History Headscratchers / TheLordOfTheRings

18th May '15 6:11:36 AM Perey
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18th Mar '14 3:29:02 PM Discar
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18th Mar '14 3:28:25 PM Discar
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(''Split into general Discussion and further down specific Discussion/Questions of adaptations for convenience.'')

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(''Split into general Discussion and further down specific Discussion/Questions of adaptations for convenience.'')Due to length, this page has been split.

* [[Headscratchers/LordOfTheRingsBooks Books]]
* [[Headscratchers/LordsOfTheRingsFilms Films]]



!!Tolkien's ''The Lord of the Rings''
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[[folder: Eagles]]

''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)''
* Why didn't Frodo take the ring to Mt. Doom on an eagle? Or, at least have the Fellowship fly all the way to Mordor, if Mordor itself has some air defenses?
** The Eagles of Manwë are not a taxi service. They refuse to interfere for the same reason that Gandalf, despite being an angelic spirit on par with Sauron, didn't match him "strength for strength" - it was forbidden. As servants of the Elder King, both Gandalf and the Eagles would have to abid by the rules of the Third Age in which neither the Valar nor their servants moved directly against Sauron but instead would empower the peoples of Middle-Earth to do so on their own strength.
** This one has Just Bugged people for years. Personally I think that the evil eye would have spotted them approaching and sent the flying wraiths to intercept. Even worse, seeing the ring being carried towards Mount Doom could have allowed Sauron to realize the heroes planned to destroy it (they were counting on the fact that as an evil creature, he would never expect that).
*** Exactly. The reason for the Fellowship was to sneak into Mordor and arriving with the Air Cavalry would probably have drawn notice.
*** See [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqVD0swvWU How Lord Of The Rings Should Have Ended]] on youtube. "Well, that was surprisingly easy."
*** Also, there was an Epic Thread on the Internets several years ago called "Lord of The Rings By Other Authors". The Tom Clancy, Lensman, and George Lucas versions were hilarious and involved eagles. '''"You're all clear, kid! Let's blow this joint and go home!"'''
*** [[http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=aad6ee2444c514187d9b42e009e90df5&threadid=138905&perpage=50r=1 Here]]. It is indeed, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome epic]].
** Two reasons. Eagles aren't immune to the Ring and they only work for Manwë. Gandalf can't just whistle up a eagle whenever he likes.
** None of these reasons make sense to me. Evil eye spot them? Somehow the evil eye never saw Frodo with the ring when he walked, so how is this different? The evil eye is like radar and only sees things in the air? lol. If the evil eye might be keeping a watch on the airspace of Mordor, then they could have flown up to it and gotten off, but no way that the evil eye was keeping watch on all of Middle-earth airspace. As for "Eagles aren't immune", Frodo will still be the ring bearer, he would just be carried by an eagle. As for "Gandalf can't whistle up an eagle", I think that he did when he had the eagles save Frodo and Sam in the end, didn't he? I think he could have visited the king of the eagles and told him the fate of Middle-earth depends on this, please help.
*** Giant flying things are a heck of a lot more noticeable than little orc-sized things on the ground.
**** Exactly. It's instructive to note that the one time Frodo stood on a hill tall enough to have a clear line-of-sight to Barad-dûr, at a time before Sauron was massively distracted by Aragorn's strategic diversion, it took the Eye about half a minute to pick him up. After ''that'' little episode on Amon Hen, its not surprising that he'd spend the rest of the books staying low to the ground and keeping some nice solid opaque terrain features between him and Sauron's field of vision.
**** Indeed. There are a lot less flying creatures about than there are walking. Also, Sauron has lots of airborne beings in his service, from birds to Nazgûl steeds. They couldn't have crossed the mountains without being molested and as mentioned, Sauron controls the storms in the mountains surrounding Mordor, as well as the fires of Orodruin. Lava flying in your way would be a good deterrent and no, it wouldn't have destroyed the Ring in itself. It needed to happen in Sammath Naur, the Chamber of Fire where it was created.
*** Boromir never touched the Ring, but it still got to him. Any eagle carrying Frodo might well decide to drop him from 2000 feet, and claim the Ring for itself. Also, if Manwë doesn't want his eagles to intervene, they won't, and they are his eagles.
**** Remember the incident in the pass of Caradhras? You know, the horrible snowstorm that nearly buried them alive? While in the book it's not caused directly by Sauron and Saruman but rather by Caradhras itself, they still do point out that Sauron can govern the weather. Do you ''really'' want to be in the air in the middle of a magically-conjured thunderstorm, say?
*** The "Evil Eye" almost spotted Frodo at Amon Hen, at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, and even that very brief flicker of awareness nearly broke him. In the sky, fully exposed, he'd have no escape.
** The Fellowship was an all-volunteer force. Perhaps the eagles simply did not volunteer?
*** Perhaps the Eagles knew that the Ring's destruction would mark the end of the Age, and the beginning of the next. As giant Eagles have no more place in a world of Men than elves or wizards, they might not have wanted to actively participate in a mission that would banish their kind from Middle-Earth and/or reduce their descendents to ordinary (small e) eagles. They did help save Sam and Frodo ''after'' the Ring was gone, once their own exile was inevitable, but not before.
** This is one of those things you can see the author's problem. On the one hand, during the council of Elrond, they bring up and discuss almost every conceivable solution to their problems (even Bombadil). Except for the eagles. Why? Remember that at this time, the Nazgûl had just been swept off their horses, which means they soon (or probably did) have their flying fell beasts by this point. Thus, if the Fellowship had used eagles, they'd be delivering the ring straight into Sauron's "hands" as they Nazgûl would just fly in and take it (remember also that the Witch-King was still alive). Not to mention any anti-air forces (archers) that Sauron would have been able to assemble. But of course, logically in the story, no characters would know that the Nazgûl are flying now, so I theorize that Tolkien just let the idea slide to avoid writing himself into a corner. You also have the fact that Frodo was only able to get inside Mt Doom because Sauron's attention was elsewhere. If they had flown in with eagles (which would have taken less time), the Sauron's forces would all still be massed within Mordor instead of spread out over Middle-earth attacking everybody. Thus, if they had also taken the eagle route, Sauron could have just put every orc and troll he had in front of Mt Doom's entrance and said "Alright little hobbit: your move." (since, most likely, they would have to land and go into Mt Doom's entrance as any attempt to "fly over" the mouth of the volcano and drop the ring into it would have had too high of a fail chance)
*** At the time of writing (of the Council of Elrond bit), airborne force mobility was a far less understood and far less used military tactic than it is today. The Germans stopped preferring paradrop invasions after the huge casualty rate of their invasion of Crete, and the Allied airdrops for Operations Overlord and Market Garden also suffered high FUBAR rates. Small-scale commando raids were often successful, but most of the time insertion was by boat or submarine, and retrieval was either by the same method, or non-existent - and would have received almost no public exposure until at least late 1945
*** Seconded. Air travel occurs immediately to us because we live in a world of jet travel. Gandalf and the others at the council weren't used to thinking in terms of moving by air(although Gandalf had some experience with eagle airlines) More to the point, Tolkien himself lived in an era before widespread air travel, and was noteably anti-technological. I personally think it just never occurred to him.
**** That's just a silly argument - not only did the Eagles transport Bilbo et all. in The Hobbit, but Tolkien has the Eagles ''fly Frodo and Sam back out of Mordor''. It's ludicrous to assume J.R.R. didn't get the idea to fly them in. This Troper's personnal fanwank is that the Eagles were simply too high profile and would have been spotted, then attacked by the Nazgûls before they even got halfway (among other scenarios), but the objective truth is much easier : otherwise there'd be no plot, and slogging through Mordor on foot is integral to Sam and Frodo's characterizations. So... [[AWizardDidIt A Wizard Didn't Do It]] for once ;)
***** WordOfGod is that he ''didn't'' get the idea to fly them in.
*** [[ConservationOfNinjitsu Every orc and troll in mordor would probably be less good]] than just standing the witch king there with a giant mace. Which Sauron should have done.
** This troper's take is that the eagles weren't considered, as they were already known to be commited elsewhere (as in the battle of the 5 peoples in The Hobbit). The majority of the eagles were later involved in the battles at Dale and Lothlórien, and any who weren't were already known to be on guard for an attack on Rivendell or the like. When Sauron's armies in the north floundered with the destruction of the ring, the eagles who rescue Sam and Frodo peeled off from Lothlórien to head south to Mordor.
** Why not have the eagles attack or distract the fell-beasts while soldiers kill the other monsters?
*** Flying Eagles are extremely visible creatures and would likely be noticed from far away, even before they reached Mordor. After the destruction of the Ring it was different as all credible opposition was gone. Sauron could have:
**** sent the Nazgûl on Fell Beasts to attack
**** send any other flying things he may have had, such as bats
**** made a storm (documented ability)
**** used some damaging spell with distance effect, such as lightning (documented ability)
**** used some mental magic, such as illusions or the power of his gaze (documented abilities)
**** made Mount Doom erupt fully at an inconvenient time (documented ability, probably not too effective in this scenario, would have harmed him too)
**** tried to hit with any conventional siege weapons he had handy
**** put quickly a guard on Mount Doom or even gone there himself
*** Some spell choices may have needed several days or more to prepare though, but we just don't know. Also, potentially Eagles could be corrupted by the Ring.
*** In other words, there were ''excellent'' reasons to think that Sauron could police the skies of Mordor. Any Eagle-led incursion would've been either a total success or total defeat. Bring the ring-bearing Eagle down, and the odds are 100% that Sauron retrieves the ring. Depending on what the Council knew or inferred about Mordor, it's plausible that this plan would appear doomed to failure.
**** That argument loses credibility once you consider that these Eagles spent a good part of the first age nesting right there in front of Morgoth's nose and the dark lord (which commanded a LOT more of power and war assets than Sauron) seemd unable to do anything about it, and of course they also helepd Eärendil to fight tons of flying dragons (including one the size of a mountain), and in all that time there was no mention of any fatalities among them. It could be argued that the Eagles in the third age perhaps weren't that good anymore, but they were key to the victory in the Battle of the Five Armies, and later had no problems fighting the airborne Nazgûl, and again no mention of any casualties within their ranks. Dangerous machines indeed!
** The entire strength of the Company was in secrecy and misdirection: "The number must be few, since your hope is in speed and secrecy." Sauron managed to figure out fairly quickly that the Ring had left Rivendell, and that a hobbit had it. As Gandalf said, he "knows now the number of our Company that set out from Rivendell, and the kind of each of us." But Sauron's mistake was that he thought the Ring was going to Minas Tirith, and that it would then be used against him by some mighty lord. Had the Company left Rivendell on Eagles, Sauron would have noticed... and wondered why the Ring wasn't going towards Minas Tirith, but was instead heading towards Mordor. The notion that someone would try to destroy the Ring had "not yet entered into his darkest dream"... but that was because he had no reason to think that might be a possibility. As soon as he knew the Ring was headed to Mordor instead of some bastion of the Free Peoples, it's entirely likely that he would have realised what they were trying to do. And at that point... everything is pretty much lost, eagles and armies or no. People also forget that the decision to have Nine Walkers, in opposition to the Nine Riders, was deliberate. It wasn't a matter of chance that there were Nine, it was pre-meditated... Merry and Pippin were chosen to fill in the empty slots. Sending eagles along would have completely messed that up.
** While all of the above are good reasons, and add up to ''enough'' of a reason (IMO), the sad fact of the matter is that Tolkien just didn't think of it--it Just Bugged someone who knew him personally, and they asked, and he said, essentially, "Oh."
*** As I recall, in the book Gwaihir actually mentions the possibility to Gandalf, and flatly refuses to fly into Mordor, though he would willingly carry him anywhere else. I believe Gandalf mentions it when the topic is brought up as well. For whatever reason, the eagles are not willing to fly over Mordor while Sauron is alive. Maybe they're just afraid, maybe they know the Nazgûl would get them, whatever, but they will not do it.
*** Sauron couldn't see the hobbits in Mordor because ''his ENTIRE will and attention'' was focused on Gondor. The reason? Aragorn used his authority over the palantírs to look into the Orthanc stone and successfully challenge Sauron's will, being able to use his mental victory to trick Sauron into thinking that Aragorn had the Ring, and was heading for Gondor with it. This is why he attacked before his forces were entirely ready, because he believed that if he could wipe out Gondor before Aragorn arrived, he could then easily defeat him and reclaim the Ring. So his entire attention was on Gondor looking out for Aragorn, rather than his own realm, looking for insignificant mortals. Even if Aragorn had tried this gambit while they had the Eagles, Sauron would still have noticed quasi-divine beings entering his realm when they had never dared to before, and would have instantly been aware that they had the Ring. This on top of all the other problems (the possibility of the Eagles being corrupted, the fact that they likely would have refused or been forbidden etc).
* One more reason is just how far away the Eagles lived. As in "Gandalf's S.O.S while Saruman's prisoner took months to reach them, and for them to show up" far away. Given that Sauron had any number of forces marching on Rivendell and the Nazgûl would soon recover, waiting around and hoping the Eagles got the note and were coming soon wouldn't have been a great strategy.
* I say we decide it's because Sam gets airsick, and leave it at that.

* This is all fascinating and well-known and fun to think about, but it is important to note that, within the confines of Tolkien's [[TheVerse sub-creation]], it is [[OntologicalMystery Ontologically]] [[StoryExistenceFailure Impossible to Fly An Eagle To Mount Doom]] because if you did, there would be [[AnthropicPrinciple No Story]] and therefore there is no [[AlternateHistory alternate version of Middle-earth]] in which the heroes, having attempted to take the path of least resistance, would not have run into [[DoomedByCanon far more serious consequences]], such as (according to Tolkien's Letters) everyone else being killed by the author and Aragorn having to choose between tossing Frodo into the fire or claiming the ring for himself.
** An alternate, more positive outcome described in ''Letters'': Had Gollum's near-repentance at Cirith Ungol (a scene moved to after the spider attack in the film) not been interrupted by Sam (book) or by Frodo telling Gollum the purpose of the mission (film), [[WordOfGod Tolkien says that]] Gollum would have taken the ring and thrown ''himself'' into the fire [[strike:to save Middle-earth]] to keep Sauron from getting it.
*** I recall, that scenario had Gollum realizing there was no way he would be willing give up the Ring but realizing the Ring was pure evil. I think that too had Gollum saying goodbye to Frodo before he jumped.
** Tolkien had to present obstacles and a series of [[EvilOverlordList Evil Overlord tropes]] serious enough to justify what would, in RealLife, be an impractical means of delivering a special forces team into enemy lands. See WalkIntoMordor -- the enemy lands are NEVER easy to get into in literature. In Real Life it is quite easy to sneak into, say, Hitler's Germany and a lot harder to get into places like the Sammath Naur (which, on a related note, the places at the heart of the kingdom always seem to be left unguarded...)
** According to the trope page WalkIntoMordor, "This can be extrapolated to ''all'' [[RoadMovie Road Trip]] stories, see ScenicRoute, ShortCutsMakeLongDelays, etc. (Yes, yes, orc archers, whatever)"

* One thing that hasn't really been addressed is a piece of FridgeBrilliance that Tolkien himself brought up: in the [[CallBack beginning of the book]], Tolkien showed Frodo freaking out when Gandalf throws the ring in the fireplace. In a letter to a fan, he pointed out that Frodo was the only person with the strength to resist the ring for so long -- and '''''he couldn't even bring himself to throw it in his own fireplace!''''' much less destroy it, or leave it by the side of the road unclaimed. So dropping it from an eagle two days later, not knowing where it would hit, would be even more difficult. I mean, would ''you'' drop that [[ItsAllJunk priceless diamond]] off the side of the ''{{Titanic}}''..?

* Why not just fly all the way around the outside of Mordor and approach Mount Doom from the East side? We don't know how far East the Easterlings were or even if they were directly east, but I doubt Sauron would have had that side guarded, surely they could have just flown in that way. Dropped the ring in from the sky like in that Youtube parody and flown away while Sauron died. Or they would have flown low from the North maybe and used the mountains as cover. Surely even if Sauron detected them entering his realm they would almost have been on top of Mount Doom to chuck it in and scarper before the Nazgûl had time to react.
** [[StoryExistenceFailure Per the above]], it doesn't matter in this Troper's opinion but Gandalf did mention approaching Mordor from the East. Or rather, [[WordOfGod Tolkien]] mentioned [[AuthorStandIn Gandalf]] mentioning it [[AllThereInTheManual off-screen]] in ''Letters.'' Long and short of it was, that is the route Gandalf preferred to take [[WalkIntoMordor on foot]], being unguarded, but it would have required Aragorn or Gandalf remain with the party for a long trek thru enemy territory while the two decoy hobbits and surplus warriors proceeded to Gondor. Unfortunately, since the Ring's powers increased, having two walking [[SuperWeight power beacons]] to [[MeatShield protect them]] might have been a bad thing, leading the hobbits to get captured, or worse, Aragorn or Gandalf might have been tempted to take the ring to "protect" the [[TheLoad helpless and slow-moving]] Hobbits.
** Not to mention that this route would make them pass dangerously close to Barad-dûr.

* When the issue was first raised with Tolkien, rather than citing Mordor's defences, he asserted that Eagles are free agents and would not deign to be "[[AuthorOnBoard Middle-earth's taxi service]]". He also pointed out if they ''did'', it'd be a [[StoryBreakerPower Story Breaker]]. This also assumes the eagles (who are obviously not normal eagles and are more like minor maiar) would not be affected by the ring. There's no good reason they wouldn't be. Tolkien even specifically mentions eagles aren't predisposed to be kind in the Hobbit, a main reason why Bilbo is nervous around them.
** There are two basic theories as to what the eagles could do, both have huge flaws in them; one they [[HorseOfADifferentColor carry someone]] and have [[RandomlyDrops them drop it]], or two the eagle itself carries the ring and then drops it. But lets not forget that the ring does not want to be destroyed and that it exerts its force on those near it. So going with the first plan the eagle would carry a person, or hobbit, over the mountain and they would drop the ring in. Well that sounds nice but that completely forgets how hard it is to drop the ring. Those who have read the book should remember Frodo's hesitation to throw it in his fireplace even though he had only recently gotten it. But now it would be destroying the ring, imagine how much harder that would be. Now of course the eagle could just drop the person into the volcano as a backup plan but that relates to the second theory, that the eagle could just carry the ring itself. The ring would also exert its powers on the eagle and make it want to keep the ring just as if it were a person. And as for dropping the ring bearer in as well, the ring would also act on the eagle carrying the persona and may not even take the person to the mountain and will just drop them elsewhere and take the ring for itself. So As you can see adding eagles to the equation does not make the ring destroying process any simpler. Oh yeah and all of that would only happen if the eagles don't get attacked by Nazgûl and various other things Sauron would throw at them, sometimes literally, to keep them from destroying the ring.
*** Main reason not to do this: It takes time to destroy the ring. Even if Frodo has had the will to destroy it,[[note]]Tolkien says he never did and was merely supposed to get it into position. Gollum was the agent of the Ring's destruction. But everyone else would have long ago siezed the ring for himself[[/note]] it would have taken some time for him to do it. The Nazgûl would have been all over him if they had that much warning. In the story as told, the Dark Lord only becomes aware of his danger when the ring is already at the brink of the pit.
*** Then DON'T fly it all the way into Mordor. Have Gandalf call an eagle, and have the eagle fly them as far as the edge of Mordor, so they don't have to walk or ride the whole way. Then the eagle can set them down, be on its merry way, and the hobbits can walk into Mordor.
**** The Eagles are not AutomatonHorses. They cannot simply carry people that far, Gwaihir has even trouble getting Gandalf from Isengard to Edoras.
*** The Nazgûl were already abroad by then. Really, the only time the Eagles would have made useful carriers is in the 50 year build-up period between ''The Hobbit'' and ''Lord of the Rings'' when Sauron was still smarting from his defeat in Mirkwood and had not yet rebuilt his stronghold in Mordor. And at that point in time, Gandalf didn't yet know what he had. Remember, Saruman was working to obscure the truth; Gandalf wasn't able to confirm the identity of the One Ring for certain until it was far too late.
*** It's also telling that the Eagles DO show up in Mordor shortly after Barad-dûr falls. This implies that they had excellent reasons for staying out up until that moment.
** To buttress this theory further, remember that Gandalf himself feared touching the ring and he knew exactly what it was better than anyone save Sauron himself and was the epitome of wisdom on Middle Earth yet he feared it might work at his motives and intentions and eventually corrupt him and (because he's so powerful) would become a great evil of the realm. The Eagles are also quite powerful and any one of them corrupted by the ring would be quite a danger. Only the Hobbits being small, not terribly formidable, and having only the most simple desires, were fit carriers.
** Remember, Gandalf's job was ''not'' to save the world. His job was to get the people of Middle Earth to save the world themselves. The Valar had had enough of meddling directly -- they wanted to be more subtle, and they wanted men to cope on their own. The great eagles were servants of Manwë (or descendants thereof), so they may have been similarly bound.

* In the end, absolutely none of the alternative methods of travel would have worked. It was specifically stated by Tolkien that Sauron NEVER suspected they were going to destroy the One Ring since he thought it was impossible for everyone to resist its temptation. In fact, he was absolutely correct. Isildur and Frodo, they were there and their wills failed them (even though it was mentioned that Hobbits seemed to have a particularly strong-will against its temptation). The only reason that the One Ring was destroyed in the end was because Gollum intervened and ACCIDENTALLY fell off into the fires of Mount Doom. So, Yeah.
* I honestly think that most of the reasons above are just excuses for people who think Tolkien loses credibility for not having thought of this. There are more eagles than Nazgûl, so taking a platoon would have worked to defeat them. They could have approached from the East side. As far as Sauron guarding Mount Doom--the Men were helpless against the Nazgûl, why would Orcs be any different? Tolkien simply didn't think of it--if he had, he would have made up an excuse for why they wouldn't. Fans will just have to deal with that. If you just ignore this aspect, the book is still completely readable.
** "Tolkien didn't think of it"? Look at the quote on the folder. Which was, like the Bombadil quote, put there to avoid avoidable "what did Tolkien think" edits.
** Also note, there are only nine ''Nazgûl'', but Sauron clearly has a supply of spare flying mounts around, because Legolas shoots one down at some point early on, and we later see all nine with mounts. He presumably can't send his whole brood on air raids unmanned, because his hold on them probably diminishes with distance, but if the Eagles attacked him on his home turf, he could probably send up a couple dozen. Not to mention the fact that Sauron knows about the Eagles, and is pretty technologically innovated, so we have to imagine he'd have some anti-air plan. This would all make for a freaking awesome fight sequence though...
** Sure it's an "excuse" of sorts, but a justifiable one: finding an in-universe reason to disqualify the Eagles plan helps keep the story internally plausible, thus strengthening it.
*** Precisely. The way this troper sees it, a good author doesn't need to mend every possible plot-hole himself; He let's the world he created do that for him. Given that Tolkien put great emphasis on the corrupting presence of the Ring, it's hardly a stretch to think it would have affected the eagles as well. Given that Tolkien saw fit to give Mordor flying units, it's hardly a stretch to think that said flying units would have been utilised against the eagles. And so on. Sure, all of these could arguably qualify as "excuses", but they're still excuses directly based on what Tolkien said; It's not just drawn out of thin air. Tolkien's extensive world-building and attention to detail gives us the answer, even if the professor himself did not.
* I hope somebody else didn't already mention this argument; this is a huge discussion so I mostly just read the main topics. The wraiths can sense the rings. It's one thing to be able to hide and dodge on the ground; it's another thing entirely to be out in the open air! I see it going something like this: Gandalf: Okay, Gwahir, give us a lift to Mordor, please. <little while later, however long it takes them to draw near Mordor; the closer they get, the stronger the ring grows. After all, Frodo and Sam didn't dare wear it once actually THERE> Wraith King: I sense something...up there! ATTACK!!! <The wringwraiths being incorporal beings, I doubt they'd have much trouble finding a way to fly even without creepy bird-dino creatures> I'm not that great at picturing fights, but I just keep picturing the eagle Frodo's riding fighting the wraiths and Frodo falling and plummeting to his death. Maybe Gandalf could hold them off for a bit, but holding off all nine would be a bit much even for him! And supposing Frodo's eagle was smart and just dodged the wraiths, I wonder how long he would have been able to avoid them? At least one or two would leave off Gandalf and follow him; it would be a close call at best. What about the rest of the company, you ask? Well, they might be able to hold up for a while, esp. Aragorn, but magic and fire are the best weapons against the wraiths, and it's hard to start a fire in midair! Yes, later on, Merry did deal the Witch King quite the blow, but it took him until The Return of the King to get that kind of strength of will. I don't know, it just seems too risky to me. And maybe the wraiths can't fly without their weird birds, but I suspect the Wise aren't called that for nothing: they'd count on Sauron having contingencies set up for flying enemies.
* One thing to add to the whole Eagles debate is that they were not as closely allied with the Free Peoples as some would think; the Eagles were closer in nature to the Ents in that both races served Eru in their own way and had no love for Sauron but neither were they active outside there own demenses. There was really no way for Gandalf to 'take a platoon' of Eagles and dive bomb Mt. Doom because they just don't operate that way as a whole. Specific Eagles helped Gandalf because of an old friendship and debt of gratitude; their appearance at the end of both stories can be better attributed to Manwë trying to exert a little influence in the only way he could rather than Gandalf calling in the cavalry. Basically, the Eagles didn't carry the Ring to Mordor for the same reason the Ents never set one foot outside their forests until the attack on Isengard.
** Exactly, everyone here seems to forget, these aren't just regular eagles that happen to be samrt and big, these are the Eagles of Manwë, they answer only to Manwë himself and are basicly an extension of his will into Middle-Earth. They would never agree to do this unless Manwë himself allowed it, and doing so would be involving the Valar directly with the affairs of mortals, which they have refused to do since the end of the First Age. And even back then, the only thing the Eagles ever did to help people was rescuing them from danger, not helping them attack, only saving them.
*** Not so much the Eagles themselves, but their boss Manwë; and he's not so much a jerk as he is head of the NeglectfulPrecursors of Middle-Earth. Even then, their neglect is justified: the last time the Valar stepped up to fight evil in Middle-Earth themselves, a whole continent sank and plenty of other major geography got catastrophically pushed around. Since then, they've taken the hands-off approach of offering advice (Gandalf), solace (special passage to the Undying Lands for Ring-bearers), and on rare occasions a hand up for heroes who have already accomplished their quest (the Eagles saving Sam and Frodo from Mt. Doom).
** [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy "It's]] [[ItsTheJourneyThatCounts about the quest."]]
** Still, even if, for whatever reason, the Eagles couldn't take the Ring and/or the Fellowship into Mordor, they could've just been used to cross the Misty Mountains and leave the group off at, say, Lothlórien or some other nearby place. Would've saved all the trouble involving Caradhras and Moria and stuff. They were willing to provide somewhat similar services to Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves in ''Literature/TheHobbit'', they could've done it again.

* '''For those following along at home:''' the mission depended on secrecy, which could only be achieved by going in [[WalkIntoMordor on foot]]; an eagle flying through the clear sky would be a bit more conspicuous than a couple of sneaky hobbits; a flying Nazgûl or other such creature would be on its way to intercept within seconds. But if it wasn't that, it'd be something else, killer sheep perhaps: Sauron's not dumb enough to let eagles roam his lands at will. All this presuming you could convince the eagles (or their boss Manwë) to help in the first place. Note the plot ''does'' depend on the '''''[[DramaPreservingHandicap door to Mount Doom being unlocked!]]'''''

* One other thing? Birds of prey, even eagles, aren't designed for long-term carrying of heavy things through the air. Yes, they do carry large prey once in a while, but not for hundreds of miles over open country where there's nothing for them to eat and nowhere high enough to be a comfortable perch. I see no reason why the Eagles of Manwë would be somehow exempt from basic laws of nature.

* Why didn't they use the Eagles? Because Sauron would have seen them ''flying in plain view through the freaking sky!'' Honestly, there are ''multiple'' times in both the books and movies where Sauron or Saruman use flying spies and it's clearly stated that one of the downsides of using things that fly is that they're easily visible. The reason why Gandalf and Aragorn took such great care in the route they took was so Sauron wouldn't notice them, and in fact the entire ''point'' of the fellowship's mission is to sneak by him when he's not looking. Even Radagash the Brown brings up this exact point early in the Fellowship. To further elucidate, the Nazgûl are flying killers on wings, Sauron is an all-seeing ''eye'', the mission of the fellowship was to secretly get by past Sauron's gaze because if he ''did'' focus his attention on them he's a minor Valar - and considering what happened in the first two ages, this troper has doubts that the entire assembled might of the Ishtari wouldn't be enough to fend him off - and people ''still'' go on with "Why didn't they use the eagles?"! Here's a simple answer: Gandalf and Aragorn weren't morons. Why didn't Tolkien use them? Because he wasn't an idiot either.
** Minor nitpick - Sauron was one of the ''Maiar'' like Gandalf and the other wizards, not a Vala. His ''boss'' from ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' was a Vala. And Gandalf couldn't match Sauron strength-for-strength because there were rules he had to obey.

* A better question is why ''do'' the Eagles show up to save them at the end? It's such an obvious DeusExMachina. The whole story has been leading up to the fact that this was a suicide mission from the word go. Sam and Frodo were never supposed to come back from Mount Doom. They had clearly accepted long since accepted that they weren't coming back. Why the tacked-on, saccharine happy ending?
** The eagles save Frodo and Sam because Gandalf called Gwaihir down at the Battle of the Black Gate after the Ring's destruction and asked him for a third favor to maybe carry him for a rescue mission, pretty please? (LotR Book VI, Ch. 4)
** The ending is hardly saccharine or happy. The Shire has been enslaved and irrevocably altered; so not only did they have to go through the quest to destroy the ring but they have to continue to fight after they have returned home. Except it is their old home no longer, and never will be again. And Frodo has been scarred for life, physically and psychologically. The choice not to kill them off is more poignant and less...cliched. They did die, in a way. Their old selves died.

* This troper wrote a comment in a cracked.com article (http://www.cracked.com/article/237_6-lord-rings-characters-who-totally-dropped-ball/#ixzz1nN1pvlRl ), explaining several things in the movie, including the Eagles:
** Gandalf's Wild Ride- Riding an eagle would have solved everything? You know where one of the hardest places to hide is? The sky. Unless you have clouds, you have no cover. The moment one of Saruman's raven flocks spots an eagle in the distance carrying a few hobbits and a bearded dude, that's going to get reported fairly quick, and tracked.
** Even worse, though- imagine being at high altitude for extended periods of time. You'd risk hypothermia, decreased oxygen, and if you wanted to make sure to not fall off the eagle, sleep deprivation (or at least being very sore). If getting from Rohan to Minas Tirith takes "3 days ride, as the Nazgûl flies" you'd probably need up to a week to get to Mordor [from Rivendell]- it's not an efficient airline, but as least it doesn't have the TSA to feel you up.
** But then there's the Mount Doom problem- "Toss that b---h in there". Well see, there's a tiny problem when it comes to flying in hot areas- we call them updrafts. That's enough to throw you off balance-wise, but even if you dive-bomb the place, Mordor was notorious for having a f-ckton of air pollution, just from Mount Doom, enough so that you could probably film a summer day in LA and not have to CGI the entire region in. So... no. No horses because they'd be easy to spot and hard as s--t to hide in the hills of Eregion. No eagle airlines because that's not a simple route, either.
* Quick note from The Hobbit on what the eagles will and won't do too: "The Lord of Eagles would not take them anywhere near where men lived 'They would shoot at us with their great bows of yew,' he said, 'for they would think we were after their sheep. And at other times they would be right. No! we are glad to cheat the goblins of their sport, and glad to repay our thanks to you, but we will not risk outselves for dwarves on the southward plains.'" The 'fully fledged' reason (if you'll excuse the pun) in the fully integrated version of the legendarium is of course that they are servants of the Valar and like the Istari banned from interfering directly (even in the first age they mainly mooched around the mountains surrounding Gondolin dissuading people who were getting too close for comfort). I'm not entirely sure why they were allowed to intervene in the battles they did, but certainly their rescue mission for Frodo and Sam is explainable- after all, the quest was done, the people of middle-earth had managed to do it all by themselves- they flew to rescue Frodo and Sam merely as a courteousy (saving two broken lives is not saving the earth after all)
* The Eagles generally refuse to fly people for long distances, for any reason. Even though Gandalf was busy to get to Shire, they wouldn't take him farther than Rohan to find his own way from there. Most likely, as big as they are, they really aren't suited for steeds, and are quickly tired by a person sitting on their back.
* The exact mechanic of how the ring binds people to its thrall is never explored, but it's been theorized that it would make sense at every step of the story if the ring exploits pride: Boromir thinks quite highly of himself and falls quickly, Frodo fails only when it dawns on him that he's about to single-handedly save the world, etc. And we're told the eagles are the proudest of all creatures. It could hardly fit together better if Tolkien had done it on purpose.
* There is an another important angle that hasn’t really be mentioned above. The appeal of the eagles argument is that it is strategically superior to overland travel as a means of getting the ring to Mount Doom so the ring can be destroyed. The problem is that, strategically, the quest to destroy the ring was doomed in any case. The ring can’t be thrown into the fire. Isildur couldn’t throw it in, Frodo couldn’t throw it in, and the eagles couldn’t throw it in either. Using the eagles just causes the plan to fail more quickly. Gandalf knew (or guessed) this, he never really expected the plan to succeed on its strategic merits. His plan was for the free peoples of the West to show their worthiness and virtue by resisting Sauron and doing everything in their power to stop him, knowing it was hopeless, and trusting in divine providence to make things turn out right. The quest was essentially a show of faith. Trying to air-mail the ring to Mordor by eagle would not have given divine providence enough time to kick in, so to speak. From one angle, I’m not sure the Fellowship had proven its “worthiness to be saved” until the events of the story kicked Gondor and Rohan from complacency into heroism, made the elves show their willingness to give up the stasis of the Three Rings, showed the courage of the hobbits, and so on. From a more practical angle, there would have been no Gollum and thus no victory. Gandalf didn’t know any of this specifically, but was wise about these things and had a lot of faith. Also, Gandalf’s mission was specifically to help people help themselves. For the free people of Middle Earth to ask the servants of Manwe to solve the problem of the ring would have been the exact opposite of this. I think it would have been viewed as morally questionable, the equivalent of telling the Valar “We have a big problem but it is really hard and we are lazy and unwilling to do dangerous things. You are better at solving it than we are. Please solve it for us and report back on the results.” Not a good way to get divine providence on your side.
* Below is a summary to questions raised above, and answers given[[note]]Having read through the above I would like to present a summary to questions raised, trying to put people's answers above into some kind of order considering that at this point there is a lot of repetition[[/note]] (please feel free to edit/add/remove at leisure):
** Why didn't the fellowship use the eagles to fly to mordor?
*** 1) Eagles flying in the sky would be noticed (rather easily) and targeted by Sauron (considering how easily Sauron once noticed Frodo when he stood on a tall hill), forcing the full bore of his will and the Nazgûl onto them (and probably some other creatures as well). It would ruin the idea of secrecy, exposing their plans to Sauron etc. (And no, Gandalf would not have been able to protect them and the King-Witch of Agmar would have the advantage).[[note]]Please note that Sauron ''was'' still quite powerful at this time, able to bend others wills to his own, conjur and create at will, and, being a Maiar, have resources that were not even demonstrated. Even through the palantír he can induce pain. He ''is'' insubstantial but is in no way powerless.[[/note]]
*** 2) The eagles were Manwë's creatures and hence were tied to his will. They were not an all-purpose taxi service.
*** 3) The force of Sauron's will and border control would not have allowed creatures of Manwë into his domain (and Manwë isn't allowed to force the issue, being a Valar).
*** 4) The power of the ring influences all living creatures, bending them to its will. It isn't entirely unlikely that it could nudge one of the eagles to drop Frodo or the ring at the wrong time.
*** 5) Manwë is not allowed to influence the struggle for dominion over Middle-Earth in such a direct way (no Valar is, as otherwise it would just become an issue of who has the biggest stick, ahem)
*** 6) The eagles weren't obedient servants - they were fairly intelligent and had minds of their own - to be used for long journeys (even just taking the fellowship to Lothlórien or Minas Tirith and not ''into'' Mordor itself would have been a problem[[note]]Putting aside the point that Sauron can see ''very'' far and the Nazgûl would have found their search for the ring a lot easier, destroying the idea of secrecy of the quest[[/note]]). See the above two comments for a quote from The Hobbit that elucidates things a little.
*** 7) Flying over Mordor would have posed a problem (even if you circumvented the entire country and came at Mordor from the west you would still be flying into the heart of Sauron's occupancy), and just "dropping the ring in" wouldn't have been that simple (considering Nazgûl, the will of the ring bending ''two'' creatures to its will in order to not be destroyed, and the likelihood of Sauron allowing an enemies' servants to fly over Barad-dûr uninterrupted is low)
*** 8) Sauron would have been either directly or indirectly been able to manufacture horrible weather conditions, and flying through a magically-induced thunderstorm would have caused...issues. (There's also the idea of using seige weapons, and causing Barad-dûr to errupt at an inconvenient time).
*** 9) The eagles, being the proudest of all creatures, just might be ''extremely susceptible'' to the ring's spell.
**** I always figured this. The Eagles weren't just birds, they were powerful creatures and epic-scaled enough (the greatest had a 180'/55m wingspan) that they were quite possibly Maiar (like non-evil versions of the Balrogs or the Spiders) and wouldn't knowingly carry the ring for the exactly same reason Gandalf and Galadrial wouldn't: The corruption of another powerful being would be a huge blow to Middle Earth.
** Why did the eagles come to get Frodo and Sam when they were lying on Mount Doom after destroying the ring? Isn't that just a sappy DeusExMachina?
*** 1) The eagles came in after Sauron was defeated and the Nazgûl were no longer in play. Hence there was no one to stop them from entering Mordor, while there would have been before. Also, Gandalf was the one who pushed them to go into Mordor to pick up Frodo and Sam after the Eagles came in to lend a last minute helping hand (in small numbers) - a desperate Gandalf is not someone you want to say no to for a five-minute pick up.
*** 2) The battle for Middle-Earth was over, so Manwë ''would'' have been allowed to intervene in helping tie up loose ends, as it were - (Manwë essentially being an [[OutsideContextVillain Outside Context Character]]) - (note: or whoever influenced Manwë to lend a helping hand).
*** 3) The eagles themselves, unimpeded by Sauron's will, could have decided to help and save Frodo and Sam, and would have now be allowed to do so by Manwë (see point 2).
*** 4) Yes.[[note]]But considering what Frodo and Sam had to face in the Shire afterwards, not so sappy.[[/note]]
** Did Tolkien just not think of the idea of using the Eagles, and was caught out when someone pointed out the idea to him?
*** 1) No, the idea of using creatures from a past age (the Eagles, Tom Bombadil) was explored at the Council of Elrond, and Gandalf did point out why it wouldn't be a good idea. The whole "secrecy, avoiding the attention of a powerful Evil Lord" problem was the reason in the case of not using the Eagles (if memory serves).
*** 2) No, he mentioned in a letter that the eagles were, like the Valar, an Outside Context Consideration, where, like Manwë just interfering, grabbing the ring himself and throwing it into Mount Doom before Sauron even realised what was happening, was never going to happen (to paraphrase with my own example), neither was using Manwë's creatures. They were a Storybreaker idea, and he wanted to use them sparingly.
*** 3) Maybe, and he just made up a reason on the spot to fool us all into thinking that he had all angles covered. Could happen. Considering the ridiculous amount of care, depth and intricacy of all his work, this is probably not very likely though. There is the folder quote as well.'
* Re: "Middle Earth's Taxi Service." Can we at least retire forever the excuse: "Gandalf ain't the boss of the eagles. They can say no"? Yes, the eagles have free will (according to this argument), but if they won't deign to use that will to stop the enslavement, torture and death of millions of sentient creatures when they could easily prevent it, then they are such utter sociopaths as to be little better than Melkor himself and Gandalf is tainted in his association with them. And let's say that they are as evil as this would imply, is it not in their interest at all to stop Sauron? Their lives would be a lot more difficult with the Dark Lord in charge and he's probably not going to go easy on them after they helped Gandalf. (Unless the eagles are going to flatter their new boss in hopes of getting favors which, again, implies they are feathered devils.) But this contradicts the other eagle excuse that they can't intervene because they work for Manwë. Why would the head god/angel have such fell beasts as his messengers? (Also: "That is indeed the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you, he answered." They clearly don't mind being bossed around by Elf-women.)
** Considering the role of the eagles and Manwë in the legendarium (more or less, messengers of God), the question essentially reduces down to "Why does a all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God allow suffering and evil in the world?" People way above the paygrade of bored tropers and bored Oxford linguistics professors have been debating this for ages with no clear consensus.
*** I actually think that the eagles not helping because Manwë said "no" is one of the better explanations, but what I meant is that there are two mutually exclusive eagle excuses employed by apologists (sometimes at the same time.) The first is that the eagles aren't under any orders and just can't be arsed to help prevent genocide. This excuse relies on them having free will but being evil. The second is that Manwë is stopping them from helping. This one relies on them NOT having free will (as they can't do anything without the boss's permission) but certainly ''wanting'' to help as any being of sufficient moral fiber to serve Manwë would want to do anything they could. (You can see people on this page switching back and forth between the two arguments.)
* Even disregarding all of the above, the whole idea rests on the premise that the ring could be destroyed by dropping it in the caldera of Mount Doom. But this is totally wrong. The ring had to be destroyed in the specific place that it was created, which is the Crack of Doom, which is a cave ''[[http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Cracks_of_Doom inside the mountain]]''. Note that Sam and Frodo don't hike all the way up to the top of the mountain, they go through a door on the mountainside and through a passageway into a cave. Dropping the ring into the caldera wouldn't destroy it any more than dropping it into the caldera of a normal active volcano would. And the passage was way too small for a giant eagle to fly through. So at best the eagles could have dropped a rider off by the entrance. But the eagles would certainly be spotted as they were approaching, and even if an eagle did get to the mountain it and the rider would surely be met by a bunch of guards, or at least a rain of arrows.
** They wouldn't have to actually go into Morder. Just drop the Company off at the border or at Lothlórien or somewhere. There were many ways they could have been useful besides actually flying Frodo to Doom.
* [[https://twitter.com/actual_tolkien/statuses/414264285003804672 And we've got a definitively answer!]]

