Lord of the Rings

hungrywing

Full Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
8,612
Location
Your Left Ventricle
I have never read the books, but one of the criticisms I have heard from book fans about the movies is that, in the book, the ghost army never was able to fight, it only frightened the army in the ships enough so that they fled and never reached Minas Tirith.

However, the ghost army was then released and also never fought at Minas Tirith, unlike in the movie where they basically saved everyone from destruction. Instead, again, not sure of the details as I have never read the books, the ghost army forcing the army in the ships to flee actually ending up allowing Aragon to bring an army from Gondor to fight at Minas Tirith by way of the ships that were abandoned.
Ok i'm asking my SUUUUPER-ultra fan buddies. They're probably going to roll their eyes and say duh.

From what I remember that’s pretty accurate. The Dead army help Aragorn intercept the corsairs coming up in river from Harad, then it’s job done for them. Aragorn then sails up the river to the battle with some of the southern lords of Gondor and surprises the feck out of everyone.

(edit) also, as above, the chapter where Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn recount their journey through the mountains is really fecking great.
That's exactly how it is in the books, yes. It's a lot more impactful that Sauron's main army is defeated by men, ordinary men for the most part.
So basically Tolkien handled the DEM way better than the movies, but the movies did a pretty decent job as well.

In the books the dead men are pitch black shadows and the journey through the mountains to summon them terrifies Aragorn's companions. His fearlessness alone drives them on. When they emerge from the southern side they pass by a huge stone that "fell from the sky". It's never referred to again but that little detail always fascinated me.
The stone falls while they pass and is seen as an omen that is then used to show/alter the characters' inner resolve? Or it fell there 'long ago' and is used to do the same (aka - 'it's a sign we should go no further')?
 

Salt Bailly

Full Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
1,232
Location
Valinor
Ok i'm asking my SUUUUPER-ultra fan buddies. They're probably going to roll their eyes and say duh.



The stone falls while they pass and is seen as an omen that is then used to show/alter the characters' inner resolve? Or it fell there 'long ago' and is used to do the same (aka - 'it's a sign we should go no further')?
It definitely doesn't fall as they pass, I think your second option is correct. It's been there so long that no-one knows its origin.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
The other thing is that in the books we don’t hear about the details of Aragorn’s journey through the Paths of the Dead until after the Battle of the Pelanor Fields. Him and his companions basically disappear into the mountains and the next time we encounter them is at the battle. Then they recount their tale to the Hobbits after the battle.
 

Siorac

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
18,800
Location
16th century
The other thing is that in the books we don’t hear about the details of Aragorn’s journey through the Paths of the Dead until after the Battle of the Pelanor Fields. Him and his companions basically disappear into the mountains and the next time we encounter them is at the battle. Then they recount their tale to the Hobbits after the battle.
Which wouldn't work very well in a film I think. In the book it works because it maximizes the impact and the shock of his return.
 

Volumiza

Natural mincer
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
5,600
Location
Somewhere in the middle
Turning Gimli into a wacky comic relief character is one of the worst things about the films. In the books he is a much more serious and dignified person.
I’m a huge fan of both the book and the films and am able to deal with some of the liberties PJ took while making the films but, in relation to your post, I actually wish PJ had played the film much straighter in general. There was so much effort gone into sets, costumes and makeup and getting language and the feel correct that I would have preferred no incidental humour at all and instead serious films.

I still love the films don’t get me wrong but they could have been even better played 100% seriously.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
Which wouldn't work very well in a film I think. In the book it works because it maximizes the impact and the shock of his return.
Actually I think what I wrote isn’t 100% accurate. We do get the details of the journey through the mountains first (2nd chapter of Return of the King), but the rest of the story of the Dead army is only told after the battle.
 

Wittmann45

Full Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
6,579
Location
'Keep the flag flying Jimmy'
Turning Gimli into a wacky comic relief character is one of the worst things about the films. In the books he is a much more serious and dignified person.

The extended editions are worth it if you are a LotR fan. They add some clarity, explain certain things - like what happened to Saruman - but they do require a tremendous stamina.
My original introduction to the films was through the extended editions. I only recently watched them in the original theatrical version on Netflix and, maybe it is just my bias from having seen the extended versions first, but the Fellowship especially is just a better film in its extended version. The couple extra scenes in the beginning of the movie between Bilbo leaving and Frodo/Sam going on their journey were great and pointed more to the length of time between the two events, as it was in the book. Also, the scene where Galadriel gifts each member of the fellowship something is really missing from the theatrical version. It is a great little scene and shouldn't have been cut, IMO. Maybe the scene is not essential, but it adds a little context, as the items become kind of important to the future plot, and it has some real touching moments. The scene in particular seems important enough contextually to have included in the final product.

The Return is already so long so maybe cutting the extra hour in the theatrical version was necessary, but even the extended Two Towers had some real quality scenes that were cut.
 

Eriku

Full Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Messages
14,567
Location
Oslo, Norway
This movie trilogy holds up so well. The way CGI just added some depth to a forefront of stunning practical effects is brilliant. The Hobbit looks cheap and tawdry by comparison.

Will agree that Gimli being such constant comic relief is a real annoyance at times, but as far as everything else goes, it’s a brilliant adaptation.

My ex is one of those absolute card-carrying nerds who’ll debate the finer points of the Silmarillion till she’s blue in the mouth, and she absolutely adores the films as well. I’m surprised to hear that there are fans of the books who are disappointed with the adaptation.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
My ex is one of those absolute card-carrying nerds who’ll debate the finer points of the Silmarillion till she’s blue in the mouth, and she absolutely adores the films as well. I’m surprised to hear that there are fans of the books who are disappointed with the adaptation
I’m a bit of a book purist, and don’t really like the divergences taken by the second and third movies which start happening about a third of the way the through The Two Towers. The Fellowship is about as good an adaptation as you could hope for though.
 

Shamana

Not Shamans
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Messages
3,350
I think the LOTR films is almost as good fantasy adaptions that you can get. I agree that PJ inserted too many cheesy moments into the films, but I thought the casting, pacing, emotional momentum etc was spot on. I always thought having the eye of Sauron as a literal eye on top of a tower was a terribe decision though. I think Tolkien made it clear in his letters that Sauron had an actual humanoid form during the timeline.
 

Siorac

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
18,800
Location
16th century
Actually I think what I wrote isn’t 100% accurate. We do get the details of the journey through the mountains first (2nd chapter of Return of the King), but the rest of the story of the Dead army is only told after the battle.
Yeah but the point still stands.
I’m a bit of a book purist, and don’t really like the divergences taken by the second and third movies which start happening about a third of the way the through The Two Towers. The Fellowship is about as good an adaptation as you could hope for though.
Agreed, Fellowship is my favourite as well, especially the extended edition (@Wittmann45, I do agree with you about those extra scenes but I'm generally hesitant about recommending the extended editions because some people absolutely can't handle the length).

The most egregious divergences, for me, are Faramir's initial decision to take Frodo and Sam back to Minas Tirith, and Frodo sending Sam away. Both are HUGE misunderstandings and misrepresentation of the characters.
 

17Larsson

Not a malefactor just a lagomorph
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
5,911
Location
30,000 feet above ground
It's my favourite book, I've read it twice now. It has everything. You have to read it slow and enjoy the journey and their surroundings. The first time I read it too quick. Sam Gamgee is the ultimate hero.

I still have yet to watch the Return of the King movie but the first two are brilliant. I think they capture the mood so well. The Fellowship is actually perfect.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
The most egregious divergences, for me, are Faramir's initial decision to take Frodo and Sam back to Minas Tirith, and Frodo sending Sam away. Both are HUGE misunderstandings and misrepresentation of the characters.
Yeah those were hard to watch for book readers.
 

Spoony

The People's President
Joined
Oct 27, 2001
Messages
54,827
Location
Get to the chopppaaaa.
I really liked them when they first came out but having rewatched them after a few years, they didn't seem as good. Anyway, the Helm's Deep battle was epic on the big screen/cinema.
 
Last edited:

Eriku

Full Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Messages
14,567
Location
Oslo, Norway
I’m a bit of a book purist, and don’t really like the divergences taken by the second and third movies which start happening about a third of the way the through The Two Towers. The Fellowship is about as good an adaptation as you could hope for though.
Yeah, but the movies were NEVER going to be able to be fully faithful to the books, so combining characters and omitting certain parts of the story, etc. are just the cost of having it made into a movie, for me.

I may be forgetting some glaring deviations that they ought to have handled better tho’, it’s been a fair few years since I’ve read the books or watched the movies.

Edit: eep, just saw the mention of Faramir taking some time before passing the test, that’s definitely on the list of things that could have been done better.
 

