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Topic: Why is Frodo seen as the Hero?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Jul 27, 2007
Why is Frodo seen as the Hero?

One question has always nagged at me about the final moments of the "destroying" of the ring. After the journey, the search, the end of the fellowship, Frodo failed to throw the ring in. In the end, taken over by the ring itself, he refused to rid the world of the ring. If not for Gollum, the entire venture would have failed, the EYE would have quickly reclaimed the ring and in one fell swoop, he would have destroyed all the remaining good powers left in MI. While Gandalf seems to know that Gollum still had a part to play, Frodo never really has to admit that without Gollum, he would have failed. Any thoughts?

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Chief Maiar
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He is seen as the hero because he accepted the burden in the first place, he got the ring to Mordor. Yes, if it wasn't for Gollum (or perhaps Eru, who might given Gollm "the push"), Frodo might've failed (he still has Sam), but he was the one who had to carry the ring, he had to get it all the way to Mordor.

Seems simple enough to me ^^.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I quote JRR letter 192:

"Frodo deserved all honour because he spent every drop of his power of will and body, and that was just sufficient to bring him to the destined point, and no further. Few others, possibly no others of his time, would have got so far. The Other Power then took over: the Writer of the Story (by which I do not mean myself), 'that one ever-present Person who is never absent and never named' (as one critic has said)."

Frodo deserved great praise but in essense he did not complete his task to the end. He required (though he knew it not) supernatural intervention to complete his quest.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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In my opinion, LOTR had several heroes. Frodo was the primary one, but as the book progresses, the role of the hero is transferred and shared between many different characters. Also, no matter how great any character is, he always receives help from another person or group. Even Gandalf would have been lost without the help of the Eagles, the Valar sending him back, etc...

I don't consider LOTR to have even one main character, let alone one hero. Frodo has one of the most important roles, since he is the Ringbearer, but without the help of literally dozens of other people and circumstances, he couldn't have finished his quest. In chronological order through the storyline:

1. Frodo is the hero when he sets out on his quest, with no idea how difficult it will be and how long it will take.

2. When Frodo is stabbed at Weathertop, he never would have gotten there without the help of Aragorn and Glorfindel. Aragorn repeatedly proves himself several more times throughout the story.

3. Gandalf does an incredibly heroic deed by leading the group through Moria and losing his life to the Balrog.

4. Boromir dies heroically, even after being corrupted by the Ring.

5. Merry, Pippin, Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn all take on individual acts of heroism all throughout TTT. Merry and Pippin especially (with his help at Pelennor Fields) both end up deserving of the title as well.

6. Eowyn and Pippin slay the Witch-king. If that's not heroic, I don't know what is.

7. Gollum falls into the Cracks of Doom, destroying the Ring when Frodo couldn't.

And last but not least....SAM. Without Sam, Frodo never would have made it. He wouldn't have even come close. By the end of the story, the role of the main hero has unquestionably transferred from Frodo to Sam. Sam spends the entire book selflessly taking care of Frodo and helping him when Frodo is completely helpless at the hands of the Ring. I mean, it's not that Frodo wasn't heroic, but he was completely overcome by the Ring at the end and whatever qualities he might have possessed were overshadowed by him simply trying to get to the end alive. He was just an ordinary hobbit when he set out - his sense of being a hero was more his commitment to his task mentally than great feats.

Maybe my way of looking at it won't make sense to anyone else, but I love the fact that Tolkien didn't create one indestructible, omniscient hero. Nearly everyone in the story is in danger of losing their life if it wasn't for the help of another person - just like it would work in the real world. Any great deed done always involves more than one person.



-- Edited by The Secret Fire at 16:05, 2007-07-29

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I definitely agree with TSF, very good point made there.
In the end, none of these characters had the power to defeat Sauron alone.
But of course, Frodo is the one who, after the end of the War of the Ring is left with the most scars (meaning inner scars) after carrying the Ring so much. He is always sick on the aniversary of his encounter with the WK on Weathertop and is forced to leave M-e in order to find his peace. If for Merry, Pippin and Sam saving Middle-earth brings along the possibility to have a good peaceful life and create a family, for Frodo there is no more such hope.
In this way he, from all the survivors, is the one who has sacrificed most.

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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I agree Frodo sacrificed most of the free peoples but what about Gandalf? He died becuase of his contributions. Plus he had to spend over 2000 years in Middle-earth away from the Blessed realm becuase of the war with Sauron.

