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Tropes from The Lord of the Rings (the book)
Tropes A-C -- Tropes D-F -- Tropes G-I -- Tropes J-L -- Tropes M-O -- Tropes P-R -- Tropes S-U

Tropes V-Z

  • The Verse: Arda
  • Vestigial Empire: Gondor
  • Villains Want Mercy: Wormtongue begs for mercy when his plot with Saruman is discovered and defeated, claiming that he was working for the greater good of Rohan. He's allowed to live, a decision that costs quite a few lives and considerable grief.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The whole Tom Bombadil episode almost certainly counts. Its arguable status as Padding, as well as its mixed reception among readers meant that it got skipped by The Movies.
    • A more literal example would be the Woses, led by Ghan-buri-Ghan. Also skipped by The Movies.
  • War Elephants: The Southrons ride to battle on "Oliphaunts" (as the hobbits call them) or mûmakil (as they're referred to by the Men of Gondor). Sam is very excited when he gets to see one at a distance -- he and Frodo are now the only living hobbits ever to have seen a live Oliphaunt. (The others could have seen them at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but Pippin was too busy dealing with Faramir, Denethor, and Gandalf to bother watching from the walls of Minas Tirith, and Merry -- having come with the Rohirrim -- was too far to the west of the battlefield.)
  • War Is Hell: Even when the Free Peoples (Elves, dwarves, hobbits, ents and good men) have We ARE Struggling Together! and the orcs, nazgul, trolls and evil men have an Enemy Civil War, both sides knew that any of their other band enemies will destroy them ruthlessly.
  • Warrior Poet: Applies to many characters, who are both capable fighters and cultured. The Elves are particularly brilliant at it, but the vast majority of the characters can and do improvise verses at the drop of a hat.
    • Special mention goes to Gimli, despite his gruff nature, whose long, blissful monologue on the caves of Helm's Deep is eloquent enough to convince Legolas, a Wood Elf, that stones have majesty to rival any forest. After Gimli actually takes him to see the caverns, Legolas admits that he is completely lost for words by comparison.
  • Warrior Prince: Most of the main characters, since the only major character not descending from a high (or at least respectable) bloodline is Samwise, whose ancestors always were just ordinary people -- gardeners, ropemakers and such.
  • Was Once a Man: The Ringwraiths. Also, Gollum (once a hobbit...)
  • We ARE Struggling Together!: The elves, dwarves, and men are constantly squabbling with each other when they should be joining forces to fight the Evil Overlord. The Lothlorien elves distrust Gimli the dwarf, and so all the Fellowship must go blind into the path to Lorien:

 "Alas for the folly of these days!" said Legolas. "Here all are enemies of the one Enemy, and yet I must walk blind, while the sun is merry in the woodland under leaves of gold!"

"Folly it may seem," said Haldir. "Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him."

  • We Can Rule Together: Saruman pulls this on Gandalf. He turns down the offer and ends up being a prisoner.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Denethor, for Faramir
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Boromir wants the One Ring to protect Gondor, and by extension the rest of the free world, but his eventual attempt to take it from Frodo doesn't go well at all. This trope is also mentioned as how all good people who deliberately set out to wield the Ring will begin their unavoidable Start of Darkness: Both Gandalf and Galadriel say that if they wielded the Ring they would begin with doing good, but that's not how things would end as its evil power corrupts them.
    • Sauron started off as one, desiring to establish order in Middle-Earth, which decayed into a desire for tyranny. Tolkien portrays tyranny as the corrupted mockery of order just as chaos is the dark counterpart of freedom. Some tyrants just want power at any cost from the beginning; Sauron originally intended to use that power to create his own order, but kind of forgot it on the way. By the time of the book though all that was ancient history and he had evolved into something not far from an Omnicidal Maniac. "Nothing is truly evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so."
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Painstakingly averted, to a point where even the fates of stolen ponies are usually accounted for in the narration.
  • What You Are in the Dark
  • When Trees Attack: Ents, Huorns, and Old Man Willow. Ents are ancient spirits which had grown tree-like in appearance after having been around them for thousands of years. Huorns are described as either "Tree-ish" Ents or "Ent-ish" trees, being less active than Ents but more awake than trees. They seem to be formed from Ents who had "gone to sleep" or trees which had "woken up".
  • Where It All Began: Mordor and the Shire count.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: LotR did originally have one, which was cut for the original publication, but its three versions have since been published in the HoMe 9: Sauron Defeated. The first two versions are almost identical: It shows an evening seventeen years after the Ring's destruction, with Sam just having finished reading the story to his children, and answering their questions about the story and what happened after. The third version skips ahead a bit, and begins with Sam writing down the Q&A session with his children and talking to Elanor, who is allowed to stay up after the other children because she's oldest and it's her birthday. All versions end with a scene of Sam and his wife standing outside at night.
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: Bilbo, after he vanishes in The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Where There's A Whip There's A Will: The Balrog, the nonsexual example.
    • O rly?
    • Also, the orcs whipping the hobbits to keep running (Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers on their run that ends in Fangorn Forest, and Frodo and Sam in The Return of the King, when they're mistaken for orcs in Mordor).
  • The Wise Prince: Faramir
  • Wise Tree: Treebeard
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The One Ring tends to have this effect.
  • Wizard Beard: Gandalf
  • Wizard Classic: Gandalf is a Trope Codifier for newer examples.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Justified with the "wizards" who are explained to be divine beings on the level of Biblical angels.
    • Played with in the Nazgul. Their rings of power enhanced their lifespans far beyond that of ordinary mortals while simultaneously giving them magical powers, but the ultimate price was the loss of their souls, humanity, and free will to Sauron. In Middle-earth, unless you're an Elf or Physical God and therefore naturally immortal, prolonging your life always comes with a cost. (The one exception being the Kings of Numenor, whose lives got shorter the more evil they got - justified since their long lives were originally derived from their half-Elvish nature, which they were increasingly abandoning.)
      • The implication is that the mortals can't get any more life than they naturally have; they just spread it thinner and thinner, until they are little more than pseudo-living shadows.
  • Woman in White: Galadriel is described as fully clad in white.
    • Also Éowyn's color of choice. She is also known as the White Lady of Rohan.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Invoked when Bilbo, Frodo, and finally Sam take pity on Gollum, ensuring the Ring's destruction. Gollum (and Frodo) practically become this, however.
    • This mainly applies to Gollum, since the Ring would have prevented the actual bearer from throwing it in, regardless of motivation, as he actively tried to prevent the Ring's destruction after centuries of misery and torment, because of a Heel Face Door Slam...
    • Although he was destined to destroy the Ring and so the quest would have failed without his attempt to prevent it. Literally Bilbo, Frodo and Sam taking pity on him was necessary for the Ring's destruction; and expressly choosing not to attack and kill him on four separate occasions, including on the slopes of Mount Doom.[1]

  Frodo: But do you remember Gandalf's words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do? But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.

 Frodo, after finding that the front gate to Mordor is shut, and that Gollum knows another way in: You didn't tell me about a secret way in!

Gollum: You didn't ask.

Notes

  1. According to Word of God, Gollum's only other option was to steal the Ring and throw himself in, or for the Ringbearer to throw himself in, or (had Aragorn been with them) to throw the Ringbearer in or claim the ring themselves. And there is speculation that the Voice of the Ring itself doomed the Ring when Frodo prophesied Gollum's death while wielding the Ring to control Gollum (one of only two times he does so) on the slopes of Mount Doom.
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