We all have to admit it, Pippin is one of the best characters on The Lord of the Rings trilogy! Most of the time, he is the comic relief (and not the kind that pushes old ladies and scrambles for gold…I’m looking at you Alfrid..).
There are several instances when Pippin acts as the “class clown,” if you will. He dances on tables, singing about one of the Hobbits’ favorite pastimes, unintentionally cracks jokes about food and other things, and is overall a hilarious character!
When The Lord of the Rings starts off, Pippin is just as happy as can be. Doing everything he has ever done. That instant when he falls on top of Frodo in farmer Maggot’s crops changes the course of Pippin’s life, but he hasn’t realized it yet.
Imagine, you are living your life just as you always have, when suddenly, you are essentially kicked out your front door and forced to run off on a journey you don’t know when it will end. Only, Pippin doesn’t seem all that worried. He seems to think that, once they get where they are going, he can run right back home and goof off some more. He just follows Merry.
When Frodo offers to take the ring to Mordor, Pippin is simply hiding in the bushes because Merry wanted to spy. Pippin doesn’t seem to know what is going on. Hence the line, “You’ll need people of intelligence on this mission…quest…thing … right, where are we going?” He could be compared to the type of person who just “goes with the flow.” The innocent mind. The child without flaw nor worry.
Throughout a lot of the story, Pippin is just doing what he is told, following the fellowship, playing around. It’s not until Moria that he gets a hint of a clue. When goblins attack and Gandalf falls to his death, things suddenly become real. Bad things aren’t a distant issue left to the strong anymore. Pippin cries. Things look horrible, he isn’t even sure where he is going and when he will return. He realizes this then more than ever.
After the tears are shed, it’s almost as if things are back to normal. Life goes on. He is still sad about Gandalf’s death, but he leaves it in his mind as a painful memory, and just that. This is much like us and our thoughts of Christ. We appreciate his sacrifice for us and are sad it had to happen, but it doesn’t seem to affect us in everyday activities.
At Amon Hen, Merry and Pippin see Frodo, trying to leave. Merry understands what Frodo has to do, but Pippin doesn’t. Once Merry starts shouting at the orcs, trying to get them to follow them instead of Frodo, Pippin, again, treats it like a game. He goes back to his ignorant bliss. Once Boromir is being shot at by orcs, Pippin starts to realize that it is no longer a game. He tries to help save Boromir, and he fails. He sees Boromir die right in front of him. It is different from Gandalf’s death, Gandalf just seemed to fall out of Pippin’s life, Boromir was cruelly ripped from Pippin’s grasp, in a sense. Much like death in our daily lives is much different from the death of Christ.
And to make it worse, the orcs succeed. They take Merry and Pippin, and Pippin is terrified, not sure why it is happening.
Along the Uruk ride, Pippin is more terrified than he has ever been in his life. He sees Merry, head drooping as if he, too, is dead. Pippin begs for medicine to help him, much like we beg for something to cure us of all types of things. It isn’t until after the orc draught is rudely poured down Merry’s throat that Pippin realizes that’s not how it works. You can’t wish away the bad. You can’t sit around, hoping that someday things will get better. This is when Pippin does the only thing he can, he drops his leaf broach to be found if anyone is looking for them. He takes matters into his own hands and tries to do something about his situation.
Now lets jump to Fangorn Forest. This is where Pippin discovers that Gandalf is not dead. At this moment, Pippin is still wary of the evil that is going on. Finally, he realizes that those orcs are not the end of all the bad. Merry is there trying to convince the Ents to help them fight, and Pippin is just as ignorant as ever. He doesn’t quite understand that the war is still going, and only a battle has been won.
When Pippin finally realizes that there is something happening with Sauruman, he attempts to convince Treebeard to take them to where they can help. He doesn’t even realize himself how horrible Sauruman is. Seeing all the dead trees, Pippin also understands what Sauruman has become.
Who can forget Pippin’s encounter with the Pallentir?
Almost every character in the Lord of the Rings encounters some form of temptation, and all of them handle it in different ways. For Pippin, the Pallentir is simply an object of awe. He sees something magical and wants to know more. It’s much like any temptation any of us has that is based on curiosity. With reasons like, “I wonder what it’s like.” or “I just want to look at it.” Pippin uses the latter. That moment, when he looks into the Pallentir, Pippin has changed the course of his life with a single look.
Unknowingly, Pippin did something that caused even more hardship for, not only himself, but Gandalf as well. Much like we do with Christ. We sin, we experience pain, we repent, and all of it affects Christ. Each sin we commit adds to Christ’s pain, whether we realize it or not. When we do something wrong, we also unknowingly cause hardship and inconvenience in Christ’s life.
When Pippin has to leave Merry behind, things really become real for Pippin. Merry had always been there, telling Pippin what to do, protecting him, guiding him, doing everything for Pippin that he didn’t even try to comprehend for himself. You could say it’s much like leaning on the faith of another. For instance, our parents may know the Christ lived or know that there is a God, and we may simply believe just because they do. Once Pippin is left alone, out in the world by himself, he has to create his own faith. He has to learn and grow on his own, with no one to do it for him.
Once this finally sinks in for Pippin, he realizes that there is no going home, at least, not until the war is won. Again, he realizes that he has the power to do something. Upon meeting the father of his dear protector, Boromir, Pippin feels almost responsible. He knows that he couldn’t have done anything to save Boromir, but he can do something for his father. Several events occur during Pippin’s time in Minas Tirith that, one by one, cause him to realize who he is and what is really happening in the world.
Seeing Faramir walk into his death, Pippin feels all the pain of loss again. Almost as if Boromir has died again in front of him. With his new understanding of reality, he knows that Faramir is as good as dead. Seeing Denethor send his own son to death, without a care in the world, Pippin is horrified. This adds to Pippin’s new realization of what the world is like.
When you look at it, Pippin is symbolic of growing into adulthood. He starts off, almost like a child, not understanding what is happening in the world. He grows up, he learns, but he doesn’t understand the world. Then he experiences that one event that makes him realize he isn’t a kid anymore. Slowly, he learns more and more, sees more and more of the world, and realizes that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Many of us have experienced the exact same thing. Where we almost lose hope for humanity.
When Denethor almost kills his own son, Pippin tries his hardest to prevent it. When he finally realizes that he can’t do it alone, he goes to the only other person that can help, Gandalf. Just like in life again. We often go through trials and hardships, thinking that there is no way we can make it through. We may find ourselves trying so hard to help someone, and realize that we just aren’t strong enough to do it. That is when we turn to Christ, we ask for help and know that He will be there to help us when we need him. It is a beautiful relationship. Christ will always help us, he will always be there for us when we need him, we just simply have to ask.
Pippin is an amazing character. He represents so much in us. If we just reach out, search, and try to learn, we can become the greatest hero in our own way. We will all reach a point where there won’t be someone else providing for us, and we will have to learn to take care of ourselves while still including Christ in our daily lives. We have to ask him for the help we need and we need to be able to tell the difference. We can all figure it out, just like Pippin.