19th Jul 2004
Question: After seeing this film, I have questions that need answering: 1) What are the differences between Fundamentalists, Conservatives, and Evangelicals? 2) What is a "mainline" church, as this is something I often hear from Evangelicals?
Answer: No way to answer this without over simplifying or offending someone, but here goes... To characterize the three types by their one particular focus (and ignoring all other differences and similarities), Conservatives' main focus is for values/practices/whatever to stay the way that they have traditionally been. Fundamentalists want change from tradition to a stricter, more literal interpretation of the Bible. Evangelicals main focus is to be close to God to convert others to Christianity. Of course there are all sorts of combinations of all three as well. "Mainline" churches are the large, well-established, well-accepted mainstream denominations, e.g. Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, etc. etc.
13th Jul 2004
Question: I recalled through TV spots and the title that the film does not explicitly mention the fact that it is based on the story of Moses. Was this the intentions of the filmmakers?
Answer: In the beginning of the movie, it says the movie is based on the story of the Exodus, with certain historical and artistic licenses being taken. Since Moses was the center of the story, it clearly is supposed to be about him, although maybe not exactly as the Bible depicts.
6th Jul 2004
Trivia: While Gothmog (played by Lawrence Makoare) is the only Orc identified in the film, here are the names of those un-named, who appear in the films: 1) Gorbag: the Orc (played by Stephen Ure) that argues over the mithril shirt and then fights with the Uruk in the Tower at Cirith Ungol, and later Sam stabs in the Tower when rescuing Frodo; 2) Shagrat: the large Uruk (played by Peter Tait) that argues with Gorbag over the mithril shirt; 3) Snaga: is Grishnákh's lieutenant in The Two Towers (he's played by Jed Brophy). He is the Orc who argues over food - Merry and Pippin - and tries to sneak up behind the Hobbits, but is killed by Uglúk.
1st Jul 2004
Question: Did Denethor in the original book suffer from some form of mental illness?
Answer: Not exactly. While this isn't stated in the film (unless it appears in the Extended Cut), Denethor has access to a palantir, like the one Saruman possessed that Pippin ultimately looks in. Denethor has used this palantir to follow events in Middle-Earth, but, just as Pippin did, he has encountered Sauron. The Dark Lord used this opportunity to mess with Denethor's mind, bringing him to the point of terrible despair, where he simply cannot conceive of anything other than defeat at Sauron's hands. This affects Denethor's judgement horribly, leading him to first send out Faramir's suicide mission, and then to break completely when he sees the Mordor forces arrayed against him.
30th Jun 2004
Question: What is the relationship between Grima Wormtongue and Saruman? Also, what being does Grima represent and why is he poisoning Theoden's mind? Is he the same race as Saruman and Gandalf?
Answer: Grima is human - he acts as Saruman's agent in Theoden's court. He keeps Theoden weak (using what appears to be a combination of drugs and Saruman's sorcery) to make it easier for Saruman to influence him, and therefore effectively neuter the military power of Rohan.
30th Jun 2004
Question: They appear entering the Black Gates in the film, but what happened to the Men of Rhun (Easterlings) after this? They did not appear again. Also, what happened to the Wildmen after their meeting with Saruman?
Answer: The Easterlings were most likely used in one of Sauron's other assaults, on Lorien or the dwarven kingdom of Erebor in the north. They also appear in the third movie, charging into Minas Tirith after the trolls. As for the Wildmen, Saruman seems to consider them to be expendable troops - sending them into Rohan to destroy villages, crops and so forth. Most likely they would have fallen at the hands of Rohirrim troops - they would, however, have taken some of those warriors with them, weakening Rohan as a whole for the later Uruk-Hai assault.
29th Jun 2004
25th Jun 2004
Question: Is there evidence that Peter Jackson was influenced by the 1996 PC game "Warcraft II" in how the soldiers of Gondor and the Orcs dress? The armored uniforms of the Gondorians resembled those of the humans in Warcraft.
Answer: For practical armouring, there are only so many possibilities that you can go with - inevitably some of these will resemble each other. The Gondorian armour is described to a reasonable degree within the books - the designs would have been based on those descriptions, rather than any non-Tolkien influences.
25th Jun 2004
Trivia: Inspired by the story of Anna Anderson (died 1984) who claimed to be Archduchess Anastasia, which would have made her the only surviving daughter of the Czar and Czarina of Russia. Only DNA tests years after her death proved she was not Anastasia, but an imposter which European nobility had long suspected.
23rd Jun 2004
Question: I read that the character of Arwen is different in the film adaptation than from the books (including "Fellowship of the Ring"). In what ways? Second, did director/screenwriter Peter Jackson gave a reason why he expanded Arwen's presence in the film adaptation? Was it done for marketing purposes as some fans had claimed?
Answer: Well, Arwen in the books really doesn't do a great deal - she's an extremely minor character. The first reason for increasing her role was simply to remove some of the myriad other characters from the book - for example, the elf Glorfindel, who, in the book, is the one who brings Frodo to Rivendell, then never appears again. Considering the sheer number of characters in the tale, it makes a certain sense to combine them occasionally. The second reason, and why they chose to use Arwen at this point, is that it fleshes out her character a bit, giving us a glimpse of her strength and power and allowing us to get a better glimpse at her relationship with Aragorn, making it clearer why he would love her. It has also given the tale another strong female character, which, yes, isn't bad for marketing purposes, but that consideration wasn't the primary reason for doing so.
23rd Jun 2004
Question: It is known through articles and interviews that Mel Gibson is considered a traditional Catholic, one who rejects Vatican II. Since there are many traditional Catholic sects (ranging from those are affliated with the Pope to those who reject his authority), who does Gibson represent?
