from a much less lofty post: that of Overprotective Dad.


Arwen Undómiel, the Evenstar, is a elven woman of great beauty whom Aragorn hopes to marry. Unfortunately, she shows up in only three chapters of the story, the second one being her wedding to the King of Gondor, so readers can be forgiven for perceiving her as a Shallow Love Interest. Tolkien rectified by including more about her romance with Aragorn in the appendices.


Other Main Characters

Bilbo Baggins

The main character of The Hobbit, who inadvertently sets The Lord of the Rings in motion with his discovery of the Ring. Frodo's "uncle" (really his older cousin) and father-figure, Bilbo's 111th (and Frodo's 33rd) birthday opens the story; Bilbo, feeling the Ring's effects on him, leaves the Ring to Frodo and sets out on his last adventure. Years later, Frodo meets Bilbo again in Rivendell, whence he has retired.


A seemingly minor character from The Hobbit who played a key role in this book. Sméagol, once of a race not unlike the Hobbits, was fishing with Déagol when they encountered the ring. They both immediately coveted it and Sméagol murdered Déagol for it. He retreated for over 600 years deep into the mountains and became a degenerate creature named Gollum (after a throat noise he makes) feared by the goblins. The ring, having a mind of its own, slipped from Gollum's fingers intending to be found by a goblin but it was instead found by Bilbo who used it to confound Sméagol and escape his current danger. When Bilbo had the chance to strike down Gollum, he pitied him and let him live.

In the time since then, Gollum has been hunting for the ring, eventually catching up with the Fellowship and stalking them until Frodo left most of his companions behind. At this point, Gollum attempts to reacquire the Ring, but failing and being taken prisoner, he serves as a guide for Frodo and Sam earning the fleeting hope of redemption before ultimately betraying his new masters. He nevertheless plays a key role in the completion of the quest.

Tom Bombadil

A strange... person who lives in the Old Forest just outside the Shire. Tom is the forest's "Master" and nothing can harm him within its borders. His nature is a mystery--he was old even when the first Elves entered his part of the world. He lives in a little house with his wife, the river-spirit Goldberry. Tom was the first person the hobbits met after leaving the Shire and he provided them safe passage along the early part of their journey. He also gave them their swords after he rescued them in the Barrow-downs. He refuses to get involved in the War of the Ring and sits the whole thing out.

Tom was originally the star of a humorous poem Tolkien wrote in 1934 that had no connection to Middle-earth, and appeared in The Lord of the Rings as a sort of guest-star. He later got his own spinoff in 1962, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, a book of poems presented as in-universe poems from Middle-earth.


 Treebeard: I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me; nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays.

The Forces of Evil


The eponymous Lord of the Rings. The lieutenant of Morgoth, the original Dark Lord, Sauron was responsible for much suffering of Elves and Men in the Elder Days. When Morgoth was banished, Sauron ultimately picked up in his place. His first gambit was to teach the Elves to crafts the magic rings (ultimately the three for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves, and nine for Men). He then crafted his own One Ring as an extension of his being through which he meant to dominate each race. However, the elves were on guard against this evil and the dwarves were too focused on material wealth. Sauron made his first bid through force but was routed and his body destroyed. However, his ring anchored him to our realm and would allow him to regather.

In the narrative, he is simply the Big Bad, an ominous evil presence that grows stronger as the heroes near his realm. If he reclaimed the One Ring, the doom of Middle-earth would be swift and final. Even without it, he seems poised to win, leaving the destruction of his Ring as the only means of defeating him.