Come to think of it what about Boromir? He died as well but was not brought back to life as Gandalf was. I am not sure being sent to Valinor is such a bad sacrifice biggrin.gif

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I whole heartidly agree that in the end, Tolkien meant for Sam to be the "Hero" that worked behind the scenes to make it all happen. He always meant for the littlest contribution and the efforts without recognition to be the most meaningful. Sam had a servents heart and I think you will find that of all the characters in LOR, Tolkien identifies most with Sam. Good thoughts! - Stingholder

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Valar
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Agreeing with Stingholder here. It's easy to see Frodo as a only and biggest hero but Samwise was true hero of whole story. How many times Frodo would've failed without Sam on his side? And Frodo sacrificed most? Samwise was ready to die for Frodo and their Quest smile

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I also think Gandalf deserves a place up there as well. Like BilboBaggins said he did die to save the fellowship in Moria.

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Valar
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Maybe that is true mos. Though we have to remember that Fellowship were already crossed that bridge and they could've easily escaped Balrog with Gandalf. Gandalf was protector of Fellowship but that is not main thing why he decided to stay and fight Balrog. He was a messenger of Valar and he was in ME to fight against ALL enemies of free nations and Balrog being one of them. So we can say that Gandalf did his what he was send to do in Middle Earth..that being fight against evil. He not only saved Fellowship but much more.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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The one I feel most sorry for in the Fellowship is Boromir. After all those times he blew on the Horn and still no aid came. Still kept on fighting even though he couldn't win. Plus he never did get to see his city again or the White Tower of Ecthelion.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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To the Forum,
The last post here was almost a year ago. I hope it is not too late to keep this alive. I think that more than ever we now need to look at the concept of heroism. Our culture has never had a greater need for heroes and heroines.
With all the posts between Stingholders original question to Glorfindel 1235s recognition of the tragic heroic last stand of Boromir there were many posts defining heroes in all of The Lord of the Rings.
And I agree. There were many heroes in this tale. In fact I think every character suggested by these posts are heroic.

Maybe my way of looking at it won't make sense to anyone else, but I love the fact that Tolkien didn't create one indestructible, omniscient hero. Nearly everyone in the story is in danger of losing their life if it wasn't for the help of another person - just like it would work in the real world. Any great deed done always involves more than one person.. (Tolkien Forums > General Lore discussion (standard) > Why is Frodo seen as the Hero? > The Secret Fire > July 29th, 2007)

I can readily agree with The Secret Fire. And in reading Tolkien we often see that when the hero stands alone they often greet death whether on a bridge in Moria or on a wooded hill beside the Rauros facing Uruk-Hai. (thank you Glorfindel 1235)



Stingholder
Why is Frodo seen as the Hero?
One question has always nagged at me about the final moments of the "destroying" of the ring. After the journey, the search, the end of the fellowship, Frodo failed to throw the ring in. In the end, taken over by the ring itself, he refused to rid the world of the ring. If not for Gollum, the entire venture would have failed, the EYE would have quickly reclaimed the ring and in one fell swoop, he would have destroyed all the remaining good powers left in MI. While Gandalf seems to know that Gollum still had a part to play, Frodo never really has to admit that without Gollum, he would have failed. Any thoughts?

(Tolkien Forums > General Lore discussion (standard) > Why is Frodo seen as the Hero? > Stingholder > July 27th, 2007)

Glorfindel1235
The one I feel most sorry for in the Fellowship is Boromir. After all those times he blew on the Horn and still no aid came. Still kept on fighting even though he couldn't win. Plus he never did get to see his city again or the White Tower of Ecthelion.
(Tolkien Forums > General Lore discussion (standard) > Why is Frodo seen as the Hero? > Glorfindel1235 > August 4th, 2007)


Lord Tulkas, mouth of Sauron, Bilbo Baggins, The Might, The Secret Fire, Olorin/Gandalf all gave opinions and rationale for who they thought were heroes and heroines and why. Most were so defined because they were in battlebut it was mentioned and Tolkien wrote that not all heroes are warriors.
But perhaps the original question is unanswered; Why is Frodo seen as the Hero?
My thought is perhaps we might take a look at the qualities we use to define what a Hero is.

A couple expressed that it was sacrifice which made a hero. Several mention the willingness to risk death as a heroic quality. One claimed it was willingness to accept the burden that made Frodo a hero.
Most supported the idea of giving your life for others as heroic virtue. The commitment to the task and to each other was mention as attributes of the hero. Selflessness was credit as heroic to some.
These are excellent attributes to define heroism.

But in my humble opinion they a not enough.
Unmentioned but implied was courage - that ability to carry on despite having fear and not the absence of fear. Determination and perseverance to go on when all seems lost must count. Having the humility to accept the help of others even if it means loss of face. Being willing to accept the shortfalls in others with tolerance and forgiveness. Some call it mercy.

Why is Frodo seen as the Hero?"

