Name Your Hero Of LoTR

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Name Your Hero Of LoTR

Gandalf
2
6%
Frodo
4
11%
Sam
9
25%
Aragorn
18
50%
Faramir
3
8%
Theoden
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 36

Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:37 pm

Ah, 'great minds think alike' :wink: :lol: !
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Lindariel
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Post by Lindariel » Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:30 pm

I heartily agree with you Iolanthe, and despite my abject adoration for Aragorn (and for the magnificent actor who so perfectly brought him to life on the silver screen), I think it is quite clear that Frodo is the ultimate hero of this epic tale.

Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel all make statements implying that only Frodo has the potential will and wisdom to withstand the lure of the Ring long enough to get it to Mount Doom.

Gandalf: "So now, when its [The Ring's] master was awake once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire! Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought."

Elrond: "If I understand aright all that I have heard . . . I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will."

Galadriel's support for and belief in Frodo is less directly expressed, but it is nonetheless palpable in her actions. Frodo offers to give the Ring to her freely so that she might accomplish this task he feels is "too great a matter for me." She is tempted, but wisely resists that temptation, leaving the Ring in the hands of the sole being capable of carrying out this task. Afterwards, she advises him on the danger and pitfalls of being a Ringbearer, revealing to him the ways in which the Ring is enhancing his perception, while also gaining power over his will. Then, she gives him a gift that proves pivotal in the accomplishment of his task -- the Phial containing "the light of Earendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain . . . . May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out." Finally, in her haunting Quenya farewell lament, she comes closest to expressing her confidence in Frodo's ability to carry out his quest, "Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe even thou shalt find it." The only way Frodo would attain entry into the Undying Lands is by completing his task -- to withstand the lure of the Ring and get it to Mount Doom, regardless of the terrible sacrifices and suffering he must endure.

I think it is clear they all believed that simply getting the Ring to Mount Doom was an insurmountable task, let alone finding the will to actually destroy it. I believe they all knew that the ultimate destruction of the Ring lay in the hands of Fate, or perhaps in the hands of the One -- Eru Iluvatar -- that "something else" that saw to it that the Ring fell into Bilbo's hands to begin with.

For me, Frodo's ultimate act of heroism comes when he takes pity on Gollum, and I think this is also Professor Tolkien's view. From letter 181:
The Quest was bound to fail as a piece of world-plan, and also was bound to end in disaster as the story of humble Frodo's development to the 'noble,' his sanctification. Fail it would and did as far as Frodo considered alone was concerned. He 'apostatized' -- and I have had one savage letter, crying out that he should have been executed as a traitor, not honoured . . . . I did not foresee that before the tale was published we should enter a dark age in which the technique of torture and disruption of personality would rival that of Mordor and the Ring and present us with the practical problem of honest men of good will broken down into apostates and traitors.

But at this point the 'salvation' of the world and Frodo's own 'salvation' is achieved by his previous pity and foregiveness of injury. At any point any prudent person would have told Frodo that Gollum would certainly betray him, and could rob him in the end. To 'pity' him, to forbear to kill him, was a piece of folly, or a mystical belief in the ultimate value-in-itself of pity and generosity even if disastrous in the world of time. He did rob him and injure him in the end -- but by a 'grace,' that last betrayal was at a precise juncture when the final evil deed was the most beneficial thing any one could have done for Frodo! By a situation created by his 'forgiveness,' he was saved himself, and relieved of his burden.
Just a long-winded way of saying Frodo's my ultimate hero in this story.
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Iolanthe
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Post by Iolanthe » Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 pm

Great quote, Lindariel :D ! I must get down to reading those letters.
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Philipa
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Post by Philipa » Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:31 am

He did rob him and injure him in the end -- but by a 'grace,' that last betrayal was at a precise juncture when the final evil deed was the most beneficial thing any one could have done for Frodo! By a situation created by his 'forgiveness,' he was saved himself, and relieved of his burden.
Bingo! I think I'm with the faction for Frodo as Hero. Although, I still think Sam is a close second in my heart.

Thank you Lindariel for the quote from Tolkien's letters. It is great to see some validation as well as unexpected insights from them. :D
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bruce rerek
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Post by bruce rerek » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:52 pm

It's a shame that more folks have not understood how the pity of both BIlbo and Frodo ruled the fates of all - and what it would mean in our lives. For our reading group it is not lost, but does not the greater world have yet to understand what pity means?
Bruce
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Merry
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Post by Merry » Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:22 am

A great question, Bruce. Sadly, the answer seems to be no. (I know we're not supposed to be talking about the movies, so I will do so parenthetically: Movie Aragorn's instruction to the Elves at Helm's Deep to show no mercy would have been so offensive to Tolkien.) I'm afraid that to the Powers of the Real World, Pity = Weakness. But just on a personal level, there are many studies that suggest that people who are able to forgive end up being happier people. It makes sense, doesn't it?

We discussed at WRoR once, I think, why Tolkien used 'pity' rather than 'mercy', which seems at least marginally closer to the concept of what Frodo and Bilbo showed Smeagol. Tolkien was such a wordsmith, so I think we must assume he used the word on purpose. Any ideas?
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Post by Iolanthe » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:52 pm

There is a big difference between pity and mercy so I'm convinced that it was a carefully chosen word.

