25 Most Memorable Lord of The Rings Characters and Their Best Pictures

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Posters from Each Film in The Lord of The Rings Trilogy

Within The Lord of the Rings are many memorable characters. From wise wizards to mischievous hobbits, each character makes an impression upon the audience. I have come up with a list of 25 memorable characters from The Lord of the Rings. I have only included characters that appear in the films (otherwise Tom Bombadil would definitely be on here) because they are the ones that have pictures. Also, this list is in alphabetical order and the numbers are only used to indicate how many characters are included in this list.

1. Aragorn

Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn

Name: Aragorn II Elessar

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Aragorn is the Heir of Isildur, who was the last man to be High King of Gondor and Arnor. Not only does Aragorn free the Army of the Dead who were cursed by Isildur to remain in Middle-earth until they had fulfilled their oath of coming to his aid, he also unites the kingdoms of Middle-earth when he is finally crowned as High King of Gondor and Arnor at the end of The Return of the King.

Aragorn as Strider at The Prancing Pony in The Fellowship of the Ring

Searching for Merry and Pippin in The Two Towers

Aragorn Crowned as High King of Gondor and Arnor in The Return of the King

2. Arwen

Liv Tyler as Arwen

Name: Arwen Undomiel

Race: Half-Elven

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Arwen is the half-elven daughter of Elrond. She is also the lover of Aragorn. When Arwen must make a decision to either become fully elf, thereby gaining immortality, or fully man, making her a mortal being, she decides on mortality over immortality in order to live with her love, Aragorn.

Arwen Warding Off the Nazgul in The Fellowship of the Ring

Meeting Aragorn at His Crowning in The Return of the King

3. Bilbo

Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins

Name: Bilbo Baggins

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Had Bilbo never taken the ring from Gollum in The Hobbit, the story of The Lord of the Rings might be completely different. Although he is only a minor character in the story, his relinquishing of the ring to Gandalf—in turn leading Gandalf to give the ring to Frodo—sets the whole story of The Lord of the Rings into motion.

Bilbo Transforming and Trying to Take the Ring from Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring

131 Year-Old Bilbo Travels to the Last Ship with Nephew Frodo in The Return of the King

4. Boromir

Sean Bean as Boromir

Name: Boromir

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers

Significance in Story: Boromir was the favored son of Denethor II, Steward of Gondor. He was one of the members of the Fellowship and was also seen many times lusting after the ring. Near the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Boromir attempts to take the ring from Frodo, leading Frodo to run away from the Fellowship and journey on his own. Boromir is immediately regretful of his actions, and in order to atone, he ends up defending Merry and Pippin from Saruman’s Uruk-hai. This costs him his life, and in the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Boromir’s body is put on a boat and sent over a waterfall.

"One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor"

Boromir admiring the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring

Boromir Pierced by Orc Arrows While Protecting Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring

5. Elrond

Hugo Weaving as Elrond

Name: Elrond Half-elven

Race: Elves

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Elrond is the half-elven Lord of Rivendell and father of Arwen. He calls a council together in order to send a team of individuals to Mount Doom to destroy the ring. He also brings the reforged sword of Isildur, Andúril, to Aragorn in The Return of the King, so that Aragorn can summon the Army of the Dead and help win the battle against Sauron’s forces at Pelennor Fields.

Elrond Sitting in on His Council to Decide on a Fellowship in The Fellowship of the Ring

Elrond About to Depart Middle-earth with Galadriel and Celeborn in The Return of the King

6. Eowyn

Miranda Otto as Eowyn

Name: Eowyn

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Eowyn is the niece of King Theoden of Rohan. Not satisfied with staying home with the women and children while the men went off to battle, Eowyn decided to participate in the Battle of Pelennor Fields. It is here where she slayed the Witch-king of Angmar. After the battle, Eowyn meets Faramir, and the two fall in love and get married.

