The Most

by Neesae with responses.  The companion thread, The Least, is here.

What character do you think learned the most about themselves after making their journey through Middle-Earth?

Just curious...


It would have to be one of the hobbits, as they are the ones who made the complete journey, there and back again. And from them all I'd go for Sam. Frodo, Merry and Pippin already came from the important families of the Shire and were probably expecting to do their bit of travelling and learning at some point. But Sam was destined to spend his life among flowers and ropes. And then, adventure came and even when he already knew that he was being part of something big like the Fellowship, he could never have imagined that he would have to pass the ultimate test of anybody's quality: deal with the power of the Ring. A long way from the Gaffer's garden. And that wasn't all. Then you trek back home to find Sharkey and his lot poisoning the places you love, a crime he felt more deeply than the others and that he did more than anyone to put right.

And he only wanted to 'see the elves'...


I would say Frodo, personally, for as Rogorn says, he expected, or at least longed for a journey such as Bilbo's in his youth. But he did not expect such a dramatic and heavy burden as the quest for the destruction of the Ring (an the destruction of Evil). During the first part of the quest, he believes that his role will end at Rivendell, and wishes it to be so. Frodo is an adventurer before the journey, and becomes a "hero" through it. But more generally, all those who were confronted to the attraction of the Ring and resisted are heroes and were submitted to irreversible changes in the deep of their being. So, maybe, it is not really the journey through Middle Earth which makes the characters learn more about themselves, or at least not only; it is the constant struggle against themselves and despair through the dark times they live, wheither they are part of the Fellowship, as Frodo, Sam... or not (as Galadriel, who most reveals her inner struggle and what it implies).
It is quite significant, I think, that all the ring-bearers eventually leave Middle Earth, as though they did not fit their world anymore; or the world did not fit them...


I have always believed that Gimli was most changed. The love for the Lady Galadriel and his friendship with Legolas changed him forever. He willingly tramped the forests with an elf and eventually went to Valinor - not so much to heal as the three hobbits did, but because Legolas wouldn't be separated from him.

Like in the Wizard of Oz when the companions found out they were seeking what was already within them, the hobbits merely strengthened and acknowledged what already existed. To a certain extent what Gimli learned was also a discovery of what was within him, but it was such a great departure from his expected life's course (with or without the ring quest) that I feel he deserves this distinction.


Perhaps we, the readers?

Don't we all feel as though we are on the Quest with The Nine?

Lady of Light:

I think they all did in there own way. But I think Sam did the most.


I agree with Elfriend- that Gimli learned most about himself. Here is a character indignantly entrenched in his own beliefs about the world, the races that inhabited it and their places in that world. He never would have imagined himself enamoured by an Elf Queen, fast friends with an Elf Prince, or planning 'vacations' to the forest with said elf friend.

I really like the comparison w/ The Wizard of Oz~ he had it in him all the time, yet never knew it.

Mrs. Pippin:

What about Arwen? She changed from immortal to mortal and that was very hard for her, because she would be parted from her father.
I also think Gimli and all the hobbits. Especially Pippin who grew up to a very brave and wise young man and Frodo, he might have changed the most. It was a journey which has made him change forever. The wound of carrying the ring was so deep, he had to leave ME forever.


Vison wrote:
Perhaps we, the readers?  Don't we all feel as though we are on the Quest with The Nine?

Ooo... good answer!  I would have to agree largely with that (I mean look at where I am today!)

But to a more traditional answer (but still with a twist), I think Eowyn. She started out longing for the death of a warrior (er... life? ;-)) and dreaming for the ultimate warrior-king. Yet though she made the biggest kill of the story (short of Frodo, of course), she ended up coming through it and finding the healer in herself and the love of a poet-warrior.

I definitely don't disagree with anyone's assessment... a solid argument could be made for pretty much any of the characters (even Lurtz... started off the story as an egg and ended it dead ) and I initially thought Sam and then was quite swayed by the Gimli argument.

Oh wait... I've got it! Sam unequivocally changed the most out of any of the characters in the course of the adventure. And I can prove it (almost) inarguably... (drum roll, please)... Sam is the only character as an integral part of the story to get married AND have a child. And fatherhood is most definitely the biggest change a man (or Hobbit, or Elf, or Dwarf can ever go through.

Bonnie Half-Elven:

Yes, the whole fellowship changed, but the Gimli argument swayed me, too.

And regarding having children -
Considering the members of the Fellowship to be the integral characters in the story, you are incorrect.


Sorry... I meant their marriage and children were an integral part, not the characters themselves. Yes, most of the main characters married and had children (either stated or easily assumed), but none of that happened before the breaking of the Fellowship at the Grey Havens (at least I don't think it did)... and I'm not talking about marriages, since obviously Aragorn and Arwen were married, but the children.


I would have to agree with Lady of Light and say Sam. From simple gardener, young of age and innocence to warrior, brothers keeper (in a sense) and finally to be a great Hobbit of political stature, to husband and father as time went on. He could barely get the nerve to ask Rosie to dance before the quest. Every aspect of his character was tested and evolved during the journey. Now this happened pretty much everyone but Sam, I think, changed the most from start to finish.
Frodo soon realized what his part would be.
Gandalf knew from the start what was to play out.
Boromir cut short so wasn't able to grow much.
Aragorn always knew what his destiny was.
Merry and Pippen were changed greatly but stayed within their characters a lot, although a little taller.
Legolas always the cool Elf, not a lot of change.
And Gimili while effected by Galadrial stayed a rock hound to the end.