Pity, according to my very ancient copy of Chamber's Dictionary (1920's no less...) means 'a strong feeling for or with the sufferings of others, sympathy with distress'. That certainly describes both Bilbo and Frodo's reaction to Gollum. As Bilbo didn't know the true nature of the Ring (unlike Frodo) when he was under the mountain with Gollum, his pity was for how Gollum's life appeared to him then and his misery, not because of any knowledge and sympathy for the burden he carried. Frodo and Bilbo's sympathy came from different places but were equally noble, I think.

Mercy is defined as 'tenderness and forebearance shown in sparing an offender in one's power, a forgiving disposition.

Now, in Tolkien's world would Aragorn have been expected to show either pity or mercy to the orcs, or neither? Way off the topic here but a very interesting distinction!!!
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bruce rerek
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Post by bruce rerek » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:43 pm

Most surely he used pity to convey what its meaning held to the story. I do not know when Aragorn could show pity to an Orc or to the Nazgul, for they were bent on destruction. A gollum character is far more close to what we see in everyday life. A twisted soul who is radicaly evil, who has murdered, and does deserve death. I know we are not to being politics into this forum, but the Professor does make us ponder the question of captial punishment. Some deserve life who are dead and some who are alive deserve to die, can you give it to them? Do not be so quick to hand out death and judgement, for not even the truly wise can see all ends.
In our time this is the question from New York City to Madrid to London, and to the streets of Jerusalem.
Bruce
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Philipa
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Post by Philipa » Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:38 am

Excellent parable...Tolkien was so right on.
Some deserve life who are dead and some who are alive deserve to die, can you give it to them?
True, it is a timeless question indeed.
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Lindariel
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Post by Lindariel » Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:42 am

I think it could be argued that Frodo certainly showed both pity AND mercy to Gollum/Smeagol. But Frodo's ability to be merciful was predicated on his capacity first to find pity in his heart for Gollum's miserable plight. Only then could he show mercy and spare Gollum's life, although as Tolkien pointed out in his letter, "any prudent person would have told Frodo that Gollum would certainly betray him, and could rob him in the end." Because Frodo is able to pity Gollum, he is able to show him mercy, even though it flies in the face of logic and common sense.

Thus, pity is the primary determining factor in Frodo's personal salvation and ultimately in the salvation of all of Middle-earth.
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

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Post by Merry » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:01 am

I think that's a good analysis, Lindariel: Pity might be the emotion and Mercy is the action that is shown as a result of it. (I capitalize because Tolkien does in his letters--an interesting fact in itself.)

Bruce, I don't think we're as averse to talking politics here as some other sites. But we are a bit off-topic. I think that's largely my fault! Philipa, should we continue here or switch to another thread?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Post by Philipa » Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:18 pm

General Tolkien thread in the Simply Tolkien forum sounds like a good place to discuss this issue. It's the 'catch all' place for topics not covered in the more obvious threads. :D
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Merry
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Post by Merry » Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:24 pm

Bruce, join me over there!
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

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Post by Leggy » Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:55 pm

Well, I voted for Aragorn.
He wrestled with his destiny for years and at the end, he thought that Arwen was gone from him, but he still carried on for the sake of Middle Earth and what was right.

He was a brave but unassuming character.
I always remember reading about the part when he goes into the house of healing, but does not stay inside the walls of the city, rather he retreats to outside in solitude.

The similarities between him and Jesus at this time always stuck in my mind.
The reluctant hero, picking the time he should come forward. I always loved Aragorn from the first moment I read the books.( Even before Mr M did hm such wonderful justice in the film) he was always my hero. And yes, the 'have a sword an knows how to use it' does come in to t. You would always feel safe when he was about.

The one thing that I did get from the re-reading, was how precarious Aragorn's position was, right up to the point when Frodo casts the ring into Mount Doom.

Then, when reading the appendices about Aragorn and Arwen, he remained a true hero until the last, leaving Middle Earth only when his son was old enough to take over.( and boy, did I cry!!) :lol:
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Post by Kelkhatan » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:47 am

I know this whole hero issue is at rest for a long time now, but as you could see in other threads I have to say something aswell :D

I won't enhance what you already have stated and I say it from the beginning I cannot pick one out of the list as a hero.

But I have add some characters to the list ;)

- Eowyn, she kills a creature, who has slain the mightiest of the Noldor and that means something! Although one could say she was more lucky than something else, nevertheless she did stand in the way of the ringwraiths-king and did not despair till the end! No one in the tale did face a greater evil in direct fight.

- Boromir: I know he is rather a tragic person than the Hero of the tale, but he is the only character that dies in a heroic way, giving his life for beings not from Gondor and fighting beyond his own death. Nobody else did die of the Fellowship and so we can not say if they would have gone so far, we can only speculate.

- J.R.R Tolkien, he is my ultimate hero of LotR, he achived every heroic action, for he was not only a writer of a tale, he was the tale it self.

I know the last one is more a philosophical view :D

I just wanted to give you guy new perspectives ;)

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