to:

!!Tolkien's ''The Lord of
!!Animated Adaptations

[[folder:Running into danger]]
* In
the Rings''
[[foldercontrol]]
----

[[folder: Eagles]]

''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is
1977 ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' movie, in the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)''
* Why didn't Frodo take
song where the ring to Mt. Doom on an eagle? Or, at least have party is captured by goblins, why the Fellowship fly fuck do they all run right into the way to Mordor, if Mordor itself has some air defenses?
** The Eagles of Manwë are not a taxi service. They refuse to interfere for the same reason that Gandalf, despite being an angelic spirit on par with Sauron, didn't match him "strength for strength" - it was forbidden. As servants of the Elder King, both Gandalf and the Eagles would have to abid by the rules of the Third Age in which neither the Valar nor their servants moved directly against Sauron but instead would empower the peoples of Middle-Earth to do so on their own strength.
** This one has Just Bugged people for years. Personally I think
exact cave that the evil eye ponies just got dragged into? They clearly realized from the start that it was goblins at work. Seems like the only sensible thing to do would have spotted them approaching and sent be to get the flying wraiths to intercept. Even worse, seeing the ring being carried towards Mount Doom could have allowed Sauron to realize the heroes planned to destroy it (they were counting on the fact hell away from that as an evil creature, he would never expect that).
*** Exactly. The reason for the Fellowship was to sneak
cave, not run right into Mordor and arriving with it, regardless of the Air Cavalry would probably have drawn notice.
*** See
ponies. Here's a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqVD0swvWU How Lord Of The Rings Should Have Ended]] on youtube. "Well, that was surprisingly easy."
*** Also, there was an Epic Thread on the Internets several years ago called "Lord of The Rings By Other Authors". The Tom Clancy, Lensman, and George Lucas versions were hilarious and involved eagles. '''"You're all clear, kid! Let's blow this joint and go home!"'''
*** [[http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=aad6ee2444c514187d9b42e009e90df5&threadid=138905&perpage=50r=1 Here]]. It is indeed, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome epic]].
** Two reasons. Eagles aren't immune
com/watch?v=zPkqjc23yqs&feature=related link]] to the Ring and they only work for Manwë. Gandalf can't just whistle up a eagle whenever he likes.
** None of these reasons make sense to me. Evil eye spot them? Somehow the evil eye
song if you've never saw Frodo with the ring when he walked, so how is this different? The evil eye is like radar and only sees things in the air? lol. If the evil eye might be keeping a watch on the airspace of Mordor, then they could have flown up to it and gotten off, but no way that the evil eye was keeping watch on seen it.
** Weren't
all of Middle-earth airspace. As for "Eagles aren't immune", Frodo will still be the ring bearer, he would just be carried by an eagle. As for "Gandalf can't whistle up an eagle", I think that he did when he had the eagles save Frodo and Sam in the end, didn't he? I think he could have visited the king of the eagles and told him the fate of Middle-earth depends their supplies on this, please help.
*** Giant flying things are
those ponies? They were a heck of a lot more noticeable than little orc-sized things on the ground.
**** Exactly. It's instructive to note that the one time Frodo stood on a hill tall enough to have a clear line-of-sight to Barad-dûr, at a time before Sauron was massively distracted by Aragorn's strategic diversion, it took the Eye about half a minute to pick him up. After ''that'' little episode on Amon Hen, its not surprising that he'd spend the rest of the books staying low to the ground and keeping some nice solid opaque terrain features between him and Sauron's field of vision.
**** Indeed. There are a lot less flying creatures about than there are walking. Also, Sauron has lots of airborne beings in his service, from birds to Nazgûl steeds. They couldn't have crossed the mountains without being molested and as mentioned, Sauron controls the storms
too far up in the mountains surrounding Mordor, as well as the fires of Orodruin. Lava flying in your way would be a good deterrent and no, to make it wouldn't have destroyed the Ring in itself. It needed to happen in Sammath Naur, the Chamber of Fire where it was created.
*** Boromir never touched the Ring, but it still got to him. Any eagle carrying Frodo might well decide to drop him from 2000 feet, and claim the Ring for itself. Also, if Manwë doesn't want his eagles to intervene, they won't, and they are his eagles.
**** Remember the incident in the pass of Caradhras? You know, the horrible snowstorm that nearly buried them alive? While in the book it's not caused directly by Sauron and Saruman but rather by Caradhras itself, they still do point out that Sauron can govern the weather. Do you ''really'' want to be in the air in the middle of a magically-conjured thunderstorm, say?
*** The "Evil Eye" almost spotted Frodo at Amon Hen, at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, and even that very brief flicker of awareness nearly broke him. In the sky, fully exposed, he'd have no escape.
** The Fellowship was an all-volunteer force. Perhaps the eagles simply did not volunteer?
*** Perhaps the Eagles knew that the Ring's destruction would mark the end of the Age, and the beginning of the next. As giant Eagles have no more place in a world of Men than elves or wizards, they might not have wanted to actively participate in a mission that would banish their kind from Middle-Earth and/or reduce their descendents to ordinary (small e) eagles. They did help save Sam and Frodo ''after'' the Ring was gone, once their own exile was inevitable, but not before.
** This is one of those things you can see the author's problem. On the one hand, during the council of Elrond, they bring up and discuss almost every conceivable solution to their problems (even Bombadil). Except for the eagles. Why? Remember that at this time, the Nazgûl had just been swept off their horses, which means they soon (or probably did) have their flying fell beasts by this point. Thus, if the Fellowship had used eagles, they'd be delivering the ring straight into Sauron's "hands" as they Nazgûl would just fly in and take it (remember also that the Witch-King was still alive). Not to mention any anti-air forces (archers) that Sauron would have been able to assemble. But of course, logically in the story, no characters would know that the Nazgûl are flying now, so I theorize that Tolkien just let the idea slide to avoid writing himself into a corner. You also have the fact that Frodo was only able to get inside Mt Doom because Sauron's attention was elsewhere. If they had flown in with eagles (which would have taken less time), the Sauron's forces would all still be massed within Mordor instead of spread out over Middle-earth attacking everybody. Thus, if they had also taken the eagle route, Sauron could have just put every orc and troll he had in front of Mt Doom's entrance and said "Alright little hobbit: your move." (since, most likely, they would have to land and go into Mt Doom's entrance as any attempt to "fly over" the mouth of the volcano and drop the ring into it would have had too high of a fail chance)
*** At the time of writing (of the Council of Elrond bit), airborne force mobility was a far less understood and far less used military tactic than it is today. The Germans stopped preferring paradrop invasions after the huge casualty rate of their invasion of Crete, and the Allied airdrops for Operations Overlord and Market Garden also suffered high FUBAR rates. Small-scale commando raids were often successful, but most of the time insertion was by boat or submarine, and retrieval was either by the same method, or non-existent - and would have received almost no public exposure until at least late 1945
*** Seconded. Air travel occurs immediately to us because we live in a world of jet travel. Gandalf and the others at the council weren't used to thinking in terms of moving by air(although Gandalf had some experience with eagle airlines) More to the point, Tolkien himself lived in an era before widespread air travel, and was noteably anti-technological. I personally think it just never occurred to him.
**** That's just a silly argument - not only did the Eagles transport Bilbo et all. in The Hobbit, but Tolkien has the Eagles ''fly Frodo and Sam
back out of Mordor''. It's ludicrous to assume J.R.R. didn't get the idea to fly them in. This Troper's personnal fanwank is that the Eagles were simply too high profile and would have been spotted, then attacked by the Nazgûls before they even got halfway (among other scenarios), but the objective truth is much easier : otherwise there'd be no plot, and slogging through Mordor on foot is integral to Sam and Frodo's characterizations. So... [[AWizardDidIt A Wizard Didn't Do It]] for once ;)
***** WordOfGod is that he ''didn't'' get the idea to fly them in.
*** [[ConservationOfNinjitsu Every orc and troll in mordor would probably be less good]] than just standing the witch king there with a giant mace. Which Sauron should have done.
** This troper's take is that the eagles weren't considered, as they were already known to be commited elsewhere (as in the battle of the 5 peoples in The Hobbit). The majority of the eagles were later involved in the battles at Dale and Lothlórien, and
without any who weren't were already known to be on guard for an attack on Rivendell or the like. When Sauron's armies in the north floundered with the destruction of the ring, the eagles who rescue Sam and Frodo peeled off from Lothlórien to head south to Mordor.
** Why not have the eagles attack or distract the fell-beasts while soldiers kill the other monsters?
*** Flying Eagles are extremely visible creatures and would likely be noticed from far away, even before they reached Mordor. After the destruction of the Ring it was different as all credible opposition was gone. Sauron could have:
**** sent the Nazgûl on Fell Beasts to attack
**** send any other flying things he may have had, such as bats
**** made a storm (documented ability)
**** used some damaging spell with distance effect, such as lightning (documented ability)
**** used some mental magic, such as illusions or the power of his gaze (documented abilities)
**** made Mount Doom erupt fully at an inconvenient time (documented ability, probably not too effective in this scenario, would have harmed him too)
**** tried to hit with any conventional siege weapons he had handy
**** put quickly a guard on Mount Doom or even gone there himself
*** Some spell choices may have needed several days or more to prepare though, but we just don't know. Also, potentially Eagles could be corrupted by the Ring.
*** In other words, there were ''excellent'' reasons to think that Sauron could police the skies of Mordor. Any Eagle-led incursion would've been either a total success or total defeat. Bring the ring-bearing Eagle down, and the odds are 100% that Sauron retrieves the ring. Depending on what the Council knew or inferred about Mordor, it's plausible that this plan would appear doomed to failure.
**** That argument loses credibility once you consider that these Eagles spent a good part of the first age nesting right there in front of Morgoth's nose and the dark lord (which commanded a LOT more of power and war assets than Sauron) seemd unable to do anything about it, and of course they also helepd Eärendil to fight tons of flying dragons (including one the size of a mountain), and in all that time there was no mention of any fatalities among them. It could be argued that the Eagles in the third age perhaps weren't that good anymore, but they were key to the victory in the Battle of the Five Armies, and later had no problems fighting the airborne Nazgûl, and again no mention of any casualties within their ranks. Dangerous machines indeed!
** The entire strength of the Company was in secrecy and misdirection: "The number must be few, since your hope is in speed and secrecy." Sauron managed to figure out fairly quickly that the Ring had left Rivendell, and that a hobbit had it. As Gandalf said, he "knows now the number of our Company that set out from Rivendell, and the kind of each of us." But Sauron's mistake was that he thought the Ring was going to Minas Tirith, and that it would then be used against him by some mighty lord. Had the Company left Rivendell on Eagles, Sauron would have noticed... and wondered why the Ring wasn't going towards Minas Tirith, but was instead heading towards Mordor. The notion that someone would try to destroy the Ring had "not yet entered into his darkest dream"... but that was because he had no reason to think that might be a possibility. As soon as he knew the Ring was headed to Mordor instead of some bastion of the Free Peoples, it's entirely likely that he would have realised what they were trying to do. And at that point... everything is pretty much lost, eagles and armies or no. People also forget that the decision to have Nine Walkers, in opposition to the Nine Riders, was deliberate. It wasn't a matter of chance that there were Nine, it was pre-meditated... Merry and Pippin were chosen to fill in the empty slots. Sending eagles along would have completely messed that up.
** While all of the above are good reasons, and add up to ''enough'' of a reason (IMO), the sad fact of the matter is that Tolkien just didn't think of it--it Just Bugged someone who knew him personally, and they asked, and he said, essentially, "Oh."
*** As I recall, in the book Gwaihir actually mentions the possibility to Gandalf, and flatly refuses to fly into Mordor, though he would willingly carry him anywhere else. I believe Gandalf mentions it when the topic is brought up as well. For whatever reason, the eagles are not willing to fly over Mordor while Sauron is alive. Maybe they're just afraid, maybe they know the Nazgûl would get them, whatever, but they will not do it.
*** Sauron couldn't see the hobbits in Mordor because ''his ENTIRE will and attention'' was focused on Gondor. The reason? Aragorn used his authority over the palantírs to look into the Orthanc stone and successfully challenge Sauron's will, being able to use his mental victory to trick Sauron into thinking that Aragorn had the Ring, and was heading for Gondor with it. This is why he attacked before his forces were entirely ready, because he believed that if he could wipe out Gondor before Aragorn arrived, he could then easily defeat him and reclaim the Ring. So his entire attention was on Gondor looking out for Aragorn, rather than his own realm, looking for insignificant mortals. Even if Aragorn had tried this gambit while they had the Eagles, Sauron would still have noticed quasi-divine beings entering his realm when they had never dared to before, and would have instantly been aware that they had the Ring. This on top of all the other problems (the possibility of the Eagles being corrupted, the fact that they likely would have refused or been forbidden etc).
* One more reason is just how far away the Eagles lived. As in "Gandalf's S.O.S while Saruman's prisoner took months to reach them, and for them to show up" far away. Given that Sauron had any number of forces marching on Rivendell and the Nazgûl would soon recover, waiting around and hoping the Eagles got the note and were coming soon wouldn't have been a great strategy.
* I say we decide it's because Sam gets airsick, and leave it at that.

* This is all fascinating and well-known and fun to think about, but it is important to note that, within the confines of Tolkien's [[TheVerse sub-creation]], it is [[OntologicalMystery Ontologically]] [[StoryExistenceFailure Impossible to Fly An Eagle To Mount Doom]] because if you did, there would be [[AnthropicPrinciple No Story]] and therefore there is no [[AlternateHistory alternate version of Middle-earth]] in which the heroes, having attempted to take the path of least resistance, would not have run into [[DoomedByCanon far more serious consequences]], such as (according to Tolkien's Letters) everyone else being killed by the author and Aragorn having to choose between tossing Frodo into the fire or claiming the ring for himself.
** An alternate, more positive outcome described in ''Letters'': Had Gollum's near-repentance at Cirith Ungol (a scene moved to after the spider attack in the film) not been interrupted by Sam (book) or by Frodo telling Gollum the purpose of the mission (film), [[WordOfGod Tolkien says that]] Gollum would have taken the ring and thrown ''himself'' into the fire [[strike:to save Middle-earth]] to keep Sauron from getting it.
*** I recall, that scenario had Gollum realizing there was no way he would be willing give up the Ring but realizing the Ring was pure evil. I think that too had Gollum saying goodbye to Frodo before he jumped.
** Tolkien had to present obstacles and a series of [[EvilOverlordList Evil Overlord tropes]] serious enough to justify what would, in RealLife, be an impractical means of delivering a special forces team into enemy lands. See WalkIntoMordor -- the enemy lands are NEVER easy to get into in literature. In Real Life it is quite easy to sneak into, say, Hitler's Germany and a lot harder to get into places like the Sammath Naur (which, on a related note, the places at the heart of the kingdom always seem to be left unguarded...)
** According to the trope page WalkIntoMordor, "This can be extrapolated to ''all'' [[RoadMovie Road Trip]] stories, see ScenicRoute, ShortCutsMakeLongDelays, etc. (Yes, yes, orc archers, whatever)"

* One thing that hasn't really been addressed is a piece of FridgeBrilliance that Tolkien himself brought up: in the [[CallBack beginning of the book]], Tolkien showed Frodo freaking out when Gandalf throws the ring in the fireplace. In a letter to a fan, he pointed out that Frodo was the only person with the strength to resist the ring for so long -- and '''''he couldn't even bring himself to throw it in his own fireplace!''''' much less destroy it, or leave it by the side of the road unclaimed. So dropping it from an eagle two days later, not knowing where it would hit, would be even more difficult. I mean, would ''you'' drop that [[ItsAllJunk priceless diamond]] off the side of the ''{{Titanic}}''..?

* Why not just fly all the way around the outside of Mordor and approach Mount Doom from the East side? We don't know how far East the Easterlings were or even if they were directly east, but I doubt Sauron would have had that side guarded, surely they could have just flown in that way. Dropped the ring in from the sky like in that Youtube parody and flown away while Sauron died. Or they would have flown low from the North maybe and used the mountains as cover. Surely even if Sauron detected them entering his realm they would almost have been on top of Mount Doom to chuck it in and scarper before the Nazgûl had time to react.
** [[StoryExistenceFailure Per the above]], it doesn't matter in this Troper's opinion but Gandalf did mention approaching Mordor from the East. Or rather, [[WordOfGod Tolkien]] mentioned [[AuthorStandIn Gandalf]] mentioning it [[AllThereInTheManual off-screen]] in ''Letters.'' Long and short of it was, that is the route Gandalf preferred to take [[WalkIntoMordor on foot]], being unguarded, but it would have required Aragorn or Gandalf remain with the party for a long trek thru enemy territory while the two decoy hobbits and surplus warriors proceeded to Gondor. Unfortunately, since the Ring's powers increased, having two walking [[SuperWeight power beacons]] to [[MeatShield protect them]] might have been a bad thing, leading the hobbits to get captured, or worse, Aragorn or Gandalf might have been tempted to take the ring to "protect" the [[TheLoad helpless and slow-moving]] Hobbits.
**
food. Not to mention that this route would make them pass dangerously close to Barad-dûr.

* When
Thorin the issue was first raised with Tolkien, rather than citing Mordor's defences, he asserted that Eagles are free agents exile and would not deign his compatriots could only afford to be "[[AuthorOnBoard Middle-earth's taxi service]]". He also pointed out fund ''one'' expedition. If they lose all their resources, then even if they ''did'', it'd be a [[StoryBreakerPower Story Breaker]]. This also assumes the eagles (who are obviously not normal eagles and are more like minor maiar) would not be affected by the ring. There's no good reason they wouldn't be. Tolkien even specifically mentions eagles aren't predisposed to be kind in the Hobbit, a main reason why Bilbo is nervous around them.
** There are two basic theories as to what the eagles could do, both have huge flaws in them; one they [[HorseOfADifferentColor carry someone]] and have [[RandomlyDrops them drop it]], or two the eagle itself carries the ring and then drops it. But lets not forget that the ring does not want to be destroyed and that it exerts its force on those near it. So going with the first plan the eagle would carry a person, or hobbit, over the mountain and they would drop the ring in. Well that sounds nice but that completely forgets how hard it is to drop the ring. Those who have read the book should remember Frodo's hesitation to throw it in his fireplace even though he had only recently gotten it. But now it would be destroying the ring, imagine how much harder that would be. Now of course the eagle could just drop the person into the volcano as a backup plan but that relates to the second theory, that the eagle could just carry the ring itself. The ring would also exert its powers
avoid starvation on the eagle and make it want to keep the ring just as if it were a person. And as for dropping the ring bearer in as well, the ring would also act on the eagle carrying the persona and may not even take the person to the mountain and will just drop them elsewhere and take the ring for itself. So As you can see adding eagles to the equation does not make the ring destroying process any simpler. Oh yeah and all of that would only happen if the eagles don't get attacked by Nazgûl and various other things Sauron would throw at them, sometimes literally, to keep them from destroying the ring.
*** Main reason not to do this: It takes time to destroy the ring. Even if Frodo has had the will to destroy it,[[note]]Tolkien says he never did and was merely supposed to get it into position. Gollum was the agent of the Ring's destruction. But everyone else would have long ago siezed the ring for himself[[/note]] it would have taken some time for him to do it. The Nazgûl would have been all over him if they had that much warning. In the story as told, the Dark Lord only becomes aware of his danger when the ring is already at the brink of the pit.
*** Then DON'T fly it all the way into Mordor. Have Gandalf call an eagle, and have the eagle fly them as far as the edge of Mordor, so they don't have to walk or ride the whole way. Then the eagle can set them down, be on its merry way, and the hobbits can walk into Mordor.
**** The Eagles are not AutomatonHorses. They cannot simply carry people that far, Gwaihir has even trouble getting Gandalf from Isengard to Edoras.
*** The Nazgûl were already abroad by then. Really, the only time the Eagles would have made useful carriers is in the 50 year build-up period between ''The Hobbit'' and ''Lord of the Rings'' when Sauron was
trip back they've still smarting from his defeat in Mirkwood and had not yet rebuilt his stronghold in Mordor. And at that point in time, Gandalf didn't yet know what he had. Remember, Saruman was working to obscure the truth; Gandalf wasn't able to confirm the identity of the One Ring for certain until it was far too late.
*** It's also telling that the Eagles DO show up in Mordor shortly after Barad-dûr falls. This implies that they had excellent reasons for staying out up until that moment.
** To buttress this theory further, remember that Gandalf himself feared touching the ring and he knew exactly what it was better than anyone save Sauron himself and was the epitome of wisdom on Middle Earth yet he feared it might work at his motives and intentions and eventually corrupt him and (because he's so powerful) would become a great evil of the realm. The Eagles are also quite powerful and any one of them corrupted by the ring would be quite a danger. Only the Hobbits being small, not terribly formidable, and having only the most simple desires, were fit carriers.
** Remember, Gandalf's job was ''not'' to save the world. His job was to get the people of Middle Earth to save the world themselves. The Valar had had enough of meddling directly -- they wanted to be more subtle, and they wanted men to cope on their own. The great eagles were servants of Manwë (or descendants thereof), so they may have been similarly bound.

* In the end, absolutely none of the alternative methods of travel would have worked. It was specifically stated by Tolkien that Sauron NEVER suspected they were going to destroy the One Ring since he thought it was impossible for everyone to resist its temptation. In fact, he was absolutely correct. Isildur and Frodo, they were there and their wills
failed them (even though it was mentioned that Hobbits seemed to have a particularly strong-will against its temptation). The only reason that the One Ring was destroyed in the end was because Gollum intervened and ACCIDENTALLY fell off into the fires of Mount Doom. So, Yeah.
* I honestly think that most of the reasons above are just excuses for people who think Tolkien loses credibility for not having thought of this. There are more eagles than Nazgûl, so taking a platoon would have worked to defeat them. They could have approached from the East side. As far as Sauron guarding Mount Doom--the Men were helpless against the Nazgûl, why would Orcs be any different? Tolkien simply didn't think of it--if he had, he would have made up an excuse for why they wouldn't. Fans will just have to deal with that. If you just ignore this aspect, the book is still completely readable.
** "Tolkien didn't think of it"? Look at the quote on the folder. Which was, like the Bombadil quote, put there to avoid avoidable "what did Tolkien think" edits.
** Also note, there are only nine ''Nazgûl'', but Sauron clearly has a supply of spare flying mounts around, because Legolas shoots one down at some point early on, and we later see all nine with mounts. He presumably can't send his whole brood on air raids unmanned, because his hold on them probably diminishes with distance, but if the Eagles attacked him on his home turf, he could probably send up a couple dozen. Not to mention the fact that Sauron knows about the Eagles, and is pretty technologically innovated, so we have to imagine he'd have some anti-air plan. This would all make for a freaking awesome fight sequence though...
** Sure it's an "excuse" of sorts, but a justifiable one: finding an in-universe reason to disqualify the Eagles plan helps keep the story internally plausible, thus strengthening it.
their quest.
*** Precisely. The way this troper sees it, a good author doesn't need to mend every possible plot-hole himself; He let's the world he created do that for him. Given that Tolkien put great emphasis on the corrupting presence of the Ring, it's hardly a stretch to think it would have affected the eagles as well. Given that Tolkien saw fit to give Mordor flying units, it's hardly a stretch to think that said flying units would have been utilised against the eagles. And so on. Sure, all of these could arguably qualify as "excuses", but they're still excuses directly based on what Tolkien said; It's not just drawn out of thin air. Tolkien's extensive world-building and attention to detail gives us the answer, even if the professor himself did not.
* I hope somebody else didn't already mention this argument; this is a huge discussion so I mostly just read the main topics. The wraiths can sense the rings. It's one thing to be able to hide and dodge on the ground; it's another thing entirely to be out in the open air! I see it going
On closer inspection, Thorin actually shouts something like this: Gandalf: Okay, Gwahir, give us a lift to Mordor, please. <little while later, however long it takes them to draw near Mordor; ''protect the closer they get, the stronger the ring grows. After all, Frodo and Sam didn't dare wear it once actually THERE> Wraith King: I sense something...up there! ATTACK!!! <The wringwraiths being incorporal beings, I doubt they'd have much trouble finding a way to fly even without creepy bird-dino creatures> I'm not that great at picturing fights, but I just keep picturing the eagle Frodo's riding fighting the wraiths and Frodo falling and plummeting to his death. Maybe Gandalf could hold them off for a bit, but holding off all nine would be a bit much even for him! And supposing Frodo's eagle was smart and just dodged the wraiths, I wonder how long he would have been able to avoid them? At least one or two would leave off Gandalf and follow him; it would be a close call at best. What about the rest of the company, you ask? Well, they might be able to hold up for a while, esp. Aragorn, but magic and fire are the best weapons against the wraiths, and ponies'', it's hard to start a fire in midair! Yes, later on, Merry did deal the Witch King quite the blow, but it took him until The Return of the King to get that kind of strength of will. I don't know, it just seems too risky to me. And maybe the wraiths can't fly without their weird birds, but I suspect the Wise aren't called that for nothing: they'd count on Sauron having contingencies set up for flying enemies.
* One thing to add to the whole Eagles debate is that they were not as closely allied with the Free Peoples as some would think; the Eagles were closer in nature to the Ents in that both races served Eru in their own way and had no love for Sauron but neither were they active outside there own demenses. There was
really no way for Gandalf to 'take a platoon' of Eagles and dive bomb Mt. Doom because they just don't operate that way as a whole. Specific Eagles helped Gandalf because of an old friendship and debt of gratitude; their appearance at badly muffled by the end of both stories can be better attributed to Manwë trying to exert a little influence in the only way he could rather than Gandalf calling in the cavalry. Basically, the Eagles didn't carry the Ring to Mordor for the same reason the Ents never set one foot outside their forests until the attack on Isengard.
** Exactly, everyone here seems to forget, these aren't just regular eagles that happen to be samrt and big, these are the Eagles of Manwë, they answer only to Manwë himself and are basicly an extension of his will into Middle-Earth. They would never agree to do this unless Manwë himself allowed it, and doing so would be involving the Valar directly with the affairs of mortals, which they have refused to do since the end of the First Age. And even back then, the only thing the Eagles ever did to help people was rescuing them from danger, not helping them attack, only saving them.
*** Not so much the Eagles themselves, but their boss Manwë; and he's not so much a jerk as he is head of the NeglectfulPrecursors of Middle-Earth. Even then, their neglect is justified: the last time the Valar stepped up to fight evil in Middle-Earth themselves, a whole continent sank and plenty of other major geography got catastrophically pushed around. Since then, they've taken the hands-off approach of offering advice (Gandalf), solace (special passage to the Undying Lands for Ring-bearers), and on rare occasions a hand up for heroes who have already accomplished their quest (the Eagles saving Sam and Frodo from Mt. Doom).
** [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy "It's]] [[ItsTheJourneyThatCounts about the quest."]]
** Still, even if, for whatever reason, the Eagles couldn't take the Ring and/or the Fellowship into Mordor, they could've just been used to cross the Misty Mountains and leave the group off at, say, Lothlórien or some other nearby place. Would've saved all the trouble involving Caradhras and Moria and stuff. They were willing to provide somewhat similar services to Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves in ''Literature/TheHobbit'', they could've done it again.

* '''For those following along at home:''' the mission depended on secrecy, which could only be achieved by going in [[WalkIntoMordor on foot]]; an eagle flying through the clear sky would be a bit more conspicuous than a couple of sneaky hobbits; a flying Nazgûl or other such creature would be on its way to intercept within seconds. But if it wasn't that, it'd be something else, killer sheep perhaps: Sauron's not dumb enough to let eagles roam his lands at will. All this presuming you could convince the eagles (or their boss Manwë) to help in the first place. Note the plot ''does'' depend on the '''''[[DramaPreservingHandicap door to Mount Doom being unlocked!]]'''''

* One other thing? Birds of prey, even eagles, aren't designed for long-term carrying of heavy things through the air. Yes, they do carry large prey once in a while, but not for hundreds of miles over open country where there's nothing for them to eat and nowhere high enough to be a comfortable perch. I see no reason why the Eagles of Manwë would be somehow exempt from basic laws of nature.

* Why didn't they use the Eagles? Because Sauron would have seen them ''flying in plain view through the freaking sky!'' Honestly, there are ''multiple'' times in both the books and movies where Sauron or Saruman use flying spies and it's clearly stated that one of the downsides of using things that fly is that they're easily visible. The reason why Gandalf and Aragorn took such great care in the route they took was so Sauron wouldn't notice them, and in fact the entire ''point'' of the fellowship's mission is to sneak by him when he's not looking. Even Radagash the Brown brings up this exact point early in the Fellowship. To further elucidate, the Nazgûl are flying killers on wings, Sauron is an all-seeing ''eye'', the mission of the fellowship was to secretly get by past Sauron's gaze because if he ''did'' focus his attention on them he's a minor Valar - and considering what happened in the first two ages, this troper has doubts that the entire assembled might of the Ishtari wouldn't be enough to fend him off - and people ''still'' go on with "Why didn't they use the eagles?"! Here's a simple answer: Gandalf and Aragorn weren't morons. Why didn't Tolkien use them? Because he wasn't an idiot either.
** Minor nitpick - Sauron was one of the ''Maiar'' like Gandalf and the other wizards, not a Vala. His ''boss'' from ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' was a Vala. And Gandalf couldn't match Sauron strength-for-strength because there were rules he had to obey.

* A better question is why ''do'' the Eagles show up to save them at the end? It's such an obvious DeusExMachina. The whole story has been leading up to the fact that this was a suicide mission from the word go. Sam and Frodo were never supposed to come back from Mount Doom. They had clearly accepted long since accepted that they weren't coming back. Why the tacked-on, saccharine happy ending?
** The eagles save Frodo and Sam because Gandalf called Gwaihir down at the Battle of the Black Gate after the Ring's destruction and asked him for a third favor to maybe carry him for a rescue mission, pretty please? (LotR Book VI, Ch. 4)
** The ending is hardly saccharine or happy. The Shire has been enslaved and irrevocably altered; so not only did they have to go through the quest to destroy the ring but they have to continue to fight after they have returned home. Except it is their old home no longer, and never will be again. And Frodo has been scarred for life, physically and psychologically. The choice not to kill them off is more poignant and less...cliched. They did die, in a way. Their old selves died.

* This troper wrote a comment in a cracked.com article (http://www.cracked.com/article/237_6-lord-rings-characters-who-totally-dropped-ball/#ixzz1nN1pvlRl ), explaining several things in the movie, including the Eagles:
** Gandalf's Wild Ride- Riding an eagle would have solved everything? You know where one of the hardest places to hide is? The sky. Unless you have clouds, you have no cover. The moment one of Saruman's raven flocks spots an eagle in the distance carrying a few hobbits and a bearded dude, that's going to get reported fairly quick, and tracked.
** Even worse, though- imagine being at high altitude for extended periods of time. You'd risk hypothermia, decreased oxygen, and if you wanted to make sure to not fall off the eagle, sleep deprivation (or at least being very sore). If getting from Rohan to Minas Tirith takes "3 days ride, as the Nazgûl flies" you'd probably need up to a week to get to Mordor [from Rivendell]- it's not an efficient airline, but as least it doesn't have the TSA to feel you up.
** But then there's the Mount Doom problem- "Toss that b---h in there". Well see, there's a tiny problem when it comes to flying in hot areas- we call them updrafts. That's enough to throw you off balance-wise, but even if you dive-bomb the place, Mordor was notorious for having a f-ckton of air pollution, just from Mount Doom, enough so that you could probably film a summer day in LA and not have to CGI the entire region in. So... no. No horses because they'd be easy to spot and hard as s--t to hide in the hills of Eregion. No eagle airlines because that's not a simple route, either.
* Quick note from The Hobbit on what the eagles will and won't do too:
music.
**** He says
"The Lord of Eagles would not take them anywhere near where men lived 'They would shoot at us with their great bows of yew,' he said, 'for they would think we were after their sheep. And at other times they would be right. No! we are glad to cheat the goblins of their sport, and glad to repay our thanks to you, but we will not risk outselves for dwarves on are upon us! Save the southward plains.'" The 'fully fledged' reason (if you'll excuse the pun) in the fully integrated version of the legendarium is of course that they are servants of the Valar and like the Istari banned from interfering directly (even in the first age they mainly mooched around the mountains surrounding Gondolin dissuading people who were getting too close for comfort). I'm not entirely sure why they were allowed to intervene in the battles they did, but certainly their rescue mission for Frodo and Sam is explainable- after all, the quest was done, the people of middle-earth had managed to do it all by themselves- they flew to rescue Frodo and Sam merely as a courteousy (saving two broken lives is not saving the earth after all)
* The Eagles generally refuse to fly people for long distances, for any reason. Even though Gandalf was busy to get to Shire, they wouldn't take him farther than Rohan to find his own way from there. Most likely, as big as they are, they really aren't suited for steeds, and are quickly tired by a person sitting on their back.
* The exact mechanic of how the ring binds people to its thrall is never explored, but it's been theorized that it would make sense at every step of the story if the ring exploits pride: Boromir thinks quite highly of himself and falls quickly, Frodo fails only when it dawns on him that he's about to single-handedly save the world, etc. And we're told the eagles are the proudest of all creatures. It could hardly fit together better if Tolkien had done it on purpose.
* There is an another important angle that hasn’t really be mentioned above. The appeal of the eagles argument is that it is strategically superior to overland travel as a means of getting the ring to Mount Doom so the ring can be destroyed. The problem is that, strategically, the quest to destroy the ring was doomed in any case. The ring can’t be thrown into the fire. Isildur couldn’t throw it in, Frodo couldn’t throw it in, and the eagles couldn’t throw it in either. Using the eagles just causes the plan to fail more quickly. Gandalf knew (or guessed) this, he never really expected the plan to succeed on its strategic merits. His plan was for the free peoples of the West to show their worthiness and virtue by resisting Sauron and doing everything in their power to stop him, knowing it was hopeless, and trusting in divine providence to make things turn out right. The quest was essentially a show of faith. Trying to air-mail the ring to Mordor by eagle would not have given divine providence enough time to kick in, so to speak. From one angle, I’m not sure the Fellowship had proven its “worthiness to be saved” until the events of the story kicked Gondor and Rohan from complacency into heroism, made the elves show their willingness to give up the stasis of the Three Rings, showed the courage of the hobbits, and so on. From a more practical angle, there would have been no Gollum and thus no victory. Gandalf didn’t know any of this specifically, but was wise about these things and had a lot of faith. Also, Gandalf’s mission was specifically to help people help themselves. For the free people of Middle Earth to ask the servants of Manwe to solve the problem of the ring would have been the exact opposite of this. I think it would have been viewed as morally questionable, the equivalent of telling the Valar “We have a big problem but it is really hard and we are lazy and unwilling to do dangerous things. You are better at solving it than we are. Please solve it for us and report back on the results.” Not a good way to get divine providence on your side.
* Below is a summary to questions raised above, and answers given[[note]]Having read through the above I would like to present a summary to questions raised, trying to put people's answers above into some kind of order considering that at this point there is a lot of repetition[[/note]] (please feel free to edit/add/remove at leisure):
** Why didn't the fellowship use the eagles to fly to mordor?
*** 1) Eagles flying in the sky would be noticed (rather easily) and targeted by Sauron (considering how easily Sauron once noticed Frodo when he stood on a tall hill), forcing the full bore of his will and the Nazgûl onto them (and probably some other creatures as well). It would ruin the idea of secrecy, exposing their plans to Sauron etc. (And no, Gandalf would not have been able to protect them and the King-Witch of Agmar would have the advantage).[[note]]Please note that Sauron ''was'' still quite powerful at this time, able to bend others wills to his own, conjur and create at will, and, being a Maiar, have resources that were not even demonstrated. Even through the palantír he can induce pain. He ''is'' insubstantial but is in no way powerless.[[/note]]
*** 2) The eagles were Manwë's creatures and hence were tied to his will. They were not an all-purpose taxi service.
*** 3) The force of Sauron's will and border control would not have allowed creatures of Manwë into his domain (and Manwë isn't allowed to force the issue, being a Valar).
*** 4) The power of the ring influences all living creatures, bending them to its will. It isn't entirely unlikely that it could nudge one of the eagles to drop Frodo or the ring at the wrong time.
*** 5) Manwë is not allowed to influence the struggle for dominion over Middle-Earth in such a direct way (no Valar is, as otherwise it would just become an issue of who has the biggest stick, ahem)
*** 6) The eagles weren't obedient servants - they were fairly intelligent and had minds of their own - to be used for long journeys (even just taking the fellowship to Lothlórien or Minas Tirith and not ''into'' Mordor itself would have been a problem[[note]]Putting aside the point that Sauron can see ''very'' far and the Nazgûl would have found their search for the ring a lot easier, destroying the idea of secrecy of the quest[[/note]]). See the above two comments for a quote from The Hobbit that elucidates things a little.
*** 7) Flying over Mordor would have posed a problem (even if you circumvented the entire country and came at Mordor
ponies from the west you would still be flying into the heart of Sauron's occupancy), and just "dropping the ring in" wouldn't have been that simple (considering Nazgûl, the will of the ring bending ''two'' creatures to its will in order to not be destroyed, and the likelihood of Sauron allowing an enemies' servants to fly over Barad-dûr uninterrupted is low)
*** 8) Sauron would have been either directly or indirectly been able to manufacture horrible weather conditions, and flying through a magically-induced thunderstorm would have caused...issues. (There's also the idea of using seige weapons, and causing Barad-dûr to errupt at an inconvenient time).
*** 9) The eagles, being the proudest of all creatures, just might be ''extremely susceptible'' to the ring's spell.
**** I always figured this. The Eagles weren't just birds, they were powerful creatures and epic-scaled enough (the greatest had a 180'/55m wingspan) that they were quite possibly Maiar (like non-evil versions of the Balrogs or the Spiders) and wouldn't knowingly carry the ring for the exactly same reason Gandalf and Galadrial wouldn't: The corruption of another powerful being would be a huge blow to Middle Earth.
** Why did the eagles come to get Frodo and Sam when they were lying on Mount Doom after destroying the ring? Isn't that just a sappy DeusExMachina?
*** 1) The eagles came in after Sauron was defeated and the Nazgûl were no longer in play. Hence there was no one to stop them from entering Mordor, while there would have been before. Also, Gandalf was the one who pushed them to go into Mordor to pick up Frodo and Sam after the Eagles came in to lend a last minute helping hand (in small numbers) - a desperate Gandalf is not someone you want to say no to for a five-minute pick up.
*** 2) The battle for Middle-Earth was over, so Manwë ''would'' have been allowed to intervene in helping tie up loose ends, as it were - (Manwë essentially being an [[OutsideContextVillain Outside Context Character]]) - (note: or whoever influenced Manwë to lend a helping hand).
*** 3) The eagles themselves, unimpeded by Sauron's will, could have decided to help and save Frodo and Sam, and would have now be allowed to do so by Manwë (see point 2).
*** 4) Yes.[[note]]But considering what Frodo and Sam had to face in the Shire afterwards, not so sappy.[[/note]]
** Did Tolkien just not think of the idea of using the Eagles, and was caught out when someone pointed out the idea to him?
*** 1) No, the idea of using creatures from a past age (the Eagles, Tom Bombadil) was explored at the Council of Elrond, and Gandalf did point out why it wouldn't be a good idea. The whole "secrecy, avoiding the attention of a powerful Evil Lord" problem was the reason in the case of not using the Eagles (if memory serves).
*** 2) No, he mentioned in a letter that the eagles were, like the Valar, an Outside Context Consideration, where, like Manwë just interfering, grabbing the ring himself and throwing it into Mount Doom before Sauron even realised what was happening, was never going to happen (to paraphrase with my own example), neither was using Manwë's creatures. They were a Storybreaker idea, and he wanted to use them sparingly.
*** 3) Maybe, and he just made up a reason on the spot to fool us all into thinking that he had all angles covered. Could happen. Considering the ridiculous amount of care, depth and intricacy of all his work, this is probably not very likely though. There is the folder quote as well.'
* Re: "Middle Earth's Taxi Service." Can we at least retire forever the excuse: "Gandalf ain't the boss of the eagles. They can say no"? Yes, the eagles have free will (according to this argument), but if they won't deign to use that will to stop the enslavement, torture and death of millions of sentient creatures when they could easily prevent it, then they are such utter sociopaths as to be little better than Melkor himself and Gandalf is tainted in his association with them. And let's say that they are as evil as this would imply, is it not in their interest at all to stop Sauron? Their lives would be a lot more difficult with the Dark Lord in charge and he's probably not going to go easy on them after they helped Gandalf. (Unless the eagles are going to flatter their new boss in hopes of getting favors which, again, implies they are feathered devils.) But this contradicts the other eagle excuse that they can't intervene because they work for Manwë. Why would the head god/angel have such fell beasts as his messengers? (Also: "That is indeed the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you, he answered." They clearly don't mind being bossed around by Elf-women.)
** Considering the role of the eagles and Manwë in the legendarium (more or less, messengers of God), the question essentially reduces down to "Why does a all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God allow suffering and evil in the world?" People way above the paygrade of bored tropers and bored Oxford linguistics professors have been debating this for ages with no clear consensus.
*** I actually think that the eagles not helping because Manwë said "no" is one of the better explanations, but what I meant is that there are two mutually exclusive eagle excuses employed by apologists (sometimes at the same time.) The first is that the eagles aren't under any orders and just can't be arsed to help prevent genocide. This excuse relies on them having free will but being evil. The second is that Manwë is stopping them from helping. This one relies on them NOT having free will (as they can't do anything without the boss's permission) but certainly ''wanting'' to help as any being of sufficient moral fiber to serve Manwë would want to do anything they could. (You can see people on this page switching back and forth between the two arguments.)
* Even disregarding all of the above, the whole idea rests on the premise that the ring could be destroyed by dropping it in the caldera of Mount Doom. But this is totally wrong. The ring had to be destroyed in the specific place that it was created, which is the Crack of Doom, which is a cave ''[[http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Cracks_of_Doom inside the mountain]]''. Note that Sam and Frodo don't hike all the way up to the top of the mountain, they go through a door on the mountainside and through a passageway into a cave. Dropping the ring into the caldera wouldn't destroy it any more than dropping it into the caldera of a normal active volcano would. And the passage was way too small for a giant eagle to fly through. So at best the eagles could have dropped a rider off by the entrance. But the eagles would certainly be spotted as they were approaching, and even if an eagle did get to the mountain it and the rider would surely be met by a bunch of guards, or at least a rain of arrows.
** They wouldn't have to actually go into Morder. Just drop the Company off at the border or at Lothlórien or somewhere. There were many ways they could have been useful besides actually flying Frodo to Doom.
* [[https://twitter.com/actual_tolkien/statuses/414264285003804672 And we've got a definitively answer!]]
goblins!"



