Top 10 Best Lord of the Rings Characters

The Lord of the Rings is an acclaimed high fantasy novel series. It follows a group of characters who rally the Free Peoples of Middle-earth against Sauron's armies. Meanwhile, Frodo journeys to destroy the One Ring. The series was later adapted into an equally successful film series.
The Top Ten
1 Aragorn Aragorn II, the son of Arathorn II and Gilraen, is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium and is one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings. He was a great ranger and warrior, and as Isildur's heir he bore the shards of Narsil, reforged and renamed Andúril, in the War of the Ring. In the live action movies of The Lord of the Rings, the character was portrayed by Viggo... read more

Aragorn is a good guy. He is afraid of making the same mistake his ancestor made, and that goes to prove he won't make that mistake. Also, dude is hot!

After a minute of debating in my brain, I have to give up and say that Aragorn, son of Arathorn, is the best character. Runner-ups include Sam and Gandalf. He's pretty much a perfect character, humble yet brave and strong. He is Isildur's heir. He combines the best aspects of other amazing characters: Sam's humility, the awesomeness of Legolas, and the wisdom of Gandalf. He also went through the most change and development, from a wild Ranger to the King of Gondor, Isildur's heir. Legolas is a great character, but it baffles me that he is second place. Like, he has barely any character development, besides his relationship with Gimli. I also love Gandalf because of his inspiration towards others and his great quotes, and Sam for his loyalty to his master and his speeches.

2 Legolas Legolas is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He is a Sindarin Elf of the Woodland Realm and one of nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring. He has been portrayed by Orlando Bloom in the live action movies.

Legolas is and always has been my favorite character, and every time I read the books or watch the movies, I'm reminded why I love his character so much! He's loyal, noble, intelligent, graceful, strong, wise, and skilled in battle, and yet he is still flawed. He runs out of arrows (in the books), sometimes doesn't quite understand how precious time can be to others, and can be too bold with his words. But despite everything, he is still a great character to read about or watch. And his relationships with his fellow hunters are priceless! Legolas will always be my favorite!

He is the coolest with his bow and arrow abilities. He's the most versatile fighter and can take out tons of enemies single-handedly, including trolls and oliphaunts. He's also calm no matter what, and very brave as well.

And think about it, he could have just stayed in Mirkwood or Rivendell and eventually could have left Middle Earth to live forever in paradise if things with Sauron got too bad. But instead, he fought side by side with the free folk in Helm's Deep, and until the very end at the Black Gate, even though he was most likely going to die both times.

3 Gandalf Gandalf the Grey, later known as Gandalf the White, is a fictional character and one of the protagonists in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was an Istar, sent by the West in the Third Age to combat the threat of Sauron, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West. He is portrayed by Ian McKellen in the live action movies.

Gandalf is the greatest, wisest, strongest, and without a doubt, the most powerful character of all. He killed a Balrog, came back to life even stronger than before, and he is a Maia, which means, if you read the books, you can learn that before Gandalf came in human form, he was more powerful than ever and helped create Earth. So, Gandalf is without a doubt the best character ever!

Gandalf is the greatest opponent of evil. He resists temptation at every opportunity to take advantage of the Ring and become the most powerful being in Middle-Earth. His metamorphosis after his battle with the Balrog made him even purer, exemplified by his literal change from grey to white. He is truly powerful, but also honorable and loving.

How could somebody not vote for Gandalf? He is extremely wise, and if any evil lurks, he investigates and tries to stop it! He is very powerful, has an awesome horse, staff, sword, and hat. He fought SAURON HIMSELF in The Hobbit movies and fought the Balrog, died, and came back even more powerful than before. He led the Fellowship and the thirteen dwarves, convinced Bilbo and Frodo to go on their adventures, is around 30,000 years old, is allied with the Great Eagles, and has the respect of almost all the races in Middle Earth. Go Gandalf!

4 Sam

If you think about it, Sam was the reason that the Ring was destroyed. Yes, Frodo was the one who carried it, and it was Gollum who (unintentionally) caused the Ring to be destroyed, but it was Sam who supported and protected Frodo. Without Sam, Frodo would have likely been killed by Gollum. Sam was incredibly loyal and supportive of Frodo, and Frodo very likely wouldn't have made it without that support.

But more importantly, Sam was never corrupted by the Ring. Think about that for a second. Throughout the entire book, Sam was the character who was in contact with the Ring for the longest period of time without being corrupted. Gandalf refused the Ring because he feared being corrupted, and many other characters were corrupted just by seeing or hearing about it. Yet Sam spent 13 months in direct proximity with the Ring, and was not corrupted at all. I think that speaks volumes about Sam and about the personality that Sam represents.

