Question: This actually applies to the whole trilogy: Does anyone know why Tolkien named it after the leading villain, especially when the third part's subtitle refers to Aragorn, and Sauron's return had taken place in the first movie?
New this month Answer: The title refers to the struggle middle-earth undergoes when Sauron is defeated and his ring is taken by someone else. Instead of destroying it and thus destroying Sauron, Isildur took it as his own, becoming the new lord of the ring. The problem of Sauron returning was caused by Isildur's greed and the one ring's attempts to return to its true lord. So the title refers to the ring itself and whoever masters it, not Sauron specifically.
Question: Since Gandalf knew how dangerous the ring was, why did he give it to Frodo and tell him that he must destroy the ring? It would make more sense to either do it himself or find someone else to do it.
Answer: Gandalf can't take the ring because he would be tempted to use it, and it would ultimately corrupt him. This is true for nearly anyone who has it for any length of time, except hobbits for some unknown reason. Gandalf recognized this in Bilbo, and later in Frodo.
Question: Can someone please explain why the uruk hai are being born through those mud sacs and why?
Answer: There is some contention about the origin of the orcs and the Uruk-hai, and it seems Tolkien was fairly vague on these points (are orcs corrupted elves, are the uruks half-orc/half-men?). Several web sources say that on the DVD commentary for Fellowship, Peter Jackson says that the Uruk-hai emerging from mud sacs was based on an early Tolkien line that orcs "worm their way out of the ground like maggots" - not sure where or when he said this, but it seems to be a movie-only notion.
Question: Why does Saruman have the orcs cut down the trees to make the orcs, when it looks like the orcs are being "born" out of mud sacs...what's the significance of what the orcs are doing down in the hole in the ground?
Answer: In addition to "birthing" the Uruk-hai (the enhanced orc soldiers), Saruman's orcs were also forging armour and weapons for the army of Isengard, which is why they were cutting down the trees to use as fuel. They were underground as the Uruk-hai process seems to involve the earth or ground in some way.
Question: When Gandalf is hanging on the edge of the bridge in the mines, what does he say just before he drops? At first I thought he said 'run you fools' but it sounds different every time I hear it.
Answer: "Run, you fools" (in the original theatrical release). "Fly, you fools" (in the DVD release).
Question: I once read a book (I think it was called "worlds of JRR Tolkien") in there Legolas was described as having short, curly, dark hair. So why was Orlando Bloom, who has short dark hair, given a long blond wig?
Answer: Any description of Legolas' hair purporting to come from Tolkien is extremely misleading. Tolkien never once gave a description of Legolas' hair. However, there is also a reference to Frodo looking up at Legolas' "dark head", but this was at night so it may not be an indicator of hair colour. Tolkien also explicitly states that only the house of Finarfin (of whom Galadriel is a descendent) had golden-hair amongst the Elves, the majority of whom were dark-haired. Despite this, we also know that Legolas's father, Thranduil, was golden-haired (this is mentioned in The Hobbit) and the film-makers may have based Legolas' hair colour on this. In addition, the blond hair may have also been chosen to help differentiate him from the dark-haired Elrond and to further illustrate his status as a visitor to Rivendell, which is primarily populated by dark-haired Elves.
Question: This question has been bugging me and I hope someone can answer this for me. I remember hearing that Viggo Mortensen did not want to reprise his role as Aragorn in the Hobbit movies, saying that the time between Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit would not make sense. Yet when I was watching LOTR there is a scene where Elrond says he was there 3000 years ago with Isildur (father of Aragorn?) to destroy the ring. Then, another scene where Arwen tells Aragorn he is not like his father. So, if Aragorn's father died 3000 years before LOTR, how old is Aragorn? It seems he's either too young for his father to have been around then, or old enough that he could appear in The Hobbit without any time issues. Can someone please explain this one?
Answer: Viggo Mortensen meant that he (the actor) has grown older, whereas the character is meant to be younger. That's the part that doesn't make sense to him. Isildur is not Aragorn's father (his father's name was Arathorn), Isuldur is Aragorn's long-ago ancestor. This is why Aragorn is referred to numerous times as "Isildur's Heir" rather than "Isildur's Son".
Question: Why did Bilbo decide to leave the Shire?
Answer: His exposure to the Ring kept him looking young, but he still felt very old. He knew he was reaching the end of his life and he wanted one more small adventure before he was too weary to have one. So he set out for Rivendell to spend his days a guest in the House of Elrond.
Question: The narrative for this franchise takes place over thousands of years, yet Middle Earth is always in a medieval stasis. Has any reason been provided as to why Middle Earth never advances technologically?
Answer: The presence of real magic in the world, and the fact that evil demi-gods and sorcerers keep trying to destroy it every few thousand years, makes technological advancement an endeavor no one sees much need for. Saruman makes some advances in it at Isengard, and in the novel the Shire had been very industrialized by Saruman's takeover when the hobbits return home to it.
Question: When the Fellowship are on the side of the mountain and arguing about which direction to take, Gandalf says "Let the ring bearer choose". Why does Gandalf say that? He knows that Frodo has enough on his plate, what with taking the ring all the way to Mordor, so why add to his problems by making Frodo decide the way to go?
Answer: Because, like it or not, he's the leader of this quest. Gandalf is only a guide; Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are Frodo's guardians, while the other three Hobbits are simply companions. Boromir starts the journey simply so Gondor can claim a role but soon grows very fond of the Hobbits. Besides, Frodo's the one carrying the increasingly burdensome ring. If he thinks one path easier than another then that's his call.
Question: I can't remember which film it is (I think it's the second one but I'm not sure). In the film there is a scene where Gollum and Smeagol are fighting and Smeagol tells Gollum to go away. Gollum calls Smeagol a murderer and Smeagol looks ashamed and says something. Gollum laughs and says "Go away" patronisingly. I assume it's "Go away," but it always sounds to me like "You win." Is it "you win" or "go away"?
Answer: It's quiet and a little muffled, but he does say "Go away".
Question: In "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" bonus features, Sean Connery says that he turned down a part in "The Lord of the Rings". What part was he offered?
Answer: He was offered an extremely lucrative deal to play Gandalf, but turned it down as he didn't want to spend eighteen months in New Zealand making a film that he stated he "didn't understand".
Question: More of a book question, but which sub-species of Hobbit are the four ones in the fellowship? I've heard that Sam is of a lesser species than the other three. I've also heard that either Pippin or Merry is a different species; how does that work with them being cousins?
Answer: To think of the three divisions of hobbits as separate species is incorrect, they are simply tribal variations, with none being any "lesser" than the others. The three types, the Fallohides, the Harfoots and the Stoors, hailed from different regions, but since all three sub-groups settled in the Shire, the hobbits have intermingled and intermarried over the centuries, making the differences considerably less clear, to the point where they can simply be considered one group, the Shire-Hobbits. Certain Hobbit families, however, do tend to retain a relatively strong blood link to a particular division - the Tooks and the Brandybucks, for example, tend to retain the height and the impetuous nature of the Fallohide hobbits. The Baggins family is of unclear bloodline, but Frodo would also carry a strong strain of Fallohide blood from his mother, Primula Brandybuck. The Gamgee family are likewise of uncertain bloodline, but Sam's relatively stocky build and affinity with the soil and agriculture would suggest Stoor-ish blood.
Question: As far as I understand it (I haven't read the books, only seen the films), with the One Ring Sauron can rule and control all the other rings of power. But why didn't/don't the other ring-bearers just take off their rings so that Sauron cannot dominate them? Weren't the other rings of power made by Sauron, too? And of what use is the One Ring to Sauron without the other rings, except that it contains a part of him, thereby making him somehow indestructible?
Answer: The Rings of Power were made by the elves of Eregion, guided by Sauron, posing as a mysterious and highly knowledgeable craftsman named Annatar. Each, however, had their own hidden agenda. Sauron's, obviously, was to make the Rings subservient to his own Ruling Ring, to give him great influence over the wearers while giving them power. Part of the magics of the Rings, however, was that that influence would not be perceived by the wearer, so they would simply accept the gifts, lured by the temptation of the power that it would grant them. The Elves, for their part, secretly made three more Rings using both Annatar's techniques and their own magics, resulting in three more powerful Rings. As Annatar's methods were used, these Rings were still slaves to the One Ring, but the additional magics meant that the bearers of the Three Rings became aware of Sauron's betrayal and removed them before his influence could take hold. Enraged at this treachery, Sauron launched a military strike on Eregion, obliterating the realm and taking the remaining Rings, giving seven to the Dwarves, whose nature proved resistant to the magics of the Rings, which did little more than increase their innate lust for gold, and nine to Men, whose desire for power led to them falling completely under his influence, ultimately becoming the Nazgul. Without the other Rings, the One Ring has no purpose - it was specifically created as part of Sauron's plan to covertly dominate Middle-Earth, by bringing the wearers of the Rings of Power under his control.
