False Rumours

During the production of Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films, there were many rumored and reported changes that Jackson and his fellow screenwriters were supposedly making to Tolkien's story that never appeared in the final theatrical or extended editions of the films. Here is a compendium of many of those false rumors.


The Hobbit


Bilbo Runs Errands

Hobbit film still of Bilbo doing his shopping in Hobbiton.Film: Film stills show Bilbo shopping and doing errands among the other Hobbits in Hobbiton.

Book: The book begins with the narrator describing Bilbo and the ways of Hobbits; however, there are no Hobbiton scenes of Bilbo taking place beyond his home of Bag End other than when he runs to meet the dwarves at the start of their journey.

Pro: Showing Bilbo go about his daily life is more effective than having a narrator describing the life of Hobbits in general, and it provides an effective contrast to his upcoming adventures.

Con:Such scenes require the screenwriters to invent dialog and scenes not created by Tolkien.

Fact: These scenes were filmed but were not included into the theatrical version of An Unexpected Journey. They will likely be included in Extended Version when it appears on Blueray/DVD.


Bilbo's Birthday Party

Hobbit film still apparently taking place at Bilbo's "long expected party".Film: Film stills show scenes of Bilbo's Birthday party dramatized.

Book: There are no "flash forward" passages describing events that come after Bilbo's adventure, except for those editions of The Hobbit that include the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Pro: Such scenes would be fondly remembered by fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and put them in a good frame of mind for experiencing the rest of the film..

Con: These scenes nothing to the story of Bilbo's adventures and serves only to make audiences wonder when the movie will actually get started.

Fact: These scenes were filmed but were not included into the theatrical version of An Unexpected Journey. They will likely be included in Extended Version when it appears on Blueray/DVD.


The Shards of Narsil

Scene from Hobbit teaser trailer of Bilbo coming upon the shards of Narsil.Film: The film trailer contains a scene of Bilbo coming upon the shards of Narsil at Rivendell.

Book: The Hobbit does not describe Thorin & Company’s stay at Rivendell much beyond Elrond’s examination of Thorin’s map and of the swords taken from the troll’s lair. The shards of Narsil was an heirloom of the heirs of Isildur, including Aragorn, and Tolkien never described them being shown on display at Rivendell.

Pro: Fans of the Lord of the Rings films would enjoy seeing Bilbo discover the places and artifacts depicted in that trilogy.

Con: This scene further compounds the change from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that Aragorn did not carry the shards of Narsil with him as he did in the books.

Fact: This scene was filmed but not included into the theatrical version of An Unexpected Journey. They will likely be included in Extended Version when it appears on Blueray/DVD.


The Fellowship of the Ring


Gollum's Role Expanded

Gollum. Film: Philippa Boyens said in an interview with Sc(i)pt Magazine on 11/1/01,  "Gollum, one of our favorites, was probably expanded rather than limited. I think when you see the film, what will be interesting is how huge his role will be when it's played out in the movie. Because as strong a presence as he is in the book, he is much more so in the movie."

Book: Gollum briefly appears in Fellowship of the Ring and accompanies Frodo and Sam on their quest to destroy the Ring through The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

Pro: Focusing the story on the Ring and its effects on characters necessarily expands Gollum's presence in the story because he is central to that theme.

Con: Expanding Gollum's role requires the creation of dialog not written by Tolkien.

Fact: Gollum's role in the films is about the same as it was in the books.


Gandalf Pulls Coney from Hat

"For my next trick..."Film: Gandalf entertains Hobbit youngsters at Bilbo's party with a few tricks such as pulling items out of his hat.

Book: This is not explicitly mentioned as being one of the party's entertainments, although at one point early in the story, the Hobbits are told that all they know about Gandalf are his tricks and his jokes but his real business is far more serious.

Pro: Presumably this scene was intended to warm the audience up to Gandalf's character as well providing action for the party sequence.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters which takes screen time away from scenes that Tolkien actually wrote.

Fact: According to Ian McKellen, such a scene was filmed, but it obviously never made the final cut.


Éowyn Cameo Appearance in FOTR

Eowyn makes a cameo appearance when Gwaihir brings Gandalf to RohanEowyn makes a cameo appearance when Gwaihir brings Gandalf to RohanFilm: Éowyn appears in FOTR when Gandalf acquired Shadowfax at Edoras.

Book: Éowyn does not appear until The Two Towers.

