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Pippin’s Heroic Journey In The Lord Of The Rings Essay, Research Paper

The Heroic Journey of Peregrine Took

The trilogy of the Lord of the Rings includes the Heroic Journey of many characters. The most prominently known of these characters is Frodo Baggins. He is not alone, however, as his hobbit friends each go on individual journeys with him. When discussing heroic journeys within the Lord of the Rings, most people instantly will say “Sam!” Not many of those people ever think that Pippin, or Peregrine Took, also goes on a Heroic Journey of his own, but he does. Pippin does not go through a complete journey, but does go through many aspects of the Heroic Archetype. He goes through multiple challenges; one of the more notable challenges is when he saves Merry and himself from the Orcs that captured them. Pippin’s atonement helps many people complete astounding things. His return to the Shire helps save it more quickly and with fewer lives lost than otherwise would have been, had Pippin not been with them.

Pippin’s call to adventure is relatively simple, compared with Frodo’s call. Pippin is spurred to go on this journey by his pure love and concern for Frodo. While Pippin knows Sam Gamgee, Frodo’s primary helper, will do everything in his ability to help, he also says, “Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon’s throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet; but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure” (I, 137).+ This sentence shows that he truly does care about Frodo, and will help him any way possible, but it also shows just how na ve he is. He calls it a “dangerous adventure.” He realizes it is dangerous, as he has heard enough about the Ring to realize that, but he also calls it an adventure. The word adventure usually has an uplifting, almost a game-like tone to it. It appears as though that is the way he is using the term. The hero in the beginning of the journey usually sounds childish, as Pippin does here.

There are two thresholds in Pippin’s journey. In essence, the first is a literal threshold. When he crosses the hedge out of Buckland into the Old Forest, he is crossing from the known (the Shire) into the unknown. He has never been into the Old Forest, nor has he ever been anywhere past. Pippin is still very ignorant, as is demonstrated with this conversation between himself and Merry: ‘”There!” said Merry. You have left the Shire, and are now outside, and on the edge of the Old Forest.” “Are all the stories about it true?” asked Pippin’ (I, 144). The second threshold is less obvious, but more definite. At Rivendell, Pippin and Merry insist on going with Frodo on the journey to Mount Doom. This is Pippin’s last chance to turn around, and not go on this treacherous expedition, yet he chooses to go on to help Frodo.

The threshold guardians for Pippin do not enter the story until the second threshold at Rivendell. Elrond is set against letting Pippin and Merry go with Frodo, but Gandalf convinces him to let Merry go, at least. Pippin then threatens him with: ‘”Then Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack For otherwise I shall follow the Company”‘ (I, 331). At that, Elrond realizes it is futile to argue with Pippin, since he has already made up his mind, and allows Pippin to join the Company.

In a normal Heroic Journey, the hero has a mentor, but Pippin does not really have one. Frodo serves as one, in a sense, as he advises Pippin until they are separated. Pippin also does not have any real helpers in his journey. This is probably because in Frodo’s journey, Pippin is a helper. He and Merry do help each other, so one could call them each other’s helpers.

The two things Pippin does have an abundance of in the Heroic Journey are challenges and temptations. He goes through many challenges when he and Merry are captured by Orcs after the Company is attacked by the Rauros. The first major challenge comes soon after they are captured. During one of the many fights the Orcs have together, the Orcs kill a guard, who lands on Pippin. The guard is strongly gripping a sword, which Pippin takes advantage of by cutting the bonds on his wrists. He then ties them, and puts them back on loosely for later use. He is obviously growing up here, as we can see he is planning ahead. Soon after this happens, Pippin and Merry are forced to march with the Orcs. Pippin sees an opportunity to jump out of line, and does. He leaves a noticeable group of markings on the ground, outside of the Orcs’ well-beaten trail of iron shoe marks, as well as leaving the elven brooch he receives in L rien. He leaves it for Aragorn, or whoever may look for them, to find and know they are on the right track for locating them.

The third challenge is still with the Orcs. The Men of Rohan are attacking the Orcs, when the Orc, Grishnakh, comes over to the side where Merry and Pippin are. When he starts patting them and asking strange questions, Pippin quickly realizes that he is looking for the Ring. Merry does not realize this, so Pippin gets the message to him by making the sound gollum, gollum, and saying, “Nothing, my precious” when Grishnakh asks what he is talking about (II, 69). From that, Merry understands, and helps him manipulate Grishnakh into taking them to the side of the battle area. Grishnakh complies, and by good fortune or fate, is killed. Pippin and Merry are left unguarded. Merry does not know what to do next, but Pippin does. Pippin takes off the wrist bonds that he had cut previously, and takes Grishnakh’s knife, as his sword is too large, and cuts the rest of his and Merry’s bonds.

