Friday, November 16, 2012

List: 15 Favourite LOTR Characters

The year was 2001 and the Internet was still very much in its infancy. The fact that I don't live in a super-developed nation also meant that technology was a few years behind. Most internet users in Malaysia (where I call home) at that time used dial-up connection. Ah, those were the days. Unlike people these days who can view HD Youtube videos on their mobile phones, this was the time when even viewing a single crappy-resolution photo of an hot actress like Winona Ryder or Alyssa Milano took around 5 minutes to load.

Usually around the 4th minute, your mom or someone would pick-up the phone to call someone and your internet would be disconnected and you had to start all over again. Basically I meant to say that when I was curious about something, I didn't really rush to search about it on the internet like nowadays. In fact, I don't think Google was widely used yet (those who experienced search engines before Google would understand). Yup, it took me a very long paragraph to reach my point, and only half of it too, but bear with me still please ;P .

The FINAL part of my point is (finally!), that those were the days that I would frequently go into the cinema knowing nothing about the movie I was about to see. Add to the fact that I was culturally-ignorant enough not to be aware of the existence of any Tolkien novel, so The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings [2001] was a real unknown quantity to me. I though it would be some generic fantasy like... random pick here... The NeverEnding Story [1984] that me and a bunch of friends could enjoy. A month later and we've already seen it for a third time. Seriously! We weren't geeks for nothing. Same story for the other two installments, LOTR: The Two Towers [2002] and LOTR: The Return Of The King [2003] too.

So as the first of the prequel trilogy to the LOTR fanchise, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012] comes out in a few weeks time, here are my 15(-ish) favourite LOTR characters.

******* MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD *******

#15 "Gandalf's Greatest Fear" ~ Balrog Of Morgoth

Played By: n/a
Movies: Fellowship Of The Ring [2001], The Two Towers [2002]

It takes a lot to put the fear of life into someone like Gandalf, and this demonic creature manages to achieve that. That scene at the Bridge Of Khazad-dum  (along with the haunting score) in The Fellowship Of The Ring [2001] is vividly distinguished in my memory.

Selected Quote: Gandalf (to Balrog): "YOU... SHALL NOT... PASS!!!"

#14 "Wiseman Of The Forest" ~ Treebeard

Voiced by: John Rhys-Davies
Movies: The Two Towers [2002], The Return Of The King [2003]

This guy led the battle at Isengard and won. He deserves to be on the list just for that alone.

Selected Quote: "There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of men for this treachery"

#13 "His Grammar Is Worse Than Yoda's" ~ Gollum/Smeagol

Played By: Andy Serkis
Movies: Complete Trilogy

I know this obsessive little creature can be annoying to watch, but no LOTR list would be complete without him. Also, this role paved the way for Andy Serkis to now become Hollywood's motion-capture go-to-guy.

Selected Quote: "My preciouusssss...."

#12 "The Ring-Bearer With Enormous Burden" ~ Frodo Baggins

Played by: Elijah Wood
Movies: Complete Trilogy

Like I mentioned in my overtly-long intro, I didn't know much about the movie beforehand, but I knew I was interested the moment I saw the scene where Frodo and his friends first met (and hid) from the Nazghul. I knew I was in love in the movie when I saw how much burden exuded from Frodo's face and the tense scene when he was carried by Arwen to be chased by all nine Nazghuls.

Selected Quote: "No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water or touch of grass..."

#11 "The White Wizard Of Isengard" ~ Saruman

Played By: Christopher Lee
Movies: Complete Trilogy

Quite simply, I find any wizard in a movie with long hair and beard, to look cool. Especially if he is evil and played brilliantly by Christopher Lee.

Selected Quote: "Against the power of Mordor, there can be no victory"

#10 "Halfling Bromance" ~ Merry & Pippin

Played By: Dominic Monaghan & Billy Boyd
Movies: Complete Trilogy

I know technically they are two separate characters, but I just cannot view them other than a pairing. Pippin is much more of a troublemaker between the duo though.

Selected Quote: Pippin: "But we'll see each other soon. Won't we?" Merry: "I don't know. I don't know what is going to happen"

#9 "Mean, Ugly, And Deadly" ~ Uruk-Hai Leader

Played By: n/a
Movie: The Fellowship Of The Rings [2001]

This is the guy who kills Boromir and nearly takes Aragorn's life too. Suffers an awesome death! If I had watched the movie as a kid, there would be no doubt this guy would be in my Childhood Nightmares List. I also recognize the fact that in most of the fight scenes we can barely recognize this character... because the Uruk-Hai all look the same. Now, that isn't a racial statement because, (a) Uruk-Hai aren't a real race (b) you can barely recognize the Autobots from the Decepticons in fight scenes of the Transformers movies (or most of the Ewoks in Return Of The Jedi [1983] too) and no one says that's racist.....

Selected Quote: n/a

#8 "Soft Yet Lethal" ~ Eowyn

Played By: Miranda Otto
Movies: The Two Towers [2002], The Return Of The King [2003]

Like most female members of Royal Families in the movies, Eowyn is soft and feminine yet tough when needed. She is actually the one who kills the Nazghul Witch-King. How uber-cool is that? Her feelings towards Aragorn are one-way. Thankfully, Arwen (whom Aragorn does fancy) is heavenly beautiful, otherwise we would think Aragorn suffered one too many blows to the head to have rejected Eowyn.

