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Minas Tirith Forums » Lord of the Rings » Who is the real hero? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Who is the real hero?
Lorgan
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In your opinion, who is the real hero of 'The Lord of the Rings'?

I have my own opinion, but would very much like to hear yours, so be invited to post your view.

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Roll of Honor Braeden Fireheart
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I'm sure something like this has been posted before. Anyway...

The beauty of LotR is that there are many heroes. Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gandalf, Merry, and Éowyn all stand out to be the main ones for me. And each are heroes in their own right, for very different reasons.

But if I were to choose one, it would be Sam.

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Roll of Honor Thorongil
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It would be hard to pick just one hero...but if I had to, I'm probably agree with Braeden. W/out Sam the Ring would have survived....though I guess that could be said of several people, including Gollum...
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A.H.Black
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Frodo!

My dissertation is over at Ultimate hero - yes again! It is clear to me that Tolkien had Frodo in mind for the real hero and his opinion is good enough for me.

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Roll of Honor Curufin the Crafty
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I said Aragorn in the other thread, but the more I think of it, the more I'm thinking of putting Éomer up for nomination.

I mean, it was Éomer (and his men) who saved Merry and Pippin from Saruman (and ended up ultimately in jail for it), it was Éomer (and his men) who held off Saruman's troops at the Pelennor Fields until Aragorn could arrive with his ships...I mean, really, the entire war would have been lost without the Rohirrim (as Minas Tirith would have been crunched between Isengard and Barad-Dûr, the Witch King never would have been defeated...etc, etc.), so let's not completely write them off and forget them!

~Théodwyn

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Roll of Honor Thorongil
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All true, but when the Ring went into the fire, Sauron would have fallen, even if his armies had been rolling into the Shire.
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Gandalf Greyhame
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I do not believe this can be answered. There is no one hero. How can there be? It is like our life; think how many people have affected it. If this person didn't do this, then this would have or not have happened, etc. Almost all the main people in LOTR are vital to the story. Personally I like Gandalf the best I mean, the servants of Sauron would have gotten the Ring had it not been for him. From what people have said JRR pictured himself as Gandalf. However, in the book it focuses a lot on Frodo, and he got the Ring to Mount Doom. But maybe Gollum is the hero because without him the Ring would still exist and Sauron would've gotten it back. Aragorn is the King, how could the story go without him? He saved the quest many times. You can go on about all the characters in this way.

This is the beauty of LOTR. There is so much happening and it is so realistic it is hard to find a hero and it is easy to forget parts. The compelling urge to re-read the book is awesome.

[ 09-24-2002, 10:06 AM: Message edited by: Glorfindel Elf-Lord ]

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Halion
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quote:
It is clear to me that Tolkien had Frodo in mind for the real hero and his opinion is good enough for me.
A.H.Black, everyone may have his/her own opinion, but Tolkien himself seems to have had Sam in mind for the real hero (which isn't the same as main character).

From Letter #131:
quote:
I think the simple 'rustic' love of Sam and his Rosie (nowhere elaborated) is absolutely essential to the study of his (the chief hero's) character


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A.H.Black
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Isn't (the chief hero) your phrase?

This is part of what I wrote elsewhere.

Most of you know that I think that Frodo is the ultimate hero. Some of my reasoning is based on analysis and argument, but in the end it is my feeling for Frodo that holds my heart. First of all, I think Tolkien wrote the books with Frodo in mind as the hero. Gandalf and the elves think he is the “best” of the hobbits. Aragorn gains great respect, love and trust in Frodo and his instincts and abilities. Sam won’t leave his side and Merry and Pippin scheme and spy to stay near him. Gimli, Legolas, and Boromir all come to love him as well as Elrond, Galadriel, and Faramir. There are many scenes when the main characters do what they do out of love for Frodo or with a mind to help him in any way they can. Gollum even has a soft spot for him and has the beginnings of a desire to do good; at least for Frodo. Finally, the little seen characters of the book, Gildor, Glorfindel, Haldir, Barliman Butterbur, and Fatty Bolger all add to Tolkien’s build up of Frodo through their respect and love.

Theodwyn - I want to talk about your Aragorn theory after I've thought it through for a while.

[ 09-24-2002, 03:06 PM: Message edited by: A.H.Black ]

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Precocious Auburn Hobbit
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My opinion?

