The LOTR Movie Site
September 17, 2000

Heroism: In Response to 9-7 and 9-8 Articles
Michael B.

Yes, I am willing to concede that I was wrong in saying that all those people were heroes just because they were necessary in destroying the ring and I am willing to revise my definition of heroism. However, I still respectfully disagree with your definitions of heroism. You say that they (excluding Gollum)/Sam/Frodo are heroes because of how much they sacrificed to accomplish their objectives and how brave they were. In my opinion, however, how much or little they sacrifice and how brave they are has nothing to do with how heroic they are. The reason why they are heroes is that through their conscious efforts, they eventually destroyed evil and brought about good. Let's look at some real world examples. Many people, especially kids view famous sports figures and cartoon superheroes as heroes because through their conscious efforts, they bring about the defeat of the enemy/opposition. However, they are NOT brave nor do they usually sacrifice much because they are almost always stronger, faster, and smarter than their opposition. Now let's look at another example. The people who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars were very brave and sacrificed a lot but are not generally considered heroes because their efforts, as much as they were, did not bring about the success of their country's objectives. The people who fought in WWII, however, are examples of both heroes and people who were brave and sacrificed a lot. They were heroes because they were successful and brave because of what they did. If they had failed in spite of their efforts, they would not be considered heroes nowadays. Most of the characters of TLOTR listed in the poll are comparable to this -- they were both heroes because of their success and they were brave and they sacrificed a lot to accomplish this. Now going to the original question. If I were rating the characters in terms of bravery, Sam would definitely be the bravest. If I were rating the characters in terms of how much they sacrificed, I think that Frodo would win. However, since I am rating them in terms of how much of a hero they are, all of them except for Gollum and Bilbo, who aren't heroes are equal since through all of their conscious efforts, the ring was destroyed and good prevailed over evil. I will agree that Gollum and Bilbo never made any conscious efforts to destroy the ring and therefore should not be considered heroes (although Bilbo "gave up" the ring, he had no idea that doing so would lead to it's destruction). Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Aragorn, and Boromir are the best kinds of heroes - not only did they accomplish their goals but they also were very brave and sacrificed a lot since. They only reason they won in the end is because of luck, not because they were stronger or smarter than Sauron and therefore are much more than just heroes.