The Return of the King

The Return of the King


J. R. R. Tolkien

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The Return of the King Characters

Frodo Baggins

Frodo Baggins is the hobbit who was chosen by Gandalf to carry the Ring to Mount Doom. Over the course of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo proved himself to be the only person… read analysis of Frodo Baggins

Samwise Gamgee (Sam)

Samwise Gamgee is Frodo’s companion on his journey to Mount Doom. Formerly Frodo’s gardener, Sam, like most hobbits, has a love for simple, concrete pleasures, particularly cooking and eating. Sam is responsible for rescuing… read analysis of Samwise Gamgee (Sam)


Aragorn is a Dúnedain ranger from the North and the heir to the throne of Gondor. He is also the respected friend and leader of many, including Legolas and Gimli, who trust him so… read analysis of Aragorn/Strider


Gandalf, also called Mithrandir, is the wizard who entrusted Frodo with the task of bearing the Ring to Mount Doom. Many characters rely on him for advice or help. There are also some, such as… read analysis of Gandalf


Sauron is the novel’s antagonist and the Lord of the Rings as referred to by the title of Tolkien’s trilogy as a whole. His power depends on the Ring he forged long ago—now carried by… read analysis of Sauron
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Peregrin Took (Pippin)

Pippin is one of the four hobbits included in the Fellowship of the Ring, and Merry’s best friend. His foolhardy decision to look into the Seeing Stone led to Gandalf bringing him to Minas… read analysis of Peregrin Took (Pippin)

Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry)

Merry is one of the four hobbits included in the Fellowship of the Ring, and Pippin’s best friend. He offers his sword to King Théoden and is made his squire but is told to… read analysis of Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry)


Gollum, originally a hobbitlike man called Sméagol, is of Frodo and Sam’s former companion who betrayed them on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol. Desperate to reclaim the Ring, which he held for many… read analysis of Gollum


Faramir is Denethor’s son and Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien. After his brother Boromir’s death, he is also Denethor’s heir. Though Pippin sees Faramir as wiser and kinder than Boromir, Denethor acts… read analysis of Faramir


Denethor is the Steward of Gondor, and Faramir and the late Boromir’s father. Gandalf’s arrival at Minas Tirith is a source of frustration and insecurity for Denethor, whose priority to protect and preserve… read analysis of Denethor


Théoden is the king of Rohan and the uncle of Éomer and Éowyn. Though his own kingdom is under threat from Mordor, he honors the longstanding loyalty between the peoples of Rohan and Gondor… read analysis of Théoden


Éowyn is Théoden’s niece and Éomer’s sister, and a shieldmaiden of Rohan. Frustrated by constantly being instructed to stay behind and protect Rohan’s women and children, she disguises herself as a Rider of… read analysis of Éowyn/Dernhelm


Éomer is Théoden’s nephew and Éowyn’s brother. He leads the Rohirrim in battle at Minas Tirith, second only to Théoden. As Théoden’s heir, he becomes the next king of Rohan after Théoden’s death… read analysis of Éomer


Legolas is Aragorn and Merry’s close friend and one of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring. His loyalty leads him to follow Aragorn along the Paths of the Dead and into… read analysis of Legolas


Gimli is Legolas and Aragorn’s close friend and one of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring. Being a Dwarf and therefore inherently at home underground, Gimli is ashamed to be crippled… read analysis of Gimli

Lord of the Nazgûl

The Lord of the Nazgûl is the chief Black Rider and Sauron’s right-hand man. He leads the attack on Minas Tirith, where his challenge to Gandalf is interrupted by the arrival of the Rohirrim… read analysis of Lord of the Nazgûl

Prince Imrahil

Prince Imrahil is the Prince of Dol Amroth, an ally to Minas Tirith. Imrahil comes to Faramir’s aid in the retreat from Osgiliath, and later leads his troops into battle after the arrival of… read analysis of Prince Imrahil


Beregond is a Guard of the Citadel in Minas Tirith, Bergil’s father, and Pippin’s friend. Beregond initially meets Pippin to provide him with the pass-words of the city, and the two become close… read analysis of Beregond


Saruman was the most powerful of the wizards and was Sauron’s servant until his defeat by the Ents in Isengard. Having escaped from Orthanc, the tower of Isengard, he makes his way to the… read analysis of Saruman/Sharkey


Galadriel is the Lady of Lothlórien and the wife of Celeborn. Her wisdom and beauty are virtually unrivalled, and her gifts to each member of the Fellowship prove useful throughout the novel. She also… read analysis of Galadriel


Elrond is the Lord of Rivendell and Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen’s father. It’s his wisdom that urges Aragorn to consider taking the Paths of the Dead. After Aragorn claims kingship of Gondor… read analysis of Elrond

Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo is Frodo’s cousin, and his adventures to the Misty Mountains many years ago led to his friendship with Gandalf. A previous bearer of the Ring, Bilbo resides in Rivendell as Elrondread analysis of Bilbo Baggins

Halbarad Dúnadan

Halbarad is one of the Dúnedain Rangers and Aragorn’s friend. He and his fellow Rangers catch up with Aragorn on the way to Helm’s Deep, delivering both the royal standard of Gondor and advice… read analysis of Halbarad Dúnadan


Boromir was the first son of Denethor and one of the members of the Fellowship. His death (chronicled in the first book of The Lord of the Rings trilogy) is one of the sources of… read analysis of Boromir


Ghân-buri-Ghân is the chief of the Wild Men of Drúadan Forest. He offers to help the Rohirrim find a secret path to Minas Tirith in return for peace for his people and the destruction of… read analysis of Ghân-buri-Ghân

