30 Lord of the Rings Most Powerful Characters in Middle-Earth (Ranked)

30 Most Powerful Lord of the Rings Characters in Middle-Earth (Ranked)

There are many great beings and characters in the Lord of the Rings world of Middle-earth, and in this article, we will rank the most powerful of them. So which ones are the most powerful Lord of the Rings characters?

The most powerful Lord of the Rings character is a being named Eru Ilúvatar. Even though Tom Bombadil is the most powerful being in Lord of the Rings and is definitely shrouded with mystery, there are many more very interesting and strong characters in Middle-earth, and we are ranking them below.

Most Powerful Lord of the Rings Characters in Middle-Earth

30. Boromir


Boromir is a fictional character from the book The Lord of the Rings. He appears in the first two books of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers), and is mentioned in the last book, The Return of the King.

Boromir is portrayed as a brave and noble figure who passionately believes in the power of the kingdom, which can defend its people to the end. Boromir’s great endurance and physical strength, together with his strength and commanding personality, made him a widely known commander in the Gondor army: he was captain of the White Tower, and soon became Captain-General, also bearing the title of Grand Governor of the White Tower. He was also the heir to the position of Governor. Boromir led many successful raids against Sauron’s forces, before the trip to Rivendell, which brought him great respect in the eyes of his father Denethor.

29. Watcher in the Water

The Watcher in the Water was a horrifying and mysterious beast with many tentacles living in a stagnant pool or lake near the West-gate of Moria, which was described by J.R.R. Tolkien as “… a dark, still lake” created by the damming of the Sirannon river. The water had gradually grown deeper and crept closer to The Doors of Durin, leaving only a narrow walkway where once The High Road allowed traffic between Ost-in-Edhil and Khazad-dûm many years before the Second Age. Some said it was the creature itself who created the dam over many decades.

28. Mouth of Sauron

Mouth of Sauron: Who and What Was He, Who Plays Him, What did He Tell Gandalf and More

The Mouth of Sauron was a living man, the herald, and messenger of Sauron, the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr and one of the most devoted servants of Sauron at the time of the War of the Ring. His true name had been forgotten, even by himself.

A Man of great stature, the Mouth of Sauron was potentially the equal of the Dúnedain but had fallen into darkness. It is stated that “he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again”.

He had learned much sorcery during his time under Sauron and knew many of the Dark Lord’s plans. Being crueler than an Orc and cunning, he rose in power and favor. In any case, the Mouth had even forgotten his original name

27. Legolas

Legolas (pronounced [ˈlɛɡɔlas]) is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He is a Sindarin Elf of the Woodland Realm and one of the nine members of the Fellowship who set off to destroy the One Ring.

Commentators have noted that Legolas serves as a typical elf in the story, demonstrating more-than-human abilities such as seeing further than anyone else in Rohan and sensing the memory of a long-lost elvish civilization in the stones of Hollin.

In the movies he is shown much stronger than in books, we have ranked him here with his portrayal in books.

26. King of the Dead

The King of the Mountains, or later, the King of the Dead, was the ruler of the Oathbreakers.

He was the King of the Men of the Mountains, and when the Realms in Exile were founded, he met Isildur at Erech and swore his affiliation to Gondor on behalf of his people.

Then the time came when their former lord, Sauron arose again, and Isildur summoned them, but the Men of the Mountains were unwilling to turn against Sauron as they worshipped him during the Dark Years. Isildur cursed them for not fulfilling their oath, that there will be no other King after him, and they will never find rest until someone else calls for them.

His people dwindled and in the following centuries, the wraith of the King of the Dead was a terrifying rumor for the Men of Gondor south of the Mountains.

During the War of the Ring, Aragorn came to the Paths of the Dead as the Heir of Isildur and offered him to redeem themselves. On their way to Erech, people were scared of the news that the King of the Dead was out again, and defenders and foes alike fled away.

The Oathbreakers followed the Grey Company to Pelargir where they drove off the enemy. Having fulfilled their oath, the King of the Dead broke and threw down his spear, bowed to Aragorn, and turned away, as the Shadow Host vanished.

