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The TORn RoTK Geeky Observation List

December 29, 2003 at 3:55 am by Demosthenes  - 

All kudos for this huge list must go to the members of the TORn messageboards led by Grammaboodawg, who has been compiling this little monster. I have added a few comments and links here and there. Enjoy!

Warning, there are some possible RoTK EE spoilers scattered throughout.

Update:: Many (many) people wrote in with additional observations, corrections and thoughts. I have endeavoured to include as many as I can below. If yours did not make it, don’t despair, I may have simply missed it among my piles of e-mail.

Lists such as this are never definitive – can never be “complete”. I simply thought the Boarders’ list contained some cool points of interest. So this is where my involvement ends, and I hand it back to the real owners – the people on the TORn boards.

Yes, that means no more updates from me, so no more e-mails please! Anyway, Enough rambling from me, enjoy! – Demosthenes

RETURN OF THE KING GEEKY OBSERVATION LIST!
by TORn Discussion Board Members
(**NEW** are recently added observations)

posted on 12/24/03 *NEW* added 12/26/03

1. Chapter titles in the Return of the King soundtrack: Shelob’s Lair (from Two Towers book); Minas Tirith; The Black Gate Opens; Return of the King (book title); The Grey Havens

2. The opening scene with the worm immediately reminded me of the scene in the TT EEE in which Gollum slurps up a worm. A much larger worm than the one he uses to bait his hook, at that. I thought that it represented the ring leading to Gollum’s devolution into a more primitive state. Where once he used worms to get food, now worms *are* food. He’s moved down a notch on the food web.

Reader update: The shot of Deagol grabbing the ring from the river is the same shot as the hand grabbing the ring in the prologue of FOTR. That one was pretty obvious, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

When Deagol dives down, Smeagol doen’t look for him, but brings the boat to the shore instaed (He isn’t wet when Deagol reappears)
The Fishing Boat is round like a Nut Shell.

Smeagol has already blue eyes, even before being like Frodo.

3. Sméagol and Déagol’s ears were larger and shaped slightly differently to normal hobbit ears, to reflect the fact that “River folk” are a slightly different race of hobbits than Shire folk?

Reader update: Some disagreement over being a different race. Gandalf’s words from the text: “I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River and often swam in it, or made little boat of reeds.” From Fellowship of the Ring: Book One, Chapter Two.

4. “Hobbit Sméagol” had always had the Sméagol voice.

Reader update: Smeagol says: ‘Give us that, Deagol, my love’, he says , he uses the plural for himsself already.

When Gollum is speaking to himself, watch his eyes. When he’s in his “Smeagol” persona, his pupils are dilated, but when he’s “Gollum,” they constrict.

5. *NEW* Just as when the animals/birds fled when the Black Rider hunted the hobbits, as Déagol is looking at the ring, once again there’s the sound of the woodland creatures fleeing.

6. *NEW* When Sméagol has killed Déagol, the ring laughs and recites the ringspell as it did at the Council of Elrond.

7. Sméagol mutters “We wept to be so alone” (from TT Gollum’s Song) and “catch a fish so juicy sweet.”

8. During Sméagol’s transformation to Gollum, it seemed like the *gollum* sound was a reaction to having strangled Déagol.

9. Both Frodo and Gollum talk about what they can’t see anymore once the ring takes hold. Gollum says he can’t remember the taste of bread, hear the sound of trees or the softness of the wind. We forgot our own name.’

Sam asks if Frodo remembered the taste of strawberries. Frodo says he cannot remember, nor remember the Shire, I think. This runs very similar to the text: ‘No, I am afraid not, Sam,’ said Frodo. ‘At least, I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark. Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.’ From Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter Three – Dem.

10. *NEW* Food is important to hobbits, and it’s great how it starts with Merry and Pippin’s feasting on the spoils of war. Food plays very soon with the hobbits in all three films. Bilbo offering food to Gandalf in FotR; Sam and Frodo eating lembas in TT; Merry and Pippin in Isengard.

11. *NEW* The flags and banners have been restored to the entrance of Meduseld.

12. *NEW* When Éowyn offers a cup of (wine? mead?) to Aragorn to drink, you can see the ring of Barahir on Aragorn’s finger and the adoration in Éowyn’s body language. There is an illustration (by Alan Lee I think?) of that very scene that just comes to life so beautifully.

It’s here and is spectacularly similar to this picture I took at the RoTK afterparty. – Dem.

13. *NEW* Éowyn says “Westu Aragorn hal” which translates to “Be-thou Aragorn well!”

14. *NEW* During the Green Dragon song, Pippin kicks a tankard off the table into someone’s lap!

This is at Edoras. – Dem.

Reader update: Actually I believe it’s Merry and he kicks it into Gamling’s lap. Gamling then exclaims disgustedly as he leaps to his feet. [Some reader disagreement on who did the kicking. – Dem.]

15. *NEW* When Pippin is looking into the palantir, Sauron says the same thing to him as he did to Frodo at the Prancing Pony … “I see you.” and begins to chant the ringspell.

16. *NEW* Aragorn cannot control the Palantir when he wrenches it from Pippin.