All Sam wanted was to tend to a healthy garden, to have a happy family, and to live a simple life. Sam represents a message from Tolkien that says to keep your desires simple, and you will be happy and achieve much.

5 Frodo Frodo Baggins is a fictional character and is the main protagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. He was a Hobbit of the Shire during the Third Age. He was also a Ring-bearer, a best friend to Samwise Gamgee, and one of the three Hobbits who sailed from Middle-earth to the Uttermost West at the end of the Third Age. The character was portrayed by Elijah Wood in the live action... read more

For all of you saying "Frodo is a wimp," "a coward," "he did nothing," and so on, think about it. Can you even imagine what it would have been like to keep the ring for a year? Sam was tempted after less than a day, so stop saying he would've been a better ring-bearer. There's a reason that Frodo of all people was entrusted with it. The whole point is that he was this little hobbit who had to go through such an enormous ordeal. If you missed that, then you missed the greatest point of this masterful trilogy! Don't make flippant comments about the main character of a story that you love so much. Think about it first.

Frodo is the obvious protagonist but also the most flawed character in the story. Frodo starts as the embodiment of purity and is able to carry the ring without many temptations. As the trilogy progresses, however, Frodo becomes obsessed with the ring and breaks his relationship with Sam. Frodo's underlying character trait is his innate caring for all creatures. He cares for and sympathizes with Gollum as they make their way to Mordor. Though some can't see past Frodo's corruption through the ring at the end of the story, he is ultimately able to rehabilitate from his previous obsession and goes off with Bilbo, who also struggled with the same burden.

6 Gimli

Gimli is the best character because he's stocky, short, and stubborn. Also, he's a badass and tried to destroy the ring with his axe when everyone told him he couldn't. He did it anyway. Lastly, he has an awesome beard, hands down that makes him tons better than a hairy-footed hobbit who can barely control himself from putting on that ring.

Gimli is what every Dwarf should strive to be. Dwarves are focused on wealth and luxuries, but Gimli is able to get past such weaknesses and fight for honor and the betterment of Middle-Earth. He gets past years of racial prejudice against elves by becoming best friends with Legolas. He is a caring, sweet, and honorable friend and warrior.

When I think of it, Gimli is the main reason for the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog. He suggested they go through the Mines of Moria. So you can thank him.

7 Gollum Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He was introduced in the 1937 children's fantasy novel The Hobbit, and became an important supporting character in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings. In Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, he is portrayed via motion capture by Andy Serkis.

Gollum is the best. The way J.R. Tolkien used him is genius. His multiple personalities, his twisted background, and his ultimate struggle between the ring and Frodo make him compelling. Gollum portrays the reality of human nature. We are greedy and strangled creatures in need. He is one of the most real characters in both the book and movies.

I also like Gollum because of his Smeagol side. Honestly, even though his eating habits are gross, I can't help but feel bad for this character. I would befriend Smeagol in a heartbeat. He is such a confused little guy. He has good intentions, but eventually, his greed gets the best of him.

Even though I like Legolas and Gimli very much – Gimli is hilarious, and Legolas is super cool – Gollum just surpasses them all. It always makes me so sad watching him fall into Mount Doom. (sad face) All in all, Gollum's character is so perfect, so round, that I picked him as my favorite character in the whole Lord of the Rings series.

8 Saruman Saruman the White is a fictional character and a major antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. In the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was portrayed by Sir Christopher Lee.

Saruman is everything that could've gone wrong with Gandalf. Saruman took the easy way out of conflict and decided to join with Sauron. He manipulated Wormtongue to his will, betraying his own people and village. He plotted against Middle-Earth from the beginning and hunted down Gandalf and the Fellowship in order to keep power. He was blinded by his desire for power and failed to predict the obvious fact that Sauron would deceive him and use the power Saruman helped Sauron get against him. Despite his evilness, he is a well-rounded character, and it was a tragedy that Wormtongue killed him before he was able to help the Fellowship take over Mordor.

Why is Saruman so low on the list? He is interesting, relatable, and very active in the story. Christopher Lee does an excellent job of bringing him to life in the films too.

When people say the main villain of LOTR is Sauron, they are correct, but I think the best villain/character in LOTR is Saruman. Why? I always felt he was the main threat in the franchise and he did more than Sauron did.

9 Pippin

Sure, Peregrin Took can be a bit of a fool now and then, but he has a bigger heart than almost any fictional character. He is always there to stand up for others, even when it doesn't seem like it. Pippin is not only my favorite LotR character but also my favorite all-time fictional character in any book I've ever read!

And let's not even mention that voice...

