If you resided in Middle Earth during the Third Age,* which of the major characters might you have been? Boromir,** Pippin, or perhaps Gandalf himself?
And, we’re only talking about the “good guys and gals.” We’ll have no one identifying with villains like Saruman, the Nazgûl ringwraiths or Grima Wormtongue here at Mere Inkling!
In a moment, I’ll help you answer that question.
Unfortunately, the internet abounds with time-consuming black holes. Pouring minutes and hours of our lives into the abyss of mindless videos or addictive games is the sad result.
Some entertaining diversions, however, possess merit. Case in point, an analysis of the leaders of Lord of the Rings, arranged according to their personality types.
Visiting a website such as this is not only fun, it offers insight into human differences. And, for the unwary, it may even reveal some new insights into our own nature.
I believe in the general validity of the best known personality inventory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I have posted in the past about C.S. Lewis’ (likely) personality type being an INFP. That appropriately identifies him with none other than Frodo, “the idealist.”
My own type is ENTJ, which matches with King Théoden above. As I age, however, I am finding myself less extraverted and more desirous of solitude. That means I am progressively becoming an INTJ, and that aligns me with Elrond. Frankly, both of the characterizations suit me quite well.
A person’s type is determined by which of four polarities is dominant.
If you don’t know your type, and have the time to take an online assessment now, you can do so for free here.
You don’t need to do it to enjoy the Lord of the Rings chart though. So, which are Middle Earth leader are you? Find out here.
A Note of Caution
While instructive, tools such as this should never be used to put people into boxes (which is ironic, since the MBTI is graphically presented in that fashion).
The last thing we need is someone thinking they are defined by a psychological instrument such as this. After all, today’s Gimli may just well be tomorrow’s Bilbo.
* The complete timeline of Middle Earth is available here.
** I have written in the past about the hero Boromir.
29 thoughts on “Life in Middle Earth”
I am Arwen, the Inspirer (ENFP). This certainly works for me. Although, I, too, am becoming more I than E as I grow older.
What a wonderfully appropriate type for an educator!
Interesting! Apparently I’m a Galadriel then, though I completely agree our personalities are evolving – and so too did the characters from the LOTR evolve. Frodo for example seemed less of an idealist by the end, there was a resigned determination but also quite a bit of despair – where would that place him? I liked Gandalf’s personality description, that sums him up well!
That’s true… they did change, and not just by “maturing.” Their journey left them indelibly different.
As to your question about Frodo… he did lose much of that idealism, didn’t he? I suppose he drifted over into the philosopher category with his mentor Gandalf. That would fit him well as he sailed to the Undying Lands.
I’m an ENTJ too. I think the best book on that system is “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You” by two of the people who helped develop the MBTI. It has charts in which you can look up someone’s demeanor, and their pet peeves, and find out what they are probably thinking. It helped me understand people much better. Apparently, feelers feel the same way about facts as thinkers do about feelings — they have them but aren’t comfortable relying on them. It also tells you how you appear to people who are different.
“…tells you how you appear to people who are different…”
That’s right. It’s invaluable to know that we ENTJs need to be wary of others (mis)perceiving us as:
> > Know-It-Alls…
Oh, and the list could be extended, but this is probably sufficient.
I’m not obstinate, I’ve just seen what happens when I fail to hold my ground. I’m not pushy, I’ve just been given the runaround too often. I’m not insensitive, I just don’t read minds. I’m not critical, except when it’s too good to pass up. That just happens a lot. I’m not rigid, I think I compromise more than most people, they just don’t remember what my starting point was. I’m not inflexible, I’m actually extremely adaptable, but when I know someone is trying to play me with an appeal to flexibility or curiosity I want to know their true intentions. I’m not a know-it-all, I’m a know-what-I-know. When I don’t know something, I generally admit it. If the other person also doesn’t know, however, I go find out who does, instead of assuming the question is unanswerable.
That good. If you’re not perceived by others as any of those things perhaps you’re not really ENTJ?
By the way, I share all of your self-descriptions there.
Lo, I am Faramir (ENFJ) and no truer words could be spoken of me. Fascinating post. Nicely done. Helpful for all.
P.S. I read the weaknesses of the ENFJ and wholeheartedly that is me as well. 😐 Trying to achieve balance—ever the human struggle. But defining them as this helps to achieve that.
Faramir is a wonderful hero, and ENFJs offer wonderful attributes to their family, team or community. Yes, we all have the flip side of our personality coins though, don’t we? This all makes me wonder what our personalities will be like in heaven… without the negative aspects. We will be, for the first time ever, our true selves. And that will certainly be a sight to see!
