Though the lands of Middle-Earth contained in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel series Lord of the Rings are populated by many powerful races, the race of Men have always stood out from their more magical peers. Middle-Earth is home to mystical Elves, hearty Dwarves, stalwart Hobbits, and many mythical beasts, but Men have always distinguished themselves by their force of character and martial bravery.
The race of Men has shaped the ages of Middle-Earth in many ways, thanks to their conquest and their conflicts. It was Man who was easily corrupted by the One Ring that Sauron forged, enabling him to enslave nine great human kings to his service. But it was also Man who rallied against The Deceiver time and time again, and though they didn't always succeed, they never stopped fighting. From the White City of Gondor, to the plains of Rohan, here are the most powerful humans in Lords of the Rings, ranked.
10 GRIMA WORMTONGUE
Once a man of Rohan, Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) betrayed his people by siding with Saruman, the powerful wizard corrupted by Sauron prior to the War of the Ring. Becoming an agent of evil didn't mean Wormtongue was powerful with a weapon, but with words proved more harmful than any knife in the back, twisting the mind of Theoden King of Rohan.
As a master manipulator, Wormtongue used the King's weakened state to advance his own agendas, operating from a position of power as Theoden's adviser. He was able to have Eomer banished from the kingdom, until the spell Saruman had over Theoden was broken and Wormtongue was banished himself. He is later killed by Legolas's hand at Orthanc.
The steward of Gondor and once considered one of the "wisest men in Middle-Earth", Denethor (John Noble) ruled over the White City in the absence of the one true king. He grew accustomed to power and didn't want to relinquish it, even to the rightful heir. His eldest son Boromir, hero of Gondor, was his pride and joy. His sudden death left a void in Denethor that his second son, Faramir, could never fill.
Denethor became corrupted by not only his position of authority, but by his use of the palantir, the mystical artifact that allowed its user to see the outcome of events in the future, as well as people in distant places. He succumbed to flames meant for Faramir's funeral pyre, despite the fact that his son didn't perish in the unwinnable battle his father sent him to his death for.
Once one of the greatest kings of Gondor, Isildur assisted in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men to engage the Dark Lord Sauron's forces. Sauron was in possession of the One Ring, giving him nearly unlimited power over his enemies. Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's hand and was supposed to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom, but kept it for himself.
The thrall of the One Ring not only poisoned Isildur's mind, it allowed Sauron to resurrect his life force, and slowly gather his armies of darkness to him once again. Sauron was able to wage war on Middle-Earth for a second time, while Isildur was shot in the back and drowned by an ambush of orcs. His body was never recovered, and the Ring of Power was lost.
Elendil was the High King of Gondor and Arnor, King of all the Dunedain, and a noble of Numenorean blood. When he dwelled in Numenor, before being forced out by Sauron, his House enjoyed a peaceful and prosperous relationship with the Elves of Valinor. He was considered a wise king, a brave warrior, and a loving father.
When Sauron pressed the attack from Mordor (which touches Gondor's borders), Elendil forged the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with the great Elven High King Gil-galad. He was slain in battle against Sauron, the mighty Sword of Narsil shattered and his son Isildur avenged him by cutting off Sauron's finger that bore the Ring of Power with it.
The younger brother of Gondor's lauded hero Boromir, he lived in the shadow of his brother even after his passing. Never good enough for his father Denethor, the steward of Gondor, he nevertheless tried to gain his father's respect by riding into an impossible skirmish with Sauron's forces which he narrowly survived.
Faramir acted in Gondor's best interests when he and a scouting party encountered Frodo and Samwise Gamgee en route to Mordor, thinking that the One Ring would be a boon for the kingdom's defenses. He nearly succumbed to the power of it, but proved as strong as his brother in resisting its pull. He fought bravely for his people in the War of the Ring, honoring his family's legacy.
The sister of Eomer, and niece of King Theoden, Eowyn was a shieldmaiden and accomplished fighter among her people in Rohan. She assisted the King in his weakened state, while he was actively poisoned by Saruman and Grima Wormtongue's treachery, and struggled to maintain order in the household.
She fell in love with Aragorn when the Fellowship arrived in Rohan to seek aid against Sauron's forces, but his heart still belonged to Arwen Evenstar. She fought bravely in the War of the Ring, killing the Witch-King, the mightiest of all the Ringwraiths. She would later develop feelings for Faramir, who fought for Gondor.
The celebrated swordsman of the White City, Boromir was the firstborn son of the steward of Gondor, heir to the ruler of the kingdom in the absence of any true king. He was selected to ride to Rivendell and represent his people in the Fellowship of the Ring, a role he took seriously until he fell under the spell of the Ring of Power.
He attempted to gain the ring for himself from the Ring-Bearer, Frodo, hoping he could use it to help his people against Sauron's forces. To make up for his moral failing, he valiantly defended Merry and Pippin against an onslaught of Uruk-hai, allowing them and the rest of the Fellowship to escape with his last breath. He died retaining his family's honor.
Though he is first introduced as a decrepit and weak king, his mind and body ravaged with infirmity, it is revealed to be but symptomatic of the spell that Saruman has placed on him. Once the spell, and his treacherous adviser Grima Wormtongue, are revealed for their wickedness, he returns to form a strong and regal leader.
When Gondor called for aid, the Kingdom of Rohan responded, despite years of bad blood between the kingdoms. Theoden himself led his armies against Sauron's forces in the War of the Ring, perishing with valor and distinction. His nephew, Eomer, would go on to follow in his noble footsteps as King of Rohan,
An accomplished warrior and skilled tracker, Eomer was the nephew of King Theoden, and leader of the Rohirrim, the legendary mounted soldiers that defended Rohan's borders. Together with his cavalry, he patrolled the kingdom's perimeter for orcs, which had become bolder as Sauron's powers grew.
The Rohirrim saved the day when King Theoden's armies and the Elven armies of Lothlorien were overrun by orcs at the Battle of Helms Deep. Though the poison of Saruman's spell had made Theoden banish Eomer from the kingdom, when it was lifted he welcomed his nephew back. They fought together in the War of the Ring, and when Theoden fell, Eomer assumed the throne.
The rightful king of Gondor and the heir of Isildur, Aragorn spent much of his time avoiding his royal responsibilities by wandering the wilds of Middle-Earth, assuming the identity of a ranger named Strider. At the behest of the wizard Gandalf, he escorted the Ring-Bearer and his companions to Rivendell, where the Fellowship of the Ring was formed.
Pure of heart and a brave warrior, Aragorn fought to protect the Fellowship and see that the One Ring was safely destroyed in Mordor. Though he wasn't crowned until after Sauron was defeated, when he led the forces of Men against the Dark Lord he was king of Gondor as far as all were concerned.