His love of laughter and the world around him is simple. He represents us. He finds joy in life even through the hardest of times and knows how to cheer others up.

That is why Peregrin Took is my favorite character. "What about second breakfast?"

You've got to love Pippin! He's cute and funny, but super brave! The development of his character over the trilogy is so good. He has the best character development among all members of the Fellowship. He's the very embodiment of Tolkien's quote - "It is not the strength of the body, but the strength of the spirit." I honestly love reading and watching The Two Towers and Return of the King only because Pippin has such a huge part in them. The scenes when he bonds with Faramir and later tries to save Faramir always choke me up! Overall, Pippin is love, Pippin is life. And hands down, Billy Boyd did a brilliant job. I couldn't have come up with a better casting.

10 Sauron Sauron is the title character and main antagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Originally a servant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth. Morgoth was later defeated and Sauron fled. He later came back to Middle Earth and took over as the new Dark Lord by using a Ring of Power. He was later trapped by having his Ring of Power cut off his finger. He lived in a shapeless form. Sauron was remanifested... read more

What makes Sauron a compelling villain is that we don't know a lot about him, and he never really directly appears. However, we always see his influence. He was very smart in planning the downfall of his enemies, and there are many points in the story where Sauron could have won. He knew that no one would ever willingly destroy the ring because it would corrupt the ring bearer, making them unwilling to get rid of it.

He had a much larger army than his enemies, and it was so big that eventually his superior numbers would overwhelm his enemies, no matter how long it took. Aragorn winning battles was just prolonging their inevitable defeat. Sauron declared war on Middle-Earth even without the ring. He was not afraid of his enemies and would not stop until he had permanently defeated and completely destroyed them. He was a real threat to all of Middle-Earth.

That's an important part. He's a real threat. He can and will destroy his enemies unless the ring is somehow destroyed, which should be impossible. Tolkien could have made Saruman the main villain or even the Witch-King of Angmar. Both of these guys are incredibly powerful, command vast armies, and rule over lands. But he didn't. He made Sauron the main villain.

I also think Sauron is the main character of the story. Yes, Frodo is our main protagonist, and Sauron is the main antagonist, but the main character is the one we focus on the most, and we focus on Sauron. He creates all the conflict and evil in the story, either directly or indirectly. He corrupted nine kings of men into the Nazgul, his deadliest servants. He also corrupted Saruman into evil and caused Isengard to go to war with Rohan. He created the One Ring, which is the central point of conflict in the story.

The story is about the quest to destroy the One Ring. Even though we never see Sauron directly, we always know he's there, plotting the destruction of his enemies. The story is always about him. It's always about how... more

The Contenders
11 Boromir

Boromir is epic. He may seem corrupted, but in the end, he fights his temptation for the ring and basically saves Merry and Pippin, selflessly giving his life to protect them as best he can. As he fearlessly battled many Uruk-hai, he was shot in the chest. He stumbled to his knees. Once recovered from shock, he got up and kept swinging. Shoom! Another arrow - this time to the heart! Once again on his knees, he looked up and saw the hobbits. With a reason to keep battling, he continued to slay Uruk-hai. Suddenly, he was on his knees yet again, impaled by another arrow. Now, with three arrows in his torso, he finally gave up. But he still lived for about three minutes! As he lay there dying, he inspired Aragorn to fight. Without Boromir, the fellowship might have failed.

He has, like, the best death scene in cinema history and has very compelling characterization. He receives the most efficient character development out of the fellowship and he's driven by the desire to protect others and the feeling of hopelessness, giving him desperation.

12 Eowyn

Nothing new from what everyone else said. Still, I AM NO MAN. She is one of the best characters since she kills the Witch King, disobeys her uncle, and saves her uncle's army, and refuses to give up, even though no one wants her to fight. And she proves them all wrong - she can fight. And well.

Just a few questions. How did Tauriel get onto this list? She was created for a movie, not by J.R.R. Tolkien - and that movie sucked! Her relationship with Fili is ridiculous - she falls in love with him at first sight? They don't lead up on that relationship - it's just like she sees him, and bam! She's in love.

Everyone is always talking about how amazing Arwen is. Arwen this, Arwen that. Arwen is an immortal elf, the beautiful, fair daughter of Elrond, destined to have a life of power and beauty. Eowyn, on the other hand, was simply a girl, a human, and she went to war. She voluntarily snuck into war because she wanted to fight for her country. She went to war, even when Theoden and Eomer told her not to. She is a strong, independent, fierce, beautiful woman. Go Eowyn!

