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Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring Member Endings Ranked

The nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring comprise the heart and soul of the Lord of the Rings story. The first part of the trilogy, which is literally named after the group of companions, follows the genesis of the company as they slowly band together and are unified by the singular task of destroying the One Ring. Over time, the Fellowship splinters, and the members split off, each going their separate ways. But even then, the story continues to revolve primarily around this group of heroes as they each play their own part in the unfolding War of the Ring. Eventually, they reunite after the Ring is destroyed and spend a brief stint slapping each other on the back before they all head home.

The question is, what happens after that? How does each member of the Fellowship fair after the story ends? We already know about Boromir's fate, and we see Frodo and Gandalf set sail into the West, but what about Aragorn, Legolas, Sam, and the rest of the crew? With this question burning in our thoughts, we decided to put some research into figuring out where each character finally ends up, and then rank each of their endings. We didn't use any one, specific indicator or factor for the comparison, but rather a general amalgam of happiness, heroism, and interesting facts surrounding how each character finishes their time in Middle-earth. Here are the results of our evaluation, lovingly ranked in order from worst to first.

Gandalf the White quietly goes home

First up on the list of endings is Gandalf the White. For a wizard who's always in the thick of things, the end of Gandalf's story is the epitome of the old saying "not with a bang, but with a whimper." By the time of The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf has been powerfully puttering around Middle-earth and involving himself in everyone's business for around 2,000 years. He gets particularly busy towards the end of the Third Age, at which point he helps to drive the Necromancer out of Mirkwood, sets the Quest of Erebor in motion, and sees the One Ring on its way to Mount Doom.

Once all of the action dies down and Aragorn becomes king, Gandalf enters a bit of an "early retirement" stage of his career. In the book The Return of the King, he travels with the four hobbit adventurers back to Bree and then splits off to visit the mysteriously jolly Tom Bombadil. Two years later, he hooks back up with the hobbits at the Grey Havens, where he boards a ship with Galadriel, Elrond, Frodo, and Bilbo, and then he heads into the West.

What's in the West? Why, the continent called the Blessed Realm, of course. This was Gandalf's original home, where he'd lived as the wise spirit Olórin before his incarnated wizarding days. Presumably upon his return, Gandalf — the only one of the wizards to succeed in their collective quest to help overthrow Sauron — shed his old man body and settled back down into a quiet, comfortable, and well-deserved heavenly retirement.

Meriadoc becomes magnificent

At the end of The Lord of the Rings, good ol' Merry initially settles down with Pippin in a bachelor pad in his homeland of Buckland, a hobbit colony on the edge of the Shire. Eventually, he inherits the title of "master of Buckland" from his father, and he becomes known as "Meriadoc the Magnificent." Evidently impressed with the nominal leader of Buckland, Aragorn makes Merry a counsellor of the North-kingdom (the northern half of his dominion).

Merry also plays the part of the historian, traveling around gathering information and then writing down gobs of Middle-earth info. This includes a manuscript on pipe-weed called "Herblore of the Shire," a portion of which can be found in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring. Much of his writings also end up finding their way into the Red Book of Westmarch, the manuscript that Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam are seen working on in The Lord of the Rings.

Plus, the hobbit lordling continues on as a rider of Rohan — a position that he retains after swearing allegiance to Théoden during the War of the Ring. He remains Éomer's faithful servant-from-afar for decades until, shortly after cracking the century mark, he travels with Pippin down to Rohan where he witnesses the passing of the king. He then continues on to Gondor, where he spends the remaining years of his life. When Aragorn and Pippin eventually follow him into the grave, Merry's body is laid to rest beside his previous Fellowship partners.

Pippin stays Tookish to the end

During the War of the Ring, Pippin swears fealty to Denethor, and like Merry in Rohan, he retains his status as a knight of Gondor after the war ends. This makes him one of Aragorn's soldiers, and the king also makes him an official counsellor of the North-kingdom as well.

As far as his life in the Shire goes, Pippin inherits his father's title of "thain of the Shire" and becomes the leader of the Tooks. He also gets married and has a son named Faramir. While not a historian like Merry — or really a writer at all — Pippin does create a giant library where he collects various manuscripts that become pivotal in maintaining the legacy of the War of the Ring.