Here is our list;
Courage
Selflessness
Commitment to the task and to each other
Giving your life for others
Willingness to accept the burden
Willingness to risk death
Sacrifice
Tolerance
Forgiveness
Humility
Perseverance
Determination

I think we can find examples of these traits for Frodo in The Lord of The Rings.
I think we can find examples of these traits for all the heroes and heroines listed in this forum topic.
I'll bet, without working to hard, we can find these traits in us.

My thanks to;
Lord Tulkas, mouth of sauron, Bilbo Baggins, The Might, The Secret Fire, Olorin/Gandalf, Glorfindel 1235, and Stingholder
.



-- Edited by Bear at 09:09, 2008-07-17

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Indeed, Bear, is correct, however I feel he does not answer the question "Why is Frodo seen as THE hero?", but "Why is Frod seen as A hero?".

I believe the question we have to ask ourselves here is why should Frodo deserves the title of THE hero of the War of the Ring more than the others who helped him on his quest. And in answering this, I return to my post made long ago. Because it was he, who sacrificed the most from all those during the war. Because it was he, who remained faithful until the bitter end, although he had such a heavy load to carry and because even though he had completed his task he could no longer have been repaid for his achievement in his own world.

This is why we probably see Frodo as THE hero, as the one who truly gave life and hope to the Fellowship, more than any other member, even Aragorn or Sam.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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The Might,
You are right. I missed it. The response I made was based on what makes "A" hero instead of "THE" hero.
While I agree that Frodo becomes the central character in The Lord of the Rings "THE" implies a singularity. I don't see Frodo as "THE" hero.  His impact on the story is huge and he definitely is "A" hero.
But, including his unrewarded sacrifices, he doesn't do it alone.  He is always paired with someone else.
I think the difference between "A" hero and "THE" hero may be a matter of opinion and perspective.

The Might makes a very good point in drawing my attention to that one word...it makes a huge difference.


-- Edited by Bear at 22:52, 2008-07-22

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Tom Bombadil
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I would agree with "A Hero" as well. There were many "Heros" in that Movie.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I know this is an older post, but I'm just now working through the series. I did a write up on why Frodo is seen as the Hero - and even technically as the achetype hero we should follow:

The New Hero: Tolkien and Subversion

Would love your thoughts!


ps: link below if href doesn't work:

http://literating.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/the-new-hero-tolkien-and-subversion/



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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Certainly a comprehensive article lancelot.

...and welcome to the forums!

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Very nice article Lancelot. Welcome to the Forum, by the way. May you come often and stay long.

Tolkien was very fond of his childhood home. Green rambling fields and the old mill that stood beside the stream. He knew his kinfolk to be bland and homey but he also knew that is time of threat they were quick to rise in defense of what was theirs and fearless in the face of a dark enemy. WWI and ll are prime examples. His Hobbits are drawn from this background and are no less full of heart and sense of duty to home and country.

I agree that Frodo is the prime hero because he took up the task in the first place and brought the Ring literally to the brink of distruction. In the end it was poor depraved and seemingly loveless Gollum that saves Frodo and all of Middle-earth though Tolkien considered that it might have been the steadfast Sam that would have jumped Frodo perhaps carrying both of them into the inferno along with the Ring. I'm so glad that Tolkien did not take that route.

Just a note on the "Greekness" of Legolas and the wood-dwelling Elves, Tolkien was much taken with the culture of the American "red Indian". I think much of the Elven way is taken from this respect. At least thats the feeling I get from reading Tolkien's book of Letters. I could be wrong and your own outlook is very good.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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But Frodo is a hero! He may have given in to the rings power at the cracks of doom but he was the one who offered to destroy the ring in the first place! He risked his life to save the world! If that doesnt make you a hero then what does?

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Tolkien himself states that no one has the ability to destroy the ring. It is to powerful for someone to cast it away. Frodo took up the task and was as succesful as he could have been. Besides, it all ended well right :)

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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No! It didnt end well at all! Frodo and Gandalf left! FOREVER! Why could they not stay in The Shire and grow old there? :(

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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They went to a beter place Estel. I was also very upset at the ending when first I read the tale. But as I grew I started to understand. It was for the best :)

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I guess so :')

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Estel,

Remember that Frodo had been stabbed on Weathertop by a black rider, stung by the monsterous spider-like creature Shelob, and had one of his fingers bitten off by Gollum, and was mentally scarred by having to carry the One Ring.

In the West were the greatest healers and helpers ... Frodo had to go or he would continue to be hurt by the memory of knife, tooth, and sting. Frodo had to go because that was the only place he could find healing for body, mind, and spirit. That he would go to The West with Gandalf was a great honor.