Question: Questions about the ring-wraiths: In the scene where the hobbits are hiding under the tree, Merry tosses his pack a few feet to distract the ring-wraith following them: we see that the ring-wraith is fast, so how can this possibly allow the hobbits time to escape? If the ring-wraiths can't be killed by any living man, why are they so scared of Aragorn that they run off from Weathertop and leave the ring that was nearly in their grasp? We see that ring-wraiths can go into water with their horses in the scene where they are chasing Arwen and Frodo, so why don't they follow the hobbits on the ferry?
Answer: (1) The Nazgul goes off to investigate the noise, giving the hobbits more than enough time to run in the other direction. Do bear in mind that the Nazgul doesn't actually know that they're there, so he's not going to be looking back - he's focused on whatever he heard elsewhere. (2) It's only the Witch-King who "no living man can kill", not the others. And even if they can't be completely destroyed by Aragorn, he can still injure them enough to immobilise them, leaving them stuck. Far better to escape and leave themselves with the possibility of catching up later, than getting badly injured and allowing the Ring to get away. (3) They don't follow the hobbits on the ferry because the Brandywine river is deep and they'd simply get swept away. When they're chasing Arwen, that particular river is very shallow at that point, allowing their horses to pass largely unhindered (at least until Arwen does her thing).
Question: In the prologue to the movie, Galadriel states that the ring has been forgotten, but Galadriel herself was around during the historic war against Sauron, and Elrond encouraged Isildur to throw it into the lava in Mount Doom, and there's even a mural in Rivendell of Isildur cutting the ring from Sauron's hand, so obviously the ring has not been forgotten. What gives? It can't be that "forgotten" means "believed now only to be a myth" ("History became legend; legend became myth") because Elrond and Galadriel (and countless other elves) would know that the ring wasn't a myth because they were a part of the earlier events. Nor can it be that Galadriel is referring to general history when she says, "For none now live who remember it," because she is not extemporizing on the nature of history, she is specifically referring to the ring: "For two and a half thousand years the ring passed out of all knowledge." Not just men's knowledge, or dwarves' knowledge, but all knowledge. Similarly, Gandalf has been in Middle-Earth for "300 lives of men", but Gandalf has to look up the story of the ring in historical papers; how did such an epic and giant war escape his notice?
Answer: Elves usually count themselves out of affairs like this, preferring to keep to themselves. It was a man who took the ring, so it is a man's tale until the elves choose to involve themselves again. And Gandalf is well aware of the war that saw the supposed defeat of Sauron. He's researching the historical documents looking for any clues, any seemingly irrelevant yet ultimately useful minutia, he may not yet be aware of.
Question: I have heard many times that there is an accidental car in this movie. I have watched the scene where this reportedly occurs many many times and I still cannot see the car. I have seen the smoke/dust rising in the background which is reportedly dust being kicked up by the car but i cannot see the car itself. I have the Extended VHS version of the movie- is the car more visible in different versions? Please tell me anything you can that will make this car more visible to me.
Answer: The car was erased digitally before VHS tapes or DVDs were made, so it is not visible in the film itself, in any version. However, on the DVD, in the Music Documentary feature, the car is still visible.
Question: I heard somewhere (quite possibly on this site) that there were references to the chapter names of the book in this movie. Could someone tell me where these references are?
Answer: This is from the Encyclopedia of Arda: At least three of the chapter titles from the book have made it into the film, as part of the dialogue. Look out for 'a long-expected party' (the title of chapter I 1), 'a short cut to mushrooms' (chapter I 4) and 'the bridge of Khazad-dûm (chapter II 5). Gandalf also uses the phrase 'riddles in the dark', which is the title of the chapter in The Hobbit that sees Bilbo acquire the Ring.