Eowyn Singing at the Funeral of Her Cousin, Theodred, in The Two Towers

"I am no Man": Eowyn Prepares to Slay the Witch-king of Angmar in The Return of the King

7. Faramir

David Wenham as Faramir

Name: Faramir

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Faramir is the unloved son of Denethor II, Steward of Gondor. He is constantly seeking approval from his father, who never looks favorably upon him. When his father commands him to take back Osgiliath from Sauron’s forces, Faramir obeys despite knowing that he is being sent to his death. He comes back from Osgiliath gravely injured but not dead, and Denethor tries to burn him alive. Gandalf saves Faramir from the fire, and Faramir goes on to marry and have children with Eowyn. 

Faramir About to be Burned Alive by His Father in The Return of the King

Faramir with Eowyn at Aragorn's Coronation in The Return of King

8. Frodo

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

Name: Frodo Baggins

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Frodo is the bearer of the ring throughout The Lord of the Rings. Without him carrying the ring, it might not have ever made it to Mount Doom to be destroyed. Frodo journeys with Sam and Gollum through much of the story. When he reaches Mount Doom, however, Frodo refuses to destroy the ring at the same time that Gollum attacks him. The ring is destroyed when Frodo pushes Gollum, who has the ring in his hands, into the fires of Mount Doom. He is then transported home by the Eagles, and after a few years of living in the Shire, decides to go to the Gray Havens with Bilbo, Gandalf, and the elves.

Frodo Catches the Ring with His Finger at The Prancing Pony in The Fellowship of the Ring

Frodo Threatens Gollum in Order to Free Sam in The Two Towers

Frodo Struggles with Dropping the Ring into the Fire in The Return of the King

9. Galadriel

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel

Name: Lady Galadriel

Race: Elves

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Galadriel is the Lady of Lothlorien and one of the most powerful elves in Middle-earth. When the rings were first forged, Galadriel received one, named Nenya. She gives the Fellowship gifts when they enter her woods in The Fellowship of the Ring. She also helps both Frodo and Sam fight off the monstrous spider, Shelob. In the end of The Return of the King, Galadriel and her husband, Celeborn, are seen sailing off to the Gray Havens.

Galadriel Prepares to Show Frodo Past, Present, and Future in The Fellowship of the Ring

Galadriel Glances at Frodo Before Boarding a Ship to the Gray Havens in The Return of the King

10. Gandalf

Ian McKellan as Gandalf

Name: Gandalf the Grey (later the White)

Race: Maiar

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Gandalf was a wizard, or Maiar, who became friends with Bilbo in The Hobbit, in turn becoming friends with Frodo. He is responsible for Bilbo giving the ring to Frodo and for sending Frodo and Sam to Rivendell with the ring. In the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf and the Fellowship are overtaken by a Balrog in the Mines of Moria. Gandalf sacrifices his life to ensure the Fellowship can leave Moria alive. In The Two Towers, Gandalf is brought back to life after his battle with the Balrog as Gandalf the White. Throughout The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is constantly using his powers to help repel Sauron’s forces. He is also responsible for sending the Eagles to rescue Frodo and Sam from the crumbling land of Mordor. In the end of The Return of the King, Gandalf is seen boarding a ship to the Gray Havens.

"You Shall Not Pass": Gandalf Stands Against a Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring

Gandalf the White Reveals Himself to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in The Two Towers

Gandalf Uses Light to Chase Away Nazgul and Their Fellbeasts in The Return of the King

11. Gimli

John Rhys-Davies as Gimli

Name: Gimli, son of Gloin

Race: Dwarves

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Gimli is a member of the Fellowship and the only Dwarf with a significant part to play in The Lord of the Rings. He and Legolas form a close bond despite the rift between dwarves and elves. During the Battle of Helm’s Deep and the Battle of Pelennor Fields, he and Legolas have a competition of how many enemies they can kill. When Aragorn goes to find the Army of the Dead, Gimli goes with him and Legolas. The Return of the King film never really says where Gimli goes after Sauron is defeated, but in the books, he ends up leaving Middle-earth for the Gray Havens in later life.

