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Thread: What did they learn?

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What did each character learn from their experiences in LotR? Where any of them changed? Did they grow in wisdom and which ones slipped backwards?

The Hobbits learned a lot and gained much from their experiences. They all learned quickly that there was much going on outside The Shire which affected them. They learned courage and fighting skills.

What else did they gain from it? And what was lost - innocence?

I think they all learned the obvious, even the smallest person can effect the world in the biggest ways. Tolkien added a bunch of little morals into the story, but in the words of Sir Walter Scott in the novel Ivanhoe: "His fate was destined to a foreign strand,
A petty fortress and an 'humble' hand;
He left the name at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale."
I think it was boromir who learned the most - he changes from being stubborn and a little thick-skulled to being understanding - only he died about three minutes after his revelation.
I think the hobbits definitely lost their innocence on their journeys. They were so isolated from everyone else, and had no idea what went on in the world around them. I think Gimli and Legolas gained knowledge and respect of each other's cultures after years of hatred between the two races. They finally broke the "traditon." I think Aragorn and Gandalf were really the rocks that held the group together and inspired them. And Boromir definitely changed too. He was like the hobbits in the way that he was sheltered of some other folk in middle-earth. I totally agree with the previous statement of him.
Boromir was sheltered and thick-headed? There must be a Boromir I haven't heard of yet. But he has his own thread, so I won't start babbling on and on about him here. Wink Smilie

All Hobbits lost their innocence during this war, don’t forget about the Shire being attacked. Tolkiens way of saying that no one is unaffected by war.

Everybody learned something, but I think it is the readers that (should) learn the most. Read Smilie
What of the downside, characters such as Saruman? He changed from being someone trustworthy, a Maia, to someone deceitful and power hungry although maybe he had those characteristics from the start.
I often wonder about the character of Grima Wormtongue. What kind of man was he before he fell under Sauruman's spell? Its my opinion he must have been a worthy fellow in his day to earn the initial trust of King Theoden. What happened? How did he become the coniving, slinking person of Wormtongue? I think Grima lost his self esteem and sense of honor during his years as Sauruman's pawn.
From Merry, Sam and Frodo learned not to play with fire in the forest, because Old Man Willow taught him the consequence of such continued action.

Old Man Willow learned that if he wanted to stay on Tom Bombadil's good side, he had best eat earth, dig deep, drink water, and stay asleep.