Tolkien had crafted one of the world’s most beloved series of novels. He succeeded in what he set out to do – create a mythology for his beloved United Kingdom to call their own. The Norse had their Vikings and the Greeks had their gods. Thanks to Tolkien, the Brits, Scots, and Irish now had their series of myths and legends.
Much like the ancient mythologies, the entire world glommed onto Tolkien’s work. The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings might just be four books, but not only are they not the only four books in the series. Over the years, Tolkien’s son, Christopher has taken some of his father’s old notes and crafted even more unique stories to create an even bigger version of the past and present of Middle-Earth. The main four books all happen during the world’s Third Age.
So much of our fantasy has been inspired by the work Of Tolkien. Here are The 15 Most Powerful Creatures In The Lord Of The Rings (And The 15 Weakest).
30 Powerful: Balrog
When the Fellowship reaches the gates of Moria, even the powerful Gandalf knows that the group is in trouble before they even head into the mine. But he agreed to abide by Frodo’s choice, and the shortcut seemed easier than Gandalf’s idea of scaling a mountain.
But he knew the dwarves got too greedy and dug too deep. They awoke the Balrog Of Morgoth – a monstrous demon of the ancient world. One so imposing that Gandalf demanded his crew flee for their lives as he risked his own to stop the ancient demon.
29 Weakest: Isildur
In much of The Lord Of The Rings and the supporting stories and histories of Middle-Earth, man and the race of men are written as creatures who are brave with strong wills. But every so often, men can fall and when they do it generally has dire consequences throughout all of Middle-Earth.
Isildur is a prime example of this. After defeating Sauron, all he has to do was heave the ring into the pits of fire on Mount Doom to rid the world of the evil. Just drop it was all had to do to rid the world of misery. Instead, he tried to claim the power for himself. Pretty weak move.
28 Powerful: Shelob
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been scared by spiders or have had a loved one wake you up in the middle of the night just to squish a little eight-legged critter who happens to find its way into your home.
In Middle-Earth, that fear is warranted when you have giant evil spiders like Shelob running around. While Shelob was the only spider that we saw in the original trilogy, giant spiders with evil intentions were found in several places in Middle-Earth. Years earlier, Bilbo encountered some smaller, but still tremendously-sized spiders in Mirkwood.
27 Weakest: Hobbits
If we’re talking strength of heart, there might not be stronger creatures in Middle-Earth than a Hobbit. But all around and all over, this race of people was much more content staying hidden from the rest of the world and eating.
While a select few wound up helping and shaping the fate of the entire world, the rest of them run and hide at the site of trouble. In reality, can you blame them, just about every other race can beat them in combat.
26 Powerful: Smaug
No matter the literature, a dragon is usually a fierce and terrible creature. It’s a flying dinosaur that breathes fire for crying out loud! Tolkien takes his dragon one step further and creates Smaug – a fire breathing beast that covets gold and took over the lonely mountain to get it.
Similar to the Balrog, Gandalf is more than a little leery of Smaug. But in this case, it is because of the allegiance that Smaug may or may not have to the growing threat of Sauron regaining power.
25 Weakest: Mouth Of Sauron
Speaking of Sauron, even at almost full strength, he is not fully formed and as far as the movies go, he has a twisted little creature speak for him. He rides out to “greet” Aragorn and company at the gates of Barad-dur to lie and inform them that Frodo is deceased.
Although none of them are quite sure, Aragorn doesn’t believe the demonic creature and lobs off his head with one swoop. Not only was he lying, but his only ability seemed to be a giant mouth and a twisted grin.
24 Powerful: Gandalf
As one of the powerful Maiar (Saruman, Radagast, and the two Blue Wizards being the other four), Gandalf and his fellow Maiar were given great power but instructed not to interfere by using their powers. Instead, guide the world of Men on their path to war with Sauron and Mordor.
That all changed when their leader, Saruman had been co-opted by Sauron. Once he started working with the Dark Lord, Gandalf took more and more action, claimed the mantle of the White Wizard for himself and directly led the kingdom of Men into war until Aragorn took his rightful place as king.
23 Weakest: Gollum
Smeagol went for a fishing trip one day with his pal Deagol. Deagol had found a little golden ring. Smeagol had heard the One Ring’s evil call, ended his friend, and took the artifact for himself.
He was never able to resist the Ring’s power or its hold over him. Ultimately, Gollum’s addiction to the ring would be his downfall. He would not let go of it, even as it fell into the pit of Mount Doom, he snatched it and caressed it until he burned with it.
22 Powerful: Nazgul
In life, the nine kings of men were too weak to abstain from the power of their rings in relation to the one ring. In demise, they were immortal soldiers of the Dark Lord who did nothing but yearn for the ring and hear its call.
They could not be reasoned or bargained with. Nearly killing Frodo at Weathertop left a scar that burned through Frodo until his last day. Even Gandalf yielded to the power of the Witch-king of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgul. As no “man” could defeat him, he was only defeated by a surprise attack of Eowyn and Merry. The rest of the Nazgul and their fell beasts were defeated by the Eagles when the Ring was destroyed.
