The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Character List

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Aragorn (Strider, Elendil, Elessar)

Aragorn is one of the original members of the Fellowship of the Ring, but he is also the Heir of Isildur. In The Return of the King, Aragorn successfully battles against Sauron's forces and he claims his throne, with Arwen Evenstar as his queen. There are numerous prophesies and songs that concern Aragorn‹ranging from his trek along the formidable "Paths of the Dead," to his role as Elessar, a healer-king.

Eowyn

Eowyn is the daughter of Eomund and Theodwyn. She appears in the story as Aragorn is preparing to ride towards the Paths of the Dead. As Eowyn has fallen in love with Aragorn, she is heartbroken, fearing his death. Though she is forbidden to join in the battle, she disguises herself as a ma and takes the name "Dernhelm," leaving Rohan and heading for the battle at Gondor. As "Dernhelm," she rides with Merry and both are wounded in valiant battle. Eowyn's disguise is uncovered and she is sent to the Houses of Healing, for her wound is serious. At the Houses of Healing, Eowyn becomes acquainted with Faramir, who is also injured. They are ultimately married.

Frodo Baggins

In The Return of the King, Frodo continues to carry the burdensome Ring. He is rescued from the orcs (by Sam) and with Sam, he continues to the Cracks of Doom. Frodo's will power wanes at the crucial moment but Gollum destroys the ring inadvertently. After the battles against Sauron, Frodo returns to the Shire where he serves as mayor for a time, before sailing away for the Grey Havens.

Gandalf the White (Mithrandir)

Gandalf is the wizard who assists the forces of Good throughout the trilogy. Gandalf also goes by the name Mithrandir and in the second part of the trilogy, he relinquishing the name Gandalf the Grey for a name more emblematic of his power: Gandalf the White. He is the one who supports Aragorn in battle, guides the debate of the captains, and crowns Aragorn as King once peace has been established. At the end of the novel, Gandalf sails with the large company that is headed for the Grey Havens.

Gollum

Gollum is a despicable, yet pitiable, creature who has occasional moments of genuine repentance which are dominated by hatred, fear, jealousy and greed. Gollum fulfills Gandalf's prophecy by making himself useful inadvertently: at the very end of the novel, just when Frodo's will power slackens, Gollum wrests the Ring away from Frodo (ripping his finger off in the process)‹but Gollum falls into the Cracks of Doom, destroying himself and also the Ring.

Samwise "Sam" Gamgee

Sam Gamgee is Frodo's fellow hobbit and servant. When Frodo tries to continue alone at the end of Book Two, Sam remains with him. In The Two Towers, Sam is faithful and Book 5 of The Return of the King opens with Sam's rescue of Frodo. Sam wisely takes the Ring from Frodo when he thinks Frodo is dead (though he gives the Ring back later). When Frodo's physical and/or emotional strength ebbs, Sam has the supplement. After battle, Sam's gifts and resourcefulness remain useful: he uses Galadriel's dust to reforest the Shire, he serves as mayor after Frodo and becomes the custodian of Frodo and Bilbo's literary works. He marries Rose Cotton (Farmer Tom's daughter) and has a young daughter Elanor.

Saruman (Sharkey)

Saruman is, in essence, a defrocked wizard. Gandalf demotes him in The Two Towers and he is sealed in a tower. In The Return of the King, we find that Saruman is continually ungrateful for the mercy and forgiveness that are repeatedly extended to him. He is joined by Grima (Wormtongue) and he is killed by this servant towards the end of his stint in the Shire. Sharkey is the alias that Saruman takes when he destroys the Shire‹making good on his threat to the hobbits. Since his home had been destroyed and his power had been lost, Saruman had little to lose. Grima kills "Sharkey" by slitting his throat.

Sauron

Sauron is the Evil One, and he remains "offstage" for the entire trilogy. He is never described physically, though he is sometimes engaged in long-distance communication (through the palantir). Sauron is really more of a force than a character, metonymically represented by the symbolic Evil Eye. The Eye of Sauron, the Ring of Sauron and the hosts of Mordor (the geographical location that functions as the seat of Sauron's power) are amply depicted but Sauron remains behind these many screens. We do know that his evil works precede the action of Book One of the Trilogy. The destruction of the Ring, however, destroys both Sauron and his power.

