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Thread: Why heros have no moms

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A question in Grondys "Trivia: Barad-dur" about Bilbo being an only child made me think.

I remember someone at Disney (one of the artists?) talking about this, saying that Bambies mother had to die so bad things could happen to her son, because no mother would let any harm come to her childen.

It is very unkommon for Hobbits to just have one child, but with both parents dead and no brothers or sisters (or wife or children) sitting at home worrying for Bilbo and noone for Bilbo to worry about, he was free to go where ever he want. Frodo is also an orphan, and nothing bad happends to him untill Bilbo had left the Shire.

Hobbit/LOTR
Frodo and Bilbo- main heros, those who go through the worst things. No parents, no siblings.

Sam - Mom is dead, but father and siblings are alive.

Pippin and Merry - they both have moms and dads, Pip has three siblings. They are "just" soliders in in the war, compared to Aragorn and Frodo they are safe. Most soliders have family at home, Tolkien knew this.

Legolas, Gimli - no mom mentioned, they are "just soliders" like Pipp and Merry. Meaning they are in the line of fire, but they are not the target.

Aragorn - Orphan, mom dies after bringing him to safety in Rivendell. Has to lead a war and really put his life on the line, can't have mom worrying at home. Elrond is more like a guide, loving but knows what must happen and prepares him for it. No sheltering. A mom is too involved.

Boromir and Faramir- would mom let Denethor pick a favorite son and later just watch him go crazy and try to burn his son and himself alive? She would have been Dentetors link to reality, and Faramir would have had her love so he didn't have to work so hard to get his fathers love. Sorry mrs Denethor, you had to go.

Theoden- same as Denethor, a link to reality. And as the Rohirrim so clearly are based on the Vikings, she would whip Grimas behind herself and kick him down the stairs when se saw what he was up to. Also Eowyn would have someone to talk to and probably wouldn't feel so alone.

Gandalf- he probably could have a family like the maia Melian, but he had to worry about the fate of the world and all those mom and/or wife-less guys who needs guidence, protection and a push in the right direction.
Good point Amarie.

Also, Arwen mother was absent as well. I can't remember if she had gone back to the Undying Lands or died but she wasn't around although Galadriel was Arwen's Granny.

I have wondered if Gandalf had any children. He was around for a long, long time.

There is definitely a lack of good female characters in LotR. I wonder what Tolkien's experience of women was like?

I think Arwen's mum (Celebrian?) was wounded by orcs and went west because she couldn't get better. I vaguely recall Elladan and Elrohir wanting to kill every orc to avenge her.
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Aragorn - Orphan, mom dies after bringing him to safety in Rivendell. Has to lead a war and really put his life on the line, can't have mom worrying at home. Elrond is more like a guide, loving but knows what must happen and prepares him for it. No sheltering. A mom is too involved.

Actually, mom kinda did the worrying at home. Gilraen brought Aragorn to Rivendell in 2933, when Aragorn was 2. She died in the year 3007, 27 years after Aragorn and Arwen got engaged on the hill of Cerin Amroth, and 56 years after Aragorn started his great travels and labours against Mordor. And Elrond did kinda shelter him : Elrond became a father for Aragorn and raised him as his own son. They loved each other dearly. ("don't i have your love too, Estel?" "Yes, dada")

Now that i think of it, in the movies Barfagorn uses the line "Onen-i-Estel Edain, u-chebin estel anim". This is the line Gilraen speaks to her son before Aragorn leaves and sees his mother for the last time. Nice blasphemy from PJ again.

But indeed, Aragorn's daddy was killed by trolls when Aragorn was 2.

Bout Arwen's mother : her mother left for Valinor in the year 2510. At this time, Arwen was 2269 years old. So i think she had time enough to get to know her mother quite well, and that her mother had a thorough influence on her daughter. Same with the twins.

Bout Boromir and Faramir : yes, Finduilas died when Boromir was 10 and Faramir was 5. They didn't get to know their mother quite well, i guess. But still a long time before daddy lost all hope (he didn't go mad like in the movies, well in the movies he was kinda mad from start to finish). And if Finduilas wouldn't have died at an early age, i think Boromir would have become a different man than the Ešrnur he became. But that's just opinion, i am talking facts. *cough*

Gandalf didn't have parents, of course. And wasn't allowed to marry or would want to get married of course : he had more important stuff on his mind than doing the dishes.

Sam's mother is dead, yes, but the Gaffer is already very old when the whole ring business starts, so i'm sure he grew up in a normal family too.

Well, all the rest of the fellowship had normal families too, but safe for Pippin and Merry they didn't do anything important (i am talking to you, Legolamb) so who cares about their family life.

