I recently purchase The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition on blu-ray and as I’m rewatching them I realize that LotR suffers from a phenomenon I discovered years ago reading Star Wars expanded universe books which I dubbed, The Leia Effect.
Basically, in a traditional Star Wars story the three leads breakup into separate groups, have adventures and resolve all issues at the same time. More often not, Luke is a badass and saves the day, Han is not quite a big of badass and Leia does some boring shit. Almost without fail Leia is the weak link in the group. This pattern established itself in the first movie with Luke blowing up the Death Star, Han blowing up Darth Vader and Leia watching TV. The plot lines centering on Leia were never as interesting as the rest of the book and I often found myself skimming through hurrying to the Luke section.
Now don’t get me wrong, Leia does have her moments. Her shiny, golden moments… er- where was I, oh yes. The cast in The Lord of the Rings splits up as well. There’s the Hobbits, The Heavies with Aragorn, Legalas and Gimli, and finally Gandalf is often off on his own. My point is this: Frodo = Leia.