Pro: Perhaps she only is there to help populate the scenes where Gandalf acquires Shadowfax.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters which takes screen time away from scenes that Tolkien actually wrote.

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Note: According to John Forde's interview with Miranda Otto in E! Online On Location 10/01/00, Éowyn does not appear in the first film. However, either Forde or Otto may have been mistaken, since Otto's role in the first film is only supposed to be a cameo.


Frodo Watches Arwen from Room

Elrond and Arwen in RivendellElrond and Arwen in RivendellFilm: Frodo watches Arwen from outside his room in Rivendell.

Book: The only times it is mentioned that Frodo sees Arwen is at Elrond's feast and, afterwards, in the Hall of Fire.

Pro: Presumably this is a cinematic way of moving the audience from a scene with Frodo to a scene with Arwen.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters which takes screen time away from scenes that Tolkien actually wrote.

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Gollum's Escape Discussed After Council

Elrond and Gandalf conferElrond and Gandalf conferFilm: Gollum's escape from the Elves is discussed by Gandalf and Elrond immediately before the Fellowship departs Rivendell.

Book: This development is discussed at Council of Elrond.

Pro: Presumably this was done to alleviate some of the exposition burden from the Council of Elrond scene.

Con: This change eliminates Legolas' reason for being at the Council of Elrond.

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Elves Save Fellowship from Moria Orcs

Elvish arrow whizzes toward Orcs pursuing Fellowship into LothlorienElvish arrow whizzes toward Orcs pursuing Fellowship into LothlorienFilm: Orcs chase The Fellowship in broad daylight from the Moria Gate to Lothlórien, where a group of Elven archers slay the orcs just as it appeared the Fellowship would be overwhelmed if not for their intervention.

Book: This slaying happens out of the Fellowship's sight at night and the Elves tell them about it afterwards.

Pro: Presumably, this change gets the Fellowship from Moria to Lothlórien more quickly, both in terms of time and dramatic pacing.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Elves Pull Fellowship into Trees

Film: Lothlórien Elves pull the Fellowship into the trees to save them from a second, larger group of pursuing Moria orcs.

Book: Haldir and his brothers let down rope ladders so that Frodo and Sam can climb up and spend the night sleeping in their flet (the remainder of the Fellowship slept in another tree). However, it was not part of a rescue.

Pro: Presumably, this is a quick way to introduce Haldir, as well as adding some light comic relief after the exciting events in Moria.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Note: It was originally reported that the Elves magically levitated the Fellowship into the trees, but it now appears that this was only a poor choice of words from a crewmember.


Only Legolas is Blindfolded With Gimli

Film: So that Gimli does not feel singled out when Haldir demands that the dwarf be blindfolded on the way to Caras Galadhon, Legolas reluctantly agrees to be blindfolded too.

Book: The entire Fellowship is blindfolded.

Pro: Focusing this scene on Legolas and Gimli helps to build a stronger relationship between them in FOTR.

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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  • GIMLI Audition Script 1/13/99 (first report)


Elrond and Arwen Visit Lothlórien

Elrond and Celeborn in Caras GaladhonElrond and Celeborn in Caras GaladhonFilm: Elrond meets with Celeborn in Caras Galadhon, while Galadriel talks with Arwen.

Book: Nowhere in the books is such a scene described.

Pro: This change allows for more screen time with the Elves.

Con: This is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not reflect Tolkien's story.

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  • Elrond and Celeborn Film Still (first report, photographic evidence)
  • "The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide" by Brian Sibley (photographic evidence)


The Argonath Hasn't an Axe to Grind

The Pillars of the Kings with swords instead of axesThe Pillars of the Kings with swords instead of axesFilm: The right statue of The Argonath holds a sword. (It is difficult to make out what the left statue is holding, if anything).

Book: "The left hand of each was raised palm outwards in gesture of warning; in each right hand there was an axe; upon each head there was a crumbling helm and crown."

Pro: Um... this change was so that the movie audience wouldn't think Isildur and Anárion were dwarves?

Con: This is a needless deviation from the text.

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Note: Interestingly, film production illustrator John Howe has previously illustrated The Argonath with axes


Merry and Pippin Caught Eavesdropping

Film: While discussing the Ring with Frodo at Bag End, Gandalf catches Merry, Pippin and Sam eavesdropping.