Selected Quote: "The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain"

#7 "The Enchanting Elvish Witch" ~ Galadriel

Played By: Cate Blanchett
Movies: Complete Trilogy

"I amar prestar aen. Han methon ne nen. Han methon ne chae.  A han noston ned 'wilith" <---- Yup, I'm hypnotised too!

Selected Quote: ****see Elvish quote above****

#6 "Laser-Sharp Precision" ~ Legolas

Played By: Orlando Bloom
Movies: Complete Trilogy

I would have said that Legolas has an eye of an eagle, but that would be a huge understatement. Orlando Bloom is one of the few that went into the franchise as a relative unknown, and has had a successful career after it.

Selected Quote: "It is not the eastern shore that worries me. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near, I can feel it"

#5 "Leader Of The Nazgul" ~ The Nazgul Witch-King

Edited form image taken here

Voiced By: Lawrence Makoare
Movies: Complete Trilogy

The entire Nazgul sends chills down my spine. Just like the Uruk-Hai at #9, you can't really tell them apart, but basically this is the one that fights Eowyn in The Return Of The King [2003].

Selected Quote: "Feast on his flesh!"

#4 "The Most Loyal Of Companions" ~ Samwise Gamgi

Played By: Sean Astin
Movies: Complete Trilogy

Watch the trilogy back and you'll see that Sam, not Frodo, is the true hero of the story. I basically identify Sean Astin only from this franchise and also from The Goonies [1985]. Both his characters are stubbornly-determined, loyal friends, and lead an adventure.

Selected Quote: "I don't think they'll be a return journey Mr. Frodo"

#3 "Dwarfs Are Middle Earth's Greatest Creatures" ~ Gimli

Played By: John Rhys-Davies
Movies: Complete Trilogy

If you listen to him talk, you'd be forgiven to think that dwarfs are Gods and he is their king. But his ego and boasting along with his banter with Legolas are completely hilarious!

Selected Quote: "Its true you don't see many dwarf women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for dwarf men"

#2 "All Hail The King!" ~Arragon

Played By: Viggo Mortensen
Movies: Complete Trilogy

You just knew Aragorn was made to be a leader of men. And Viggo Mortensen whom initially wasn't cast for the role, was just made to play the King of Gondor.

Selected Quote: "I do not fear death!"

#1 "Eat Your Heart Out Dumbledore!" ~ Gandalf The Grey/White

Played By: Ian McKellen
Movies: Complete Trilogy

Not only is Gandalf the best character, he has the best lines too. How can you not love a wise character who arrives precisely when he means to, gets upgraded from grey to white, sleeps with his eyes open, and says cool things like: "Run Shadowfax! Show us the meaning of haste!"

Selected Quote: "Look to my coming on the first light on the fifth day, at dawn look to the east" <--- we should have trusted him when he said that a wizard is never late or early.


  1. I was in a similar spot back in 2001, as I walked into the theater alone on a whim. I had definitely known of the trilogy, but only by name.

    When I left, I was floored by how incredible Fellowship turned out to be. It is my favorite of the trilogy mainly because it blindsided me. Completely.

    I really liked your list, though I'll throw my #1 at Sam. He is by far the most likable and dependable character in the whole trilogy, in my book. I think Sean Astin's performance was perfect...though, there isn't a weak link among them.

    1. My favorite is Fellowship too, for the exact same reasons as you. But the entire trilogy was awesome (even if I didn't like the multiple endings to Return Of The Kings).

  2. Great list! I remember the dial up days. When my family got DSL I could've did a back flip.

    1. Thanks. Things really have changed, nowadays I'm spoiled that I get really frustrated by slow internet speeds.

  3. Great list! I too love Eowyn, Aragorn and Treebeard of course! And yeah, Gandalf as number one, totally well deserved! I sometimes can't tell the difference between him and Saruman. Legolas was charming, but I felt people's love for him was too overrated back then.

    1. Thanks. Since he's "upgrade" from Grey to White, Gandalf does look a lot like Saruman. I feel Eowyn is underrated, but I know a lot of people who don't like Legolas.

  4. This is a most awesome list, Asrap! I LOVE this franchise and I do love a lot of the characters. I definitely would put Gandalf, Sam and Aragorn in my top 5, though Legolas is not as interesting to me. I can't wait for The Hobbit but I likely won't be able to see it until a week after its release as I'll be on vacation then.

    1. Thanks. It is a great franchise, one of the best trilogies perhaps. Enjoy your holiday. With my job, I'll only be able to get one at the end of the year.

  5. Great list! I had made one too, though my favourite character was Legolas cuz he's oh so cool. Frodo topped my least favoourite LOTR characters list though.

    1. I must have missed it, I'll try checking it out. Personally I like Frodo, but I can't understand why other's don't... Sam was the real hero of the quest. I guess I was drawn into his vulnerability.

  6. Good list... but if you call yourself a geek you should know that it is actually spelled Nazgul, and Aragorn is the King of Gondor and Arnor but not Rohan.

    1. Thanks... I didn't realise those, but if you read the rest of the blog you'll probably discover plenty other typos and mistakes as I'm only blogging part-time (haven't posted anything for months in fact). I don't really have the time to proofread. But I do appreciate you pointing them out. Thanks again.


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