The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Question: At the end when Frodo sails off, this means he is dead. I just want to know when did he die? Was it when he was stabbed in the shoulder by the Dark Rider?

Answer: No, it doesn't mean that he's dead. He's leaving with the elves to live with them in their original homelands, allowed special dispensation to go because of his actions during the War of the Ring. When he's there, the magical nature of the place will mean that he won't suffer the after-effects of his wound from the Witch King; doesn't mean that he was killed by that wound, though.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Something I didn't quite understand about the locations of the places in Middle Earth. In FOTR when the group is trapped on the mountain Boromir suggests that they turn around and take the road to Gondor but Aragorn says it will take them too close to Isengard. In this film however we only see that Mordor is (also?)close to Gondor (Minas Tirith). I don't remember that Isengard was close to Mordor. If all this is true could that mean that Saruman knew that the group was either going to take the road to Gondor OR go through the Mines of Moria, knowing that he could catch them if they went through Gondor?

Answer: Isengard isn't particularly close to Gondor, but it is very close to the road that leads there. If the Fellowship abandon their attempt to cross the Misty Mountains and head south, then the only option that they have to reach Gondor is to pass through the Gap of Rohan, a narrow opening between the Misty Mountains to the north and the White Mountains to the south, then head eastwards all the way through Rohan until they finally enter Gondor. Isengard was originally constructed to guard the Gap, so any attempt to travel that way will take them straight past Saruman's front door, which is far too much of a risk. Saruman knows full well that the Fellowship only have a few options regarding their route, so he's keeping an eye on the possible routes.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: In the extended edition Gandalf and Pippin talk about the hobbit's new place as guard of the citadel. Gandalf begins to cough and Pippin pours him some water. During the shot of Pippin with the carafe Gandalf can be heard muttering something which seems to begin with "ridiculous". What is he saying?

Answer: He says "Ridiculous hobbit".

Andreas[DK]

Question: There are a few shots where Merry and Pippin can be seen on a horse together with a human, both visible in the same shot. Merry's face can sometimes be seen on-screen at the same time as Éowyn's when they are riding and at Isengard the camera in one shot pans from Aragorn's face to Pippin sitting behind him on the horse. How were these shots done? Forced perspective can hardly be used on a horse, especially with Merry who sat in front of Éowyn

Answer: Most of the time, they would use small actors playing the hobbits (usually in long shots), or specially-built enlarged models of Aragorn or Éowyn sitting next to the regular actor. In some cases, hobbit-sized puppets were also used. The WETA team would then impose Dominic Monaghan's and Billy Boyd's face over the faces of the scale doubles or puppets in post-production.

Twotall

Question: When he stabs the Witch King Merry seems to be breaking his arm. Later when Pippin finds him he is close to unconscious. Éowyn on the other hand seems to be doing quite alright. Yet in the extended edition Éowyn is brought to a hospital and appears to be ill while Merry is fit to get back into battle the next day. Is this a mistake, or am I missing something

Answer: Merry doesn't actually break his arm - it's more that the foul energy that surrounds up the Witch King affects Merry when he makes the stab. The energies have a detrimental effect of those exposed to it - Eowyn is close to the Witch King for longer, plus she's the one who makes the killing blow, so she gets a more potent dose. Also, her arm is severely damaged physically during the fight, making it necessary for her to receive greater care than Merry does. In the books, both are taken to the hospital and neither goes to the fight at the Black Gate - it was presumably considered better for a cinematic audience that Merry should go, rather than sidelining one of the Fellowship during the climax of the film.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: In the Extended Edition, the scene with Saruman, why is Merry sitting on the back of Éomer's horse? The two had not met earlier and Gandalf has room for a hobbit on Shadowfax.

Answer: Most likely, because Gandalf suspected that Saruman would put up a fight and concentrate his magic on him. Placing Merry with Éomer got him out of the direct line of fire, so to speak, and left Gandalf free to concentrate on Saruman.

Twotall

Question: The appendix mentions Merry having a son, but no name is given in the family tree. Why is his son not included in the family tree when he is mentioned elsewhere in the text, and what was his name? Did Merry have any other children as well?

