- Frodo Baggins
- Sam Gamgee
- Merry Brandybuck
- Pippin Took
- The Black Riders
- Gríma Wormtongue
- Elladan and Elrohir
- Halbarad Dúnadan
- The Sleepless Dead
- The Mouth of Sauron
- Lotho Sackville-Baggins
- Bree Folk
- Best of the Web
- Write Essay
Meet the Cast
Not to get too grim or anything, but The Return of the King is mainly about confronting different kinds of evil: the evil of emotional abuse (Denethor), the evil of bitterness and disappointment (S...
Sam is the world's greatest sidekick. We defy you to find anyone better at kicking sides, seriously. He is absolutely, 100% devoted to Frodo. At the end of The Two Towers, when Frodo has been captu...
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Merry and Pippin have pretty minor roles. In fact, they seem to serve mostly as comic relief. (Remember that time when the Fellowship was trying to sneak through...
Pippin starts out as the infant of the Fellowship in Book One: he is by far the youngest member, at 28 years old, which in hobbit years makes him around 18. He starts to learn something about fight...
By now, we all know that Gollum is a sneak who can't be trusted: he does, after all, lead Sam and Frodo to (almost) become spider chow at the end of The Two Towers in an effort to steal the Ring. A...
We mentioned in Gandalf's The Two Towers "Character Analysis" that he is basically Middle-earth's version of an angel. He's thousands of years old, he's super-powerful, and he fights as a champion...
To be honest, most of Aragorn's real development as a character as he goes from rough-and-tumble Strider to the leader and king we know he's going to be, actually takes place in the first two books...
Sauron is your average power-mad, minion-employing monster. Think the Emperor, a.k.a. Senator Palpatine, in Star Wars. Or Voldemort in Harry Potter. Or, as much as we love this guy in X-Men: First...
When Gandalf describes Denethor to Pippin, he uses terms like long-sighted, perceptive, and "difficult to deceive […] and dangerous to try" (5.1.93). In other words, Denethor is wily, smart, and...
Sometimes we find it a little hard to figure Faramir out, because most of his character seems to come from what he isn't instead of what he is. He spends a lot of The Return of the King being defin...
The Black Riders
The Nazgûl, a.k.a. the Ringwraiths, a.k.a. the Black Riders, have swords, of course. But they don't really seem to need them: their very bodies are weapons of evil. Their voices are so filled with...
Legolas continues to be our main elf in the action of The Return of the King, though this time he has the added reinforcements of Elladan and Elrohir, Elrond's two sons. Legolas accompanies Aragorn...
Like Legolas, Gimli doesn't appear much in The Return of the King. He is certainly around, but his main role seems to be to comment on what's going on in the book. The conversations between Legolas...
There are just too many lordly characters in The Return of the King for Éomer to get all that much attention. Between Aragorn, Imrahil, Faramir, and his own uncle Théoden, there just isn't a ton...
Éowyn is an unusually complicated character in a series that tends to portray women as (a) beautiful, and (b) two-dimensional. Éowyn is gorgeous, of course (all the women in The Lord of the Rings...
The Two Towers is all about King Théoden's troubles: he gets possessed by Saruman, deceived by his advisor, and tricked into imprisoning his nephew (Éomer) and sending his son (Théodred) to be k...
Saruman may be the wicked wizard who's the main villain of The Two Towers. But by the time we reach The Return of the King, after his fortress at Isengard has been destroyed by rampaging Ents, Saru...
We're not gonna lie: Gríma Wormtongue is a pretty awful guy. He betrays Théoden to Saruman so that he can try and force Éowyn to marry him in The Two Towers, and kills his own master in The Retu...
Arwen Evenstar (daughter of Elrond and sister to Elladan and Elrohir) certainly stands by her man. When Aragorn settles in to become king of Gondor, she arrives at Minas Tirith ready to live a mort...
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Elrond tells us that he was present during the first War of the Ring, when Isildur cut off Sauron's ring finger and caused the Big Bad's first fall. Elrond is st...
Elladan and Elrohir
These two elves are Elrond's sons. We learn in The Fellowship of the Ring that they frequently ride with the Rangers of the North hunting orcs. So it's not surprising that they are good friend...
Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's uncle and friend, is the one who starts this whole adventure with his discovery of the Ring in one of the tunnels under the Misty Mountains. Since The Hobbit starts the...
The Lady Galadriel is like the female version of Elrond: ancient, wise, Elvish, and a possessor of one of the Three Elvish Rings of Power (in her case, Nenya, with a white stone "like a frosty whit...
Treebeard the Ent appears one last time in The Return of the King as Gandalf and Co. travel from Rohan towards Rivendell. Treebeard and his fellow Ents have been patrolling the ruins of Isengard, w...
This dashing dude rules the fiefdom of Belfalas, which is a possession of Gondor's to the South. Imrahil's castle of Dol Amroth lies on the coast, on the Bay of Belfalas. It is also close to the Ha...
Beregond is a guardsman of Minas Tirith and a member of the Third Company of the Citadel. He first approaches Pippin with orders to teach Pippin the passwords of the city and start answering some o...
Halbarad, like Aragorn, is a Ranger of the North. This means that he is a descendant of the Men of Westernesse, and a kinsman of Aragorn's. He and the other Rangers have the lonely task of patrolli...
The Sleepless Dead
This term describes the oathbreakers to the Kingdom of Gondor who come at last, as ghosts, to help Aragorn fight back the allies of Sauron. Back in the day, the King of the Mountains swore an oath...
Ghân-buri-Ghân is the headman of the Woses, the Wild Men of the Woods who live in Druadan Forest in East Anórien, in Gondor. He is "gnarled as an old stone, and the hairs of his scanty beard str...
Ioreth is the oldest of the women serving in the Houses of Healing. As she looks at Faramir, lying there with a fever that won't die down, Ioreth comments in passing, "Would that there were kings i...
The Mouth of Sauron
When Aragorn and Co. arrive at the Black Gates of Mordor on Mission: Distract Sauron, Sauron decides to have a little fun at their expense. He wants to toy with them like a cat plays with a mouse....
The Sackville-Bagginses have been the enemies of Bilbo (and Frodo, eventually) ever since The Hobbit. We know that they are selfish, malicious, and generally up to no good. So it comes as no surpri...
ArodArod is the horse of Rohan who Legolas rides into the Paths of the Dead. (He first appears in The Two Towers; look for him in our "Character Analyses" in that learning guide if you're dying to...
Barliman ButterburButterbur is the innkeeper at the Prancing Pony in Bree. It is Butterbur who first warns the hobbits that they will find strange things going on in the Shire; he also confesses th...
CelebornCeleborn is Lord of Lothlórien. He appears primarily in The Fellowship of the Ring. In The Return of the King, he arrives with Galadriel and the people of Lothlórien to attend the we...
ElanorSam and Rosie's first child. In the appendices, we discover that golden-haired Elanor goes on to be a handmaiden of Arwen in the court of Gondor. Farmer Tom CottonThe father of Rosie Cotton a...
AngborAngbor is the only commander of the fighters from Lamedon to stand his ground when the Sleepless Dead arrive with Aragorn to fight back the ships of Umbar and Harad. Aragorn asks Angbor to ga...
GorbagThis little jerk is an orc from Barad-dûr, stationed in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, who leads a fight against Shagrat and the other orcs of the tower over the treasures stripped from Frodo's...