Beginning in 1937 with The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien’s world of wizards, hobbits, dragons and other mythical beings, has captured the hearts and imaginations of many readers. Asking to choose just one favourite character turned out to be quite difficult for many Reading Addicts… There are so many books to choose from, and so many personalities within them, and we enjoy them for different reasons.
Bilbo Baggins took us with him on his big adventure and introduced us to some eccentric, mischievous, honourable, and loyal friends in The Hobbit, but personally I adored Gollum above all else. There was just something endearing about his wretchedness. Maybe that’s just me…
As some characters appear in more than one book, it may be obvious who is at the top of our list, however there are some surprising choices hidden near the end of the poll. Despite many cries of “Just one?!” you managed to give us an interesting list of who in the Tolkien universe is held in higher regard by our Reading Addicts. If you disagree with any decision here, or feel your character hasn’t been fairly considered, let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Gandalf, who appears heavily in six of J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, hits the top of our poll. Not only is he a powerful wizard, which can be helpful at the best of times, he is also a kindly and loyal ally. Gandalf was not drawn to power like other wizards could be, and would rather his powers were used to entertain and delight, than inspire awe through fear. As many of you said, he seems an obvious choice for an all-round good egg protagonist.
Ah, lovely Sam: loyal, stubborn, stout of heart, and Frodo Baggins’ best friend. He has a strong, brave core that surprised even himself as he was tested along his journey with Frodo. Sam is my favourite of the LotR characters as he has a pure heart and only the best intentions, and he shows that you do not have to be a warrior to be a hero. Without him at Frodo’s side who knows what would have happened?
The underestimated niece of a king, with the heart of a warrior, Eowyn realises her dream of showing her strength in battle when facing the Witch-King. She is a favourite among the Reading Addicts because she is strong yet vulnerable, and a valiant and loyal friend. Woe betide you if you ever mistake her for a man…
Persuaded to embark upon a journey of epic proportions, Bilbo is taken completely out of his comfort zone in The Hobbit. His grumpy nature is so endearing, and relatable! Throughout his adventure, Bilbo grows to be as brave as the dwarves in his company, and as useful as any wizard.
Aragorn is a brave warrior but with more depth than your average soldier. He is brave and strong when facing an enemy but is also a proficient healer and knows his way around herbs. He is a fierce fighter, and has the emotional capacity for love and friendship. Aragorn finds himself doubting his own abilities and decisions after losing Gandalf, showing how deeply he cares for his friends.
Legolas is integral to the team with his elvish sight and bow skills, and he soon starts a bromance with Aragorn and Gimli, solidifying the Fellowship of the Ring. With his surprisingly advanced age, Legolas is wise and true of heart, a perfect companion for an exciting adventure.
Galadriel, Lady of Lórien, is a powerful elf of the White Council with the ability to see into people’s minds. She proved her wisdom when she refused the One Ring offered by Frodo, when she could see what a terrible future would be in store.
Merry and Pippin
Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took are best friends and cousins who join Frodo on his quest to destroy the One Ring. They have been considered by the Reading Addicts voters as basically one character because of their unique and endearing relationship. They are obsessed with food and laughter, but are also brave and quick-witted. Gandalf vouched for the two hobbits’ loyalty and strong friendships, which proved itself correct when they befriended Treebeard and the other Ents, and led them into battle.
“Grey beard, deep brown eyes, shot with a green light…” Tolkien’s description drew some of you to Treebeard and captured your imaginations. His motto is “Do not be hasty”, which I can definitely get on board with! He is one of three original, ancient Ents who once walked the forests and mountains of Middle Earth but were now isolated in the forest of Fangorn. That is, until Merry and Pippin turn up and disturb their peace…
Voted for by the more worrying of our Reading Addicts, this malevolent character comes in the form of a powerful and greedy dragon. Highly intelligent and strong, Smaug was a formidable foe for the band of adventurers in The Hobbit. I can certainly see the attraction of Smaug as he is more than just an ancient, wicked lizard. As one Reading Addict notes: there is something intriguing about the more evil characters sometimes…
After that top 10, here are the least popular, but still somebody’s favourites: