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I found it interesting that our discussion in class lead Lord of the Rings (the films) to be a prime example of the hero’s journey. Frodo is called to duty by Gandalf, he crosses a threshold into the unknown, he comes to the brink of death after the ring is destroyed and comes home “a man” with new knowledge of the world. The ring itself can even be called Frodo’s temptress and a most powerful one at that.

 When the question of whether or not supporting characters could experience the hero’s journey, I realized that all the supporting characters seem to go through this journey. Sam takes the exact same path as Frodo, and while “the temptress” (the ring) is not with him for long, we can see it briefly distracts him. Sam, like Frodo, also returns home a man and finally has the courage to propose to Rosie.

 Gandalf is also called to duty by the appearance of the ring and is crossing into the unknown just be dealing with it. His fall into the abyss and transformation is probably the most epic of all the characters as he is reborn as wiser, more powerful being.

 Aragorn, after his fall from the cliff, learns of his true calling and begins to accept his title as a ruler.

 Lastly, the topic of a woman being the hero came into discussion and whether or not her journey is the same as the man’s. I think the character Eowyn is an interesting character to bring up. She initiates her own quest when she insist on fighting for her people. She crosses the threshold when she enters battle with her companion Sam and reaches the Abyss when fights the witch-king. Because Eowyn is a female, her temptress is male and I think that could be the role that Aragorn takes because he tries to prevent her from battle and therefore her quest. He wants her to stay with the women and children. When Eown defeats the witch-king, she accepts that she is in fact a woman but can be just as powerful as a man. She gains genuine self-confidence.  

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3 thoughts on “Lord of the Rings and the Hero’s journey

  1. This really is an interesting idea. I to think that the hero cycle can been applied to all the supporting characters in the LOTR, even Merry and Pippin for example, and can also be seen in the Hobbit. The characters all go through different versions of the cycle, and while most return home in the end, some, like Boromir, die before. I like how you were able to apply the heroes journey to Eowyn, as we mentioned in class that this cycle is meant for male heroes. I agree however that Eowyn does follow the cycle.
    While I wonder what made J.R.R. Tolkien base his story so strongly around this hero cycle, I must say it does make for a very good story!

  2. I think that Tolkiens good friend C.S. Lewis also follows the hero’s journey as well in the Chronicles of Narnia. They were even published roughly around the same time maybe they had a discussion about a hero’s journey and both decided to write about it.

  3. As I was reading the examples from above I thought right away of Marry and Pippin as good examples as well. They were brought up in the later ladder part of the movie where they can be applied as heroes. It wasn’t until they were separated from each other that they can finally start to mature in taking a role like their friends had. Although I wouldn’t classify them as main heroes, they left a significant mark in the comparison.

    Pippin was not so much called to duty, but volunteered his services to Gondor to continue the path of the King’s first born son who died by his path. When the attack was upon him and he had to fight, his nerves got the best of him for only a brief moment, and I would say by the expression on his face he reached his brink when he gets his first taste of a kill, as he pierces the body of an Ork that would have surely killed Gandalf. The visual look that he gives Pippin after is a satisfying glare that he was thankful, but proud. Pippin obviously looked up to Gandalf as a hero to his own.

    Marry on the other hand, disobeyed his orders to stay behind while the riders of Rohan venture to help defend Gondor. Sometimes, a hero can not do as he is told. Again, without Pippin there he takes on an individual motivation to fight in battle such as his friends. Showing little nerve, his brink seemed to occur when his fellow friend Eowyn is about to be killed by one of the most feared creatures of the story, and Marry approaches and stabs the creature to save her, knowing he could not kill her being a man. This was a sacrifice, and an important one at that which bought her enough time to kill it, because she was a women.

    So I see a connection to Lord of the Rings and a heroes story, and to further the finding, with some characters, there is a connection between a hero, and ‘coming of age.’ And Marry and Pippin are two top prospects I find due to their reliance on one another throughout the entire series.

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