Welcome to the first of this month’s themed Top 10s! For the next four weeks, we’re going to be chatting about all things Tolkien, and I, for one, am very excited about today’s topic. I don’t usually do Top 10s in a specific order, but these are 100% in order of my favorite because if Sam wasn’t at the top, this wouldn’t be an accurate list.
Someday, I’m going to die from the amount of Sam love that I have. If you missed it, I recently wrote an entire post
dissertation on why Samwise Gamgee is the best LOTR character, so I won’t go into it a lot here, but he’s truly not only the best LOTR character ever, he’s just the best character ever. All of my standards are held up to Sam, which makes everything pretty much an impossibility. But the thing that sticks out to me the most is this: even though all he wants is Rosie Cotton as his wife, a few kids to dote on, and a quiet life in the Shire, he squares off with fate and decides he’s going to save the world because someone’s gotta do it, and if Frodo’s going, he might as well tag along. He’s so good, and I cannot with him.
Did you know there are people in the world who skip Frodo’s parts in the movies because they think he’s boring? These are the same people who think Harry’s annoying in Order of the Phoenix, and I don’t want to associate with any of you. Frodo is the best of all heroes. He, much like Sam, just wanted a quiet life, but when Gandalf asked him to take the ring somewhere safe, Frodo accepted his lot in life. He knew that, no matter how small, he might be able to sway the future, and he was willing to risk his life in order to save his people. So many “stronger” people than him have succumbed to the ring, too, and though it starts to grab hold of Frodo toward the end, he fights it with more success than anyone before him. He is knocked down again and again, and he keeps getting up because he was given this task, and if he fails, then who else could possibly do it?
Aragorn II Elessar
For a long time, Aragorn was my favorite LOTR character. I’ll have a post up this month about why the race of Men is one of my favorites in Middle Earth, and it all starts with Aragorn. He is the epitome of why I love leaders and kings. Seriously, if your book’s got a quiet, sometimes surly king who doesn’t want to lead or doesn’t believe he’s the right person, I’m here for it. And the fact that he comes from a line of kings, but he’s so afraid of the blood of his heirs that he thinks he’ll, too, end of dooming the world? Ugh, just end me now.
Every time I think of Théoden, I think of the line, “Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn!” I can hear it in his voice in my head immediately. He’s such an archetype, and that’s part of why I love him so much. All of his actions are predictable, and they’re so satisfying. I want him to refuse to help Gondor at first so that when he does end up saying, “And Rohan will answer!”, it’s such a bigger scene. We know that they need aid, and we know that Rohan’s going to be the one to save them, but we have to feel a little desperate first. I love his stubbornness so much. He’s probably the easiest example of why I adore the race of Men because he makes us yell at him for being dumb before turning around to swallow his pride and think of his people and their world. Plus, look, these are just facts:
- the Battle of Helm’s Deep is the greatest battle ever filmed
- the Rohirrim are legit The Coolest group of people ever
- and he intends to let a woman be his heir
So, that helps.
Arwen Undómiel, the Evenstar
Arwen and Lúthien (below) are up there as my favorite women of all time. I shout about a few of them on the blog every so often, so you know what kind of company they’re in. Arwen is such a badass, but in the softest way, and it’s wonderful. I love soft characters that can still cut your head off. She does everything like an elf–beautifully dressed, in a floaty voice, and without messing up her hair. But she does all of that while wielding a sword, squaring off with multiple enemies at once, and saving Aragorn’s life time and time again, so. Name me a single other character who gave up their immortal life so that they could be with their loved one. Even Lúthien didn’t do that.
Talk about someone who does things exactly like an elf. Ya girl bust out of a prison using her magical hair, and then literally sang Morgoth to sleep so that she could save Beren and he could steal a Silmaril from Morgoth. What a legend. And while Lúthien doesn’t give up her immortal life to be with Beren, she kind of stops time and argues with the gods so they’ll give Beren an immortal life in the woods? Dude. Lúthien isn’t messing around. She defies everyone who says no to her, fights her own battles, and looks gorgeous doing it, and that’s what I strive for in life.
Talk about a kingly figure. I literally just finished rereading The Hobbit (review coming next week!), but most of my Thorin love comes from the scene of him walking down the burning tree in the first movie. When we saw that, my friend sighed very loudly because she just knew. Thorin is self-sacrificing to a fault, and it kills me. He’s also super selfish, which is a really fun combination, and I love a good flawed character like that. His grudge-holding, holier-than-thou, will-die-for-a-mountain attitude is everything I need in life.
Look, it was either this picture or one where he’s tiny, but I was getting a damn picture from when he faces off against Morgoth alone because that’s why he’s one of my faves from The Silmarillion. Ya boy literally rides away from his entire company of elves because so many people have been dying and fights against the greatest evil of all time in SINGLE COMBAT. He even wounds Morgoth seven (!!!) times before he’s killed (yo this is not a spoiler because everyone dies in The Silmarillion sorry). Not to mention, Fingolfin’s basically Sam. He’s so tired, and he just wants a quiet life, but someone has to step up to defeat the evil, and he thinks, if not me, who else? Might as well strap on my sword and get to it.
Fingon probably made me cry the most during The Silmarillion
(jkjk it was Maedhros WITH Fingon), and it’s 100% because he deserved none of what he got. Not only does he sneak into Angbad alone, he scales possibly the tallest mountain in existence, and then sings a song to find Maedhros. Fingon is the most extra, but I absolutely love it. And seriously, it was such a struggle to only pick one of the sons of Fëanor because I didn’t want to overload this with just HERE’S WHY I LOVE ALL SEVEN OF THE FËANORIANS (stay tuned for next week??), but Fingon definitely wins.
Melkor/Morgoth (& Sauron?)
Look, okay, I KNOW Morgoth is literally the reason for all of my sorrow in The Silmarillion, but this cannot be helped. And look! A two for one! Sauron’s here, too! I fell in love with Melkor so hardcore that I’m pretty sure the same thing’s going to happen with Sauron. I already love Mairon, who Sauron was before he changed his name
and when he fell in love with Melkor, so I’m really just waiting for it to happen at this point. But Morgoth! Melkor! Whatever! No, not whatever, because I definitely like Melkor more than I like Morgoth (even though they’re the same person), and that’s totally because Melkor is a drama queen and Morgoth is just mean. Like, Melkor decides to “go evil” because he has thoughts outside of the box, and his brother’s like “no dude stay in line”, so he steals some pretty rocks and runs away. Melkor/Morgoth’s on this list because he makes me giggle incessantly with his antics, but also, he’s such an asshole, he really shouldn’t be on this list.