Reader update: Gandalf had the Palantir when he went into the stable with Pippin and Merry (in Edoras). But there’s no evidence of the Palantir at all during the stable scene. However, there is at least one photograph of Aragorn holding the Palantir. Additionally, when Merry runs up to watch as Gandalf and Pip ride off, Aragorn is right behind him as if he had been close by (or in the stable?) at that point. An extended scene for the DVD?

At the morning after Pippin looks into the Palantir Gandalf tells the others: ‘His defeat at Helm’s Deep showed our enemy one thing: … Men are not as weak as supposed. There is Courage still, Strength to challenge him.’ This is the same thing that Boromir told Aragorn at the shores of Andurin: ‘But there is courage also, and honor to be found in Men.’

17. *NEW* We have Figwit back as an escort for Arwen!

He also has a line – something like: “My lady, we cannot delay.” You can see pictures of Figwit here and here. If the Figwit phenomemon confuses you, go to Figwitlives.net to increase your level of confusion. – Dem.

18. *NEW* When Gandalf tells Pippin of the Witch-king who stabbed Frodo, he refers to Weathertop, not Amon Sul. Frodo also refers to it as Weathertop when speaking with Sam at Bag End.

19. *NEW* In the very first shot of the trailer, we see a vertical red flare going up into the sky. This is doubtless the signal from Barad-dûr that Minas Morgul responds to with a green flare, a signal that the assault on Minas Tirith is starting.

20. *NEW* The perished White Tree is honoured by a guard in the courtyard.

You can see this here and here. – Dem.

21. *NEW* Pippin climbing to light the beacon parallels Sam and Frodo’s climb up the stairs of Cirith Ungol.

22. *NEW* We have our shot of magnificent mountain ranges (as in the first two films) as the beacons are lit.

23. *NEW* What’s on the mural on the wall in Rivendell (next to Isildur and Sauron). Númenor?

Some think it could be this picture. I’m not certain. – Dem.

24. There’s an optical device (telescope?) on Elrond’s desk.

25. *NEW* When Elrond walks away from Arwen, and she sits down and drops the green book( just after saying the “crownless again shall be king” line), you can see on the lower part of the spine of the book a couple of spots that are a darker green than the rest of the book (library stickers?).

26. *NEW* You can see the Púkel-men when the Rohirrim camp at Dunharrow.

There is a close-up of the Púkel-men as Elrond rides up to the encampment. – Dem.

27. *NEW* When Elrond brings the sword to Aragorn, there are the seven stars etched into the metal.

Reader update: After the PotD, Aragorn is always associated with the theme of Gondor in the soundtrack. Nicely done to show that he has finally accepted his destiny.

28. *NEW* Stybba got his small moment with Merry as they ride from Edoras for the Rohan encampment.

Stybba was the name of the pony Theoden gifted to Merry in the text. – Dem.

29. Gandalf sleeps with one hand on his sword and his eyes open! Aragorn sleeps with one hand on his knife.

Does Legolas sleep? He never does in the books: “he could sleep, if sleep it could be called by Men, by resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams, even as he walked open-eyed in the light of this world.” From the Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter Two. – Dem.

30. When Pippin looks up at the statues as they enter the throne room in Gondor, one of them is holding something in his hand (A palantir? — looks more like an orb since there’s something standing out from the top of it).

More like a sceptre – though I doubt it would be the sceptre of Annuminas. It could be the white rod of the Stewards since it’s never clear whether the statues are of Stewards or Kings. You can check that out here. Also note, we do not see the Rod in the theatrical release – EE scene, perhaps? – Dem.

Reader update: Just wanted to point out that the Rod of the Stewards does make it into the theatrical cut. When Gandalf and Pippin first enter the Citadel and find Denethor on the Steward’s chair holding the cloven Horn of Gondor, the rod is set aside, leaning up against something (slightly behind and to Denethor’s right, I believe). It is white and about a quarter of it is cast gold, in some sort of leaf motif (from what I was able to glimpse). It was interesting that they showed the Rod in that manner, suggesting that Denethor had set aside his duties to Gondor.

Moreover, the ball in the statues hand is similar to that which the kings/queens of England use during their coronation. One item is the Sceptre. The other is simply referred to as “The Orb” which has a cross mounted on it. In the English tradition, this symbolizes Christ’s domination over the world.

31. Sam’s frustration and rage grows the more Frodo trusts Gollum.

32. Cameo spotted? The orc that hands the spear to the head orc to kill Mablung and later fires at the charging Rohirrim could be Viggo’s son, Henry (he’s said to be an orc in RotK).

“He played a little boy in the battle of Helm’s Deep. Then by the time we were doing reshoots for the last movie he was playing – I fought him actually – he played an orc. The stunties really took to him; he’s pretty good with martial arts. And I think he can actually do all the knifework faster than Orlando at this point.”

“He played – one scene he was a Gondorian – so he was on my side. And then the next thing I know I’m running this gauntlet and he’s the first in line with this meat cleaver. Fortunately the choreography called for me to duck and him to miss and Gimli to take him out. Because he probably would have finished it …” Viggo Mortensen at the Wellington media roundtable on November 30, 2003. – Dem.

LISTEN 980KB MP3 file.