Sweet Square

Full Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
13,882
Location
Hellworld
I’ve only ever watched through them all once but the Ghost people just coming to save the day in the last film really pissed me off. Just a cop out so I’ve never had any interest in going back to them. Tried reading the books but it’s so slow.
Well said.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
I may be forgetting some glaring deviations that they ought to have handled better tho’, it’s been a fair few years since I’ve read the books or watched the movies
Apart from what @Siorac mentioned above - the warg chase and Aragorn being left for dead, the Ents having to be persuaded by Merry and Pippin to attack Isengard, the Elves showing up at Helm’s Deep, Theoden initially reluctant to help Gondor, and the ridiculously dragged out Aragorn-Arwen-Elrond triangle with Eowyn thrown in. None of it necessary, just a product of Hollywood.
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
Yeah but the point still stands.

Agreed, Fellowship is my favourite as well, especially the extended edition (@Wittmann45, I do agree with you about those extra scenes but I'm generally hesitant about recommending the extended editions because some people absolutely can't handle the length).

The most egregious divergences, for me, are Faramir's initial decision to take Frodo and Sam back to Minas Tirith, and Frodo sending Sam away. Both are HUGE misunderstandings and misrepresentation of the characters.
Faramir becomes Faramir in the end, he just takes a pointless "character arc" diversion and least that one made slight sense unlike the batshit crazy Merry, Pippin and Fangorn Ent Moot over-ride.

The ones that really get me are:
Boromir as a double agent in the fellowship sent by Denethor
Nazgul seeing the ring at Osgiliath
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
Apart from what @Siorac mentioned above - the warg chase and Aragorn being left for dead, the Ents having to be persuaded by Merry and Pippin to attack Isengard, the Elves showing up at Helm’s Deep, Theoden initially reluctant to help Gondor, and the ridiculously dragged out Aragorn-Arwen-Elrond triangle with Eowyn thrown in. None of it necessary, just a product of Hollywood.
In addition, the ones I mention above but also:
Aragorn being in any way reluctant to become King
Sauron as a big floating eye
The (necessary) removal of Bombadil and (unnecessary) removal of the Scouring of the Shire (leading to the multiple endings)

I do love the films and many of the changes are sensible and work well but I do wish, more than anything, that they hadn't contracted Bree.
 

roseguy64

Full Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2010
Messages
7,740
Location
Jamaica
I’m a huge fan of both the book and the films and am able to deal with some of the liberties PJ took while making the films but, in relation to your post, I actually wish PJ had played the film much straighter in general. There was so much effort gone into sets, costumes and makeup and getting language and the feel correct that I would have preferred no incidental humour at all and instead serious films.

I still love the films don’t get me wrong but they could have been even better played 100% seriously.
I doubt that would have worked. There needs to be some levity/mirth in it. He wasn't making Manchester By The Sea. This was being made for mass appeal.
 

Amarsdd

Full Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
1,637
I think the LOTR films is almost as good fantasy adaptions that you can get. I agree that PJ inserted too many cheesy moments into the films, but I thought the casting, pacing, emotional momentum etc was spot on. I always thought having the eye of Sauron as a literal eye on top of a tower was a terribe decision though. I think Tolkien made it clear in his letters that Sauron had an actual humanoid form during the timeline.
Yeah, Sauron had an ethereal humanoid form but was hidden away basically throughout the third age and the LOTR books. So, I actually liked the addition of the literal eye to represent Sauron. It just gave a sense of menace to Sauron which I don't think just people talking about him or just showing the tower of Baradur would have done esp. in the visual format.

Either way, LOTR films are brilliant adaptations even from a book reader's perspective. It's understandable why they removed chapters like of Tom Bombadil, the Scouring of Shire and also included Aragorn's internal journey towards accepting he is supposed to be the King (which had already happened along with reforging of Narsil before LOTR starts), etc.
 

Amarsdd

Full Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
1,637
In addition, the ones I mention above but also:
Aragorn being in any way reluctant to become King
Sauron as a big floating eye
The (necessary) removal of Bombadil and (unnecessary) removal of the Scouring of the Shire (leading to the multiple endings)

I do love the films and many of the changes are sensible and work well but I do wish, more than anything, that they hadn't contracted Bree.
Though unnecessary I'd love to have seen Bombadil hinted at by someone like Gandalf or during Council of Elrond.
 

Siorac

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
18,800
Location
16th century
Apart from what @Siorac mentioned above - the warg chase and Aragorn being left for dead, the Ents having to be persuaded by Merry and Pippin to attack Isengard, the Elves showing up at Helm’s Deep, Theoden initially reluctant to help Gondor, and the ridiculously dragged out Aragorn-Arwen-Elrond triangle with Eowyn thrown in. None of it necessary, just a product of Hollywood.
The Elves showing up to help was indeed stupid as it undermined one of the most important narrative elements of the books. I didn't mind Theoden initially being reluctant - you can explain that away as bitterness, and the remnant of Saruman's poison working within him still. It also makes the "lighting of the fires" scene that much more brilliant. See, now that is a good example of divergence from the books where it's just a throwaway line, basically. Though it makes no sense why Denethor wouldn't want to light those fires.

The warg chase and Aragorn being left for dead - you could easily cut that from the film and lose nothing at all. It's not even particularly interesting.
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
Yeah, Sauron had an ethereal humanoid form but was hidden away basically throughout the third age and the LOTR books. So, I actually liked the addition of the literal eye to represent Sauron. It just gave a sense of menace to Sauron which I don't think just people talking about him or just showing the tower of Baradur would have done esp. in the visual format.
I don't think it was a choice. Jackson, Boyens and Walsh seem to have, somehow, misunderstood the book as they discuss at length on the making off documentaries.

I see no reason why the options were only between showing no Sauron or Sauron as a floating eye (the ring goes on an eyelash I guess). They could have shown him (they even filmed Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon and put a CGI troll over the top of him because it wasn't true to the books) as a physical entity which he certainly is at the end of the third age.
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
The Elves showing up to help was indeed stupid as it undermined one of the most important narrative elements of the books. I didn't mind Theoden initially being reluctant - you can explain that away as bitterness, and the remnant of Saruman's poison working within him still. It also makes the "lighting of the fires" scene that much more brilliant. See, now that is a good example of divergence from the books where it's just a throwaway line, basically. Though it makes no sense why Denethor wouldn't want to light those fires.

The warg chase and Aragorn being left for dead - you could easily cut that from the film and lose nothing at all. It's not even particularly interesting.
Denethor's character is treated most harshly by the writers and to no gain. It just seemed so unnecessary to make him an insane pantomime villain.
 

Amarsdd

Full Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
1,637
I don't think it was a choice. Jackson, Boyens and Walsh seem to have, somehow, misunderstood the book as they discuss at length on the making off documentaries.

I see no reason why the options were only between showing no Sauron or Sauron as a floating eye (the ring goes on an eyelash I guess). They could have shown him (they even filmed Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon and put a CGI troll over the top of him because it wasn't true to the books) as a physical entity which he certainly is at the end of the third age.
The writers and Jackson might have misunderstood it (suppose the eye is mentioned when Frodo looks into the Mirror Of Galadriel?) as they aren't the biggest Tolkien scholars, but I do prefer them having the eye of Sauron instead of the form Sauron is shown to have in the cut/edited footage from the Battle of Morannon or even the form shown at the end of War of the Last Alliance.
 

Siorac

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
18,800
Location
16th century
I don't think it was a choice. Jackson, Boyens and Walsh seem to have, somehow, misunderstood the book as they discuss at length on the making off documentaries.

I see no reason why the options were only between showing no Sauron or Sauron as a floating eye (the ring goes on an eyelash I guess). They could have shown him (they even filmed Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon and put a CGI troll over the top of him because it wasn't true to the books) as a physical entity which he certainly is at the end of the third age.
I don't think there's any certainty about it. Tolkien was very much vague about Sauron's physical manifestation, and indeed the books describe the Eye very vividly but don't clearly answer the question whether the Eye is his actual manifestation.

It's very hard because throughout the Lord of the Rings we never actually meet Sauron, nor is he described. He's a presence, an evil will, an all-powerful spirit. The only part of him which is actually described in detail is the Eye, when Frodo sees it in the Mirror of Galadriel. The film is true to that description. It definitely does seem to equate Sauron in his entirety with the Eye but you can always imagine that his dark presence, in a vaguely humanoid shape, lives in the tower, below the Eye.

This was the first draft of the fall of Sauron:

"The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him [Frodo], the Eye piercing all shadows ... Its wrath blazed like a sudden flame and its fear was like a great black smoke, for it knew its deadly peril, the thread upon which hung its doom ... ts thought was now bent with all its overwhelming force upon the Mountain..."

In the final text, the "its" was replaced with "his" everywhere but it is sort of instructive as to how Tolkien identified the Eye with Sauron.
 