25. Witch-king of Angmar

The Witch-king of Angmar was the leader of the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths), and Sauron’s second-in-command during the Second and Third Ages. Once a king of Men, possibly of Númenórean heritage, he was corrupted by one of the nine Rings of Power that had been given to the lords of men, becoming a wraith in the service of Sauron.

After the first defeat of Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance, the Witch-king lay low for over a millennium but eventually reappeared to found the evil realm of Angmar, where he ruled for hundreds of years until the Númenórean line of kings of Arnor was brought to ruin. He returned to Mordor to facilitate Sauron’s return to power, took the Gondorian citadel of Minas Ithil, and refortified it as the fearful Minas Morgul and snuffed out the line of kings of Gondor too. He led Sauron’s armies in the War of the Ring, stabbed Frodo Baggins on Weathertop during the first months of Frodo’s venture out of the Shire to Rivendell, and at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields he besieged and broke the gates of Minas Tirith and killed King Théoden of Rohan.

Chief lieutenant and greatest servant to the Dark Lord across over four thousand years of Middle-earth history, he was a king, a mighty warrior, and an undying sorcerer of incomparable fear and dread. In his hour of triumph at the Pelennor however he was killed by the hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck and Éowyn, niece of Théoden, at the end of the War of the Ring.

24. Glorfindel

Who is Glorfindel, vs. Balrog, Was He in The Lord of the Rings movies and more

Glorfindel (S. “Golden Haired”, pron. [ɡlorˈfindel]) was one of the mightiest Elves of Middle-earth in the Third Age. He was distinctive because of his return to Middle-earth after death, acting as an emissary of the Valar, on a similar mission to the Istari who were to come several thousand years later.

Glorfindel was an elf of great beauty, power, wisdom, and moral courage. He was clearly loved by the people of Gondolin, who mourned his passing greatly. He acted most courageously during the Fall, his House being among those that suffered the greatest losses, and eventually giving his own life for the safety of Tuor and Idril, accomplishing the designs of the Valar, though it was said that he “would have defended them even had they been fugitives of any rank”. He was repentant of the rebellion of the Noldor and took no part in the Kinslaying. His acts in the Third Age also show great presence and authority, as does the very fact that he was sent as an emissary of the Valar.

23. Fingolfin

Fingolfin was a High King of the Noldor in Beleriand, eldest son of Finwë and Indis, younger brother of Findis, older brother of Írimë and Finarfin, and the younger half-brother of Fëanor. His wife was Anairë and his children were Fingon, Turgon, Aredhel, and Argon.

After defeating the Orcs in the Dagor Aglareb (“Glorious Battle”), Fingolfin maintained the Siege of Angband for nearly four hundred years. But the Siege was ended by the sudden assaults of Morgoth in the Dagor Bragollach (“Battle of Sudden Flame”), and many peoples of Beleriand fled. In the end Fingolfin rode to Angband alone to challenge Morgoth to single combat. Those who saw him thought Oromë himself had arrived; for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar.

In that vast shadow once of yore
Fingolfin stood: his shield he bore
with field of heaven’s blue and star
of crystal shining pale afar.
In overmastering wrath and hate
desperate he smote upon that gate,
the Gnomish king, there standing lone,
while endless fortresses of stone
engulfed the thin clear ringing keen
of silver horn and baldric green.

– Lay of Leithian, Canto XII, vv. 3538-3547

22. Aragorn

Aragorn is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium. He is one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn was a Ranger of the North, first introduced with the name Strider. He was eventually revealed to be the heir of Isildur, King of Gondor. He was a confidant of Gandalf and part of the quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron. He fell in love with the immortal elf Arwen, as told in The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen; her father, Elrond, forbade them to marry unless Aragorn became King of both Arnor and Gondor.

