SPOILERS Ancalagon Updates The Complete List of Film Changes – More than 80 differences between the films and the books listed, with references

by Feb 3, 2001Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Our own AncalagonTheBlack tells us that he has updated The Complete List of Film Changes with all the differences between the books and the films he has discovered by combing through the set reports, interviews footage reviews, and still photographs released over the past two months.

Here is what he has to say:

After Peter Jackson said at the Minas Tirith set press meeting that he was endeavoring to make his films closer to the books, it is ironic (to say the least) that I have compiled and documented twenty-five additional differences between the films and the books in the time since he made that quote.

Here are some examples:

  • The Black Riders chase the hobbits to Buckleberry Ferry. Frodo jumps onto the ferry just before the Black Riders overtake them, and the Black Riders travel many miles to the next bridge to catch up with the hobbits. In the books, Frodo, Sam and Pippin see a single Black Rider standing next to his horse high up on a bank of the Brandywine River before reaching Maggot’s farm. Farmer Maggot drives the three hobbits to the ferry, and along the way meet up with Merry. They cross the ferry without incident and do not encounter Black Riders again until they reach Bree.
  • All the members of the Fellowship battle the watcher in the water when it grabs Frodo at the Moria gate. In the books, only Sam slashes at a tentacle with his knife before it frees Frodo.
  • After being led blindfolded to Faramir’s secret refuge does Frodo tell him that his brother, Boromir, is dead. In the books, Frodo reveals this to Faramir before being taken to the refuge.
  • When Faramir retreats from his defense of Osgiliath, he is pierced by many arrows and is brought into Minas Tirith dragged by his horse. In the books, Faramir is pierced by only a single dart, and Prince Imrahil carries him back to Minas Tirith.
  • Aragorn, Gandalf, Eomer and Legolas meet in Denethor’s Hall after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Aragorn suggests challenging Sauron’s forces at the Gates of Mordor to distract him and give Frodo an opportunity to reach Mount Doom. In the books, this meeting is held at Aragorn’s camp outside the city, and it is Gandalf who suggests the ruse.

Even with Harry of Ain’t It Cool News visiting the set and observing how the film-makers carefully consult the books before filming scenes to make sure they are getting the details correct, I have discovered changes such as Legolas wearing boots or Gimli wearing a helm that could only have been made by sloppy research or the film-makers indulging in their creative whims.

However, that does not necessarily mean that the films will not make for enjoyable entertainment, display cinematic artistry, or be unrecognizable from Tolkien’s story.

I advise the movie-goer to approach Peter Jackson’s films as they would MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, which did indulge in the film-maker’s creative whims (changing Dorothy’s slippers from silver in the books to ruby in the films), added new material not found in the book (most of the Kansas scenes), and discarded significant material from the books (the journey from Oz to Glinda’s castle). The film was not wholly faithful to Baum’s original story, yet because movie-goers accepted it on its own terms, it was free to become one of the most beloved movies of all time.

As Peter Jackson once said, “Sure, it’s not really THE LORD OF THE RINGS… but it could still be a pretty damn cool movie.”

Please click on the link below to read AncalagonTheBlack’s entire compilation of differences between the books and the films.


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