Arif is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that has posted several featured articles and has a passion for the arts and popular culture.
When one looks into the world of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, one normally refers to the character of Aragorn and Frodo as archetypal heroes. But what if there was another hero whose deeds have seemingly been left out of the spotlight. No, I am not talking about Sam (although the author himself, J.R.R.Tolkien, might say otherwise).
I am actually talking about Pippin. Yes, this unsung hero has been sidelined as a useless character. He may seem like a screw-up. Someone who has repeatedly put the entire fellowship in harm’s way due to his stupidity. Because of this, when Pippin actually does some good, his deeds go unseen and overlooked. He is underrated and unappreciated. But after deep contemplation, one feels that this "fool of a Took" is actually the one who saves Middle Earth altogether. Here are five reasons why Pippin is the real hero in Lord of the Rings.
1. Pippin Saved Frodo From the Uruk-hai
Towards the end of Fellowship of the Ring, the Uruk-hai horde that was dispatched by Saruman from Isengard has caught up to Aragorn and the rest of the fellowship. Hot on the heels of Frodo, the Uruk-hai closes in on Frodo's whereabouts. As Frodo is hiding in the bushes, he spots Merry and Pippin in the adjacent shrubs. Just as Frodo gives a tacit signal that he will continue on the quest without them, Pippin leaps out of the bushes in protest and into the open, followed immediately by Merry who then yells at the incoming Urukhai to divert their attention away from Frodo.
Yes, technically Merry is the one who actually calls out to the enemy. However, Pippin is the one who initiated it (perhaps unintentionally) in the first place. Imagine if Pippin had just stayed cowering in the bushes. If it was not for Pippin, Frodo would have been eventually caught by the Uruk-hai and brought straight to Saruman. And the fellowship would have ended then and there. The epic journey of Frodo would have ended nowhere near his final destination.
2. Ignited the Rebellion of the Ents
The march of the Ents is one of the most memorable things to happen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and guess who started it all. That's right, it was Pippin. After a disappointing decision made by Treebeard and his friends to abandon the battle against Saruman, Pippin comes up with the brilliant idea to go south, taking them dangerously close to Isengard. Treebeard then unwittingly agrees, which then leads them right into a clearing where Treebeard finds his old Ent friends (other trees) slain. This ignites a fury within Treebeard, who then gives out an epic war cry, calling towards his Ent brethren to march into Isengard and confront the evil wizard — the last march of the Ents.
As we all know, the Ents succeeded in taking over Isengard and defeated Saruman’s band of orcs. This finally ends Saruman’s evil reign. So, my friends, we all have to be grateful to Pippin. If it was not for him, Saruman would still be in power!
3. Gave the Clue to Gandalf That Sauron Will Attack Minas Tirith
Pippin stumbles upon a seeing stone in Isengard. He is immediately drawn to its evil power. After Gandalf firmly takes it away from him, Pippin later sneaks up on Gandalf as he sleeps to look at the seeing stone one last time. Things did not go so well for poor young Peregrin Took. He is almost immediately cast into some sort of a mentally chaotic spasm. The stone is then taken away from him by Aragorn, who later collapses. Pippin now is in a traumatic state.
He has been exposed to a dark evil he has yet to ever encounter. After Gandalf awakes, he manages to cease Pippin out of his trance. Now, one may think that this incident is just another display of Pippin’s uselessness and stupidity. And I wouldn't blame you.
However, perhaps this was the silver lining that Gandalf and company needed. Think about what happened after Pippin awoke from his trance. Pippin was able to reveal to Gandalf that Sauron and his armies planned to attack the city of Minas Tirith. Within Pippin’s scuffle with the seeing stone, Pippin sees (in his mind) a figure of a burning white tree in a burning city. Gandalf later realizes that the tree Pippin was referring to was the White Tree of Minas Tirith. This was the key. Now, the good guys knew where their enemy was going to attack, and they could plan their next move. As we know, the battle of Minas Tirith was a very important event that occurred—one that moved our heroes one step closer to defeating Sauron. All thanks to our favorite hobbit fool, Pippin.
4. Lit Up the Beacons of Minas Tirith
After Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith, Gandalf assigns Pippin a rather daring task. To climb one of the watchtowers and light up the Beacon of Minas Tirith. After a steep climb up the tower, Pippin succeeds! Thus, he starts a chain reaction of watchtower men lighting their beacons at their respective posts. A scene in the film that was so epically memorable.
The chain of lit beacons finally reaches Aragorn and his friends in Rohan. Aragorn rushes to tell Theoden King in the royal hall and the following dialogue is uttered:
Aragorn: “The beacons of Minas Tirith, the beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid.”
Theoden: “And Rohan will answer!”
Now, am I the only one who shot my fist up over my head in celebration during that epic scene in the cinema? The riders of Rohan along with King Theoden, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Éowen, and Éomer then mustered to Minas Tirith to meet their enemies in battle.
If it was not for Pippin, Minas Tirith would have been defenseless against Sauron’s Orc army.
5. Showed Tremendous Bravery for a Little Hobbit
Hobbits are small, and Pippin is no exception. Hobbits are not generally known for traits like bravery. However, Pippin found himself plunged deep into dangerous and life-threatening battles and encounters.
Think about it. In Return of the King, Pippin was the only Hobbit among Frodo, Sam, and Merry to be directly involved in both major battles from start to finish—the battle in Minas Tirith and the final battle at the Black Gate. When Sauron’s armies swarmed Minas Tirith the first time, Pippin was right there at the forefront, battling his way through the swarms of orcs.
Pippin found himself caught in a dire battle between humans, orcs, and trolls. Oh, and did I mention the swirling Nazgûls riding their Fellbeasts? Pippin definitely held his own in such a battle, despite being a small Hobbit who perhaps had no business being there in the first place.
Another act of bravery displayed by our fool of a Took was the selfless act of saving Faramir from his deadly fate. Denethor, the steward of Gondor, had somewhat gone insane with grief and decided to sacrifice his own son, Faramir. An act that involved setting both father and son on fire. With the aid of Gandalf, Pippin leaps into the burning pyre and pushes Faramir away, saving him from his doom.
Later on, when Aragorn and his friends along with the remaining soldiers marched to Black Gate, it was Pippin and Merry who charged first toward their enemy after Aragorn uttered the famous line,” For Frodo”.
“The lack of anyone heroic protagonist is one of the hallmarks of Tolkien’s fiction” (“Tolkien and the Matter of Britain” 132). In truth, Tolkien’s work describes a plethora of men and women characters that should be considered as heroes in their own right—and dear Pippin aka Peregrin Took aka The Fool—is definitely one of them.