----
[[folder: Balrog Wings]]
''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."''
* [[OlderThanTheNES The original]] [[BerserkButton Internet]] [[IncrediblyLamePun flame-war]]. [[SnarkBait Needless]] to say, [[SeriousBusiness Balrogs do not]] [[TheMoreYouKnow actually have wings]].
** Not only were they incapable of flight, but being creatures of flame and smoke, the reference to "wings", "winged speed" and the like, is a clear ''simile'', as the [[ArmedWithCanon quote above]] demonstrates.
* On the other hand, some have argued that "...and the wings spread from wall to wall" is not a [[{{Metaphorgotten}} mixed metaphor]] but an actual canonical proof that wings existed. Those people would be [[YoMomma right]].
** It's also worth pointing out that we have no confirmation or denial that the Balrogs were incapable of flight (see below). Given that, it would be undeniably [[RuleOfCool awesome if they did]].
*** But not as awesome as [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Balrogs Riding Robotic Dragon-shaped Troop Carriers]] like they do to invade Gondolin in ''Literature/TheBookOfLostTales''. Yes, folks, [[ZerothLaw Tolkien did it first]].
*** So who says all Balrogs are physically identical? The first dragons were flightless, yet others were winged. The same could've been true of Balrogs.
* Then there are those who [[TakeAThirdOption take a middle path]] and assert [[{{PLATTER}} that wings and not-wings can coexist equally]] in a constant [[SchrodingersGun state of indeterminacy]] on a creature of [[ElementalEmbodiment insubstantial smoke]] depending on how you [[FromACertainPointOfView define your terms]]. These peace-loving people[[note]]who in all likelihood hold that Balrogs are [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Mostly Harmless]] not to mention [[DracoInLeatherPants sexy]][[/note]] are of course universally held in hatred and contempt; and in that conflict they would not long survive even as slaves.
* There are many people who saw the film before they read the book. Word Of [[Creator/PeterJackson Jackson]] is that he was originally a {{wingman}} (who suggested -- horrors! -- a Balrog flying through the mines) only to be informed of [[OntologicalMystery the uncertainty]] by writers who worried any choice would [[IncrediblyLamePun ignite]] the simmering conflict and throw all the Internet into a second darkness. So the film-Balrog was deliberately portrayed with [[ShrugOfGod indeterminate status]] as to whether it has wings, or two vast [[BuffySpeak wing-shaped smoky things]]. The games have interestingly picked up on this, with Balrogs that are capable of hopping, like flightless velociraptors (see flight capability question, below).

* The most popular option to remain [[TrueNeutral neutral]] is to take a definitional approach which emphasizes all the various facets of the problem, for [[http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_Balrogs_have_wings example here]]. [[http://www.barrowdowns.com/articles_balrogs.php And here]] for more information.
** It's worth noting that Balrogs are slippery when wet. They become "a thing of slime".
** Peter Jackson wanted a Slime Balrog, but hadn't the budget for it.

* Flightless Balrogs (winged or not, seeing as how they are divine beings) are of course an entirely separate issue over the past [[LongRunner 30 years]] of this debate, not to mention air-speed velocity (laden or unladen)?
** In the oldest versions of the mythology, it was explicitly stated that the winged dragons were the first of Morgoth's creatures to be able to fly ("until that day [the first appearance of winged dragons] no creatures of his cruel thought had yet assailed the air"). This statement disappeared by the time of the Literature/TheSilmarillion as published.
** The early drafts also say they "arose and passed with winged speed [[FlyoverCountry over Hithlum]]" to rescue Morgoth [[SummonBiggerFish from Ungoliant]], confusing the issue further.
** Regarding [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail air-speed velocity]], Gandalf is much more streamlined compared to the Balrog which has huge wings to slow it down (Some people think they are wings).
** Gandalf's sword wasn't shown hitting anything. Balrog [[MinovskyPhysics density]] (creature of flame and shadow) is unknown anyway, not to mention its aerodynamic form. Gandalf could easily catch up to that plausibly.

* Never mind the wings, did they wear [[http://flyingmoose.org/tolksarc/theories/slippers.htm bedroom slippers?]]
** Yes.
*** Fuzzy bedroom slippers ''[[IncendiaryExponent of FLAME]]''.
* Guys, guys. [[TakeAThirdOption what if Balrog wings]] [[DarkIsEdgy are made from their shadows?]]

* MrThorfan64 will attempt to answer this. Maybe the wings have limited power and are more for gliding. It could be that to fly the Balrog needs a run-up. Therefore it couldn't fly when it was falling. Perhaps Gandalf's power prevented the Balrog from flying past him. Maybe the Balrog could have gained the strength to fly up again and Gandalf fighting it on the way down prevented this. Which makes it FridgeBrilliance that Gandalf falls despite hanging on in the Peter Jackson Fellowship of the Ring. His sword and staff had fallen after the Balrog. Without them he didn't think the Balrog could be defeated if it flew back up. Gandalf decided to just fall and stop the Balrog, making his fall in that film a deliberate HeroicSacrifice.

to:

----
[[folder: Balrog Wings]]
''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."''
[[folder:Goblin throats]]
* [[OlderThanTheNES The original]] [[BerserkButton Internet]] [[IncrediblyLamePun flame-war]]. [[SnarkBait Needless]] to say, [[SeriousBusiness Balrogs Why do not]] [[TheMoreYouKnow actually Goblins have wings]].
** Not only were they incapable of flight, but being creatures of flame and smoke, the reference to "wings", "winged speed" and the like, is a clear ''simile'', as the [[ArmedWithCanon quote above]] demonstrates.
* On the other hand, some
[[BizarreAlienBiology two throats]]? Does it have argued that "...and the wings spread from wall something to wall" is not a [[{{Metaphorgotten}} mixed metaphor]] but an actual canonical proof that wings existed. Those people would be [[YoMomma right]].
** It's also worth pointing out that we have no confirmation or denial that the Balrogs were incapable of flight (see below). Given that, it would be undeniably [[RuleOfCool awesome if they did]].
*** But not as awesome as [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Balrogs Riding Robotic Dragon-shaped Troop Carriers]] like they
do to invade Gondolin in ''Literature/TheBookOfLostTales''. Yes, folks, [[ZerothLaw Tolkien did it first]].
*** So who says all Balrogs are physically identical? The first dragons were flightless, yet others were winged. The same could've been true of Balrogs.
* Then there are those who [[TakeAThirdOption take a middle path]] and assert [[{{PLATTER}} that wings and not-wings can coexist equally]] in a constant [[SchrodingersGun state of indeterminacy]] on a creature of [[ElementalEmbodiment insubstantial smoke]] depending on how you [[FromACertainPointOfView define your terms]]. These peace-loving people[[note]]who in all likelihood hold that Balrogs are [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain Mostly Harmless]] not to mention [[DracoInLeatherPants sexy]][[/note]] are of course universally held in hatred and contempt; and in that conflict they would not long survive even as slaves.
* There are many people who saw the film before they read the book. Word Of [[Creator/PeterJackson Jackson]] is that he was originally a {{wingman}} (who suggested -- horrors! -- a Balrog flying through the mines) only to be informed of [[OntologicalMystery the uncertainty]] by writers who worried any choice would [[IncrediblyLamePun ignite]] the simmering conflict and throw all the Internet into a second darkness. So the film-Balrog was deliberately portrayed
with [[ShrugOfGod indeterminate status]] as to whether it has wings, or two vast [[BuffySpeak wing-shaped smoky things]]. The games have interestingly picked up on this, with Balrogs that are capable of hopping, like flightless velociraptors (see flight capability question, below).

* The most popular option to remain [[TrueNeutral neutral]] is to take a definitional approach which emphasizes all the various facets of the problem, for [[http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_Balrogs_have_wings example here]]. [[http://www.barrowdowns.com/articles_balrogs.php And here]] for more information.
** It's worth noting that Balrogs are slippery when wet. They become "a thing of slime".
** Peter Jackson wanted a Slime Balrog, but hadn't the budget for it.

* Flightless Balrogs (winged or not, seeing as how they are divine beings) are of course an entirely separate issue over the past [[LongRunner 30 years]] of this debate, not to mention air-speed velocity (laden or unladen)?
** In the oldest versions of the mythology, it was explicitly stated that the winged dragons were the first of Morgoth's creatures to be able to fly ("until that day [the first appearance of winged dragons] no creatures of his cruel thought had yet assailed the air"). This statement disappeared by the time of the Literature/TheSilmarillion as published.
** The early drafts also say they "arose and passed with winged speed [[FlyoverCountry over Hithlum]]" to rescue Morgoth [[SummonBiggerFish from Ungoliant]], confusing the issue further.
** Regarding [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail air-speed velocity]], Gandalf is much more streamlined compared to the Balrog which has huge wings to slow it down (Some people think they are wings).
** Gandalf's sword wasn't shown hitting anything. Balrog [[MinovskyPhysics density]] (creature of flame and shadow) is unknown anyway, not to mention its aerodynamic form. Gandalf could easily catch up to that plausibly.

* Never mind the wings, did they wear [[http://flyingmoose.org/tolksarc/theories/slippers.htm bedroom slippers?]]
** Yes.
*** Fuzzy bedroom slippers ''[[IncendiaryExponent of FLAME]]''.
* Guys, guys. [[TakeAThirdOption what if Balrog wings]] [[DarkIsEdgy are made from
their shadows?]]

* MrThorfan64 will attempt to answer this. Maybe the wings have limited power and are more for gliding. It could be that to fly the Balrog needs a run-up. Therefore it couldn't fly when it was falling. Perhaps Gandalf's power prevented the Balrog from flying past him. Maybe the Balrog could have gained the strength to fly up again and Gandalf fighting it on the way down prevented this. Which makes it FridgeBrilliance that Gandalf falls despite hanging on in the Peter Jackson Fellowship of the Ring. His sword and staff had fallen after the Balrog. Without them he didn't think the Balrog could be defeated if it flew back up. Gandalf decided to just fall and stop the Balrog, making his fall in that film a deliberate HeroicSacrifice.
[[MusicalWorldHypotheses singing ability?]]



----
[[folder:Eru aka God, the Ainur, and Theodicy]]
* Sauron, Saruman, Gandalf and the orcs were fallen angels of Eru Ilúvatar, right? Why did Gandalf not beg his God for help?
** How many ideas did Tolkien steal from ''Paradise Lost''?
*** Because Eru doesn't intervene. If his goal was immediate extermination of evil, he would have blasted Melkor on the spot after the Music. He's an eventualist, not an immediatist -- and he knows that eventually, after Dagor Dagorath, the world will be reformed with the Second Music. (Note also that Eru did intervene when he resurrected Gandalf, but that was it.)
**** Neither Saruman, Gandalf or the Orcs are anything even closely resembling "fallen angels". Saruman and Gandalf might qualify as the non-fallen kind (allegorically), but I don't know where that idea comes from regarding Orcs. If you want to know why Gandalf didn't ask "his god" for help, consider that Gandalf ''is'' the help provided to Middle-earth ''by'' that god.
***** Note that Eru intervened constantly in the course of LOTR, and Gandalf was well aware of it. That's what "you were meant to find the ring, and I find that very encouraging" and "Gollum still has a part to play" and other such statements are all about. The whole course of the books describes the unfolding of Eru's plan, and the lucky chances are his methods. Its subtle, not flashy
***** There's also the fact that Eru knows that ultimately, no matter what Morgoth and Sauron do, no matter how much they divert the world from his original plans, the fallout ultimately leads to the glory of His work. An example: Melkor tries to disrupt the creation of the world with extreme colds and heats. Eru points out to Ulmo, Vala of Water, that now water's beauty is far greater than Ulmo had planned, for now there are the beautiful manifestations of steam and frost. Eru is an eventualist because he understands that tragedy may occur that nonetheless is good to have happened, even if the Valar themselves both don't quite get it and find themselves unable to accept it ''because they love the world they've made so much.''
****** Eru [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation could]] also be said to be a MagnificentBastard who would rather ruin the plans of others indirectly and watch them fail slowly, even going so far as to cripple their ability to [[AlwaysChaoticEvil make free moral choices]] or come up with original thoughts.
****** I think it ultimately comes down to free will. Eru made the universe and gave his children free will, meaning that he set a law by which his creations could create and destroy. Then, to set an example, he decided to obey his own laws. Thus, he does not interfere in what everyone else does because he would become a hypocrite by not abiding by the rules he expects everyone else to follow. That said, if there was some majority to ask Eru to do something, he may or may not. I doubt there is any point in The Lord of the Rings where half the world, plus one, actually prays to Eru to do anything.
** How do you know he wasn't? He might have been praying silently all the time.
*** Gandalf is explicitly thinking that Eru's hand is guiding the events of the War of The Rings.

* Why did the Valar not pitch in to help fight Mordor themselves? They had kicked the ass of Morgoth, a guy who was bigger, badder, and had [[Main/KickTheDog kicked more puppies]] than Sauron could ever hope to. They could've easily annihilated him and his armies. But ''nooooooooooooo'' they just ''had'' to send five minor powers and on top of that, told them not to take any direct action! Bastards...
** Simple enough. The Valar weren't free to act nor all powerful. After all, they had to call upon Eru to beat off the Numeanoreans. So, more than likely it's a Prime Directive Issue. After all, Gandalf himself stated that the wizards' role was not to control Middle-earth or match force with force, but to lead and guide the people against Sauron.
*** They could have done ''something'' to help out, like simply show up in force to march on Mordor. They did that exact thing when Morgoth was threatening the world, and thus could have done it again. The fact that they didn't means they are little bastards. If I were a human king then, I would have followed the elves across the sea to meet the Valar... and then brutally killed them all while laughing manically.
*** You're right, they did intervene against Morgoth. And you know what happened when they did that? The power they summoned to defeat him was so great it ''shattered a continent'' and annihilated the same kingdoms they'd come to help. That's why they're not interfering directly anymore: if they got involved, so much destruction would ensue that it would be a Pyrrhic Victory at best.
** Uh huh. That worked out great for Ar-Pharazôn the Golden. (See also: Fall of Númenor.)
**** And then been crunched pitifully, probably breaking the world again in the process, assuming you could even get there (only the elves know the secret of the Straight Path.) Sauron is Middle-earth's problem; the Valar are not there as a cure-all every time something goes wrong.
***** Crunched. By a guy who could never hope to be as powerful as a guy they had already beaten (Morgoth). Although this was with the elves' help (who were fleeing like spineless ninnies for no apparent reason). And how did they get to Middle-earth to fight Morgoth earlier, if they didn't know how? These bastards refuse to help fight against a guy weaker than the one they had already beaten. If he was only Middle-earth's problem, then why did the show up to fight Morgoth? He was Middle-earth's problem too.
******* Yes, crunched by the Valar, who are, after all, thoroughly destructive ''and'' can call upon the One. Remember, the Valar fighting in the final war against Morgoth ''broke the '''world''' from the destruction.'' They ''chose'' not to fight Morgoth because of a complicated series of events that estranged them from the Eldar, and furthermore because they were afraid they would destroy Men by acting. They only intervened at last because Eärendil pleaded for their help. Seriously, have you even ''read'' the ''Silmarillion?''
******** And the five Wizards were by no means "minor powers". As stated elsewhere, they were limited by the Valar to not match force with force, which, in my reading and understanding of the ''Silmarillion'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' they certainly could have done.
** Part of the plot of ''Lord of the Rings'' is that magic is gradually leaving the world (ie, Middle-earth is becoming the Earth we know). That is why the Elves are all leaving, they are being called away, not "fleeing like spineless ninnies." This transition is part of the natural order, and if the Valar, who were powerful magical beings not seen since the beginning of the world, returned and started to act directly again, it probably would have broken the world worse than Sauron could have ever hoped to.
*** Plus, Morgoth had originally been one of the Valar (he was in fact by far the most powerful, back when he was Melkor), but he had suffused his power throughout the fabric of creation, substantially weakening him. The Valar were still willing to fight him directly, but doing so ended up causing untold destruction, and irreparably ruined the beginning of the Elves. When the High Elves left Valinor in exile after Morgoth escaped again, they decided to leave the mortal world to its own devices, until it was thoroughly proven that they were the only ones capable of permanently stopping Morgoth. After this, they were committed to never directly interfering in Middle-earth again, because to do so would finally and completely ruin the world and Eru's plans for it (particularly that it should pass to the dominion of Men). They were however still compassionate to the plight of the mortal world, which is why they sent their greatest and wisest emissaries (appropriately limited) to guide them to victory (a victory which, if you will remember, would not have been achieved without them).
** 1. Last time the Valar directly assault evil in Middle Earth, an entire continent was shattered. 2. Most of the mortal races could have been seen by them as having lost the right to direct saving, the Noldor and Moriquendi becuase they had been given, and still had, the option to say "screw you guys, I'm going home" to everyone in Middle Earth and head to Valinor, and man for that whole attempted invasion of and take over of their land thing. 3. They only attacked Morgoth after it became absolutely clear that only by their help could he be defeated, and, if not, every living thing not in Valinor would be killed or enslaved, and given Sauron WAS defeated without their direct aid, this clearly wasn't the case. 4, These 'Lesser powers' were Maia of similar standing to what Sauron had before joining Morgoth, Saruman in fact basically being Sauron's replacement as one of Aulë's chief aides, and had nearly as much innate power as he did, but were restrained from using it in a direct confrontaion, but were sent to rally the mortal races to fight, and to guide them. And 5. if mommy and daddy always run to help their kids out of every little situation, the kids will never learn to be self-sufficient.
*** 1. Sauron ain't Morgoth. Without the One Ring, most of what power he had left was out of his reach anyway. He couldn't put up nearly such a good fight as Morgoth did. No content destroying escapades for him. Heck, some men and elves stabbed him to death once, though, of course he got better. 2. So, because the elves could've left, they had no right to help? Should victims of hurricanes get no assistence because they could've abandoned the only homes they've ever known? The only men who tried to invade their home were the evil Númenorians, who were corrupted by Sauron. And God already got rid of those guys. Everyone left was wholly innocent of that (excepting Sauron, of course). 3. So? Both Sauron and Morgoth came from among them, and thus were their responsibilty to deal with, not the mortal races'. In the same way, the US can't just dump its criminals in Mexico and then tell the Mexican government "They're your problem now, bucko." 4. And why no direct confrontation? Sauron was weak, his power shattered, and for thousands of years he had to sit around as a shadow, slowly rebuilding his power. That would be the perfect moment to force a direct confrontation and drag him off kicking and screaming. It's not like he could really do anything about that, what with him missing the One Ring and not having a body for thousands of years. 5. A child can hardly be expected to deal with an immortal spirit with a super-duper ring o'evil. This problem would not have been solved at all were it not for incredibly good luck on the good guys' part (comparable to a murderer bursting into a home only to be thwarted by a chandelier falling on his head).
*** The problem with continent-wrecking isn't Sauron (or Morgoth, fo that matter) choosing to do it on his own; rather, it's presented more as a side-effect of the scale of forces being unleashed, and while Sauron may not be as strong as Morgoth, it seems unrealistic to think he wouldn't land at least a couple of good blows before the Valar took him into custody, and that could still cause some pretty major destruction. Also, the Valar are [[GodsHandsAreTied pretty hands-off gods]], on the whole. It's not their job to swoop in and save the world unless all other courses of action have been exhausted. Also, keep in mind that it's ''very'' heavily implied that destiny is in play during the whole War of the Ring- and it's definitely not the Valar's place to mess with what [[{{God}} their boss]] has planned.
**** Don't forget that the main armies opposing Sauron (and quite a few serving him) are men (and small, hairy-footed man-like creatures explicitly mentioned as an offshoot of men). In the Tolkien legendarium, men are ''explicitly outside'' the control of the Valar; when an army of them invaded the Undying Lands, they had to lay down their positions as guardians and call on God to fix things. Not to mention, the sending of the Wizards as emissaries rather than intervening directly falls pretty well into the whole "fading of mythology" theme that undercuts the whole of the War of the Ring.
**** Just to clarify, Sauron during the War of the Ring is actually ''stronger'' than Morgoth was during the War of Wrath. Morgoth had vented his powers into the fabric of creation in general and his minions in particular whereas Sauron have focused his into the One Ring. Because of this, and the very nature of Sauron's ringcraft, him wearing the One Ring makes him as strong as a Valar, which would require continent shattering combat to bring down.
** At some point, you've got to let the kids solve their own problems. Otherwise they'll just stay dependent on you.
[[/folder]]
----
[[folder:Sauron and the One Ring]]
* Sauron's whole idea of even ''making'' the Ring was throughly moronic from the start. I mean, putting your immortality on the line for a chance to mind control, at most, ''19 people''. What kind of an idiot does that?
** An idiot who needs to keep his mystical power from fading away to nothingness in the Third Age, as it would have had the Great Rings not been forged. Also, an idiot who remembers that those 19 people, collectively between them, possessed virtually all the political and mystical power in Middle-earth.
** Exactly. The Rings of Power were a way to preserve might that would otherwise have been lost. And rather than 19 people, it would have meant ruling 19 ''nations'', had the plot been succesful.
*** Quoth the Silmarillion: "And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was very great, and that which should goven them must be a thing of surpassing potency". The greater part of the strength of the Elves passed into their rings, and to dominate them, the greater part of Sauron's strength had to pass into his. Remember, magic and Elves only left Middle-earth ''after'' the destruction of the One. Because the Three were subject to the One, with its destruction, Sauron was diminished, and so were the Elves in much the same manner, no longer able to hold back the effects of decay and time. So really, it's Sauron's fault that [[TheMagicGoesAway the magic went away]].
** Plus, as far as Sauron was concerned, his immortality was never on the line. He believed that it was beyond the will of any being to harm the Ring, and very few would have been able to bring its full power under their control, in which case there remains the possibility of it being reclaimed by its true master. Its worth noting that in the end, Sauron was ''right'' about noone being able to willingly destroy the Ring. It was only destroyed because Gollum, a mortal being (who was unable to do anything with the Ring other than fawn over it), had possessed it so long, and had lost it for so long, that when he reclaimed it at the Crack of Doom, all he could do was dance around in jubilation, which led to him losing his footing, destroying the Ring.
*** Also because on the trip up the sides of Mount Doom when Gollum had attempted to jump Sam and Frodo, Frodo had used the ring's powers of command to place a geas on Gollum, that if Gollum ever touched Frodo again, Gollum would throw himself into the volcano. Lo and behold, Gollum did attack Frodo again, and look what happened.
** And, plus some more, the One Ring didn't just allow him control over the nineteen other Great Rings. It would have allowed him control over ''everyone''. The One Ring's great power was that it gave Sauron the ability to dominate the wills of others, not just those who wore one of the Great Rings. It would be easier to find and dominate those who wore Great Rings, yes, since they would stand out, but the Ring's abilities was not just limited to them. And, it might not seem so idiotic when you realize the only reason Sauron survived into the Third Age was because of the Ring. When Númenor was broken when the Númenorians marched on Valinor, Sauron was broken as well and if not for the fact that he had invested a great deal of power in the Ring, he would have remained an ineffectual spirit for the rest of time.
*** And it is also worth noting that there was ''no'' Great Ring corresponding to hobbits ... which may have been part of why hobbits (Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, ''and Smeagol'') were so instrumental in its destruction.
**** 1) Hobbits are said to be more resistant by nature, like the dwarves. 2) The Rings of Power were forged in the Second Age, and the existence of hobbits was first documented in the Third Age.
***** 3.) Hobbits are, for all intents and purposes, an offshoot of Men rather than a new race like elves or dwarves.
**** There wasn't any Great Ring for the ents either, presumably because they weren't active enough for Sauron to have worried about them as opponents. Nor for orcs or trolls, as he was presumably confident that neither race would ever dare to defy him.
** The 19 Rings themselves are designed to manipulate and control various fundamental forces governing Middle Earth, such as Fire and the like. It's much more than a gmable to control every mind (though t'would) or keep a firm tie to the world (though it did); it basically makes Sauron the new God, or close to it in Middle Earth terms. With all the Rings in his hands and under his power Sauron would have been a PhysicalGod akin to Melkor in his prime, having command of aspects of all the powers of each of the Vala and basically being the baddest mo'fo on the planet, badder even than Morgoth who you'll not was not the EvilGenius Sauron was. His plan was quite the opposite of idiotic- it was one of the most brilliant evil schemes in fantasy literature/
* If Sauron knew that the only way to defeat him in combat was to remove his Ring, why did he wear it on his finger, thus risking it being cut off (which happened, conveniently)? Would it have made more sense to, I dunno, ''swallow it''?
** He can't use it if he doesn't wear it.
*** OK, a) why would he design a tool so that it can't be used unless it is on a vulnerable part of him b) where does it say he has to have it ''on his finger'' instead of inside him?
**** Ahem. The One Ring was made specifically to control the Elven Rings of Power, so it had to take their form and functionality.
**** Because of the ''other'' Rings of Power ("Three Rings for the Elven-kings...", anyone?), which were designed to be given as gifts that were actually baited traps and thus had to appear innocent. The Master Ring was built in secret, to dominate the other rings, and the principle of sympathetic magic would make the best shape for it also be a ring.
**** Between reading "on his finger" and "inside of him", this troper [[FreudWasRight had the awful idea]] of Sauron wearing the ring on a part that could be protected by a codpiece. Although if the Ring could be small enough to fit a hobbit's thumb/ring finger/middle finger while large enough to be worn by a human, why it couldn't just be worn on his second toe (or first, it's �One Ring fits all"), where it wouldn't be found so easily. There's the possibility that the sympathtic magic required him to wear it like the other ringbearers would have, on his hand, but it still wasn't explained.
**** Umm... I really doubt that Sauron had "cough" that part that could be protected at the point he lost the ring, and probably never had it at all. Also, I don't think the rings would work unless put on at least a toe or finger. So, don't worry about that thought.
***** Why, thank you very much for that imaginative and vivid depiction that will no doubt give me food for captivating reflections, especcialy in sleep. Now, pass the BrainBleach please.
** Keep in mind that in the books, Sauron was wearing the Ring when he was defeated, and Isildur cut off the Ring-finger afterward, to claim the Ring as a trophy and payment for the deaths of his father and brother. The whole "Sauron is invincible while wearing the Ring" thing and Isildur severing his finger with a lucky strike was [[Main/AdaptationDisplacement only in the movies]].
** It occurs to this troper that it would have been smart for Isildur to cut off Sauron's HEAD while he was at it.
*** Sauron was already dead at that point, but would eventually regenerate as long as the Ring existed. Cutting off his head (assuming he still had it) wouldn't have helped at all.
*** As [[WordOfGod Tolkien said]], Sauron, as a Maia, was truly immortal and going to last as long as Arda lasted. Even if his mystical powers had been blown away with the One Ring, he could not ''die'' like Elves, Men or Hobbits did, but [[FateWorseThanDeath to be reduced to a powerless immaterial ghost]].

* Sauron's eye could clearly see the entire world. How the Hell did it not see through a rock 100 feet away? Rocks do block energy but his eye clearly created a very powerful beam.
** How the fuck could Sauron see the entire world? Is Tolkien's Earth flat?
*** It ''used'' to be. As one of Tolkien's rare non-Ring stories says: "Westward lay the straight road; now it is bent."
*** The Eye is a metaphysical thing, a manifestation of Sauron's will observed by those he seeks. Making it an actual, physical ''eye'' surveying Mordor's surroundings from the top of Barad-dûr in the movies was apparently a genuine misunderstanding of the books.
**** On that note actually, how in the hell did they let such a monumental fuck up through? Don't get me wrong, I liked that The Eye became an actual physical thing in the movies, it was a great visual effect, but given that (allegedly) most of the production team read and reread the book constantly and one of the screenwriters is a passionate fan of Tolkien's works, you'd think that some time in the development they would have pulled Jackson aside and said "Umm, actually Pete...". Or am I misunderstanding and it was a mistake that they caught early but just went with anyway because it worked?
***** I've always taken it as a physical entity, just with a little more visual flair thrown in for the movies. On Amon Hen for example: "And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep." There's also mention of the top of Barad-dûr in the book as consisting of nothing but windows so that Sauron could look out upon his lands and those of his enemies.
**** Like Jackson's version needed ''more'' exposition? Film is a visual medium. Showing the Eye as a visible entity was a lot more evocative, in that format, than trying to cram a chilling ''description'' of something entirely ephemeral/metaphysical into the dialogue.
** I'm pretty sure the "Eye" is the palantír. Sauron has one, and that's one of the reasons Saruman became corrupted.
*** I always took it like that too. The actual, physical eye in the film in not intended to be Sauron himself (as evidenced by the scene in the Extended Edition where Aragorn challenges him using the palantír and he's clearly visible as the armour-clad, non-eye-like guy we saw him as in the second age), but rather a physical manifestation of the palantír's powers, combined with Sauron's own. It's the filmmakers' way of doing what the book does to make Sauron much scarier than any physical description could be by never showing him.
** 'Sends out a powerful beam'? Eyes do not work that way!
*** [[EyeBeams Yes, they do.]]
** The Eye of Sauron (however you want to take it) can potentially see anywhere. Its gaze can be blocked or redirected by a powerful being (namely the Bearers of the Three Rings (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond), but otherwise it is explicitly stated that he can only focus on one place at a time.
*** Exactly, Sauron may have the ability to see anything unless it's blocked by someone powerful enough, but he still has to be LOOKING at it to see it, which was the whole point of the assault on the Black Gate, make him look at them instead of just wonder around randomly and maybe seeing Frodo.

* (Maybe this was movie-only? I'm not sure) How was Frodo able to simply walk right up to the Crack of Doom? I understand that Sauron and co. were distracted by Aragorn etc., what I mean is: Why isn't there a door on the side of the mountain? Ya know, like "Here's the Crack of Doom. You can't get in unless you know the secret password", and only Sauron knows the password. It's not like the area had heavy foot-traffic or anything. Imagine Frodo getting all the way to the mountainside and then....there's a big ol' iron door in the way and he doesn't have the key. That would have really screwed the Fellowship. Maybe there was some magical reason why the chamber couldn't be sealed? My best guess is that Sauron was ''really'' confident that no one would be coming in this direction. Yeah, I understand that he never expected anyone to attempt to destroy the ring, but you'd think that, with all the time on his hands in all the years since the Last Alliance, he might've built a simple door at some point. Just sayin'.
** ''Cracks'' of Doom. More than one. It. Is. Also. A. ''Volcano''. ''You'' try blocking all the shafts of an active volcano.
** Yeah but, in the movie at least, there was a big friggin' doorway. Maybe the crack(s) can't be blocked up, but did we have to build a giant doorway just to point out the best location for ring-destruction?
*** Why would Sauron be worried about anyone destroying the Ring? Isn't one of the most oft-noted element of the series is that the mere notion destroying the One Ring has ''never'' entered his darkest dreams.
*** The movie also had Barad-dûr as a lighthouse which could be seen from the edge of Mordor. The Men of the West in the films are also fireproof enough to sprint across a gigantic courtyard while on fire. Don't take the visuals too seriously. The sets for the last two films were made for good cinematography, not for utter realism.
** Heh heh, "Crack of Doom". (''I'm so sorry'')
** in the book it clearly says there is a door into the Cracks of Doom made by Sauron, and kept clear by his slaves whenever the volcano messes it up, but remeber, this door was situated specificly so Sauron had a perfectly clear field of vision from Barad-dûr straight through the door, also he knows no mortal has the will to destroy the ring, he doen't even think any can even seriously think about doing it, let alone follow through. So bascily becuase hes a cocky [=SoB=] with a massive [[DramaPreservingHandicap self made]] IdiotBall

* I don't know if this was addressed in the books, but what was the point of making a ring that turns the wearer invisible...unless that wearer is you, the creator?
** Invisibility's a side-effect. The point of the ring is to serve as a focal point for his power so it wouldn't fade when the other magics did, and to control the other rings of power.
** This troper's theory is founded on a comment Gandalf made about the Ring, that it "grants power according to its bearer's measure, and that one would have to devote years of study to bending the will of others before being able to control it." It's notable here that Sauron doesn't turn invisible when he has the Ring on (which is rather a pity, seeing as [[DungeonsAndDragons sneak attacking]] Gil-galad and/or Elendil seems rather a better idea than taking them on in single combat. Anyway, on any of the occasions where the Ring made its wearer invisible, there's an argument that it was accessing some deep, primal need of the current bearer to do so. Isildur was ambushed and put the Ring on, seeking to escape: the Ring granted that request, albeit that it was making a BatmanGambit to betray Isildur in doing so. Frodo, Bilbo, and Gollum are of a similar species in that hobbits try not to be seen by big folk and manage to disappear when they choose. When it's worn by one of these individuals, the Ring -- in service of its own BatmanGambit to get back to Sauron -- grants expression to that primal need and renders the wearer invisible.
*** This gets further wind in its sails by a scene in the book where Sam briefly wears the ring. He wishes that he could comprehend the Orc-speech that's coming from nearby. He then understands Orc-speech. It's best for all concerned that he doesn't dwell on this.
*** Also, don't forget that when the Ring was in Bilbo's possession, it would have been trying to avoid giving away its true nature to Gandalf. He knew it was ''a'' magic ring, but not ''the'' magic ring; if he'd figured it out sooner, he'd have tried to engineer its destruction long before Sauron was ready to send the wraiths after it or assault the realms of Men. Doing something relatively innocuous, like making its wearer invisible, meant Gandalf wouldn't immediately recognize it as an uberweapon rather than a minor enchanted trinket.
** Also there is probably the meta-argument: the book ''Literature/TheHobbit'', and therefore also the magic ring of invisibility, were not written as part of Middle-earth. After writing the ''Hobbit'' he retconned it into taking place in his established Middle-earth universe, and integrated it as a creation of Sauron. He later did make a few changes in the ''Hobbit'' to make it fit better with how he wrote things in the''[=LotR=]'', but something like the invisibility would have been hard to delete from both stories.
** Out of universe, the ring is a reference to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges Ring of Gyges]], which is stated in Plato's ''Republic'' to be a ring that makes you invisible. In the dialogue in which it is mentioned, Plato's brother Glaucon argues that because the ring removes all the consequences from your actions, no one would be able to resist the temptation to use it for their own benefit, even to the harm of others.
*** The One Ring is closer to the Ring of [[Creator/RichardWagner Wagner's]] [[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Ring Cycle]]. That's a magic ring that has the power to [[strike:make its wearer invisible and]] (edt: that's the ''Tarnkappe'') dominate the minds of others (and also change form), and that infects people with a selifsh desire to possess it. The Ring of Gyges just reveals that people are already naturally selfish; Wagner's Ring actually turns people evil.
** Because it also changes the way you experience the world (limiting your sight, enhancing your smell and hearing, and letting you see others who are made invisible by similar magic), because the same thing happened to the Nazgûl, and because everybody seems sure that the ring could be used to conquer the world, I'd guess the invisibility is simply a byproduct of an overall effect. Wearing the ring activates all the raw, corrupt power that Sauron put into it, changing you in some fundamental way, and that change makes you invisible to normal people. It's like a vampire no longer appearing in mirrors, it's hardly the point, just one of many effects.
** It's mentioned several times that when someone puts on the ring he isn't so much becoming invisable, as being partially shifted to another realm, and that certain people (those that had seen the Light of Valinor being the one example given) are able to exist in both realms at once. Hence why certain people were able to remain visable while wearing it. The best example to describe this is when Frodo first sees Glorfindel (Arwen in the movie). He sees a radiant form of golden light, while the rest only see an elf not unlike anyone else, becuase at that point he is crossing over into the other realm from the Morgul blade, and seeing them as they appear on that side.

* This might have been just the movie, but at least it is there. This touches the same topic as the one asking "Why does Sauron wear his ring in battle?" So okay, let's just say he needs to wear it to use his powers. I'm fine with that. My question is: Why does he fight in the freaking front line instead of hiding behind his [[WeHaveReserves massive army?]] To raise the morale of the troops (that consist of Orcs, for crying out loud)? Because he got too self-confident (make evil, complicated plans to seize the entire Middle Earth, fail because of one character flaw)?
** That was just a dramatic convention of the movie. In the books, the Last Alliance laid siege to Barad-dûr for seven years, and Sauron only came out to personally lead his army out of desperation since they were ''winning''.

* Why does everyone seem to think that Sauron + One Ring = AutoWin? He had it last time, but he still lost when he was beaten in combat and stabbed to death (Isildor then took the Ring ''off his corpse'' as a trophy). What exactly would the Ring allow Sauron to do that he couldn't already do? While I understand that destroying it means killing him, and therefore both sides would be on the lookout for it, it's not an instawin button for Sauron. His armies are much more worrisome.
** Sauron was only defeated by the most powerful leaders of the Second Age, and no one in the Third Age can match them in strength. Gondor and Rohan are just about it, and Sauron nearly defeats them without his ring.
** By the time of the War for the Ring, Sauron had already won. He possessed an army of hundreds of thousands of troops that he could breed, equip, field, and replace far easier than the armies opposing him could, and said armies were struggling to rally anything in the neighborhood of ten thousand men, far short of the hundreds of thousands that opposed them. Sauron getting the ring isn't auto-win for him, it's auto-lose for everyone else. It is completely impossible for them to win through force of arms at this point; their only win is destroying the ring.

* Why couldn't they just bury the ring? When Gandalf was fighting the Balrog,why couldn't Frodo throw the ring down into the chasm where Gandalf and the Balrog fell into?It must've been miles deep. Nobody would have found it. Or they could bury it fifty feet deep and put a huge boulder over it.
** All options of what to to with the Ring are discussed in detail at the Council of Elrond (and in other places) and, one after the other, proven as not a viable option. The only valid use of the Ring with a positive outcome for the Free Peoples is to try and destroy it, thereby destroying Sauron's body, the Tower, and everything else that was built using and is controlled by Sauron and the Ring's power - is the only sure, and only ''permanent'' way. Firstly, hiding and thereby keeping the Ring from Sauron won't stop him conquering the world, he can do that by himself (his enemies aren't exactly in the shape they were in last time). Beating him back a little now will just mean he'll come back to bother another generation. Throwing away the Ring and hoping it won't get found again is even worse because ''it will not stay away'', and someone (or [[EldritchAbomination something]]) will find the Ring eventually, and the Ring ''will'' make sure it gets found, as is repeatedly stressed. (Did you miss the whole thing about the Ring leaving Isildur, getting found by Gollum, and then getting itself lost and found by Bilbo to finally get out of the fucking caves? And then making itself constantly noticed at inopportune moments while being carried by Frodo?)
** The Ring ''wants'' to be found, as Gandalf stresses in both book and film. Leaving it unattended and going on your merry way, even in a supposedly secure place, is a phenomenally bad idea. Sooner or later it will somehow manage to ensnare a new bearer, and from their it's only a matter of time before Sauron finds out about it. As for throwing it down the chasm- ''worse'' idea. What just fell down there? a ''Balrog''- in other words ''a freaking demon lord''! If old Durin's Bane gets his claws on the Ring, it's nearly as bad as if Sauron got it himself (to say nothing of the fact that, according to Gandalf, there's apparently a race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that live at the bottom of the chasm- we don't know enough about them to say what they'd get up to with the Ring, but from the little we ''do'' know, it's almost certainly unpleasant). Destroying the Ring is the ''only'' way to put it for certain beyond everyone's reach.

* Assuming the Blue Wizards had the same sort of task as other wizards, and had to go incognito as old men (in as much as Wizards technically look human at all) wouldn't this mean they actually ''looked'' like the Southerners mentioned in the books?

** We don't know how far East or South they went. Given there's lots of Numenoreans who settled well south of Gondor (Umbar is the northernmost of the Kings' Men's cities), and "Easterlings" settled as far west as Dunland (ie they're white Europeans), they could be well into Sauron's domains and still within mostly European-looking populations. Tanned, black-haired, light-eyed Caucasians occur in the real world intermittently from northwestern Europe to northern India (alongside fairer and darker phenotypes as appropriate geographically). As I recall, the only explicitly non-white people we see are one unit of black soldiers from the far South on the Pellenor Fields. Or they went further, into areas with very distinct populations, but presented themselves as foreign travellers or mystics.

* How was Gollum able to bite Frodo's finger off at the climax? Earlier in the story, when Gollum accidentally hints at getting the Ring back, Frodo threatens, "The Precious mastered you long ago. If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey, even if it were to leap from a precipice or cast yourself into the fire. And such would be my command." Frodo didn't need to wrestle with Gollum to keep possession of the Ring; all he had to do was command Gollum to back off. And even if Frodo was mistaken and doesn't really have the ability to control Gollum while wearing the Ring, why doesn't he even try this?
** Well, Gollum didn't obey him. So he fell from a precipice into a fire. Ironic, really.
** I double-checked exactly how it went down. When Frodo encounters Gollum on the slopes of Mount Doom, he tells him (while holding the Ring but not wearing it) that if Gollum touches him again, he'll fall into the fires of Doom himself. The "if" implies that Gollum is still permitted to touch Frodo as long as he's willing to accept the consequences. afterward, when Frodo becomes corrupted and he and Gollum are fighting over the Ring at the cracks of Doom, Frodo doesn't say anything. All he had to do was order Gollum to let go, but he didn't, because plot.
** Frodo likely didn't think of it, mostly because it's hard to stop, think rationally, and remember that you can boss Gollum around when he's on top of you and violently struggling to get the Ring away from you. Frodo was ''slightly'' preoccupied by that fact.