Book: Only Sam is caught eavesdropping, although he later names Merry and Pippin as fellow "conspirators" who have been observing Frodo since Bilbo's departure.

Pro: Presumably this integrates the "conspiracy revelation" scenes from the books into the compressed storyline of the screenplay, in which the Crickhollow scenes have been eliminated.

Con: The script would require additional dialog written by the scriptwriters rather than by Tolkien.

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  • AICN Script Review (first report)
  • Leonides The One Ring Messageboard Post 10/9/01 (confirmation) This post was deleted at Peter Jackson's request

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Palantír Staff

The baseball at the end of Saruman's staff is not the palantír of OrthancThe palantír still has a nice Brunswick look!The palantír still has a nice Brunswick look!Film: The palantír of Orthanc is a white baseball-sized sphere, which Saruman keeps at the end of his staff.

Book: It is a heavy, dark crystal globe about one foot in diameter.

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Note: Despite the original Saruman photograph, we now know that the sphere on Saruman's staff is NOT a palantír. Now, a white palantír was used during the filming, but that was only so that CG artists could clearly see the outline of the globe for applying the visual effects.


Arwen Follows Fellowship

Nope! Arwen's not here!Nope! Arwen's not here!Film: Arwen joins or follows the Fellowship as they travel from Rivendell to Amon Hen.

Book: Arwen remains in Rivendell until she travels to Minas Tirith to marry Aragorn after he is crowned king.

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Note: One "spy" claimed that he heard a woman screaming during the filming of the Gates of Moria scene and deduced that Arwen must have been with the Fellowship.


Arwen Arrives at Amon Hen

Film: Arwen and Lothlórien Elves led by Haldir arrive in time to help the Fellowship fight the Uruk-Hai attack at Amon Hen.

Book: No such help arrives.

Pro: According to Peter Jackson, "we have to find a way to include Arwen in more of the story, to have a chance at creating a meaningful screen romance."

Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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The Two Towers


Film Opens With Saruman Spying on The Three Hunters

Film: The film opens with a scene of Saruman spying on Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli via his palantír. The scene then fades in to Aragorn picking up one of the Hobbits' lost brooches.

Book: There is no such scene of Saruman spying on anyone in the books. The Two Towers opens with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli discovering the fatally injured Boromir.

Pro: With Boromir's death having occurred in the first film, starting with the "Three Hunters" is a reasonable scene to begin with. Having Saruman spy on them is a reminder to the audience who the most current threat is.

Con: This line is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Film Opens With Gollum in Swamp

Film: The film opens with a scene of Gollum in the swamps.

Book: The book opens with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli discovering the fatally injured Boromir. Gollum does not appear until the middle of the book, where he is caught by Frodo and Sam crawling down a cliff in the Emyn Muil.

Pro: More attention is given to Gollum in the films so as to explore in greater detail the psychological dynamics of Gollum, Frodo and Sam.

Con: This line is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Film Opens With Frodo and Sam

Film: The film opens with a scene of Frodo and Sam.

Book: The book opens with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli discovering the fatally injured Boromir. Gollum does not appear until the middle of the book, where he is caught by Frodo and Sam crawling down a cliff in the Emyn Muil.

Pro: More attention is given to Gollum in the films so as to explore in greater detail the psychological dynamics of Gollum, Frodo and Sam.

Con: This line is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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More Frightening Treebeard Encounter

Pippin and Merry see something in Fangorn Forest.Pippin and Merry see something in Fangorn Forest.Film: After escaping the Uruk-hai, Merry and Pippin stumble through Fangorn Forest, frightened and hungry, until Treebeard smacks them on the head with a"branch" and picks the terrified two up.

Book: The hobbits are nourished by lembas and journey through Fangorn rather cheerfully. They travel for a few miles before encountering Treebeard, who talks with them briefly before picking the pair up.

Pro: Lembas is a luxury that can be cut to accommodate the film's running time. A more dramatic encounter between Treebeard and the hobbits makes for a more effective cut to another scene in the film.

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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  • MERRY & PIPPIN Audition Script 1/13/99 (first report)


Funnier Treebeard Encounter

Film: Pippin climbs a tree, that blinks to an open eye. Pippin is pulling himself up upon the nose, turns and looks straight at the eye, turns to tell Merry something, when he realizes he just saw an eye in a tree.

Book: Pippin and Merry discover Treebeard when the Ent walks up behind the two hobbits and begins talking to them.

