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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: I am resubmitting my question because the posted answer is incomplete and/or irrelevant. In FOTR, Bilbo says something like "There has always been a Baggins living at Bag End, and there always will be." Presumably he thinks Frodo, and Frodo's descendants, will always live there, but Frodo goes to the Undying Lands, leaving no heirs behind. In the book, Sam and Rosie move into Bag End, but this does not happen in the movie - at the end of ROTK, you can see that the hobbit hole Sam goes home to is not Bag End. My question is, why did the filmmakers change these 2 things? In other words, if Bilbo's line is included to make it important who ends up in Bag End, why not show who does end up there in ROTK? If it is not important who lives there (thus explaining why Sam and Rosie don't appear there), then why have Bilbo make a fuss over it in FOTR? Someone answered that "Bilbo is simply stating the way things have always been", but this is not what I'm asking. I'm not asking "why would Bilbo say this?", I'm asking "why did Peter Jackson think it was important to have this line in the movie?" Why make a scene about who Bilbo thinks will end up in Bag End, and then not show who does end up in Bag End? I want to know what dramatic or story-telling purpose the juxtaposition of these 2 scenes (Bilbo's line and showing that Sam and Rosie do not move into Bag End) serves.

Answer: I think the point is that, at the time he speak the line, Bilbo has NO WAY to know the events that are to come. Clearly, he thinks that the Baggins' will always live at Bag End. How can he possibly know the way things will turn out? Even in the book, at the beginning of the story, Bilbo has no way to know that Sam and Rosie will move into Bag End and that Frodo will not. Also, you might be attaching far too much significance to this one line. We cannot assume that the line was included for the express purpose of "making it important who ends up in Bag End". All that matters is Bilbo is making an assumption that Baggins' will always live there.


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: 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: 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: 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: Gollum had lots of chances to kill Sam and Frodo so why didn't he take them?

Answer: He feared them, for one thing, but also felt loyalty to Frodo, who showed him kindness. Gollum, torn between his good and evil nature, was eventually overpowered by his desire for the ring.


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: This question pertains to all the films, particularly the extended edition of this film. It might seem odd to ask, but how exactly does Saruman get on top of the Orthanc? We see him there in FOTR a couple times then in ROTK (extended). Also, in ROTK extended when Gandalf and co are talking to him, the Orthanc is a tall structure so how can they all hear each other so well?

Answer: For the first question, the most likely answer is there must have been some kind of staircase that lead up there although the exit wasn't clearly visible. Remember that grima wormtongue had no trouble getting up there in the extended edition. For the second question, since Saruman is a wizard, he is clearly able to project his voice down to them and have no trouble hearing them

Gavin Jackson

Question: When Eowyn kills the witch-king's big flying thing, he visibly has no swords or a mace on his person, but when he gets up to confront her he has both weapons. Where does he get the weapons from?

Answer: Physically, there's no body inside that robe. They could have been stashed in there with room to spare.


Question: I'm trying to find a specific part of a scene. All I can remember is the background is a forest-type set with possibly ruins or stairs. The four hobbits are there, but they're in their normal street attire. Any help would be appreciated as to which scene this shot is located.

Answer: It sounds like a scene in "Return of the King" in the extended version, but it was the TWO hobbits (Merry and Pippin). Frodo & Samwise are still in Mordor trying to destroy the ring. The scene I think you're imagining is where Gandalf and gang come upon the destroyed Two Towers and find Pippin and Merry smoking pipes while sitting on a destroyed tower next to the forest. Hope that helps.


Question: Is the Mouth of Sauron capable of seeing through his helmet? The design visibly does not incorporate eye holes, yet he nevertheless is able to accurately throw Frodo's mithril shirt at Gandalf and then recognizes Aragorn even though Aragorn does nothing to give away his identity, both conceivably would not be possible without keen eyesight.

Answer: We know very little about the Mouth of Sauron as he's portrayed in the film. While he's human in the book, his cinematic incarnation is of indeterminate species, so it's hard to say what he might or might not be capable of. The book version of the character is described as being a powerful sorceror - if the same holds true of the film Mouth, then possession of such strong magic could readily explain his ability to identify those around him and operate easily without eyesight.