See the character sheet for The Silmarillion for tropes that apply to him in that work.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking
  • Big Bad
  • Black Speech: Sauron at one time made an artificial language as a way to communicate across his empire and his allies earlier in the backstory. Thousands of years after being killed in the final battle of the Last Alliance and getting a new form, only the Nazgûl remembered how to speak it.[2] It fell out of favor with everyone else.
  • Chessmaster: Used disguises and clever tactical planning to make the Elves create the Rings, and to later undermine Númenor until its downfall.
  • Dark Is Evil
  • The Dragon: In his backstory, he was The Dragon to Morgoth's Big Bad.
  • The Dreaded
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: One of the reasons the whole gambit works. Sauron believes that anyone who possesses the ring would wish to use it for themselves leaving them susceptible to his corruption. Its too late when he realizes that someone intends to destroy it.
  • Evil Genius: He's one of the smartest beings in Middle-Earth from the very beginning.
  • Evil Mentor: To Celebrimbor.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Ar-Pharazon.
  • Evil Sorcerer: As the Necromancer.
  • Evil Overlord: The Trope Codifier for modern fantasy.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower.
  • Face Heel Turn: Originally, Sauron was an angelic being and servant of Aulë, the godlike patron of craftsmen and maker of the physical aspect of the Earth; this is how he became such a master at creating items of power. However, he was corrupted by the first Dark Lord, Morgoth, with promises of power.
  • Fallen Angel
    • Heel Face Turn: He did this at the end of the First Age, when he truly reformed and want to help rebuild Middle-Earth...
    • Heel Face Revolving Door: ...but the threat and fear of punishment was too great, and he couldn't resist the temptation to use the reconstruction to conquer.
  • Faceless Eye: He appears as a great eye of fire in the minds of those who perceive him. Unlike the Jackson movies, it's never made clear if this is his physical form or only a mental projection.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sauron has made destroying the Númenóreans one of his major goals.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: He ends as a bodiless spirit too weak to influence anyone ever again.
  • Foil
  • Fountain of Expies: After the publication of The Lord of the Rings, it became de rigueur for the villain in a fantasy story to be a manipulative, rarely-seen Evil Overlord who lives in a dark tower in an evil realm, employs various horrible creatures to do his work, and is dependent on an artifact of his making for power and survival.
  • The Heavy
  • I Have Many Names: Sauron's other names are these: Annatar, Gorthaur the Cruel, Thû, The Nameless Enemy, Dark Lord of Mordor, Lord of the Rings, Base Master of Treachery, the Dark Power, Lord of Barad-dûr, The Eye, Ring-maker, and The Necromancer. Also the Lord of Werewolves back in his shapeshifting days and Tevildo, Lord of Cats (!) in another version.
  • I Surrender, Suckers
  • Keystone Army: Raised and lost several.
  • Light Is Not Good: In his guise as Annatar, Lord of Gifts, he appeared as an angelic being of incredible beauty. This was how he deceived the Elves and corrupted the Númenóreans.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: His malign will was functioning as his Evil Tower of Ominousness' foundation, not to mention the primary motivating force of his armies.
  • Mind Rape: His specialty. "Thy flesh shall be devoured and thy shriveled mind left naked to the Lidless Eye."
  • Motive Decay: Justified in-universe: his original motivations to impose order on the world decay due to his evil corrupting his nature and the trauma of him losing multiple incarnate forms to the Downfall of Númenor and Isildur in rapid succession.
  • Name's the Same: No, he is not that pterodactyl guy from X-Men.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Sauron" is Quenya for "abomination". His less-often-seen Sindarin name, Gorthaur, means "terrible dread".
  • The Necromancer: It's in his title, and his specialty as a Maia was in manipulating the connection between minds and physical bodies/objects.
  • Obviously Evil
  • Orcus on His Throne: He never engages anyone in physical battle after his previous defeat. Though this isn't to say that he's inactive. His Eye is always on the move, as are his servants.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Sauron, like the Wizards, is an angel in humanoid form
  • Out-Gambitted: He Out Gambits everyone, and then is in turn Out-Gambitted by Gandalf. See Unwitting Pawn below.
  • Playing with Fire: His Dark Lord form is described as looking very dark, like it is blackened from the immense heat of his body, and anybody who gets too close is burned by him.
  • Present Absence: Sauron is never present in a scene, and very few of the characters have actually been in his presence. His only lines are spoken to Pippin when he looks into the palantír, and we only know them because the incident actually happens off-page, with Pippin telling the rest of the characters about it after the fact.
  • Red Eye Take Warning. Does appear yellow at one point, however.
  • Red Right Hand: "There are only four fingers on the Black Hand, but they are enough."
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock
  • Sinister Surveillance
  • Take Over the World
  • Treacherous Advisor: Sauron was this to Ar-Pharazôn And also an Evil Chancellor
  • Ultimate Evil: In the book itself, he's a quintessential go-to example of Ultimate Evil. The fact that there's a Bigger Bad in the Backstory is therefore Up to Eleven. Then again, Tolkien states that Sauron at the height of his power was more powerful than Morgoth during the War of the Jewels. Interestingly enough, he's not motiveless Evil Incarnate: his Start of Darkness was motivated by a desire for order and control.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Marching up to the Black Gate was a trap and he walked right into it.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Before his physical body was destroyed in the fall of Númenor. Even afterwards he's implied to still possess the ability, though he never really gets a chance to use it--he just can't conceal his true nature any more, meaning it's no longer useful as a disguise.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goal was once to establish order in Middle-Earth.