* If no other rings were still around or lost or destroyed by dragons,how is invisibility going to help you?
** If all you want is to be stealthy, invisibility helps a lot- just ask Gollum or Bilbo. However, it's worth noting that invisibility is the ''least'' of the Ring's powers, albeit the only one Gollum and the Hobbits were really capable of accessing. In the hands of someone like Gandalf or Galadriel, it might potentially increase all of your abilities to the point that you could challenge Sauron and ''win'' (or at least, so they believe- the risk means it's not worth actually testing that theory).
** The Ring "grants power according to its bearer's stature". In other words, the more powerful you are to begin with, the more power it grants you. Hobbits aren't very powerful at all, hence why invisibility is the only thing the Ring does for them. If someone more powerful (Aragorn, a Balrog, Gandalf, Elrond, etc.) were to get a hold of it and use it, we'd see more powers that it possessed.

* Is there actually a reason why the Ring can only be unmade in Mount Doom? Was Sauron unable to circumvent it being unmade in such a manner?
** Hottest place on Middle-Earth. The general idea with metal is that the higher the temperature used for heat-treating, the higher the temperature would need to be to un-treat it. No other source of heat would even come close to damaging it.

* It seems to be an ironclad assumption that Sauron could never even ''conceive'' of someone opting to destroy the One Ring rather than keep it. Yes, the idea of destroying something that powerful would, logically, be anathema to a being as power-mad as Sauron: doing so out of selflessness, heroism, or idealism would be beyond his capacity to accept. But isn't there actually one reason to destroy the Ring that would make ''perfect sense'' even to Sauron ... namely, the coldly-intellectual realization that '''keeping''' it was, in itself, ''guaranteed'' to either get the bearer killed messily by others striving to possess it, or else transformed into something horrible (a Ringwraith, another Gollum, dragon-chow), like everyone else who'd ever worn it or its corrupted counterparts? Sauron may not comprehend good, but surely he can comprehend self-preservation.
** No. Because in Sauron's mind, ''obviously'' someone that has the Ring would attempt to make use of its power to protect himself from such threats. That's ''precisely'' why Aragorn's gambit in ''The Return of the King'' works: Because he's playing to Sauron's belief that ''anyone'' who claimed the Ring would attempt to use it for their own ends.
** Once you have the ring in your hand, enlightened cynical self preservation just doesn't enter your mind. The ring becomes your answer to everything. You just stop thinking logically.

[[/folder]]
----
[[folder:The Rings of Power]]
* (Having not read the books) We know the rings of men turned them into Nazgûl, but what happened to the bearers of the other rings? Two of the elf rings' owners appear in the movies none the worse for wear, and the dwarven rings are never seen at all.
** The seven and the nine were labeled as belonging to Man and Dwarf after the fact. Originally, Sauron's intent was to use them to control the elves and then spread that control outward from there. When the Three were created without his knowledge, he abandoned the idea of slowly corrupting the elves and instead waged war on them in order to collect the rings they had and obliterate everybody that he had taught the art of ring making to. He then later distributed rings to the Nine and the Dwarves. The rings failed against the dwarves due to their extreme differences in the way they were made and so he was only able to successful take control of the nine men and women that he provided rings to. The Three were subject to the One because I suspect that Sauron basically taught the elves a flawed art, reference Jade Empire where [[spoiler: the main character's master teaches him a martial art with a very subtle and almost impossible to find flaw which none-the-less allows said master to gank him at will]]. Basically, from a programming standpoint, each of the Sixteen rings that he successfully recovered (others might have existed and been destroyed) granted power and were built with the same back door with the One acting as a password/security key. The Three were created using the same basics, but they were created by the elves own design and, as such, the back door they held was much harder for Sauron to take advantage of. However, this showed Sauron that the elves of Eregion might just have learned enough to eventually learn how to unmake the One without resorting to massive armies of distraction and clever hobbits. As such, he annihilated them before they could pass that information on. By the time of Lord of the Rings, the large majority of the Dwarven rings are destroyed and some have been recovered by Sauron.
** Dwarves are explicitly referred to as being incapable of becoming Wraiths; their natural strength of mind and body repels it. The primary corruption of their Rings is to make them insatiably greedy, never satisfied with the wealth their powers bring them. The elvish rings are completely incorrupt; their powers are tied to the One Ring but they themselves do not corrupt. (As the Rings of Power were originally made ''by'' elves ''for'' elves, this makes sense.)
*** Wait a minute. How can the Three Rings be tied to the One Ring in any important way if the One Ring can't influence or corrupt the ones who wear them? It sounds like the Three Rings aren't rings of power at all; they're just nice Elven magic items that happen to be ring-shaped. Otherwise, the verse should have read "One ring to rule them all, except for three of them, but whatever."
**** The Three are subject to the One, but ''only when Sauron is actually wearing it.'' Fortunately, Sauron miscalculated, and the three Elf-lords immediately realized their danger as soon as he put the One on for the first time; they then took theirs off before he could control them, and never used them again ''until the One was cut off his finger and lost.''
*** The Dwarf Rings were said to become the basis of their future treasure hordes. In this case the "corruption" manifests as greed - the Rings increased their natural lust for wealth and this was eventually their undoing when their cities were overrun by Orcs or Dragons who wanted their stuff. Supposedly, many of the Dwarf Rings were therefore consumed by Dragon Fire and the rest were simply lost (one ended up in Dol Guldur, if memory serves, when Thorin's father was held captive and died there).
*** Sauron had four by the start of ''Fellowship'', including the one taken from Thráin in Dol Guldur. The other three were unaccounted for, presumed consumed by dragon fire.
** All three bearers of the Three Rings show up, actually, but that's not exactly made clear in the films. For the record, the last bearers of the Three Rings were Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf.
*** Also for the record, the original bearers were Gil-Galad, Galadriel, and Círdan the Shipwright, respectively.
** The Three Rings are governed by the One because ''all'' the Rings of Power were made using techniques that Sauron taught the Elves in the first place. The Three were the only Rings Of Power which he did not have a personal hand in making,hence why they didn't corrupt, but they still were governed by the One because of the fact they existed.
*** To clarify in modern terms, the Rings of Power are computer programs. The Nine Rings were loaded down with viruses and other malware that corrupted their users. The Seven Rings came packaged with adware of the Nigerian Bank variety, that the dwarves foolishly clicked on. As for the Three Rings, Sauron gave the elves the code for the program, leaving himself a back door to gain access whenever he wanted. Luckily, the elves' virus protection was up to date.

* Wasn't it a little daft for Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf to keep wearing the Three Rings, even when Frodo had made his way into Mordor and Sauron stood a very good chance of getting the One Ring back? Granted, Middle-Earth would be pretty much screwed no matter what if that happened, but by getting rid of the Three Rings they would get the chance to die honorably rather than be corrupted. Did they need to wear them for some reason? What do the Three Rings actually do?
** If Sauron gets the One Ring back, everybody's pretty much screwed anyway. They can take the Three off immediately after Sauron puts his Ring back on; they can sense it if he attempts to dominate them. The Three Rings have varying, but subtle powers, and only a few are expanded on in the books; Gandalf's ring lets him be inspiring, and Galadriel's preserves Lórien's timelessness. The specific powers of Elrond's ring is never made clear.
*** And the "sensing Sauron's attempts to dominate them and taking the rings off" is exactly what happened after Sauron first forged the One.
*** This time, though, it wouldn't matter. "their minds and hearts will become revealed to Sauron, if he regains the One. It would be better if the Three had never been. That is his purpose." Last time around, they hadn't really been used extensively before Sauron revealed his treachery.
** Is Gandalf's ring still lying around in a pit in Moria somewhere, or did it come along with him when he was promoted to Gandalf the White?
*** He didn't lose it in Moria. He fought the Balrog in Zirakzigil, the mountain peak above Moria, and died there. When he came back (naked) he probably picked up his ring before he got on the Eagle. The ring is not something he would tell his friends about casually, so it's not surprising he left it out of his account later on.
*** Gandalf did wear Narya when he left at the Grey Havens at the end of the [=LotR=], so he would have either recovered it or never lost it in the first place.
*** I always assumed that Eru simply breathed new life into Gandalf's physical body and healed the damage wrought by the Balrog. Hence, the ring would still be on his finger. As for being naked, that was just a visual effect from the films - I don't recall it happening in the books.
**** "''Naked I was sent back -- for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top.''" ([=LotR=] III, ch. 5). He gets re-clothed in white in Lothlórien.
**** The naked part is easy enough to explain and still be the body he died in that still wore the ring, he just spent how long in hand to hand combat with a being made pretty much out of pure fire, anything not magicaly protected, like the ring of fire he wore, was problly a pile of char somewhere along the way.
**** "Naked" might not have the most obvious meaning here. Maiar and Valar see their physical bodies as a sort of clothing. Then again, the Istari are apparently unique in being clothed in actual human bodies to mask their true power.

* Oh, hey that's right, dragonfire. Gandalf ''did'' mention that a dragon's fire was enough to destroy a Ring of Power. That doesn't actually bug me, I'm just getting a kick out of imagining his face after confirming that Bilbo's ring was the One Ring. "All right, where's that guy with the Black Arrow? We're going to have ''words''..."
** You're joking, right? Try rescripting the War of the Ring, only with the addition of Smaug to Sauron's forces. It lasts about half an hour each at the Hornburg and Minas Tirith, plus flight time from Erebor. Do you think it was a ''coincidence'' that Gandalf suddenly manipulated an expedition against Smaug into existence shortly after Gandalf's first experience in Dol Guldur had let him know that "the Necromancer" was in fact Sauron? Smaug ''had'' to be taken out of the picture before Sauron could get his own operations moving, or else the next thing you know the Witch-King of Angmar would have been out there riding not on a Fell Beast, but on a scaly tactical nuke with wings.
*** Someone at some point mentions the possibility of an ''alliance'' between Sauron and Smaug, but it doesn't seem like Smaug would have been entirely Sauron's to control. I certainly can't see him taking orders from a mere Nazgûl.
** Gandalf did say dragonfire was enough to destroy the Seven, but he also said that not even the greatest dragons of legend had fire hot enough to melt the One Ring. The only place in Middle-earth the Ring could be destroyed was Mount Doom. Now, in his notes, Tolkien did say a smith of sufficient skill could unmake the Ring, but only Fëanor and Aulë are said to be skilled enough. Neither of them were available to help the fellowship, and I wouldn't trust Fëanor anywhere near the One Ring, anyway.
*** Mind what you say. Fëanor can't be tempted by the Ring no more than any other High Elf. Plus, he's much too proud to be dominated by the will of a mere Maia. Remember, this is the guy who ''slammed the door on [[BigBad Morgoth's]] face!''
**** I'm not so sure. Someone above said something to the effect of "wearing the Ring basically gives you Valar-level Reality Warping powers", which is in line with what the Ring itself inspires its bearers to think it can do. Now imagine Fëanor, the Ultimate (mortal) Crafter, getting his hands on that...
*** High Elves ''can'' be tempted by the Ring (Galadriel sure was); they just seem to be wise and knowledgeable enough to recognize what's happening and say "no". In any case, I'd think the risk with Fëanor is less that the Ring would enslave him and more that he'd ''reverse-engineer'' the thing, and Fëanor with his very own shiny Ring of Power (which might even be superior to Sauron's- he doesn't have the same raw metaphysical force to charge it with that a Maia would, but Aulë aside he's the only artificer known for certain to exceed Sauron's skills and might be able to compensate for that) is the ''last'' thing Arda needs.
*** You cannot rob me of my entertaining image of Gandalf's [[Main/OhCrap incredulous face]]. Though I will wonder what exactly Aulë was doing at the time. I know, I know, the Valar were staying out of the whole thing, but I'm trying to remember if Aulë actually did anything after making the dwarves.
**** Forget Gandalf's Oh Crap face, my favorite mental image of all time is Sauron's, after realising he just got owned BIG TIME!
**** They discuss this during the Council meeting. Even if they had tried sending it to the Valar, it wouldn't have reached them, as anybody they could have sent would likely be corrupted en route, the ring's own malignant nature ensuring that it would fall into the Sea or return to land, and, either way, eventually reach its master.
*** There is that [[WildMassGuessing theory]] that Aulë is Tom Bombadil...
** Plus the dragon would have to actually be willing to destroy the ring (or tricked in some way). However, the dragons we see in canon seem much more likely to outsmart the bearer and take the ring for themself. Some of them might even have the smarts and force of personality to give Sauron a run for his money. Could you imagine how destructive a dragon v. Sauron war would be? Now, to give you nightmares, Bilbo wears the ring in the same room as Smaug.

* What, so Mount Doom was the ''only'' active volcano in the entire world?
** The only active volcano ''in range''.
*** Also, if it was said that it could only be destroyed where it was made, that would probably exclude any other volcanoes.
** The only volcano a Maia is currently using as a forge, and maintaining foot access into the magma chamber (and no, I don't know how that works). Most volcanos don't have superhot lava lying round in pools you can just walk up to - either the stuff at the surface is relatively cool (and may be solidified, blocking the pipes), or there's an actual eruption taking place right now, which means you can't get near it.

* What would have eventually happened to Gollum, had he kept the One Ring and stayed under the mountain? The nine kings of men turned into the Nazgûl under Sauron's influence, and Gollum had gradually changed from the hobbit-like Smeagol into an immortal, goblin-like creature by its influence. Would he have kept changing under its influence, until he slipped into the realm of shadows and become some sort of miniature ring-wraith (and, at that point, probably fallen under Sauron's direct control and handed the Ring over)? Or had the Ring already done as much as it could do to him?
** It probably did all that it could to him. When Sauron woke up he started "calling" the Ring back to him, but he couldn't directly control the Ring's holder for whatever reason. Since Gollum hated to leave the caves, the Ring waited for the appropriate opportunity to get itself found by somebody who would pick it up and take it elsewhere.
** We're told that Gollum stopped wearing the ring (except when he needed to be invisible), and that's why he didn't become a wraith. That's presumably why Sauron couldn't directly control him, either: the ring spent most of its time on that little rocky island, not Gollum's finger.

* What happened to the nine rings that the Nazgûl wore? Did they vanish as soon as they'd worked their effects on the Men who wore them, or are there stray (and hopefully defunct) Rings of Power scattered on the ground at the end of the story, wherever one of the Nine was vanquished?
** Considering how old the Nazgûl were, they probably kept the Rings on them to extend their lifespan and enable them to use all those neat wraith abilities; if they lost them, they'd probably go like Bilbo and wither away. Chances are the rings vanished once Sauron was destroyed, since his malign will was all that was keeping them extant in the half-spirit world that the wraiths existed in.
*** The Nine, along with those of the Seven that were in Sauron's possession, were most likely destroyed along with the One. As far as keeping hold of the Nine, Gandalf at least states that "the Nine the Nazgûl keep." Having them attached to the spirits of the Nazgûl would make sense, since it means that when they return to Mordor after the debacle at the Ford of Bruinen, they keep their rings with them.

* What did Sauron do with the Seven Rings for Dwarves? We know he'd collected all or most of the ones that dragons hadn't destroyed, but what did he actually do with them? He put the Nine Rings for Mortal Men to good use by giving them to his lieutenants, but were there any ring-bearing dwarves going around doing Sauron's bidding too?
** No as the Dwarves could not be enslaved this way. It is explained and told several times in the book itself.
*** Then what did he do with them, then? Did he just keep them in a vault? Did he give them to some dwarfs who, while not mentally dominatable, were still cowed enough by Sauron's power to do what he said? Did he give them to some humans to use (if Gandalf can use an elf ring and hobbits use Sauron's ring, it's possible that humans could use a dwarf ring)?
**** Presumably he wore them himself, to build up his own power.
**** Four of the Dwarf rings were consumed by Dragons (apparently they were easier to destroy than the One Ring). The other three were in Sauron's possession. He offered them to Dáin II Ironfoot, via a Nazgûl messenger, if he could find & return the One Ring to Sauron. The messenger did not identify the One Ring as such, simply saying a hobbit, who Dáin and his friends once knew, had stolen "a trifle that Sauron fancies", and Dáin would be greatly rewarded if he helped Sauron get it back.
* The Rings of Power will give you what you desire, and protect you from what you fear, but at a great price:
** Men (Humans) fear death and desire power over other men; the Nine Rings assured that their wearers do not die (although they aren't really alive any more), and gave them the ability to control and dominate others; it was said that the Nazgûl were great kings.
** Elves fear change and decay; they desire to preserve all beautiful things unstained. The Three Rings enable them to create enclaves in which time and change are slowed. However, they have a tendency to retreat into those enclaves and not engage with the world.
** Dwarves fear poverty and desire wealth; the Seven Rings increased their natural greed to the point of insanity.
** No rings were made for Hobbits, but Hobbits being small and weak desire ways to elude their enemies. JRRT says that their natural magic was 'the ordinary sort that enables them to disappear quickly and quietly when large, stupid folk like you and me come blundering along. . ." Thus, the four Hobbits (Smeagol, Bilbo, Frodo, Sam) who got their hands on a Ring of Power used it to become invisible.
*** But the One Ring made Isildur invisible, too.
*** Isildur, at that point, wanted to hide from orcs. That being well within the Ring's power, it obliged him- and then realized that slipping away and revealing him at an inoppurtune moment would be a ''great'' way of disposing of an unwanted wielder...
**** The rings work on the level of the physical and the spiritual world (the Wraith world), which exist side by side (Gandalf warns Frodo about this when told about encountering the Nazgûl on Weathertop). Elves, because of their semi-divine bodies, exist in both worlds, so when Frodo saw Glorfindel while wearing the ring, he saw him clearly as a mighty Elf-Lord, where everything else was murky. If an elf put on the ring, he probably wouldn't turn invisible. The ring wouldn't work well for the dwarves either, because they are highly resistant to magic. However, humans are fully mortal. As a result, they are partially pulled into the wraith world, making them near invisible (there's still a wavy outline around a mortal ring wearer). It's not that the ring was made to make people invisible, it was a side-effect due to the ring bearer being a mortal.
* Given how dramatic an effect the One Ring had on Gollum and Frodo (just after bearing it for a relatively short time, he was already being drastically worn down by it), why did the same thing not happen to Bilbo, who had it for considerably longer than Frodo? By that time in Gollum's possession of it, wasn't he already seriously going crazy?
** Couple of reasons. One, Bilbo rarely used the Ring after his initial adventure, so it didn't have as much of an oppurtunity to corrupt him. Two, Sauron was weaker while Bilbo had the Ring ''and'' the Shire is a long distance from Mordor; the Ring's power grows as Sauron's does, and as it gets closer to Mount Doom. Third, Gandalf theorizes that because Bilbo's first act after claiming the Ring was to spare Gollum when he could have killed him, it gave him a degree of insulation from the worst of its effects. Gollum, by contrast, literally ''murdered'' for the Ring, while Frodo didn't really do anything noteworthy in a moral sense either way for a while after claiming it, and these things matter.
*** Another note -- According to Tolkien's timeline, Gollum had the ring a lot longer (~ 500 years) than Bilbo (~ 60 years) did. So it had a lot longer to work on him.

* If someone had all the rings in their possession including the one ring,what would be their abilities be?
** Presumably, very great (assuming you can actually wield more than one Ring of Power at a time, which is never stated). However, it's worth noting that the One works best when ''other people'' have the other Rings, since you can use it to enslave them and get perfectly loyal lieutenants that way ''a la'' the Nazgûl.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Nazgûl]]
* If the Nazgûl are invisible except for their clothes, than why not have them strip naked most of the time? It would really help stealth operations if no on could see them. Here is a practical application: during the battle of Minas Tirth, have a fell beast with one visible and one invisible Nazgûl fly over the wall. Have the invisible one jump off at a low distance and them quietly sneak up to where the gate wench was. Have him kill the guards with his fists of death (or just strangle them) and then open the gate for the massive orc army that was waiting outside.
** Because without their robes they are "empty and without shape", as Gandalf explained. They travelled a great deal of their journey towards Shire unclothed, as an invisible aura of fear (they can travel invisible, but not undetected), but in that shape they don't have power to affect the physical world. It would seem that the robes give them the memory of physical body, which allows them to do physical things. Remember that in the book the Nazgûl did very little physical fighting. That just isn't their forte; their greatest power is always fear.
*** The Nazgûl are incorporeal beings. If a Nazgûl takes off his glove, there is no hand inside that can hold objects. He can only wield a sword/ride a horse/walk on the ground indirectly by wearing a suit of armor or clothing.
** Given that the Nine are apparently so rubbish, why didn't Sauron send more effective agents after "Baggins"?
*** Who would be more effective? You want agents who are intelligent, can cover large distances quickly without being noticed, will know the Ring when they find it and be completely loyal about returning it. The Nazgûl are pretty much perfect - the only drawback is that they're not very subtle, but the fear effect is effective for extracting information, and hardly anyone is going to try to fight them. Besides which they aren't the only ones out there, it's often stated that Sauron has many spies, and we know that e.g. Bill Ferny works for Saruman at least.
*** There's also a problem of geography. In order to get to the Shire from Mordor you have to either go through the gap of Rohan, the Mines of Moria, or the pass through the Misty Mountains at Rivendell. The only servants Sauron has capable of surviving any of the above ''besides'' the Nazgûl are whatever Black Númenóreans might still be serving him, and Sauron would be an absolute idiot to let any of ''them'' get a moment alone with the Ring of Power several thousand miles from Barad-dûr.
*** Rubbish, huh? Well, let's see. They were utterly enslaved, meaning they could be trusted to go anywhere (the above already covers the Ring itself). They were rich, powerful men in their lifetimes, and are all 4000+ years old at the time of the War of the Ring, thus combining (when robed) physical strength that would be on the high side for men with about 100 times the experience of even the most grizzled veteran. They have the ability to dispense fear disproportionate to their actual threat level. When unrobed, they can cross hostile territory with impunity even if detected. The Witch-King is powerful enough to give Gandalf pause (or a [[CurbStompBattle whupping]] if Jackson is to be believed). They can make you ill or dead just by being around. And, as long as their boss is not utterly broken. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis They. Cannot. Die.]] If you ask me, the Nazgûl were pretty [[AwesomeYetPractical boss]].
* Why did Sauron enchant nine of the Rings to transform their wearers into Nazgûl, in the first place? Giving those Rings to rulers of Men was a ploy to gain control over nine nations of humans, but no king who transforms into a wraith is going to retain political power: his subjects will be scared to even come near him, let alone offer him fealty.
** The rings weren't specifically enchanted to turn their bearers into wraiths - it's a side effect, and one that takes a ''very'' long time to kick in. The bodies of Men simply aren't built for immortality; the rings tie their souls to Middle-Earth but can't prevent their physical forms from slowly withering away over the centuries. By the time the Nine showed obvious signs of being wraiths they would have been ruling their kingdoms for generations, long enough for none of their followers to remember a time before their reign. Combine that with their mandating Sauron-worship throughout their realms and the transition from 'Immortal (but physical) King' to 'Supernatural Regent of your true, divine ruler Sauron' should proceed fairly smoothly.
*** If the Witch-King is any indication of the general evilness of rule of the nine kings, getting a wraith for king would probably make little difference for most of the subjects concerned.
* Weathertop. I'm somewhat confused as to just how capable the Nazgûl are in a stand-up fight. If there were five of them on Weathertop, in darkness, and they were at all powerful warriors, wouldn't that have been the absolute ''best time'' for them to press their advantage ruthlessly and take the ring right away? They just had to get through Aragorn and four hobbits, after all. Aragorn would prove a tough nut to crack, of course, but the other four were at this time completely untrained in fighting. If they were at all capable in a straight fight, they should have been able to snatch it away immediately rather than just stabbing Frodo and then pulling back, waiting for him to turn into a wraith.
** No need to risk fighting a Númenorian Badass and risk their bodies. Just stab the ring-bearer with the Dagger of Death, and wait for him to became a wraith slave, already obedient to them, to surrender, attack the others, or simly throw the ring away for them. The group was miles from help and nobody knew they where there so they could just wait for Frodo to pass to the Shadow, while slowing the others also. Pretty much worked, and I guess the Nazgûl where laughhing their dark asses off just a few steps from their camp fire. But when [[{{Badass}} Glorfindel]] showed up, with the extra fast horse and his powers, ''then'' they got desperate, and not only chased them to Riverdell but also even tryed to pass the river when they hated the water. Actually ''Gandalf'' saved the day again, because he was who sent the elf prince to save their asses.
*** Actually, the Hobbits were more dangerous in that point then they looked. And in the Books, they weren't complete wusses. Each of them was actually carrying an Anti-Nazgûl Blade (Which one of them lead to the Nazgûl Leaders defeat) which were essentially the Good version of the Morgul Blade. If that blade hit, their immortality might of actually been lost...a tactical error, since they clearly underestimated the Proto-Fellowship.
*** Actually, Glorfindel had already set out by the time gandalf arrived with his warning. IIRC it was Gildor the Elf who sent warning to Elrond after saving the Hobbits from the Black Rider in the Shire.
** The point in the book that the Witch-King retreats after wounding him is when Frodo prays to Elbereth. Even if they don't seriously expect her to help, they're not going to risk the 1% chance when they can just back off and wait.
** Peter Jackson had the same riddle to solve: why did they not wrestle the Ring from Frodo before even Aragorn had shown up, or simply stab all Hobbits to death and search their bodies? He designed the movie scene to suggest the Ring somehow had a mystical power over them and they could not take the Ring from a Ringbearer as long as he did not surrender it, either willingly or under torture (the stab of the Morgul blade is made to appear very painful).
* This one concerns the Nazgûl's "fell-steeds": ''where did they come from''? It's been shown that evil can't make creatures, only alter pre-existing ones. They seem too weak and decrepit to have come from the Eagles, and they're sure as hell no fallen spirit like the Balrogs. On top of that, where did the Nazgûls get their horses from, if their only steeds are the aforementioned fell-things?
** The Fell Beasts are speculated in the book to be creatures "of an older world". I always figured they were something natural, but from Middle-Earth's prehistory, and Sauron found a clutch of surviving ones and decided to give them to the Nazgûl. The horses are explicitly said to be normal horses that were simply raised around the Nazgûl so they wouldn't react violently to them the way ordinary animals do.
** If [[Tropers/EmperorOshron I]] recall correctly, one reader during Tolkien's time wrote a letter to him asking if the fell-beasts were pterosaurs, based on their description (the films leave out the beaks that they have in the books), and Tolkien wrote back that he had never considered them as being similar to pterosaurs while writing but admitted that they were very "pterodactyllic" and may have been descended from a relict population of pterosaurs. Personally, I am of the opinion that they are, indeed, the last living pterosaurs and, like many other creatures, have been enslaved by Sauron.
* Now, there was only one Nazgûl that we ever learned his name, and that was [[http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Kham%C3%BBl Khamûl the Black Easternling]], ruler of both Rhûn and Harad. Now, I remember the Men of the East and South worshiped Sauron as a God of Fire, right? Well, did he still rule Rhûn and Harad until his death? Normally, having a undead wraith ruling your country may be a turn-off for others, but if Sauron is God, I'd guess they'd view Khamûl as a Angel, and be more willing to fight for him if he's directly leading them, right?
* Did the Witch-King really die when Eowyn stabbed him? Gandalf states earlier in the book that the Ringwraiths can't truly die while Sauron lives. Was the Witch-King truly gone, or only disembodied, so he had to return to Sauron where he could have been restored later, if the Ring hadn't been destroyed and Sauron killed?
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Orcs and the nature of Evil]]
* What exactly is it that makes Orcs irredeemably [[AlwaysChaoticEvil evil]]?
** Orcs were made the Valar Morgoth, and he made them that way. How exacly they were created was a topic Tolkien never could finish in his life, so there are several versions, although the most common seem to be that they were corrupted from existing creatures. Tolkien also had problems with the whole philosophical issue on why or wether orcs were irredeemably evil, but on this too he could never finish on a (for him) satisfactory final decision; see the Main/AlwaysChaoticEvil page.
** From what the Silmarillion says, Orcs hate everything- even their creators, because all they have done is make them live in misery. As mockeries of the Elves and Men, Orcs are twisted half-imitations, and thanks to the ultimate impotence of evil in Middle-earth, cosmically denied the ability to create or appreciate beauty. That's putting aside their savage societies and their near-constant state of warfare with the rest of the world. Is it really so surprising they're such hateful, sadistic things?
*** Evil cannot create in Middle-earth. It lacks the Secret Fire- the ''divine spark,'' if you will. In fact, strictly speaking, no new thing can exist in Middle-earth without Eru Ilúvatar (God) granting it His blessing- the only reason he allows the creatures of evil to live is the principle that no evil can exist in Middle-earth without in turning greater glorifying His work. As a result, Morgoth had to have bred all of his monsters from warping the originally-intended creatures of Middle-earth, so it's certain orcs are warped versions of something. The Silmarillion says elves- Tolkien wasn't sure about that, but that was his most solid idea.
**** Then how were the Dwarves created? Some blacksmith god made them, not Eru.
***** Because, after he created them, as sort of puppets, extensions of his own will, Eru breathed the divine spark into them, bringing them to life.
***** By the way, trolls are supposed to be warped versions of ents, in case anybody's wondering. It's in the [[AllThereInTheManual Letters]].
****** It's in [=LotR=] as well, when they talk to Treebeard. He also mentions that orcs were corrupted from elves.
****** What are dragons, then? They seem to be AlwaysChaoticEvil in Middle-earth. Are they just really, really corrupted lizards? Or are they originally good creatures who went bad, like the balrogs?
**** Best theroies out there are that the dragons ARE lesser maia that Morgoth crammed into that form and put in ShapeshifterModeLock
** Sounds like Eru has one hell of an OmniscientMoralityLicense.
*** Such is a traditional perk of omnipotent creators of all existence.
*** He's also the god of FantasticRacism.
*** Eru isn't racist. He didn't create the Orcs to be AlwaysChaoticEvil. He created Elves who were turned by Morgoth into Orcs. And who says all Orcs are evil? It's quite plausible that there were many dissidents from evil that we never learn about because Sauron and Morgoth would have purged their ranks of any dissenters.
** Just as an interesting corollary, the Silmarillion mentions that, when the Númenóreans came back to Middle-Earth at the end of the Second Age, that all races participated in that huge war. He mentions, briefly, that every general race had members on both sides, excluding the elves, who only fought in the Last Alliance. This rings true when you go down the list:Men, Dwarves, birds (Eagles and crows, for example), beasts (horses or wolves), and others all make sense. But this implies that some Orcs fought on the side of Elendil's banner. It's important to remember that The Silmarillion and most of the lost tales written by Elvish authors, while the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are told directly from Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam's hand, in the Red Book of the Westmarch. And Tolkien loved to mention just how many unknown and unexplained things existed in Middle-earth (like Tom Bombadil, the Watcher in the Water, etc.)Heroic Orcs could've been an intentional oversight by biased authors. Though they may get acknowledgment, like in the aforementioned line, they would be in no way lauded. This makes sense when you take into consideration in how many letters Tolkien showed sympathy to the Orcs. He said that he regretted painting them in such black and white shades, and added that they were probably misunderstood or misrepresented. As he didn't write himself as an omniscient narrator, this leaves a good backdoor explanation.
*** "All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-galad. Of the Dwarves, few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron."
** Orcs aren't irredeemably evil, just very very hard to bring to a HeelFaceTurn. So much so that the ''easiest'' way is to kill their bodies, sending their spirits to the Halls of Mandos so that ''he'' can deal with it. It's his job.
*** In fact, one way that Sauraman might have gotten involved with orcs is by attempting (out of pride and a desire to do good) to redeem them - and failing.
** At least one adaptation showed dissent among orcs as to their willingness to fight implying many were slaves to sauron and would rather be left alone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXQJS3Yv0Y