Lady Arwen (Evenstar)

the daughter of Elrond, she marries Aragorn and becomes Queen. She offers a gift to Frodo: a white gemstone that will help to relieve him of his pains and memories when they become intense.

Beregond

the son of Baranor, he is one of the soldiers of Minas Tirith and he befriends Pippin.

Bergil

a young boy who is the son of Beregond, he gives Pippin a tour of Minas Tirith.

Bilbo Baggins

the (hobbit) hero of The Hobbit, Bilbo originally steals the Ring from Gollum. He reappears in The Return of the King, as a very old and sleepy hobbit. He has begun the long process of writing the stories of the hobbits' heroic adventures and after passing this project to Frodo, who later passes the project to Sam. At the end of The Return of the King, Bilbo sails to the Grey Havens.

Denethor

the lord of the city (Minas Tirith) and the father of Boromir and Faramir. When he fears that his lineage is coming to an end and that defeat is inevitable he burns himself on a funeral pyre. He is unsuccessful in killing his wounded son, Faramir, in a similar manner.

Elrond

one of the older figures, he first appears in The Houses of Healing in The Fellowship of the Ring. He is the father of Lady Arwen and he sails along with Gandalf, Galadriel and the others who are destined for the Grey Havens.

Eomer

the brother of Eowyn, he is a Marshal of the Mark and the adopted son of Theoden. When Theoden dies at Pelennor, he names Eomer as his heir.

Faramir

the noble son of Denethor, Faramir is distinguished from his brother Boromir, who tried to steal the Ring and was killed earlier in the Trilogy. Faramir is wounded and he is almost burned on the funeral pyre by his suicidal father, Denethor. Faramir recovers from his battle injuries and marries Eowyn.

Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger

a Hobbit who first appeared in Book One, Fatty is imprisoned when the Shire is tyrannized by Sharkey. He loses weight in prison.

Galadriel

a Queen of the Elves, Galadriel is one of the Ring-bearers who must depart for the Grey Havens at the end of the trilogy. Though Galadriel is not as active in The Return of the King as she is in The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel's gifts to the hobbits prove very necessary in the battle and in the restoration that follows.

Grima (Wormtongue)

once an advisor to Theoden, Grima was is a spy for Saruman. He is imprisoned and released with Saruman and has little choice but to follow him to the Shire and do his bidding. In a fit of rage, Grima slits his master's throat, only to be shot dead with arrows a few moments later.

Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck

a hobbit who is part of the Fellowship of the Ring, though he is separated from Frodo, Sam and the Ring early on.

Peregrin "Pippin" Took

a less mature hobbit who is part of the Fellowship of the Ring. He makes the error of looking into the palantir at the end of the The Two Towers, though Gandalf forgives him. The Return of the King begins with Pippin and Gandalf's flight towards Minas Tirith. Perhaps it is Pippin's time with the Ents and his drink of their draughts that accounts for his growth in stature (tall by hobbit standards).

Rose Cotton (Rosie)

a hobbit who marries Sam Gamgee. They have a daughter named Elanor.

Shadowfax

a winged horse who is so headstrong that only Gandalf has the power to tame and ride him.

Tom Cotton (Farmer Tom)

a hobbit who assists in the reclamation of the Shire, when Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry return.

Theoden

a King of the Mark, he suffered under the spells of Saruman and the deceitful counselor, Grima. Gandalf returns and heals Theoden and Theoden emerges into a brief second period of youth. His strength and valor return and Theoden fights heroically, though he falls at the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

Treebeard (Fangorn)

the leader of the Ents, Treebeard is a giant Tree-like creature who assists in the annihilation of the orcs and their compatriots. He is an old friend of Gandalf and a new ally of the hobbits, offering them draughts of the Ent's wine-like juice. Though the Ents are on the victorious side of this war, they have long been separated from their Ent-wives (even before the war) and their future prospects are unclear at best.