At the ripe old age of 94, Pippin retires from half a century as the thain and joins his lifelong friend Merry as they head south to visit Éomer before he dies. From there, the pair head to Gondor where Pippin eventually dies, as well, bringing an end to a long and happy life primarily spent split between his duties in the Shire and Gondor. Along with Aragorn, the Fellowship members are officially laid to rest in the tombs of the kings and stewards of Gondor, called Rath Dínen. This is the same area where Denethor attempts to burn Faramir and himself alive during The Return of the King.

Legolas can't resist the call into the West

Though a royal prince of the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood, an immortal elf, and a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, Legolas' backstory is never fully fleshed out by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. When it comes to the elf's later life, though, there's a bit more information to be had, and like most of the elves of Middle-earth, it's a slow, sad business.

See, sooner or later, most of the elves heed the call to head to the Blessed Realm, as is the case with Galadriel, Elrond, and eventually Legolas himself. However, the princeling doesn't scamper off to nab a spot on a ship as soon as the War of the Ring wraps up. First, he links up with his new best bud Gimli for a few post-story adventures. The pair of heroes visit the Glittering Caves of Aglarond in Rohan, as well as the ents in Fangorn Forest on their way home.

Not one to sit still for long, soon after arriving back in Mirkwood, Legolas gathers up some of his people and heads back to Gondor. There, they move into the garden-like land of Ithilien, where Frodo and Sam had originally bumped into Faramir. In The Return of the King, it says that at this point, the area of Ithilien "became once again the fairest country in all the westlands." Even here, though, Legolas cannot find rest, and after Aragorn dies, Legolas literally builds a ship and then sets sail for the Blessed Realm, with none other than his bestie Gimli by his side.

Glittering Gimli gets to see Galadriel again

Gimli is a sturdy young dwarf during the War of the Ring, coming in at a youthful 140 years old. This gives him plenty of life to live after the war, and he puts it to good use. First, he embarks with Legolas on their two-part trip through the Glittering Caves of Aglarond and Fangorn Forest. While the axe-bearer is hardly thrilled about traveling through the ent's home turf, the visit to the Glittering Caves is particularly near and dear to his heart.

Why? Well, at one point during the Battle of Helm's Deep, Gimli is forced into these very same caves for a bit, and he's smitten by their jaw-dropping beauty. His description of them is so compelling that it's precisely what convinces Legolas to initially suggest that they visit the spot on their way home. Gimli is so taken with the natural beauty of the caves that he eventually returns there with other dwarves and sets up a colony, becoming the "lord of the Glittering Caves" in the process — because all of these guys need to be lords or masters or kings at some point, right?

Interestingly, this isn't Gimli's last stop. After Aragorn dies, it's recorded that Gimli obtains the singular permission to travel with Legolas to the Blessed Realm. His motivation? To see Galadriel one more time. The best part? The elven queen is probably the one who got the dwarf the unique permission to come to the elvish land in the first place.

Frodo heads into the West

Frodo is one of the most underrated characters in all of The Lord of the Rings. His portrayal on the silver screen left many scratching their heads at the weak and underwhelming impression that Elijah Wood — er, Mr. Baggins — gave as he tramped across Middle-earth and was eventually practically dragged by the collar through Mordor by Sam.

The truth is, though, off-camera, the quietly strong Fellowship member ends up fighting arguably the biggest struggle of the entire story. While the rest of the Fellowship takes on armies of orcs, trolls, and the Ringwraiths, Frodo has a months-long, knock-down, drag-out competition with the extremely powerful One Ring itself. The Ring is imbued with a ton of Sauron's power, and Frodo's primary victory is the simple fact that he's actually able to get to Mount Doom in the first place without fully claiming the Ring for himself along the way.

Why point all of this out? Because Frodo's long-term encounter with the Ring is what sets up his ending. After the War of the Ring, Frodo spends time writing down the story, and then, plagued by the memories of old wounds and feeling like butter scraped over too much bread, the hobbit sets sail for the Blessed Realm in search of a place to finally receive healing and rest. Whether he dies soon after getting there or lives a long, happy life in the immortal country, Frodo finally finds peace at the end of his long road.