* Tolkien played around with another concept: that the Orcs were really animated by bits of spirit shattered off Morgoth's own. Since '''he's''' ChaoticEvil, that follows.
** He also considered making them descendent from humans instead of elves, as that would make less complications in the manner of "Are orcs immortal?", "where do they go when they die?" (which are very popular debates out there on the net btw). Seeming as he died before changing anything, the elves are established as the ancestors of orcs. Tolkien had a hard time dealing with it.
* Do orcs have genders? They must be able to reproduce sexually if they can be cross-bred with Men, and the rate at which they multiply is too great to produce by capturing and corrupting individual elves. Also, Azog was explicitly called Bolg's father, though they may have been father and son as elves before becoming corrupted. Are all the female orcs hidden away like the female dwarves? Or perhaps the male and female orcs look and behave exactly the same? In any case, how does an AlwaysChaoticEvil species keep itself alive, much less spread? It's hard to imagine orcs setting aside attention and resources for the sake of their young, even if they were under orders to do so. Whenever we see orcs interacting with each other, they're always ready and eager to kill each other even when doing very important business for Sauron that requires that they not kill each other. Orc children, being smaller and relatively helpless, would be killed as soon as they posed an inconvenience, and human children are inconvenient enough, so just imagine how difficult orc children would be!
** Perhaps that is why we do not see other Orcs other than adult males, much like bears they are a threat to the young so the females keep their offspring seperate and only get together with the males for the purpose of reproduction.
** We only see orcs in (apparently) all-male war situations, and humans in that situation become unusually violent. Furthermore, the violence we do see is mostly between ethnic groups or units answering to different officers, rather than within them. The exceptions are enforcing military discipline a long way from home, and fighting over illegal loot: neither of these are circumstances where modern militaries shine, never mind orcs! There could well be less intra-group violence in non-combat situations.
** "''There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known.''" ~Creator/JRRTolkien, 1963
* Summary of ideas Tolkien had for the origin of Orcs:
** -They were made by Morgoth, from rock and/or slime. This was the original idea but got discarded when Tolkien decided to make the power of creating truly independent life Iluvatar-only.
** -They were corrupted Elves. This is the closest thing to a 'canonical' answer as LoTR at least hints at it and the published Silmarillion goes with this. Later on, though, Tolkien had philosophical issues with this (how Morgoth could have turned Elves with free will into an AlwaysChaoticEvil race, as well as a bunch of problems raised by Elvish 'reincarnation').
** -They were corrupted Men. Tolkien leaned this way at one point in his later writings, but it would have required a lot of rewriting, since as written Orcs appeared before Men existed. This solves the reincarnation problem, but not the free will one; but later Tolkien tended to suggest that Orcs weren't entirely without at least the potential for good, though it was buried under ages of evil culture and indoctrination and such.
** -They were corrupted Maiar, like weaker Balrogs. Again, this was hinted at in later writings; it seems to have applied only to the top-level Orc chieftains.
** -They were constructs of Morgoth, without any real soul at all. Rather a return to the original 'creations of Morgoth' approach, but this doesn't seem to have lasted long, though it did produce some quotes that appear repeatedly to confuse online discussions of Orc nature.
** -They were (apelike?) animals bred into humanlike forms and given some intelligence & speech capability by Morgoth, as a mockery of Men and Elves. This solves the free will issue (and the fate-after-death one), but Tolkien ran into problems with it because Shagrat & Gorbag in [=LoTR=] seem to be acting like actual people.
** -They were not AlwaysChaoticEvil but were merely prone to it through upbringing, which the Shagrat example seem to suggest, coupled with the fact that Orcs are either incredibly long lived enough to have been personally corrupted like Elves (Shagrat seems to remember the "Great War") or incredibly short-lived due to their propensity for violence. Such a lifestyle would not encourage Orcs to [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch protest too much]].
* Tolkien never really resolved it, though he may have been leaning towards a mixed origin (corrupted Men, with maybe some Elves thrown in, and chieftains as corrupted Maiar); Morgoth's Ring (History of Middle Earth 10) contains most of the discussion of this.
* Now, about the Uruk-Hai. In the movies, it's implied they are a Man/Orc hybrid, but I think Tolkien said it was more usually a Orc/Goblin hybird. But, unlike the movie, aren't Goblins not supposed to be a sub-race and is just Hobbit slang for Orcs, and those Orcs that live in the mountains? So, is it like every 1 out of 5 Orc kids has a chance of being a Uruk in this case?
** Uruks are a specific "race" of Orcs, the product of centuries of selective breeding by Sauron. Whereas Morgoth was perfectly happy with the Orcs being this chaotic rabble of nightmares destroying everything, Sauron wanted total control and order of Middle-Earth, and the Orcs as they were weren't very useful for that purpose. So he went about "improving" them, selecting for strength and intelligence, until he basically had a race of Super Soldiers to do his bidding. These are the Uruk-Hai. Saruman did something similar to breed his army, but it's only ever vaguely implied what he did. The whole Man-Orc Hybrid theory is put forth by Treebeard, because there's something different about Saruman's Orcs that no one can quite put their finger on, but it's never explicitly confirmed. It's not impossible for an Uruk-like Orc to be born naturally, since Uruk-ness comes out of natural traits Sauron selected for, but a true Uruk-Hai is not a natural creature.
* A touch of FridgeBrilliance: LotR and the associated books are ostensibly drawn from Elvish records, or from Mannish records based on same. Perhaps an account of the period written by non-partisan chroniclers might have retained or revealed ambiguities or exceptions to the Orcs' and Trolls' unbroken, monotonous record of wickedness. Impossible to say now.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Power and "Magic"]]
* Magic is a term used by the ill-educated people of Middle-Earth in the same way that those people refer to the Valar and Ainur as gods, Sauron included. The elves, or at least old ones like Galadriel, don't really understand what is meant by it. In general, it seems that magic is a combination of PsychicPowers, Sufficiently Advanced Technology and DivineIntervention.
* Why didn't Saruman use his magic? After turning evil, I doubt he'd care very much of the restrictions the Valar put on him. Why didn't he cut loose and blow and nuke Helm's deep?
** Those who turn evil begin to lose their power as they have turned away from the path of Eru and he stops providing them power.
** It's all about how much you can get away with before you attract too much attention. Melkor/Morgoth, the Main/BigBad before Sauron, trampled Middle-earth freely until the Elves showed up, and then the Valar tied him up and held him captive for a few millenia. And then, after doing some more major destruction, got himself tossed out in the Void. Not cool. Granted the Valar weren't really active at all by Lord of the Ring times, but a confrontation with a suped up Gandalf (dun dun dun daa!! Main/BackFromTheDead and in all new white!) probably wasn't high on his "to do" list either.
** Plus, magic in TheLordOfTheRings isn't exactly a powerful force - having Saruman actually zap Gandalf in the LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition was, in this troper's opinion, a step too far. Magic in Middle-earth should be subtle.
*** Gandalf's magic wasn't exactly subtle when he fought the Nazgûl on Weathertop; Aragorn and the hobbits could see the flashes of light from three days' hike away.
*** It's only subtle because the Wizards were limited by what the Valar let them get away with most of the time. When Gandalf let loose against the Balrog they both made a lightning storm on a mountain top, and Galadriel used her ring to blow up the Necromancer's fortress in the BackStory.
**** I've always been under the impression (and it's some years since I read the Silmarillion) that, even though the various magic-users were capable of some quite impressive stuff, it was still low on pyrotechnics. The "lightning storm" wasn't lightning bolts being thrown from staffs and Galadriel didn't literally "blow up" anything - she just undermined the magic that held the tower in place or whatever. The wizards might have been intentionally limited, but there doesn't seem to be any reason that anyone else doesn't chuck fireballs around, except for the fact that the setting is generally low on the flashy magic that comes up so often in later fantasy.
**** Indeed, there hasn't been "flashy" magic in Middle-earth since the Elder Days, or possibly even the times right after the world's creation. Remember that even the Valar, effectively gods, relied mostly on hand-to-hand combat, although extremely massive and impressive kind, when they went to open battle. Even Morgoth, Sauron's old master never used any nuke 'em all-kind of magic. Gandalf speaks of his own limitations in the books: he can create fire and lightning, but not without [[ElementalBaggage something to work with]]. As he says, [[ElementalBaggage "I can't burn snow"]].
***** That was due to physical limitations, in this case. Recently, Galadriel had used the power of her Ring to blow up the Necromancer's fortress, so nuke'em magic was present.
****** Nowhere at ''any'' point was it ever mentioned that Galadriel would have blown up anything at all with magic. She even mentions that she holds no powers of war, that her power while great, acts in more subtle ways - none of the Three Rings holds the power of combat and subjugation of others, in any case. The Council of the Wise drove the Necromancer off from Mirkwood, but the methods were never specified. Magic was undoubtedly involved, but not of blowing stuff up-variety.
******* The quote referred to about Galadriel is from Appendix B: "They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed." This sure sounds like a blast of some sort, but when Lúthien does the same thing to a different stronghold of Sauron, it's explicitly removing the magic holding it together, so this might be a similar case.
******** I always interpreted "Galadriel threw down" to figuratively mean "Galadriel's army lay seige to and destroyed". When we say "Pompey knocked down the Jerusalem temple" we don't mean he literally hit it with his sword until it collapsed.
******** She probably did something like cause a forest's worth of trees to grow up and undermine it's foundations (Magrat does something similar on a smaller scale in ''Weird Sisters'').
******* The closest thing to one of the Three giving power in regards to combat is Gandalf, who had the Ring of Fire (and showed an unusual mastery of fire, although his most dramatic use when fighting the Wargs required the use of fire that was already there. And was pretty much limited to setting trees and weapons on fire). Even then, though, the Ring is said to be more for rekindling hearts, and defending Gandalf from weariness.
****** Whatever other magic existed in the world, Saruman's powers were always rooted in deception, manipulation and control, not out and out firepower. Creating a gigantic army of supersoldiers (all the strength and ferocity of orcs, but with the ability to go out in the day) out of nowhere, and unleashing them on his enemies WAS Saruman cutting loose with his powers.
*** Galadriel's power was in no way destructive. She was able to destroy Dol Gulder by using the Ring to cleanse it of the evil power that was holding its rotted and corrupted structure together. The things Sauron was doing there were so atrocious that the building would never have been held together were it not for evil magic. The same goes for Sauron's stronghold in the Silmarillion, and how Lúthien was able to destroy that.
**** Magic fire would have the same destructive properties as real fire, but sometimes even stronger, sauron's magic that holds up towers that real rock and metal could not must contain a lot of strength in them and so being able to crumble those buildings is in fact a display of great power, especailly in Middle Earth in which the world was in fact contructed by magic and that magic users in LOTR are just in fact small scale reality warpers or matter manipulators.
*** Galadriel and Lúthien certainly had incredible powers, but all magic worked in more subtle ways in the books than depicted in most media. When Sauron battled Lúthien, he was defeated in wolf-form by Huan and Lúthien only challenged him once he was physically subdued. When Sauron battled Finrod, they did it by "songs of power", since words and music seemed to be the [[NonElemental primary forms of magic]]. Words were also Saruman's primary power.
*** There's the very interesting passage after the Chamber of Mazarbul. Gandalf first of all tried to "put a shutting spell on the door ... but to things of that kind rightly requires time, and even then the door can be broken by force". Then the Balrog notices him, and starts using a counterspell to force the door open against Gandalf's hold; Gandalf panics: "I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces ... and I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well." From an earlier description, there was also a "stab of white light". It seems from this that initially the magic used is just a tug of war. Once Gandalf speaks the word of command, either he can't control the forces he's using, or the physical door and wall can't; hence the explosion. It doesn't seem like a deliberate use of magic to blow things up, and neither he nor the Balrog tries it again.
* Saruman's title is "Saruman the White." Upon defection, he became "Saruman of many colours." Now, white is every colour combined, so didn't Saruman take a few steps down the ladder, from all colours to many colours?
** Well, think of it as a mirror shattering in many pieces as symbolic of Saruman's original purpose and intent.
** Gandalf raises this point after Saruman declares his new title ("I preferred white better"). Saruman is dismissive, saying [paraphrased] "Bah white is a beginning, it may be broken to make something new". Evil's compulsion to break things down in order to 'improve' them is a recurring theme in Tolkien's works, after all.
*** Gandalf's reply in reference to the prism analogy: ''"He who breaks a thing to find out how it is made has left the path of wisdom."'' Which leads to a bit of FridgeLogic. Basically, Saruman's ideology is a paraphrase of '"you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."''
**** Now there's a quote I'd love to hear from Christopher Lee!
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The Dead Men of Dunharrow]]
* Why did Aragorn agree to let the ghosts go after the battle for Minas Tirith was won, instead of just initially negotiating so that he would let them go after they trashed the Witch-king's army ''and'' Mordor's?
** [[AdaptationDisplacement In the book]], he didn't even take them to Minas Tirith: he took them to Belfalas on the southern coast of Gondor, which they liberated from the pirates of Umbar, and then released them.
** He probably didn't think of it until later, and by that time it was too late. A deal is a deal and all that.
** ...and who's to say Sauron didn't have some "Ghost Repellent Spray" stored away in that eyeball of his? That's the excuse I always used.
** http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1258
** Leading an army of malevolent ghosts into the home turf of the most mystically powerful and utterly evil being on the continent, who at one time was known as 'The Necromancer', and who at one time was ''worshipped as a god by those very same ghosts''... strikes this troper as a great way to get eaten by an army of malevolent ghosts. Especially when the the term of your contract with those ghosts is for only one battle, and you've already used them once.
** Also, the ghosts didn't really, you know, ''do'' anything. Any physical fighting, at least. Their main contribution was just terrifying the ever-loving crap out of their enemies.
** From what I recall, the dead army was bound by two oaths: the pledge to defend Gondor, and their secret dark bonds to Sauron. They worshiped him, performing rituals and sacrifices in his name. I'm guessing that's a large part of what prevented them from dying in peace. Aragorn summoned them to fight in Gondor's defence, but they probably couldn't actually attack Mordor because they were tied to Sauron as well. After fighting for Gondor, they no longer had two conflicting oaths because they'd fulfilled their duty to the Steward, meaning they could vanish in peace.
** The ghosts ''DO'' do something! They cause the Corsairs to flee their ships in terror, allowing Aragorn and the Grey Company (a group of Northern Rangers) to convince the local armed forces (also Gondorian) to join them in taking the ships, and using them to sail to the Pelennor Fields to reinforce Minas Tirith and the Rohirrim, their support being crucial to the victory. The Dead Men would have been ineffective at the battle, as ''everyone'' would have been terrified of them. Aragorn ''could'' technically have kept them around, but part of fulfilling his duties as a king (a major theme of the book) was in being true to his own oaths.
** Oaths clearly have power in this context. Considering what happened to the dead when they broke their oath, what do you think would have happened to Aragorn if he broke his? Not only might he lose all power over them, but they might gain power over HIM.
** In the book, contrary to the movie, the only weapon the dead men are shown to have is fear. The Corsairs are just ordinary guys, who get scared out of their wits by the ghosts and run away. (The inhabitants of the local towns also ran and hid.) Leading the dead men into a fight with Mordor orcs would have been recklessly stupid: The Mordor orcs were led by ghosts, both in battle and for the last 1000-odd years back in Minas Morgul, and were well and truly used to it. Compare the Mordor horses the Nazgûl rode, who were conditioned to the mind numbing fear from birth, with nearly every other horse who meets a Nazgûl. Also, fear works better combined with surprise: if Aragorn had been fighting even with normal humans at Minas Tirith, fear might not have worked nearly as well the second time around.
** Because Aragorn is a [[IGaveMyWord man of his word]].
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The Quendi (Elves) and other peoples]]
* Since (in the books at least) it is established that any elves who die eventually end up back on Middle-earth anyway, why would the have lost strength between the ages? What with being immortal and having children, shouldn't their strength have been greater than ever (at least in numbers)?
** The elves don't return to Middle-earth, they stay in Aman (where the Valar are) in all but one case. (Glorfindel)
*** Two cases. Lúthien passed away and was given a choice to leave Mandos and dwell in Valinor, but forget all of her sorrow and be lost of Beren forever; or to be returned to life, with Beren, and live as a mortal in Middle-Earth. It's in ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''.
** The elves also weren't ones to just go around and spout out a trillion babies. They understood the "balance of nature" stuff that humans invariably ''always'' never understand.
*** True, men are [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment invariably always never]] [[OurElvesAreBetter better than elves]].
**** That has nothing to do with conscious "natural resources presarvation", they just are that way. Elves naturally have few children, and don't keep on procreating all of their married life. Even the Elves who populated Aman and had (for Elven standards) an extraordinary amount of children, as the land was save and empty, ''only'' had up to four (Finarfin) or seven (Fëanor).
**** Elves only have children when they can be ''absolutely'' sure of a safe upbringing for the children in question. Bear in mind that, out of all the high-elves in the Silmarillion (as opposed to Sindar or half-elves), very few were actually born in Middle-Earth (Maeglin, Finduilas, Gil-galad, Voronwë).
*** Elves get to have natural in-built birth control: as soon as an elf stops wanting more children, BAM! menopause. Probably painless, easy, no-hassle menopause, too.
** Possible [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliance]]: Elves are completely 'of this world', that is, their souls are bound to Middle-Earth and they don't pass into another world upon death like Men. That means there is no outside source of Elven souls, instead, Elven parents put a piece of their own spirits into their children. This is why the only one Elven couple had seven children, Féanor and Nerdanel, who was almost utterly exhausted by this. It's not balance of nature, since Tolkien's Elves aren't all the typical 'one with nature' kind. It's just that Elven souls are a very limited resource.
* If the Half-Elven have to choose which race to belong to, which one do they look like before they choose; and what's the deadline and what happens if they don't choose?
** Half-elves look like regular elves, the choosing of races involves joining the elves and becoming immortal or staying human and be able to live and die a mortal life. The deadline is usually decided by the time they leave for the Gray Havens. This was covered in both the books and the movies.
** We don't really know what the deadline was for Elrond and Elros though. Interestingly enough, Tolkien mentioned in an early version of the Akallabêth that Elrond always had the possibility to go among Men and die ("yet a grace was added, that [Elrond's] choice was never annulled, and while the world lasted he might return, if he would, to mortal men, and die", ''Sauron Defeated'', [=HoME=]9, p333) but struck out that idea pretty quickly. The eventual fate of Dior and his sons is still mysterious as well.
** They would probably look like elves before and after their choice. It's their souls that are affected by the choice, not their bodies, which are only flesh.
** Judging from the description of Elrond as looking neither old nor young, they probably actually do look like hybrids. As for not choosing, they apparently end up mortal by default.
** There are several occasions where people can't tell the difference between elves and (young, good-looking) humans - even Aragorn, who's grown up in Rivendell, falls for this. And Elrond's family at least are explicitly allowed to live as elves until they decide once-and-for-all. About Elrond's appearance in the Hobbit, apparent agelessness seems to be a characteristic of powerful elves (cf Galadriel and Celeborn).
** Usually Half-Elven DON'T get to choose which Kindred to belong to. In the full account of Earendil reaching Valinor and speaking with the Valar, Mandos states that possession of any "human" blood makes one mortal (from "The Lost Road"; sadly no later text exists). The default state of Half-Elves is mortality (like the children of Mithrellas and Imrazor of Dol Amroth). It's supported by the fact that Dior, Earendil and Elwing all grow up at the same rate as mortal children rather than Elves. However, in the case of Earendil and Elwing, and their children, Manwe was given special license by Eru to decree their fates and said that they could choose. Elrond's choice was passed down to his own children; it's not stated whether Elros's children had the same option, although it would appear not, as all of them died mortal. An interesting extra fact is that Elros didn't age - he had the same physical capacity for life as Elrond, but his soul eventually yearned for release from Middle-Earth, leading to his laying down his life at age 500.
* Just curious, does Tolkien ever explain why the elves have such long hair, and why dwarves have uber beards? I know lots of people copy off of Tolkien, but is this just how the original legendary races groomed themselves, or did Tolkien think it was a good idea "just because"?
** Dwarves do traditionally have beards, I think. As for the elves... I'm not sure.
*** Elves have long hair because everyone has long hair (except possibly the Hobbits). Short hair was more of a Greco-Roman thing, whereas LOTR generally draws its inspiration from Northern Europe.
** Men of Gondor and Rohan wear their hair long or middling too: the Rohirrim favour long plaits; Boromir's is "shorn about his shoulders"; Faramir's is long enough to blow in the wind. You could argue that the Dúnedain are imitating elven culture, but the Rohirrim are not. Also, the Southron Sam sees killed has braided hair.
*** They all wear their hair long for practical purposes, maybe? Hair braided and tucked under a helmet provides an extra layer of padding in the event of a head strike. This would be especially important for the Rohirrim, as battle for them involves potentially falling off their horse.
* I know Elves have an immortal life barring violent death or choosing to pass on, and humans are unique in possessing the Gift of Men when it comes to their lives. What exactly do Hobbits get? They have men-sized lifespans, but no other benefits.
** As hobbits are said to be a relative of Men, it is probably safe to assume that they have the same fate.
** Hobbits basically ''are'' Men, just a very small variety. Not unlike the Woses.

[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The place formerly known as Khazad-dûm, aka Moria]]
* An elf built Lothlórien's mines and the inscription included an antidwarf slur. Why the Hell would he write such an inscrption? He must have been surrounded by dwarfs and had any recognized this slur the builder would have been lynched!
** What are you referring to, the fact that the door calls the place Moria instead of Khazad-dûm?
*** That's probably what the OP was referring to, given that Khazad-dûm means "mansion of the dwarves" and Moria means "black pit".
*** The inscription on Moria's west gate reads "'''''Ennyn Durin aran Moria'''''". As Khazad-dûm was not yet named "Moria" at the time the door was inscribed, is is safe to assume that it was a slip on Tolkien's part. (Yes, he did make mistakes and oversights and acknowledged it, and corrected them if he could.) Also, please note: Khazad-dûm aka the Mines of Moria were a Dwarven realm, friendly to the Elves of Eregion. It never belonged to Elves nor had any special connection to Lothlórien.
**** Actually, Khazad-dûm was [[TimeAbyss much older]] [[OlderThanTheyThink than that]]. The [[BeneathTheEarth Dwarrowdelf]] was on the east side of the mountains, around the main entrance, and was fully carved out thousands of years previously before the West Gate was tunneled to facilitate trade with the newly-arrived Elves of Erigion. Program note: A dwarf and an elf (Narvi and Celebrimbor) collaborated on the West-Gate.
**** An "anti-dwarf" slur? Which was engraved by a dwarf, who probably knew the language, since he signed his name afterwards in the same tongue? It may well be that "Moria" was an affectionate, ironic nickname for Khazad-dûm, which might have been used only by the capricious elves; or, more likely, a name which was used ironically (or at least tolerated) by the dwarves themselves at the time the inscription was engraved. Remember that dwarf-halls are actually very well lit, and Khazad-dûm was considered one of the greatest halls in Middle-earth, so calling it a "black pit" would be ironic indeed.
**** Balin's tomb, even, possesses the inscription "Balin Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria." Gimli's song has the line "In Moria, in Khazad-dûm." In Appendix A, Khazad-dûm is also referred to as Moria even before Eregion was destroyed. Given that it was written using the Fëanorian characters, rather than Daeron's runes, using the Elvish name seems reasonable. "Hadhodrond" might have been used, as that was the elvish name before they called it Moria, but by the time the doors were made, it might have already been referred to as Moria.
** They're ''dwarves''. Passageways that lead downwards are their normal route home. Why would they consider "pit" a pejorative title? As for "black", maybe the rock it was carved out of happened to be black in color.
* Best explanation: Moria is its name. Dur.
* More on Moria that bugged me ever since I saw it. The entrance itself. "Speak friend and enter." How the hell did it take Gandalf that long to figure out what that meant? He seems like an intelligent person, and he couldn't figure out that "Speak friend and enter," meant, well, speak the elvish word for friend and you may enter? Not just Gandalf, but everybody else in the group except Frodo couldn't figure it out, and even Frodo took awhile. Did the door have a "make everybody within range too stupid to speak a password" enchantment on it?
** In the book, Gandalf figures it out, not Frodo. Merry was actually the one who asked what the phrase meant, but Gandalf easily dismissed that line of thought at first, expecting an actual password and not a literal instruction.
** Gandalf was expecting some cunning password, which dwarves are notorious for by the way, instead of something so simple.
*** Its not ''that'' unreasonable to jump to the conclusion that if the door is magically locked, you need some kind of key. The idea of a locked door being openable by a simple password ''that's written directly on the door for anyone to read'' is actually counter-intuitive, because if the door's meant to be opened that easily then why have a lock on it at all?
** Of course, Gandalf suffers from being too bloody clever for his own good in that scene, as he translates the inscription. If he'd simply ''read what it said'' (in Elven), the door would have opened right away.
*** Really, that kind of thing happens in real life too. Sometimes we expect certain things to be too difficult, only to facepalm when they were as easy as initially thought.
*** Yeah, I don't see what's unreasonable about it. Imagine you're trying to get into a computer, and the prompt says "Enter Password for access". Would you immediately assume that [[ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish the password is ''Password''?]]
*** The password was just a ritualistic frivolity. The doors already had guards on it. If the Dwarves ever were besieged from that direction they would have put stronger passwords. Once they had fled Moria because of the balrog, they were in to much of a hurry to see to such things and in any case anyone who broke in from that side would probably be the balrog's enemy; in which case good luck to them. This is especially the case when you remember that facing that door when it was made were Noldor friendly to them. The only reason to have a gate at all would be to assure the dwarves privacy and perhaps to tax any goods coming through.
* The Balrog of Moria was [[DugTooDeep accidentally set free]] by Durin's tribe several hundred years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, right? So why was he still hanging around in Moria after all that time? He couldn't have been [[SealedEvilInACan trapped there]], because he knew an escape route that he used during his fight with Gandalf.
** He was afraid of the Balrog-killing superelves that wait outside.
** Superelves? The Balrog made short work of a whole society of dwarves - it seems like the only beings who pose any threat to him have to be Maiar or better. Too bad he chanced across the only Maia who was present and accounted for on the side of good in Middle-earth.
*** Dwarves don't have elven superpowers. And, yes, superelves. Glorfindel, otherwise known as "That Guy Who Gave Frodo A Lift Once", is also known as "That Guy Who Killed A Balrog By Himself But Died In The Process (He came back)".
*** It's probably not the same Glorfindel. Middle-Earth doesn't appear to follow the OneSteveLimit.
*** The Elves seem to follow it, and old material from the History of Middle Earth series seems to suggest they are the same. Later material suggests that he did indeed return to Middle-Earth, in the company of the Blue Wizards.
*** Third Age Elven warriors were not the same caliber as some Elven superheroes from the First Age, just like not all Men are equal in physical strength and skill nowadays. If anything, Fëanor and a small company of Elven troopers held at bay ''all the seven Balrogs together'', but died in combat. Fingolfin fought ''Morgoth'' hand to hand to a draw. But out of the Elder Days warriors, only Elrond and Glorfindel (too far North to count) and Galadriel survived, and none was too eager to provoke directly a monster whose exact nature they did not even know.
**** Legolas certainly seemed terrified of the Balrog, and the guy wasn't exactly an easily scared fellow.
** Maybe he didn't want to lower himself by cooperating with Sauron, who after all was just a toady of his old boss, but didn't quite have the power to oppose Sauron directly. So he thought he'd just hang around and eat some goblins.
** At the time the Balrog was freed, Sauron didn't have much power. Minas Morgul was still Minas Ithil, and Sauron would rather flee from his stronghold in Dol Guldur than face even Gandalf. What options did the Balrog have? Leave, and make his presence known to the outside world? As it stood, every other balrog in existence had been destroyed. He was safe where he was, mostly unknown and almost completely unassailable. In fact, if he hadn't bothered trying to attack Gandalf & Co. on the way through, he'd likely still be around. A much better tactic than, say, revealing himself openly when you've got Galadriel (Bearer of a Ring of Power and sister to Finrod Felagund) and Celeborn (Kinsman of Thingol) on your eastern border, and Elrond (Bearer of a Ring of Power, Son of Eärendil and Elwing) and Glorfindel (famed Balrog-killing Superelf) on the west. Also, you'd have to deal with whichever side you went to on what is effectively their home turf. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.
** Maybe the Balrog just didn't ''want'' to go outside. Maybe he figures Moria is his home now, and he's content to stay where he is.
*** That is why he had his slippers on.
** FridgeLogic: The 'deep dark places' underneath Moria were the remnants of Morgoth's original underground fastness. The reason there was one Balrog left behind in the ruins of that place when all the others marched out to fight is because ''it was the seneschal''. Damn straight the Balrog isn't leaving Moria; the boss told him 'Wait here and watch over my stuff until I get back' and he's still waiting, like one of those Japanese soldiers stuck on an island who didn't know World War II was over until it was like 1975.
*** That doesn't seem quite right with regards to geography; both Angband and Utumno were originally located far away from the Misty Mountains; there isn't really any record of a dark fortress great enough to warrant a Balrog of its own. My guess is that the Balrog fled the apocalyptic carnage of the War of Wrath and hid in the Misty Mountains.

* What This Troper has always wondered is: What did all those hordes and hordes of Orcs in Moria, and in the Misty Mountains, ''eat?'' Mountain country's notoriously not good at supporting large populations, but apparently Moria held enough Orcs to give the combined Dwarven armies a very nasty tossing around at the Battle of Azanulbizar, and, a few decades later, enough were available to fight ''four'' enemy forces at the Battle of Five Armies---and, a few decades after ''that,'' Moria was literally crawling with them. Orcs don't strike me as being farmers, and as I've said, mountains aren't prime farming country. What. Did. They. EAT? (The first person who says [[Film/RedDawn1984 "Rats, and sawdust bread...and sometimes, each other,"]] will be soundly ignored.)
** In all likelihood, they would have probably had to till the dwarves' underground fungi farms, fish in the underground lake, and eat the bugs and rats that scavenge the resulting scraps and waste. Really, those goblins were probably on their way to becoming a sedentary society of evil gits.
** Passing strangers. Why do you think they [[SoMuchForStealth jump at every noise]]? Goblins gotta eat!
* I've never understood the conflicting opinions about Moria that are held by Gimli and Gandalf. Gimli seems to think entering Moria would be a great idea, that they would receive a "royal welcome" but Gandalf wants to avoid it like the plague. Did Gimli not know that the dwarves of Moria had unearthed a Balrog several hundred years ago? If the dwarves have been fighting or holding off a Balrog for centuries then surely they're not going to give a royal welcome to a fellowship toting the One Ring into the place, regardless of Gimli's relation to their leader. Plus Moria has been completely ruined by orcs/goblins by the time the fellowship does enter, something that appears to have taken a while to accomplish; how did this go unnoticed by the other dwarven nations? Did nobody wonder why they haven't heard from a single dwarf from Moria for the last several years?
** For one thing, Gimli only things entering Moria would be a "swell" idea in the movies; in the books, everyone is apprehensive about it, Gimli is just the least apprehensive. For another, everyone who is familiar at all with Moria knows that the original dwarven inhabitants stirred up ''something'' in the depths centuries that destroyed their kingdom and drove them out (based on Gandalf's reaction to seeing the thing and Celeborn and Galadriel's to hearing it decribed, however, it does not appear to have been common knowledge that Durin's Bane was a Balrog); they also know that orc subjects of the ''something'' have taken up residence. Gimli is hopeful of meeting an expedition lead by his cousin Balin that went to ''reclaim'' Moria, and hasn't been heard from in several year- Gimli is being unrealisticaly optimistic here, and everyone else seems to at least suspect that something bad happened to Balin and co. So yes, in the oooks, everyone knew that entering Moria was a bad idea, it just happened at the time to be the least bad of their feasible options, and Gimli's expectations were based on hope rather than objective reality.
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[[folder:Arnor and Gondor]]
* What's the deal with Minas Tirith? I've heard good explanations about how not all of {{Mordor}} is blasted wasteland and the orcs actually do have land to grow food on, but I still don't understand how Minas Tirith can function as a major city. Carrying stuff up and down those seven hundred-foot-tall levels all day, in such an incredibly cramped space, would just be way too difficult. And where do all its food and supplies come from? I'm not sure if it's exactly the same in the book, but in the movie there are no nearby farms or anything as far as the eye can see. Even if everyone retreated to the safety of the city walls during the events of The Return of the King, there would still be at least ''some'' evidence that people recently lived outside the walls.
** In the book, the Pelennor Fields immediately outside Minas Tirith are a vast expanse of ''farmland.''
** So it's just laziness on the part of the filmmakers that the fields just happen to look like a lot of uncultivated New Zealand scrubland.
*** In the section about location scouting from the extended ''[=RotK=]'' Peter Jackson comments that one of the things about the site that appealed to him was that it looked like it might have been farmland during a better time.
** It seems likely that most of the city's population and industry is on the lowest levels, while the upper levels are reserved for armories, garrisons, and major civic buildings. In which case most of the goods moving into the city don't have to go up more than a level or two. Still a problem, but not such a big one.
*** A hundred feet is a lot! That's about eight stories, or two 50-Foot Women standing one atop the other. Whether they're using stairs or very steep ramps (and they'd have to be steep with that little area to work with), it would be nigh-impossible to take anything with wheels up even one level. There's a reason why 700-foot-tall structures didn't exactly catch on until the invention of the elevator.
*** The Antiquity and Middle Ages had seen human or animal-powered elevators, and Middle Age cranes in ports could move many tons of supplies if needed. Just because our heroes do not see them, it doesn't mean they don't exist at all.
** Minas Tirith is built in rich farmland, it is built near a river and goods can travel to it(albeit, this is less valid in Denethor's time because the Enemy controls the East bank). Even if there was no farmland that would not be a problem as long as there was trade and many of the most famous cities are built in deserts. Being built on a mountain isn't a problem; Jerusalem has a vaguely similar arrangement.
** In any case Minas Tirith was built originally to be a military depot and the rest of the city grew up around it. Naturally it would put millitary considerations first. Which is a good reason to build on a mountain.
** Because Minas Tirith was originally the summer home of the Kings of Gondor. Osgiliath was the original capital city but that was ruined during a civil war.
** Valparaiso, Chile reputes your baseless assertion!
** TruthInTelevision. Italian hill-towns are like this, as are Ethiopian and Anasazi cliff-top dwellings (some still occupied) and ancient Inca fortress cities (they used the differences in altitude within city limits to grow different crops). It's only modern Westerners that prefer to build on the flat lands, ironically because we have elevators for tall buildings. In ancient times, they needed that land for farming, and the steep hills for defense.
*** Exactly. Not only that, but in mountain villages some fields and orchards are abandoned because modern vehicles can't reach them: too steep, no roads, they won't fit through some passages... Once, good position and workable land were worth the treck and donkeys and mules wouldn't care about road conditions.

* If Men are supposedly the most susceptible to power-hunger of all the good-guy races, then why did the Stewards of Gondor never once, in ''five hundred years'', say to heck with musty ol' traditions and have themselves proclaimed Gondor's new royals? With humans' short lifespans, it's hard to justify most of Gondor's inhabitants even knowing they'd ''had'' a king once, let alone awaiting the royal line's return; it'd be like modern-day British citizens honestly believing in King Arthur and being eager to swear fealty to him. The Stewards had led their people in warfare, ruled like kings, were buried with all the honors due to kings. Plenty of real-world regents have seen fit to usurp power from heirs who were ''still alive'' at the time, so why did Gondor's interim rulers bother to maintain a pretense that they were just managing the kingdom for a hypothetical "true king"? Why didn't the first one to beat back an Orc raid declare himself King, by right of military triumph? Or do ambition and political corruption in Tolkien's world ''only'' exist if a Dark Lord's whispers put them there?
** In all aspects, they pretty much ''were'' kings. Keep in mind how languages change over centuries- the word "steward" had pretty much come to mean "king" in Gondor, with "king" being the equivalent of the modern "regent". Note how Denethor was reluctant to allow Aragorn the throne, and cited how he and his had ruled for centuries, and he didn't want to stop that now.
** Boromir once asked his father how long it takes for a Steward to become a King. Denethor's reply was along the lines of, 'a few years in places of less nobility, but a thousand lifetimes isn't long enough in Gondor.' So it was a pride thing.
*** Exact quote: "In places of lesser royalty, maybe a few years. In Gondor, not even ten thousand years is long enough."
** Yeah, I'm guessing that, after a while, the title of "king" began to carry special, mythic significance in Gondor. Asking why the Stewards didn't crown themselves kings would be like asking why the Pope doesn't call himself the Messiah.
** For the same reason that for five hundred years, the Roman Emperors never gave in and crowned themselves "king." Although the word "emperor" sounds awesome today, the meaning of Latin ''imperator'' was much less lofty--closer to "commander" or "managing executive." The Romans were an independent-minded lot, and one of their cherished founding legends was about kicking out their last king and establishing a Republic. Calling oneself by the royal title ''rex'' would be begging for a revolt. Guys like Augustus, Vespasian, and Constantine figured that instead of calling themselves kings, they could live with simply BEING kings in any sense that mattered. Even the most ambitious ruling Steward probably felt the same way.
** Bloodline, and the throne itself, are not necessarily as powerful as we might think: this is a feudal kingdom that's undergone an incredibly destructive civil war over the royal succession. Arvedui of Arnor had his claim to the throne refused on the grounds that it was through Isildur, not Meneldil (who was Isildur's nephew and the first king of Gondor), and via his wife (who was the daughter of the previous king). Instead, the throne went to Eärnil (who was a minor royal himself, in the southern line). We don't know if there were any other potential claimants after Eärnur went MIA, but it's a good chance that there were too many and that maintaining the Stewardship was a good way to avoid a civil war. Even after 500 years, the nobility of Gondor seems a fairly loosely-held group, and the legitimacy of being the (legally emplaced) Steward rather than a king-pretender in your own right could be a useful tool to gain support.

* Denethor sends the women and children of Minas Tirith to "safety" in the villages of Lebennin. Then he drafts the men of South Gondor to come and defend the city. Then Tirithites whinge that the draft only raises 3k soldiers.
** '''If''' Sauron had signed the Geneva Convention, then the families would be safer in unprotected villages.
** The draft was so small because some of the men had to stay at home to protect their families and even more men had to stay at home to protect the families of the Tirithites.
** Also, if you let the civilians stay in Minas Tirith then you have to feed them. Clearing the city of everything but your soldiers and minimum necessary support staff is the best way to stretch your available supplies for maximum siege duration.
** Aside from logistics (and thousands of extra mouths to feed in a siege is a nightmare problem), they probably are safer in the villages, even if Sauron wins. Enslaved, maybe, but that's better than being in a city while it's sacked. Also, there's a good chance that some of them will be able to take to the mountains (most of central Gondor is hill country of some sort), where they'll be able to make Sauron's administrators' lives hell on earth. The Edain were very good at that in the first age, even if most of them died eventually.
** Sauron also has a logistics problem. If he leaves a siege-camp on the Pellenor, and then pushes parties south and west to loot Lebennin, his supply lines get horribly overstretched, through hill-country with a hostile population. Also, if he does attempt genocide of a dispersed rural population, he's going to have to divert a lot of troops and materials away from holding the siege and dealing with the southern levies. The main reason the southern fiefs are witholding their troops is because they're expecting a second invasion from the coast, not because they need to defend the central regions. The same problems apply from the other direction to the Corsairs: they need to deal with Angbor at Linhir (and defeat any other regional armies) before they can start to ravage the inland regions. Basically, Gondor doesn't have the manpower to defend both fronts simultaneously.
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[[folder:Geography and Economy of Mordor]]
* WalkIntoMordor is a {{Flanderization}} of Mordor, which in spite of being the TropeNamer is just not a very good example. Mordor may have formidable natural barriers to entry, but it's by no means an isolated place that nobody visits:
** Middle Earth has a road network connecting the major locations, though it is badly maintained at some places. You can go from Hobbiton to the Black Tower entirely on road, in spite of some overgrown roads in Eriador and some badly maintained river crossings.
** Mordor has its own means of food-production. The Plateau of Gorgoroth featured in the story was only a small part of the realm, important only because Sauron required an active volcano to aid him in magic, like forging of the One Ring. To the south of Gorgoroth there was a region where slaves grow food.
*** Indeed, there's some FridgeBrilliance involved with Nurn, the "breadbasket" of Mordor. Nurn is downwind of Mount Doom, so there's plenty of volcanic ash mixed into the soil. Volanic soil is highly fertile. There's also a nearby inland sea, no doubt used for fishing and/or aquaculture. Given that, combined with Sauron's fanatical love of order and efficiency, Nurn is probably extremely productive, which explains how Sauron can keep fed armies of both Orcs and Men that number in the hundreds of thousands.
** Mordor has plenty of trade with the kingdoms to the South and East. Since the story is told from the point of view of the good western peoples, who are at eternal war with Mordor, we don't see much of this traffic. But Frodo, Sam and Gollum actually have to ''avoid'' several roads that go directly to Mordor because of the risk of getting caught by all the folks who travel on them.
*** Just before tackling the mountain range separating Mordor from Gondor, Frodo and Sam nearly run into a Southron army traveling to the Black Gate of Mordor through the north-south road just outside the mountains. This region, called Ithilien, is a war zone disputed between Gondor and Mordor, both of which regularly mount raids against the other. The land is empty because the Gondorian civilian population has abandoned it because of the war, and neither Mordor nor its allies have tried to settle it.
*** Later in the story, when Gondor and Rohan send an army openly against Mordor, they don't go through the wilderness like Frodo and Sam did; they take the roads. Going from Minas Tirith to the Black Gate isn't a particularly hard trip; it's just very dangerous.
** The novels explain that the primary purpose of the formidable natural, man-made and supernatural defenses of Mordor isn't to keep the good guys out; it's to keep the bad guys '''in'''. Many of the fortresses in the western border of Mordor were actually built by Gondor to keep a watch on Mordor. Sauron's forces later conquered them, but their main function then became to keep his own folks from escaping Mordor.
* What purpose did the stairs at Cirith Ungol actually serve? I can't imagine it gets much traffic from visitors, and it just seems to make one more route of ingress to be guarded.
** As mentioned above, most fortifications around Mordor were originally built by Gondor and Cirith Ungol is no exception. The stairs were probably first used by the Gondorian garrison.
** Yup. There is a practicable pass there, so it must be fortified. Imagine if orcs could do an end-run on Minas Ithil. Even if they didn't think a significant army could come over the pass, small looting parties and saboteurs certainly could, and get into the civilian population of Ithilien.
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[[folder:Geography and Economy in General]]
* Although the late Karen Wynn Fonstad did an excellent job of [[JustifiedTrope justifying]] Middle Earth's geography, economy, population density and so forth in her ''Atlas of Middle Earth''... But after reading Jared Diamond's ''Guns, Germs And Steel'', I can't help but wonder what is it about the Shire that '''kept Men out''', seeing as how it was obviously the best farmland in Eriador and the [[{{Dune}} only place in the known universe]] where pipeweed was grown and all that.
** The Shire is not the "only place in the known universe where pipeweed was grown". We know of the Shire and Bree as planting pipeweed and practising smoking, and know that the Dwarves and northern Men have taken over smoking. As for other cultures, why should they cultivate a plant for which they have no use? And who said that the Shire "kept Men out"? In 1601 T.A. Argeleb II gave them the land to settle it, and in 6 F.A. King Elessar issued a law that forbade humans from entering the Shire, but it doesn't seem you refer to that.
*** The Shire is the richest farmland in Eriador, that's established. ''Because''' pipeweed and all these other crops are grown there. In other areas, it was considered, well, a weed.
** In any realistic model of human behavior, there has to be something keeping men off the land, as there is NoOntologicalInertia preventing the "Southern men" from staying there and displacing what is ultimately a society of clan-based, peace-loving pygmies -- no matter ''what'' the law says. This Troper is trying to figure out ''what'' it is that is keeping men off the land.
** Jared Diamond argues that the only reason pygmies and other low-yield civilizations guard against encroachment is due to exotic diseases, poor soil, or specialized livestock that provide them with protein and the like.\\
On the one hand, we know that the only reason the land is available was because of ThePlague. So that fits right into Jared Diamond's thesis. And we know the Dúnedain spent many lives protecting the Shire from evil men, despite seemingly having no farmland or homesteads of their own.
*** Now then. What's preventing men with weapons from taking over and squatting the only farmland in Eriador, law or no law? Especially since many of them don't even know the Shire exists, since the Dúnedain have kept it a secret, the hobbits are so good at keeping a low profile (pun intended) and are effectively a bunch of utopian anarchists? We didn't bother to determine the boundaries of the Iroquois Confederacy before we annexed their land. Bottom line: Dúnedain [[MemeticMutation gotta eat!]] -- but are for the most part LawfulGood.
** Clearly someone read not only the Cliff Notes version of not only ''The Lord of the Rings'' but Jared Diamond's ''Guns, Germs and Steel.'' What kept Men out of the Shire back when the Kingdom of Arnor was around? The fact that the kings were willing and able to use armed force to keep people from encrouching on what was essentially a client state. The same thing is true after Aragorn becomes King. As for the long period when there was no Kingdom of Arnor, consider that one of the themes of the geographic and demographic approach to history is that low population density areas tend to get taken over by their high population neighbors. I don't recall that Tolkien ever said the Shire was the best farm land in Eriador (actually, in real life, tobacco tends to deplete the soil) however it was clear that they had the highest population density in Eriador once a series of wars, plagues and famines wiped out the Kingdom of Arnor. Keep in mind that during the long distance between Bree and Rivendell, even when traveling along a major highway, there is a whole lot of Nothing as far as settlements go. The same is true of the trip south from Rivendell. So the reason that the Men in Eriador never took over the Shire is that such Men as were left were mostly scattered in tiny villages so unimportant that Tolkien never bothered putting them on the map, or were wilderness dwelling Lawful Good Heroes like Aragorns rangers that were more likely to protect the Shire than to invade it. There was Bree, but they and their neighbors were smaller than the Shire, and at any rate close had more to gain from staying in their own reasonably well to do homelands and trading with the Shire than from trying to take over a larger, more populated country over which the folk of Bree enjoyed no military advantage. Finally, there is the Hobbits themselves. Many people are clearly Missing the Point if they think that hobbits are pushovers. The Hobbits have defeated military incursions into the Shire before, to include invasions by orcs, and once they got some good leadership and a bit of motivation they were able to make short work of an ex-wizard and his lackeys.
** OK, so your thesis, is that the Hobbits are outbreeding their Human competitors, due to their apparent ability to breed like rabbits. And being diminutive, they could survive better in greater numbers off the low-yield, tobacco-depleted soil. Now we're getting somewhere.
* Because the Men don't need the land. Middle-earth (the Northwest anyway) is underpopulated, after a bunch of plagues and stuff. "The land has not grown less wild with time; rather the reverse." There just aren't enough people to occupy all the land, and the isolated chunks of civilization (Gondor, Lothlórien, the Shire, Rohan) are far enough apart that there needn't be much competition between them. (And I don't think the Shire is necessarily better farmland than anywhere else that's being farmed in Eriador. It works great for the Hobbits, but their population doesn't seem that huge.)
** According to the suggestions [[WordOfGod made by Tolkien himself]], during the early centuries of the Third Age, Arnor, and not Gondor, had been the economic and military center of the two Kingdoms of Men. A lethal combination of plagues, invasions, poverty and descendancy into barbarism depleted northern half of Middle-Earth from Men, not unlikely the post-Roman Europe of the Dark Ages.
* Who says that the Shire is the best farmland? Yes it as far as we know it is has the most productive farms compared to any where else in the region, but who said it was becuase of the land itself and not just that Hobbits are that damn good at growing stuff?
* The Shire and hobbits in general had been ignored for centuries. What would suddenly make it appear on the radar for Men?d
* WildMassGuessing: Some Men tried that once, but they made the mistake of going through the Old Forest on their way there. Between the malevolent trees, the Barrow-Wights, and Tom Bombadil doing random stuff, almost none of them made it back alive, and the few who did told horror tales of monsters and demi-gods; after that, no one dared try it again.
* Also, IIRC, Eriador outside the Shire was severely depopulated at the end of the Third Age. Bree-land was the only significant settlement of Men in the region.
** This. Who, exactly, is going to be in a position to do any hypothetical invasion of the Shire? The Bree-men? They're a tiny nation of villagers and farmers with no demonstrated military strength or strong centralized government, and get along decently with the hobbits anyway. Dwarves in the Blue Mountains? What would they even ''want'' with that much open farmland; dwarves prefer caves and mountains. It's much more beneficial to them to trade with the Shire, selling their metalwork and buying food or the like. Elves of the Grey Havens or Rivendell? The elves in general aren't in much of position to expand their territory in the Third Age under the best of circumstances, and the ones at the Havens in particular are mostly concerned with building ships to sail West. Orcs of Mount Gram? Tried it, and earned themselves a humiliating defeat for their troubles. Dunedain of the North? No longer have an organized nation, and for the most part the Rangers were concerned with quietly helping and protecting other people rather than trying to take their stuff. About the only nation with significant power to actually conquer the Shire that is in range for a military strike that I can see is Dunland, and even that seems extremely unlikely, seeing as the Dunlendings were mostly interested in pursuing their ongoing rivalry with Rohan and a Dunland war-leader who proposed a "let's go march northwest to take over a bunch of midgets who might or might not actually exist on the off-chance they have really great farmland" would probably get laughed out of the room. Basically, until Saruman I don't think there was anyone who had the right combination of power, knowledge, and motivation to attempt a serious take-over of the Shire.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15739_50-reasons-lord-rings-sucks.html Pewp]]. How do barefoot little people who raise livestock avoid stepping in the brown landmines that come from said livestock's rear ends?
** They probably have different standards about cleanliness than humans. Plus, they can always just wash their feet. I'm sure people don't like stepping in poop while wearing shoes anyway.