Aragorn led the Fellowship of the Ring following the loss of Gandalf in the Mines of Moria. When the Fellowship was broken, he tracked the hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took with the help of Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf to Fangorn Forest. He then fought in the battle at Helm’s Deep and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. After defeating Sauron’s forces in Gondor, he led an army of Gondor and Rohan against the Black Gate of Mordor, distracting Sauron’s attention and enabling Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee to destroy the One Ring. Aragorn was acclaimed as King by the people of Gondor, and crowned King of both Gondor and Arnor. He then married Arwen and ruled for 120 years.

Aragorn possessed Elven wisdom due to his childhood in Rivendell with Elrond and the foresight of the Dúnedain. He was also a skilled healer, notably with the plant Athelas (also known as Kingsfoil). He was also a mighty warrior and an unmatched commander; after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, he, Éomer, and Imrahil were said to be left unscathed, even though they had been in the thick of the fighting.

21. Gwaihir

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Gwaihir was descended from Thorondor, the greatest Eagle who ever lived. It was said that he and his brother Landroval aided Thorondor in rescuing Beren and Luthien from Angband.

At some point in his life, Gandalf the Grey saved him from a poisoned arrow.

Gwaihir had keen eyesight and was the swiftest of the Great Eagles. He was large and strong enough to carry a grown man, though not indefinitely.

20. Shelob

Shelob was a great Spider and the greatest offspring of Ungoliant, the primordial spider. In the Third Age she lived in Mordor and was known to feed indiscriminately, preying on the inhabitants. She was encountered by Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee in their quest to destroy the One Ring.

19. Treebeard

Treebeard, or Fangorn in Sindarin, is a fictional tree-giant character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novel. He is an Ent and is said by Gandalf to be “the oldest living thing that still walks beneath the Sun upon this Middle-earth.” He lives in the ancient Forest of Fangorn, to which he has given his name. It lies at the southern end of the Misty Mountains. He is described as being about 14 feet (4.5 m) in height, and in appearance similar to beech or oak.

18. Elrond

Elrond (Sindarin; IPA: “Star-Dome”) Half-elven, Lord of Rivendell, was one of the mighty Elf-rulers of old who lived in Middle-earth from the First Age to the beginning of the Fourth Age. He was the father of Arwen Undomiel, the eventual lover of Aragorn II Elessar.

Elrond was a skillful warrior in battle and had commanded various armies of the Free Peoples well, including the Last Alliance. He was just as effective at leadership and gave much wise counsel. He had the gift of foresight through which he could view lands and events far away from Rivendell.

He was also adept at healing others, though whether through medical knowledge or magic isn’t known. The latter may be more probable in that Elrond managed to cure a Morgul wound, something which is almost invariably fatal due to its association with dark sorcery.

While it is unknown just how powerful Elrond is compared to other Elf Lords, he certainly holds vast potential, being descended from the angelic Maia Melian and being the wielder of the ring of power Vilya. A notable demonstration includes Elrond summoning a great flood on the River Bruinen to sweep away the Nazgûl.

Elrond was also familiar with ósanwe, the skill of entering others’ minds. After the destruction of the One Ring Elrond communicated mentally with Galadriel and Gandalf on their return journey from Minas Tirith.

17. Melian

Melian the Maia was the wife of Elu Thingol, mother of Lúthien, and Queen of Doriath.

Melian served Vána and Estë. She was said to be akin to Yavanna the Valië. She is associated with songbirds, and it is said she taught nightingales how to sing and their music followed her paces. In Valinor, she dwelt in the gardens of Lórien tending its trees, and she was the most beautiful, wise and skilled in songs of the enchantment of all the people of Irmo. However, she journeyed often to Middle-earth for she loved the deep shadows of trees and forests.

16. Smaug

Smaug is a dragon and the main antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit, his treasure and the mountain he lives in being the goal of the quest. Powerful and fearsome, he invaded the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor 150 years prior to the events described in the novel. A group of thirteen dwarves mounted a quest to take the kingdom back, aided by the wizard Gandalf and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. In The Hobbit, Thorin describes Smaug as “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm”.

