Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friendship in LOTR

In an earlier post, the friendship between Sam and Frodo was discussed, but Tolkien also chooses to allow a specific bond of friendship to develop between Legolas and Gimli. Why between these two characters? Why not Legolas and Merry? Or Gimli and Sam? Or Aragorn and Legolas? Or Merry and Aragorn? What moral, ethical or even simply thematic point is Tolkien trying to make with this friendship?

Friendship itself as well as the loyalty between friends is also a key theme throughout LOTR. Apart from the bond between Legolas and Gimli, what other ways does Tolkien emphasize the importance of friendship in his works?

1 comment:

Belladonna Took said...

Because of Dwarves and Elves opposing tastes (caves versus trees), the friendship between Gimli and Legolas is more inspirational, admirable, and allows for a greater transformation than most other friendships. Because two races that generally hate each other become friends, I think it really emphasizes the unity of people. Tolkien shows that in tough times, even the most unlikely people can become friends. The importance of friendships appears constantly: the fellowship in general, Aragorn and Eomer, Treebeard and Merry + Pippin, as examples. I think it is also important to note friendship (or lack of) between bad guys. Saruman and Sauron are not really friends, they are just somewhat in allegiance. Ungoliant helps Morgoth destroy the Trees of Valinor, but she turns on him in the end. Saruman treats Wormtounge as a servant, not a friend, despite his loyalty (for the most part). The good guys with true friendships are successful overall, while the bad guys, with shaky alliances and fake friendships, fail. This general statement really speaks to how important Tolkien thinks true friendships are: the difference between success and failure.