Pro: This is a more visually interesting introduction to Treebeard than it would be if the book were followed precisely.

Con: This line is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Sméagol's Descent in Gollum Depicted in Second Film

Film: As Gollum stares at the sleeping hobbits, there is a flashback of Déagol finding the Ring and Sméagol killing him for it.

Book: Gandalf recounts Gollum's story in the first book.

Pro: With Fellowship being a much lengthier book than The Two Towers, pushing Gollum's backstory into the film in which we get to "know" Gollum helps to make the movies of a more equal running time.

Con: Such a change departs from Tolkien's story structure.

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Éowyn and Aragorn Cross Swords

... and beats the pants off him!... and beats the pants off him!Éowyn crosses swords with Aragorn...Éowyn crosses swords with Aragorn...Film: While Éowyn is practicing her sword maneuvers, Aragorn was up behind her. As she wields her blade around, Aragorn blocks it with the long knife Galadriel gave to him (having relinquished his sword to Hama). However, she parries his blade.

Book: The only physical interaction Éowyn and Aragorn have is when she handed him a cup of wine and their hands met.

Pro: Such scenes make Éowyn a more memorable character in the second film.

Con: This line is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Elrond and Arwen Depart Rivendell for Lothlorien

Before leaving Rivendell, Arwen nabs NarsilBefore leaving Rivendell, Arwen nabs NarsilFilm: Elrond, Arwen, Bilbo and many of the Elves from Rivendell decide to leave their home because they feel it is no longer safe and that Lothlorien needs reinforcements. Before they leave, Arwen, dressed for the road, takes the shards of Narsil.

Book: There was no indication that Elrond and Arwen left Rivendell before the war against Sauron was won.

Pro: This change gives the audience more of the Elves perspective of events.

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Saruman Discusses Plans With Wormtongue

...and brings him down to the caverns below Orthanc to show him the forces he has readied...and brings him down to the caverns below Orthanc to show him the forces he has readiedSaruman tells Grima, ... and I shall be more powerful than the Lord of the Rings himself...Saruman tells Grima, "... and I shall be more powerful than the Lord of the Rings himself"...Film: Saruman tells Grima Wormtongue that he intends on using the Ring for himself when he gets it, and he also gives him instructions on how to subvert King Théoden. Later, after Grima is tossed out of Edoras, he tells Saruman that Rohan's refugees will head for Helm's Deep.

Book: There is no such scenes between Saruman and Grima.

Pro: Having Saruman and Grima more visible in the second film makes them a more interesting screen villains.

Con: The script would require additional dialog written by the filmmakers rather than by Tolkien.

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Aragorn Dreams of Arwen

Aragorn and Arwen in LothlorienAragorn and Arwen in LothlorienFilm: As the people of Rohan and the fellowship make their way to Helm's Deep, Aragorn has a dream of himself and Arwen together in Rivendell. In the dream Aragorn even says "this is only a dream" in which Arwen goes to comforting him.

Book: Aragorn mentions Arwen briefly to Éowyn while in Edoras, and even then, not by name. The story of Aragorn and Arwen is told in an appendix to the third book.

Pro: This "dream" shows the strong loving bind Arwen and Aragorn.

Con: This is a fabrication of the filmmakers.

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Aragorn and Elrond Have an Argument

Film: Aragorn and Elrond have an argument about Arwen in Elvish.

Book: The two characters don't even meet in the second book, and nowhere in all of Tolkien's works are the two ever described as having an argument.

Pro: This may be a flashback to Aragorn wanting to wed Arwen, and Elrond forbidding it unless Aragron were the King of Gondor.

Con: This is a total perversion of Tolkien's characters.

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CREDIBILITY: 3/5

Elrond and Galadriel Have an Argument

Film: Elrond and Galadriel have an argument.

Book: The two characters don't even meet in the second book, and nowhere in all of Tolkien's works are the two ever described as having an argument.

Pro: This may be a scene where Elrond convinces Galadriel to send archers to Helm's Deep.

Con: This is a perversion of Tolkien's characters.