* How did Boromir get to Rivendell for the council meeting in the first place? The whole plot seems to turn on just how difficult a journey that is. Where did he cross the Misty Mountains? At the Gap of Rohan, so close to Isengard, and then travel through Dunland? Did he cross at the Gladden or the High Pass, both of which were supposedly closely watched by Sauron? Granted, Boromir was not traveling with the Ring at that time, but he was still the son and heir of the Steward of Gondor, the ruler of the country with which Mordor was at war and which was Mordor's principal military opponent, so he would still be a very high-priority target for Sauron. I think we can assume he did not pass through Moria. I suppose he might have taken the Redhorn Pass, but that wasn't exactly an easy trip either. So how did Boromir even get there in the first place?
** Rohan. He advises going that way when they head back south, and Saruman's treachery wasn't widely known at the time even in Rohan. He's specifically mentioned as having crossed the Greyflood at the ruined city of Tharbad, which is more or less north of Dunland. And Éomer stated that the Rohirrim had lent him a horse (which he lost at Tharbad, and later came back riderless). As for Sauron, 1.) he's still just one traveller, and 2.) All of Sauron's attention at this point is on the Shire and the Ring.
*** Except we know that all his attention wasn't on the Shire and the Ring: he was also watching the Gladden Fields, and preparing to invade Gondor, and conspiring with Saruman, and governing Mordor, and who knows what other tasks. Are you telling me that, on the eve of his long-planned invasion of his ancient enemy Gondor, he can't spare any attention to what Gondor's leadership is doing? You said it yourself: Boromir is riding ''alone''. Why would Sauron give up such a perfect opportunity to capture a the heir to the Stewardship of Gondor? Or, if he wants to tie it into his efforts to reclaim the Ring, why not take this opportunity, while Boromir was by himself, to subvert Boromir? Send someone to meet him to tempt him to Sauron's side?
**** Sauron can't watch everything at once, and one horseman heading northeast into the wilderness is probably something that doesn't concern him at all. Even if he knows that that horseman is the heir to the steward (and it's not like he's carrying a driver's license, or that Sauron has a book of Minas Tirith Police Department mug shots to flip through) and one of their top captains, what does it matter? He's not trying to sideline Gondor's captains; he's got the numbers to crush Gondor underfoot barring supernatural influence or sudden outbreaks of Plot.
**** IIRC Sauron doesn't even know who Aragorn is, or where he is, until the latter gets his attention by besting him (an almost-god) in a battle of wills over the palantír. Sauron isn't omniscient, the way he sees things seems to be tied to the power of individual places, people, and activities: he almost sees Frodo on Amon Hen when he puts on the Ring; he can see Gandalf but only when he does something impressive, as on Carathras when he summons fire; and he's constantly striving with Galadriel. Boromir claiming the Ring would immediately get his attention, Boromir on a vague mission to Rivendell wouldn't.
**** Sauron couldn't care less about what Boromir is doing. He might simply assume that the Council of Elrond is a desperate attempt by his enemies to unite in the face of impending military doom, and that Boromir is going there to plead Gondor’s case to no avail (considering how distrustful the Free Peoples are towards each other). Remember that Sauron couldn’t even imagine the true purpose of the Council, which is to work out a plan to destroy the Ring. Come to think about it, Sauron may well benefit from Boromir’s absence because it means that Gondor cannot rely on Boromir’s talents as a warrior when Sauron lands his blow. If Sauron is in fact paying attention to Gondor’s leadership he will factor this in, knowing that Denethor and Faramir do not get on very well.
**** Sauron is supposed to be interested in the fact that a Gondorian prince pays a goodwill tour to Rivendell, probably stopping by Théoden's court along the way? He probably thought it was just Denethor tidying up his diplomatic loose ends and exchanging intell while he had the chance before Sauron's invasion started. And in fact that was what Borimir was doing. It was just neither Sauron nor Denethor knew how hot the intell really was.
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[[folder:Tom Bombadil ''"And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."'' (''Letters'', # 144)]]
* Tom Bombadil. Just Tom Bombadil. I have listened to all the theories, but still, the guy makes '''no sense what so ever.''' I've read the books, and he is the worst part of all the books, and the only thing I was glad to be cut from the movies. Biggest problem: Why doesn't Tom help with the quest besides with equipment, when he is described to be almost all powerful? Even if he will be affected if Sauron gets the ring, unless he really is "God." Anyone have any defense of Tom? And, why include him in the first place? Even if he is "not important to the narrative" and "a mystery, even to the maker," then he still shouldn't influence the plot that much.
** Tom Bombadil doesn't need a reason to be exactly there, in that exact moment. He simply ''is''. Makes sense, like 75% of all things mentioned in [=LotR=], if you take the whole legendarium into consideration and not just the events in the book. In this troper's understanding, Bombadil is one of the "spirit which inhabited the Earth" (I don't remember the exact words, but they are mentioned many times in the Silmarillion) ''before'' the coming of the Ainur/Valar, a direct creation of the Music. Remember Ungoliant? They are not Valar nor Maiar, they were in Ea ''before'' them. Bombadil is another of them: events in Middle Earth, even happening right under his nose, are of no concern to him. He ''could'' choose to actively fight for the Free People, but he simply doesn't. Gandalf very explicitly states this. And yes, he indeed is relevant to the plot because 1) He gives the Hobbits Numénorean blades and 2) Gives the Hobbits, especially to Frodo, useful insights on what they should and what they shouldn't do with the Ring. Long story short, I always thought Bombadil makes great sense in the book. It would be incomplete without him.
** [[strike:Tom Bombadil was originally the main narrator of the stories that Tolkien told his children, that eventually evolved into the Middle-Earth legendarium.]] Tom isn't "all-powerful", he's got great power ''within the limits he has set himself''. He ''can't'' help the Fellowship with the quest of the Ring, because his way isn't direct confrontation. ''They spell this out very clearly in one chapter''.
*** Struck out portion of above comment is incorrect. The character Bombadil existed before the [=LotR=] and there are several stories with him, but he was not part of the Middle-earth universe.
*** This is the key to the reason Bombadil Just Bugs so many [=LotR=] fans. He wasn't designed to belong in Middle-earth. He is from an entirely separate set of stories written by Tolkien long before [=LotR=], and shoehorned in for reasons Tolkien himself doesn't really understand. In ''The Adventures of Tom Bombadil'', the first things he does are fight Old Man Willow, fight the Barrow-Wights, and meet Goldberry, who is explicitly a river-nymph.
** He clearly is ''extremely'' powerful, seeing as Gandalf says "Sauron wouldn't want to meet Tom in a back alley." The point is, why include someone so powerful, so mysterious, when you don't reveal him?! It would be as if Merry and Pippin went and found an Entwife, but nothing was revealed about them. If you include all powerful characters who don't care about the fate of the world, at least give an explanation for them, don't just have them "be."
*** No, if the character's limitations are made clear, then you don't ''have'' to provide an explanation, especially in this case, where ''it's a stylistic choice''. There are dozens of beings in the legendarium that Sauron wouldn't be able to defeat. There are ''good reasons'' why they don't just show up and put the beatdown on him as well. In this case, Tom ''isn't a guided weapon system''. He has power over a limited area, and even that would fail if Sauron gained supremacy.
**** Yes, but there are reasons why the Valar and others would not interfere. Also, (more importantly) they have a backstory, and are not randomly written in, (even Tolkien himself says he does not know who Tom is.) The whole thing comes of as a BigLippedAlligatorMoment, and doesn't seem to fit the tone or style of the rest of the book, and seems like something out of the Hobbit.
** Personally, I think that Tom Bombadil would be more tolerable if Tolkien had done a better job of incorporating the idea of nature spirits into his overall mythos. Maybe if he had mentioned similar enigmatic beings in the rest of the stories, Tom would be more plausible.
*** Very, very much agreed.
*** Tom isn't the only enigmatic being in the mythos. Much like Tom, Ungoliant was also an huge unknown and seemed to be already there when the Vala and the Maia entered Arda. Also, there are those "Nameless Things" Gandalf found deep beneath the earth, and of course the Watcher in the Water is also another enigma. Even Beorn could be argued to be as such, since the apparently was a human that possesed mysterious abilities unlike anybody else during the third age.
** Tom didn't help them out cause he's a CloudCuckooLander. He just doesn't ''get'' what the big deal with the One Ring and Sauron is. They actually said at the Council, if entrusted with guarding the Ring, he'd probably throw it away and forget about it. If sent to fight Sauron, he'd probably get distracted by something along the way and never even make it to Mordor.
*** And also that just hiding the Ring from Sauron wouldn't be enough to stop him conquering the world. Tom's country might be the last to fall, but it would fall.
** Bombadil is a remnant of the early phase of writing the book, when it was intended to be another book like The Hobbit; hobbits just having one adventure after another. But Tolkien said he left him in because he wanted a True Neutral character to give a third point of view besides Good and Evil: don't get involved. Tolkien made it clear he thought this view was wrong. "It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But [...] ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even survive. Nothing would be left for him in the world of Sauron."
** It seems pretty clear to me: Tom is Nature itself, given form and will. Neither good nor evil; random, unpredictable, inscrutable; subject to no one save Eru himself, most likely; can be helpful, but ultimately cares for nothing save himself and his own and it's continuation, and cannot be counted on to actually accomplish anything for anyone. He's a force of Nature, to coin a phrase; he does as he pleases. I've always imagined his little routine with the Ring being his figuratively flipping the bird at Sauron and it just because he can, to prove that there are some Things they ultimately will never and can never have dominion over.
** Tom and the Ents function well as opposites. They're very similar in many ways, but Tom won't go outside his self-imposed limits - he can't understand (or isn't affected by) the stakes. The Ents ''think'' themselves to be uninvolved, but eventually conclude that they must either act or be acted upon. It could also be considered important for Merry and Pippin's character arc - they can't convince the first WackyWaysideTribe to join them, so they try harder on the next one after they, themselves, start to realize what's at stake. I'm not saying this doesn't make Tom a BigLippedAlligatorMoment: just that his presence makes the later, successful recruitment of the Ents a little more impressive.
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[[folder:The stories as fictional documents and the LiteraryAgentHypothesis]]
[[WMG: What is up with The Red Book, anyway?]]
* We know that Professor Tolkien supposedly didn't invent any of it, it all came from the Red Book of Westmarch, which contained There and Back Again, The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King (split by modern publishers into three books), and The "Translations from the Elvish". The first two components alone would put it beyond most concievable books in size. The last bit adds on the entire Silmarillion, the Narn i Hin Húrin, the lay of Beren and Lúthien, and a story about Queen Berúthiel's cats. How big ''was'' this book, exactly? The same stuff can take up the better part of a small shelf on a bookshelf.
** Tolkien's inspiration was the Red Book of Hergest, which is 724 pages long (362 sheets of vellum), each roughly 2.5 times the size of a modern trade paperback page, so it would take up about 1800 pages if printed in paperback. My copies of The Hobbit (400 pages), Lord of the Rings (1200 pages) and The Silmarillion (500 pages) add up to about 2100 paperback pages. That would make a book a little bigger than the Red Book of Hergest, but not enormous.
*** Also, it would have been written in Tengwar, which are more compact than our alphabet. (No distinct letters for vowels, for instance, and certain phonemes like "th" get one letter instead of two.) It might actually have fitted into 1800 pages.
**** Small correction concerning the Tengwar: The use of full letters for vowels or vowel signs depends on the Tengwar modus used, but both existed.
* The copy that was supposedly found was copied at the behest of Pippin's grandson. Even allowing for 70 years or so that this gives, it was still printed at least ''five thousand years ago'', and kept in the damp climate of Western Europe- probably somewhere in either Britain or France, neither of which are exactly ideal for preserving paper ''that'' long-term (the only place on earth that WOULD be ideal for such preservation is the inside of a desert tomb, notably lacking in Britain and France). How the smeg did the book not disinitigrate and rot to nothing over the millennia?
** [[AWizardDidIt Gandalf did it.]]
*** Either Radagast or one of the blue guys, not Gandalf. Gandalf went home about 69 years before the copy Professor Tolkien found was copied.
** Really awesome elf paper.
** It wouldn't have been printed on paper, but on vellum -- i.e., sheepskin. Vellum is ''extremely'' durable. If the book was in active use and exposed to the environment, it would have been recopied; if it was forgotten somewhere in Western Europe (and somewhere sufficiently obscure that no one before Tolkien ran into this mammoth pre-Indo-European book in an unknown script, from an era which was supposed to have been the Late Stone Age), it would not have been exposed to the elements much at all.
** The book was copied a few times. Do we have the original manuscripts of Literature/TheBible?
* The parts of Red Book that form ''The Lord of the Rings'' are supposedly written by Frodo, except for the very last pages, right? But the actual story is told from the point of view of multiple different characters, so how could Frodo know what each of them was doing and thinking when he was not around? Okay, with the members of the Fellowship, he could have asked about the events later on. But what about the characters that died during the story (Boromir, Gollum, Sauron, etc), or various incidental characters he never met, or only met once? For example, how could Frodo know what Boromir's last stand was like? I guess he could've just made up the story based on what was likely to have happened, but that seems kinda disrespectful towards a dead comrade...
** In the case of Boromir's last stand, we never actually see it in the books. Aragorn finds the dying Boromir, who tells him what happened, and then later we have Pippin remembering the parts he saw. Frodo could have easily asked both of them, and no invention on his part was neccessary. Sauron's last thoughts were probably easy enough to extrapolate, based on how he reacted (and the only time we see his thoughts is immediately after Frodo put on the Ring). With Gollum, Frodo had all the information he'd need to work out the gist of his deal with Shelob; the only part he couldn't have known it all was the bit at Cirith Ungol where Gollum nearly repents before Sam wakes up and yells at him for "pawing at Frodo"- and we could go so far as to say that Frodo put that bit in to reflect his own pity/sympathy/forgiveness towards Gollum.
* If we accept the theory that Tolkien found a copy of the Red Book and based his stories on it, how was he ever able to translate it? It was written in a language that had been dead for millennia, so Tolkien would have had no other contextual clues to base his translation on. Even if the book had some illustrations (and I'm not sure if it did) which would've helped Tolkien guess some of the words, a full translation would've been nigh impossible based on the Book alone. Yet according to the appendixes Tolkien had a very good understanding of the language, which seems highly unlikely if all he had was that one book.
** He probably had more sources. It's unlikely that the Red Book was the only thing to survive from a time evidently full of scribes and whatnot.
*** But those other sources from the time would've been written in the same dead language(s), so that still doesn't answer the question.
*** It's a rather obscure point of the legendarium, but some of those "other sources" at least in the early writings came from historical-period sailors who had found the "straight road" to Valinor. Assuming Tolkien also found one of Ælfwine's writings, he'd have a Rosetta Stone translating the Elven languages into Anglo-Saxon, which conveniently was a language he'd studied...
*** Or, being a philologist, he managed to decipher the languages. Given the hugenormous amount of text he had, much more than many linguists have when deciphering ancient texts in unknown languages, it isn't beyond the realm of thought.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder: General Worldbuilding]]

* Is there ever some kind of explanation for the total lack of organized religion among Men in Middle-Earth? The church was a fundamental part of the medieval European cultures that much of Middle-Earth is based on, and things wouldn't have gone down in the same way without it. Any kind of religious impulse seems to be based on actual contact with beings like Sauron and the Valar, and Men in the absence of such contact don't make up deities who don't really exist, the way real people do.
** Yes, in his ''Letters''. Apparently, the impulse to organised religion is absent in the presence of supernatural and eternal spirits who directly commune with [[strike:God]] Iluvatar. You just don't feel like it when you can just walk up to Manwë and hear him talk about how he used to play drums in Iluvatar's band back in the day. The only hints of religious observance in the Middle-earth are by humans for whom immortals of any sort are largely legend: (1) facing west before eating, practised by Faramir and Co, and (2) human sacrifice in the silver-domed temple in Númenor before the downfall, orchestrated by Sauron as a deliberate blasphemy. (Also, it seems that the Eldar call upon Iluvatar in their marriage ceremony. We don't see it in the novels, since we don't see an all-Eldar marriage, but it's [[AllInTheManual stated in one of the essays]] published in ''The History of Middle-Earth'' by Tolkien ''fils.'')
** Also, seeing as the story is, among other things, a representation of Tolkien's real-life Catholic beliefs, he intentionally omitted all obvious religious elements from Middle-Earth. It's all supposed to be in the symbolism.
* Religion and mythology do exist, they're just not as formalized as in RealLife. The myths and legends found in Literature/TheSilmarillion serve the same purpose as the stories of Literature/TheBible or the ancient Greeks do for us.
* Another thing - whenever a myth or tale is presented in the story, with the exception of the song Bilbo made up about the moon coming to earth and getting drunk, it's treated as a completely faithful depiction of historical events. It's sort of an in-universe version of AllMythsAreTrue. Real myths contradict themselves and change a bit with each telling. Even the elves, who experienced all these events personally, you'd expect to also have fictional stories and differing interpretations of the past.
** Alternate versions of many myths are present in the ''History of Middle-Earth'' series. Most of the myths told in LotR proper are hacked-down bare bones versions as well (i.e., many details on the life of Hercules changed with the telling, but how many authors screw up the Twelve Labors?). Finally, considering the LiteraryAgentHypothesis, the same person (or someone very close, writing in the same style) is writing both the story proper and the appendices.
** This might partially be a case of RealityIsUnrealistic. Premodern cultures don't have a very strong sense of what "fiction" means. Peoples with no printing presses tend not to preserve a story unless they think it has some basis in fact. These peoples find nonsense verse (like Bilbo's song) amusing and fascinating, not just because of any jokes or wordplay contained within the work itself, but because of the novelty of the idea of a story that clearly isn't true.
* The whole story features a weird, contradictory set of morals. War and industrialization are bad (which are natural opinions of someone who's experienced World War I,) and evil can't be fixed by force, but pacifism is bad, too, and so is attempting to compromise with the enemy or see things from his point of view. The only acceptable course of action [[FantasticAesop is dependent on the existence of magical artifacts.]]
** Missing the point, much? War and industrialization, bad, but being heroic and fighting for your country and for the innocent, good. Compromising good for peace with evil also bad. What saves them is not the magical artifacts, but virtue: courage, hope, and mercy. Above all, it is Bilbo's mercy on Gollum -- (as well as later, Frodo's mercy), that allows for the wretched creature to do what Frodo could not. Sam's Hope and Frodo's courage (as well as the hope and courage of all their friends) allows them to survive the day. Basically, you do the right thing not because it is expedient or because it will get you the right results (against utilitarianism). You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and hope for the Eucatastrophe.
** Man, I am getting kinda tired of people trying to see a "moral" in every little bit that happens in a story. Not everything is an Aesop, people! Tolkien wasn't writing, "Here's how the world has to work, does work, and should work, today and in all instances." He was writing, "This is what happened in my fantasy land this one time. Also, trees and my made up languages, aren't they neat?"
** Not everything is an Aesop in, for example, Conan, but Lord of the Rings basically created the genre of HighFantasy, in which everything *is* morally charged. Even the trees and the languages.
** You ''do'' know that Tolkien hated allegory, right? While there are certainly strong moral elements present in the book, it wasn't intended to teach any single Aesop or be a representation of a given RealLife conflict. ''TheLordOfTheRings'' is a single story about a particular (if fictional) event (namely the destruction of the One Ring, the Downfall of Sauron, and the War of the Ring), not an absolute guide to how Tolkien thought you should live day-by-day.
* How did the Hobbits have potatoes? Tolkien intended [=LotR=] and the Silmarillion to be a history of England and Europe. But the potato is a New World food. I can sort of fudge it, but if I do, it doesn't sort of fit.
** Same way they got tobacco and pipeweed, Tolkien took an AcceptableBreakFromReality because he felt potatoes and pipesmoking were so integral to his vision of English character that he couldn't ''not'' include it in some form. If it helps any he took care in his books to call them "taters" rather than potatoes per se, so just tell yourself that since the books we got were supposed "translations" of "The Red Book Of Westmarch" into English that "taters" is a TranslationConvention for some unspecified starchy vegetable. That's the best I got. Or [[AWizardDidIt elves did it]] somehow...
** It's most likely the result of PopCulturalOsmosis: Potatoes are popularly associated with Ireland since it became the major food source among the poor Irish in the 18th and 19th centuries, and failure of the potato crop was a major contributing factor of the Great Famine of 1845-1852. Tolkien may not have realized the potato was ''not'' originally native to Ireland, but was introduced in the 17th century. However this is no less odd considering the perfectionist Tolkien originally had the hobbits cooking the similarly introduced ''tomato'' in one scene, before recognizing his mistake and rewriting it to remove them.
*** Unlikely, Tolkien was a historian and a linguist who studied the history of languages. As you say, he noted and corrected the usage of tomatoes (from tomatoes to pickles) from the original version of ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and he purposefully altered tobacco into "pipeweed" to avoid the same problem. There was no way he would not have known the origin of potatoes, especially since it is part and parcel of the mythology of Sir Walter Raleigh whose adventures are taught in every British elementary school and was famous for pretty much two things "introducing potatoes" and that business with the cape and the puddle.
*** He explains tobacco in the Prologue, section 2 "Concerning Pipe-weed". First of all, it's described as "a variety probably of Nicotiana", ie tobacco, not cannabis (also, pot on sentry duty would not be a good idea, Gandalf). He may be choosing to avoid the word "tobacco" because it's a borrowing from an American language that doesn't have cognates in ME. Merry says, of the origins of the plant "is not native to our part of the world, but came northward from the lower Anduin [ie Gondor], whither it was, I suspect, originally brought over the sea by the men of Westernesse". He notes it grows wild in Gondor (unlike further north), and is valued as a sweet-scented flower; he speculates it reached Arnor with the Dunedain as well. Potatoes could travel by the same route. As to why tobacco and spuds but not tomatoes? I don't know. Potatoes are a very useful staple crop, and much easier to manage in cool, wet climates (since they don't need to set seed to survive). Luxury crops may just be a bit more random in what ends up where. Possibly, tomatoes were seen as too big a risk in the climate: they need a large investment of rich soil to crop well, and assuming a climate like Cornwall's, can fail one year in two. Although there's no suggestion of it in canon, nicotine is a very effective insecticide: it's possible the northern Dunedain were cultivating it as a poisonous herb, or even as a medicine, and since the leaves are the part you want, you don't need to ripen seed very often. That might match well with the hobbits starting to smoke it, too.
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[[folder:Additional Comments -- General Discussion]]
* Okay, there was a whole hell of a lot to read through across this whole page just to post one question and I haven't seen most of the rest yet, so feel free to edit this out if the question's already been addressed, but one thing I have never understood is why, when Gandalf reveals himself to be the guy in the gray robes and not Saruman, the others ''instantly believe that it's him and he's back from the dead'', and not Saruman pulling a shapeshifting or illusory magic on them. They know that Saruman has great magical powers, the scope of which is not clear to them; they know this guy is wearing white; they know Gandalf is dead: why don't they put two and two together? Why do they ''immediately'' trust him? "What veil was over my sight" my ass. How do you know it's not veiled ''now''?!
** Considering the depiction of the scene both in the book and in the movie, it seems they felt deep in themselves that it was actually Gandalf that was back from the dead. Something along the lines of light and power that could not be masked by Saruman. But taking in consideration Gandalf came back more powerful than Saruman it is possible he made them believe in him much like Saruman would have made them believe his lie.
*** Also consider that Gandalf is wearing a Ring of Power that specifically kindles hope in other beings. Revealing himself to Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli may well have been an exercise of that power.
* Why weren't Gandalf and the others allowed to have a direct confrontation with Sauron? Why would the Valar forbid them from beating the shit out of Sauron, bringing him back in chains, and tossin' him in the ol' Void, like the did Morgoth?
** Out of worry the power would corrupt them like Sauron and Morgoth were corrupted. Incidentally, the last time the Valar directly intervened in a gods' war ''the collateral damage took out entire continents'', so they're quite understandably reluctant to ever authorize such action again. Also, it's not clear if the five wizards combined could take on Sauron at his peak.
** There's also this little problem that Radagast the Brown has forgotten his mission from the Valar and turned all his attention to the creatures, Saruman wants the ring for himself, and the two blue wizards have wandered off somewhere to the South; we don't really know what they're doing. Maybe this would have been different if they had taken on Sauron as soon as they came, but they came in the year 1000 of the Third Age, and I believe that's between his original downfall and his return to power. I'll have to check, though. I'll come back and edit this if I'm wrong. Or someone else can correct me.
* What was Gandalf's original plan for getting the Ring into Mordor? As far as we know, there are only two ways in: The Black Gate and Cirith Ungol. Did Gandalf count on everybody climbing up those stairs right under the nose of the Witch-King at Minas Morgul? And why didn't he let everybody else in on the plan before they left Rivendell?
** Aragorn was of the opinion that Gandalf didn't have a specific plan beyond Lórien - he was intending to talk to Galadriel and possibly take a gander in her mirror, and see if he could [[IndyPloy cook up a plan on the way]].
** There's also that Aragorn himself is the one person other than Gollum to have successfully snuck into Mordor and back via Cirith Ungol -- its mentioned in the ROTK appendices. Gandalf had a reasonable presumption of being able to duplicate that feat with the full Fellowship, especially given that the Witch-king would be ''leaving'' Minas Morgul at some point... or, if not, Gandalf could easily decoy him away with a show of power.
*** A suicide mission is sometimes the only option. Put the ring-bearer in back and shove everyone else into the [[MeatShield meat grinder]] until it clogs. 100,000 dead soldiers is better than Sauron destroying the world.
**** Nice idea, but you would need 100,000 life soldiers first. And they don't have them. We're not in the First or Second Age with its huge Elven and Human realms anymore. When marching on the Morannon, Gondor and Rohan had less than 7000 men.
** Maybe he wasn't going to take the path at Cirith Ungol at all. Mordor isn't ''completely'' surrounded by mountains.
*** Like Aragorn's player said in DMOfTheRings, "I'm entering a country. You can't put a door on a country."
*** Also, the 'pass' at Cirith Ungol wasn't just the winding stairway cut into the mountain on a sheer vertical face, there was a rather wide pass that lead up through the mountains from Minas Morgul to Cirith Ungol, it just would have made no sense for the Hobbits to take an extremely well-traveled, militarily strategic pass.
** Gandalf apparently wanted to send the two [[KansasCityShuffle decoy hobbits]] west all along and make Sauron think that the armies of Rohan and Gondor had the Ring, since Sauron [[EvilCannotComprehendGood would not imagine]] they would use a hobbit in posession of the Ring as anything other than a prisoner or a prop. He was pleasantly surprised that the Nazgûl thought Saruman had imprisoned Frodo, and recommended that Aragorn [[BatmanGambit challenge Sauron]] to make him think he had taken the Ring from Frodo like Isildur would have; but when Pippin looked into the palantír he nearly gave up the whole game, which is why Gandalf took Pippin to Minas Tirith, where there were many spies, to draw Sauron's eye.
** Gandalf believed that Eru was intervening directly (if subtly) in events. He believed that Frodo was "meant" (by Eru) to bear the Ring. And he believed that the only viable long-term solution for Middle-Earth was for the Ring to be destroyed, and he knew that there was only one place on Middle-Earth that it COULD be destroyed. So he didn't have a "plan" as such: he simply decided to get Frodo moving in the general direction of his ultimate goal and trust in Eru to make sure that a way would open itself up for him. Call it an IndyPloy if you must, but it worked, didn't it? It's entirely possible that if Gollum hadn't stopped Frodo from walking up to the Black Gate and knocking politely on Mordor's front door, something else would've happened after he was captured to give him another chance to complete the mission.
* Why exactly did Saruman decide to steal the Ring for himself?
** Study of the Ring and the 'arts of the Enemy' apparently corrupted him. [[TheAbyssGazesBack Gaze too long into the abyss]] and all that -- and Saruman's one big flaw always was pride.
*** Plus jealousy towards Gandalf. Saruman always knew that Gandalf was mightier of the two, although Gandalf didn't and wouldn't have cared if he did. As a result Sharky was always demeaning Gandalf with his words, while imitating him in secret.
** ''Everyone'' who has anything to do with the Ring wants to steal it for him- or herself. That's what it does.
** Sauron was able to mentally dominate him through prolonged mental dueling via palantir.

* Staying with Bree, Aragorn knows the Nazgûl have pursued the Frodo there, so he moves Frodo... ''to another room in the inn'' - or possibly to a room in a different inn, but all of about fifty feet away. He certainly doesn't take the hobbits out of the town, or even pick a particularly well-hidden nook within it. The Nazgûl must have been informed, presumably, that their prey was in a particular room. But when he's not there, they just... go away, leaving Aragorn and the hobbits to wander off into the wild at their leisure? Why don't they tear the town apart? Threaten to kill people until someone talks? I can't remember if it's any different in the book, but I rather think it's pretty much the same.
** In the book, Aragorn discusses why the Nazgûl won't attack in Bree ("That is not their way. In dark and loneliness they are strongest; they will not openly attack a house where there are lights and many people �not until they are desperate, not while all the long leagues of Eriador lie before us.") However, they're not above putting people in Bree who are working for them (Bill Ferny, for one) up to a little mischief �sacking rooms, loosing ponies� which has the dual benefit of being intimidating and making the journey to Rivendell that much more dangerous.

* In ''The Hobbit'', trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. Yet in the movies of the trilogy, trolls move around freely in the sunlight. Are they just different types of trolls? If so, what happened to all the stone by day trolls? Did they go extinct by all turning to stone?
** There are different breeds of troll, only the weaker varieties of which turn to stone. The ones in Sauron's armies are the much-improved Olog-hai, who (like orcs) dislike sunlight but are not harmed by it. (Incidentally, you can see the three stoned trolls from ''The Hobbit'' in the ''Fellowship'' movie.)
**** "stoned trolls" conjures up an entirely different scenario!
***** there is a card in the munchkins card game that is a "stoned golem" it has a bong. not exactly the same thing but close enough,
*** Also, in the books, Sauron begins his assault on Gondor by clouding the skies such that there really isn't any sun. The only trolls mentioned at the siege of Gondor that I recall are those that wielded Grond, and no mention is made of if they turn to stone when the clouds are driven away or if they're killed by Imrahil & Co.
*** The three stone trolls appear in the ''Fellowship'' book, too.
** Also, ''The Hobbit'' was not originally part of the Middle-earth setting when it was published. Tolkien only moved the ''Hobbit'' to his (already existing) Middle-earth legendarium when he began writing ''The Lord of the Rings'', which is the reason for inconsistensies in plot and style between the ''Hobbit'' and the other Middle-earth works.
*** Including some things so plot breaking (like Gollum willingly giving up the ring) that the original had to be altered.

* How exactly did Morgoth make dragons? We're told he cannot create anything, only corrupt and alter existing works (incidentally, making the weaker in the process). He made orcs by corrupting elves; trolls were likewise once ents. So, where do dragons come from? They're much too large and powerful to have been made from eagles, and we know that they're not corrupted Maiar like the Balrogs if there was a "father of dragons".
** Tolkien himself [[FlipFlopOfGod never really decided]]. It's not inconceivable that Glaurung was an incarnated Maia, and that the race of Dragons was bred from his physical body, though that brings up questions about whether dragons have souls and where they come from. In ''Morgoth's Ring'', there are essays about the origins of Orcs that relate to this. (Note that Melian, an incarnated Maia, was able to conceive and have a child with an Elf-King.)
** Maybe they were from the Eagles. While they are much bigger and powerful, that could be chalked up to them growing DrunkOnTheDarkSide, or something like that.
*** The first dragons didn't have wings, though. Mutant lizards, maybe?

* The Easterlings and Haradrim allied with Sauron. In a world in which the sides of good and evil are ''very'' obvious, and in which evil's ultimate goal is blatantly to enslave the entire world, and in which Sauron has shown himself over the course of many, many centuries to be treacherous and only out for his own power, what country made up of free-willed people ''chooses'' to fight for Mordor? It's not like even Sauron's human allies would benefit in the event of his victory, and unless they were all completely idiotic it's not like that fact wouldn't be very, very obvious from the start.
** We the readers, and the protagonists know of Sauron's treachery and malice because the characters in question are the descendants of elf-friends, having learned Truth and bearing the knowledge of Númenor and the elder races. Not all men are so fortunate to have such teachers. Men who are not descended of the Edain, living far from the northwestern coast, have only their own experiences to go by. They were seduced into the service of Morgoth in the first age, and if they ever received any instruction from the Ainur after the War of Wrath, it was forgotten to the years. Sauron is the greatest Power they know of, and has likely lied to them to convince them that he is the ''only'' great Power that exists, and as their God-King, they have no choice but to obey him. Sam himself wonders at one point what lies they had been told to take them so far from their homes to die in battle -- so even the characters know that the "evil" men are merely being deceived on a national scale.
** Every temptation in the book is stronger to the characters than it would be to real people. Without being able to feel the supernatural forces behind them, the allure of the One Ring seems easy to ignore, and the voice of Saruman as he tries to convince Théoden to switch sides again just sounds silly.
** Also, note that at least some of the human allies of Sauron had really big trouble with the "good" nations, especially Númenóreans and their descendants, due to the colonialist arrogance of the latter. Remember for example Dunlendings that were driven off their lands by the Rohirrim. So, in the opinion of the Haradrim, joining evil Sauron was the least evil - think Finland in WWII or the numerous volunteers from Ukraine who fought alongside Nazis even though they knew that the Nazis considered Slavic peoples as inferior to Aryans.

* The elves gave Frodo, Bilbo, and Gimli permission to go over the Sea with them. But was permission really theirs to give? The Valar get really snippy about Men coming over to see them, and hobbits are basically Men by lineage. They might have been in for an unpleasant surprise when they arrived.
** In the case of Bilbo and Frodo, don't forget Gandalf was there too and he may have already known exception had been granted for the Ring Bearers, he may have even been informed of such when going back to get his new body and becoming Gandalf the White.
** Also, there's no indication that Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli were given the gift of immortal life like Tuor was. Most likely they were allowed to live out their days in the closest thing Middle-Earth has to Heaven as a reward for their service to Eru/the Valar.
** Tolkien explicitly states that Frodo and Bilbo died. It's unclear about Gimli. Plus, they never actualy went to the Undying Lands themselves, but the island just outside, so immortality wasn't necessary. Arwen claimed to give up her place for Frodo, and Gandalf then interceded on his behalf.
* The Valar either can't grant immortality to mortals or choose not to. Setting foot in the Undying Lands doesn't actually let you cheat death, but mortals are nevertheless still not allowed in.
** Leave us not forget the Gift of Men, that allows men to die and leave Arda. For a mortal to travel to the Undying Lands is to give in to Morgoth's perversion of the Gift, and fear the right to leave the world at death. Aragorn rightly receives his Gift at the end of his life as a reward earned, not a doom inflicted. Why would the Elves allow any of the Fellowship to refuse the greatest gift Ilúvatar could grant? As I recall, the Elves/Maia/etc were jealous that the souls of men were not tied to Arda for all time. (An extremely special "Well then I'm not going!" exception was granted in Beren & Luthien's case.)

* Why are the Númenóreans considered so special? I mean, the original reason for this was because they were descended from Elf and human royalty, and their kings were blessed with long lives by Eru or something, but that was thousands of years ago. Simple genetics would show that by the time of ''TheLordOfTheRings'', ''[[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale every]]'' [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale Man alive would be descended from the Númenóreans]], so having Dúnedain ancestry shouldn't be at all remarkable. Elros was essentially the Middle-earth equivalent of Y-Chromosomal Adam. Shouldn't all Men have centuries-long lifespans and friendship with Elves by this point?
** Extended lifespans and physical hardiness are things you only get if you've got ''very'' pure Dúnedain blood (and wisdom and knowledge are probably a function of the longer lifespans and greater experience, rather than something purely inborn)- Aragorn's got it, and some of the noble houses of Gondor, but otherwise, while you're right that there probably ''are'' lots and lots of Men with some Dúnedain ancestry, there are ''maybe'' a couple hundred at most actual Dúnedain left by the time of LOTR. And friendship with Elves isn't genetic- there've been plenty of Dúnedain who envied the Elves and didn't get along with them at all (looking at ''you'', Ar-Pharazôn...)
** Not all Númenóreans were descended from the royal line (although the royals lived quite a bit longer than the "normal" Númenóreans). The long lifespan is essentially a gift from the Valar for supporting the Elves in the war against Morgoth. The reduction in lifespan wasn't a simple matter of genetics (in the Appendix, it's mentioned that a civil war was fought in Gondor over a "half-breed" king who lived about as long as his ancestors, indicating in part what Tolkien thought of the matter), but rather it's just the "changiness" of Middle-Earth. The tragedy of the Valar is that Morgoth has "marred" Arda from the beginning, so all of their works will fail in some manner or another (although the failure itself might be much more wondrous than the initial plan); this was no exception.
*** All Númenóreans had far longer lives than ordinary Men, just the royal clan (descendants of Elros and so having a significant percent of Elven genes) lived up to 300-400 years, while commoners [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld only]] lived a bit more than 200 years. It's in the ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales'', the story of King Aldarion and Erendis: he lived to be 398 years old and reigned for 192 of them, while she, as a commoner, lived only 214 years. Their daughter, Queen Ancalimë (half-Elrosian by genes), lived 412 years.
** Númenórean royalty has actual divine blood. They're descended from Thingol and Melian, who begat Lùthien, who married Beren, they begat Dior, who begat Elwing, who married Eärendil, son of Tuor and Idril. THEIR sons were Elrond (whom you know) and Elros (first King of Nùmenor).
** So, yeah, they're special. They're descended from third-rank deities. (Eru > Valar > Maiar) And also from half the named characters in the Silmarillion. That special enough? (Okay, I hate the trope of "everyone who's involved in the writing of History comes from the same, unbroken line of descent". But it wasn't trite when Tolkien did it, and moreover he did it well. Mythology and all that. Still, UnfortunateImplications that you can only be important by birth or association with someone who is.)
*** It's not unfortunate implications. It has been simple reality within many cultures in history. Look at historical monarchies, for example. Many people weren't considered important, unless they happened to be born into the family line in power. That's not Tolkien saying it's morally correct. It's simply how many cultures have worked. Only the rich being educated and only those educated know how to document history. In fact, there's quite a significant subversion of this trope you hate in LOTR. Frodo isn't royalty or from any powerful bloodline and, yet, he's the one who wrote down the account of much of the events that leads to us reading about it.
**** Actually, a class system in the Shire, with the Bagginses as members of its gentry, is made pretty clear in the books. For starters, according to the “Concerning Hobbits” part of the prologue of ''Fellowship'', it was “only the richest and poorest hobbits that maintained the old custom” of hole-dwelling. Bilbo’s father, Bungo, built Bag End, which probably cost a pretty penny (or farthing, what have you). As well, the Gamgees are servants to them, with Samwise often addressing Frodo formally or referring to him as his master. There’s ''also'' the fact that Bilbo is considerably wealthy after his return from Erebor, which may have meant Frodo experienced a life of privilege as his adopted heir (we certainly don’t ever hear of him working in the fields like plenty of other hobbits do). However, the norm in the Shire concerning education is unclear, so it may be that Bilbo and Frodo received no more than would anyone else. For instance, after Frodo departs to the Undying Lands, Sam easily takes it upon himself to continue writing in the Red Book, so even he, a gardener’s son, is certainly literate. OTOH, it's worth noting that the other two hobbits on the journey to destroy the One Ring, Merry and Pippin, are both heirs to the ''very'' prominent Brandybuck and Took families.
**** Re-subverted when you consider that Tolkien thought Samwise was the real hero of the story, and he was the son of a gardener.
** Elros (founder of Númenorian royal line, Elrond's brother) was not Y-chromosomal Adam, he was the equivalent of King Alfred the Great of England. There were three entire tribes of Elf-Friendly or enlightened Men in the First Age who had come from the East and fought in the war against Morgoth. Many were killed in doing so. Elros and Elrond were the descendents of the leaders of these branches, as well as of the Maia Melian, the leaders of the elves who never went to the promised land, and at least one branch of the elves who went to the promised land but came back. Also, remember that in the semi-medieval world that Tolkien created (where Eru takes a subtle but active hand in the world), the Divine Right of Kings is a real thing. The Kings are the wisest, most able, literally God-gifted amongst their people. This is not to say that there still weren't many people who the Kings, you know, ruled over. Elros and Elrond were the descendents of nearly all the greatest beings of the First Age on elven and mannish sides and were given the choice of their fate, and were very wise and good beings themselves. Elros chose Men and was therefore made King of the remnants of the three branches of Men that had fought in the War. After the innumerable tragedies of the War and the loss of most of the developed continent, the Valar wanted to reward the surviving Men but couldn't because they are mortal, so they made an island half way to the promised land for Men to live on. These men are the Númenorians. There were other Men who did not fight in the war or did not go to the island, and those are the other Men in Middle-Earth. So the line of Elros was just the royal line, not the entirety of the Númenorian people. It's in the Silmarillion.

* The palantíri. What was the ultimate fate of the last one? To recap, the palantíri were placed at: Minas Ithil (captured by Sauron, presumably lost in the destruction of Barad-dûr), Osgiliath (lost during the Gondorian Kin-Strife), Minas Anor (intact, but with a bad case of "burn-in"), Orthanc (intact), two in Arnor (lost during the downfall of same), and the last was in the Tower Hills west of the Shire, presumably in the hands of the Elves. When the keepers of the Three Rings and the ringbearers of the One Ring set sail at the end of the story, they take the Tower Hills palantír with them. Why would they do that? The palantíri weren't made with the now-powerless Three Rings, and we see every indication that the stones still work. We know that Aragorn is in possession of the Orthanc stone. You'd think he would have use for a palantír in the newly-reestablished realm of Arnor, to facilitate easier communication between the distant kingdoms. But no, the Elves decide to be dicks, and take away ''the'' '''one''' ''other intact and fully-functional stone!'' And if Valinor really was "removed beyond the cirlces of the Earth," it's not like they could've used the Tower Hills stone where they were going, anyway.
** The Tower Hills stone was permanently affixed westward, towards Valinor and Númenor (i.e., the "straight road"). It was a reminder to the Dúnedain of what they had lost in the Downfall. With the Age of Men at hand, no one remaining had any need for it.