I don't think the hero of the story is an individual. Rather, the "hero" of the story is the strength, will, and faith of the characters. It is really these characteristics that allow the quest to be completed. No one character could have taken on the task alone, and neither can one single character be given the title of "hero".

Just my thoughts...

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Halion
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A.H.Black, the entire quoted text in my post was written by Tolkien himself in a letter to Milton Waldman in 1951, and it was published as Letter #131 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

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Roll of Honor Curufin the Crafty
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A.H. Black - sure, any time, feel free to PM me, or I can discuss it here, if you like.
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A.H.Black
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Maerbenn - Interesting quote from letter #131. I'm off to the library tomorrow to check it out. I did go to the biography last night to see what I could find.

"After a brief period in the summer of 1939 when he considered changing everything he had done so far and starting all over again with Bilbo as the hero - presumably on the principle that the hero of the first book ought to be the hero of the second - Tolkien went back to his intention of using the 'Bingo' character; but as the name 'Bingo' had now become quite unbearable to him in view of the serious nature ther story had taken on, he changed it to 'Frodo'..."

There are also several exerpts of letters to Christopher in 1944 -

"Now I will return to Frodo and Gollum for a brief spell"
"have brought Frodo nearly to the gates of Mordor."
"I have now written or nearly written all the matter up to the capture of Frodo in the high pass on the very brink of Mordor."
"the rest of my time...has been occupied by the desperate attempt to bring 'The Ring' to a suitable pause, the capture of Frodo by Orcs in the passes of Mordor"

As he speaks and writes, it is always about Frodo. Thank heavens he changed it from "Bingo".

[ 09-25-2002, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: A.H.Black ]

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Iarnar the Desert Dog
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I don't think of Sam as much of a hero, in fact, I don't like him very much. He saves the Ring, he saves Frodo from the Orcs of Cirith Ungol, and when Frodo chews him out for taking the Ring, he just eats it like a good little servant? I would have kicked Frodo's arse from one end of the turret to the other, declared myself the new Ringbearer, and then made him carry my baggage for the rest of the trip.

Come to think of it, if Sam had done that, the Ring would have been destroyed anyway, and Frodo would have gotten to keep his finger.

I saw an essay somewhere about how "Tolkien was an early 20th century Englishman, and I am not." This "faithful servant no matter how much abuse you give him" idea is the one thing that bothers me about this whole story.

[ 09-26-2002, 12:26 AM: Message edited by: Iarnar, son of Iarlot ]

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Roll of Honor Herendil
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This passage from letter #93 may also be worth quoting:
quote:
Sam is the most closely drawn character, the successor to Bilbo of the first book, the genuine hobbit. Frodo is not so interesting, because he has to be highminded, and has (as it were) a vocation. The book will prob. end up with Sam. Frodo will naturally become too ennobled and rarefied by the achievement of the great Quest, and will pass West with all the great figures; but S. will settle down to the Shire and gardens and inns.
The other threads that have discussed this subject are these:

Is Sam the main character in The Lord of the Rings? (the library thread)
Ultimate Hero - yes again! (very recent)
Main char of LOTR
LoTR not about Frodo? read on

[ 09-28-2002, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Isildur of the Númenóreans ]

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Albion
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Iarnar:

When someone is complete and whole,, "comfortable in his own skin" and certain of his values, like Sam, then that person has achieved the grace not to need to kick anyone in the, er, derriere in order to prove how big and important he is. This is known as true maturity. It leads to generosity and integrity. This is why Sam is so admired and loved. He does not have to prove he is someone else or to compete for attention. He is satisfied to just be his best self. And that is pretty good.

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Larken the little hobbit
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Gandalf. It all always goes back to Gandalf. In too many instances to count, everyone would have died, and/or the ring would have survived without him.
~Larken
(Even though I love Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pip, Aragorn, Legolas, etc)

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simbelmyne
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Lorgan - perhaps you could tell us your opinion?

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Roll of Honor Ninj
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Gollum

after all, he destroyed the ring

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Iarnar the Desert Dog
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Albion:

Everything you say is true, but how does that relate to Frodo's treatment of Sam, and Sam's reaction to it? You may think that Sam is being "understanding and compassionate" with Frodo when Frodo rails at Sam for taking the Ring. I think Sam is being domesticated and subservient. This is not a good position for Sam to be in, because he is clearly more capable than Frodo in many ways, especially after Frodo had been wounded by Shelob and (at least mentally) tortured by the Orcs of Cirith Ungol.