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Arwen Uses Galadriel's Mirror

... and consults the Mirror of Galadriel.... and consults the Mirror of Galadriel.Arwen is troubled by nightmares even in the fair land of Lothlorien...Arwen is troubled by nightmares even in the fair land of Lothlorien...Film: Arwen begins to have troubling visions as they travel to Lothlorien. Upon reaching their destination, she talks to Galadriel about it, and she offers to let Arwen use her mirror. Arwen views her whole relationship with Aragorn, starting with when he first sees her, some happy times, and their farewell at Rivendell. She then sees him at the battle of Helms Deep. The rain is pouring down, and he is alone surrounded by dozens of Uruk-hai. He is then killed. She then talks to her father about sending him some help.

Book: This scene does not take take place in the books.

Pro: This scene .

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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The New Council of Elrond

Elrond talks Celeborn into sending Aragorn some assistance...Elrond talks Celeborn into sending Aragorn some assistance...Film: Elrond, Galadriel and Lothlorien Elves of where things stand at that point with Saruman, Sauron, the ring bearer, the Fellowship, and Middle-earth, and they end up deciding to send a company of Elves to Helm's Deep.

Book: This scene does not take place in the books.

Pro: For the people that aren't jaded by knowing everything from the book, it catches them up to speed with a lot of the meat of the plot that one wouldn't know if they didn't read the books. Also, by adding this conversation in between the head of Elves of different regions of Middle-earth, it makes more sense as to why Elves, led by Elf Haldir, come to assist the people of Rohan in the battle of Helm's Deep instead of rangers as it was portrayed in the book. Elrond made a decision, and that decision was to help.

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Legolas Feels Betrayed By His Own People

Film: Legolas fears three hundred of them cannot hold out against an army of ten thousand Uruk-hai at Helm's Deep. He feels betrayed by his own people and believes that the Elves should not have left the men to stand alone.

Book: Gimli remarks about how nice it would be if they had Elven archers to assist them, but Legolas merely replies that they wouldn't come because they have troubles enough in their own lands.

Pro: This adds complexity to Legolas' character.

Con: This is a perversion of Legolas' character.

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Elrond Convinces Galadriel to Send Elves

... and Haldir leads a group of Elves to Helm's Deep... and Haldir leads a group of Elves to Helm's DeepFilm: After Arwen has a vision of Aragorn dying at Helm's Deep, Elrond convinces Celeborn and Galadriel to send a group of Lothlórien elves, led by Haldir, to assist in the battle. (Arwen wants to join them, but Elrond dissuades her.) Haldir comes to Aragorn and Théoden and explain that they were able to defend the people and the small Rohirim contingent in the base from a few raids, but that their scouts report that Saruman has amassed a huge army of Uruk-hai and Wildmen which are marching towards Helms Deep.

Book: Legolas was the only Elf at that battle, and the only reinforcement troops to arrive were Huorns and more Rohirrim. However, Legolas did express the wish that some of his kinsmen armed with bows were there to help.

Pro: This change provides a way to bring Arwen into the second film and makes her marriage to Aragorn in the third film less of a surprise.

Con: Having Elven troops assist Men in their battles during in the War of the Ring violates Tolkien's theme of the Elves fading during the Third Age.


Éowyn Kills Ugluk at Helm's Deep

... while Éowyn tries to stay out of sight of his ugly mug.... while Éowyn tries to stay out of sight of his ugly mug.Ugluk penetrates the refuge at Helm's Deep...Ugluk penetrates the refuge at Helm's Deep...Film: Éowyn is at Helm's Deep with the refugees. During the battle, the orcs breech the wall and Éowyn kills their leader, Ugluk.

Book: Éowyn and the refugees were encamped at Dunharrow, a town some distance away. She never appeared in the Battle of Helm's Deep, nor did she fight any orcs.

Pro: Consolidating Helm's Deep and Dunharrow is a more economical use of screen time.

Con: Having Éowyn kill an Orc here is too much of a foreshadowing of her appearance as Dernhelm in the Battle of the Pelennor fields.

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No Ent Draught

Ent draught is not in the films -- and neither is this Hildebrandt Brothers' depiction of TreebeardEnt draught is not in the films -- and neither is this Hildebrandt Brothers' depiction of TreebeardFilm: Treebeard does not offer Pippin and Merry a drink of his glowing green brew.

Book: When Treebeard brings Pippin and Merry to his home, he offers them a drink of what he calls "Ent draught." This drink not only invigorates the two thirsty hobbits, but also causes them to grow a few inches..

Pro: Having Merry and Pippin appear to be a few inches taller in the rest of the films is not worth the effort for such a minor element of the story.