Answer: Tolkien never gives the name of Merry's son, which is probably why he's not on the family tree, nor does he tell us whether he had any other children. As to why he doesn't mention this, why should he? It's not as if they're important characters. There's a lot of information that Tolkien doesn't provide - understandable, given that he's produced a history of a fictional world that covers many thousands of years, that he wouldn't be able to include everything. Minor details, like the names of people who never actually appear in any of the stories (Merry's son, Aragorn and Arwen's daughters, Legolas' mother and so forth), were simply left out in favour of more important items.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: As Denethor has the funeral pyre prepared, he refers to the "heathen" kings of old. What sort of religion does Gondor have now that older kings could be "heathens"?

scwilliam

Chosen answer: In Denethor's time, Gondor follows the Vala, the good "gods" of the world, in the manner of the Elves, although religion really is not much of a point in Middle-Earth. The "heathen kings" Denethor speaks of were before Elendil founded Gondor, when descendants of Númenoreans lived in small fiefdoms as little kings in this area. Many of them worshipped Sauron and followed him, and may have used burning as a funeral rite.

Twotall

Question: Has New Zealand ever taken advantage (by way of tourism) of the huge success of these films? I mean slogans like "Come to Middle Earth, come to New Zealand" just keep clicking into my mind.

Answer: They did indeed, even going so far as to unofficially appoint a minister, dubbed, inevitably, the Minister for Middle-Earth, to keep tabs on the effects on the economy caused by the increase in business and tourism.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Just before Frodo leaves middle earth, he tells Sam about why he must leave, what does he mean when he says 'the shire has not been saved for me, Sam'?

Answer: He means that the memory of the Shire (as his home) was always what he clung to, his motivation for doing what he did. However, in the end his experiences had changed him so much that he did not feel at home there anymore, and could not fit in among all the people who had no concept of what he had gone through and what he had sacrificed. Essentially, because his outlook on the Shire is lost, he feels almost as if it really was gone and another had taken it's place.

Twotall

Question: I heard that Boromir, although he died in the first movie, appears in one of the scenes of the movie. If he is, can someone tell me which one of them he is seen?

Answer: In the theatrical version, I think he only appears extremely briefly (about a second) in a flash-back to his last battle. In the extended cut, a scene has been added where Denethor berates Faramir for letting Frodo leave with the Ring - in that scene, he hallucinates Boromir standing behind his brother.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: This is more of a book question really. According to the Tale of Years Pippin and Merry left their offices in the Shire to their sons when they left for Gondor and Rohan for good. Pippin's son Faramir is in his family tree, but looking at the Brandybuck family tree Merry does not even have a wife. Is there some other text by Tolkien which gives more details on this, was the child perhaps left out of the family tree because it was a "bastard" child? Is his son, or the mother, mentioned by name anywhere?

Answer: The discrepancy lies with Tolkien's late addition of information on Meriadoc's wife. She was Estella Bolger, sister to "Fatty" Bolger. Tolkien did not add her into the family tree until after the first edition, so it has taken years for the name to get into all versions.

scwilliam

Question: When Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were on the pirate ship, heading to Minas Tirith, the two-headed Orc commander said "Come on you sea-rats, get off your ships, there's knife work here needs doing." and then they jump off, he readies his scythe like he's going to attack. But if the pirates were on his team, why would he attack the three of them?

Answer: He sees that the three who jump ashore are NOT Corsairs as he expected, but a Ranger (evidenced by Aragorn's clothing and weapons), a Dwarf and an Elf. All of these are enemies of Sauron and the Orcs, so the Orcs' instinct would be to attack them on sight. At this point the commander has not realized that if those three were on board, then the rest of the fleet probably is not Corsairs either...

Twotall

Question: I think this might be a mistake, but before I list it as that, I should ask first. In the extended edition Aragorn and Gimli save the day by hacking Gothmog to death, then he yells "Legolas." and Legolas jumps up on the oliphaunt and after over a minute of the oliphaunt riding, he then kills it. Gimli is now somehow in front of Legolas when he says "That still only counts as one." How did he get from the Gothmog battle, to when Legolas finishes with the oliphaunt? It's probably well over a mile that the oliphaunt marched, so Gimli couldn't have caught up, and it couldn't be that he said that later on when they were together, because Legolas turns his head as in "Look what I just did" right after he rides off the trunk.