Boromir's ending is too epic to ignore

Now we've come to the first character of the Fellowship who actually meets his doom during the War of the Ring itself. Boromir is the heir of the steward of Gondor and one of the best warriors in the entire group. He arrives in Rivendell initially seeking answers to a prophetic dream, attends the Council of Elrond, and before he knows it, finds himself joining the ranks of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Throughout their initial journey, Boromir serves as a critical source of muscle — particularly helping the group avoid getting buried in snow in the mountains and keeping the orcs and goblins at bay in Moria. After that, though, the hero begins to start showing some concerning signs. Specifically, as The Fellowship of the Ring draws toward a close, Boromir begins to cave in to the lure of the One Ring. Eventually, he tries to take it from Frodo, who escapes him and heads off toward Mordor with Sam by his side.

While Boromir's actions technically lead to the breaking of the Fellowship, the hero ultimately gets a redemptive ending, and it's as heroic as they come. The son of Denethor repents of his misdeeds and arrives back on the scene in time to find Merry and Pippin being carried off by a pack of pursuing uruk-hai. He proceeds to bravely defend his friends single-handedly ... until he's shot full of arrows and overwhelmed, compensating for his previous betrayal with an ending that, at the least, is worth a song.

Gandalf the Grey's ending is absolutely insane

Typically when you're talking about character endings, everyone only shows up on the list once. However, we've decided to make an exception to that rule in the form of Gandalf the Grey. While Gandalf the White has a fairly mundane ending to his story, the Grey iteration of the wizard literally goes down in flames.

After millennia of orchestrating the resistance to Sauron, Gandalf the Grey finds himself swept up in the events of the War of the Ring. Never one to shrink from a challenge, he identifies the One Ring, sends Frodo on his way, uncovers Saruman's treachery, and then becomes, hands down, the most powerful member of the Fellowship of the Ring.

As Gandalf leads the company south toward Mordor, they eventually enter Moria at the wizard's own peril. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn even presciently warns him before they pass into the mines that "if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!" Sure enough, before they get through the abandoned subterranean kingdom, the group is attacked by orcs, trolls ... and the Balrog. Gandalf resists the demon on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and plunges along with the villain into the deeps below. The pair fall to the deepest depths of the mountain, climb back up to its peak, and there, amongst the clouds, Gandalf finally kills his enemy. At this point, though not technically dead or even defeated, the character goes through a bit of a rebirth, returning to Middle-earth as Gandalf the White.

Samwise Gamgee gets it all

Of all the characters in The Lord of the Rings, Samwise Gamgee has one of the most complete and content endings that you could ever wish for. After he sadly bids his master goodbye at the Grey Havens, Sam returns home and inherits Bag End where he settles down with his wife, Rosie, and the two lovebirds proceed to have a whopping 13 children. Amongst the brood are four sons named Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Bilbo.

Sam also proceeds to be elected as the mayor of the Shire — a position that, unlike Merry and Pippin's, is not hereditary — for a seriously impressive seven consecutive seven-year terms. Aragorn also makes Sam a counsellor of the North-kingdom along with Merry and Pippin, and his daughter Elanor becomes Queen Arwen's maid of honor.

After over 60 years of marriage, Rosie passes away, and much like Bilbo long before, Samwise decides that the time has come for another journey. He leaves Bag End and heads to the Grey Havens, where he becomes the last of the Ring-bearers to board a ship and head over the sea to the Blessed Realm. From a very fulfilling family life to his time spent in the public spotlight to his final retirement into the West, Sam's ending is so complete that there's only one member of the Fellowship that can claim to have a better one.

Aragorn ends on his own terms

Here we are, at the end of all things, with but one member of the Fellowship still standing. Aragorn's ending is both epic and peaceful all at the same time, which is why he lands the top spot in the rankings. After the War of the Ring, Aragorn becomes the king of the reunited kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor (that's the "North-kingdom" that keeps coming up"). Aragorn proceeds to rule for an impressive 120 years, at which point his son inherits the throne. But Aragorn doesn't die in order for this to happen — not in a traditional sense, at least.

In the appendix of The Return of the King, it explains that Aragorn "felt the approach of old age and knew that the span of his life-days was drawing to an end." Giving his son his crown and scepter, Aragorn then goes to his prepared place of rest in the tombs of Rath Dínen and lies down to surrender his life willingly. A distraught Arwen protests, but he pushes back, declaring that if he doesn't go now, he "must soon go perforce." He later adds that he must give back the gift of his long life — which was triple that of the average man — before he withers and falls from his throne "unmanned and witless." His final words are, "In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory. Farewell!" It's a graceful ending to a well-lived life.