It's not about proving "how big you are," it's about stepping up and doing what's best for the Quest. It would not have been disrespectful to Frodo to say "you got us this far, but you've clearly run out of gas, so I'm taking over the Ring, and I don't wanna hear any more arguments from you." After all, isn't that the same argument Gandalf used to get Bilbo to give the Ring to Frodo in the first place?

Okay, so maybe having Sam kick Frodo's "dupa" was a little extreme, but sometimes you gotta be a little extreme to make your point.

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Dark Lord Andúril
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Sauron all! He created the ring []
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Farmermaggot
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I feel that the ultimate hero of LOTR (In thematic thingys) are the Hobbits in genral as most of the other characters were fully developed heroes in their own right, we did not really see Aragon and Gandalf for instance develop their characters really (other than when they were hiding them!) they had seen it all before.

While the Hobbits find their true heroism during the journey. Imho a case could be made for any of the Hobbits (excluding Fatty) to be the main hero of the book as almost all if it is through their eyes.

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Curious_mind
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I agree with everyone here who said Frodo was the real hero of LOTR. Sam being the "most closely drawn character" is the crowd favorite. Being lovable and wonderful and brave hobbit catches the attention of the readers most. Professor Tolkien meant Frodo to be the hero of the books. His statements like "chief hero" and "most heroic character" for are because of humility as Sam's character was inspired from Batmen. Also, the characters who struggled most in the trilogy are Frodo and Sam. Aragorn and Gandalf for all their sufferings and courageous acts do not go through as much as Frodo and Sam do.
Saying Sam is the real hero and giving one sided arguments to prove their point is kind of silly. Sam loved Frodo

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Gollum Gollum
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[]
quote:
Saying Sam is the real hero [...] is kind of silly.
Well for me Sam is the real hero. []
quote:
Sam loved Frodo.
I think you've just contradicted yourself. Yes, Sam loved Frodo and for that very reason I think he's the hero. As you said, the two of them struggled the most. But for different reasons. Frodo left the Shire because he wasn't safe there anymore, and then set out from Rivendell as he didn't want to give up the Ring. He couldn't stand the fact that someone else would possess it. He decided to destroy it in order to get his peace&quiet back. Is that heroism? Personally I just can't stand Frodo and wouldn't call him any hero at all. Surely not the true one of the story.
Now Sam. He was happy in the Shire and didn't have to leave it. There was the risk that someone would marry Rosie while he was away. There was the risk that someone would harm Gaffer (which happened). But he set out with Frodo. Later on, when leaving Rivendell, he knew it was hardly possible for him ever to come back. Yet he didn't abandon Frodo because he loved him. He did all he could for his master, obeying to his commands to the very end. He had billions of occasions to kill Gollum - but he didn't do so since Frodo didn't want Gollum to get killed.
Sam is the one who sacrificed all he had and all he was in order to stay true to his master. This IMO makes him the true hero.

[ 06-03-2014, 08:23 AM: Message edited by: Gollum Gollum ]

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Curious_mind
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As I said, you people bring quite one-sided arguments to prove your points. LotR wasn't about who saved who. It was about who saved Middle-earth. You hate Frodo, you like most of the people don't "get" him at all. Btw, Sam would have killed Gollum had it not been for Frodo. Frodo, like Sam, had every reason to turn back. Even Sam wanted to turn away at times, it was his love for Frodo that kept him going on.
Didn't ya say Sam is the hero for you? I don't mind that really. People having their opinions don't change reality. Text suggests Frodo is the hero, and people are free to go against that because of their opinions. But it does not change the reality at all. Tolkien wrote Frodo at the hero, and the hero he is. No one can change the fact. Not you, not even Professor Tolkien's letters. He can't go against the text he has written. I don't recall him ever saying he made a mistake in making Frodo the central character. You said you can't stand Frodo at all-- it shows your failure of understanding the character that Professor Tolkien wrote. My first was self-explanatory, if you did not get anything from there, I'm afraid I can't help you.

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