Answer: When Legolas is riding the Oliphaunt, it changes direction (turns around) and heads back the way it came. You can tell by the "direction" the the ghost army is moving.

XIII

Question: Where did Merry learn to fight? In the extended addition he was killing orcs very well. Yet in the books it says the hobbits never had any war (Not in Merry's time) so they wouldn't need combat practice.

Answer: Hobbits are naturally very fast and agile, which plays very much in their favour in battle despite their lack of combat experience. Their small stature causes foes to underestimate them, or even miss them completely, which gives them an edge. The hobbits also travelled for many days with several highly experienced fighters - we see Boromir teaching them; it's likely that Aragorn and the others passed on some training as well.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Near the end of the film when they are coming into the Shire, the old hobbit shakes his head at the 4 of them, he's also seen in the first movie. Does he have a name in the books or anything?

Answer: The grumpy old hobbit was named Odo Proudfoot in the books, but was renamed Everard Proudfoot in the movies.

Sierra1 Premium member

Question: What is an Ellesar?

Answer: Elessar means 'Elfstone' and is a name given to Aragorn by Galadriel as part of a prophecy - she also gives him a green stone set in a brooch (unseen in the films) as a mark of this name. When Aragorn assumed the throne, he chose to use Elessar as his kingly name.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: How was the Witch King able to destroy Gandalf's staff? He was a powerful wizard, it doesn't make sense to me that a Nazgul could do that.

Answer: The "Witch King" is just that: A Witch King. Before he became a Nazgul, he was still a mightly wizard in his own right, and a feared King in his own time (note that the only reason Merry's sword hurts him is because, when it was made, it was made specifically to attack him, showing that at some point people had feared him enough to put magic into weapons against him). As a Nazgul, his powers can only have increased. As a side note, in the books, Gandalf and the cheif nazgul never actually meet in combat, they see each other and prepare for it, but the Nazgul is driven off when the Rohan charge without them actually fighting.

Gary O'Reilly

Question: In the extended edition, they talk to Saruman in his tower, why was this cut out from the theatrical release? It's such a necessary scene.

Answer: Because it disrupted the flow of events. Saruman's the enemy from film 2 - spending several minutes at the beginning of film 3 dealing with him accomplishes nothing. He provides no critical information and we don't need to see his death scene - the Ents have him contained at the end of film 2 and that's it for him. Ultimately, while it's a good scene, it's not required for the overall plot and takes up time that could be better used.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Faramir and the Rangers captured Frodo, Sam, and Gollum in Ithilien. They marched overland to the outskirts of Osgiliath."Osgiliath burns." There they were freed by Faramir after the Nazgul attack. But when Faramir spoke with Gandalf and Pippen in Minas Tirith, he said he saw Frodo and Sam in Ithilien not two days hence. Weren't they just in Osgiliath?

scwilliam

Chosen answer: Yes, but as Osgiliath is on the border to Ithilien and Frodo & co. went in that direction, it would be natural for Faramir to give that answer to Gandalf when Gandalf wanted to know where they were. Faramir also knew that it would take them more than two days to cross Ithilien, so that is where they would be at the time he spoke to Gandalf.

Twotall
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the second half of the film, Frodo has a scar on his lower right cheek, close to his chin. Many times throughout the rest of the film the scar changes position and size on his right cheek. It also appears on his left cheek in flipped shots (most obviously on the slopes of Mount Doom when Sam is cradling his head). (02:31:05 - 02:34:00)

More mistakes in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Gimli: Certainty of death; small chance of success...what are we waiting for?

More quotes from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Trivia: At the end of the film, young Elanor Gamgee is played by none other than Sean Astin's own daughter in a cameo. Not only that, but Frodo Gamgee (the baby) is played by Maisie McLeod-Riera, the daughter of Sarah McLeod, who plays Sam's wife, Rosie.

More trivia for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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