Question: Why must Frodo go with Gandalf and the elves, at the end of RotK?

Answer: He doesn't have to, but he wants to. His adventures have left considerable scars on him, both physically and mentally. He could stay in the Shire, but he'd continue to suffer for the rest of his life. By going into the West with Gandalf and the Elves, he'll be able to live out his days peacefully, free from pain.


Question: Are the Valar ever mentioned in any sort of way in the trilogy?

Answer: In The Two Towers, when Aragorn is floating in the water after the Warg attack, Arwen appears above him and says "May the grace of the Valar protect you." That's pretty much it.

Question: In FOTR, Bilbo says something like "There has always been a Baggins living at Bag End, and there always will be." Presumably he thinks Frodo, and Frodo's descendants, will always live there, but Frodo goes to the Undying Lands, leaving no heirs behind. In the book, Sam and Rosie move into Bag End, but this does not happen in the movie - at the end of ROTK, you can see that the hobbit hole Sam goes home to is not Bag End. My question is, why did the filmmakers change these 2 things? In other words, if Bilbo's line is supposed to make it important who ends up in Bag End, why not show who does end up there in ROTK? If it is not important who lives there (thus explaining why Sam and Rosie don't appear there), then why have Bilbo make a fuss over it in FOTR? I just don't understand what the point is.

Answer: Bilbo is simply stating the way things have always been. At that point, he has no reason to believe that Frodo and his descendants will not live in Bag End. As to Sam returning to 3 Bagshot Row instead of Bag End, having him go to Bag End would have caused some extra time to be added to the film. The film is long enough, and explaining that Frodo left Bag End to Sam and his family would've added too much unnecessary time.

Question: When this question was originally asked it was not clear enough, because the answer that was given is wrong and has nothing to do with the "emissary of Sauron's who's called "The Mouth of Sauron". Here is a more precise version of the question, so if anyone can please offer a response, it would be much appreciated. This question refers to the scene that Peter Jackson edited/chopped, when both Rohan and Gondor are at the Black Gate, and Aragorn is battling the Troll. Before the scene was edited, the Troll was originally the physical form of Sauron that Aragorn is fighting. How would this even be possible seeing that Sauron can only come into physical form once he has possession of the Ring? Likely the question answers itself, as that may be the reason why Jackson edited the scene and changed Sauron into a Troll, but am very interested in anyone else's thoughts about it.

Answer: Sauron's power is referred to as "growing" throughout the trilogy, so the initial rationale may have been that Sauron was ultimately able to gain enough power to reform his body, even though he still lacked the full power provided by the Ring. This would tie in to the books where, although Sauron never appears directly, there are a number of references that suggest that, in the book version of the tale, he possesses a physical form throughout. There's also the likelihood that it was originally felt that, dramatically speaking, a direct confrontation between the leaders of the two factions would be more satisfying to the casual viewer. Ultimately Jackson chose to revert to a story angle closer to that of the books, where Sauron remains a distant presence, plus, as you so rightly point out, it goes against statements made earlier in the film that Sauron requires the Ring to attain his power. As such, the fight against Sauron was reedited to pit Aragorn against a powerful troll instead.


Question: This might be a daft question, but what exactly is Denethor's problem? From the Extended Version of "The Two Towers" to when he dies in "The Return of the King", I just get the impression that he's being an a** for no apparent reason.

Answer: Denethor is basically a grim and humourless man, largely brought on by the early death of his beloved wife, thirty years before the events of the film. In many ways an intelligent ruler, he nevertheless commanded the city under the continued stress of the threat of Mordor, a power that built throughout his reign as Steward and this took a great toll on the man. In the books, Denethor repeatedly used a palantir to gather knowledge from afar; this allowed Sauron to tap into his psyche and sap his will, casting him deeper into a state of fear and paranoia. Ultimately the loss of his beloved son and heir, Boromir, sent him over the edge, leaving him as the bitter and rather twisted man that we see during the events of "The Return of the King".


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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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