15. Blue Wizard – Alatar

Little is known about those two wizards, except they were two of the five Istari (two blue wizards, Radagast, Gandalf and Saruman), that arrived in Middle-Earth together. They were sent to Middle-Earth to help fight against Sauron.

There names are also not so certain, but it was mentioned that they where called Alatar and Pallando. It is not much known about them, but it is said that they got their names because of the color of clothes they where wearing.

We can’t say which one of them is stronger, we just ranked those two alphabetically.

14. Blue Wizard – Pallando

Unlike the other three wizards, these two blue ones were sent to resists Sauron in the East, while others were sent West. We don’t know almost anything about their journey, except that they failed miserably.

We find that from Unfinished Tales when Tolkien wrote that, “indeed of all the Istari, one only remained faithful.” He of course thinks about Gandalf.

13. Radagast The Brown

Radagast the Brown (Aiwendil, a Maia of Yavanna) also failed in his mission. It is widely believed that his failure is not as severe as that of Saruman or that of the Blue Wizards.

Radagast, the fourth Istari, fell in love with the beasts and birds of Middle Earth and forgot the elves and the humans. He resided in Rhozgobel, in the southern part of Mirkwood, and spent his days caring for wild, forest creatures.

He certainly never became evil even though his birds brought information to Saruman the White as the supreme wizard of their order, which he used for treason. The eternal accuracy and intelligence of the Gwaihir Eagles was probably the merit of Radagast.

It is not known what happened to Radagast after the end of the Third Age, but it is assumed that he was allowed to return to Valinor after the War of the Ring. He was clearly powerful, but not as much as some other most powerful wizards on this list.

12. Balrog

Balrogs, also known as the Valaraukar, were Maiar that were seduced and corrupted by Melkor into his service.

Originally, in unrecorded ancient times, the Balrogs were fiery Maiar that were persuaded by Melkor’s might and splendor to join his cause. Their first dwelling was in Utumno, but after their master’s defeat during the War for Sake of the Elves, the Balrogs and other creatures in Melkor’s service escaped and went to Angband.

Balrogs were exceptionally powerful creatures. Only seven Balrogs were required to drive away Ungoliant, a large monster powerful enough to devour consume the fruits of Telperion, which produced the light for billions of stars.

A single Balrog, who became known as Durin’s Bane, alone managed to drive the Dwarves of Moria from their ancient and supremely fortified nation-state, which was at the time the greatest kingdom of Dwarves that had ever been. It also contended with Gandalf, and shattered the side of a mountain with physical might alone. The Balrogs were considerably bodily agile, such that their passing is once described as a “tempest of fire”.

Gothmog fought against and overcame Fëanor, an elf who was powerful enough to control the light of the two trees. He also spread chaos through the city of Gondolin, filled with elves of similar, though far lower, caliber. It was even thought to be at least somewhat comparable to Sauron during the first age.

11. Gil-Galad

Gil-galad, born Ereinion, was a Ñoldorin Elf and son to Fingon. He was the last High King of the Ñoldor in Middle-earth and bore many titles, including High King of the Elves of the West, King of the Eldar, King of Lindon, Lord of the High Elves, and the Lord of Eriador.

Gil-galad held the highest authority among the Elves he ruled and was respected by both the Ñoldor and the Sindar, thus being considered a “High King” of Elves in Middle-earth. He formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil and led the Elves to war against Sauron during this time. His death marked the end of the Ñoldorin Kingdoms in the Middle-earth, though many Ñoldor would still dwell in Imladris later throughout the Third Age.

Gil-galad and Elendil formed the Last Alliance and with a great host of Elves and Men, they marched to Mordor. For seven years, they lay siege to Sauron’s stronghold. In the end, Gil-galad and Elendil were killed and Sauron was overthrown.

Gil-galad used a great spear in battle: “Against Aeglos the spear of Gil-galad none could stand…”

10. Galadriel


Galadriel was the “Lady” of the woods of Lothlórien, which she ruled with Celeborn her husband.