21 Weakest: Orcs
In mass numbers, the seas of orcs descending on their enemies can be a frightening sight. At Helm’s Deep, at Minas Tirith, you name the place the Orcs waged war for Sauron at and there will be people who were unsettled of their army.
But they still were only strong, because of their numbers. They were mostly mindless (or small-minded), and despite the long battles waged due to their numbers, they were mostly (easily) defeated once their numbers dwindled enough to make them want to run.
20 Powerful: Sauron
The entire Lord Of The Rings saga revolves around defeating the Necromancer Sauron. He instilled great fear and panic in the free people of Middle-Earth. Even without the ring of power and in an intangible form, the world still fears the Dark Lord’s strength. He created the dreaded ring of power after all.
Why couldn’t Frodo simply hop on an Eagle and fly to Mount Doom to drop the ring in the pit of fire? It was because the all–seeing Eye Of Sauron atop the fortress of Barad-dur would instantly see him and alert all of the evil in Middle-Earth to attack Frodo and regain the One Ring.
19 Weakest: Goblins
According to some Tolkien historians, he simply interchanged Orcs and Goblins while writing some of his stories. He supposedly meant for them to be the same breed of creature, but fantasy fans have separated them, creating two diverse cultures. While the Orcs are more savage, Goblins have a bit more culture and live in village caves they’ve built up.
The Goblins that attacked the Fellowship, as well as the company of Dwarves, were very cunning, but like their Orc cousins don’t have a lot of strength besides strength in numbers.
18 Powerful: Trolls
The Trolls of Tolkien’s world differ greatly from the cute and cuddly trolls that populate kid’s movies and TV shows. They’re giant monsters. Some can talk, some don’t, and all can be used as beasts of burden for Saruman and Sauron.
They were created by Melkor during the First Age, the ones that are seen in the films have survived all up until the Third. They were used by Saruman as giant soldiers in the war. Besides being used to carry massive weapons, Trolls are powerful fighters, especially when armored up.
17 Weakest: Easterlings
It’s not mentioned in the film series, but the Easterlings live in the lands of Rhun. They’re warriors who fight under the banner of Sauron. It isn’t really explained why they’re devoted to the Dark Lord. Perhaps because one of the Nazgul was once the King Of The Easterlings, Khamul.
Unlike their Orc and Goblin allies, these hordes aren’t mindless, just misguided. However, the hold Sauron has over them keeps them weak. If they ever turned to fight with the rest of the Kingdom Of Men, Sauron would never have stood a chance.
16 Powerful: Ents
If you don’t think that giant walking trees should be feared, then you must live in the desert or never saw a tree before! Merry and Pippin were saved by one of the Ents, Treebeard during The Two Towers. While he was reluctant to help at first, once Treebeard realized that Saruman had the forest chopped down, he rallied the Ents together to march to war.
Because of the Ents, Saruman was able to not only be defeated, but he was not able to escape the White Tower. The Ents held him captive until Gandalf and his company could arrive.
15 Weakest: Grima Wormtongue
There are not a lot of character in Lord Of The Rings where the name is a straight giveaway on whether they should be trusted or not. With a name like Grima Wormtongue is not ambiguous at all.
Thanks to the weakness of Men and the power of Saruman, Grima was able to be turned and used as a puppet for the former White Wizard. Because of this, the wretched Grima was able to keep speaking for a mindless Theoden and help to nearly take over all of Rohan in the name of Saruman.
14 Powerful: Eagles
In storytelling, Deus Ex Machina is a device used to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem. In The Lord Of The Rings, that plot device comes in the form the Eagles. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that!
Without the story, these giant majestic birds, some of which have a near wingspan of 55 feet arrive to save the Dwarves, Gandalf at Isengard, and perhaps the most important, the lead Gandalf and the Fellowship to Frodo and Sam atop Mount Doom.
13 Weakest: Boromir
Men are corruptible and susceptible to commit great evil acts. Even great warriors can be led by dark paths because of weakness. The Kingdom Of Man is in near ruins because of broken alliances. Because of a moment of weakness, the mighty Boromir nearly cost the Fellowship everything.
Acting as a representative of Minas Tirith, he kept hearing the call of the Ring Of Power and had actually tried to take the ring from Frodo to bring back to his father, Denethor, Steward Of Gondor. Because of this, Frodo used the ring, which alerted a group of Orcs tracking them.
12 Powerful: Tom Bombadil
While every character on this list made an appearance in either The Hobbit or Lord Of The Rings trilogies, Tom Bombadil does not. But he also might the most powerful characters in all of Tolkien’s stories, which earns him a spot here.
In The Fellowship Of The Ring, the Hobbits meet Tom in the Old Forest. When Frodo tells him about the Ring, Tom tries it on and its powers had no effect on the immortal creature, and he could see Frodo when he wore it. Besides this unique ability to unaffected by Sauron’s dark powers, Tom had a litany of powers that gave him dominion over his own lands.