The Mouth of Sauron

The Mouth of Sauron is Sauron’s servant, who greets Aragorn and his army upon their arrival at the Black Gate. His derision, arrogance, and greed are matched by his loyalty to Sauron, who he… read analysis of The Mouth of Sauron

The Chief/Lotho Sackville-Baggins

Lotho is a relative of Frodo and becomes the Chief of the Shire in the period of the four hobbits’ absence. His greed makes it easy for Saruman to use him as his puppet, ordering… read analysis of The Chief/Lotho Sackville-Baggins


Ioreth is the oldest Healer in the Houses of Healing at Minas Tirith. Her talkative nature gets on both Aragorn and Gandalf’s nerves, though her recollection of the phrase that “The hands of the… read analysis of Ioreth


Bergil is the ten-year-old son of Beregond and a friend to Pippin. On Pippin’s first day in Minas Tirith, he shows him around the city. When the wagons transport the women and children from… read analysis of Bergil


Butterbur is the owner of the Prancing Pony, the inn in the village of Bree at which Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Gandalf rest on their journey back to the Shire… read analysis of Butterbur


Elrohir is one of Elrond’s two sons and, along with the Dúnedain Rangers and his brother, Elladan, he rides to battle for Aragorn. He is an Elf of authority, proven by his inclusion… read analysis of Elrohir

Rosie Cotton

Rosie Cotton is Farmer Cotton’s daughter and the hobbit Sam thinks of often when he looks forward to returning home. As the sister of Sam’s childhood friends, she’s known Sam a long time—long enough… read analysis of Rosie Cotton

Farmer Cotton

Farmer Cotton is a prominent hobbit and Rosie Cotton’s father. Sam visits his farm to ask for help in the hobbits’ battle against the ruffians, and Farmer Cotton proves vital to the hobbits’ fight… read analysis of Farmer Cotton


Shadowfax is the horse Théoden gives to Gandalf after the Rohirrim are unable to tame him. His speed is unmatched by any other horse, and he is treated with great respect by Gandalf, who ensures… read analysis of Shadowfax


Shagrat is an orc who retrieved Frodo from Shelob’s lair. His stubborn obedience to the order not to harm Frodo causes conflict with Gorbag, the leader of a challenging orc faction, and their… read analysis of Shagrat


Snaga is an orc at Cirith Ungol under Shagrat’s command. After disobeying Shagrat, he hides and makes his way up to the top of the tower where he begins to threaten Frodo with torture… read analysis of Snaga


Tree-beard is the oldest of the Ents, tree-like beings whose purpose is to protect the forest. After the Ents’ victory over Saruman in Isengard, Tree-beard watches over Orthanc, ensuring it is no longer used to… read analysis of Tree-beard

The Mayor of Hobbiton

The Mayor’s loyalty to Hobbiton was the driving force in his decision to visit Bag End and share the hobbits’ grievances with the Chief, which led to his imprisonment. He has been in prison… read analysis of The Mayor of Hobbiton

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

Lobelia is Lotho’s mother, who for a while is the Chief of the Shire. Lobelia finds herself imprisoned by Lotho, but her love for him is still apparent upon her release from prison. When… read analysis of Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

Robin Smallburrow

Robin Smallburrow is one of the hobbit guards who attempts to escort Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin to the Chief’s residence for punishment. Sam recognizes him and takes him aside, scolding… read analysis of Robin Smallburrow


Bill is the pony that Sam bought from the corrupt Bill Ferny when the four hobbits’ ponies were stolen. Bill’s service to the hobbits was so valued that when Sam learns Bill returned to Bree… read analysis of Bill


Hirgon is a messenger sent from Gondor to ask Théoden for Rohan’s assistance in the battle at Minas Tirith. He carries a red arrow, which marks him out as an official messenger of war. The… read analysis of Hirgon
Minor Characters
Arwen is Elrond’s daughter and eventually marries Aragorn. Though an Elf, she sacrifices her immortality to be with Aragorn, who is mortal. Arwen’s beauty is admired by all who see her.
Isildur is one of Aragorn’s ancestors and a former bearer of the Ring after taking it from Sauron. His failure to destroy the Ring led to his demise and eventually to Sauron’s return to power.
Elladan is one of Elrond’s two sons, and rides to battle for Aragorn alongside the Dúnedain Rangers and his brother, Elrohir. His authority is made evident by his inclusion in the group called together by Aragorn to strategize about the march on the Black Gate.
Gorbag is an orc who challenges Shagrat’s command at Cirith Ungol and attempts to take Frodo’s mithril-mail shirt for himself. Shagrat kills Gorbag, but not before their fighting leads to the members of each faction slaughtering one another in the tower and its courtyard.
Wormtongue is Saruman’s servant. He appears to have followed Saruman to the Shire, where he continues to serve him. However, Saruman’s continued derision fuels Wormtongue with enough rage to slit his master’s throat, after which the hobbits kill Wormtongue.
Shelob is the huge spider who Frodo and Sam encountered on their journey to Mordor. Her venom paralyzed Frodo, leaving him to be found by the patrols of both Shagrat and Gorbag.
Celeborn is Galadriel’s husband and Elrond and Gandalf’s friend. He remains in Lothlórien when Galadriel leaves Middle-earth.
Elanor is Sam and Rosie’s first child. When Sam returns to Bag End after seeing Frodo off at the Grey Havens, Rosie puts Elanor on his knee, suggesting that she’s a source of comfort and happiness for him.
Hob is one of the hobbits guarding the gate to the Shire at the Brandywine Bridge. The hobbits recognize him and persuade him to flout the Chief’s rules by allowing them to stay in the guardhouse overnight.
Forlong is the Lord of Lossarnach and one of the first captains to arrive at Minas Tirith to aid in the battle against Mordor. His arrival buoys the people of the city, though their joy is dampened by the fact that he brings significantly fewer troops than expected.