There’s nothing I love more than a really good story. I have been reading the Lord of the Rings since high school. In college I ventured into the extended books (Silmarillion & Unfinished Tales) and also made a solid attempt at learning Quenya (truly fascinating). I happened to get Andy into the stories too, and he’s now more into the stories that I think I am (hello Cirdan the Shipwright, I never really knew you before!)
I have loved the Harry Potter books since reading the first one right after the third book came out in 1999. My high school friends can attest to my love of them (they often made fun of me). I did finally convince one of my friends to read them, and she also jumped onto the band wagon and we organised one of the best Hallowe’en parties I’ve ever been a part of (even still! but I also don’t get out much…) The theme, of course, was Harry Potter.
I religiously followed all the newest theories and discussions on Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron and loved the antics of their Pottercast (podcast) with Melissa Anelli and John Noe (who had a character in the books named after him!) when it started. I was totally all the alls for this series of books. (By the by, the heads of both those sites had an exclusive interview with JK Rowling in 2005. You can read it here!)
So recently I’ve been thinking about both of these, and have been wondering which House a character from Lord of the Rings would fall into and then I got wondering which house best represents each race. There were a couple surprises as I worked these out, but enter into the theory-dom of my imagination and let’s see how it works out and you can tell me whether you agree or disagree at the end. This is a two-part post, the first delving into sorting the races in Lord of the Rings, the second part will be sorting the characters.
The House of Each Race
Before I can get into individual characters, we need to acknowledge that each of the races in The Lord of the Rings have a House flair about them. It is not that all of a certain race are necessarily of that House; however, the culture they grow up and live in decidedly has this general attitude. I would say these observations are true of the races as we know them in the Lord of the Rings series, not (necessarily) in earlier or previous Ages.
These hobbits love their parties, they love their families, they are intensely loyal to one another. There is little doubt that hobbits have a Hufflepuff culture. While they did not deal with other races so much in this late second Age, their relationships with each other were of utmost importance. As JRR Tolkien noted at the end of his chapter, Concerning Hobbits:
All Hobbits were, in any case, clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care. They drew long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches. In dealing with Hobbits it is important to remember who is related to whom, and in what degree.
Fiercely set on getting their way; the battle of 5 armies is the descriptive chapter that comes to mind for me. They so desperately wanted the riches they were willing to hole themselves up and starve in the Lonely Mountain before choosing friendship over riches. In fact, their culture reminds me very similarly of the Ferengi of Star Trek reknown. They have a rule of life that they live by, and two of their rules also seem to apply to dwarves:
18 A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
21 Never place friendship above profit.
Just substitute ‘dwarves’ in for Ferengi and you’ve got it all right here.
The Maiar: Ravenclaw
The maiar are kind and gentle Ravenclaws, they have supranatural knowledge and remain aloof in their meddlings. They have knowledge, they prize knowledge, and they use their knowledge for power (good and ill, as we see). It is knowledge that drives their actions and for which they make their alliances.
Snobby and secretive, they look down upon those not of their own kind. And they shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!
A little carried away, maybe. But it aptly describes the elves. They do not involve themselves in the war because it does not further their interest. They are reluctant to give aid apart from small tokens to help others risk their necks, and offer one representative for the task (similar to the dwarves.)
HOWEVER, I admit there is an extremely strong Ravenclaw flair within their society as well. They are extremely dedicated to the Arts and value knowledge greatly. If it wasn’t for their consistent value of saving their own skin and trying to manipulate to get what they want, they might have been sorted into the Ravenclaw house instead.
Humans (and Númenóreans): Gryffindor
Bravery runs deep in Gondor, and while the Rohirrim were for awhile overtaken by a darkness, their valour triumphed. Both these human cultures hold honour and gallantry in high esteem. Were it not for their dedication to these values, all might have been lost.
Nearly all the main characters of the Rohirrim exemplify the daring needed for the house of Gryffindor. One man defies his father to maintain the Gryffindor spirit; he dies for this cause. Another man takes up the challenge and daring defense of another people, knowing the cost for his people in doing so but weighing the alternatives, knows it is the right thing to do. And one woman who knows her gifts and talents well, will not be placed on the sidelines that these would wither away. Nay, she rightly takes her place as a warrior renown – against unfathomable odds she bravely takes up her sword and fights for the honour and for the dignity of her people – the ones she loves. I’ll admit, it was a layered choice, but she exemplifies Gryffindor throughout her story.
Two outstanding captains of Gondor exhibit qualities of bravery and daring, not to mention their leige, the king, who over and over again dedicates himself to the task of doing the right thing, often struggling to decide what the right course of action to take. They do so not out of any loyalty except to that which is right and just.
Well, what is your opinion? Do you differ in which races belong to which house? I’m curious to know!
Stay tuned for the next post – delving into characters and their houses!