Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
What if the roles of the four hobbits were reversed? Please read


Sep 16 2013, 3:30am

Post #1 of 6 (339 views)
What if the roles of the four hobbits were reversed? Please read Can't Post

I wanted to bring this thought provoking subject up with you guys. Imagine if the roles of the hobbits were reversed. What if it was Merry and Pippin who were entrusted with the task of taking the ring to Mount Doom? What if Frodo and Sam were the troublemaking mischievous ones? Personally I don't think there would have been much of a difference. Merry and Pippin never interact with Gollum/Smeagol in the book (or books if you count the three volumes separate instead of one written novel) and Peter Jackson's movies, so I've always been curious as to how they would have acted around him. My guess is that Merry would have behaved like Sam did, not trusting him and being cautious of him. Pippin, being the most immature and youngest hobbit would have been pulled in easily by Gollum's deceitfulness but I think that Merry could pull him out just like Sam did for Frodo. I also think that their friendship would have been tested and strengthened like the friendship between Frodo and Sam.

Now, let's think of Frodo and Sam playing in the parts of Merry and Pippin. What do you think they would do or how would they behave? Another guess I have is that Sam might be more confident (less shy) around Rosie, they would probably have had a scene similar to Merry and Pippin's smoking and bacon scene that appeared in Rotk someplace else. It'd be interesting to see them act more playful.


Tol Eressea

Sep 16 2013, 3:20pm

Post #2 of 6 (204 views)
Well........... [In reply to] Can't Post

Counterfactual exercises are always fun, but we seem to be hampered here. We are creating an alternate scenario, and using the primary series of events to deduce alternate conclusions. That is a bit like defining a word with a one word synonym, there is no depth to the answer. We can't have our cake and eat it too. If put in the same conditions, without any additional forces at work, we would make the same mistakes. Now that doesn't mean that we cannot deduce anything, but it does mean that without any (much?)objective evidence, separate from the time we are reconstructing, it is very hard.

Secondly, they ARE fictional characters. They did stuff to further the plot of the author! They HAD to make the heroic choices, or we would have an ending like this:

" Frodo cowered beneath the dark robes figure. Fear gripped him in a deadly embrace. A mailed hand stretch forth from the darkness, groping for something precious. He could not move, paralysed by fear, and the Ring passed into the hands of its Master. The cowardice of a hobbit has doomed us all."

So, too late for me NOT to be a wet blanket, but here are something's that we need to keep in mind while we weave our stories webs.

Hate me if you like! LOL!'


Sep 16 2013, 3:39pm

Post #3 of 6 (197 views)
Leave their personalities alone [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I wanted to bring this thought provoking subject up with you guys. Imagine if the roles of the hobbits were reversed. What if it was Merry and Pippin who were entrusted with the task of taking the ring to Mount Doom? What if Frodo and Sam were the troublemaking mischievous ones?

I don't think that it is a fair question if you swap out the characters' personalities along with their roles. Keep Frodo as the chief planner and Samwise as the one who worries the most. Pippin remains the youngest and most irresponsible with Merry acting as his protective, older brother.

Now, who is the Ring-bearer, Merry or Pippin? I assume Meriadoc; Gandalf would have to be truly demented to entrust the Ring to Peregrin Took. I can imagine Piippin constantly advising his cousin to put the Ring on and disappear, with Merry taking that counsel as a sign that he should do no such thing.

In this case, Frodo's presence is worrying. Having possessed the Ring for the last 17 years, it would be constantly on his mind. Sam would do his best to help him deal with it, but the temptaion to reclaim it would still be there. If Merry and Pippin left the rest of the company in the same way that Frodo and Sam did in the book, would Frodo try to follow? Or would Frodo and Sam be captured by Orcs in the service of Saruman instead? It might be better for Frodo if they were so captured; it would give him a clean break from the Ring and allow his heart to heal.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Sep 16 2013, 7:29pm

Post #4 of 6 (176 views)
Hmmmm.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Frodo was pretty much an ineffectual fighter, eventually becoming a pacifist, so one has a hard time imagining him swearing fealty to Theoden, much less riding in secret with the Rohirrim, and definitely not picking up a sword and attacking the Witch King. (And would Sting have been up to "breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will" anyway?) So Eowyn dies, the Witch King survives, the Pelannor is a disaster, and WiKi goes straight for the reinforcements arriving at the Harlond and kills the guy in charge (i.e., Aragorn), so no High King.

Sam loves gardens, so he’d have definitely gotten along fine with the Entwives. Unfortunately these are the Ents. So Sam rubs them the wrong way, they decide he’s a little orc, and so they stomp him flat. Thus relieved of their temporary outrage and violent impulses, they decide to forgo storming Isengard. So no huorns at Helm’s Deep, so the forces of Rohan spend the war chasing down Uruk-Hai survivors and besieging Orthanc so they never get to Gondor. Witch King isn’t killed by Eowyn, etc., etc. utter disaster.

As for Pippin, he keeps saying stuff like “Sam! Er, that is, Gollum! Get breakfast ready for half-past nine! Have you got the bath-water hot?” and so eventually Gollum strangles Pippin in his sleep.

Finally, Merry definitely had a head for maps and a curiosity for lore, so he might not have had to be so dependent on Gollum as a guide. And as we see from Tolkien’s drafts, Merry is the action hero side of Frodo, so we can say that a Ringbearer Merry would be a lot more feisty, definitely moreso than the pacifist Frodo became. So when push came to shove at the Oroduin, Merry might well have beaten the snot out of Gollum and so been able to hold on to the ring.... just as the Ringwraiths arrived to take possession.

Yeah, bad news all around.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


Sep 17 2013, 12:54am

Post #5 of 6 (173 views)
Movie Roles or Book Roles? [In reply to] Can't Post

One of my least favorite parts of the movie LOTR is what PJ choose to change in Merry's and Pippin's characters. There is nothing in the books that indicated they were the truants they were portrayed as in the movie. Merry as smart and the head conspirator. Pippin was light-hearted but loyal and brave. They were the eldest sons of essentially lords and were learning to be the heads of their great families.

So I don't have an answer for your question. But I do have an objection with tampering this way with lovely characters.


Sep 17 2013, 11:15pm

Post #6 of 6 (156 views)
I agree that their roles were diminished in the movies... [In reply to] Can't Post

But I do think they add much needed comedy to the movie. Merry & Pippin are still shown as smart and brave...but definitely not as much as in the book. Much of this is because they changed the timeline of Frodo leaving the shire, and the scouring of the shire is not included in the movie.

"Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?" -Samwise


Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.