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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien character MBTI types

Tol Eressea

Aug 11, 7:35pm

Post #1 of 4 (285 views)
Tolkien character MBTI types Can't Post

I have seen these swirling around the internet, but I am confident most of them rely on the movie characterizations to determine which Myers-Briggs personality types each of the main characters in LOTR and TH (and for kicks and giggles, the Sil) happen to be.

So I'm curious- what personality type do you think Tolkien's characters happen to have? And do you happen to share personality types with any of them?

I personally waver between INFP and INFJ (depending on circumstance, as I'm 43% J and 57% P). I would say INFP the majority of the time, though as I said, there is a good bit of crossover there.


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Happy reading everyone!


Aug 12, 1:20pm

Post #2 of 4 (244 views)
How about Gandalf and Saruman -- a contrasting pair [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I remember how to do this...

First, do these characters spend time with other people for preference (Extravert) or is that unnecessary (Introvert)Gandalf is always off to see someone else, and at times the alliances he's built turn out to be essential. But I think he just likes other people, making him an Extravert. Saruman does go see people, but Treebeard later remembers their conversations as Saruman pumping him for knowledge. So I think Saruman only did it to get something, and I'll say he's more Introvert. That works for me - I can see him preferring to be alone in his tower, furthering his store of arcane knowledge.
  • So Gandalf:E
  • Saruman: I

Second, how do they gather data - Sensors (S) are empirical and practical, while Intuitives (N) like to make connections and wonder what it all means.
I'm not sure about this - would someone else like a go? Maybe they're both N?

  • So Gandalf:E(N?)
  • Saruman: I(N?)

Third - how are decisions reached? Is it all about logic (T for Thinker), or must we consider Feelings (F for Feeler)That seems easy - Gandalf is full of empathy and pity (F) . Saruman seems selfish and calculating (negative side of T)
  • So Gandalf:E(N?)F
  • Saruman: I(N?)T

Lastly, is their life characterized by structure and order (J for Judger), or are they spontaneous and adaptive (P for Perciever)I see Saruman as pretty rigid. The gist of his speech to Gandalf is that there must be order - ruled by him so that it's done correctly. But Saruman's decision to send the Uruks out to snatch the Ring creates a fluid and unstable situation with which Saruman seems very uncomfortable. I'm less sure about Gandalf. He certainly seems to rely a lot on things turning up and understanding 'his heart' - would that make him a P?

Put it together and what have we got? Well instead of 'bippity-boppity-bo', my best guess is the following (with the stronger aspects underlined):
  • Gandalf: ENFP - it turns out that Middle-earth needed to be marshaled by someone E enough to know everyone, F enough to care about them and P enough to put up with everyone else not doing what they are told. I suspect that Gandalf's characteristic gruffness might be how he's learned to protect himself from all his F (and also a high-F's ability to feel taken for granted). But he must have enough J to have his strong sense of duty (which would make some of the other characters pretty exasperating from time to time, especially if they are rude, cruel, lazy or ungrateful)
  • Saruman: INTJ - someone who is very highly I, T and J, which turns out badly for him because he's been too inclined to view others as means to an end, or as idiots who don't understand what's best for them. On the other hand, just about everything he does works out helping the cause he thinks he's abandoned, since it so obviously required improvement. So maybe he was the right personality, after all.

"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016 https://the-toast.net/...-a-jrr-tolkien-book/


Aug 12, 1:27pm

Post #3 of 4 (243 views)
I'm the personality type that lets others do all the work [In reply to] Can't Post

and I show up to correct them. That type is JERK. Wink

Thanks for doing all the work, Wiz! I would just vote on #2, where there is doubt, that Saruman is S and Gandalf is N. Saruman just intuitively doesn't get anything, so I think he's all S. (Well, "S" is for Saruman, so is there also a White Hand category in Myers-Briggs?). Gandalf is both S and N, but I lean toward N for him.


Aug 12, 2:11pm

Post #4 of 4 (238 views)
I should have know it was a trap! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I should have know it was a trap, but my high-F side couldn't help but help. Smile
Hmmm - OK, I think you might be right about Sauruman's S-side. Had Saruman had more 'N', do you think he might have seen the risks of secretly using the palantir?

"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016 https://the-toast.net/...-a-jrr-tolkien-book/


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