Document Type

Unpublished Paper

Publication Date

Fall 2015


Attempting to fight Sauron without the Ring of Power is, of course, fruitless. Nearly all the characters in the Lord of the Rings understand this. While many readers debate the reasoning and logic behind sending Frodo and Sam alone into Mordor, few debate the reasoning for each specific race of Middle Earth to become involved in the fight against Sauron. Given Sauron’s impeccability and resilience, any non-destruction-of-the-Ring attempt at defeating Sauron must categorically be deemed infeasible. It fails logic then that, with a few exceptions, each race that the reader encounters in the Lord of the Rings finds it necessary to commit themselves to the War of the Ring. Yet, each race does band together. Each race conceivably moves beyond its own self-interest to fight Sauron and the forces of evil and, ultimately, each race succeeds. For what reason however should the reader or viewer understand such decisions to be logical or wise? How can any casual observer be convinced that leaders would choose such an action again? J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films both imply different reasons with which we can evaluate these groups’ decisions. This paper will evaluate the responses from both the books and the films. To evaluate the different responses and the reasons for such differences, this paper will look at case studies of both races that do choose to fight Sauron. Each case comparison will be analyzed in light of both books and movies. Further, the collective action problem that is fighting Sauron will be defined. Ultimately, the different case responses come as a result of the different contexts and reasons in which each medium was made.


A poster and paper completed for English 4610.