Answer: Gibson is a member of a small independent congregation called "The Holy Family" - total membership is about 70, and they worship in a chapel that was paid for by Gibson himself. As with pretty much all the traditionalist groups, they celebrate Mass in Latin, not abolished, but the mass was now to be celebrated in the vernacular, by the Second Vatican Council in 1964/65. They appear to be quite moderate by the standards of traditional Catholics - the more extreme elements regard the Vatican as a hotbed of heresy - Gibson previewed his film for the Pope, which implies a certain amount of acceptance. The Holy Family has, at one point, had a falling out (reasons unclear) with the Society of St Pius X, the largest traditionalist group, so it's unclear precisely where they lie within the Catholic spectrum.
Question: Is there any more significance about the tree of Gondor other than what Pippin saw in a vision?
Answer: Quite a lot of significance, yes. Okay, deep breath, here goes. Back before the First Age, there was a time referred to as "The Years of the Trees". At this time, before the sun and the moon, the domain of the Valar (local godlikes) was lit by the radiance of two revered and mystical trees. The elder tree, called Telperion, was known as the White Tree. Destroyed by Melkor, the first Dark Lord, shortly before the beginning of the First Age, its image was preserved by the Valar in a second tree, Galathilion, in the elven city of Tirion (and Telpirion's last flower was set in the sky, the light now known as the moon). Seedlings of Galathilion was the source of many trees throughout the kingdoms of men and elves. One of the most famous of these was the tree Nimloth that grew in the royal courts in the prosperous human kingdom of Numenor. Sauron's influence ultimately allowed him to take control of Numenor's government, and he had Nimloth burnt, seeing it as a link to the Valar, his enemies. However, Isildur saved one of the fruits of the tree and took it with him to Middle-Earth after the fall of Numenor. He planted it there, in the Gondorian citadel of Minas Ithil (later to fall to the Nazgul and become Minas Morgul). Seedlings from that tree was planted in Minas Tirith, and, since that time, a White Tree has always grown there. So the Gondorians see the tree as a link to their founders, to the fabled kingdom of Numenor and ultimately to the Valar themselves.
Question: Lord Denethor is not the king of Gondor, but a steward, a caretaker of the throne according to Gandalf. Does this means that he is acting as a regent?
Answer: Effectively, yes - the Stewards rule in the absence of the rightful King of Gondor. That being said, the Stewards have now ruled Gondor for 26 generations of their family and believe the bloodline of the King to be destroyed, so, as we see with Denethor, they pretty much consider themselves to be the true rulers of the kingdom these days. As such, while they are technically fulfilling the role of regent, they might not actually consider that to be the case any more.
Question: What is the difference from Hobbiton and The Shire? Is The Shire a village, and Hobbiton the region where the Hobbits live?
Answer: Actually, it's the other way around. The region is called Shire, the village Hobbiton. There are several other villages in the Shire, for example Buckland.
22nd Jun 2004
22nd Jun 2004
Trivia: According to negative test screening reports, the filmmakers were forced to make post-production changes to it, such as reshooting battles and adding a wedding scene to give an uplifting ending. The expensive post-production changes were done within three to four weeks before the film's North American release on July 7th.
21st Jun 2004
Question: I am told that the film is satirizing Catholicism, what aspect it is satirizing?
Answer: Many different aspects. For example, George Carlin's character portrays a grandstanding Cardinal who postures for the public. Rufus claims that, as a black man, the Church chose to ignore his role in history, as well as the fact that Christ was black (historians say this is more than likely, but it has never been acknowledged by the Church). The Mooby scene can also be seen as an analogy of the modern Church, obsessed with appearances and maintaining its image more than with the worship of God. Even at the climax, the action that solves the movie involves euthanasia of a terminally ill man, an action that the Church strongly believes is unethical for dogmatic reasons rather than Scripture. There are many more, too many to list here.
Question: I understand that Faramir and Aragorn are both Rangers, but what is a Ranger as depicted in the "Rings" trilogy?
Answer: Not as simple a question as it sounds, as, while Faramir and Aragorn are both described as Rangers, they're actually different types of Ranger. Faramir is one of the Rangers of Ithilien, a Gondorian group who specialise in using guerrilla tactics against the forces of Sauron in the land of Ithilien, between the Anduin river (which runs through Osgiliath) and the Mountains of Shadow that form the western border of Mordor. Aragorn is the current chieftain of the Rangers of the North, who came into being after the fall of the northern kingdom of Arthedain, ruled over by Isildur's descendants. After the loss of Arthedain, the people survived in the wild as the loose-knit organisation known as the Rangers. The two groups are related - both originate from the Dunedain, the long-lived descendants of the survivors of Numenor - but have been seperated for around 3000 years.
Question: How does Smeagol over time becomes the hideous-looking Gollum? Did the One Ring radically changed his appearance? Also, what kind of Hobbit was Smeagol?
Answer: Smeagol was believed to have been a Stoor, a branch of the hobbits known for being quite large and strong (by hobbit standards). His mutation is because of the Ring - precise reason unclear, but almost certainly related to the fact that it has prolonged his life far beyond a normal hobbit span (Gollum is around 580 years old when he dies, easily five times the normal lifespan)- note that Bilbo, who, while old, is still within a normal hobbit lifespan, looks physically normal. Smeagol, through use of the Ring, has been influenced by the wraithworld, in exactly the same manner that the kings of men who were given the nine rings ultimately became the Nazgul - in time, he would presumably have become a wraith-like being like them. Gollum's current appearance may be some intermediate stage.