The Most Underappreciated Characters

by Luthiena with responses

So, I've had this discussion with other people, and figured, eh, why not post it here?
Just share who you think are the most un/under-appreciated characters in the books and/or the movies.

So. For me, first of all is Boromir. Not so much the book, but the movie. I loveloveLOVE the movies, but, I do admit, a lot of stuff in them is totally messed with (as we all know...) and then people watch the movies and don't read the book.
I hear a lot of people always saying this about Boromir:
"Oh, God, I HATED him. I mean, like, he TOTALLY tried to kill Frodo... ya know what I mean?

Maybe it's because I've always been a Boromir fan; I don't know. To me, he's just never really seemed to get the credit he deserves.

My second is Haldir. He is a minor character, but, yeesh, he's cool, and a lot of people just can't seem to realize that.

Response by Erech the Undead:


If he hadn't flamed-out when he did, he would've held up Aragorn's ascencion to the throne. He helped cut through the Gondorian red tape, and prevented the need for another epilogue-type scene.


Who gives the misanthropic, gruesome, schizo frog boy any real credit? Nobody. His contributions as tour guide though he11, and jewelry exchange agent in Mt. Doom, are vital to the plot and the redemption theme...

Response by Evermind:

DENETHOR!!!!!!! No one ever loves Denethor! *Huggles!*

Also, as you say, Boromir. And Eomer (He's not SUPPOSED to look like an aardvark, you know). And Galadriel (Stupid scary mirror thing just not cool). And Eowyn (why were NONE of her good lines left in the movie?!). Also Bill the pony. The guy just gets no respect!

Response by MerryK:

I love Denethor!

If we are going for underappreciated meaning underloved...I'd definitely say Celeborn, Elrond, Boromir and Denethor.

Celeborn, because he can apologize quickly, gives good advice, and is man enough to marry a woman with much more power than him and not be bitter about it or henpecked.

Elrond, because though he kept Aragorn from marrying Arwen for all that time, it was in their best interests, and he kept a haven for all races (something Galadriel really never accomplished).

Boromir, because his only crime was being slightly ignorant of the Ring's true nature and overzealous for his country.

And Denethor, because if he had died moments before giving the order to burn Faramir and himself, he would have been remembered as a good Steward who kept Gondor safe until the King could return.

But if we are going for underappreciated meaning that their roles are undervalued, I'd say Faramir, Eomer, Beregond, and the Grey Company (Elladan, Elrohir, and the Rangers).

Faramir is usually tossed to the side as the softer son, or a nice but expendable character, and even his fans usually don't think him terribly important (PJ is a good example of this attitude towards Faramir). But, Faramir has an imporant part in LOTR: he saved Frodo and Sam's lives (from Haradrim, and, by giving them supplies, from starvation), he removed all obstructions to Aragorn's ascension to the throne, and he saved the life of Eowyn.

Eomer is usually tossed to the side as Theoden's heir who gives Aragorn horses (PJ is a good example of this attitude). But, Eomer is important to LOTR: he saves Merry and Pippin's lives at the risk of his own, is the strong support of Theoden, and is a loyal and valuable ally to Aragorn from ROTK to far into the Fourth Age.

Beregond is often forgotten, but were it not for him, Faramir would have been slain.

And were it not for Elrond's sons and the Dunedain coming, Pelennor Fields would have been lost: 30 guys is not much, but they advised Aragorn to go on the Paths of the Dead, which allowed him to bring thousands of Gondorians to the battle.

Response by Avondster:

As soon as everyone who knows me here sees me coming, they know what I'll say to this:


To start, he was horribly slighted in the film, especially in ROTK. Peter Jackson saying he did it because he liked Pippin better is no excuse at all. Merry is a hero, but in the film he is barely more than the "interchangeable backup hobbit" and, if he's lucky, Éowyn's little helper.

His two most defining moments in the book, 'A Conspiracy Unmasked' and 'The Scouring of the Shire', which mark the beginning and the finale of his journey as a character, are both cruelly abandoned by Jackson. In the book, Merry starts out as leader of the four Hobbits, and it's not until the more knowledgeable Strider shows up that he loses that role. He assumes it again when they return to the Shire, as he declares that they should rouse their people, after which he leads them into victory as Captain.
In the film, he really is the 'ragtag dangling at their tail' as Saruman says of him, and the one great moment of his character that DID make it into the film, the slaying of the Witch-King, lasts (I've counted) a grand total of 7.3 seconds, and mostly makes it look as though Éowyn could've managed fine on her own.

Even Dom Monaghan (and don't get me wrong, he is delightful, and no one could have played Merry better) admits it: when he goes to auditions and says he played Merry in LOTR, the casting directors won't know who he is: "One of the little guys in the tree, right? So, are you the funny/Scottish/clever one, or the other one?"

That's what my hero Merry has become. The 'other one'.

And even the fans show no great affection for him. Of the Hobbits, almost everyone loves Frodo best, for his bravery, or Samwise for his loyalty, or Pippin for his innocence. No one even thinks of Merry when asked who is their favourite. The film contributed to that, simply because Merry doesn't do anything noteworthy throughout the films.

So I vote Merry for this one, definitely. And I tell you that he is important. He is a vital part of the story and in no way interchangeable or unneccesary. I'll even go so far as to say that, aside from Frodo and Sam, it would be Merry's pure and loving heart that would endure the evil of the Ring the longest.

Vote Brandybuck!

*steps off soapbox*

Reply by Luthiena:

I actually don't like Frodo. People always seem so shocked, but I'm like, "Meh."

