Lord of the Rings vs. Hobbit

Patrick Compton judges how well different aspects of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are exhibited in each movie.

Courtesy Photo

Patrick Compton judges how well different aspects of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are exhibited in each movie.

Patrick Compton, Staff Reporter

The final film in The Hobbit Trilogy has recently been released and now that the series is over, audiences can compare both this trilogy and it’s predecessor, The Lord of the Rings. Which is exactly what we are doing here, both films will be compared based on these 5 categories, protagonists, villains, supporting characters, effects and stories. With that said let’s begin with the protagonists.


Protagonists: Frodo Vs. Bilbo

Both of these characters are played by fantastic actors. Like most great film characters, if you were to mention either of the names of these two hobbits to anyone, they’re most likely going to know who you’re talking about. But we’re here to decide which is superior, as tough as it is. Frodo is a kind-hearted, persistent hero who the audience can relate to and enjoy watching. Bilbo is a little more of a rebellious character (he is a thief after all.) The big difference however is that while Bilbo is able to find his own way out of a situation when he needs to, Frodo for the most part cannot. Bilbo isn’t afraid to rush into battle or make a plan to help his friends out of a sticky situation. Frodo however constantly needs the help of the other characters while he himself never has a moment of strength aside from saving Sam from Gollum. Point goes to The Hobbit for the superior protagonist.


Supporting characters:

Of course with grand epics like these you are going to be supplied with plenty of supporting characters. Let’s start with Lord of the Rings, here we have Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, Boromir and of course Gollum. All great characters for the ages that many people hold dear. That is a tough act to follow but The Hobbit followed up quite nicely with the return of favorites like Gandalf and Gollum as well as the welcome additions of Thorin, Thranduil and Bard. These particular characters all have their great qualities and are very enjoyable to watch. But there is a problem, they aren’t the ones we spend the most time with. In Lord of the Rings we got to know and care about nearly all of the supporting characters. While in The Hobbit it just focuses on a select few with a bunch of dwarves who honestly seem to only be there because they were in the book. Both casts are good but Lord of the Rings just has a few more great characters.


Villains: Saruman and Sauron Vs. Azog and Smaug

While these trilogies feature a very large number of villains, to keep it simple we’re just going to focus on the main two baddies for both series. We’ll start with the right hand man to the lord of all evil, Saruman. Thanks to Christopher Lee’s performance and the power he posses that is greater than that of Gandalf, Saruman is wonderfully devious wizard of Middle Earth who never ceases to make the audience love to hate him. Azog however leaves a lot to be desired. While his relationship with Thorin is interesting, Azog seems to constantly be overshadowed by everything else going on around him. This results in the audience losing interest in him fast. Now the main villains are a different story. Sauron is one the most famous villains when it comes to recent film, like Voldemort or Agent Smith. He serves as the big, powerful threat for our heroes to go against perfectly and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. He seems like the obvious choice as the superior villain, that is if The Hobbit didn’t give us Smaug the Dragon. He isn’t revealed until the last act of the second film but with the way he is built up and feared by the characters captures the viewer quickly and when he does appear he not only lives up to the hype but he surpasses it. Unlike Sauron who just kills his enemies and is done with it, Smaug is a conniving, manipulative and prideful lizard who before he roasts his enemies is going to get everything he can out of them and have them make sure they’re beaten. Even after he’s gone his evil lives on and in the end he gets the last laugh. Sauron will always be classic but Smaug is superior in almost every way. This point goes to The Hobbit.



This is an obvious choice and is honestly a little unfair but there is still something to be said about the special effects of both films. The Hobbit’s C.G.I effects are a spectacle to be seen with brilliant creations like Smaug and the five armies and obviously they would look better than Lord of the Rings’ C.G.I since The Hobbit came out nearly a decade later. Lord of the Rings however did not rely on C.G.I but instead a mixture of practical sets and makeup with C.G.I and the result is revolutionary for the time and still great today and shows that with the right balance these two very different forms of effects can make something truly fantastic. Although The Hobbit wins Lord of the Rings’ effects should not go unappreciated.



Now for possibly the most important aspect of any film, the story. This is a very simple choice because while both trilogies are a great watch for a marathon, to put it simply one was already trilogy while the other was one book stretched out into three films. The Hobbit is a very large story and probably does warrant two films, three films seems to be stretching it a little bit. While for Lord of the Rings this structure flowed naturally, The Hobbit seems to have a lot of moments that slow the story down for the sake of set up, the entire third film is pretty much the third act of a story stretched out into a whole film. Both are excellent to watch but Lord of the Rings just seems to feel more coherent and natural.


Final Scores:

The Hobbit: 3 points. Protagonist, Villains and Effects.

Lord of the Rings: 2 points. Supporting characters and Story.