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Character Archetypes in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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In the Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings there are many character archetypes. The director, Peter Jackson utilizes a variety of archetypes to demonstrate the theme of the movies which is “even the smallest people can have a massive impact”.

The movie starts off in the shire, a peaceful place in middle earth inhabited by hobbits, who are basically just small humans. One of these hobbits is Frodo Baggins who lives with his uncle Bilbo Baggins. Frodo Baggins, very literally a small person is the unlikely hero. Frodo is an unlikely hero because of the nature of hobbits, being peaceful sedentary people. Hobbits in the Shire are the most peaceful people on Middle earth. Usually, the hero starts out in the normal world, and there couldn’t be anywhere more “normal” than the shire. An unlikely hero is someone who “is typically portrayed as an everyman forced into surreal situations”. Frodo is an everyman, a normal hobbit living a normal life, but he is suddenly thrust into an adventure.

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Samwise Gamji is the archetype “the companion” to Frodo. Samwise is always standing by him and helping him which supports Frodo in his courageous endeavors. From the start of the adventure, Samwise stays with Frodo, and even when Merry and Pippin are forced to return to the Shire, Sam stays with Frodo. In the next movie, when split from everyone, two hobbits alone in the world, it’s Sam and Frodo. At the end of the movie, when Frodo is departing alone, Samwise says to him from the shore “ I am coming Frodo!” and begins running into the water. Samwise, not being able to swim, begins sinking, and the final scene of the movie is Frodo pulling Samwise into the boat.

Gandalf the grey is the “mentor” in the Lord of the Rings. The mentor is described as a voice of guidance, and throughout the movie, Gandalf helps guide Frodo. The beginning of Frodo’s journey is caused by Gandalf, who knows the situation is dire. He also believes that small people can do great things: ‘Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found. I found it is the small things. Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.’

Aragorn is the “protector.” Throughout the movie, Aragorn is able to save Frodo and the hobbits from danger. When the hobbits are alone at the weather top and surrounded by Nazgul, Aragorn is able to save them and Frodo by scaring off the Nazgul. Aragorn near the end of the movie, when splitting up with Frodo tells him “I would have gone with you to the end, into the very fires of Mordor.”

Throughout the movie the main “opponent” is Sauron. Though Sauron is not in a physical form, other than the eye and the ring, the people and orcs that he controls are the enemies of Frodo, the hero. The mines of moria were run over by orcs, agents of Sauron, and the mines of Moria were probably the greatest task of the movie, requiring Gandalf to sacrifice himself. Frodo and his companions are able to escape and triumph.

In conclusion, in the first Lord of the Rings, archetypal characters are used to surround and support the unlikely hero, Frodo. Without these archetypal supportive characters, Frodo could not accomplish what he had. Frodo himself is an unlikely hero, being a hobbit, Samwise is his companion who stays with him through thick and thin, Aragorn is his protector, saving him from the Nazgul, Gandalf is his mentor, believing in Frodo, and finally, Sauron and his agents are the darkness, the evil.

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