* What was Sauron planning to do if he won the war? Seriously, then what? Was he planning to eventually [[OmnicidalManiac just kill everyone]]? Was he just doing it ForTheEvulz? What was his next step?
** To rule the world after conquering it. Sauron was not an OmnicidalManiac (though his predecessor, Morgoth, was), nor was he doing it ForTheEvulz. His desires are for power, control, and an ordered system with himself at the pinnacle. Might as well ask what any human dictator would do in the same situation.
*** But that's just it: most of the really evil human dictators of history (your Lenins, Stalins, Hitlers, Maos, etc.) were driven by some ''ideology'' that generally informed their drives for power. If you had asked Mao why he was killing tens of millions of Chinese people, he would have been able to give you an answer about building the Communist future, the need to remake Chinese culture, create the new Socialist Man, etc. In other words, most of the great monsters of history ''believed'' in something. Conquerors like Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, or Cyrus the Great were all driven by colossal ambition and lust for power, and they certainly killed a lot of people, and harmed many more, in the course of building their respective empires, but they also did a lot of good things too. After all, once you rule a country, even, or rather especially, if you rule it as an absolute dictator, its interests become your interests: you want the empire you rule to be peaceful (at least internally) and prosperous. If Sauron is just an ordinary empire-builder like Alexander the Great, that doesn't really fit well with the whole Dark Lord, altogether evil, Devil-{{expy}} image that the novels are clearly trying to create for him. What does Sauron believe in?
*** What does Sauron believe in? Per WordOfGod, order and himself. He plays a longer game than a human dictator would (on account of being immortal and all) and on a broader scope than most, but he ''does'' have an ideology, albeit a fairly straigtfoward one. To Sauron's mind, order is good, an ordered world is desirable, and he alone is fit to bring it about. Of course, he's extreme enough that if he won, it would pretty much mean the elimination of free will for everyone else- note that his most favored servants, the Nazgûl, had been turned into little more than extensions of his own will and you have some idea of what his ideal follower is like. Also, he's ''not'' Middle-Earth's devil, though he did work for him [[DragonWithAnAgenda to advance his own ends]]- the "devil imagery" is partly inhereted from Morgoth, and partly a function of the fact that he is, effectively, a FallenAngel.
**** That's a perfectly reasonable answer, but it does lead to a paradoxical outcome. You appear to be suggesting that Sauron wants to eliminate free will because he believes that that is the only way to eliminate evil. In Sauron's world, everyone would presumably be all good all the time, because they would have no choice in the matter. In this conception, Sauron is actually a KnightTemplar, and is not altogether evil. (That would actually fit with Tolkien's religious beliefs, since Catholics, following Augustine and Aquinas, generally do not believe that anything that exists could ever be totally evil.)
**** Tolkien didn't believe Sauron was purely evil, though he did believe he was about as close to it as a thinking being can be. To Tolkien, evil isn't a "thing" so much as it is the absence of a thing (like darkness is the absence of light, or cold the absence of heat- evil would therefore be the absence of good, and therefore of God). Pure evil, in Tolkien's mind, would be a void- Sauron has very, very little good left in him, and what is there is warped, but as a rational, thinking being, even he can't be completely corrupted. "Nothing is evil in the beginning- even Sauron was not so".
*** Also, a key point that seperates Sauron from human dictators- many of history's worst tyrants (Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot all come to mind) were on some level patriots whose obsessive love for their countries was a motivator for their atrocities- but Sauron does not love Mordor. He is older by far than Mordor as a nation is, and he has no empathy whatsoever for his subjects. He is a calculated, largely rational evil with specific goals, but he would gladly sacrifice any of his servants if he knew that was what would take to reach his goals. Even Hitler was a human ruling over other humans, but Sauron is an immortal and, to his own mind, a god ruling over lesser beings- no matter what atrocities he has to commit, no matter how many of his worshippers or followers die, he'd think it was worth it if it brought him closer to reshaping the world in his own image. ''That's'' why this guy is evil.
**** What you are saying is technically true, but only technically. The individuals in question were so lacking in empathy for others, including their own followers, that they never had any qualms about sacrificing them in unspeakably large numbers in order to accomplish their political goals. And most of them were arrogant to the point that it would not be inaccurate to say that they believed themselves to be gods ruling over lesser beings.
**** Sauron, though, doesn't even have the illusions in those regards- to him, mortal lives would exist in an eyeblink even without his interference. There's a difference, I think, between a mortal megalomaniac who believes himself godlike and a semidivine immortal who knows full well he is a different order of being from his minions and can convince them he is God with minimal effort. It's not so much a difference of type, though, as it is of degree- Sauron is Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao with immortality, magic, and absolutely no illusions about the effects of what he does (at least regarding how his actions effect others). He's the archetypical, mythic, "pure" conqueror and tyrant as it were.

* Why on Middle-Earth did Saruman reveal his betrayal to Gandalf? Even assuming that Gandalf didn't escape from the roof of Orthanc, what would this achieve? Why not feign continued friendship and loyalty to the Istari and the White Council and go with Gandalf to Rivendell? Then he can join the fellowship and say 'Hey, we can cross the Misty Mountains most easily at the Gap of Rohan, and while we're there, we can stop at Isengard to rest and refit.' The Ring would have fallen into his hands like a ripe apple. How does imprisoning Gandalf bring Saruman any closer to getting the Ring?
** Saruman did not know they were going to form a fellowship and try and get the Ring to Mordor. The whole plot rests on the idea that the bad guys ''do not even consider this''. As for why he reveals it to Gandalf? I don't know if they changed it from the books, but in the movies, Saruman is explicitly trying to get Gandalf on his side.
** In both books and films, Saruman plainly wants Gandalf to join him, presumably as his Dragon. Gandalf would obviously need to know the general shape of Saruman's schemes to become a willing participant in them. It's only when Gandalf refuses that Saruman imprisons him, in both versions, since he can't have him wandering around and telling everyone that Saruman's a traitor. And as stated above, it's absolutely central to both the plot and the themes that the bad guys could never concieve of anyone willingly trying to destroy the Ring. As far as Saruman knows, he's already ''been'' privy to the most important plans of the Wise and has no need to go to Rivendell to learn more.
*** Even if you are both right that it couldn't possibly have occurred to Saruman that they might have tried to destroy the Ring, it surely occurred to him that the Ring would be on its way to Rivendell! Going there gives him the chance to get near the Ring and possibly engineer the circumstances by which it would fall into his hands. He can always try to subvert Gandalf after he has the Ring.
** While no one's figured out Saruman's motives until he reveals them to Gandalf, going to Rivendell in person means that the disjointed parts and pieces (his dealings in the Shire and Bree, his misleading of the White Council, his actions towards Gondor and Rohan) have a chance to show his treachery in full (and in a town full of people powerful enough to oppose him). In addition, things are moving quickly, and a soujourn to Rivendell would leave a strong chance of him being cut off from the base of his power in Isengard.
** To put it in perspective, Gandalf by his lonesome Saruman can handle (at least before Gandalf's rebirth as the White). But at Rivendell he's exposing himself to Gandalf ''and'' Elrond ''and'' Glorfindel ''and'' the possibility that someone else like Galadriel might decide to put in a showing- and that's just talking the mystical heavyweights, not ordinary warriors like Aragorn. If Saruman's treachery comes out in that company, he's toast, and he knows it.
*** Again, even if you are both right, why would anyone suspect Saruman at that point? Gandalf goes to Isengard trusting him implicitly and thinks of him as a good friend. Neither Elrond nor Galadriel nor anyone else is likely to accuse him of treason without ironclad proof, of which there was none. ''We know'', having read the novels and all the background materials, that there were already signs of Saruman's betrayal, but really they didn't know. All he had to do was say the right things about how Sauron had to be defeated and that the only way to do that was to destroy the Ring, which was a vital necessity. If Galadriel had shown up, and had started making accusations, she would have looked like the bad one. As it is, what was Saruman's plan, exactly:
-->1. Attack Rohan.
-->2. ????
-->3. Get Ring.
*** You're missing one key thing: He was trying to bring Gandalf in ''as an ally''. He thought he could get Gandalf on his side before all that. That's why he reveals it at all--when Gandalf first refuses, then escapes, then he has to modify his plans. His original plan was
-->1. Get Gandalf on my side
-->2. Get Gandalf to retrieve the ring and bring it to me directly
**** But why would he think that would work? He knows perfectly well that Gandalf is coming to him for help in ''stopping'' Sauron. Why would he expect that Gandalf would betray everything he stands for all of a sudden, out of nowhere? On top of which, it's a huge gamble: he's staking everything on Gandalf behaving in a way that is completely out of character. What's his backup plan for getting the Ring if Gandalf says no? Plus which, what if Gandalf does agree to retrieve the Ring and bring it to Saruman? Such an agreement could never be trusted, because once the Gandalf ''has'' the Ring he'd never give it up: that's the whole point of the Ring. Saruman, expert on the subject that he is, has to know that. And with the Ring, Gandalf would almost certainly be more powerful than Saruman. The only person Saruman can trust to retrieve the Ring and bring it to him is he himself.
*** Listen to the dialogue: Saruman starts out by saying it's later, and the situation more dire, than Gandalf thought it was. His argument was along the lines of, "Look, it's too late. Sauron's going to win whatever we do, so we should just join up with him." And don't forget that Saruman has been palantíring with Sauron--something that's been shown to drive people a little batty and screw with their heads (see Denethor). Simply put? Saruman is no longer playing with a full deck.
**** Yes, I know what Saruman's argument to Gandalf was. But that doesn't really answer my questions: why would Saruman really have believed that would work and what was his back-up plan if it didn't, and if it did work, how could he trust Gandalf to bring him the Ring instead of keeping it for himself. Your real argument is that Saruman was just stupid (which was my point) from palantíring with Sauron. The problem with saying that, well, yes, Saruman was just stupid is that he's also ''the'' major antagonist from the time the Fellowship leaves Rivendell until the end of ''TheTwoTowers''.
*** What do you want? If Saruman and Sauron had developed back-up plan after back-up plan, and had contingencies for everything, ''they would have won''. At some point, the villains have to have significant flaws or else there's no story. In this case, the major flaw of the villains is they do not understand the heroes and their motivations, and this is exactly an example of that: Saruman thinks he can get Gandalf on his side with offers of power.
**** There is a backup plan: torture Gandalf for information about the ring's location. Also, bear in mind that Saruman is doing a rush-job: he knows that the Nazgûl are hunting for the ring (they turn up at Isengard soon after Gandalf escapes).
** Why would Saruman know that the ring is being moved? It's still in the Shire at that point, and the plan to leave that autumn was kept pretty secret. It's possible (maybe even probable, depending how often he's getting reports) that he doesn't even know Frodo's planning to move to Buckland. Remember that Gandalf arrives to ask his advice about what to do about the ring. If he can threaten Gandalf into helping or giving intelligence, his agents can grab the ring easily. If not, he's still in a good position compared to the Nazgul (he knows where the Shire is, has people on the ground, and is much nearer) - he's really worried when they do turn up at Isengard, because they're now heading in the right direction.

* The mithril shirt. It is described as "lose-woven of many rings, as supple almost as linen, cold as ice, and harder than steel." Key descriptor here: "as supple almost as linen." So, it is flexible, and apparently thin enough to be worn under clothes without adding much bulk (in the film adaptation it was basically a light t-shirt, which he wore under his entirely unremarkable clothing.) Now, the problem with this is that, no matter how steel-hard the individual rings in the chain mail are, something ''that'' supple and ''that'' thin is only going to wrap around weapons, blunting their sharp edges but doing ''nothing'' to the force behind them. And even a blunted spear, with sufficient weight behind it, can run through skin and muscle tissue and break bones. While the mithril shirt ''itself'' wouldn't be pierced by the orc spear in the battle of Balin's Tomb, a "cloth" of metal as light and flexible as linen would still be pushed into Frodo's body -- the heavy blow of the spear should have burst his internal organs at best, or it should have run him through (with the un-pierced front of the shirt meeting the back) at worst. But all Frodo got was the wind knocked out of him. Chain mail is designed to stop attacks with blades, and any arrows fired at Frodo would lose their momentum upon striking it; for that matter, an orc ''slashing'' at it would probably knock Frodo aside. But the shirt doesn't have the rigidity to deflect, or the padding to absorb, so much blunt force applied to such a tiny surface. So how exactly does mithril chain mail work, that it can reduce blunt force so drastically? Does it instantaneously generate tension at the point of impact to prevent wrapping around the weapon?
** Good point, but when Frodo is hit by the spear, he does not just have "the wind knocked out of him". It's made clear that the rings were pushed into him, causing severe bruising that was "sore to the touch for many days" and requiring that Frodo be carried for a while. Tolkien realized that the shirt wouldn't make Frodo invulnerable, but as for why the injury was not worse, call it elven magic.
** He's explicitly wearing leather under the mail to spread the force of blows, and the rings are still driven through into his skin. He's incredibly lucky not to break ribs, though.

* There are several passes explicitly mentioned in Fellowship through the Misty Mountains -- there's the High Pass (Caradhas), Moria, and the Gap of Rohan. However, looking at the helpful map in the front, I notice there's another way- the Old Forest Road, east of Rivendell. Now, it may have been stated or implied in the text and I missed it (though I read through the chapter on the Council of Elrond like three times looking for reference), but why didn't they take that road and avoid the rather perilous Caradhas/Moria? Did they just want to stay away from Mirkwood as possible?
** The High Pass isn't Caradhas, it's the one taken in The Hobbit, leading to the Old Forest Road. On that route, there's still a risk of orc ambush in the mountains, though it's safer than Moria, but if they go through the forest, they miss out Lothlórien, then have to travel several hundred miles through the open country east of Mirkwood, an area under Sauron's effective control. They could turn south as soon as they cross the mountains, but the range bends south-west. Moria isn't far off due south of Rivendell, but on the east side of the mountains they'd need to head slightly westwards to reach Lothlórien, adding days to their journey.
** Also, if they were to head over that pass but then turn south and follow the river, you come to the Gladden Fields, which was being watched by Sauron because that was where Isildur was slain and the Ring lost. That route would have alerted the enemy to their prescence.
** December. They expect the pass at Caradhras to be far enough south to be clear of snow, which implies that the northern passes will not be. Imagine the drifts on Caradhras going on for miles, and you'll get some idea of why it's not an option. And they daren't wait for spring, because the snow is at its most dangerous for avalanches and such once the thaw starts: it may be April or May before the High Pass is safe again.

* Are weapons that turn blue when orcs are around all that desirable? Under some circumstances, yes, but couldn't they in fact prove counterproductive, giving your location away in the darkness?
** Nobody in their right mind would delve into an orc-infested cave with such a sword. Or into any orc den in general. I always got the impression that the swords were meant to be used on the surface where daylight or any possible encampments would already give your position away to the oncoming orcs, and the elves who carried them always had a non-magical spare, or avoided the thickest hordes all together.
** Remember that these swords were forged in Gondolin, an Elven nation of the First Age, which was hidden in a deep mountain valley and only accessible by hidden undergound passageways. The Elves of Gondolin rarely left their hidden valley, so most of their conflicts would have been defensive in nature. They would fight against raiding parties, but they wouldn't proactively go hunting Orcs. Swords that glow as Orcs approach could be a very valuable early-warning system in those situations. Also, glowing wasn't the ''only'' things the swords did; the light also produced a subtle magical effect which would instill any Orc who saw it with tremendous, often-paralyzing fear. Finally, since Gondolin was one of the most powerful nations of the First Age, and ''knew it,'' it could also be a nod to the suicidal overconfidence of Elves in battle. "Screw staying hidden; we're the ''freaking Firstborn!'' Die, Goblin Scum!"

* Why Saruman deems it wise to keep prisoners on top of his tower? Wouldn't it be more secure to hide his captives deep within the caves that run under Isengard, where there certainly are more than enough locked doors, maze-like tunnels and hordes of Uruk-Hai to see that the prisoner stays put? Sure, the tower lacks a door, but it's still exposed to the surrounding enviroment. What's keeping his prisoners from receiving an airborne rescue like in Gandalf's case, or in a more darker tone, [[DrivenToSuicide falling to their deaths]] if they're desperate enough? What if they fall sick, or freeze to death? And if Saruman is the only one who can teleport to the rooftop, wouldn't the prisoner starve if he'd have to leave Isengard for more pressing matters for more than few days at the most?
** The threat of death by starvation, thirst, or exposure is ''precisely'' the point of such imprisonment. It's meant to ''break'' prisoners' wills so they'd be more easily swayed over by Saruman's compelling voice the next time he visits. As for airborne rescues, the Eagles aren't exactly at Gandalf's beck and call, and since very few people on Middle Earth even KNOW they exist, let alone how to summon them, such escapes are a virtual impossibility.

* I would imagine that Sauron knows of the plan to sneak the Ring into Mordor and destroy it at Mount Doom at least by the time he has formed a solid alliance with Saruman (who certainly knew this). What reason, apart from your garden variety villain overconfidence, would Sauron have ''not'' to have round-the-clock guard at the entrance to the cavern into Mount Doom? Maybe have a nice solid locked iron gate built there while you are at it. Having, say, twenty orcs guarding the site wouldn't be too much of a drain on his attack forces.
** Because Sauron did ''not'' know of the plan to destroy the Ring (and, so far as I'm aware, neither did Saruman, who defected prior to the Council of Elrond). In fact, the book explicitly makes the point that Sauron could never imagine why someone would want to destroy the Ring, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood since throwing away such a tremendous source of power is so completely antithetical to the way he views the world]] (and note that he's not entirely wrong- at the Crack of Doom, with the Ring's power at its height, it seems that no one could work up the will to deliberately destroy it- Frodo certainly couldn't). When Frodo puts the Ring on in Sammath Naur and Sauron realizes both that he's there and the only possible reason for it, he ''freaks out'', because it's a danger that would never have occurred to him. So far as he'd been aware up to that point, either Aragorn or Gandalf had (and was using) the Ring.

* I can understand why Legolas is never referred to as a prince (beyond being named once or twice as 'the son of Thranduil') - as the Elves are immortal, Legolas would most likely not be expected to become King for thousands of years, if at all. However, it bugs me a little that Gimli is never referred to as anything close to royalty. At the time of the War of the Ring, he's sixth in line to the throne (fourth discounting Balin and Oin, who no one at this point knew to be dead). It stands to reason Gimli would be extremely important, yet the books and films never imply he's anything more than an ordinary Dwarf. Did this bug anyone else?
** 1) We only even see or hear Prince used in its older sense of ruler of a (semi-)independant principality. Prince for the sons of kings is a relatively modern courtesy title. And, at least for the dwarves, if you're going to allow nephews and cousins, half the cast of The Hobbit should get courtesy titles of some sort.
** 2) There's a recurrent theme that good guys don't make too much of a fuss about titles. Elrond and Celeborn both have rock-solid claims to call themselves kings (and Galadriel can make a claim for Queen regnant as well as consort). Even Lord is often restricted to rulers, or to people the speaker is sucking up to (Eomer, Faramir and Boromir are all often addressed without titles by subordinates or in formal situations).

* Why did no one taunt the Mouth of Sauron when he mentioned only 1 prisoner? They could have boasted:"''You have only 1 prisoner!?! And since you showed us the Mithril coat that means if he had the Elven Blade Sting you would have showed that and Phial as well! Sounds like the other Assassin got through and took the Hobbit's favorite sword Sting and his Phial and left him for your agents to find and sped straight off to Barad-dur to assassinate and is now halfway between Mount Doom and Barud-dur. Let me repeat already half way between it. better yet closer to Barad-dur than he is to Mount Doom. You brought the armies of Mordor here I'm assuming and left your precious master's Dark Tower undefended? Your even stupider than I thought! Better get your entire armies to Barad-dur and start searching for the Assassin because by the time you get there he'll be almost within shooting distance from your Dark Tower!''"
** There's a trope called JustBetweenYouAndMe for when the villain stupidly gloats about the genius of their plan and how the heroes never saw it coming, as well as all the intricate steps and subtle manipulations. This inevitably ends with the hero realizing the danger they're in and foiling the villain's plan. Just switch the words "villain" and "hero" for the above and that's what would have happened if the heroes taunted.
*** Plus taunting a foe is more of a villain thing, or ChaoticGood. Neither of which describe any of the main heroes of this story.
*** Also telling him all that would be really stupid, considering the whole point of the attack on the Black Gates was to draw Sauron's attention ''away'' from the Hobbits. Telling them, "One of them is still alive in there!" is the complete and exact opposite of the whole point of the expedition. It's like doing a magic trick and "taunting" your audience by saying, "Ah, but you're not looking at how I'm palming the ball in my other hand!"

* So Aragorn is a Badass Heir To The Throne Ranger who has spent entire decades wandering the Wild, defending the helpless from forces of evil beyond understanding. So shouldn't he at least carry more than [[LegendaryWeapon the broken shards of his ancestor's sword]] in his sheath? He even lampshades it to Sam in the inn when they first meet ("Not much use, eh, Sam?"). ''How did he live this long'' without a functioning weapon? Or does he carry another sword in his pack that we never get to read about?
** Aragorn spent some years in the armies of Gondor and Rohan under a pseudonym, where he presumably was issued weapons. When he was taking Frodo to Rivendell, he probably had a knife on him, since he said he could hunt game if needed. As to whether he carried the broken sword at all other times... the text doesn't really say if he did or didn't. But it may be worth noting that even after his sword is repaired, Aragorn is said to be lightly equipped like a typical Ranger, until before the siege of Helm's Deep where he borrowed some armor. When some other Rangers appear before the siege of Gondor, they're also heavily armed and armored. It may be that the Rangers usually engaged in scouting and spying and only "suited up" in their hideouts to fight the occasional goblin or troll band that ventured within their areas. This is in contrast to the Rangers of Gondor led by Faramir, who appeared to be a unit of the standing army.
* After Theoden leaves control of Rohan with Eowyn, she just leaves too. So who was left in charge?
[[/folder]]
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!!Adaptations of ''The Lord of the Rings'':
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[[folder:Animated Adaptations]]
* In the 1977 ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' movie, in the song where the party is captured by goblins, why the fuck do they all run right into the exact cave that the ponies just got dragged into? They clearly realized from the start that it was goblins at work. Seems like the only sensible thing to do would be to get the hell away from that cave, not run right into it, regardless of the ponies. Here's a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPkqjc23yqs&feature=related link]] to the song if you've never seen it.
** Weren't all their supplies on those ponies? They were a little too far up in the mountains to make it back without any food. Not to mention that Thorin the exile and his compatriots could only afford to fund ''one'' expedition. If they lose all their resources, then even if they avoid starvation on the trip back they've still failed in their quest.
*** On closer inspection, Thorin actually shouts something like ''protect the ponies'', it's just really badly muffled by the music.
**** He says "The goblins are upon us! Save the ponies from the goblins!"
* Why do Goblins have [[BizarreAlienBiology two throats]]? Does it have something to do with their [[MusicalWorldHypotheses singing ability?]]
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Peter Jackson's Adaptation of ''The Lord of the Rings'']]

[[WMG: Any reason why Gandalf loses several centimeters of beard when transformed into Gandalf the White]]
* What the Hell? The longer the beard, the better.
** The same reason his hair turns white and he gets greater magical powers.
*** In this case, I think we can safely assume, AWizardDidIt.

[[WMG: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr_i2w0W-ZM The Opening Scene]]]]
Sauron clearly bashes Isildor's dad into a cliff, and that is where he gets his finger cut off and subsequently explodes. But, when they show the explosion, the two are clearly in the middle of a mob of Orcs, and there's not a cliff in sight.

[[WMG:I do remember there's a more or less decent explanation in the book as Frodo's first brush with the ring happens differently, but in the film, do the patrons of the Prancing Pony have short attention spans or what? The ring falls onto Frodo's outstretched finger. Everyone reacts with the sort of shock you'd expect and stare down at the empty space. He's invisible for no more than about ten seconds. Yet by the time he takes the thing off everyone's forgotten all about it and is chatting mildly as if nothing has happened.]]
** The patrons of the (movie) Prancing Pony are drinking copious amounts of beer of the Prancing Pony. Would you care about such trivial a thing as a vanishing midget if your tankard was running empty ? Priorities, man. Priorities.
*** Maybe they were at stage that he didn't vanished but changed into white mouse?
** We're seen that all sorts of folks come into the pracing pony (the bartender knows Gandalf and he's a wizard), what's to say that the people in there haven't seen something like a vanishing person before? They might be surprised that someone decided to up and vanish but once he has they would be like "Oh, ok, he's just ones of THOSE folks. Back to the drinks!"
*** For that matter, hobbits are well-known for being able to blend into the countryside. Possibly the bar patrons saw him vanish, gawked a bit, then quipped, "Wow, that's the fastest-hiding hobbit I've ever seen!", and went on drinking.

[[WMG:Two things bugged me about the entry to Moria. One, why didn't Gandalf tell the Fellowship 'oh hey, I've heard Khazad-dûm isn't exactly a swinging place these days? They could still have chosen it as the least treacherous route, but it seems somehow cruel to let Gimli build up their expectations of feasting and fun for no good reason. And two, how did Gimli not realize something was up a lot sooner? Okay, maybe the lighting was bad and they didn't see the dwarven ''bones'', but shouldn't he have noticed it was awfully quiet?]]
** The dwarf who attempted to retake Khazad-dûm was a family friend. Gimli was far too optimistic about it. In the books, the entire Fellowship was aware that Moria was a hellhole, but it was literally their only route.
** Balin was Gimli's cousin, and in the books he states that part of the reason he wants to go through Moria is to find out what happened to Balin and the others who tried to retake the place.

[[WMG:After the victory on the Pelennor Fields, they hold a council to decide what to do next. Present are Gandalf and his cronies (Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Pippin) and King �omer. No-one is there to represent Gondor or Minas Tirith (surely Denethor had deputies beyond Faramir?)]]
It's just not believable that a city that was taught to see "Gandalf Stormcrow" as an untrustworthy villain would all of sudden accept him and his protégé as their leaders, and follow them on a suicide mission, the purpose of which was not explained to them.
** Actually, Stormcrow was a nickname given to Gandalf by Theoden. In Gondor, they refer to him as Mithrandir, Sindarian for the Grey Pilgrim.
** Which is why [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation some of us]] believe the entire War of the Ring was a [[EvilPlan fairy tale]] cooked up by ManipulativeBastard Gandalf in order to effect [[TheChessmaster regime change]] across Western Middle Earth while siezing control of the pipeweed trade. And it worked!
** In the original the city is under the command of another Gondorian noble (Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth). Considering the movies seem to mess up any social hierarchy and relationships, taking away the reasons for some and making up other things, this is one among many. "''Why don't the elves come to help us Rohirrim?''"/"''yadda-honor-Last Alliance-yadda''" Remember that to you elves are fearsome mythical creatures you better stay away from? The ancestors of the people that would ''eventually'' become the Rohirrim had no part whatsoever in the Last Alliance? Damn, the conscious memory of your nation has things half a millenia ago filed under "ancient times, mists of", and the Last Alliance was ''over three thousand years'' ago! "''Why should we help Gondor?''" Oh, perhaps because that is the ''rent you pay'' for living in the Gondorian province Calenardhon?
*** In an interview, Peter Jackson and the writers talk about how they wanted to add in Imrahil, but it seemed like too late in the game to add in another main character.
*** They also ''claimed'' that they wanted Imrahil to be played by Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.
** The stage version resolve the Council of the Captains of the West scene.
--> Aragorn: Hey! Who are you?
--> Imrahil: I am Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth.
--> Are you important enough to be in the movie?
--> Imrahil: No.
--> Aragorn: Fuck off then.
**** Really technically, Imrahil is in the movie but never named and never given his due, he's that unnamed guy who seems like a sergeant at times and as a whiny fairy at others (he says "It is as the Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he foreseen this Doom!") who survives far longer than an unnamed character has any right to.
**** No, that's Irolas, an original character. He was going to be Beregond, but they decided he wasn't worthy of the character.

[[WMG:What is Merry doing at the battle at the Black Gate towards the end? I mean, I get how affecting it is to have the remaining members of the Fellowship there and all. Just a nitpick that if Éowyn is stuck in the Houses of Healing, Merry should be too.]]
** Merry didn't get his arm broken, just magically burned/shocked and a little bit squashed. He would have been fine after a day or two rest.
** Hmm, not in the book he wasn't. I think it would have preserved the tension if Merry had stayed behind and Pippin, not Aragorn, fight the troll. But PJ loves his BigDamnHeroes so...
** Maybe after the stunt Éowyn pulled at Pelennor, Éomer told her she was under no circumstances going to go out fighting, and she decided to stay because hey, someones' got to keep Faramir company.



[[WMG: What is up with the moth?]]
Seriously. It's this random moth that is somehow connected to the Eagles? What?
* It was basically an AssPull by PJ to give some reason for the Eagle coming to save Gandalf from Orthanc with out having to include Radagast.
** It's a way for Gandalf to communicate with Gwaihir. Dur.

[[WMG: What idiot designed the fortress of Hornburg?]]
A long wall that forces the defenders to spread their forces thin while protecting...nothing at all. Flimsy gates that open inwards. No moat. No second line of fortifications. No war machines. No boiling tar. No people assigned with pushing ladders off the wall. A HUGE opening in the wall (what was its purpose anyway? Because if it as a water way, its the dumbest idea ever since it's just asking the invaders to block or poison it). I could go on.
* The opening is necessary because if you built a big wall there without any drainage, you'd get a ''dam''. The lack of war machines or boiling tar is a side effect of Rohan not having prepared for war until the last second, due to Théoden's Saruman-induced "inactivity". The other objections are valid.
** Well, I do not know is there is an individual designer or group of designers known, but it was very probably somebody at WETA. (In case you didn't just refer to the film: The fortess itself and its sister-fortress Isengard, each guarding one side of the Gap of Calenardhon (later Rohan), were built by the Gondorians. Also its build and the battle itself work a bit different in the original.)
** ''A long wall that forces the defenders to spread their forces thin while protecting...nothing at all.'' The wall prevents attackers from surrounding the keep and attacking it from multiple directions. The area beyond the wall also likely serves as a mustering point for massing troops; there doesn't appear to be much room inside the keep for horsemen or camping troops. The wall also provides a wide firing point for archers to rain arrows on attackers; if they'd all been restricted to the keep there wouldn't have been enough room on the walls for all of their archers to fire down at the enemy. Also, it allows for a greater concentration of ranged fire against any attacker. It's quite clear that the Hornburg was intended to be defended by a far larger force than the one the Rohirrim was able to muster - especially considering it was built by Gondor originally, who could easily muster the manpower to defend it.
** ''Flimsy gates that open inwards.'' The gates didn't seem that flimsy, considering they held up for what appears to be hours of constant hammering by rams and Uruk swords. They only broke inwards because the Uruks pounded them in.
** ''No moat.'' No moat in the book either. The lower area beneath the wall could probably be flooded if the fortress' garrison had considered it or had time to divert enough water to it. That said, fortresses don't ''require'' moats and a lot of historical ones didn't. This, like the bit below about war machines/tar, can be chalked up to Rohan being sabotaged by Saruman's meddling with Théoden's mind.
** ''No second line of fortifications.'' The keep is the second line of fortifications. The long wall is the first, and there's an inner keep as well. They probably could have built additional lines and walls along the valley, and IIRC there was a palisade or dirt wall at the entrance to the valley in the books.
*** Besides, even with PJ's elf army that arrived in the movie, they barely had enough men to set up a ''first'' line of fortifications.
** ''No war machines. No boiling tar.'' The fortress, along with Rohan in general, was not in any shape to fight in general thanks to Saruman mucking with Théoden's head. It's also questionable if Rohan has the technology to field catapults, ballistae, etc, considering their tech base. It is also notable that the Rohan army in the book didn't have these war machines or tar either, and that Jackson clearly did consider whether or not the defenders should have war machines, considering that Gondor had an array of trebuchets.
** ''No people assigned with pushing ladders off the wall.'' Pushing the ladders off the wall would be hard when you've got giant berserkers wielding enormous greatswords that are killing a half-dozen troops with a single swing of their weapons who are clearing away everyone from the tops of the ladders, and the individual Uruk-Hai infantry are an even match for the defenders. They're having trouble simply ''getting'' to the ladders in the first place, let alone pushing them over.
** ''A HUGE opening in the wall (what was its purpose anyway? Because if it as a water way, its the dumbest idea ever since it's just asking the invaders to block or poison it).'' It was a grating to let water drain out. Otherwise your fort gets flooded.
** That 'long wall that doesn't protect anything' seals off the box canyon above the fortress. These are the ''Riders'' of Rohan, who love their horses second only to their kin. And horses need pasturage and running water.
** Also: Didn't Saruman only just invent gunpowder to exploit that specific weakness? Before then, a small tight solid iron grating wouldn't have been so easy to breach. You'd have to go in with a saw, taking ages to get all the bars cut, by which time you could have been shot or stabbed to death from defenders on the other side.
*** Yes he did. In the books and in the movies it is clear that Grí­ma Wormtongue had never seen anything like gunpowder before in his life. Rohan's tech base had nothing like it for them to even know to defend against. For all they knew it was a very well defended weakness in their otherwise impenetrable wall.
* Bit of a point on the gates- It's actually very prudent they're hinged inwards- if they were hinged outwards a) every time you want to open them you have to have men running out into the open (not to mention getting in the way of anyone who wants to come in rather than being able to withdraw from the entrance as they open) and b) although the physics does aid a battering ram by having the gate open in the way you're battering it, it also aids the physics of barricading it shut- i.e it's a lot easier to push than to pull- running repairs like the one done in the film wouldn't be possible and you'd have to weaken the integrity of the gate's materials if you wanted to riddle it with holes for handles to pull on (and if the bolts went right through the gate the Uruk-hai wouldn't need to bother with a battering ram- all they'd need would be a spanner/wrench). Also, you could argue that having them open inwards actually blunts a bit of the force of a battering ram since you've built in a little bit of flex.
* For me, the problem isn't with the Fortress itself, it's actually very well designed and the defenders exact a heavy toll on the Uruk-Hai by the time Gandalf arrives. Despite that, my complaints are with the HollywoodTactics on display at the battle. Mostly at the deeping wall itself where they could have held the Uruk-Hai for longer.
** Firstly, why did the Men and Elves wait until the Uruk Hai charge to start shooting arrows?! You've got some of the best archers and warriors in Middle-earth who have just reinforced you, and you don't catch the Uruk-hai out by attacking the moment they get within bowshot? You not only kill several hundred more before they reach the wall, but you likely kill some carrying the explosives and ladders, buying you more time. Why wait? To make matters worse, in the books the Rohirrim harass the advancing army before they arrive at the fortress.
*** Probably they didn't have enough stockpiled ammunition to risk wasting it on extreme long-range shots.
** Second, why do they not kick down the ladders? You see one get knocked down early on, and that's it? Even if there is a lot of Uruk-Hai, it stops them climbing up, allowing you to shoot them to death. This is again used in the book.
*** Pushing down siege ladders is not as easy as people tend to think it is. Most modern people only have experience with modern lightweight metal ladders that do often seem unsteady and easy to push or fall over. But if siege ladders were as easy to push off as people seem to think, they would never have become a standard part of siege warfare. Siege ladders are built to be heavy and durable and are, by necessity, very long. You put them up and immediately start sending your big heavy fighters up them, which just makes them even heavier and more dug in. It's not like you can just give them a nudge and send them toppling. You start telling people "focus on knocking down the ladders", each ladder starts getting three or four defenders shoving at it trying to topple it, people get tunnel visioned, other ladders go up, your wall defenders start getting slaughtered while they're busy trying to shove ladders down.
** Third, why only assign Legolas to shoot the torch carrier? You were able to spare some Elves to pick off the force advancing up the ramp, surely peppering it with arrows would have ended him, you have flippin' Elves at your command! Granted Aragorn might not have known what was exactly planned, but he clearly noticed it was a threat and failed to act accordingly.
*** You're misunderstanding what happened there. Aragorn did not assign Legolas alone to shoot down the single orc. He started frantically shouting "Shoot him! Kill him!" to pretty much everyone, and added a personalized shout to Legolas because 1) he saw Legolas and 2) he knew Legolas would be listening for his friends' voices amidst the tumult where other voices might not be. At that point Aragorn's just one voice in a shouting, churning maelstrom of sound, even if other elves heard him they might have thought "What is that ranger on about?", whereas Legolas knows "If Aragorn thinks it's a big deal, it's probably a big deal".
** Fourth, when the wall is breached why do the Elves immediately not pepper the Uruk-Hai with arrows again? The water was clearly bogging them down, easy pickings? Not helped by Gimli's stupid jump into the advancing army. Granted Aragorn was dazed from the explosion and that helped him regain his senses. But then this forces him to charge the Elves into the army to save him, however this buys them time to form up and meet the charge with their pikes, and it just becomes more of a massacre.
*** Because calmly standing there peppering the enemy with arrows works a lot better when you have the high ground and a lot of separation between yourself and the enemy. When the enemy is overtaking your position, standing there and firing arrows means that the three guys behind the one you just shot have time to charge you while you're nocking another arrow to string. Yes, elves can fire with amazing speed, but that still doesn't mean much when there's basically eleventy-jillion Uruk-hai bearing down at them... if nothing else the elves would eventually run out of arrows and at that point there would be a big green gangbang right on top of them.
[[WMG: How did Gandalf get Glamdring and his staff back?]]
Saruman clearly took the staff and presumably took the sword, and Gandalf clearly flew straight away, so how did he get them back?
** Gandalf could easily get a new Staff, probably from Galadriel or so. The Staff itself is not so important on it's own, as it's more of a Symbol of a Wizard's power then anything else. As for the sword, I got no idea. Maybe Saruman didn't even know Gandalf had it, and he kept it hidden.
** The making of shows that Gandalf the Grey has two staffs- the one with the pipe which fits in the top and the one with the crystal at the top which we see close up in Moria. And I think that Gandalf hiding his sword from Saruman is probably the most likely explanation.
*** Agreed. As for the sword, I think we see it once on his horse that he takes to Isengard. If it ran off after Saruman's betrayal, Gandalf could retrieve it later.
** Gandalf isn't show wearing his sword when he fights Saruman, is he?
*** Nope
** Let's not forget ''The Return of the King'''s extended edition, which shows the Witch-King destroying Gandalf's staff. He then gets it back during the battle in front of Mordor's gates.
*** No, he doesn't. He's conspicuously without his staff during that scene.

[[WMG: Why on Middle-Earth, in the extended editions, is Boromir the only one who doesn't get a gift from Galadriel? I know that they changed some of the other gifts, but just to completely ignore any gift for him seems to make it as though he is a less worthy member of the fellowship. Poor Boromir.]]
* Because it's totally irrelevant to the plot? I don't even remember what he got in the book.
** He got a golden belt. It played a semi-semi-major role when Faramir had that vision-thing where he saw Boromir dead. He only believed that it was true when he saw the belt on him. PJ cut out a lot of Galadriel-relevant scenes anyway, so it's not such a big deal, but it would have been a nice bit of continuity. Plot-wise, it does less than the other gifts anyway, what with Faramir's altered personality and scenes.
* But they changed half the gifts anyway (Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn). Why not give Boromir something that he can use in his remaining screentime?
** Maybe she knew he was going to betray the Fellowship (still a unfair move though). Most likely it just didn't matter. It's not like he was ever going to get a chance to use the gift, since he [[spoiler:died at the end of the movie anyway.]]
* In one of the DVD extras, Philippa Boyens (one of the scriptwriters) addresses the complaints of fans who thought Tom Bombadil shouldn't have been excised from ''The Fellowship of the Ring''... She says that there's nothing in the movie that would suggest the Hobbits ''didn't'' meet Tom Bombadil, so maybe they met him, and that whole episode just wasn't shown, because it wasn't relevant to the main plot. Similarly, nothing in the gift-giving scene suggests that Boromid didn't receive a gift, so maybe he did, and his gift simply wasn't shown in the movie, because it wasn't important.

[[WMG: How could Wormtongue not know about the 10,000 orcs at Isengard? I mean, he's already inside the tower, and he tells Saruman "hey we don't have a lot of orcs" and Saruman shows him the big army. How did Wormtongue ''miss'' that when he first arrived at Isengard? Were the orcs all hiding or something?]]
* They were probably all housed in the caverns under the courtyard while Wormy stayed on the surface and went straight into Orthanc.
* You see him gallop into Orthanc and there are no Orcs there at that time, so they must have assembled after that. He probably knew of Saruman's designs, but had no idea of the number that had been bred. Plus he had been away from Isengard for a while, and we know that the majority of Orcs were bred a few days before we see them.
* If you were Saruman would ''you'' tell your prime mole in your enemy's court the size of your force? Besides the fact that Grí­ma had already proven himself a traitor, he might conceivably be caught. That is like asking why Stalin did not give his most precious secrets to Kim Philby.

[[WMG: "The Uruks turn northeast. They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!"]]
Where the hell ''are'' they, that Isengard is to the northeast? Why did they go so far south or west to begin with? What did Legolas expect on this side of the Anduin? Aaaaarrrgghh.
* They're downstream of Anduin, on the western bank. They were trying to reach Mordor when they were intercepted by the Uruk-hai, remember? And it was the Uruk-hai that Legolas was afraid of on the western bank. Like all the elves he has occasional foresights to things to come, but unlike big names like Elrond, he can't get anything but vague feelings.
** The original poster has a problem with the geography being wrong. Isengard is '''west''' (and slightly north) of the Rauros. If the orcs had turned ''northeast'' at any point, they would be heading away from Isengard and towards great (mostly-)empty Rhovanion. To reach Isengard while heading northeast you would have to be ''west'' of Isengard, aka west of the Misty and White Mountains, while the characters are currently ''east'' of it. (But, after all, this film does not care for in-universe logic.)
* Alternatively, we can explain this by saying that the Uruks turned north-east to get around a [[HandWave large lake]], [[PatchworkFantasyMap marshland]] or rocky hills, and that happens to be the best route to Isengard.
* The simple answer is that Orlando Bloom messed up his line, and nobody realised in time -- he should've said "northwest".
** The line is indeed simply messed up. In the german Version - and most likely all others - Legolas says that they turn northwest.
** Aragorn later says to Eomer "We track a party of Uruk-Hai westward across the plains." So yeah, even in English they should be heading west.

[[WMG: Doesn't anybody know geography in Middle-Earth?]]
* When Frodo, Sam and Gollum get to the Black Gate, we see an army of Easterlings marching towards it. They are coming in from the south... what the hell? First of all, they should have been coming in from the east, obviously. They actually didn't even need to march all the way to the Black Gate, because you can easily get into Mordor from the east, due to a lack of mountains on that side. But instead they apparently went around Mordor, through Ithilien, which is populated by Faramir and his Merry Men which doesn't really seem like a good way to not get killed.
** The book doesn't actually say the Easterlings came from the south. It lists three roads converging on the gate, from north, east and south, then says the Easterlings were arriving, but doesn't mention which road they took. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume they took the last named road if there were no evidence to the contrary, but there is. Slightly later, people are described as arriving at the black gate from the south, but this group is not identified with the Easterlings by anything beyond juxtaposition, somewhat less than conclusive.
*** I meant the scene in the movie. They are coming from the south, which as I described, is really quaint. Then again, as stated earlier, Legolas also has difficulties with geography...
* Faramir and his band of Merry Men aren't exactly up to taking out any force of any size. Sure, they can harrass small companies here and there, but if they could automatically defeat everything that passed through Ithilien, they would have been able to prevent the whole attack on Gondor.
* Perhaps the Easterlings needed to visit the Southrons for something, maybe diplomatic talks or reinforcements or weapons or something like that.
* While the men approaching the gate in the book were Easterlings, in the movie they had the black serpant on their flags which in the books was the standard of the Haradrim leader at the siege of Gondor. Maybe in the film they were Southrons.
* They are not expected to take on forces of any size. They are expected to recon, make trouble, and most of all, just be there as a reminder that Gondor had not ceded Ithilan to Mordor.

