Lord of the Rings

The Characters and the Stars

Celebrated author J.R.R. Tolkien published his novel The Hobbit in Britain in 1937. He spent the next 17 years working on a sequel; The Lord of the Rings was published in three parts from 1954-56. For the next five decades the trilogy attracted a devoted cult of readers and fans.In December 2001 director Peter Jackson released The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in a trilogy of films based onThe Lord of the Rings. The second and third films, The Two Towers and The Return of the King were released in December 2002 and December 2003. The final film made Academy Award history by collecting 11 Oscars (including best picture), tying it with Titanic (1997) and Ben-Hur (1959) for the most Oscars ever.Here are some of the best-known figures from Tolkien’s books, along with the actors who star in Jackson’s films.


FRODO BAGGINS is the central figure of The Lord of the Rings, a small Hobbit who must destroy the ring of power named in the book’s title. (Frodo is the adopted son of Bilbo Baggins, the hero of Tolkien’s The Hobbit.) In Jackson’s movies Frodo is played by actor ELIJAH WOOD. Bilbo is played by veteran of stage and screen IAN HOLM.


Frodo‘s friend and advisor is the wizard GANDALF. Gandalf is described in The Fellowship of the Ring as “An old man… He wore a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, and a silver scarf. He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat.” In the films he is played by venerable actor SIR IAN McKELLEN.


The enigmatic elf queen GALADRIEL rules the forest of Lothlorien and gives aid and comfort to Frodo and his companions. Galadriel is played by Australian actress CATE BLANCHETT. In 1998 Blanchett was Oscar-nominated for playing a real-life queen, Elizabeth I, in the film Elizabeth.


The tale’s most prominent elf is LEGOLAS, who joins the Fellowship of the Ring and aids Frodo and Gandalf in their quest. In Tolkien’s novel he is introduced as “a strange elf clad in green and brown, Legolas, a messenger from his father, Thranduil, the King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood.” In the films Legolas is played by actor ORLANDO BLOOM.


ARAGORN is a mysterious woodsman who befriends Frodo early in The Lord of the Rings. A warrior and regal man of action, Aragorn becomes one of the most heroic figures in the story. Actor VIGGO MORTENSEN played Aragorn in the films.


the elf lord Elrond. In Tolkien’s book Arwen’s part is quite small, and she serves mainly as Aragorn‘s distant object of desire. In Jackson’s movies, where she is played by actress LIV TYLER, Arwen is given more prominence and takes an active hand in assisting Frodo.

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