31. *NEW* In one particular shot of Gothmog, there is yellow pus leaking from his left eye (the lower down one); in all other shots his eye is “clean”.

33. It looks like Denethor has a starburst on his ring and on his breast (medallion or engraving?) that looks a lot like the starburst on the Redbook of Westmarch (gift for Bilbo from Aragorn?).

I can’t really make it out – this is one of the best Denethor pictures there is. And this one. – Dem.

34. One of the Gondorian guards at the Beacon at Minas Tirith is Christian Rivers (WETA art director).

35. *NEW* The boy from Star Wars: Episode 2 that played Boba Fett as a kid (Daniel Logan?). He’s in the crowd scene, when Faramir and his men return to Minas Tirith from Osgiliath, right before he speaks to Gandalf. You can see him running up to the riders, almost in the middle of the background crowd.

36. Royd Tolkien could be the other guard of the beacon at Minas Tirith and is seen again at the gate when it’s breached by Grond.

37. Billy and Katie (Jackson?) are two Gondorian children standing along the street as Faramir and his men leave and two of the hobbit children(?)

38. Pippin is wearing his elven cloak over his armor. That wouldn’t be allowed in many armies.

Indeed, this was not the case as Tolkien wrote it. “He was permitted to keep the grey cloak of Lorien, though not to wear it on duty.” From the Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter Four. – Dem.

39. Pippin shoots Denethor a quick, sidelong look when he’s talking about not knowing what to sing in evil times. Pip’s no fool anymore.

40. Wilhelm scream can be heard when Faramir’s men are attacked during their retreat, when Legolas attacks the Southrons on the Oliphaunt, and when a Nazgûl snatches three defenders from the upper walls of Minas Tirith and drops them to the first tier.

41. *NEW* Minas Morgul (the dead city) has the same sickly green glow as the army in Paths of the Dead.

42. *NEW* When Sam is attacking Gollum after overhearing him at the pool, he hits him with his pot as he cries, “I’ll stove your head in!”

Stove: a verb meaning to puncture or smash a hole in. Dictionary.com – Dem.

43. Sam and Frodo’s blankets and clothes are torn and filthy, but their elven cloaks never show signs of wear (a homespun look).

44. *NEW* While the hobbits are climbing up past Minas Morgul, Gollum urges them on, saying “Come, master, come to Sméagol!” — the exact inverse of what Frodo said to Gollum at the Forbidden Pool.

45. *NEW* When Gollum goes after the lembas bread, the music and his position over the hobbits matches when he first tried to jump them.

46. Merry wears the armour of Rohan and Pippin wears the armour of Gondor.

47. The lines “I give Hope to men” (Elrond) “I keep none for myself” (Aragorn) are from appendix A, only it’s Gilraen’s (Aragorn’s mother) line to Aragorn the last time she sees him.

I think these lines are also engraved on the grave of Gilraen at Rivendell as seen in the FoTR Extended Edition. Elrond came to confront Aragorn about his detiny there, so it seems absolutely perfect – maybe too perfect – revisitation of the theme in RoTK. – Dem.

48. Aragorn’s scabbard went away with Brego, but not his sword. I guess he has to carry it unsheathed until he can get to Minas Tirith.

49. Legolas’ arrow passes straight through the spectral king, but Aragorn not only stops his sword with Andúril, he grabs him by the throat as well!

50. Aragorn raises Andúril before his face before fighting the King of the Dead.

It’s a challenge and a salute, he also does it in Fellowship when the Uruk-hai appear on Amon Hen. Here is the RoTK shot. – Dem.

Reader update: On Weathertop when the Nazgul are about to attack the hobbits, they use the exact same salute that Aragorn uses.

51. During the siege of Minas Tirith, when the first rock is thrown into Minas Tirith and part of a building crumbles … a crowd of Gondorians are running and one of them looks to be Barrie Osborne.

52. Gandalf gives the description to Pippin of the end being a continuing journey from a dream Frodo had at Tom Bombadil’s house which he remembers as he approaches Valinor at the end of the Grey Havens chapter. “The grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

53. Théoden looks down on the agony of Minas Tirith just before sounding the charge (as described in the book).

54. Before they charge, the riders shout “Death!”

In the text, it is Eomer who begins the chant of “Death” after discovering Éowyn seemingly dead upon the field. ‘”What madness or devilry is this? Death, death, death! Death take us all! … Over the field rang his clear voice calling: “Death! Ride to ruin and the world’s ending!”‘ From Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter Six. – Dem.

55. The horns of Rohan! “And straightway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains.”

56. Théoden upon Snowmane outpaces the charge of the Rohirrim!

This is as in the text. “Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him, his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them.” From the Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter Five. – Dem.

57. Éowyn grabs an orc’s blade right from its hands as Merry drives their horse toward the mûmakil. She slashes as the legs as they pass under bringing down the beast.

Reader update: In the Two Towers, as Theoden is released from Saruman’s hold, he says to Éowyn: “I know your face…” When Éowyn finds him upon the battlefield, beneath his horse, he says the same line to her. [Couldn’t find a better place for this one. – Dem.

58. Legolas brings down the mûmakil with a 3-arrow shot! He learned after fighting the cave troll, and the Lothlórien bow is much more powerful.