Gimli is met by arrows upon entering Lothlorien in The Fellowship of the Ring

Gimli Bragging About His 43rd Kill to Legolas in The Two Towers

Gimli Tries to Blow Away a Ghostly Hand in Dwimorberg in The Return of the King

12. Gollum

Gollum as Portrayed by Andy Serkis

Name: Sméagol/Gollum

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Gollum, known as Sméagol before he found the ring, plays the part of guide to Mordor for Frodo and Sam. Throughout The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Gollum, and at times Sméagol, leads the hobbits to Mordor. When Gollum finally convinces Sméagol to kill Frodo and take the ring, Sméagol turns Frodo against Sam and leads him into Shelob’s lair. He disappears until Sam is carrying Frodo to Mount Doom, and he tries to prevent this from happening. Frodo still makes it into Mount Doom, but Gollum jumps on his back and bites off his finger to get the ring. Once he has the ring, Frodo pushes him off of the ledge and into the fires, and both Gollum and the ring are destroyed. 

Gollum Leading Frodo and Sam to Mordor in The Two Towers

Flashback of Smeagol Killing His Friend for the Ring in The Return of the King

Gollum Falling to His Death with His Precious in The Return of the King

13. Gothmog

Gothomog as Portrayed by Lawrence Makoare

Name: Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul)

Race: Orc

Film Appearances: The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Gothmog is one of Sauron’s orc lieutenants. Although he is only seen in The Return of the King, he still makes an impression upon the audience during the Battle of Pelennor Fields. He can be seen ordering his men around while riding a warg and avoiding death at every turn. He finally meets his end when he tries to kill Éowyn but is cut down by both Gimli and Aragorn before he has the chance.

Gothmog Talking to a Subordinate During the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King

Gothmog's Death at the Hands of Gimli and Aragorn in The Return of the King

14. Grima

Brad Dourif as Grima Wormtongue

Name: Grima Wormtongue

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Grima is a man of Rohan who acts as Saruman’s right-hand man. Grima acts as advisor to King Theoden when he is possessed by Saruman. When Gandalf forces Saruman out of Theoden, Grima runs away. The last time he is seen is atop Orthanc with Saruman. Theoden calls out to Grima and begs him to be free of Saruman and come down from the tower, but Saruman hits him when he considers it. So Grima stabs Saruman in the back, causing Saruman to fall off of the tower, and Legolas shoots Grima.

Grima Advising the Possessed King Theoden in The Two Towers

Grima Stabbing Saruman in the Back atop Orthanc in The Return of the King

15. Haldir

Craig Parker as Haldir

Name: Haldir

Race: Elves

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers

Significance in Story: Haldir is a guardian of Lothlorien’s borders. He is seen in The Fellowship of the Ring escorting the Fellowship to Galadriel. In The Two Towers, he is seen leading an army of elves to assist Rohan in the Battle of Helm’s Deep. There is where he meets his end when he is attacked from behind by an orc.

Haldir Meeting the Fellowship upon Entry into Lothlorien in The Fellowship of the Ring

Haldir Prepares to Shoot at Orcs at the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers

16. Legolas

Orlando Bloom as Legolas

Name: Legolas Greenleaf

Race: Elves

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Legolas is an elf from Mirkwood and a member of the Fellowship. He is a great archer and can be seen throughout the films piercing his targets with arrows that seemingly never miss. He is friends with Aragorn, and he forms a close bond with Gimli. Although it doesn’t address it in the films, later in life, Legolas sails to the Gray Havens with Gimli.

Legolas at the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring

Legolas Points an Arrow at Eomer for Insulting Gimli in The Two Towers

 Legolas Takes Down an Oliphant at the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Return of the King

17. Merry

Dominic Monoghan as Merry

Name: Meriadoc Brandybuck

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Merry is a cousin of Pippin’s and friends with both Frodo and Sam. He joins Frodo and Sam on their journey to Rivendell and also joins the Fellowship. In The Two Towers, Merry tries desperately to spur the Ents into attacking Isengard. In The Return of the King, he dons soldiers’ armor and rides into the Battle of Pelennor Fields with Eowyn. Like Sam, Merry lives the rest of his life in the Shire after the War of the Ring is over.