I think Merry kicks butt, though. And, yup, underappreciated. But, he's nowhere near my love for Boromir; sorry.

Reponse by Gandalf the White:

I'm going to say Ghân-buri-Ghân!
Because he lead the Rohan warriors to the battle, without his help, Minas Tirith would have been no more...

Response by Doctor Gamgee:

I always felt that within the book, Sam was rather underappreciated through most of it (until he came back to Hobbiton, where he got decent respect from the hobbit folk). He is far smarter than folks give him credit for -- it was Sam who remembered the Lay of Gil-Galad, and was handy enough to remember to ask for Rope. And, don't forget, that he was the only character to use the Ring with knowledge of what it was (so Bilbo, who didn't know what it was when he had it doesn't count) whom we see what was offered to him (the world his garden) and who rejected it with his "Plain hobbit sense." Folks give him credit for his staying with Frodo, but he was rather incredible on his own.

Responses to the above:

Not only is Sam under-appreciated, actor Sean Astin deserved a best supporting nomination for RotK. He was that good (as I'm sure most here would agree).. - Erech the Undead

He was flipping wonderful as Sam. - Luthiena

I'm not a big Sean Astin fan, but I have to agree, he deserved that Supporting actor Oscar for ROTK. - Strange Elf

Response by Icarus:

Circle gets the square!

Anyway, I would have to agree that movie Merry or theatrical release Faramir are the ones who really get the shaft.

I don't think that either Denethor or (movie) Boromir are underappreciated. Denethor is generally reviled for the way he ends up, as he should be (see the separate thread on that dicussio if you wish). I guess you could argue that his earlier career is underappreciated, but that's kind of making assumptions. I do believe that PJ made a caricature of Denethor, as he did of many characters, but that often has to happen in a movie made from a book. Boromir gains a huge amount of nobility and understanding from the movie version (especially the extended edition). I know I pretty much just saw him as 'the guy who tried to take the ring from Frodo' when I read the books.

So, I'd have to go with Movie Merry and book Boromir are the most under-appreciated of the 1st and 2nd class characters. Though I'd definitely have to put in a huge shout out to the token Dwarf, Gimli. I really don't like the way PJ portrayed him, especially in ROTK. I also like Erech's dark horse candidate... Gollum - for the reasons he mentioned.

Good topic!

Response by Holdwine of Rohan:

People come on where is only one ture race one clan one body & that is:

Beer drinking
pipe smoking
short distance runners
with long breads
Up for a fight anywhere any time
Axe swinging drawf called

Gilmi son of Gloin

Response by Doctor Gamgee:

MerryK, regarding Boromir:

Really? I never felt that Boromir was ignorant as to the Ring's true nature -- that was spelled out pretty clearly in the council of Elrond. I always thought that Boromir's fault was not ignorance, but rather pride (as did his brother, Faramir in the book). He was a great man and a great warrior, and his family had been ruling (though not as Kings, he bitterly points out) with justice against the face of Mordor for years on end and no King in sight.

He saw a weapon which lesser men were afraid to use and he thought himself capable enough to handle it wisely. This was the chink in his armor which the Ring exploited -- casting away that which would destroy the Dark Lord and elevate him to the status of True King. Afterall, would you deny kingship to the man who had rid middle earth of Sauron? Of course not! You would claim him as the hero of the ages and a king and legend would be born. He had been told the danger of the Ring, but he dismissed that instantly, as he had always been master and commander and feared no small circle of metal. And it was this train of thought that led our honorable warrior to do something dishonorable (though I'm sure he thought it was for the greater good--'ends justifies the means' sort of thing); he tried to take the Ring by force.

It was only after the Ring left him that he realized his error, and I fully commend his actions afterward -- trying with all his life to save Merry and Pippin from the Orcs.

He was valliant and brave once again, and he paid a horrible price (which I believe was partly his trying to atone for his actions against Frodo -- as if saving Frodo's kin would expiate his sin). But Merry and Pippin knew what he did and appreciated him; Aragorn gave him a pardon for his actions and gave him comfort; Legolas and Gimli assisted in his funeral moment by keeping; Gandalf agrees with my assesment of his redemptive actions by stating, "It was not in vain that the young hobbits came with us, if only for Boromir's sake."; and Faramir and Denethor and the rest of Minas Tirith were sad to hear he had passed away, as they knew that he was a great force in battle. I somehow can't imagine that with all of this going for him, that he was underappreciated within the book.

But he is a great character, flawed though he might be, so perhaps the public at large underestimates him.


Reponse by MerryK:

Yes, I do think he was ignorant, but I think it was his own fault. In a time where magic items were only things of the past, simply believing that the One Ring was there must have been a bit of a struggle for pragmatic Boromir. Believing that it had all this power—and yet couldn't be used? That's not an easy task; I'm not sure that if I had been in his place, having seen nothing of what the Ring could do, I would have been any less skeptical. But though he was told many times of what it did to people, that it could not be used for good, Boromir never stopped believing that everyone was overexaggerating. It is clear in his speech to Frodo that he thinks Gandalf and Elrond were just cowards. He simply doesn't understand what the Ring can do. Yes, it is rooted in his great pride, but the ignorance is there.

Response by Tari:

I totally agree that all the characters listed thus far were underappreciated. Even though I am partial to the Elves, I have a hard time when someone comes down on Boromir or Denethor. I can’t help wondering how we would have reacted if we were in the same situation. I missed poor Glorfindel, but can handle Arwen taking his place.

As for Sean Astin; he definitely deserved an Oscar. I don’t think the movie makers really appreciate the talent in those movies. They just aren’t giving them parts in movies and that is sad.