content by

Michael Witwer

The Bane of Banality: Frodo Baggins

In the world of fantasy and science fiction, we expect our protagonists to be men and women of action; people who make hard and risky choices with potentially dire consequences. And while we love heroic characters that can accomplish great feats of strength and agility, sometimes the best characters are ordinary people who find a way to overcome extraordinary circumstances. But if these characters become too ordinary—too inactive, flawed or encumbered by their plight—there is also a potential for us as readers to resent them for being so damn ordinary. Alas, I give you Frodo Baggins. Simply put, things happen to Frodo; Frodo doesn’t make things happen. He needs significant assistance or an outright bailout in virtually every situation. This, coupled with his increasingly whiny temperament, serves to remind us about how ordinary he truly is.

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