13 Merry

I think that Merry is one of the best characters in The Lord of the Rings, but is sadly unpopular. He is incredibly clever and cares very much for all of his friends. All of his actions go unnoticed, and in the movies, he wasn't even the one to kill the Witch King of Angmar. Anyone who read Return of the King would know that he actually killed the Lord of the Nazgul and saved Eowyn, although she was the one that killed the Fellbeast.

Personally, I think that Merry is just the most underrated character in the series, although I love all of the others to death. I just think that maybe he deserves a bit more credit...

Level-headed, wise, and brave, Merry displays all the best traits of a wonderful friend and advocate. He is often overlooked due to his small stature, yet his dedication and courage never falter. Despite not leaving the Shire prior to the Fellowship, his worldview is that of one who is well-traveled. His ability to take in and act on the enormity of Frodo's mission is critical to its success. Merry was the key to getting out of the Shire in the absence of Gandalf. He would be perfectly happy without being one of the most highly ranked characters.

14 Faramir

Can't believe he's not in the top ten... Faramir is one of the most inspirational characters in the series for me. Not because he's some fantastical race or brilliant fighter or special hero, but because for the most part he's just a normal guy. And he knows it. He succeeds in his own right, forges his own path on his own merits, and somehow manages to pull it off. He shows that even if you're not born to change the world, you still have a part to play and can do it damn well. And he's just so humble about it, too - not trying to glory in his own achievements, but merely seeing them as contributions to a greater cause.

Faramir is one of the most admirable characters in the series. His devotion to defending Gondor is amazing, especially considering that he's not naturally inclined towards violence. The way he rises above his father's influence and lets Frodo and Sam go is truly inspirational. While I love Aragorn, Sam, and other similar characters, Faramir is much more relatable. Most people aren't the heroes of big stories.

Faramir is like ordinary people in that, when he finds himself in the middle of one of these stories, he doesn't glory in it or make it about himself. Instead, he simply does what he can from the sidelines to the best of his abilities. Also, David Wenham's portrayal of him in the movies was awesome.

15 Bilbo Baggins Bilbo Baggins is the title character and protagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit, as well as a supporting character in The Lord of the Rings. He was the first Hobbit to become famous in the world at large, and was one of the few to visit the The Undying Lands across the ocean. In film, he has been portrayed by Martin Freeman and Ian Holm.

Bilbo has one of the purest hearts out of all the characters we meet in Middle Earth. Yes, he ends up being strongly influenced by the ring over time, but his character and love for his friends and family never faltered. He is selfless and brave, and one of his greatest strengths is appreciating the magic of home.

I see how Bilbo is better than Frodo. Though Bilbo is also mean to Gandalf, he and Frodo both fell to the ring and were mean to Sam and Gandalf. But still, Bilbo did kill more orcs and spiders than Frodo. Frodo doesn't officially kill any orc on screen.

A super brave character, and the original. He has an unintentional sense of humor, and is courageous beyond his race. He deserves more than 17th place, good grief.

16 Elrond

Elrond's character is very static. Elrond began as an elf who valued honor and desired to destroy evil by throwing the ring into Mt. Doom, and he ended as an elf who valued honor and desired to destroy evil by throwing the ring into Mt. Doom. The most significant change he goes through in the story is the conflict between his daughter, Aragorn, and himself in the debate of Arwen giving her eternal youth to Aragorn. With all this said, Elrond is just a great character who offers little to deepen the plot, but is a character that furthers the plot and gives slightly more detail into other characters. (I just like Elrond because he was at the beginning when Isildur refused to throw the ring into Mt. Doom and because he carries so much lore with him.)

Master of the elves. Why would you not love him? Always has this serious look on his face, but you can tell that he cares. His long black hair is super epic too, and his robes are sweet.

17 Galadriel Galadriel is a character created by J.R.R. Tolkien, appearing in his Middle-earth legendarium. She was one of the greatest of the Eldar in Middle-earth, and surpassed nearly all others in beauty, knowledge, and power. She was also the bearer of Nenya, one of the three Elven rings of power. In film, the character has been portrayed by the Australian actress Cate Blanchett.

She is an amazing character. Not only is she very beautiful, she is so wise, calm, and strong. She gives Frodo advice that makes his task possible. She even has the strength to resist the temptation of the Ring of Power. Despite her being in the show for a short period, she is my favorite character and one of my favorite characters in any show.

Galadriel plays such a pivotal role within The Lord of the Rings. She's totally awesome! As one of the oldest characters, she has been a major 'player' longer than any other character and is the epitome of elven supremacy. She symbolizes the theme of hope, being the 'Lady of Light' whose ever-present (even in absence) guidance gives all the characters such a massive advantage. Love you, Galadriel!