Con: Such minor elements are what makes Tolkien's work special.

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Hama Visits Lothlórien

Film: Hama visits Galadriel and Haldir.

Book: Hama remains in Rohan and Haldir remains in Lothlórien.

Pro: This provides an explanation for how Elves (and possibly Arwen, if she is visiting Galadriel) arrive at Helm's Deep.

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Boromir Makes Encore Appearance

Film: Faramir, Boromir, and Denethor appear in a flashback, in which Faramir is thinking back to how he got into the situation he's now in.

Book: The only Boromir sequences in The Two Towers are his death (already shown in the first film) and Faramir telling Frodo and Sam about the discovery of Boromir's funeral boat. Denethor does not appear until the third book.

Pro: This scene would provide insight into Faramir's character.

Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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Sam Doesn't Chew Out Faramir

C'mon, Sam, you're not going to put up with this!C'mon, Sam, you're not going to put up with this!Film: There is no scene from the book as described below

Book: Sam gets impatient with Faramir's questioning of Frodo and chews him out, addressing him as he would a young hobbit.

Pro: This scene does not justify the film time.

Con: Sam's character is diluted by having this line stolen from him.

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XenArwen

Film: Arwen arrives at Helm's Deep disguised as a cloaked archer and participates in the Battle of the Hornburg, wielding a sword.

Book: Arwen remains in Rivendell.

Pro: According to Peter Jackson, "we have to find a way to include Arwen in more of the story, to have a chance at creating a meaningful screen romance. " Since Aragorn is fighting a war in the second film, so must Arwen. However, according to Liv Tyler, "it was nice to have some female energy in the story."

Con: This change drastically alters Arwen's character as Tolkien wrote it, and it is insulting to women to portray them as being worthy only if they can fight alongside men.

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  • SFX Magazine Brian Sibley Interview 9/15/02 (confirmation)
  • It appears that scenes of Arwen fighting at Helm's Deep were filmed, but Peter Jackson decided not to use them. According to Beren, who worked on the production, Liv Tyler didn't suit the Xena-type roll that Arwen was going to have, so it was rewritten to suit her acting style.


    Arwen at Helm's Deep (AAHD)

    Close-up of Arwen and AsfalothClose-up of Arwen and AsfalothArwen and Asfaloth at Helm's DeepArwen and Asfaloth at Helm's DeepFilm: Arwen arrives at Helm's Deep after the Battle of the Hornburg, bringing Narsil, reforged into Anduril, to Aragorn.

    Book: Arwen's brothers, Elladan and Elrohir brings Aragorn the banner Arwen made for him, while she remains in Rivendell.

    Pro: This change provides a way to bring Arwen into the second film and makes her marriage to Aragorn in the third film less of a surprise.

    Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

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    Morwen

    Film: Arwen aids the people of Westfold, including a woman named Morwen, after the Battle of the Hornburg and remains with them until she goes to Minas Tirith for Aragorn's coronation and wedding.

    Book: Arwen remains in Rivendell, and there is no specific Rohan refugee named Morwen.

    Pro: The Morwen character gives "a face" to Rohan's suffering and helps to dramatize the sacrifice Arwen is considering should she marry Aragorn and become human.

    Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers which takes screen time away from scenes that Tolkien actually wrote.

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    Edoras Scenes at Helm's Deep

    Film: The remainder of Saruman's army - Orcs and Wildmen attack Edoras after the Uruk-hai are defeated at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

    Book: No battles take place at Edoras.

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    CREDIBILITY: -4/5

    Note: When the projects was to have originally been shot as two films, some Edoras and Helm's Deep scenes may be been combined to make more efficient use of screen time. However, when the budget was expanded to allow for three films, this idea was abandoned.

    Edoras Battle

    Film: The remainder of Saruman's army - Orcs and Wildmen attack Edoras after the Uruk-hai are defeated at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

    Book: No battles take place at Edoras.

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    Arwen Toots Her Own Horn

    Film: Arwen blows the horn at the Hornburg during the siege.

    Book: Théoden's men blew the horn.

    Pro: According to Peter Jackson, "we have to find a way to include Arwen in more of the story, to have a chance at creating a meaningful screen romance." This gives her character something to do during the battle.

    Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work. It also short changes from Erkenbrand's character.

