In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy we're introduced to Middle Earth. A fantastic land populated by numerous creatures, species and interesting characters. From humans to hobbits, elves to dwarves, there's no shortage of personalities. When evil threatens to destroy Middle Earth, in the form of Sauron, the all seeing fiery eye, people must come together from all over to help in the quest. Race relations are fraught in Middle Earth and not everyone is going to get along. Personalities clash and old grievances are brought to the forefront. Still, this myriad of personalities must unite, forming a Fellowship, to save their existence.
These intricate relationships and the many various personality traits give the characters from LotR incredible potential for analysis using the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator® system. A means of categorising different personalty. Tolkien layers so much depth and reality into his world, it's no wonder these characters are so fascinating. Below is a look at some of your favourite Middle Earth inhabitants and their corresponding Myers-Briggs® personality type.
Gandalf the Grey is a wizened old wizard, but he's not without his charm. As powerful and mysterious as he is Gandalf has a playful, cheeky side to his personality as well. He is incredibly smart, bordering on brilliant and along with being incredibly knowledgeable, he is in touch with the land around him. He's particularly close with giant moths. All of this isn't to say he's not fierce when the time comes. Facing off against the Balrog, Gandalf very nearly sacrificed himself to allow for the Fellowship to continue in its quest.
For these reasons Gandalf is an INFJ type. These types are brilliant and creative with a profound, yet left-of-centre outlook on life and the world around them. They look for substance beneath the surface, much like Gandalf did when giving the ring to a Hobbit, perceiving greater strength of character then others might have seen.
Our unlikely hero, Frodo was a Hobbit who looked beyond the picket fences of Hobbiton and the Shire and saw adventure beyond. While diminutive in size, Frodo has a strong heart and a good sense of right and wrong. He is determined yet introverted, which served him well when keeping the ring a secret became essential for his survival.
A classic INFP type, Frodo has an enormous imagination and inner world. He day dreams and fantasises about life's possibilities, without making a spectacle of himself. Sensitive and analytical, these personality types, while meaning well, can be neglectful of others in pursuit of their own goals.
Sam is constantly put-upon by Frodo, and indeed has saved his life countless times. Yet, he does it all willingly. Sam is a constant giver. He is sensitive and empathetic, putting other's needs before his own at every turn. Generous and never self effacing, Sam is braver than he seems especially when he's coming to someone else's rescue.
These are the traits of an ISFJ type, for sure. They are often known as nurturers and will continually put others needs before their own. They're only angered when others are noticeably more selfish than they are themselves. Po-tay-toes!
The elf Legolas is a nimble and precise warrior. Elves are known for their archery skills and their connection to the natural world around them. Legolas is calm and perceptive, feeding off the world around him, he is able to perceive messages and visions from the future. He's also a badass on the battlefield. Leaping into a battle or sliding down the back of an Oliphaunt without a moments hesitation.
Legolas shares many traits with ESTP types. They're risk takers and will jump without looking but they're also incredibly in touch with their feelings and extremely perceptive about the people and the world around them. Myers-Briggs doesn't mention anything about their skills with a bow and arrow, however.
The dwarves are a proud and noble people with centuries of history and tradition behind them and, quite literally, below them. The dwarves being great and industrial miners, with miles and miles and mines dug out beneath the ground. Gimli is a great example of not only his people but also the ESTJ types.
These types are very traditional, they believe in standing behind a cause and are usually considered excellent citizens. Gimli the Dwarf is all of these things. He's proud of his people and their accomplishments. His personal type is often in conflict with that of Legolas, which explains the rivalry between the two.
Aragorn is a bit of a mystery when we first meet him. The dark Ranger from the North, a lone wolf, turns out to be a King and a great leader. He is stoic and deadly, keeps his thoughts to himself, but is able to communicate with great swathes of troops and eventually rule as a benevolent King. This fun mix of traits make Aragorn an ENTJ type.
They have great internal lives but are also very external people and they are natural born leaders. Long live the King!
It's unfortunate that Middle Earth isn't as diverse when it comes to gender representation as it is when representing mythical creatures. Arwen, who's role in the films in greatly expanded from the novels, is a strong and graceful elfin warrior, who also happens to be in love with Aragorn. While she is proud of her people and devoted to her father, the Elven King, she is rebellious, and trailblazing in her own way.
Relationships with humans are unheard of in the elfin Kingdom and Arwen is willing to sacrifice a great deal for her love of Aragorn. These individualistic traits are common amongst ENFP types.
Continuing to represent the women, Eowyn is another King's daughter and also a rebellious one. Desperate to fight to help save Mordor, Eowyn dresses as a man in order to join the battle. Although, like Arwen she is rebellious, her rebellion is more secretive and discreet. Her impulse are spontaneous and unpredictable.
These are all traits of an ISTP type. They make rash decisions and keep their cards close their chests. But they are not without their own sort of bravery.
Unlike Gandalf, Saruman is a powerful and wise old wizard without a sense of moral direction. He is strong and smart but also nefarious and underhanded. He sticks to his own and has a dislike for things repenting the 'other.' He is sensible where Gandalf is mischievous and malevolent where Gandalf is well meaning. Much like ENTP types, this bad wizard has a logical mind, even if his logic errs on the side of evil, and resents small talk.
Unsurprisingly, Gollum is also an INFP, the same type as Frodo. Yes, these two character seem worlds apart but Gollum is an example of what could become of Frodo is he kept hold of the ring. Much like Frodo, Gollum enjoys his quiet spaces and alone time, he is introverted and can sometimes lash out when not given enough space. He lives in something of a fantasy world, while Frodo is looking off to the horizon, Gollum stares longingly at his 'precious' dreaming of having her back and the joy that will bring. They both look for joy outside of themselves, are quiet, introverted types, but who will go to great lengths for their goals. Gollum should serve as a warning to Hobbits everywhere, especially if they've got the ring.