 

I think Frodo is a hero in the way that fathers, and brothers, and sons can be heroes to those they love.  I think Frodo is A hero in The Lord of the Rings but not THE Hero..



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Bear, I agree with everything you have said in your last post. Exept perhaps that Frodo was not THE hero of lord of the rings, but I'm curious, if not Frodo then who do you consider to be THE hero of the tale?

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Many people in the films and books are heros, but people never care about them! Boromir is a hero. He wasnt strong against the ring, but he died fighting for those he loved! :'}

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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You're right Estel. I think characters like Boromir are overlooked by people unable to understand the influence the One Ring has over the minds of others.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Huan,

Whoa! I can name people-elves-hobbits-even dwarves who perform heroic acts and I can give a list of characters that are heroes ...

I just can't name "THE" hero. Because there isn't "THE" hero in the books.



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Agreed Bear!

The task was to destroy the ring...and it was ultimately, by the most unlikely person imaginable. To some, that unlikely person was Gollum as much as Frodo, but would Frodo have succeeded had it not been for Sam, Gollum or the rest of the fellowship for that matter?
From what I gathered LOTR was packed with heroes: Faramir, Eowyn, Theoden, Aragorn, Gimli, etc. Pretty much every character performed an act of valor and sacrifice in some form or another. So maybe the actual question should be: How did each hero in the books shape the fortunes and/or misfortunes of events throughout the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Sounds like a new thread to me!

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Haha, your right, everyone in the books and films played a part! Today I bought a Evanstar pennant off Amazon at it arrived today! Ill be uploading pics soon. I hope everyones well! :)

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The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

Estel Laviel.

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
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Date: Oct 31, 2011
He may have bad luck in the ring cracks in power, but he is a man made destruction in the first place ring! He risked his life to save the world! If this does not make you a hero, then what is it?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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shenglu,

You are right; 

"He risked his life to save the world! If this does not make you a hero, then what is it?"

He is a hero ... just not the ONLY heroThe books hold many more heroes than just Frodo.



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Pound for pound he must be considered the main hero though, wouldn't you say?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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mouth of sauron and all,

What about Sam?

Your point about Frodo could be argued and won.

But it is just not enough for me ... most stories with a hero you can delete, modify, and even elimate other characters and the tale goes on ... but can you do that in The Lord of The Rings?

Not for my money ... the books are filled with many main characters ... perhaps it is all of the hobbits who are the main hero.

???



-- Edited by Bear on Thursday 3rd of November 2011 02:16:52 AM

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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And what about Gollum? At the very end it was he who took the One Ring into the fires of the Crack of Doom. He was in the main story as we knew it near the beginning. He saved Frodo from himself.


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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Anorlas,

I believe you have a point.  Gollum and Smeagol are the Bad vs Good parts that make up everyone. And in the end Frodo's failure at the Cracks of Doom shows that same bi-polarity of Super-Ego vs Id as Gollum vs Smeagol.  Frodo's "Bad" self claims the Ring only to lose it to the "Bad" Gollum.

As Smeagol has psychological "Shadow" of Gollum, Frodo has a psychological "Shadow" in his corruption by the Ring.
Of course Gollum's header into the lava destroys him and the Ring so his conflict of good vs bad is over.  And in the end Gollum proves to be the salvation of Middle-Earth. So is he a hero?

But I think the theme of heroic struggle with corruption, redemption, and destruction (with or without resurrection) is repeated over and over again in all Tolkien's works.
Not all of his characters are redeemed ... there are many characters where the heroic conflict of good vs evil that evil triumphs in an ultimate destruction; "To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing." (The Lord Of The Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter VIII ~ "The Scouring of the Shire", pg 1020)

And all of the various struggles (some of them heroic) even with the Good Guys who fall to base treachery do not win out over death and destruction.

There are so many heroic struggles throught the Lord of The Rings that choosing just one as the so called "main character" (even if Tolkien intended one ~ and that I doubt) becomes impossible. (at least to me)



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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Bear,

You are right in many of your points, I feel. But in your quote of

"Not all of his characters are redeemed ... there are many characters where the heroic conflict of good vs evil that evil triumphs in an ultimate destruction; "To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing." (The Lord Of The Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter VIII ~ "The Scouring of the Shire", pg 1020)"

Was this a case of "evil triumph" or was it more the ultimate rejection for evil deeds done? Saruman was one of the Maiar as we all know. If not for his corruption it is to the true West he would have returned. The death of his physical body releases his true Maiar spirit. Perhaps it is this that "wavered. looking to the West" only to find that it is being denied this yearned for return by the Valar in  the cold Western wind?



-- Edited by Anorlas on Friday 4th of November 2011 05:43:58 AM

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