59. The dead Kings in Rath Dinen are laid out just like we see Aragorn in the vision of his death from Two Towers.

60. Duplicate with 74.

61. *NEW* In Shelob’s lair, Frodo cries as he holds up the phial: “Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! (Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!)” exactly as in the book.

62. *NEW* Some of Shelob’s eyes on the left side of her head are covered over with a thick crusty deposit of filth, probably hindering vision.

63. Frodo loses the phial when he slides down the hole evading Shelob and loses Sting as he cuts away the web he’s tangled in. Sam shows up with both of them later, which shows how well he tracked Frodo in the dark.

64. After escaping Shelob, betraying Sam, Gollum’s betrayal, fatigue, the ring… all the things tearing at Frodo… when he’s fighting with Gollum, pity and compassion once again takes over and Frodo tells Sméagol he must destroy the ring for both their sakes. (The strength of Frodo).

Pity, compassion and empathy are major themes. Frodo sees himself in Gollum – what he could become in the end; it’s something he desperately fears. This series of screencaps of a deleted scene that was on the Two Towers EE emphasises this. – Dem.

65. When Frodo has lost Sam, his phial and Sting, Galadriel appears to him herself to give him strength. He was never alone.

Frodo being covered in cobwebs blurs the line between dream and reality in this scene. – Dem.

66. Sam begs Frodo: “Don’t leave me here alone. Don’t go where I can’t follow. Wake up! Don’t escape in death.”

On my second viewing, I felt this was a foreshadowing of Frodo’s later departure at the Grey Havens. Speaking of Grey Havens, is this a deleted scene/EE anyone? – Dem.

67. When Sam charges the three orcs in Cirith Ungol, he’s holding Sting in his right hand and his blade from Strider in his left (not his trusty frying pan).

68. *NEW* At Cirith Ungol, four orcs come down the stairs to fight Sam, but he deals with only three of them when one turns and goes back up the stairs (carrying Frodo’s effects).

Expect to see this carried through to its denouement with the deleted Mouth of Sauron confrontation in the RoTK EE. – Dem.

69. *NEW* When Sam stabs the orc at Cirith Ungol, Sting is slightly glowing.

Sting also stops glowing as soon as the orc – Gorbagdies. – Dem.

70. The ring was whispering “keep me” when Sam was trying to give it back to Frodo.

Reminiscent of the scene in the text where Sam *is* tempted.

“As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason.

Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.” From Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter One.

On the flipside, we see get to Sam from Frodo’s perspective.

“‘All right, Mr. Frodo,’ said Sam, rather startled. ‘Here it is!’ Slowly he drew the Ring out and passed the chain over his head. `But you’re in the land of Mordor now, sir; and when you get out, you’ll see the Fiery Mountain and all. You’ll find the Ring very dangerous now, and very hard to bear. If it’s too hard a job, I could share it with you, maybe?’
`No, no!’ cried Frodo, snatching the Ring and chain from Sam’s hands. `No you won’t, you thief!’ He panted, staring at Sam with eyes wide with fear and enmity. Then suddenly, clasping the Ring in one clenched fist, he stood aghast. A mist seemed to clear from his eyes, and he passed a hand over his aching brow. The hideous vision had seemed so real to him, half bemused as he was still with wound and fear. Sam had changed before his very eyes into an orc again, leering and pawing at his treasure, a foul little creature with greedy eyes and slobbering mouth.” From Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter One. – Dem.

71. There is blood on Frodo’s neck from carrying his ‘heavy burden,’ a circular scar on his chest from Shelob’s sting (back of neck in the book) and a scar on his shoulder from the Morgul blade.

Reader update: I believe that the circular one is from the Cave Troll’s spear, that he got in Moria. It’s too well healed to be Shelob’s bite and appears to be a bruise more than a cut wound. [Hard to say for certain – Dem.]

72. Frodo doesn’t turn on Sam when he hesitates to give back the ring because he knows how the ring works on the mind.

I disagree – he grabs at it, though not as emphatically as in the text. – Dem.

73. Sam’s orc armour makes him look like an oliphaunt!

You can see their armour here. There is a huge continuity bubble when they suddenly end up back in their hobbit clothes – looks like this the part where Frodo throws away his orc sword and armour was cut for time. Expect an EE scene, probably. – Dem.

74. *NEW* Gandalf has lost his staff by the time he gets to the tombs with Pippin.

This is apparently because of a cut scene where Gandalf confronts the Witch King of Angmar. Remember that scene from the trailer where Gandalf is one Shadowfax, and the Fell Beast descends from the sky? Apparently Gandalf’s staff is broken here.

This is interesting, since Gandalf breaks Saruman’s staff when he confronts him at Isengard in the text. Are there parallels at work here? – Dem.

75. Sam’s pans were hitched on his belt when he’s in his orc armor.

76. Frodo paws at the air trying to evade the wheel of fire before his eyes (just as in the book).

77. Frodo’s look, the angle, and the lighting as he claims the ring mirrors the scene with Isildur at the crack of doom from the first movie.

I found the appreviation of lines to merely “The Ring is mine” interesting. In fact, it’s possible that there could be a cut here, and we may get the full dialogue in the RoTK EE.