Haha, I was relieved to be Faramir. One of my favorites to be sure. The closer I get to heaven, may I exemplify the strengths even more. I’ve learned to overcome many of the weaknesses but here on earth it’s still a process. It’s a wondrous thought to ponder that we will be our true selves in heaven. May it be so!
All the types have a dark side and a light side. None are better than others. I have looked at personality forums and was turned off by the general attitude of putting other types down. That’s why I like “I’m Not Crazy.” It shows how someone who sees me as pushy comes to that conclusion, when I feel it’s agonizing to watch some people shy away from making decisions. Like trying to go to a mall on a bus with someone who is apparently willing to miss four buses while discussing every possible way to get there, so we have to wait for a second round of buses, and the person then wanders away and pays attention to a third party, who may or may not want to talk all day, while I designed my day off around this trip. If I give an ultimatum — “We’re getting on the next Number 55 or I’m going without you” — the other person gets hurt feelings for, apparently, the rest of their life. I just want to go to the mall, and I just happen to have been in this space-time continuum long enough to know my time is limited on earth. I just want to know if we’re going or not while I can still salvage my day off. There is nothing personal about it. I was going to see the whole mall and get the three best bargains by five pm. One was going to be a gift for the person who went with me. They missed it. I don’t feel responsible for their hurt feelings at all. However, I do get concerned and curious about why they did that in the first place and what they took offense at. That’s why type theory is interesting to me.
What a frustrating experience.
As for people who wrongly suggest different types are better or worse than others… they simply don’t understand. It reminds me of a Roman Catholic priest I worked with in the chaplaincy who was reluctant to take the MBTI as a staff since he said, “our boss will try to use it against me.”
I said, “that’s absurd. That isn’t what the inventory is about.” But, to skip a long story, he was right. Our supervising chaplain, from a fringe religious body, did not like this priest (probably because the priest was beloved by the people on the base), and I heard him on one or two occasions refer to his MBTI in a negative way. The one that first comes to mind is: “he’s so extraverted that he can’t keep his mouth shut.”
I can just see the irony settling slowly all around his feet.
I’m INTJ, so I would be Elrond. I can handle that.
That’s great company. Much better than “Agent Smith” would be…
No, I don’t think it would be pleasant to be with Agent Smith.
This post made me laugh. I’ve forgotten so will have to bounce over and see who/what I am today. Sometimes sorting and grouping is surprising….is this one better than that sorting hat in Harry Potter ?(giggles)
In response to your question, I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone describe Myers-Briggs as magic. That said, I can’t attest to which is more accurate.
OK apparently I’m Gandalf.
Definitely better than Gollum…
What can I say beyond, geegolly?
When I first took a Myers-Briggs test, I was deemed an Elrond, INTJ. A few years and a mental/spiritual crisis later, I tested as a Galadriel, INFJ. I’m happy with both of these, though I am a little sad to be an Elf and not a Dwarf or a Hobbit. ;)
“While instructive, tools such as this should never be used to put people into boxes (which is ironic, since the MBTI is graphically presented in that fashion).
The last thing we need is someone thinking they are defined by a psychological instrument such as this. After all, today’s Gimli may just well be tomorrow’s Bilbo.”
Absofrigginloutly. It’s a tool, and as Lewis would say, no doubt, if it doesn’t help, cast it aside.
I believe that if, in your heart, you’re a hobbit or dwarf that they would respect that and grant you honorary status. I don’t know enough about the inventory to understand the dynamics of a T>P shift. As you say, it followed a crisis. Those episodes surely precipitate many transitions in our lives, don’t they?
Yes, yes they do.
The crisis was simple enough, on the face of it (though anything but simple to go through). I pushed my ability to reason to its limits and found that, instead of answers, I had a blind choice. Prior to that, I held up logic as the only true guide to life, a false god I suppose, and felt that emotional people were completely irrational. I now believe that there is more than one way of knowing/learning/reasoning, and it’s best to use them all in their right contexts.
In those terms, the shift makes sense. I’m not super strong in any of the scales except “I/E”, though. Apparently there is very little of the extrovert in me. :/
Logic as an idol… yes, we human beings can make anything into an object of worship, can’t we?
There certainly are different contexts where different approaches to problem-solving, etc. demand to be applied.
Pingback: C.S. Lewis’ Personality « Mere Inkling