Question: Why did Bilbo decide to leave the Shire?
New this week 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?
New this month 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: Gollum knew that Bilbo had the ring, so why is he only now trying to get the ring back? Why didn't he try to recapture it from Bilbo?
Answer: His fear of the Sun kept him in hiding under the Misty Mountains for three years, and when he finally came out, he faced another problem: He did not know where the Shire was! He made his way towards it very slowly, piecing together Bilbo's story from what he overheard Men talk about, but was unable to resist the summons from Mordor, and turned Eastwards instead, wandering there for many years. This is when he met Shelob, and was captured and tortured by the Orcs. After his release, he started hunting for the Ring again, until he, to his surprise, discovered the Fellowship in Moria, and started following them.
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.
Question: How did Gollum know Bilbo's name and where he lived ("Shire! Baggins!") when Bilbo just picked up the ring in Gollum's cave? In "The Hobbit" Bilbo meets Gollum, they talk (Bilbo reveals his name and where he lives), and then Bilbo takes the ring after playing a game of riddles with him. Are we to presume that the game of riddles has taken place when Bilbo finds the ring in this movie?
Answer: Bilbo finding the Ring in "The Fellowship" movie is a flashback to happenings from "The Hobbit." Bilbo actually found the Ring and had the riddle game with Gollum about 50 years prior to the happenings in "The Fellowship". Therefore, Bilbo didn't actually find the Ring in "The Fellowship of the Ring" story.
Question: Can someone give me the top 5 most powerful characters in middle earth? Including Gandalf the White and Grey as different characters.
Answer: It really is impossible to give a completely accurate list about this, as there are many meanings to the word "power", and no measuring unit for it. But here's my attempt: 1. SAURON, since he can take on the rest of the world, including the other people on this list 2. TOM BOMBADIL. He is in the book, but was left out of the movies. Within his own realm, the Old Forest of the North, he is all-powerful. Everything, including the Ring, is under his command as long as they are in his territory, but he does not have any power outside it. 3. GANDALF THE WHITE, since he is given additional power after his return, and becomes the most powerful of the wizards. 4. SARUMAN. Head of the White Council, and the wisest, most knowledgeable and powerful of all the wizards, except Gandalf the White. 5. GANDALF THE GREY. One of the first Maia spirits to be chosen to go as wizards to Middle Earth, and with his strength increased by wearing Narya, the Red Ring of Fire, he would have to be very close to Saruman in power. We never really see Elrond and Galadriel put forth all of their powers, so it is impossible to say where they fit into this "hierarchy", but as Elf-Lords (and with their Rings of Earth and Water, respectively) they possess tremendous power as well. Also, Aragorn (as king) and Treebeard have power of their own, but of different kinds, in the ability to lead Men and make Nature rise up in anger, so they could also be candidates for this list.
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: So as not to confuse the viewers. All of the other elves you see in the movie are High Elves. Legolas is a wood elf - in the book, they looked somewhat different than the High Elves (who had long, pale hair except for Elrond and Arwen - who are part elf and part human). To avoid confusion, the movie did not differentiate Legolas as different.
Question: How exactly did Peter Jackson get the rights to this series? He is obviously a talented director but, and this is no offence intended, his previous credits are basically limited to relatively small-time comedy horror movies. To go from that to producing the first live action movie adaptations of what is perhaps the most famous book series in the world seems a bit odd, especially given how little Hollywood likes to take risks nowadays.
Answer: Presumably you are referring to "Bad Taste" and "Braindead" as Jackson's low-budget horror films. Bear in mind though, that Jackson had directed "Heavenly Creatures", a highly-acclaimed drama, and "The Frighteners" starring Michael J. Fox, which despite being quite a low-budget horror film showcased high-quality visual effects from Jackson's Weta Digital company. Also, it may have been Jackson's ability to work on a small budget that won him the gig: the LOTR films had often been considered too expensive to make. Plus this isn't unprecendented - when the Wachowski Brothers presented their idea for The Matrix the studio didn't want to give them a massive budget straight away. They made "Bound" first for a relative pittance, and that was enough to convince the studio they had the talent necessary for a huge movie.
Question: When Pippin and Merry collide with Frodo and Sam in the corn field they seem to be acquainted with Frodo but nothing more than that. Yet they still end up going with him on the journey. I didn't quite understand why they chose to do so, are they better friends in the books?
Answer: In the book, Frodo's departure is much less rushed - it takes him several months to depart rather than leaving the same night. Merry and Pippin, being among his closest friends, help him pack and so are with him right from the start of the journey. In the film, the timeframe has been considerably compressed for dramatic reasons, so things are much less organised - as such, it became necessary for Frodo and Sam to encounter Merry and Pippin along the way. They're still intended to be friends, but the depth of that friendship is less clear.
Question: In Mount Doom, why didn't Elrond stop Isildur from leaving or make him destroy the ring (i.e. throw it into the pit)?
Answer: Any hostile confrontation between Elrond and Isildur, as would be required to stop Isildur from leaving, would invariably grow into a fight between the remaining human and elven forces, something that Elrond would not want to risk. Better to let him leave, then monitor the situation, looking for a chance to get the Ring away from him safely.