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    No Huorns at Helms Deep

    Film: The Battles of Helm's Deep ends with Gandalf and the Riders of Rohan defeating the orcs. No Ents or Huorns appear.

    Book: It is a forest of Huorns, who are even more tree-like, that finish off the orcs.

    Pro: The audience would confuse Huorns with Ents.

    Con: This change leaves out one of the nuances of Tolkien's world.

    Supported: By:

    REFUTED BY:


    Witch-King Leads Army Through Mordor's Front Gate

    Film: When they arrive at the Black Gates of Mordor, Frodo, Sam and Gollum see a massive army coming out, lead by the Witch-King.

    Book: Frodo and company see this sight several chapters later, at the city of Minas Morgul.

    Pro: This is a good way to compress two similar scenes in order to save screen time.

    Con: Such a change departs from Tolkien's story structure.

    Supported: By:

    REFUTED BY:

    NOTE: It is actually an army of Easterlings that Frodo and company sees.


    The Return of the King


    Third Film Opens With Narsil Being Reforged

    Film: The third film starts with the reforging of Narsil in the foundry of Rivendell. Elrond then brings it to Aragorn's encampment with Theoden.

    Book: Narsil is reforged into Aragorn's sword Anduril before the Fellowship sets out from Rivendell in the first book. The third books opens with Gandalf and Pippin riding to Minas Tirith.

    Pro: Anduril is a good visual device representing Aragorn's decision to reclaim the throne of Gondor, and thus its reforging is better suited to the third film.

    Con: This change does not represent Tolkien's work.

    Supported: By:


    Eowyn Can't Compete With Arwen

    Film: When Arwen arrives at Aragorn's camp to bring him the reforged sword Anduril, Eowyn could see clearly that there was no way she could compete with this elf maiden.

    Book: Arwen remains in Rivendell while Eowyn is in Rohan.

    Pro: This could lead to interesting character interaction.

    Con: This is a major deviation from Tolkien's storyline.

    Supported: By:


    Gandalf Never Takes Palantír

    Film: After Saruman drops the palantír, Pippin picks it up and hides it until he looks into it that evening.

    Book: As soon as Pippin picks up the palantír, Gandalf takes it from him. Later than evening, Pippin steals it from the sleeping Gandalf and then looks into it..

    Pro: Screen time is saved by eliminating the business of Pippin taking the palantír from Gandalf.

    Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work.

    Supported By:


    Éowyn Kills Wormtongue

    Film: Wormtongue is killed by Éowyn.

    Book: Wormtongue is killed by hobbits after murdering Saruman at the Scouring of the Shire.

    Pro: If there is no time to fully depict the Scouring of the Shire as Tolkien wrote it in the third film, this is a good way to Wormtongue to conclude his role in the story. Since Saruman offered Éowyn to Wormtongue as "a reward" for his services, it is poetic justice that she kill him.

    Con: This change is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's work or characters.

    Supported By:

    REFUTED BY:


    Merry Can't Get Horse to Move

    Film: There is a comical scene of Merry attempting to get his horse to move.

    Book: There is no such scene.

    Pro: This change adds welcome comic relief.

    Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters which takes screen time away from scenes that Tolkien actually wrote.

    Supported By:


    Arwen helps Aragorn Use Palantír

    Film: Arwen helps Aragorn to use the palantír of Orthanc.

    Book: Aragorn is able to use the palantír without assistance, although his kinsman Halbarad is with him at the time.

    Pro: This is a good way to incorporate Arwen into more of the second film so that her marriage to Aragorn in the third film is not so much of a surprise.

    Con: This is not the Arwen that Tolkien wrote. She would have no special knowledge of or ability for using a palantír. Also, it lessens Aragorn of his own inherent abilities.

    Supported By:


    Skirmish in the South

    Film: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are delayed from arriving at Minas Tirith by "a skirmish in the south," occurring before the Aragorn's company take the Paths of the Dead.

    Book: There is no such diversion designed to keep them from the field of battle

    Pro: If there is an additional skirmish, then perhaps it is used to spread out action over more of the film.

    Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

    Supported By:

    • ARAGORN - SCENE 2 Audition Script 1/13/99


    Legolas Recites Seer's Prophecy

    Film: At the entrance to the Paths of the Dead, Aragorn feels that he made a mistake and invites the rest of the Company to turn back until Legolas recites the seer's prophecy that Isildur's heir would pass through the Paths of the Dead.