Galadriel is the most beautiful (in two ways!) character in The Lord of the Rings! She is purely good, and I'm pretty sure everyone would be dead without her.

18 Theoden

Theoden is an underrated character in my opinion. He is one of my favorites, and here's why:
Theoden is one of the most real characters in the entirety of the books and films (up there with Sam and Boromir) because he is portrayed as a benevolent king who knows what is best for his people. He will do what he can to help them but is willing to make the hard choices and will not be every subject's best friend. When it comes to the hardest decisions and choices a king would ever have to make, he does it with confidence, and can inspire his people onwards. His portrayal as an obviously good and inspiring king who does what is best for his people, and not what the people always want, is why he is one of the best and most real characters in LOTR.

I love this character. His "Where is the horse and the rider?" soliloquy is beautiful, and how that last line still applies: "How did it come to this?" He was a great king but was multi-faceted, and we saw his humanity throughout.

His "No man should have to bury his child" scene was devastating. Great character played by a great actor.

19 Tom Bombadil

Bombadil is an amazing character, and even in the book, he was not revealed completely. Further research shows that Tolkien considered him something like "God's little brother", actually more powerful than anyone, including Sauron, but caring little about anyone and not motivated to do anything at all about evil in the world.

I absolutely adore Tom Bombadil! He is so powerful and could probably rule Middle Earth if he wanted to, but he desires no such power and lives a simple and beautiful life in the forest instead. Also, he could have taken the ring from Frodo so easily. He actually HELD IT IN HIS HAND, but he just gave it back to Frodo without flinching. Not even Sam was able to do that. Tom Bombadil is the physical embodiment of everything LOTR is about.

"Heed no nightly noises."

I'm telling that to my kids every night before bed, LOL.

But in all seriousness, Tom and Goldberry's entire existence is so wonderful. Their beautiful little house in the Old Forest is seriously like seventh heaven in my mind. He is so incredibly powerful, and I think his character represents the beauty and magic of Middle Earth.

20 Arwen Evenstar

Ugh, I'm sorry to say, but all the reasons people vote for Arwen is because she sacrificed herself (well, her immortal life) for Aragorn. Willing to die for love. Uh no. Bad idea. In the movies, she at least helped Frodo, but in the books, she just lies there, waiting and blah. Compared with Eowyn, well, you get what I mean.

I think Arwen is one of the best characters in the movies. In the books, she doesn't have as big a part, but she definitely would be in my top 10.

So actually, Arwen is not in the books, and Glorfindel got forgotten because she took his place. BUT, if you read the appendix at the end of ROTK, there is the story of Aragorn and Arwen. After reading it, I don't understand how anyone could ship Eowyn with Aragorn! Arwen literally gave up everything for a short life with Aragorn.

21 Treebeard

In the movies, when I heard the song and saw them march on Isengard, I was brought to tears. Tolkien was trying to show the evils of technology with the ents, he said that he hated allegory. Anyways, if there were one creature in LOTR that I would like in real life, it would be the ents.

Confession: when I was a kid, I made my username "entgirl" on most platforms/games.

I LOVE ents! Treebeard especially. He is a bit slow, but he is so loyal and has a deep love for his fellow ents. I have always been fascinated by the forests and trees of Middle Earth, though, so maybe I'm a bit biased.

Personally, I hate Treebeard. I don't really like any of the Ents, except Quickbeam. He's just too slow for my liking. There's not much of a sense of urgency, even when he's roused.

22 Haldir

Yes! Haldir is a beast! He is so epic. It takes guts to say no to your friends when they need your aid (though he lets them through). Plus, he is epic in the Battle of Helm's Deep. A true warrior.

Haldir is epic! He led his people to fight at Helm's Deep, knowing that he and his brethren would be severely outnumbered. In fact, most, if not all, of the elves fell defending the keep while the men retreated inside. A true hero.

Yes, I love Haldir. He is currently number two on my fictional character crush list. Number one is Legolas. My elves!

23 Bard the Bowman

Dude, this guy killed Smaug, an unbeatable dragon bigger than him.

Bard was a badass, simple.

His sword is beast.

24 Radagast the Brown

He may be weird, but he actually plucked up the courage to enter Dol Guldur. He was attacked by the Witch King but made it out alive.

Radagast is such a fun and likeable character. I wish he was given more screentime.

I think Radagast is so funny, and really cool!

25 Eomer

He is a true knight and loyal to his people and his king. You can clearly see that he is born in the purple. A noble man, handsome, and of course, kick-ass!

In the book, he was really amazing. A true leader. A true king. A very honest person.

He killed two Oliphants with a single throw of a spear. Even Legolas couldn't do that!

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