Pippin never truly has an actual abyss that is completely identifiable. The closest he comes to it is when he is with the Orcs. He says soon after they are captured, “What good have I been? Just a nuisance: a passenger, a piece of luggage I hope Strider or someone will come and claim us! But ought I hope for it? Won’t that throw out all the plans? I wish I could get free” (II, 56). Pippin sounds quite depressed here, and for that reason, this qualifies as part of his abyss. Only part of his abyss, however, because he is still going through challenges even after this event. His abyss continues into part of his transformation.

After he is free of the Orcs, and is in Isengard with Treebeard, Gandalf and the rest of the Company come. He goes with Gandalf up to Orthanc where Saruman is. When Wormtongue throws the palantir, he picks it up and looks at it. Because of that he is drawn to it later that night. While Gandalf is sleeping, he succumbs to the temptation of looking in the palantir again, and takes it. This time Sauron sees him. When Gandalf wakes up and sees Pippin with the palantir, he notices that Pippin does not have the self control to ignore it, so he separates them by giving it to Aragorn and taking Pippin with himself to Gondor.

Pippin’s transformation begins in Minas Tirith right after his failure to ignore the calling of the palantir. Before this transformation, Pippin would have sworn loyalty and service to the Lord Denethor out of simple gratefulness for his son Boromir trying to save him and Merry from the Orcs where the Company split up. But now, during his transformation, he not only does it because of that; he also does it because he thinks it is the best thing to do at the present time. Denethor is unsure of Pippin the hobbit, so Pippin convinces him of his sincerity the only way he can: service for Minas Tirith. He knows that he will be of use and able to work towards the defeat of Sauron inside Gondor by helping them defend against Sauron’s attacks.

Pippin’s atonement starts soon after he swears allegiance to Denethor. Denethor’s only remaining son, Faramir, has just been wounded, and Denethor has given up hope that he will ever recover, so he goes into a room with Faramir and demands his servants bring him wood, oil, and fire. Pippin tells those servants when they leave not to listen to Lord Denethor. He also finds Beregond, who has befriended Pippin, and asks him to prevent the servants from giving Denethor any of the supplies he asked for, while Pippin finds Gandalf. Because of this, Pippin indirectly saves Faramir’s life.

After they drive off Sauron’s immediate force at Gondor, Pippin goes with the army of the West to the Black Gates of Mordor. Here is where he finally finishes making up for every less than intelligent thing he has ever done, whether it be on this journey or not. Pippin loses all hope of coming through the war against Sauron alive when he hears Gandalf reject the terms of Sauron’s messenger. When he hears Gandalf reject them, he thinks, ‘” and since die we must, why not? But now I must do my best”‘ (III, 186). Due to his changed way of thinking, Pippin does not hold back when the battle starts. Beregond is fighting next to Pippin when a troll attacks him. To prevent the troll from killing the fallen Beregond, Pippin stabs it. He blacks out from the act, as Merry blacked out from killing the Nazgul. At that, he completes the final stages of the journey before he returns to the Shire.

Once Pippin and the rest of the original company are close to the Shire, they feel as though they are just waking up from a dream, due to the numerous trials they have been through, to Pippin, Merry, and Sam. Gandalf warns them that there is still trouble ahead, and that the Shire is different but he tells them, “You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you” (III, 307). Pippin truly has grown up, because he is not na ve whatsoever anymore. He knows that any delays may hurt, and rushes to get all the Tooks in the Shire to fight in Hobbiton when it is decided. He comes back leading them just in time. Without him, many more lives of hobbits would have been lost, and it would have taken much longer to win back the Shire from the gang of Saruman’s men. The Shire-historians make a Roll of all who take place in this battle, and they name Pippin and Merry at the very top of it as captains, saying that Pippin truly helps the Shire return to what it should be.

Without a doubt, Pippin is one of the most important characters in The Lord of the Rings. As an added bonus of helping save Middle-earth from absolute destruction and slavery, he is able to go on his own Heroic Journey, and learn much about himself, and the world around him. Had he stayed in the Shire, he would not have been able to do these wonderful things. Pippin also saved Merry’s life. It is doubtful Merry would have escaped from the Orcs without Pippin’s help. This event alone would have caused several other people to die, and several other things not to die. Peregrine Took is consequently one of the most amazing heroes in this trilogy of literature.

1. All quotes taken from the Lord of the Rings, Ballantine Books, 1982

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