    Book: Elrohir reminds Aragorn about the Paths of the Dead, and later, in Edoras, Aragorn tells Legolas about the prophecy. But when they reach the entrance, Aragorn does not express concerns about his decision to take this route, nor does he invite anyone to turn back.

    Pro: These changes provide more opportunities for the characters to engage in dialog with each other and reveal information that Tolkien conveyed in dialog. Also, removing Elrohir gives the more important characters more to do.

    Con: This change diminishes Aragorn's character and knowledge.

    Supported By:

    • LEGOLAS Audition Script 1/13/99


    Pippin and Faramir Discuss Denethor

    Film: When Faramir sees Pippin dressed in his child-sized armor for the first time, they share a laugh. Pippin then asks Faramir why his father is so angry and if there is anything he can do to help.

    Book: There is no such scene.

    Pro: This new dialog between Pippin and Faramir helps to reveal the dynamics between Faramir and Denethor.

    Con: The script would require additional dialog written by the scriptwriters rather than by Tolkien.


    Arwen Fights at Minas Tirith

    Film: Arwen participates in the battle at Minas Tirith.

    Book: She does not arrive in Gondor until her marriage to Aragorn, after Sauron is defeated.

    SUPPORTED BY:

    REFUTED BY:

    • According to Ian McKellen, Arwen does NOT participate in the battle of Minas Tirith. Unfortunately, I forgot where I read that quote.
    • Bill Weldon Interview 7/27/01 (confirmation)


    Gandalf Uses Staff to Blast Invaders

    Film: As Sauron's army breaks into the city of Minas Tirith, with Gandalf using his staff to blast orcs.

    Book: Gandalf shot a white light from his hand - not his staff - when fighting off Sauron's forces outside the city walls.

    Pro: Gandalf should uses his magical powers in such a desperate situation.

    Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and does not represent Tolkien's work.

    SUPPORTED BY:


    Elves at the Black Gate

    Note the banner that Aragorn is holding in this scene before the Black Gate...Note the banner that Aragorn is holding in this scene before the Black Gate...... It is the same as the one being held by these Elves.... It is the same as the one being held by these Elves.Film: A company of Lothlorien Elves join the Captains of the West in their battle at the Black Gate.

    Book: The only elves present were Legolas, and Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir.

    Pro: Having the Lothlorien Elves who fought at Helm's Deep replace the Dunedain from the book helps simplify the story.

    Con: This change is an invention of the scriptwriters and goes against Tolkien's theme of the Elves fading.

    SUPPORTED BY:


    Sauron Makes Rare Public Appearance

    Film: Sauron appears in a form other than the Flaming Eye.

    Book: Sauron does not directly appear, although according to Gollum, he does have a humanoid form.

    Pro: "The Sauron in the books is sketchy at best, which makes it hard to turn him into a screen villain," says Peter Jackson. "But imagine not really seeing Darth Vader for all three Star Wars films. You just can't do it."

    Con: This is an invention of the filmmakers and does not represent Tolkien's intent.

    SUPPORTED BY:


    Aragorn and Arwen Death

    Arwen's DeathArwen's DeathFilm: ROTK ends with a voice-over closing statement by Galadriel and an epilogue depicting Aragorn's death in Gondor followed by Arwen's death in Lothlórien.

    Book: These events are told in the Appendices and are not told through dialog from Frodo.

    Pro: These scenes help bring closure to Aragorn and Arwen's portion of the story.

    Con: The script would require additional dialog written by the scriptwriters rather than by Tolkien.

    SUPPORTED BY:


    Sauron Kabob

    Film: When the Ring is destroyed, Barad-dur explodes and Sauron is hurled to his death and impaled on a spike which breaks his fall.

    Book: Various structures in Mordor collapse, but Sauron turns into a vapor.

    SUPPORTED BY:

    REFUTED BY:


    Film Ends at the Gray Havens

    Film: The final scene of the film takes place across the landscape of the Grey Havens.

    Book: The last scene is Sam returning home from the Gray Havens to Bag End, putting his daughter Elanor on his lap, and saying, "Well, I'm back."

    Pro: "To me, it's a culmination of the entire story," Peter Jackson says." It represents what it is to give and what it is to lose. That scene is probably the most powerful part of the entire film."

    Con: Tolkien's original ending was perfection.

    SUPPORTED BY:


    The Complete List of Film Changes

    The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings


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