At least we can give Gimli the credit for winning an Orc-whacking contest against Legolamb ŗnd pulling Pippin from the underneath of a troll.

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There is definitely a lack of good female characters in LotR. I wonder what Tolkien's experience of women was like?

Well, it is Lord of the Rings, not Little Women. Besides, Eowyn is a very good female character imho. Every fantasy author after JRRT kinda duplicated her (together with the entire LOTR story hahaha)

Arwen only says two lines in the book, but i guess JRRT makes up for that in the appendices. And well, i'm thankful that female characters like Ioreth and Lobelia Baggins were NOT developed. I have the impression that once those ladies'd talk, they wouldn't stop talking.

And about JRRT : he met his wife Edith when he was 18 but wasn't allowed to meet her again until he was 21. They married during WW1. He loved his wife very much. The Beren-Luthien and Aragorn-Arwen romances from the books are based on his own experience.

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There is definitely a lack of good female characters in LotR.


I read somewhere that there are in fact only eight female characters who actually appear in the story itself (as opposed to being mentioned or appearing in the appendices).

Quickly thinking about it I can name:-

1) Rosie Cotton
2) Arwen
3) Galadriel
4) Eowyn
5) Goldberry
6) Lobelia Sackville-Baggins
7) Ioreth
8) Ioreth's unnamed cousin from Imloth Melui

I'm not sure whether Shelob should be included on this list. I bet I've missed some really big ones in there somewhere. Anyone got any more to add?

I noticed that too (absent mothers) , I also noticed that the main characters (in the movies) all had blue eyes with exception of Elladan & Elrohir - even though they weren't really all that much in the movie and the rest had dark eyes
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She died in the year 3007, 27 years after Aragorn and Arwen got engaged on the hill of Cerin Amroth, and 56 years after Aragorn started his great travels and labours against Mordor.
Yes of course, silly me. But still, she was there for the happy (but of course not easy) times, growing up, first love, engagement, but was gone befor the REAL trouble began. And movie-Aragorn saying her line in the movie was just stupid.
Arriving at the Cotton's farm, Sam said, "Good evening, Mrs. Cotton!" before he said, "Hello, Rosie!"; however they were both in the same sentence so he was just being polite to his elders. And Shelob was certainly no lady!
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I noticed that too (absent mothers) , I also noticed that the main characters (in the movies) all had blue eyes with exception of Elladan & Elrohir - even though they weren't really all that much in the movie and the rest had dark eyes


You mean they were in the movie??? Where, Ainamenelwen? Shocked Elf Smilie

And Val, you forgot Gilraen. Big Smile Smilie
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And Val, you forgot Gilraen.


I didn't think we actually got to meet Gilraen in LotR. She died 11 years before the Council of Elrond. She is mentioned, but she doesn't actually make an appearence.
Only in the appendices.
You raised a very interesting point Amarie! I already made in some othr thread (on Aragorn I think... ) a brief list of LOTR and SILM heroes who were orphans or fatherless half-orphans ad who had foster fathers. But many of them had fathers, but lost their mothers. Silmarillion also is full of such cases. First of all, Feanor. Then, his sons; their mother did not die, but she and Feanore became "estranged". And so many human heroes! First of all, Beren. He stayed with his father, while his mother went away together with all other women. Then Turin. His mother did not die, but she sent him away. And Tuor. His mother left him immediately after his birth and went North to die on the grave of her beloved husband.
If I'm not mistaken, the twins were sitting on either side of Elrond discussing how to destroy the one ring
No elf is really orphan though, they "just" go to the Halls of Mandos, they can even come back. Even if you do kill some elfs mother, they can meet again in Valinor. But with mommy beeing away, the road is open for evil things. It is quite strange.
Same with Boromir and Faramir : their mother died when both brothers were quite young.

And same with Eowyn and Eomer : they were quite young too, when Theoden took care of them after they became orphans.

Maybe heroes cannot be raised into a normal family but must lose their parents at the hands of fate/evil already at a young age, probably to give them some reason to fight evil or give them childhood traumas to fight when they're adult. I guess if you are tucked in by your mother every night, that this doesn't give you much motivation to hunt some Orc..

Elrond and Elros lost their parents too, btw.

Heck, is there still someone in Middle-Earth who has got living parents??

Well, i think it is normal (?) that so many characters in the Silmarillion had broken families, after all the atmosphere was quite hostile at that time.

Anyway, it is a common theme in fantasy literature that the hero(es) are orphans or don't know their parents (and suddenly discover that they are descendants from some great King or Queen). In LOTR : Frodo, Aragorn, etc. In the Shannara series : Shea is an orphan. In the Belgariad : Garion is an orphan. In the Riftwar : Pug is an orphan. And so on and such like.

PS : Harry Potter too... what a surprise.