11 Weakest: Denethor
As the Steward Of Gondor, Denethor had seemingly allowed the power to corrupt him. He sent Boromir to try and take the Ring to use for Gondor. He sent his only surviving son, Faramir to his death at Osgiliath. Not to mention used Pippin as entertainment and would not heed the warnings of Gandalf.
But all of these weak moves were made even weaker when you realize that Denethor was being used as a puppet of Saruman. Through the use of Denethor’s own seeing stone, the Palantir, Saruman was able to gain control of Denethor’s mind and poison it.
10 Powerful: Elves
Tolkien’s Elves are regarded as the first race of creatures who descended from Valinor (the afterlife in Tolkien’s stories). With the exception of very few, they are among the noblest races in all of Middle-Earth. Most of them are skilled warriors, but also skilled at just about anything and everything you could think of.
As a noble race, they generally set the example for how the kingdom of men should be, and how all of the peoples of Middle-Earth could live in harmony.
9 Weakest: Saruman
How could the powerful White Wizard Of Middle-Earth be on the weakest side of this list? Because of his weak will, it gave way to a weakened mind that allowed the White Wizard to become corrupted by Sauron and twisted what Maier's vision of what the White Wizard should be.
None of Saruman’s plans or machinations even worked. For all his armies and spells and attempts to get the Ring, he merely hindered our heroes’ quest instead of outright stomped it out.
8 Powerful: Dwarves
The Dwarves Of Middle-Earth are hearty and happy folk. They’re also fierce fighters who when working in tandem can’t be stopped. Under the reign of Thorin Oakenshield, the Dwarves were able to help defeat Smaug and reclaim their kingdom of Erebor and restore it to its former glory.
Their greatest weakness, their love of gold and treasure has also been their greatest strength. It allows them currency, wealth, and materials for armor and weaponry. They also discovered the powerful material Mithril.
7 Weakest: Thranduil
One of the oldest of the Elven Elders, Thranduil is the only elf in the entire film series that acts more like a selfish man who yearns to keep his power than a proud and selfless Elvenking who wishes to help root out the evil of the world.
He’s willing to lock the Dwarves up for 100 years. He has no compunction to help them at all when Smaug attacks. He is the reason that there is so much heat between the Dwarves and the Elves. Elves are supposedly a proud, noble, and selfless people who act in the best interest of the planet, Thranduil acts in favor of himself.
6 Powerful: Melkor
Another name of Melkor’s is Morgoth. As in the Balrog Of Morgoth; that big bad fire demon was Morgoth’s pet demon. So how epic would Melkor have needed to be to keep a pet fire breathing shadow of flame?
He was once the mightiest of the Ainur, the spirit ancestors of the Elves. But when Melkor fell to darkness, they renamed him Morgoth, which meant dark enemy. Sauron was one of the Morgoth’s followers, as were many first dragons and vampires.
5 Weakest: The Dúnedain
In Tolkien lore, when the city of Numenor had fallen, the men that survived had come to Middle-Earth had been given this name, which means Men Of The West. What makes them different than normal men is they have been granted the gift of long life.
Their friendship with the Elves allowed them to become great trackers and Rangers. But just because they live longer than your normal man doesn’t grant the Dúnedain any abilities that separate them from other weaker species of Middle-Earth.
4 Powerful: Galadriel
As one of the three Elven ring-bearers, Galadriel is also one of the oldest and most powerful creatures in Middle-Earth. Tolkien has described her as the greatest of Elf women. She knows what is in the hearts of everyone she meets, as she helps the Fellowship by gifting them all with items to help on their journey.
But she also has the power to know what is in her own heart, as she too could succumb to the power of the One Ring. She had the power to merely demonstrate how imposing she would be with The One Ring before leaving the task of destroying it to Frodo.
3 Weakest: Wargs
Wargs were nothing more than beasts of burden for Goblins to ride out into battle with. The giant wolves were pack animals who could hunt on their own. But they also liked to align themselves or at least become domesticated by agents of Sauron such as Goblins.
Azog and his Orcs ride out on Wargs during The Hobbit movies. While they’re fearsome, they’re not much stronger than your average giant, scary dog. You know, if you had someone riding into battle on a big scary dog.
2 Powerful: Elrond
They are the oldest race in Middle-Earth. Proud warriors, proud people, the Elvish races of Middle-Earth. Lord Elrond is their King. One of the oldest elves in Middle-Earth, he bore witness to Isildur’s fall from grace.
But at his command, he sent an army of elves to Helm’s Deep to assist Aragorn and once again forge brotherhood with Men. He also has the gift of foresight, seeing how events could possibly unfold. Lastly, perhaps most importantly he reforged Narsil, Isildur’s sword which allowed Aragorn to control the army of the deceased.
1 Weakest: King Theoden
The noble King Of Rohan, Theoden was brought to his knees and brainwashed by a few choice words from Saruman via Grima Wormtongue. Through those words, Theoden became a decrepit old man with dementia who didn’t even realize his own son had perished in battle, or that he signed his nephew’s exile.
If Gandalf hadn’t intervened when he did to break Saruman’s spell, Rohan would have certainly fallen into Saruman’s grasp and Theoden would have been exactly as he thought Grima would have him; on all fours like a beast.