“‘I have come,’ he said. ‘But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!’ And suddenly, as he set it on his finger, he vanished from Sam’s sight.” From Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter Three. – Dem.

78. Before the Black gate, the good guys are in a tight circle surrounded by a larger circle of orcs etc. After the battle engages there is a wide shot where the army of the west (slightly lighter in coloration) are fighting into the large circle of orcs and it looks like a sunburst.

Reader update: No doubt due to cut scene at Morannon, the Army of the West approaches on horseback but ultimately charges the gate on foot.

79. *NEW* When Sauron sees Aragorn at the Black Gates, he says Aragorn’s name in a slightly fearful voice. Sauron then says Elessar.

80. Sauron tries once last attempt to seduce Aragorn … but he turns and smiles and whispers, “For Frodo” as he leads the charge, followed by Merry and Pippin!

81. The moth shows up signalling to Gandalf that the eagles have arrived!

82. As Gollum goes into the lava, he doesn’t even flinch! He’s just so focused on the Ring – so giddy with possession – that’s all he can see or feel.

83. As the Ring sits on the lava, you can see it absorbing heat — the area around it darkens!

84. The print of the ring lingers for an instant once the metal has melted.

85. Sam reaching for Frodo as he hangs off the cliff echoes Frodo when he rescues Sam from the Anduin in FotR.

Reader update: Notice the elements in the key scenes when Frodo and Sam held/helped each other throughout the trilogy? Sam’s drowning, the Nazgul at Osgiliath, ‘I can carry you’ and Frodo’s fall in Mount Doom. They’re the FOUR ELEMENTS – water, wind, earth and fire. I have a feeling even PJ didn’t intentionally meant to do that. [Unintentional, I’m sure – Dem.]

86. *NEW* After the destruction of Sauron the scene is almost exact to the original “destruction of Sauron” in FotR. An explosion and then a wave filters out throughout the lands, but it seems less potent and doesn’t knock everyone down.

They are a lot further away than in the Last Alliance battle, admittedly. A reader also notes only the forces of badness are knocked over. – Dem.

87. *NEW* At the Black Gate, when the ring is destroyed, Pippin and Merry’s usual roles are reversed. Merry exults in Frodo’s apparent success, while it’s Pippin (the wiser of the two for the first time) who realizes that it means Frodo is likely killed when Mt. Doom explodes.

Some reader disagreement here – Dem

88. Once free of the ring, Frodo can see the Shire; the Brandywine River; Bag End; Gandalf’s fireworks; the lights in the Party Tree… Sam can see Rosie dancing with ribbons in her hair.

89. *NEW* Film version: “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee. Here at the end of all things.” Book version: “I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” Given the dynamics of the film’s Frodo and Sam, I like the focus to be Frodo being glad to be with Sam instead of being glad that Sam’s there with him … Frodo’s putting Sam ahead of himself.

90. *NEW* Landroval and Gwaihir were so gentle when picking up Sam and Frodo, as if they were caressing a newborn baby! Meneldor was also there.

Gorgeous still shot of that here. – Dem.

91. The look on Frodo’s face as the eagle carries him above the lava is without a doubt the most beautiful and heartbreaking moment ever seen on film – we see Frodo’s agony over his broken body and his experience, perfectly mingled with absolute ecstasy of the release. The way that shot lingers on his face and how without saying a word Elijah conveys that moment, is beyond my ability to put into words.

92. *NEW* The light on Frodo waking up parallel’s Rivendell waking and reuniting (healing powers?). Gandalf was there waiting for him each time.

93. Frodo still has scratches on his face and Sam has a bruised chin in the bedroom scene.

94. Gandalf’s laugh is reminiscent of his laugh with Frodo in his first scene in the film, in the Shire, when Frodo is once again seeing Gandalf for the first time in a long while.

95. Gimli dabs at his eyes at the hunters watch the hobbits frolic.

96. King Elessar’s beard is fuller than Aragorn’s.

97. *NEW* At Aragorn’s coronation, the White Tree is alive and kicking, with many flowers.

Wonderful what they can do with CGI – they filmed that scene here – Dem.

98 and 99. *NEW* You can see the banner that Arwen made for Aragorn (in the book) to the left of the picture as he kneels before Gandalf during the coronation. A black standard where “there flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above, the signs of Elendil.” Arwen also carries a banner and Aragorn takes it from her at the coronation scene (House of Elrond’s banner?).

Read about Arwen’s Standard of Gondor in this post from maegwen. – Dem.

100. The hobbits are wearing their clothes from the Shire during Aragorn’s coronation.

Reader update: Other coronation observations.
a) Arwen’s clothes change into spring colors (bright spring green), as a symbol of her new beginning, as Aragon’s queen.
b) Eowyn goes from dark or white ( cold ) to sunny bright yellow also spring colors symbolic of her emotional change. Also Faramir looks more like a prince than a warrior.
c) Eomer has on much richer and fancier clothing and armour at the Coronation. He looks like the King.
d) Gimli does not hold crown, Frodo does in book. However we would have missed the wonderful line of not bowing to anyone.
e) Legolas wears a ‘crown” for the first time denoting his royal status.
f) Aragon’s royal clothes are much less rich than Theodens or Eomers, except in Arwen’s vision of her son where Aragorn is better dressed.
g) In the coronation scene, you can see the swan banner of Dol Amroth in the crowd. Didn’t see Prince Imrahil, but perhaps I’ll have to see the movie again to be sure. [Not sure about this one – haven’t spotted the banner myself – Dem.]

