watching, reading, and writing stories

My Favorite Character in LOTR

on May 11, 2015

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Well, I was thinking recently over one of my favorite movie/book series: Lord of the Rings. I admit I’ve watched the movies more times than I’ve read the books, so my opinions are mostly based on the film version. But I’ve been a fan for sometime now, and I’ve noticed that over the years my favorite character or the one I connect to most has changed.

When I first heard of Lord of the Rings I was in 5th grade and a teacher tried splitting us into teams based on if we liked Frodo or Sam better. I barely knew anything about the story, but I knew Frodo was the main character. And in almost anything I read or watched, the main character was my favorite. This seemed to hold true as my classmates began choosing Frodo. So I jumped on the bandwagon and said Frodo was my favorite.

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Well, when I finally got to read and watch the movies for myself, I was offered so many more options for a favorite character. There was Gandalf the wise and powerful wizard, Gimli, the grumpy yet loveable dwarf, Legolas the attractive and agile elf, Merry and Pippin the mischievous and hilarious hobbits, Sam, the best friend of Frodo, Arogorn the mysterious and humble ranger, and a host of other side characters. Faramir and Eowyn also come to mind. In any case, picking a favorite character just got a lot harder. There were so many great characters, how could I choose? After watching the movies, and the extended editions, and the behind the scenes features, I finally settled on Aragorn. For one he was good with horses, not only as a character, but the actor too. And he was the good king that came from humble beginnings. So he was wise, yet fierce, loyal and brave. He led his friends, and he was good looking too. Plus I felt as if he was genuine because the actor wasn’t completely acting; he would fight for real with the stuntmen. And so the character of Aragorn was more and more attractive.

Viggo as Aragorn

Aragorn remained my favorite character for sometime. How could anyone compete with him? But what do you know, as I got older, the one character I rejected even from the beginning when I was choosing between Sam and Frodo has made a comeback. When I rewatched the LOTRs recently, I found myself more and more impressed and attracted to Sam. He may not have a lot going for him on the surface, he doesn’t go on all the crazy adventures that most of the characters do, he isn’t even the one carrying the ring. He’s short, a bit plump, and not as funny as Merry or Pippin. But Sam has something that I’ve come to value. He is honest, he is faithful despite the circumstances, he is protective and hopeful and looks for the bright side. He encourages Frodo and just as Frodo said, “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam.”

Without Sam, the quest would have failed, yet he stays back in the shadows, he doesn’t look for glory or respect. He’s just doing his job, looking out for his friends and putting other’s needs before his own. In my eyes, he’s doing what God has called each Christian to do: to serve, to love, to point the people around us to the truth and hope we have in God and to keep going, even when it’s hard. Sam’s speeches are the most memorable part of LOTRs for me. So I’ll end with my favorite.

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Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.


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