Paxi

Dagestani MMA Boiled Egg Expert
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
20,859
The 4k versions are out in a couple of weeks, but The Two Towers is available now in 4k on iTunes. I don't think the others have dropped yet. It's a big improvement, but some of the effects look bad and there's a couple of issues with HDR (especially where Saruman/Gandalf presents himself in the forest).
:drool:
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
I don't think there's any certainty about it. Tolkien was very much vague about Sauron's physical manifestation, and indeed the books describe the Eye very vividly but don't clearly answer the question whether the Eye is his actual manifestation.

It's very hard because throughout the Lord of the Rings we never actually meet Sauron, nor is he described. He's a presence, an evil will, an all-powerful spirit. The only part of him which is actually described in detail is the Eye, when Frodo sees it in the Mirror of Galadriel. The film is true to that description. It definitely does seem to equate Sauron in his entirety with the Eye but you can always imagine that his dark presence, in a vaguely humanoid shape, lives in the tower, below the Eye.

This was the first draft of the fall of Sauron:

"The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him [Frodo], the Eye piercing all shadows ... Its wrath blazed like a sudden flame and its fear was like a great black smoke, for it knew its deadly peril, the thread upon which hung its doom ... ts thought was now bent with all its overwhelming force upon the Mountain..."

In the final text, the "its" was replaced with "his" everywhere but it is sort of instructive as to how Tolkien identified the Eye with Sauron.
I agree that eye works as a forboding presence, but it's explicitly stated in the text that he's physically manifest. I can't recall the exact line but Smeagol says "There's only four fingers on the black hand but they're enough" for instance.

The Eye is a metaphor for his will (or more literally his spirit). The eye is described if I recall, most vividly when Frodo has the ring on at Amon Hen (until Gandalf intervenes). The parable in the film would be in the Prancing Pony I guess and as a psychic manifestation "for those who have eyes that can see" is a perfect use but I have always found a literal disembodied floating eye as seen later in the trilogy to be a bit ridiculous. I guess it worked cinematically for you and others though, so that's cool.

Tolkien also confirms Sauron's physical presence in his correspondence but that's extra-textual.
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,949
Just been flicking through the books, The Siege of Gondor chapter is so great, the build up of the tension, the city’s despair, Gandalf and Pippin’s predicament and Denethor’s growing madness. Return of the King used to be my least favorite of the three, but as I’ve got older I appreciate it more and more.
 

Fingeredmouse

Full Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2014
Messages
3,808
Location
Glasgow
Just been flicking through the books, The Siege of Gondor chapter is so great, the build up of the tension, the city’s despair, Gandalf and Pippin’s predicament and Denethor’s growing madness. Return of the King used to be my least favorite of the three, but as I’ve got older I appreciate it more and more.
The descent of Denthor is great because its foundation is rational. He's seen the armies of Sauron and he's seen Frodo captured at Cirith Ungol through the Palantir. His eldest son is dead and his youngest enabled the plan of Gandalf, that Denethor thinks has failed, and now lies dying and the last words they exchanged were harsh.

He has given up and one of the biggest themes of the book is not to give up as no-one knows all ends.
 

Jericholyte2

Full Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
1,398
Managed to get a copy of the 4K steelbooks ordered, they kept selling out like the proverbial hot cakes!

I’ve never ran to my credit card fast as fast in my life!

 

Jericholyte2

Full Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
1,398
How? I've been trying for weeks to get this!
I had email alerts from Zavvi and Amazon. Managed to find both had it in stock. I have the RC membership with Zavvi so managed to get it for £89.99 with free postage too!

Where from, I didn’t even know they were due out!
Amazon and Zavvi have it listed, both are out of stock currently.

feckin hell, those look gorgeous!
They’re stunning! They’ll be taking centre-stage in my steelbook collection!
 

Heardy

Full Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
7,467
Location
Looking for the answers...
I had email alerts from Zavvi and Amazon. Managed to find both had it in stock. I have the RC membership with Zavvi so managed to get it for £89.99 with free postage too!
Congrats! Was £89.99 the retail price?! My Mrs is a huge LOTR fan so will probably need to judge how much the eBay flippers are asking for them...
 

Jericholyte2

Full Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
1,398
Congrats! Was £89.99 the retail price?! My Mrs is a huge LOTR fan so will probably need to judge how much the eBay flippers are asking for them...
Going for £99.99rrp. Already seeing sets on FB Marketplace and eBay for £150 plus.