101. When we fly over the map with Frodo’s voice over, as Frodo says “eternally bound by friendship and love” (talking about the Fellowship, of course) the camera is over Fangorn Forest – a nice nod to Treebeard and to Legolas and Gimli going there after the War of the Ring!

102. *NEW* Frodo’s wearing more Elvish silks and pale colours as he becomes more ethereal and withdraws from the mortal world.

103. *NEW* When the hobbits return to the Shire near the end of the film they are all wearing very fine clothing. In particular Merry wears a richer looking Rohan outfit (rich green cape w/gold trim, deep reds for the rest of the outfit). Pippin wears a richer looking Gondor outfit (similar to the one he wore throughout the film but it looks newer and richer in color).

You can see these outfits in this image – one that never made the theatrical cut. – Dem.

Reader update: You get to see Merry and Pippin decked out when they first ride into town; one of my favorite scenes is Pippin, dressed in full Gondor blacks as he was while serving Denethor, half-waving and saying “Hi” to the old hobbit (a direct parallel of his placement and scowling from Fellowship).

104. Sam is the first of the hobbits to make a move to get back his life when he leaves the table to see Rosie.

105. Pippin gets the wedding bouquet at the wedding of Sam and Rosie. And indeed Pippin is the next to be married of the four hobbits.

106. Frodo (or Sam) has totally tidied up Bag End. It looks funny uncluttered.

107. *NEW* Galadriel had said in TT that “In his heart, Frodo begins to understand the quest will claim his life.” While in Bag End, Frodo reflects that In his heart he begins to understand he can’t go back.

Apparently “claim his life” literally. At the Wellington roundtable interview, Philippa asked the journalists about his departure at the Grey Havens. “Did you understand that in essence Frodo was dying?” – Dem.

108. Part of what Frodo’s written in the Redbook of Westmarch includes, “…can finally ask for the hand of the fair Rosie Cotton.” and “…the bravest things he’s ever done.” and “… Samwise Gamgee was elected mayor.” ALL of these need to be expanded upon and verified!

109. At the very bottom of the cover of the Red Book, there are two intertwined “B’s” , for Bilbo Baggins.

Frodo scribbling in the Redbook of Westmarch. – Dem.

Reader update: In the scene at the end of ROTK when it shows Frodo sitting in Bag End writing in the Red Book, the camera pans into the room and closes in on him in the same exact fashion and angle as when Bilbo is writing in the book in the EE of FOTR. I loved how it paralleled the two hobbits writing down their adventures.

110. *NEW* The sword that’s on the wall behind Frodo in the Bag End study looks like Glamdring or Pippin’s blade he carries in Minas Tirith, which is mounted and crossed with an Orc sword. It looks like a breast of Mordor armour is above it.

111. Sam has brass buttons on his vest coat. Frodo has a silky grey elvish-looking vest (double-breasted).

112. Sam still wears his elvish brooch clasped the opposite direction of everyone else.

113. Gandalf wears Narya openly at the Haven.

Elrond also can be seen with Vilya on his hand, and Galadriel with Nenya. – Dem.

114. Cirdan is standing behind Galadriel and Celeborn at the Havens.

115. *NEW* Is Pippin wearing tartan at the Grey Havens? PJ told Billy early on that the Tooks were Scots, which meant he could keep his native accent. Looks like he also donned some Scottish garb as well!

116. *NEW* Frodo’s kiss on Sam’s forehead mirrors Galadriel’s kiss on his. Frodo is now ethereal and blesses Sam the way Galadriel blessed him.

Reader update: This also mirrors Aragorn kissing Boromir’s forehead at the end of FotR. Could possibly be seen as a final farewell, since we don’t get an epilogue, and Tolkien never does say that Frodo was *alive* when Sam made it across the sea. [A topic of much debate and uncertainty – Dem.].

117. After Frodo enters the ship and turns to his friends, his eyes lose their redness and his pale cheeks flush with the life he had at Bilbo’s party. Our Frodo is back, without the shadows and pain.

118. The moment of Frodo smiling at the end before the ship departs is so very telling: Finally he is coming to peace; reassuring to his friends; he will be alright; he will miss them.

119. There’s a little 3 sign on the door of Sam’s house in Hobbiton.

Reader update: Actually, this is a great nod to the book — Sam and Sam’s father live in 3 Bagshot Row. In the book Sam and his family move into Bag End before Frodo departs; for whatever reason they didn’t do that in the movie version but the ‘3’ maintains a perfect continuity from the text. It would be interesting to double check if in fact that’s the same house that Sam is seen in the EE of FOTR doing a brief bit of gardening in front of.

120. Baby Frodo Gamgee is played by Maisie McLeod-Riera (Sarah McLeod’s child).

Reader update: In that scene Rosie looks as if she is pregnant with number three, young Rose. [I never really noticed – Dem.]