She was one of the greatest of the Elves in Middle-earth, surpassing nearly all others in beauty, knowledge, and power. She bore Nenya, one of the three Elven rings of power. J.R.R. Tolkien thought of her, along with Gil-galad the Elven-king, as one of the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves left in Middle-earth in the Third Age.

She was the only daughter and youngest child of Finarfin, prince of the Ñoldor and of Eärwen, whose cousin was Lúthien. Her elder brothers were Finrod Felagund, Orodreth, Angrod, and Aegnor. Galadriel was a niece of Fëanor, the most important Elf of the early First Age.

9. Saruman

Saruman, also known as Saruman the White and Sharkey was an Istar (wizard), who lived in Middle-earth during the Third Age. Originally, he was the chief of the wizards and of the White Council that opposed Sauron. His extensive studies of dark magic, however, eventually led him to desire the One Ring. Thinking he could gain it for himself or become Sauron’s servant alone, Saruman allied Isengard with Mordor in the War of the Ring, in which he was defeated.

8. Ilmare

Ilmarë (Quenya; IPA: [ˈilmare] – “Starlight”) was chief amongst the Maiar and the handmaiden to Queen Varda.

Ilmarë was the handmaiden of Varda, thereby a guardian spirit of the stars, and one of the chiefs of the Maiar, along with Eönwë, the Herald and Banner-Bearer of King Manwë.

She is only mentioned briefly in the Valaquenta, where Ilmarë is described along with the Maia Eönwë who was the banner-bearer and herald of King Manwë.

The mythology of Middle-Earth is very complicated and contains a lot of powerful beings (not only wizards). While the Istari were some of these powerful beings, they certainly were not the only ones.

The Varda were basically the gods of the Middle-Earth, and they had many servants and helpers. The Istari were one kind of servant. Ilmare was another kind. She was the handmaiden of Varda and a guardian of the stars. She was also one of the chiefs of the Maiar (a group to which the Istari also belong).

The Silmarillion names some of the mightiest Maiar.

Chief among the Maiar of Valinor whose names are remembered in the histories of the Elder Days are Ilmare, the handmaid of Varda, and Eonwe, the herald of Manwe, whose might in arms is surpassed by none in Arda.

Her powers are really not so known, and seen from these quotes from The Silmarillion, she could be stronger than the next two wizards on this list, but, because their powers are much more known, we will put them above her. I would say the number one is untouchable.

7. Gandalf the White

What are the Three Rings (Three Rings of the Elves) in Lord of the Rings

In the second part, The Two Towers, the story continues in parallel in two books, and in the first, it tells us the story about remaining members of the Fellowship who assist the country of Rohan in the war against traitor Saruman, a former leader of the Order of the Wizard, who wants the Ring for himself. At the beginning of the first book, the Fellowship is scattered, Merry and Pippin are captured by Sauron’s and Saruman’s orcs, Boromir is mortally wounded defending them, and Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas chase after them. The three meet Gandalf, who returned to Middle Earth as Gandalf the White. They learn that he defeated Balrog and even though he himself was killed then, he was sent back and reborn as an important character.

When Gandalf the Grey died, he returned to the timeless Halls of Eru, the creator-God of Middle Earth. It seems that while there, he regained his previously lost memories. As Saruman lost his place as the white wizard by turning to the dark, Gandalf was to take his place as the white wizard.

Upon returning to Middle Earth as Gandalf the White, his previous life as Gandalf the Gray must have seemed like a short and distant memory. In the movies, he recalls his past life and says (paraphrasing) “Oh yes, that’s what they used to call me… Gandalf the Gray. I am Gandalf the White.”

He says he is the same person, with his previous memories, but draws the distinction that he has changed greatly from the wizard the Fellowship once knew.

Gandalf the White was and wasn’t the same person as before, he is the same Maia spirit, but without the doubts and instabilities that clouded his mind in the past when he was Gandalf the Grey. His limitations as one of the Istari have been lifted (maybe not completely) and he is now a greater version of Gandalf the Grey. As he puts it:

‘Yes, I am white now,’ said Gandalf. ‘Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been.

