Harry from AICN received this very interesting snippet from one of his spies. Underneath the amusing anecdote lies some interesting points for pondering. I’ve reproduced the report below because I wanted to throw in my own five cents of speculation afterwards.

Harry writes:

Some of my lowly Kiwi spies have informed me that Viggo Mortensen made up in Aragorn‘s scruffy unkept beard filmed a scene a few days ago with Hugo/Elrond aka Mr. Smith for THE RETURN OF THE KING.

It was a scene where Elrond comes into Aragorn‘s tent wearing a hooded cape that kept his face hidden in darkness. Jackson shot the scene a dozen times at least. In this scene Hugo slowly and with a certain amount of drama removes the hood from his face to seriously talk with Viggo.

Due to various reasons Hugo kept blowing his lines, so Peter shot it over and over. Finally the Director called for the insurance, or Champagne shot, and they ran thru it all for one final take with Elrond stepping into the scene face hidden from the view of all in attendance, buuuuuut this time when he slowly exposes his face he had on a pair of his patented “Mr. Smith” sunglasses and says something along the line of, “Join with the MATRIX, Mr. Aragorn” in his best deadpan delivery.

Mr. Jackson then called for the scene wrap.

That’s the end of Harry’s report. The Matrix gag is worth a titter, but why is Elrond meeting Aragorn, and where? What does this all mean?

Has Elrond come looking for his errant daughter? Or, is he bringing help and advice … or even congratulations? The fact he’s removing his hood, and his face has been ‘hidden from … view’ seems to indicate that he’s come in secret.

As an aside, the tent is one of those we saw in the background of Peter Jackson‘s MTV Awards acceptance speech.

It’s hard to tell if Aragorn is alone. Aragorn is the only one mentioned, and you’d think the spy would name any other actors in the scene, but maybe ‘all in attendence’ doesn’t refer to everyone who attended the shoot.

But I’m guessing the scene is not in Rohan. In fact, I think it’s probably after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and Elrond is being re-inserted into the action to provide advice at (or for) the Last Debate.

Alternate theories? I can’t think of many, though it could be just before the Paths of the Dead, and Elrond has come to deliver the words of Malbeth the Seer. That seems a less likely scenario to me though, since I expect Arwen will instead show up to deliver the banner, the sword and the words of the seer …

One things certain though, expect to see more Elves in Return of the King.


Count Zero believes that the scene will be in Rohan rather Gondor, though, citing the tents and Aragorn’s stubbly pre-King look as evidence. I’ll buy the scruffy look, but tents are pretty portable, Tolkien in fact wrote one in for Theoden for the meeting with Ghan-buri-Ghan.

But if Elrond were to bring the sword, what does this leave for Arwen to do in RoTK? Another inspirational dream sequence?

It would also seem to run counter to this picture from the June 25th trailer for the Two Towers with a cloaked-hooded figure that (I think) looks a lot like Arwen, lingering near the statue with the shards of Narsil at Rivendell.

But then, it could easily end up on the cutting room floor, just like all the footage of Arwen fighting at Helm’s Deep from Two Towers. The Extended Edition release may tell us more about the depth of Arwen’s role in RoTK. However, the folks over on TORC picked up this old tidbit from a piece that Tolkien scholar Bill Welden wrote on the Official Site way back in 2001.

“We talk about changes to the story. She clears up a number of points, chaff from the rumor mill of intense scrutiny surrounding this production. Arwen will not travel to Rohan, nor to Gondor until it is time for her wedding.”

If you’re interested, you can find that entire article here under the ‘special features’ section.

Jeremiah sent in this interesting thread of analysis that examines not only what Jackson might intend, but why …

One thought- this may be the answer to an interesting riddle from the cinematic Two Towers. The riddle is this: Why don’t we ever see Narsil/ Andúril? It’s possible Arwen took it with her, I suppose… but audiences are going to find it hard to believe that Arwen had it re-forged at Rivendell without Elrond’s knowledge. Furthermore, it’s all but impossible to believe the sword could be re-forged anywhere else. Not to mention the suspicion that taking the shards from Rivendell without Elrond’s permission would be the same as stealing…

So, where are the shards? Perhaps, when we last see Rivendell in Two Towers, they’re exactly where they’d been during Fellowship, laying upon the stone shield. Imagine this plotline. Elrond, believing his daughter safely escorted to the Havens, stays behind to do what he can to help win this war. He convinces Celeborn and Galadriel to send elite troops to Helm’s Deep, in his name. He sends his sons, and whatever Rangers of the North he can contact, to aid Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead. [I think that the Sons of Elrond will not make the cut, if I recall correctly. I just can’t recall the source of that information right now – Dem]

He has Narsil re-forged. And he personally carries the sword to Aragorn- which is the pick-up scene Hugo and Viggo were filming here.

I don’t believe this was the original, intended plotline for the sword. I think it has been well established that, as of two years ago, Andúril was to be carried to Helm’s Deep by Arwen herself.

I think Elrond’s role was much more of a cameo at that time- less substantial than Galadriel’s. I think all this has changed since Fellowship was released. The sorrow of the parting of the Elves is obviously a plot point the co-writers want to emphasize, and their method of highlighting how dramatic the loss of the Elves is to all of Middle-Earth is to make it all very personal.

Elrond and all the rest are leaving forever, and only Arwen will be left behind- the idea of eternal separation between father and daughter is a very powerful theme. To pull this off they needed to greatly increase the role of Elrond, give him more to do, to make him more memorable to the audience. Rather than being remembered as ‘the guy from the first film who ran the council’ he must be remembered as ‘a heroic Elf, and father of Arwen’. I think this is their answer- making him more personally involved in the War of the Ring, perhaps even putting him in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, or the Battle of the Morannon.

In short, I think Elrond is coming unannounced into Aragorn’s tent, either immediately prior to the Paths of the Dead, or immediately following Pelennor Fields. He is telling Aragorn that he must realize his destiny to become King. When Aragorn protests ‘Who in Gondor will believe that I am their rightful king?’ Elrond brings out Andúril. The relationship between the two becomes clear- Elrond raised Aragorn as a son after Arathorn died, and Elrond’s support is every bit as important to Aragorn as the sword itself.