While Peter Jackson is busy beavering away on his Hobbit films, Top 10 Films’ resident Lord of the Rings expert and self-confessed fan girl Claire Packer takes a look at her favourite characters.
When Dan asked me to write my debut Top 10 I was left thinking: “What do I know enough about to write a Top 10?” After preparing a post on my 10 year relationship with The Lord of the Rings for my own blog, the answer was, quite literally, in front of me: The Lord of the Rings.
Top 10 lists are, by their very nature, subjective, so here is my personal Top 10 list of characters from Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Whittling the characters down to just 10 was very, very hard – there is the ents, the hobbits of Hobbiton and Bree, the elves of Rivendell and Lothlórien, the men of Rohan and Gondor… the list is endless!
Leave a comment if different characters would have made your list; I’d love to hear what you think.
10. Legolas – portrayed by Orlando Bloom
I admit it; I did have a big crush on Mr Bloom after seeing his portrayal of Legolas. There are myriad wonderful creatures in the Middle-earth universe but I have always had a soft spot for the elves, and an even bigger soft spot for Legolas.
The elves are graceful, beautiful beings with keen eyes and ears. In the novel Tolkien wrote that the elves ride without saddles and walk – barefoot – on the snow. When the Fellowship ascends Caradhras in Jackson’s adaptation we see Legolas stride ahead, as though the wind and snow isn’t affecting him at all. Legolas is also a highly skilled fighter, and an unrivalled archer.
9. Gimli – portrayed by John Rhys-Davies
“Nobody tosses a dwarf! – That has got to be one of my favourite lines from Fellowship, if not from the whole trilogy.
A proud and loyal dwarf, Gimli is a strong warrior and is a very useful addition to the Fellowship. John Rhys-Davies’ portrayal of Gimli was near enough exactly what I expected the character to be like after reading the novels. Kudos to the excellent costume and make-up departments for doing such a good job, and to the camera crew for turning a 6ft man into a 4ft dwarf!
8. Eowyn – portrayed by Miranda Otto
Eowyn is one fierce lady and I love her even more because of that oh-so-cliché line, “I am no man”, when fighting the Witch-king.
I have always felt myself more suited to the elvish race but I would quite happily move to Rohan and hang out with Eowyn – she is certainly a woman after my own heart. She is highly skilled with a sword, is a keen horsewoman and can certainly hold her own against the opposite sex. The lucky thing marries Faramir in the novels, too, thus uniting the kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan even more.
7. Boromir – portrayed by Sean Bean
Now this choice may slightly be due to the fact that I’ve had a crush on Sean Bean since his Sharpe days… Speaking of which, apparently the line “still sharp”, which he says when he holds the shattered pieces of Isildur’s blade, was written especially for him as he would be the actor saying it!
Moving on, Boromir is a strong leader and is extremely fierce and courageous. While he is seduced by the ring, he asks for forgiveness and gives his life trying to defend the hobbits. Though I, of course, can’t be sure, I’m sure that Frodo held no malicious feelings towards Boromir, as wouldn’t the rest of the fellowship.
6. Frodo – portrayed by Elijah Wood
A hobbit had to make the list and while I love Sam, Merry and Pippin, it had to be Frodo, who is arguably the most famous hobbit in Middle-earth’s history.
One of the seven One Ring bearers, Frodo was the son of Drogo Baggins and Primula Brandybuck. He came to live in Bag End after Bilbo Baggins adopted him when his parents died in a boating accident. When Frodo came to live with Bilbo, Bilbo was already in possession of the One Ring.
A typical Hobbit, his quest to destroy the One Ring was an adventure that he never would have imagined, and one that would keep him away from his home for many months. During the quest Frodo received many injuries, including being stabbed by the Witch-king of Angmar, a wound that would never fully heal.
5. Galadriel – portrayed by Cate Blanchett
My highest rated elf, Galadriel is the co-ruler of Lothlórien alongside her husband, Celeborn. She was known by many names, including The Lady of Lórien, Lady of Light, White Lady and The Lady of the Wood, and was the keeper of one of the three elven rings, Nenya. The final keepers of the other two rings, Narya and Vilya, were Gandalf and Elrond.
A particularly memorable scene in Jackson’s adaptation is when Galadriel ‘passes the test’. After the Fellowship had escaped from Moria and travelled to Lórien, Frodo offered Galadriel the One Ring. A corrupted version of Galadriel takes over and explains that in place of a Dark Lord there would be a Queen, beautiful and terrible as the morning and the night. Resuming to her normal state, she refuses the ring and says that she has passed the test and that she will diminish and return to the West.
4. Saruman – portrayed by Christopher Lee
The only word to describe Saruman is badass, and Christopher Lee was an inspired casting. One of five wizards sent to Middle-earth to investigate Sauron’s growing power, in Jackson’s films we were only introduced to Saruman and Gandalf – Radagast the Brown will appear in the upcoming The Hobbit two-parter, portrayed by Sylvester McCoy, however.
A powerful wizard, Saruman was seduced by power. He attempted to recruit Gandalf so that they could unite with Sauron before seizing control over him and Middle-earth.
3. Gollum portrayed by Andy Serkis
Gollum is a pivotal character in the trilogy, though I must admit that I didn’t particularly take to him in the books. However, the way he was portrayed in Jackson’s adaptation was, quite simply, astounding. Andy Serkis was the perfect man for the job and he really brought life to a very complex character.
A deformed, twisted creature, Gollum acquired the ring from his cousin, Déagol, back when he was known as Sméagol. After Déagol found a golden ring lying in the mud of the lake while they were out fishing, Sméagol demanded the ring as his birthday present. When Déagol refused, Sméagol strangled him to death and took the ring, thus began the start of his corruption…
2. Aragorn – portrayed by Viggo Mortensen
The man formally known as Strider is an unassuming, kind and highly dependable man – if I had Aragorn on my team I’d be very happy. After many years spent as a ranger, he can certainly handle himself with a variety of weapons and is also a skilled healer.
Aragorn is, undoubtedly, a strong leader but he is also very much ‘one of the gang’. He understands the power in uniting against the forces of evil and, as the heir of Isildur, dreams of creating a reunited kingdom.
Viggo Mortensen embodied Aragorn perfectly, and I still can’t believe that Stuart Townsend was the original casting…
1. Gandalf – portrayed by Ian McKellen
When preparing my Top 10 this was the only character that I was certain of: Gandalf had to be my No 1. There is something very warm and welcoming about Gandalf. A source of knowledge, wisdom and strength, he also has a wicked sense of humour, as the hobbits found out when he came to Bilbo’s birthday party armed with a fabulous collection of fireworks.
Let’s not forget that he’s a wizard, too – did you see how he tackled that Balrog?
If I could meet any of the characters, I’d choose Gandalf every time. I’d love to have a conversation with Gandalf – I’m sure we’d talk about everything and anything.
Your turn – What are your favourite Lord of the Rings characters?
Written and compiled by Claire Packer.
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