The Two Towers, Book III, Chapter 5: The White Rider

He became the leader Saruman was not, leading the efforts of the resistance as Saruman should have, have him not betrayed them all. So he was Gandalf, with either enhanced wisdom and power, or lifting part of his limitations, allowing him to use more of the might he already had within himself. You may say that he passed to be just a counselor to take a more active role in the defense of the Free Peoples, but he didn’t make anyone submit to his command, respecting the first rule of not becoming chieftain of Men and Elves.

Gandalf was a powerful wizard before, but he goes from somewhat powerful to the height of his power (in human form) after he battles the Balrog.

6. Sauron

Sauron Oil Painting by Fiction Horizon

Sauron is an evil wizard from the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. He appears in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Silmarillion.

In the Third Age of Middle-earth, he resided in the land of Mordor. Sauron is the Lord of the Rings because with his One Ring he could rule the rest of the Rings of Power. Sauron was finally destroyed by the little hobbit Frodo Baggins by throwing One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom in which was forged because Sauron was tied to the Ring.

Sauron was one of the mighty spirits of Maiar, a creature of great knowledge and power, but still of lower deities, so he was a servant of the great gods of Valar. He was good at first, but it was corrupted by Morgoth, evil Valar, and Sauron become the second in the chain of command.

5. Morgoth

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Morgoth Bauglir; originally Melkor is a character, one of the godlike Ainur, from Tolkien’s legendarium. He is the main antagonist of The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin, and is mentioned briefly in The Lord of the Rings.

Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur, but turned to darkness and became Morgoth, the definitive antagonist of Arda from whom all evil in the world of Middle-earth ultimately stems. Sauron, one of the Maiar of Aulë, betrayed his kind and became Morgoth’s principal lieutenant.

4. Ungoliant

Ungoliant (Sindarin IPA: [uŋˈɡoljant] – “Dark Spider”) was a primordial taking the shape of a gigantic spider. She was initially an ally of Melkor in Aman, and for a short time in Middle-earth as well. She was a distant mother of Shelob, and the oldest and first giant spider of Arda.

Ungoliant was a dark Maiar type spirit although wicked, who fed herself on the light. She drained the trees of light with gems of unknown power consumed as dessert. Swollen with the power she overpowered Morgoth and was about to attempt to Eat him before Balrogs freed him and drove her off.

3. Melkor

Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur, but turned to darkness and became Morgoth, the definitive antagonist of Arda from whom all evil in the world of Middle-earth ultimately stems. Sauron, one of the Maiar of Aulë, betrayed his kind and became Morgoth’s principal lieutenant.

In the early versions of Tolkien’s stories, Melkor was not seen as the most powerful Ainu. He is described as being equal in power to Manwë, chief of the Valar in Arda. But his power increased in later revisions of the story until he became the most powerful Ainu and in a late essay more powerful than all of the Valar combined. He developed from a standout among equals into a being so powerful that the other created beings could not utterly defeat him.

2. Tom Bombadil

Tom Bombadil was an enigmatic figure that lived throughout the history of Arda who dwelt in the valley of the river Withywindle, east of the Shire. A mysterious being, Tom lived in the depths of the Old Forest, close to the Barrow Downs. His lands were not particularly extensive, but within his domain his power over virtually everything in it was extraordinary. Tom was a paradoxical creature, one moment defeating ancient forces with hardly an effort, the next capering and singing nonsensical songs. He lived with his wife Goldberry, “Daughter of the River,” far from any other settlement. Although seemingly benevolent, he took no open stance against the Dark Lords.

1. Eru Ilúvatar

Eru Ilúvatar is God in the fictional world of J.R.R. Tolkien. He appears in the Silmarillion as the creator of the whole imaginary universe, of all the forces and all beings in it whose destiny only he knows completely. In Tolkien’s fictional Quenya language, Eru means “The Only One,” or “He Who Is Alone,” and Ilúvatar means “Father of All.” Both names are used in Tolkien’s works alone or in unison as Eru Ilúvatar.

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