JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the prototypical High Fantasy series, but it’s much harder to describe the “archetypal” hero in this type of fantasy than in Sword and Sorcery. The main reason is that there is more likely to be a group of heroes in this kind of fiction, rather than one, and the heroes are much more varied. I do believe there are some general commonalities, however. These are:
1. The heroes in High Fantasy are closer to real people than in Sword and Sorcery. They often don't have any great strength or unusual fighting abilities. In fact, they often start the story out as rather weak. But they get stronger and they develop skills as they go. Frodo from Tolkien's trilogy is an example here. Stretching the point a bit, so is Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars series.
2. The hero of High Fantasy is seldom a loner. Almost always he or she has companions, and often the companions have some particular skills that the hero needs to help him succeed in his quest. The companions also have weaknesses as well, and the hero must know these and take them into account.
3. High Fantasy heroes are almost always honorable. They are good, upstanding citizens who are trying to cope in tough circumstances. As a correlate of this, many of these heroes would have been happy to stay at home and are forced into adventure by the circumstances of their world. (In Sword and Sorcery the hero wants the adventure.)
4. High Fantasy heroes generally undergo much more character development than do those in Sword and Sorcery. They change more over the course of the story, and this is typically illustrated by their growth in strength and maturity. The Sword and Sorcery hero begins the story already at the full tide of his/her strength. Contrary to what many people think, I don’t believe this reflects an immaturity on the part of the writer of Sword and Sorcery. Rather, I think it reflects that fact that Sword and Sorcery is typically “episodic” while High Fantasy is “epic.” Of course in an epic you have more room to develop characters.
5. High Fantasy heroes also have a goal, but it can be more properly termed a "quest." It is something that is both personal and universal. They are not seeking to enrich themselves but to save the world. This also reflects the more epic scale of this type of story.
So what should I add to this list?