Merry and Pippin Reprimanded by Gandalf for Shooting Fireworks in The Fellowship of the Ring

Merry Prepares to Ride into Battle with Eowyn in The Return of the King

18. Pippin

Billy Boyd as Pippin

Name: Peregrin Took

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Pippin is an ever curious hobbit and is the cousin of Merry and a friend of Frodo’s and Sam’s. Pippin is constantly getting himself into trouble. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Pippin is responsible for alerting the orcs to the Fellowship’s presence in the Mines of Moria when he accidentally pushes armor down a well. In The Two Towers, Pippin tricks Treebeard into leading him and Merry outside the forest so that he can show Treebeard how Saruman has been cutting down trees. This spurs Treebeard into action against Saruman. In The Return of the King, Pippin once again gets himself into trouble when he stares into the Palantir and speaks to Sauron, leading Sauron to believe Pippin has the ring. Because of this, Gandalf sends Pippin to Gondor, and he becomes the servant of Denethor. When Denethor is about to burn Faramir alive, Pippin finds Gandalf to come and rescue Faramir. In the end of The Return of the King, Pippin is seen remaining in the Shire while Frodo boards a ship to the Gray Havens.

Pippin Realizes that the Tree He Climbed is Alive in The Two Towers

Pippin Sings for Denethor While Faramir Struggles Against Orcs at Osgiliath in The Return of the King

19. Sam

Sean Astin as Sam

Name: Samwise Gamgee

Race: Hobbit

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: While many people think of Frodo Baggins when they think of The Lord of the Rings, it was Samwise Gamgee who was the true hero of the series. Without Sam, Frodo would have never made it to Mount Doom. If Sam hadn’t gone with Frodo to Rivendell at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, then Frodo would have probably been killed by the Nazgul. Had Sam not followed Frodo during The Two Towers, Frodo would have either lost the ring or been killed by Smeagol. And if Sam hadn’t followed Frodo up the stairs of Cirith Ungol, even after Frodo had told him to go home, Frodo would have been killed by Shelob and the ring would have likely fallen into the hands of Sauron’s forces. So, Sam is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings and the real reason that the ring was finally destroyed by Frodo.

Sam Follows Frodo When He Tries to Journey to Mordor Alone in The Fellowship of the Ring

Sam Tells Faramir the Reason Boromir Died in The Two Towers

Sam and His Family at the Conclusion of The Return of the King

20. Saruman

Christopher Lee as Saruman

Name: Saruman the White

Race: Maiar

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Saruman, like Gandalf, is a wizard. In the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, he is known as Saruman the White and is more powerful than Gandalf. However, after he decides to join forces with Sauron, he is stripped of his “white” title and it is given to Gandalf instead. Saruman does everything in his power throughout the first two films to obtain the ring. He even wages war against the race of Men at the Battle of Helm’s Deep. In the end, he fails to take Helm’s Deep and the Ents destroy his stronghold, Isengard, along with his Uruk-hai army. Saruman dies near the beginning of The Return of the King when Grima stabs him and he falls off his tower, ultimately impaled by a water-wheel.

Saruman Attacks Gandalf When He Refuses to Join Sauron in The Fellowship of the Ring

 Saruman Orders Army of Orcs to March to Helm's Deep in The Two Towers

Saruman Falls to His Death After Being Stabbed by Grima in The Return of the King

21. Sauron

The Eye of Sauron

Name: Sauron

Race: Maiar

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Sauron is the big baddie of The Lord of the Rings franchise, so he had to be on this list. Throughout the story, Sauron is looking for the Ring of Power so that he can be restored to full form again and control Middle-earth. Besides a prologue in the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, the only glimpse the audience sees of Sauron is his big eye in Mordor. He constantly sends Nazgul to try and take the ring from Frodo while at the same time sending his forces to Gondor to destroy the city and the race of Men. In the end he fails because the ring falls into Mount Doom and is destroyed, thus destroying what remained of Sauron, his lands, and his army.