The One Ring

Yes, the One Ring is a character, the one around whom everyone in the series bases their actions. Sauron made it, lost it, and wants it back. Gollum is addicted to its presence. The White Council want to destroy the Ring, Frodo volunteers, and the Fellowship of the Ring protect him on his quest.


The leader of the Wizards and the White Council, Saruman the White possessed great knowledge and skill at crafting, but was proud and haughty. He dwelt in the tower of Orthanc at Isengard. Saruman was originally a steadfast enemy of Sauron, but in time came envy Sauron and began searching for the One Ring. At first he steered the White Council away from opposing Sauron, hoping that the Dark Lord's rise would bring the Ring back into the open, but Sauron ensnared him through his use of the Seeing-stone of Orthanc and Saruman became his servant. Saruman raised an army of Orcs and subverted the land of Rohan through his minion Wormtongue, but still searched for the Ring in hopes of betraying Sauron and claiming his power.

Saruman was the foremost of the Wizards, but his greatest power was not magic, but his sheer charisma and compelling voice. With these he subverted the White Council and brought Rohan to its knees.

Grí­ma Wormtongue

A man of Rohan who was seduced by Saruman's promises of power, Wormtongue was King Théoden's advisor. He used clever words and "leechcraft" to wear down the aging king's mind, weakening the kingdom and allowing Saruman's armies to run rampant.

The Lord of the Nazgûl

The nine Nazgûl were kings of Men to whom Sauron gave nine Rings of Power in the Second Age. Seduced by power, they fell into evil, and eventually passed into a state of undeath. The Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, are extensions of Sauron's will who exist only to do his bidding. They are his most terrible servants, and the greatest among them--known variously as the Black Captain, the Lord of the Nazgûl, and many other names--rules Minas Morgul as the Dark Lord's right hand.

Roughly two-thousand years before the War of the Ring, when Sauron was in hiding, the Lord of the Nazgûl was sent into the north to found the kingdom of Angmar under the identity of the Witch-king. There, he undermined and ultimately destroyed the North-kingdom of Arnor in a series of wars. At that time, it was foretold that no man could slay him. When Sauron declared himself openly, the Witch-king returned to Mordor, conquered Minas Ithil, and slew the last king of Gondor. When the War of the Ring began, he led the hunt for Frodo and the Ring.


  • The Ageless: Like the Elves they were supposedly created from, but it isn't fully clear.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: All the orcs we see, although Word of God is that it may not be completely the case. In any event, Tolkien was good enough to give all named orcs distinctive (though still evil) personalities.
    • Orc-hood is almost as much a state of mind as it is genetic (cf. Tolkien's statement that "We were all orcs," re: World War One). Some speculate that if an orc stopped being evil, it would no longer be an orc, and resume being an elf.
  • Bad Boss: Any given orc in a position of power will probably be one of these.
  • Black Blood
  • Blood Knight: All the Uruk-hai, but Ugluk stands out in particular.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Those orcs who aren't Blood Knights are really into this.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Uruk-hai,
  • Dirty Coward: "Standard" orcs, which is why whip-wielding superiors and/or Nazgûl stand behind them...
  • Enemy Civil War: The only thing keeping the orcs held together is the will of Sauron. Whenver that slackens for whatever reason, they remember that they hate each other almost as much as they hate the other races and almost immediately go for each other's throats. Unless there are people of other races nearby, in which case different tribes of orcs will band together to kill them, then turn on each other.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: They regard accusations of cannibalism (that is, eating other Orcs--eating other races is fine) as a grave insult. (Though whether or not they do it anyway is an open question...)
  • Evil Minions
  • Fantastic Racism: Against Elves, Men, and even other Orcs (there is a rivalry between the Orcs of Mordor, the 'Northerners' from the Misty Mountains who are used to running their own affairs, and Saruman's Uruk-hai).
  • Faux Affably Evil: For the most part.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The most likely origin of the Uruk-hai.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: They're not very... selective in their diet, though unlike in the movies they generally don't eat each other if they can get anything else. Shagrat does threaten to eat Snaga, though.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Grishnakh.
  • Mooks
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted. Orcish medicine is among the most advanced in Middle-Earth but it tends to be very painful and has heavy scarring.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Actually, to a degree they are, despite being the Trope Namer. Tolkien's actual orcs are much more advanced and intelligent, and not as physically powerful, than the crude barbarians Always Chaotic Evil orcs are generally portrayed as.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Uruk-hai only. "Standard" orcs are sneaks and cowards.
  • Smug Snake: Grishnakh.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Shagrat and Gorbag.
  • Torture Technician: Just about any orc with brains will be one of these.
  • Was Once a Man: The origin that made it into the books is that they were once elves. This is only one possibility, though, and it kept changing right up until Tolkien's death--he didn't like the implications that had for their eternal souls, even though he did not want evil to be capable of independent creation, which would have conflicted with his Christianity.