121. The ending – ultimate geeky moment of them all: “Well I’m back.” Exactly same last lines as in the book.

122. Return of the King simply finishes with the words, “The End” Poignant, and sad.

123. One of the last sketches in the credits is possibly of Elijah’s sister Hannah; watch just before the very end in the lower left-hand of the screen.

124. The credits show someone else was lost: “In memory of our dear friend Cameron Duncan.”

Reader update: Cameron Duncan was a gifted young New Zealand film maker. While still at school, he made award-winning TV advertisements for a road safety campaign. He loved LoTR, and was a great admirer of Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson met him and talked with him several times, and took him onto the set. He died just a few months before RoTK was released, from cancer, at the age of 17. There is an article about Duncan at The Listener, which details, amongst other things, his friendship with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, and the RoTK team. It also gives an interesting insight into the lyrics for ‘Into the West’.

125. At the end of the credits, listened to the very end of the score. Howard Shore pays obvious (to any opera fan) tribute to Richard Wagner at the close of his own great opera: the end of the score sounds exactly like the end (and so also beginning) of the Ring of the Nibelungen, under that wonderful pencil sketch of the Ring.

Would Tolkien be impressed? “Both Rings are round, and there the resemblance ends.” – Dem.

126. Reader update: It seemed to me, that in the Grey Havens scene at the end, that Bilbo was dressed deliberately to make him look like the great J R R Tolkien himself. It’s been mentioned many times, often by himself, that he thought of himself as a hobbit, and I thought it was a great nod to the man himself, rather than just his literature. I think there is an autobiography where his picture adorns the cover in such strikingly similar attire.

TIDBITS:

126. *NEW* TIDBIT: English translation of Renee Fleming’s solo as the eagles swoop down to rescue Frodo and Sam:

In a dream I was lifted up.
Borne from the darkness
Above the rivers of fire.
On wings doft as the wind.
What’s happened to the world?
Is everything sad going to come untrue?

127. TIDBIT: Musically, I love the way the tune of “Into the West” is used at various points. When Gandalf is talking to Pippin about death it plays very softly as he says the line about “…… a white shore and a far green country under a swift sunrise” – the description in the book of Frodo’s glimpse of Valinor. Later, on Mount Doom, when Sam says, “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” the theme rings out on the horns in a truly heroic theme. Beautiful. Howard Shore’s score has been absolutely masterly, operatic in scale. I also like the way he and PJ will match a very dramatic and violent scene with quite delicate and poignant music, such as Pippin’s song during that suicidal cavalry charge and the soaring voice of Renee Fleming when Mount Doom is raining fire and it really is the “End of All Things.”

128. *NEW* TIDBIT: It is essential that we see Frodo choose life so that when he sails from the Havens we know that is only with Eru’s blessing that he relinquishes life on Middle Earth. I do think it is important to make his decision to sail clearly different to a impulse to suicide and that moment when he reaches for Sam’s hand establishes that beyond all doubt.

129. *NEW* TIDBIT: There’s a suggestion suggests some relationship between Frodo’s choice and the fate of the ring. NOTICE THAT THE RING DOES NOT SUCCUMB to the fires until Frodo decides to live. In fact, there is a moment just as we see complete resignation in Frodo’s eyes when the inscription on the ring shines forth as though in victory. As soon as Frodo grabs Sam’s hand, the ring dissolves in the fire.

130. TIDBIT: The costumes seem to echo certain aspects of the characters. When Arwen returns to Rivendell and makes her decision to remain, her dress changes colour from blue with white sleeves to a dark plum colour with blood-red sleeves. Is this to show she has chosen mortality – red is the colour of life (blood) and death?

Reader update: If red is life, a dark plum/purple is for royalty.

131. TIDBIT: When Aragorn sang the Quenya declaration of Elendil (“Et Eärello Endorenna…”) at his coronation, he didn’t just speak it, he sang it in a very haunting way, like a hymn, and gave it the respect that a true hymn deserves. At first I didn’t understand what he was saying, but then a sort of shiver went through me when I figured it out. It is one of my most vivid and most haunting memories of the movie. I thought it to be one PJ’s greatest gifts to those of us who have read the books. I also like how he left the phrase untranslated. It makes it seem more mysterious.

It’s a quote from the text: “Then Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said: Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta! And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the Sea on the wings of the wind: ‘Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.'” From the Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter Five. – Dem.

132. TIDBIT: Characters who have sung in the trilogy are Pippin, Merry, Frodo (together at the Green Dragon), Aragorn, Éowyn, Gollum/Sméagol, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Treebeard.

133. TIDBIT: Lembas in general: Lembas is symbolic (and those in the RR know the Body of Christ argument). It sustains them. Sam telling Frodo he’s rationing for the trip home underlines the importance of Frodo’s task. One: Frodo already understands on some level that there will probably not be going back– yet he has a bit of hope left. Two: lembas represents the elves’ light and aid. Later it aids Sam to turn around and go back to Frodo.