Sauron in His Original Form During the War of the Last Alliance in The Fellowship of the Ring

The Great Eye of Sauron Right Before the Ring is Destroyed in The Return of the King

22. Shelob

Great Spider, Shelob

Name: Shelob

Race: Great Spiders

Film Appearances: The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Although Shelob is only seen in The Return of the King, she is a creature of nightmares. A huge spider who is also cunning, Shelob adds new horror to what people already feel about spiders. When Frodo is led into her lair by the scheming Gollum, Shelob is quick to attack him. After several minutes of fighting, she stabs Frodo and wraps him up in her web. The last we see of her is when Sam fights her and causes her to retreat.  

Shelob Inside Her Lair in The Return of the King

Shelob Sneaks up Behind Frodo in The Return of the King

23. Théoden

Bernard Hill as Theoden

Name: Théoden

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Theoden is the king of Rohan when the story begins. In The Two Towers, his mind is poisoned by Saruman, leading him to make poor decisions. After Gandalf cleanses Theoden’s mind of Saruman, Theoden becomes the king that his people remember him as being. While he didn’t heed Aragorn’s advice about the Battle of Helm’s Deep, he still realized his mistake and was grateful that the elves came to help. In The Return of the King, Theoden and his men respond to the lighting of Gondor’s beacon and come to its aid. During the Battle of Pelennor Fields, King Theoden fights valiantly, but he is ultimately killed by the Witch-king of Angmar.

Theoden's Appearance When He is Being Controlled by Saruman in The Two Towers

Theoden after Gandalf Breaks Saruman's Hold in The Two Towers

Theoden Says Parting Words to Eowyn Before His Death in The Return of the King

24. Treebeard

Treebeard, Voiced by John-Rhys Davies

Name: Treebeard (Fangorn)

Race: Ents

Film Appearances: The Two Towers and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: Treebeard is an interesting character simply because he is a talking, walking tree. Some of the most memorable scenes in The Two Towers are from Treebeard’s encounter with Merry and Pippin. Near the end of The Two Towers, Treebeard witnesses the destruction of the forests and his fellow trees, so he calls all the Ents to march on Isengard. After they march, Isengard is completely destroyed and Saruman’s strength is almost wholly diminished. The last we see of Treebeard is when he informs Gandalf in The Return of the King that Saruman is hiding at the top of his tower.

Treebeard Gazes on the Destruction of the Forest in The Two Towers

Treebeard Greets Gandalf When He Arrives at Isengard in The Return of the King

25. Witch-king of Angmar

The Witch-king of Angmar, Voiced by Andy Serkis

Name: Witch-king of Angmar

Race: Men

Film Appearances: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Significance in Story: The Witch-king of Angmar is the leader of the Nazgul and the most powerful of Sauron’s servants. He plays a few parts in the films. First, he stabs Frodo with a Morgul blade in The Fellowship of the Ring, causing Frodo’s life to be in jeopardy and leading Frodo to always have pain in the shoulder in which he was stabbed. Then, he challenges Gandalf in The Return of the King and might have actually won had he not been called to aid Sauron’s forces on the battlefield. Lastly, the Witch-king of Angmar is responsible for the death of King Theoden, whose death is then avenged by Eowyn. Eowyn stabs the Witch-king in the face and the Witch-king’s head shrivels, and he dies. 

The Witch-king of Angmar Challenges Gandalf at Gondor in The Return of the King

The Witch-king's Death at the Hands of Eowyn in The Return of the King

Well, there you have it! The top 25 Lord of the Rings characters as selected by myself. While there are a few other awesome characters in The Lord of the Rings series that I did not include in this list, I believe this list includes all the characters in the films that leave the deepest impressions upon the audience. What do you think? Agree or disagree? If you feel there was a character that should have been included on this list, let me know in the comments below.

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