  • All Trolls Are Different: Tolkien's trolls are giant-like monsters with rocky hides and beast-like intelligence. (The talking trolls in The Hobbit may or may not have been artistic license on Bilbo's part.) They permanently turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. The exceptions are Sauron's Olog-hai, more intelligent trolls that are immune to sunlight.
    • The trio from The Hobbit are mentioned having been geniouses among trolls in the Appendix of the Lot R. Also, since Aragorn recognises their old cave as a typical troll-cave (which had a hinged door), trolls smart enough to build simple shelters are implicictly at least relatively common.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Though the standard Trolls (barring the trio from The Hobbit) are barely above animals in intelligence, it seems.
  • Dumb Muscle
  • Elite Mook: The Attack Trolls followed by the Olog-Hai.
  • Evil Counterpart: Apparently intended as Morgoth's answer to the Ents, but nowhere near as strong or wise.
  • Made of Iron: They die hard.
  • Smash Mook

Men of Darkness

A general term for Mannish cultures not related to the Dúnedain, referring to their relative lack of sophistication; essentially barbarians. In the Third Age, most of them have been seduced and/or enslaved by Sauron, whom they worship as a god-king. Unlike the Orcs, enemy Men are not evil by nature; they evoke sympathy from their enemies (but still die in droves) and are treated fairly in defeat. The Men of Darkness fall into various cultural groups:

  • The Dunlendings (Men of Dunland), wild hill-people who were forced off their ancestral lands by the Rohirrim and hold a massive grudge. Saruman tricked them into fighting for him by spreading lies about Rohirric war-crimes against them.
  • The Easterlings, a vast but loose confederation of nomadic tribes from the plains of Rhûn with a history of territorial conflict with Gondor. Known for their use of wagons and chariots.
  • The Haradrim or Southrons, warriors from the plains and deserts of Near Harad who also clashed with Gondor over territory. They sometimes fielded mûmakil (huge elephants) as living siege engines.
  • The Corsairs of Umbar, rebels who broke off from Gondor and merged with the coastal Haradrim. Vicious pirates whose black ships were feared throughout the southern seas.
  • The Variags of Khand, fiece warriors from south of Mordor.
  • "Troll-men" or "half-trolls", mysterious black-skinned people from Far Harad.

After the War of the Ring, Aragorn establishes peace with them and grants them Sauron's former lands as their own.

  • Barbarian Tribe: The Dunlendings.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Dunlendings are vaguely Celtic, at least in their language and their relationship with the pseudo-Germanic Rohirrim. The Corsairs are also vaguely Carthaginian. The Easterlings of the Third Age are presumably Eastern Asians, judging by their physical description and the location of their homeland, Rhun, which is located in the eastern regions of Middle-earth. The brown-skinned Haradrim/Southrons native to Near Harad are reminiscent of Muslim/Arabic peoples, while those the black-skinned people of Far Harad are Africans.
  • Heel Face Turn: After the War of the Ring, they're implied to live in peace with Gondor and Rohan.
  • The Horde
  • Hordes From the East: The Easterlings and Variags.
  • Human Sacrifice: Apparently practiced at Sauron's demand.
  • Instant Plunder, Just Add Pirates: The Corsairs of Umbar.
  • Mooks
    • Elite Mook: The Southron chieftain with the black serpent banner.
  • One Steve Limit: Broken--there was another group of Men called Easterlings in The Silmarillion. There's no indication they were related; it was probably just a generic term for "barbarians" from the east.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Haradrim in particular wear this hat.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Most of them fought for Sauron because he'd deceived and/or threatened them into joining him.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Used by the Haradrim and Easterlings.
  • Villainous Valor: The Haradrim keep fighting after Sauron's defeat, which earns them Gondor's respect.
  • War Elephants: The mûmakil or oliphaunts, which provide the page image. They're much larger and tougher than ordinary elephants.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Invoked by Sam when he witnesses the death of a young Southron warrior.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Easterlings and Haradrim were seen this way by the Gondorians. The Dunlendings also end up seeing the Rohirrim this way after their fair treatment in defeat.

