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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Question: How old is Aragorn when he dies?

Answer: Aragorn is 210 years old when he dies. Some of the early texts give his age at death as 190, but Tolkien eventually confirmed that 210 is the correct age.


Question: Gandalf would not give the ring to a powerful character for safekeeping, because the character was apt to forget to protect it or misplace it. The character was supposed to so powerful even Gandalf was leery of him. What was that character's name, please?

Answer: Tom Bombadil, who is not named because he's not in the films.

Question: If Gondor's royal line of succession was broken, how was it re-established from Isildur to Aragorn?

Answer: This'll be a complex answer - sorry in advance. When Elendil, Isildur and co returned to Middle-Earth after the Fall of Numenor, they set up two kingdoms, Arnor in the north, ruled directly by Elendil (as High King of both kingdoms) and Gondor in the south (ruled jointly by Isildur and his brother Anarion in their father's name). Elendil and Anarion both died in the War of the Last Alliance, and Isildur fell shortly after, leaving Isildur's youngest son Valandil (his other sons died with Isildur) ruling Arnor and Anarion's son Meneldil ruling Gondor. Valandil, as the direct heir of Elendil, should have been proclaimed High King over both kingdoms, but Meneldil refused to recognise his authority over Gondor - the two kingdoms effectively became entirely seperate at this point. Meneldil's line ruled Gondor for two thousand years before the last King, answering a challenge from the Witch-King, entered Minas Morgul, never to be seen again, leaving the Stewards in control of Gondor. Arnor, in the meantime, lasted nine hundred years before splitting into three kingdoms, each ruled by one of the three sons of the last king of Arnor. The land of Arthedain, ruled by the eldest son, lasted slightly more than one thousand years before falling to the forces of Angmar - the people vanished into the wilderness, becoming the Dunedain rangers, with the son of the last king becoming their chieftain, a role that was handed down from father to son until, another thousand years later, Aragorn was given the position. So Aragorn can trace his ancestry directly back to Elendil, the last High King of the two Kingdoms, allowing him to legitimately claim the throne of Gondor. Phew...


Question: In the book it mentions that Gothmog, Lieutenant of Minas Morgul, assumed control of Sauron's army after the Witch-King was vanquished. Shouldn't Khamul, the second-in-command of the Nazgul, have assumed control of the army?

Answer: Not necessarily - the precise command hierarchy isn't established in the books and we don't know where the various Nazgul stand. Gothmog is the Witch-King's leftenant, so it would make sense that he would be second-in-command of any army led by his master.


Question: What's the difference between an oliphant, seen in The Two Towers, and the mumakils in The Return of the King?

Answer: No difference at all - Oliphaunts and Mumakil are simply what the creatures are called in different languages - Oliphaunt being the term used in the western lands of Middle-Earth, while Mumakil is from the language of the Haradrim from the southern reaches. As a note, Mumakil is plural - an individual creature is a Mumak.


Question: Frodo, Bilbo, and eventually Sam and Gimli, travel to the Undying Lands in the West. Do they become immortal once they are there?

Answer: No. Tolkien was very specific about this - mortals who travel to the Undying Lands remain mortal and will live out their normal lifespan.


Question: Why didn't the Dwarves help in the fight for Middle-Earth?

Answer: Due to the overwhelming size of his forces, Sauron was able to fight the War of the Ring on several fronts. In addition to the main attack on Gondor, there were numerous other assaults - Galadriel's realm of Lorien was attacked, for example, as was the kingdom of the Wood-Elves, Legolas' people. The dwarf-kingdom of Erebor also came under attack, so the dwarves ended up fighting to defend their homeland. None of these battles were shown in the film, as it would have taken even more time, and would have taken the focus from the major characters.


Question: Is Gandalf really as powerful as everyone claims? He's supposed to be a great wizard yet he barely uses any power and is always doubting everything, even himself.

Answer: Gandalf is extremely powerful, as are all the five Wizards. They were sent to Middle-Earth to aid the inhabitants in the fight against Sauron, but they were only sent to help - they were placed under a specific instruction that they were only to assist, not to lead - the battle ultimately had to be fought by the races of Middle-Earth. As such, they were forbidden from using the full extents of their magics, lest they become tempted to rule rather than advise. Saruman ultimately fell to this very temptation, and Tolkien felt that two of the other wizards (neither mentioned in the films) did likewise in lands far to the east, with only Gandalf and Radagast staying true to their mission.


Question: Where were the other Wizards during the fight for Middle-Earth?

Answer: There are only five wizards. Saruman and Gandalf are heavily involved, as we see. Radagast, while not mentioned in the film, has a particular affinity with the birds and animals - it is he who sends the Eagles to the last battle, and to rescue Gandalf from Isengard. The final two, Alatar and Pallando, known as the Blue Wizards, went into the far eastern regions of Middle-Earth and never returned. Tolkien felt that they would ultimately have fallen from grace, much as Saruman did.


Question: Why don't the Ents help the heroes in the siege of Gondor?

Answer: The Ents dont like to meddle in the affairs of others. The only reason they fought Saruman is because he was destroying their forest to fuel his war.


Question: After the coronation, what does Aragorn say to Legolas in elvish and what does it mean?

Answer: It sounds like "Hannon le," which means "Thank you."


Question: Tolkien has made it clear in his letters that sailing to the Undying Lands does not make a mortal immortal. But this is what I'm curious about: is it possible to give up immortality in the Undying Lands? For instance, if Arwen had remained immortal and sailed there, would she still be able to choose a mortal life? (Not that she would do that, I'm just using her as an example).