134. TIDBIT: Stealing lembas: Then, Gollum’s set up of Sam — Since the Ring has a hold on both Frodo and Gollum, it’s easy to understand how they both would assume Sam would want it as much as them — especially someone who has been as close a proximity as Sam has been to the Ring. But taking the Ring — is one thing. Others have tried. Stealing life is another. That is why Gollum sets up Sam by destroying the lembas. Notice what Sam is doing as he wakes and stands up asking Gollum what Gollum’s sneaking around doing, Sam is tightening his belt. He has starved himself to give his food to Frodo (This makes Sam’s earlier words more meaningful — “I’m not hungry for lembas” Frodo now interprets this differently: I’m not hungry because I’m already stuffed with it, instead of the truth, I’m saying I’m not hungry and giving mine to you.), but it keeps Sam going even though he’s not eaten it.

135. TIDBIT: AOL Time Warner announced it would be dropping the AOL part from its name … What does this have to do with LOTR? Well, when you go back into the theatres this holiday season, check out the New Line logo … from the three installments in the trilogy, this may turn out to be the only one that has “A Time Warner Company” underneath the logo, instead of the usual “An AOL Time Warner Company”.

CAMEOS

137. Billy and Katie Jackson: They’re hobbits at the party in FotR; They’re Rohan Children in the caves at Helm’s Deep; They are children Faramir passes at Minas Tirith on the way back to Osgiliath; They also look like two of the children at Sam and Rosie’s wedding.

138. *NEW* There is a brief shot of a corsair ship, with Peter Jackson swaggering around the deck in full pirate garb. He actually had a considerably longer appearance filmed, including a fight scene which ended with him being killed (either by Legolas or Aragorn; I’ve heard both and don’t know which is correct.) That sequence didn’t make it to the theatrical release, but we may see it in the EE.

Reader update: The first scenes of the corsair ships show them entering the screen from the right and moving left as a precursor, wherein the enemy is discussing that the fleet is already on the move; right after the sacking of the river garrisons. Later, when the ships stroll into port just prior to Aragorn’s dismount at the vanguard of the host of the dead, the ship-entry scene, right to left, is re-used.

Speaking of scene re-use, there’s at least one shot during fighting outside Minas Tirith that you have Aragorn and Gimli both in the scene (Aragorn in the foreground, Gimli’s too-tall too-thin too-orange-haired stunt double in a blurry background) where the exact scene was reused; the first appearance is during fast battle cuts, the second extends and aragorn has (I think) a speaking part.

139. Henry Mortensen plays an orc.

140. Barrie Osbourne is one of the fleeing Gondorians when the first rock hits inside the city.

141. One of the Gondorian guards at the Beacon at Minas Tirith is Christian Rivers (WETA art director).

142. The boy from Star Wars: Episode 2 that played Boba Fett as a kid (Daniel Logan?).

143. Royd Tolkien could be the other guard of the beacon at Minas Tirith and is seen again at the gate when it’s breached by Grond.

144. Billy and Katie are two Gondorian children standing along the street as Faramir and his men leave and two of the hobbit children (?)

145. Reader update: Unconfirmed cameo at the Green Dragon Inn. Thomas Robins (Deagol) allegedly appears at the birthday party and carrying the pumpkin into the green dragon at the end.

For further cameos, check out this TORn report. – Dem.

MULTIPLE DUTY

145. Stephen Ure portrays Grishnákh in TTT and is listed as Gorbag in RotK.

146. John Rhys-Davies portrays Gimli and does the voice for Treebeard.

147. Lawrence Makoare plays both the Witchking and Gothmog.

INJURIES

148. Jay Laga’aia broke his leg while filming fight scenes for “Return of the King.”

149. Reader update: Craig Parker is both Haldir and the voice of a Nazgul. He is also credited with doing voices in RoTK.

CHARACTERS THOUGHT DEAD

1. LOTR has its fake death scenes! (Fake Death Syndrome) Let’s see if we can count ’em all!

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

  • all four hobbits killed in their beds by Nazgûl (for all of 10 seconds).
  • Frodo killed by cave troll.
  • the Nazgûl that jumped or burned at Weathertop/Amon Sul. A stretch perhaps for most except maybe the one that took it in the face.
  • the Balrog and Gandalf dying in Moria when they fall.
  • the Nazgûl drowning at Ford of Bruinen
  • Frodo “dies” by the river in Arwen’s arms
  • Sam drowning

THE TWO TOWERS

  • Pippin killed by horse stomping on him.
  • Merry and Pippin killed and burned in the pile by the Rohirrim (not by the Uruks).
  • Aragorn killed by fall from cliff.

RETURN OF THE KING

  • Faramir killed by the orcs of Osgiliath.
  • Frodo killed by Shelob.
  • Gollum killed by falling off the cliff.
  • Aragorn has vision of Arwen dying.
  • Merry “killed” on the battlefield.
  • Éowyn “killed” on the battlefield (more definite in the book)
  • Frodo killed by falling off the precipice into the lava.

Of the main characters, it’s only Legolas, Gimli, Galadriel & Elrond don’t suffer from ‘fake death syndrome.’

Reader update: Gimli has a “fake death” after the wall is breached at Helm’s deep. More so in the book, but in the movie he is below the water of the stream and Legolas (or is it Aragorn?) thinks he is dead.

Posted in Old Special Reports on December 29, 2003 by

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