The Mouth of Sauron


  • Achilles Heel: Her underside is not as tough as the rest of her body; when she gives up trying to paralyze Sam with her venom and decides to crush him, he shoves Sting into her guts. The book emphasizes that unlike dragons, Shelob has no weak spots save for her eyes. Sam is only able to pierce her skin and tissue because she unwittingly slams on his blade with her own, massive strength.
  • Casting a Shadow: Like her mother, she weaves webs of Unlight that are perceptible to the Hobbits.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Sauron treats her as his pet. Shelob doesn't care. He actually compares her to a pet cat, as she was a pet that rejected his authority.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In spider-form, but an abomination nonetheless.
  • Eye Scream: Sam stabs her in one eye with Sting during their fight, and then blinded in her other eyes by the Phial of Galadriel.
  • Giant Spider: Really just a spider-like monster, described to have pincers in her feet and great insect-like eyes, among other taxonomical oddities.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Of the "pure evil" variety. She was stated to be immune to the ring's temptations because power holds no interest for something that just wants to eat everything.
  • Meaningful Name: "Lob" is an archaic word for "spider". She's female. "She-Lob".
  • Nigh Invulnerable
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Her ultimate goal seems to be to eat the whole planet. Mercifully, she's nowhere near accomplishing that. Ungoliant, her mother, tried and failed at this as well. She ended up eating herself.
  • Primal Fear
  • Shrug of God: Whether Sam killed her or not.
  • Spiders Are Scary
  • Time Abyss: Although not to the same extent as her mother, Ungoliant, Shelob is still very ancient. She was implied to have been born early in the First Age, and came to Mordor before even Sauron came there.
  • The Voiceless: The fact that she was able to work out a deal with Gollum implies she can speak, but she never does during her appearance in the text. Or just that she understands speech, and relented her attack when Gollum begged for his life and promised to bring her tasty things to eat.
    • Her mother Ungoliant in The Silmarillion could talk, as could her descendants in The Hobbit. All told, makes Shelob herself being able to talk seem pretty likely--she probably just didn't have anything to say to her dinner.
  • Weakened by the Light

The Balrog

An ancient demon who fled deep underground after the Wars of Beleriand in the First Age, the unnamed Balrog was awakened from its torpor in the Third Age when the dwarves of Moria Dug Too Deep for mithril. The monster killed the dwarves' king and drove them out of their halls into exile. Centuries later, the Balrog, now known as Durin's Bane, was encountered by the Fellowship as they traveled through Moria. Gandalf held off the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and both fell into an abyss. After a pitched battle that lasted for days, the wizard slew the demon, but died from his wounds shortly after. Gandalf came Back From the Dead; the Balrog didn't.

  • Big Damn Villains: His appearance terrifies the Moria orcs so much they stop caring about the Fellowship.
  • Casting a Shadow
  • Dark Is Evil
  • Dual-Wielding: Sword and whip.
  • Eldritch Abomination: At least, you could tell that Sauron's minions were warped versions of their original selves. This demon is one of many "that should not see the light of day".
  • Fallen Angel: Believe or not that demon who just snared and just happen to have a sword and whip, belonged to a race of once-angelic warriors that made the Ring-wraiths look like pansies.
  • Hero-Killer
  • Knight of Cerebus: The story was already serious, but he upped the ante and paved the way for the Fellowship's breaking by bringing down Gandalf. (Of course, Gandalf got better.) It also introduced the epic one-on-one fights that would occur later in the story.
  • Large and In Charge: Much larger than the orcs and trolls in Moria, and they seem to be almost as afraid of him as the Fellowship is.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Durin's Bane". Also, "Balrog" is the Sindarin form of the Quenya term Valarauko, "Demon of Might".
  • One-Scene Wonder: A lot of the people will remember the scene where Gandalf sacrifices himself in order to save the Fellowship from the beast.
  • Playing with Fire
  • Rasputinian Death: Falls down a deep pit along with Gandalf, as they try to stab one another as they plummet down to the bottom. Once they land, they are immediately submerged, carried down the stream presumably, until they reached the base of a mountain, climb the Endless Stair to the peak of Celebdil, where they fought until Gandalf manages to pierce its heart, causing it to fall down to its death.
  • Red Baron: Durin's Bane.
  • Serious Business: Whether or not he's winged.
  • Whip It Good: He uses a flaming whip in conjunction with a Flaming Sword.


  1. To put it bluntly, biting him and thus injecting him with her venom was only the first part of the process of ingestion, and the venom acted more as a paralyzing agent than an actual fatal substance.
  2. Well, not quite; Gandalf also can still speak it, and Elrond at the very least can understand the language.
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