Answer: Arwen could have, yes, but only because she specifically has the race of Men in her ancestral lineage.


Question: When Aragorn confronts the King of the Dead with Anduril (the reforged sword), The King of the Dead says, "That *something* was broken!" I am almost sure he says, "Blade" (referring to the reforged sword), but the subtitles on my Region 4 disc say, "Line" (presumably referring to Aragorn's ancestry). What does he really say? Do the subtitles on discs of a different region say otherwise?

Answer: The King of the Dead says, "That line was broken." Aragorn replies, "It has been remade." Their comments are referring to Aragorn's royal lineage that was believed to have died out. The reforged sword symboilizes Aragorn's return as king. There is a video clip of this scene on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfh9Ypgfp7Q.


Question: After Pippin touches the Palantir and he is lying on the ground, is he dead then brought to life by Gandalf? I was under the impression he was dead at first because he is lying with his eyes open then Gandalf closes his eyes with his hand. Why is he lying with his eyes open? Why does Gandalf put his hand over his eyes?

Answer: He wasn't dead, only stunned. It happened so fast, that his eyes remained opened when he was knocked unconscious. Gandalf is just closing his eyes to protect them. Leaving eyes exposed could cause permanent damage,.


Question: In the scene where Aragon, Gimli and Legolas managed to escape the mountain after the Army of the Dead tried to crush them with sculls and Aragon sees the Corsairs marauding the lands, before the King of the dead appears again, what piece of the soundtrack is played in the background? I can't seem to find it on the official soundtrack, neither as a separate piece nor as part of a larger piece. Can anyone help?

Answer: That cue is only on the 4 CD "Complete Recordings" version of The Return Of The King, released in 2007.

Question: In the theatrical trailer, we see a scene of Eomer grieving for a dead person, presumably during or after the battle for Minas Tirith. This scene is not in the theatrical version of the movie. Will it be in the extended version? And who is the dead person? Theoden (Eomer's uncle)? Or some other fallen warrior that Eomer was very fond of? Thanks.

Answer: This scene found its way into the extended edition of Return of the King. The scene shows Eomer discovering his sister Eowyn on the battlefield, presumably grievously wounded.

Question: Are there any places where I can find deleted scenes of this movie that never made it into the Theatrical or Extended releases?

Answer: Sadly, there has been no release of scenes that did not feature on the extended or theatrical film. Some scenes that didn't make it into films can be glimpsed in the behind-the-scenes footage included with the DVDs or blu-ray.

Question: Can someone tell me who the elf/actor is who stands next to Elrond in the scene were Aragorn just become king and sees Arwen? They kiss and then you'll see them clapping. I can't find it anywhere.

Answer: This appears to be an unnamed character played by an un-credited actor. He's basically an extra who is part of Elrond's group.


Question: When the rings were forged, nine were given to the Kings of Man and they became the Ringwraiths. How is it that the three elves had no trouble, as they are all there and smiling in the Grey Havens scene? Also, what happened to the dwarfen rings?

Answer: When the Rings were created, the elves became aware of the creation of the One Ring, and removed their rings. Only when the One Ring was removed from the hand of Sauron were even those rings safe to use. It should be pointed out that the elven rings were crafted by the elven smiths themselves for their own purposes and did not have the same corrupting influence by default as the Seven and the Nine. While their rings were subject to the power of the One Ring, the elven ringbearers remained untouched by his power, tapping into the powers of their rings only sparingly to maintain their realms and only while the One Ring remained lost to Sauron (as it was for the entire time since the last war, up to and including the time of LotR). As for the dwarves, they also proved to be too hardy for Sauron to dominate and the rings merely increased their innate desire for gold. Sauron ultimately reclaimed three of the dwarven rings, which were presumably lost in the fall of Barad-dur, with the other four being consumed by dragons.

Question: Why is Gollum surprised when Frodo reveals to him that he intends to destroy the Ring? Didn't he know that since he was leading Frodo and Sam to Mordor that that was their goal?

Answer: Actually no, he didn't. He had no idea what they were planning to do in Mordor, and he didn't really care. Gollum is obsessed with one thing and one thing only, getting the ring back. He agrees to lead Frodo, partly because he's scared of the ring and is compelled to obey its current owner, but mostly because he's waiting for a chance to get it back. Maybe a sane person would have questioned Frodo's motives and realised his intention, but Gollum is hardly sane, is he?


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Aragorn: Stand your ground, stand your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes, the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves, and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! For all that you hold dear, on this good earth, I bid you stand, men of the west!



Legolas sends an arrow directly to Grima atop Orthanc, and as Grima starts to fall back the arrow is quite visibly well below the coat's fur. However, when Grima actually hits the ground, the arrow is now higher up, protruding from the fur. (Extended Edition.)



In the extended version when Grima Wormtounge stabs Saruman in the back on top of the tower, Christopher Lee corrected the crew on the fact that when a person is stabbed in the back of the chest, they do not scream (as the film crew wanted), in fact the air is pushed out of their lungs and they "groan" with an exhalation of air, very quietly, as their lungs have been punctured. From Peter Jackson's DVD commentary: "When I was shooting the stabbing shot with Christopher, as a director would I was explaining to him what he should do...And he says, 'Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back?' And I said, 'Um, no.' And he says 'Well, I have, and I know what to do.'" The crew said that they knew Christopher Lee had been in the British Royal Air Force Intelligence Service in World War Two, and they didn't really push him for more information about how he knew in such detail exactly what noise a person makes when this is done to them.


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