[[WMG: "A wizard is always on time."]]
* Really, Gandalf? You could've been a little earlier, don't you think? And saved a metric shit tonne of lives? Honest to god, that's just a bit of a dickish thing to say to a bunch of people who have just seen friends and family killed because you weren't there very early.
** Said only by people that are ungrateful for having their rears pulled out of the fire by Gandalf's reinforcements. If they could have gotten there any early, they would have.
** "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."
** Or it's just a saying and not an absolute truth. It's part of the running joke that wizards are busy people (or that Gandalf ironically comes off as a grumpy grandpa to most hobbits) so stop being nosy and get them their pack of smokes and slippers, you young whippersnappers.
** No, he DID arrive precisely when he meant to (on the dawn of the third day, was it?). He IS a wizard, but he was still limited to traveling by horseback, to find a group of people who were in exile. I must say, he made decent enough time as it was.
** The phrase refers to ''a'' wizard, as in a wizard traveling on his own. The ''reinforcements'' aren't wizards, and arrive as fast as non-wizards can manage it; Gandalf arrives at the same time they do, because he's hardly going to leave them behind or deny them his protection along the way.
** "Gandalf arrives when he means to" does not mean "Gandalf chooses when he arrives." He arrives when, based on travel time and other concerns, he intends to. The line could be interpreted as "I know what exactly what I'm doing so don't you sass me young hobbit."

[[WMG: Isildur and Elrond in the Crack of Doom]]
* Why didn't Elrond ''force'' Isildur to throw the ring into the fire? "Evil was allowed to endure", indeed!
** Pehaps the Ring itself subtly influenced him not to? It's at its most powerful within Mt. Doom, where ''no one'' has the strength of will to destroy it- Elrond could concievably have pushed Isildur in with the Ring, but even that likely wouldn't have worked, and he would have been reluctant to murder a friend in cold blood anyway. In the book, of course, there's no indication that either of them actually went inside the mountain, so the opportunity for Elrond to do anything beyond talking to Isildur never really came up.
*** It just needs to be mentioned publicly that "cold blood" doesn't mean what everybody seems to think it means. A "cold-blooded" murder is one done logically, with time and preparation. Elrond pushing Isildur off the cliff as a spur of the moment response to Isildur not destroying the Ring would be "hot-blooded" - Check it and see.
** Tolkien specifically addressed this -- attempting to seize the Ring in an act of force (or push Isildur in) would have corrupted Elrond much quicker than Isildur. Tolkien says this is why Bilbo wasn't corrupted as easily as Gollum, who stole the Ring and killed his cousin after being tempted by it.
** That doesn't explain why Elrond couldn't have just slapped it out of his hand, or cut his hand off, or hurled him in. There are lots of ways to get that thing in the lava without ''taking'' it. Elrond seemed to be lacking creativity. The thing that stuck out in the scene most for me is that Elrond didn't even have another go at getting Isildur to throw it in, he just lets him walk away and looks a bit annoyed. "Cast it into the flames... please?"
*** Because then he'd have to walk out and explain to the tens of thousands of Human soldiers still remaining where the ring went and why Isildur, their beloved Prince-turned-king and the guy who 'killed' Sauron, is no longer with him.
*** Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Elrond at this point does not fully realize how bad of an idea it really is to let the ring continue to exist. He knows it's an evil thing, but Sauron is as far as he knows, ''dead,'' and not coming back. He may suspect allowing the ring to exist is a stupid idea, but not one worth ''pushing your buddy into a volcano'' over.
*** Plus, given that the Ring was already influencing Isildur's mind for the worse, Elrond may have realized that if he pushed the issue any further at the moment it would probably drive Isildur ''completely'' mad with jealousy, provoking a fight to the death on the spot. Letting Isildur step away from the brink of the Cracks of Doom, at least for the moment, was Elrond's only hope of buying time for the king (who was his friend) to come to his senses: time he didn't know Isildur wouldn't have.
** I was always of the idea that Elrond did know the importance of the ring (otherwise he wouldn't have led Isildur inside the volcano), but that he didn't force Isildur for two reasons: 1) he couldn't. He entered before Isildur so he couldn't block him, and as soon as he tried to force him Isildur would have slipped the ring on and vanished. 2) he was probably hoping to convince Isildur at a later date, or possibly do the deed himself after stealing the ring, but the ring got away before this could be done.
** He could've just grabbed the Ring it out of Isuldur's hand and throw it into the fire and magma himself, which could avoid either one getting killed!
** Remember how Gandalf refused to touch the Ring, and seemed loathe to even talk about it? He was terrified of what would happen in the event he possessed the Ring for even of a fraction of a second. Galadriel just looks at it and freaks out. Elrond is one of the Wise yet weaker than either of those two. He knew the second he touched the Ring, or even tried to take the Ring from Isildur it would corrupt him. He wouldn't turn into Sauron v2 instantly, but he definitely wouldn't throw the Ring into the fire either. Isildur himself was mentally tough, and probably full of hatred and determination against Sauron since his father and brother were both killed, his old Kingdom destroyed and his new one at war. Yet the Ring influenced him in the short walk to Mount Doom.


[[WMG: Massive {{Idiot Ball}}s for Sauron and the Witch-King]]
In the opening scene of the first movie Sauron had Isildur at his mercy - downed and unarmed, but for a broken sword. All he had to do was swing his mace one more time and the human was finished. What did he do instead? He put the mace away and reached for Isildur with his bare hand. Why? To grab him? To strangle him? To help him get up? WHY?!

During the Pelennor Battle in the third movie the Witch-King had Éowyn at his mercy - downed, crippled and unarmed. All he had to do was swing his EpicFlail one more time and the humie was finished. What did he do instead? He put the flail away and grabbed Éowyn with his bare hand. WHAT'S. THE. POINT?!!! Couldn't he deliver his punchline without bringing her close to him?
* Well, per the books, Sauron's flesh is hot enough to be fatal- he's supposed to have killed Gil-Galad simply by his own inner fire. He presumably intended to do the same to Isildur. As for the Witch-King, he simply believed he was invincible and that he could afford to pull stunts like that. Obviously, he was wrong.
** They both had perfectly functional weapons with which they had already casually killed tons of enemies by their responsive moments. Why suddenly try to be creative with "pathetic human # 3082"?
*** Think of it as a fighting game in which you're almost completely invincible (and your one weakness hasn't even occurred to you). You could win by spamming the same attack until you've won the whole game, but it would be boring, so you try for variety, only to find out that the game can actually kill you in real life. If they knew their peril, they would indeed stay safe, but I think that if a villain truly considers himself invincible, he would see even the War of the Ring like a game.
**** While it does sound plausible for Sauron, the Witch-King is an undead. Do you honestly think he was even capable of enjoying what he did whatsoever? I always saw the Nazgûl as fantazy counterparts of the Terminator - cold, determined, emotionless and efficient. When Éowyn faces him, what does he say? "Never stand between the Nazgûl and his prey". He doesn't even seem to regard her as an opponent as much as a nuisance. And, well, she kind of is - he defeats her in several swings. It just doesn't run well with me that he SUDDENLY feels sadistic and playful when all his previous behaviour spoke against that kind of act.
**** Both are meant to pad scenes from the book into something filmable. Sauron is effectively killed by Elendil and Gil-galad before Isildur reaches him, and the whole Éowyn/WK/Merry thing occurs in like a split second on the battlefield.
**** As for the Witch-King, I thought he was only devoid of positive emotions such as happiness, compassion, and so on. He could still feel anger, hate, malice and other bad emotions. As for Éowyn, I'm sure she was of interest to the WK because she was the only soldier to openly challenge him without fear or hesitation. Curiosity and amusement would make him draw out her death to see how much she can take.
**** Moreover, killing the opposing army's leader with your bare hands is a great way to break the morale of the ''rest'' of the Last Alliance troops. Sauron didn't just want to kill Isildur, he wanted to rip him apart where all of Gondor's soldiers could see him do it. Likewise, the Witch-King wanted to make an example of Éowyn, to show how futile it was for any of Rohan's troops to stand against the Nazgûl, who know all about terror as a battlefield weapon. And if she hadn't secretly been female, it ''would'' have been a very nasty example, indeed.
***** Did it really even have anything to do with her being female? The book never says "Women can kill them" - they follow the "You can't kill what's already dead" rule, after all. He was defeated because Merry managed to stab him with a special PlotCoupon sword right before Eowyn jabbed him.
***** There's a prophecy in the book (somewhere in the appendices, I think - the context is trying to stop the last king of Gondor from being a complete idiot), that "not by the hand of man shall he fall". This applies only to the Witchking, not the rest of the Nazgul. Of course, there needs to be other circumstances than him being stabbed by any old not-man: Merry uses an anti-Nazgul knife to hamstring him, and once that's broken the spell protecting him, Eowyn can behead him.
**** I read somewhere that Sauron killed Gil-galad by picking him up and burning him alive. Adding on to what the previous post said about morale, it would be in keeping with Sauron's nature to inflict more gruesome deaths upon the leaders of his enemies. He probably intended to finish Isildur off in the same way as Gil-galad.
**** Sauron wanted to not just kill but to ''utterly destroy in the most humiliating way possible'' the leaders of those who opposed him to demoralise his (remaining) followers. It's like he was playing Mortal Kombat and went for the impressive looking Fatality rather than just the Fingerpoke of Doom.

[[WMG: Just a niggling thing, but during the attack on Weathertop, Sam bravely challenges the Ringwraiths and slashes at them twice, both attacks being blocked. We see one of them swing his sword, we hear a slashing sound, and Sam is hurled aside. Where's the big gaping wound?]]
* Actually, if you look closely, it appears that the Ringwraith in question batted Sam aside with the flatof his blade while countering his swings.
** Fine, but what's with the slashing sound?
*** Big scary wraith-men make big scary sounds when they do stuff.

[[WMG: This particular one has been the ire of fans for years; Gandalf is a Maia/Angel, correct? And the Witch-King is basically just a corrupted undead Human, right? Then ''how'' in all the seven Hells is the Witch-King able to shatter Gandalf's staff?! ''Does not compute!!'']]
* In the book, it's heavily implied that the Ringwraiths can draw on some degree of Sauron's power ("the power of their Master is in them..."), and Gandalf pretty much says that the Witch-king would be a tough fight even for him. But you're right- the kind of curbstomping the WK dishes out in the movie shouldn't have happened, and Gandalf ''would'' (especially as the White) almost certainly win any conflict between them, though WK would doubtless make him work for it.
* The Wizards are pretty much forbidden to match power with power. Remember, they're not there to beat down Sauron or the Ringwraiths; they're there to convince the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth to work together to beat down Sauron and the Ringwraiths. ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Númenor and Middleearth}}'' also shows that Olorin/Gandalf is one of the weaker (but wiser) Maiar, and that he fears Sauron.
* Gandalf all but says that he ''did'' intend to fight the Witch-King at the Pelennor Fields, but was distracted by having to save Faramir from Denethor. It's distinctly possible that he just intended to keep WK tied up and out of the main battle, however, rather than actually going in for the "kill". Also, the prohibition about meeting force with force doesn't seem ''completely'' absolute- it's doubtful Gandalf killed the Balrog in direct combat using just the abilities of an old man. In any case, while Gandalf might not have been willing or able to defeat the WK directly, it's also very unlikely that the WK could curbstomp Gandalf so effortlessly.
* One thing I would point out is that Gandalf ''does'' take on the Nazgûl once in the book - at Weathertop before Strider and the Hobbits get there. He mentions that their battle caused a lot of flashes of light, so we can assume he's not afraid to show his true power in the face of danger. It may be that the ringwraiths were not so powerful by that point. Personally, I wouldn't accept the WK alone treading water against Gandalf, but I could accept him channelling Sauron to give pause to a lesser Maiar.
** The battle was against Four Nazgûl, not all nine. They were probably the weaker ones, as the Witch-King and the Number 2 were chasing Frodo at the moment. Gandalf eventually had to retreat and the Nazgûl were none the worse for wear. Of course, the White Wizard is more powerful, but it seems Corrupted Undead are dangerous enough to give him pause. He does admit that "Black is Greater still", and he said that after hailed as the White Rider. I mean, Wargs almost killed him once. The Nazgûl are essentially compared to being an extension of Sauron's Will more then individual beings. And this isn't the ONLY upset that has happened....a Man has also killed quite a few Dragons, and they were said to be more powerful then Balrogs even. Of course, how it was a CURB STOMP battle is abit odd. It does make sense because Sauron is unwilling or unable to appear himself, he has to project his power through the Nine who are tied to his Will. And in terms of combat skill, the Leader of the Nazgûl has a fairly good track record in the backstory. Destroying Arnor, requiring what was essentially the second greatest battle of an age to bring him down at last, THEN surviving and conquering Minas Ithil a few years later.
*** In all likelihood, if Gandalf really wants to "win" he might have to overclock his body and die. Again. Otherwise, he'll be too strained by the limitations the Valar placed on him.
*** Gandalf actually was facing all nine Nazgûl on Weathertop. He escaped, and four of them went after him.
** This is a little wanky, but I assumed Sauron had given him a tailor made 'kick Gandalf's ass' spell and training in how to best handle him. Gandalf is the single most powerful combatant on the field, it would make sense to have a plan to take him down.
* Neither the movies nor the LoTR books ever say Gandalf is a Maia; they don't even mention the Maiar. Even Silmarillion, where Valar and Maiar are introduced, doesn't say wizards are Maiar. That idea comes from a text that was only published after Tolkien's death. We may never know whether he even wanted it to be published. So, if we leave out this extratextual information, nothing in the text itself (the movies or the books) suggests Gandalf is way more powerful than the Witch King.
** He mentions to Faramir in a flashback that his name in the East was Olorin, and the Silmarillion describes a Maia by that name. So while he doesn't spell it out in six-foot high letters across the front cover, the intent is obviously there. Not to mention that if he comes from the West, isn't an elf, and wields the Secret Fire, if he isn't a Vala or Maia, then just what the fuck is he?
*** "Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten"
**** Again, the idea that there was a Maia named Olórin comes from a book (The Silmarillion) which Tolkien never finished, and which was only published posthumously. If we look at the evidence found in the two books that were published as Tolkien intended them (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), the Wizards could simply be a group of extremely long-lived and powerful Men, or they could be members of a race separate from Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits.
***** I'm sorry, but you're grasping at straws here. Gandalf isn't a Man -- lifespan issues notwithstanding, the only Men to have ever reached Valinor were Earendil and (possibly) Tuor. The Istari are agents of the Valar sent from Valinor, so without other evidence, this constrains them into being Maiar or Elves. The most damning evidence, however, lies in the circumstances of his death and rebirth: ''"The darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell. Naked I was sent back-for a brief time, until my task was done."'' Now, we know that Elves go to the Halls of Mandos after death, and this isn't really any special knowledge. Gandalf's description, however, matches the expectations of what would happen to a Maia whose physical body is slain: he was left as a disembodied spirit (like Sauron at the end of the Second Age), but with the potential to be re-embodied (by Eru's intervention, it is implied).

[[WMG: "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn!" Since when is the dawn considered terrible?]]
* Elves like the moon and stars more than the sun, and due to their acute eyesight, don't fear the night. Dawn probably has the same poetic connotations for them that nightfall does for us.
** For the Elves, dawn and the appearance of the Sun represent the appearance of Men (who came into the world at the first sunrise).
** Remember, the Sun was set in the sky as a herald of the coming of Men and the beginning of the diminishment of the Quendi: "''...and Anar the Fire-golden, fruit of Laurelin, they named the Sun. But the Noldor named [it] Vasa, the Heart of Fire, that awakens and consumes; for the Sun was set as a sign for the awakening of Men and the waning of the Elves...''" Dawn more likely has the same connotations for them as dusk does for us: fading and diminishment, both of which the Elves are big on stopping; indeed, the warding off of decay and preservation of what was loved was part of the power of the Three Rings.
** She could also just have been using the archaic meaning of the word 'terrible' as in "great and awe-inspiring" instead of "extremely bad."
** Galadriel saw the first sunrise ever. It was totally unexpected, and freaked out plenty of the goodies who saw it as well as the baddies. And then all the elves who'd crossed the Helcaraxe started fighting Morgoth. Not something with entirely fluffy connotations in elvish culture, and probably something that made you as an individual feel pretty small.
[[WMG: The elven rope. It can be any size you need it to be, so at the scene in the second movie where they are on the mountain and looking over to Mordor why don't they just make a lasso and throw it all the way to a ledge in mordor, get a twig and zip line across? It would have saved about 4 hours of movie time.]]
* Are you suggesting that a pair of hobbits throw a rope '''hundreds of miles'''? Seriously? Just '''wow'''.
* To put a slightly more explanatory answer on the comment above, there are several reasons. Firstly, outside of the Middle Earth universe, there would be no story. Secondly, Hobbits are small and somewhat lacking in physical strength. Even if they tried, do you really think the rope would fly that far thrown by a hobbit? Even thrown by an Ent it wouldn't go any more than a mile. Third, even if they succeeded in getting enough strength to throw it that far, there's any number of obstacles the rope might encounter on its way to Mordor which would stop its course. Fourth and finally, How is Sauron not going to notice a magical artifact '''made by the Elves''' that is flying extremely conspicuously through his domain?
* There is nothing to suggest that the elven rope can change size/length; no idea where you got that from. The only thing 'abnormal' with it was that it unknotted itself, and Sam was of the opinion that it 'magically' knew when to do so.
** They're confusing it with WonderWoman's magic lasso.

[[WMG: What happened when Treebeard brought Merry and Pippin to see Gandalf in The Two Towers?]]
Treebeard is unconvinced that they're not orcs, so he takes them to "the white wizard" to make sure. They're tossed at Gandalf's feet, but to preserve the mystery he's shown from behind and the scene ends before we see their reaction. The next time we see Gandalf, he's on his own again, and Merry and Pippin are back with Treebeard who is still unclear on the orc/hobbit issue. It's as though they never met with Gandalf at all.
* I've always pictured it happening like this: Treebeard takes hobbits to Gandalf, who assures him that they are not orcs. Gandalf asks Treebeard to keep an eye on the hobbits a little longer (Gandalf knows the effect the hobbits will have). Treebeard calls the entmoot to decide if the ents should go to war, but first he has to convince the other ents that the hobbits aren't orcs. Because entish is such a slow language, it takes forever to explain and allow the others to decide whether to believe him or not.

[[WMG: What's the password, cousin?]]
* Okay, so Gandalf was too clever by half in trying to figure out the password to get into Moria. But why didn't Gimli know it? I mean, it's his cousin's place, and he was expecting a "royal welcome," so shouldn't he at least know how to knock on the door?
** Several reasons, Gimli never visited Khazad-dûm beforehand. Also worth remembering that Balin went on the expedition against the wishes of his kindred, it's also reasonable to assume that because of Durin's Bane most of the Dwarven folk deliberately forgot the password to ensure no one would stupidly go in and try to destroy it themselves. Gandalf also directly implied that forgetting such passwords is common amongst the Dwarves so thats another factor. Finally, consider that by the end of the Third Age, the Dwarves were living in the Lonely Mountain and the Iron Hills, which are north east of Khazad-dûm. So Balin would logically have gone through the eastern gate, but we don't know if that gate needed a password to get in to it.
** Another Headscratcher from that scene: How likely is it that, of all the hundreds of ''other'' passwords that Gandalf knows and tries, in various dialects of Elvish and dozens of other languages, not even one of them would incorporate the Elvish word for "friend", or a homonym of that word in some other tongue?
*** What the below says, it's probably just the exact word. And it's a Dwarvish door, making the password the ''Elvish'' word for "friend" is actually pretty brilliant, it would be like a white supremacist making his password "my_nword".
** ExactWords.

[[WMG: Why wait to toss Frodo?]]
* In Moria, when they're jumping over the shattered stairs, why do they wait to get Frodo across last? He should have been second, after there was someone on the other end to catch him. He's got the ring. You've got a balrog chasing you. A balrog getting the ring is the second-worst thing that could happen after Sauron getting the ring.
** They didn't exactly have a lot of time to plan, or much room to maneuver. It's a narrow stairway and they're being shot at and chased. At that point, you go in whatever order you ended up in when you got there.

[[WMG: How come Gandalf knows what happened down in the mines of Moria yet Gimli doesn't?]]
* Sarumon says that Gandalf knows the Dwarves DugTooDeep and unleashed the Balrog. If Gandalf has heard about this, how come Gimli never heard anything about what happened to his own cousin?
** Going by the books, the Balrog was released centuries ago. Gimli's cousin Balin was leader of an expedition that was trying to resettle Moria, not the original inhabitants who were killed and/or driven off by the Balrog and his minions. ''Everyone'', Gimli included, knew what happened to the original inhabitants (though the book gives the impression that it wasn't common knowledge that the monster of Moria was a Balrog- the dwarves just called him Durin's Bane- it was pretty clear that anyone who'd heard of Moria by this point knew that there was something bad lurking down there). Gimli's excitement was mostly him getting his hopes up unrealistically high.
*** It's actually not as clear in the book. Moria had been abandoned for nearly a thousand years by the time Balin and his followers showed up to reclaim it. Exactly what happened down there had been lost to Dwarven myth and legend. All that's remembered is that the miners unearthed...''something'' and for all anyone knew it was long gone, if it even existed in the first place. For all Balin knew, "Durin's Bane" could have been something as mundane as a poisonous gas pocket which had been conflated by legend into a fire-breathing monster. It's worth noting that in the book, Balin's colony in Moria survived for quite some time, reclaiming a small part of the mines and even starting to work them again, before things began to stir once more.
** (Also only in the book:) Gandalf and Aragorn have both been inside Moria before (apparently before Balin attempted to re-colonize the place.) They know its general history - but not the nature of Durin's Bane.
---> '''Aragorn:''' "I, too, have been in Moria. And although I, too, came out again, the memory is very dark. I do not wish to enter there again."

[[WMG: How did Shelob's stinger penetrate Frodo's mithril armor?]]
* The cave troll's spear failed to injure Frodo, and that was made of metal. I don't know how hard Shelob's stinger is, but I doubt it's stronger than whatever the Cave Troll's spear was made of.
** She hit him in the neck. It's a chainmail shirt, not a forcefield.
** He's talking about the movie, where she clearly hits him somewhere in the stomach.
** Perhaps the tip of Shelob's stinger is thin enough to get between the links of the shirt.
*** It isn't. We see it, the stinger is about the size of an adult male's forearm and the tip isn't that sharp.
*** The shirt isn't very long. Possibly Shelob managed to stab Frodo right under it. Or else, it might simply be because she's ''Shelob!'' The last daughter of Ungoliant who made Morgoth Bauglir cry like little girl. If any creature can corrode even mithril with its poison, it's Shelob.
** It's because, if you look closely, Frodo's shirt was unbuttoned near the collar, leaving plenty of flesh exposed for Shelob to stab.
** Shelob's stinger is nowhere ''near'' his collar. He's very clearly stabbed in the ''stomach''.
*** She struck low and her stinger went under the mithril. It's a shirt, not a full suit of armor.
*** So she stung him in the crotch? ouch.

[[WMG: How did Aragorn learn the name of the Uruk-Hai?]]
In the first film we see Saruman naming his new creation, but at no point do any of the good guys hear the name during the movie, and they seem to consider them just another breed of orc. But in ''Two Towers'' Aragorn, when confronted by Eómer, tells him that: "We were tracking a band of Uruk-Hai westward across the plain". Where on earth did he hear the name in between the two movies?
* My guess is Gandalf overheard it while he was a prisoner of Saruman, and told the others about it at some point during the trip before faced the Balrog.
* ''Uruk-hai'' simply is "Orc-folk" in Black Speech. The name has also been already used decades before as a term for a similar big breed of Mordor-serving orcs.

[[WMG: Arwen, Elrond, and the last ship out.]]
So, Elrond wanted Arwen to go to the Undying Lands so she wouldn't have to face the pain of watching the man she loved grow old and die and subsequently die herself of [[BuffySpeak brokenheartedness]], right? So he sends her off with the boarding party to go to the ship and . . . he doesn't go himself? He stays behind to die and leave his daughter alone for the rest of eternity? Or have I grossly misinterpreted something?
* It wasn't the last ship. Where do you think the ship that Frodo sailed off in came from?
* Elrond ''couldn't'' leave with her at the time, because he wears one of the Three. If he sails off before he's sure the One has been destroyed, he'd have to leave the Ring of Air behind so he's not carrying Sauron's influence into the Undying Lands with him.

[[WMG: The final splitting of the group.]]
Two questions -- one, why were the remaining Hobbits not given invitations to join Frodo on the last ship out? Was this not possible, or was there no room? Two, did Frodo just not care about anything but his own self-interest when he saw how much grief and agony his leaving would cause his friends, especially poor Sam?
* Frodo was only offered the spot because he was a Ringbearer, and in the books, Sam ''does'' join him later on (''after'' he's done living his life with his family), because he bore the ring temporarily. Merry and Pippin never bore the Ring, so they don't get the invite. Frodo left because he simply didn't fit in the Shire anymore.
** It was more that Frodo left because he hoped that, in the Undying Lands, he might find some peace from the injury that he recieved from the Witch King, along with an escape from the memories of carrying the ring.
** Would it be any easier for Sam et al. if Frodo died of his injuries or went mad? In the book, he's ill every year on the anniversaries of Weathertop and Cirith Ungol, and he seems to be getting worse each year. The compressed film timeline, so we don't see how he suffers, make it seem less reasonable.

[[WMG: How big are orcs exactly?]]
In ''The Return of the King'', orcs are the same size as Men during the battle of Minas Tirith and the Black Gate, yet they are also the same size as Frodo and Sam after the scene with Shelob and when they [[DressingAsTheEnemy Dress As The Enemy]] near the end. Did Creator/PeterJackson simply forget to change their sizes?
* There are different breeds of orc. Orc soldiers, like you'd see at major battles such as the Pelennor Fields, are human-sized or slightly shorter, but there are other breeds (like trackers, one of which is described at one point in the book of ROTK) which are quite a bit smaller. Frodo and Sam would still be on the small end for orcs, but not so much as to instantly arouse suspicion.
** Smallest Orcs (Moria Goblins) were even shorter than Hobbits and very monkey-like in appearance. It's the scene in the first film, before the Balrog comes, when Goblins climb desperately the pillars. They look much shorter than Men and slightly shorter than Gimli or the Hobbits.

[[WMG: Did Arwen lose her immortality or not?]]
It seems that Arwen gave up her immortality to stay in Middle-Earth and marry Aragorn. But in ''The Two Towers'', Elrond tells her that Aragorn will die from old age while she lives on. What?
* Arwen ''did'' give up her immortality; however, the Appendix of ''Return of the King'' establishes that she did indeed outlive Aragorn, and since ''he'' lived to be over 200, she must have still had a longer-than-human lifespan. Also, keep in mind that Elrond's foresight isn't perfect.
** It's inferred she died of grief - Tolkien is not very explicit in the book on how she died after Aragorn lied down forever, and as an Elf she is supposed to have an immensely long life, but the good Professor never forgets to mention how vulnerable psychologically are the Elves and how grief can make them grow weary and die. ([[FridgeBrilliance It's a way of telling the difference between Elf and Man]] - Men cling to life and are ready to make superhuman efforts to preserve it when facing hardships.)
** When her uncle, Elros, chose mortality (to become the founder of the line of Kings of Numenor), he lived 500 years and died only because he laid down his life, wearied of the world due to his mortal soul questing beyond it. It says in "Unfinished tales" that both Elros and Elrond had "the same physical capacity of life" - ie, the Half-Elven that were given the Choice (and only a very few were ever allowed the Choice as to which Kindred they should belong; the default is "any mortal blood makes you mortal") and chose to be mortal retained the Elven agelessness until they chose to lay themselves down.

[[WMG: Scale in the Shire]]
After watching the start of the first movie again, I suddenly noticed - everything in the Shire is to scale. So a Shire dog seems just as large to a hobbit as a Gondorian one would to a human. But hobbits are explicitly likened to ''children'' in terms of size when compared to Men. So, really, a full-grown hound or freshly harvested ear of corn in the Shire is going to be considered rather puny beyond its borders. Do the hobbits have a whole mess of miniaturized animals and produce? Is there something in the water there that stunts everything’s growth?
* There is only the same thing in the water that stunts our human dog's growth: Why don't you go and buy a dog that's up to your shoulder, as those can be and are bred after all? Answer: Size of domestic plants and animals is mostly the result of how it's been bred to be, and you breed and keep animals/plants to whichever specifications you need. So why would they want a monster dog bigger than themselves if we humans (usually) don't want one either? And more besides that: keep in mind that those over-bred huge-ass livestock breeds in use nowadays are a pretty much recent modern invention, and the livestock/plants traditional for most of the history of agriculture were significantly smaller.
* It's also mentioned in the DVD commentary that building everything in two scales is difficult, so any excuse to use a "normal" sized object in a scene that is only ''just'' going to have hobbits is easier. I doubt a hobbit would complain about food twice as big anyway. [[FridgeBrilliance maybe they're just eating three normal Man-sized meals a day]].

[[WMG: Unicorns? In my Mordor?]]
If you look closely at the Battle of Minas Tirith, when the enormous wolf-headed battering ram is brought out, it's pulled by what look like two enormous one-horned rhinoceroses. Are those creatures ever elaborated on?
* The book says that "great beasts" drew Grond and nothing more. Sauron has Middle-Earthian pterodactyl-substitutes, it's not much of a stretch to assume he has Middle-Earthian dinosaur-substitutes as well.
* The movie design team say that the Great Beasts were based on ''Megacerops'', an extinct rhinocerous ancestor which stood at 8 feet tall. Interesting side note: Tolkien had limited knowledge of dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna (partly because some of the discoveries were still being made at the time he was writing), but when someone pointed out to him how much the Fell Beasts (the Nazgûl winged mounts) resembled real-life pterodactyls, he basically said, "SureWhyNot" and thought the resemblance to be a delightful boon to the framing device that his stories were actually histories of a long-past age of the world.

[[WMG: Gandalf vs the Balrog]]
Gandalf fights the Balrog on the bridge until collpasing it. He falls into the great chasm. Then in Gandalf's flashback, they're back at the top of a mountain (I'm just gonna chalk the falling into an underground lake up to Frodo's imaination, since that was a dream). Still, how did he end up on top of a mountain after falling into the abyss?
** Endless Stair.
** After they hit bottom (yes, the underground lake exists, it's in the books), the Balrog wanted to get back up to Moria, and Gandalf followed it. When they got back there, they continued their fight, and it just happened to take them to the peak (via an epically long staircase that is indeed called the Endless Stair), where it was finished.
-->'''Gandalf''': From the deepest dungeon to the highest peak, I fought my enemy.

[[WMG: Terrible strategy that actually turns out to be intelligent?]]
In ''The Two Towers'' Gandalf is angry that Théoden isn't taking the field against the Uruk-hai and Dunlanders but is instead taking his people to Helm's Deep. The only problem? Not only does Grí­ma point out to Saruman that it's the best move Théoden can make it's also the ''same one that Gandalf suggests in the books''. To make it more irritating, Théoden was completely correct. With so few soldiers they would have been cut to pieces if they had tried to fight Saruman on the fields. It hurts Gandalf's image as a wise man when everything we see afterwards suggests that his advice would have gotten everyone killed.
* Gandalf is weed-smoking beatnik who loves to hang in the countryside with peace-loving, half-pint [=BoHos=]. It makes sense he wouldn't know that much about proper military strategy.
** The problem is that Aragorn also seems to consider it a bad idea and Gandalf has been in Middle -arth explicitly for the purpose of opposing Sauron. You expect a bit more from both of them.
** This happened in the films because it makes a good story. It's more of Jackson's "character growth" idea. This is also why Aragorn doesn't want to be king (in the book he does); Andúril doesn't get reforged until Film III (in the book it's fixed in Book I); Théoden is possessed by Saruman (in the book he's just depressed); the Ents don't do anything until Pippin tricks Treebeard into seeing what Saruman's been doing to his tree friends; Pippin and Merry are more like Moxie and Pepsi from ''Bored of the Rings'' (in the book they're mature, responsible young men), etc.
** Consider also that Gandalf is voicing this opinion right after Théoden has snapped out of his brainwashing. He knows that the people of Rohan need to see their king in action, not cowering behind a wall. He's pushing for Théoden to take action so as to inspire men to noble deeds in defense of their homes. He just didn't know about the 10,000 strong HumanoidAbomination army that was bearing down on them. When he arived at Helm's Deep with Éomer (Erkenbrand in the book), he was expecting to see Orcs and Dunlanders from the raiding parties, not an organized Uruk-Hai army.
*** The problem is (again) that this completely contradicts the books. If it's supposed to be for character growth (which is a bit hard considering that pretty much all of Gandalf's happens prior to this) then it sure doesn't make sense because this isn't growth, it's tactics. Tactics which Gandalf apparently fails at.
** There are tactical explanations: the army of Saruman is composed completely of heavy infantry, which makes them slow and vulnerable to faster units, in this case, the rohirrim, which are shown to be capable of horse-archery; the other problem is that to properly be able to defend you need to have enough numbers, which they don't; and finally, it is a bad idea to go in melee foot combat against an army that not only is better armed and trained in that field but surparses yours in numbers.
*** Also, wasn't Gandalf's advice not just "go and fight Saruman" but "go and find Éomer and the rest of the Rohirrim with him and ''then'' fight Saruman"?
**** Exactly. The "hide at Helm's Deep" strategy was losing until Gandalf found the cavalry and brought them over, which was arguably his strategy all along.
** Even in the book, Gandalf initially plans to go to the Fords and help the defense there. It's only once he realises that the enemy has already crossed the river and routed a large army that he sends them to Helm's Deep, while he goes off to rally the relief force.

[[WMG: Frodo in Osgiliath]]
Ok, so the whole Frodo in Osgiliath thing. Ignoring the changes made to Faramir's character, etc, there's one issue that I can't work my head around: In ''Return Of The King'', Pippin looks into the palantír, and ends up having to go on the run with Gandalf because Sauron thinks he's got the ring. Merry says as much explicitly. Except, this doesn't make any sense. Why would Sauron think that Pippin has the ring in Rohan, when he knows for a fact that the ringbearer was in Osgiliath? Not suspects, knows. Frodo went all weird, and ended up offering the ring clear as day to the nearest Nazgûl he could find. Did the Nazgûl just forget to tell Sauron that the ring was in Osgiliath? In the book this wasn't an issue, by virtue of Frodo being nobloodywhere near Osgiliath, but in the film this just creates a massive plot hole that I cannot get my head around. A plot hole that then drives the entire plot of the third film.
* Why would the Nazgûl think it was The One Ring? They can sense it when Frodo puts it on but no earlier. Remember, the first time hobbits encounter a Ringwraith, he's literally a feet away from them but cannot find them. So when the Nazgûl in Osgiliath was about to attack Frodo, he probably didn't even see in detail what that stupid midget was doing. He saw Frodo in the open and decided to feed him to his dragon. Then Faramir shot the dragon and he retreated, because he saw no point in direct confrontation at that point. Had he known WHAT Frodo was bearing, there is no way in hell he'd backed off.
** Frodo was holding the bloody thing out in front of him! He could not have made it more obvious if he tried. The Nazgûl can sense the presence of the Ring if it's close by, with or without Frodo wearing it. Tolkien made that pretty clear by the way the Wraiths stalk Frodo and company in Fellowship. In Osgiliath, Frodo was holding the Ring out in both his hands, bright as day, practically offering it to the Ringwraith. Are we to assume that after all the effort of Fellowship, the Ringwraith was too incompetent to see the Ring when it was literally being offered to him by the very hobbit he's spent the last few months tracking? Because that doesn't really say very much about PJ's 'additions' to the story.
** The armies of Mordor are marching out and launching a full-scale attack on Gondor shortly after the battle at Osgiliath. It's safe to say that yes, the Nazgûl told Sauron where the Ring was. Sauron then concluded that the Ring was in Gondor, driving him to attack, because that would be the only direction to take the Ring; they came from the North, they wouldn't go south because of the Southron forces, and they're certainly not going to go ''east'' into Mordor with the Ring, because that would be silly. The only reason to go into Mordor with the Ring would be to toss it into Mount Doom, and no one would want to ''destroy'' the Ring, by Sauron's estimation.
** You're of course assuming that both Merry and Gandalf knew that the Ringwraiths knew the ringbearer was in Osgiliath. Honestly, when I first watched the film (which was admittedly almost a decade ago), I just assumed that Gandalf went to Gondor primarily because of The "Gondor's gonna get invaded really soon" part of Pippin's vision, and thus wanted to hopefully lend some more help to the Steward in preparing defences while also requesting he relinquish the throne to Aragorn, with Pippin tagging along because he wanted to keep up his charade not knowing it was already found out.

[[WMG: The Death of the Witch King]]
* (I've never read the books) The whole ''No mortal man can kill me - I'm no man'' line spoken by Éowyn during the final battle of the Return of the King. Was this just overconfidence on his part or a genuine loop hole in his powers? because the sheer concept of being able to circumvent someone's immortality solely by what you have between your legs just flabbergasts me. Although having said that I am appreciative of the fact that in an age where the only soldiers were male it would certainly be a handicap that wouldn't present a problem too often.
** The Witch King is especially susceptible to women in the same sense that Macbeth was especially susceptible to soldiers with leaves in their hats. It's a twist upon a prophecy, nothing more.
** Basically, keep in mind that this is a prophecy (made by the elf-lord Glorfindel, one of Elrond's retainers and a powerful reincarnated hero of the First Age), not part of the Witch-King's powers- destiny is in play here. It's not that he ''can't'' be killed by a man, but that he ''won't'', a subtle but important distinction. Seems like Éowyn and the Nazgûl Lord were always meant to cross paths on the Pelennor Fields.
*** In the movie this isn't the case. The Witch-King says "No man can kill me" and the idea that he cannot be killed (except by some sort of magic) fits everything we're ever told about the Nazgul. They are ghostlike beings who cannot be made dead because they are already not alive in the first place. Nothing supports any idea that they would have invulnerability to death by males only. In the book, Merry has a magic sword that makes him vulnerable, but the movie doesn't show this.
**** But in the movie, "I am no man" basically comes across as a badass bit of LiteralistSnarking on Eowyn's part: and it has a kind of psychological/spiritual force, too, in both book and movie. This is the moment where she conquers her fear, the Nazgul's greatest weapon, and ''turns it back on him''. Shaking off his influence, believing that she has the power to kill him, and shocking him into doubting the invulnerability he's believed certain, she is able to overpower him. The sword through the head is almost superfluous, and it's not ultimately about her genitalia either, but about both Eowyn and the Witch-King believing he's met an exception to his rule.

[[WMG: The Rabbits]]
* This is probably a silly one, but in the original novel, the scene where Gollum catches some rabbits and Sam turns them into a stew is in a different chapter from the scene where Sam and Frodo are captured by Faramir. But in the movie, Sam makes the stew, then he and Frodo wander off to see the oliphaunt, then they get captured, leaving their campsite abandoned. So what happened to it? My family's favorite theory on this is that some of Faramir's men found the campsite and ate the stew themselves.
** Alternatively, some hapless Haradrim footsoldiers, fleeing the ambush by Faramir's Rangers, stumbled upon the campsite, praised their strange southern gods for this tiny stroke of luck, and had a good Hobbitish rabbit stew before starting the long demoralizing trek back home.

[[WMG: Gondor's Outer Defenses]]
* Denethor objected to Faramir abandoning Minas Tirith's outer defenses by withdrawing from Osgiliath. The problem with that is, ''what'' outer defenses? Osgiliath was rather obviously indefensible, and had been so for a long time. Why did they not take some effort to actually fortify it? At a minimum, they should have torn down any structure that could be used to anchor a bridge from the other side, and dumped the rubble into the river to make it harder for the enemy to boat across. A river is only a defensive barrier if you take efforts to ensure that it's hard to cross it somehow.
** Stuff left out of the adaption, unfortunately. In the book Minas Tirith did have some extensive outer defenses. The entire Pelennor Fields was encircled by a wall, although that wall had largely fallen into disrepair. As for Osgiliath, more is made of it in the movie than in the book; it's been little more than an abandoned ruin for nearly a thousand years. There isn't much left to fortify. In addition, it's a running theme throughout the book that Denethor has become a neglectful ruler in his despair and age, and has simply left defenses and affairs of state to decay.
** Denethor ''does'' know that the outer defences won't hold, but that doesn't mean he just gives them up. He '''must''' make Sauron pay for the territory he gains - and if that costs him whole companies of men - well, "Much must be risked in war."
** Even with pontoon bridges and smallcraft, crossing a river under enemy fire is no fun at all, especially for the unfortunate engineers who are trying to coordinate it. Osgiliath is the best place for Sauron to attempt the crossing, though: northward, there's marshland, and southward the river gets wider. There's also a good access road, to bring up the armies and the engineering train. The defense isn't very effective because PJ's tactics are univerally abysmal throughout the films - the situation required archers and artillery in the greatest concentration Faramir could bring to bear, targetting as far out into the river and the far bank as they can reach, and that is presumably what he did in the books. Also, in the books, once he realises he can't hold the crossing, he withdraws in good order to the Causeway Forts, where the road crosses the outer walls. Even once the Fort falls, it still isn't a rout and they're getting the wounded back to the city, until the Nazgul scatter the rear-guard.

[[WMG: Legolas thinks Grí­ma makes good target practice]]
* I mean, why else would he shoot him? He's just rid them of one huge pain in the ass and has made no direct attacks against them. Why put an arrow through him?
** Legolas was trying to keep Grí­ma from finishing off Saruman, a rather valuable intelligence source. It didn't work, but that was why Grí­ma ended up dead.
*** What bugs me was Legolas's ability to hit him to begin with. That angle? A distant target that small at that altitude? From horseback? Yeah I know, it's Legolas, but still.... Of course, they could somehow hear everything that was being said even from that distance...

[[WMG: Army of undead = poor use of resources]]
So we get to see the full power of the Army of the Dead during the battle for Minas Tirith: they're invincible, fast and efficient, and effectively curbstomp the enemy army with no losses whatsoever. After this, they're freed and vanish. But hang on: how come nobody thought of asking them "Since y'all are immortal and all it'd be jolly good if you could help us by, y'know, killing all the orcs and other unpleasant individuals behind the gates of Mordor". There's no guarantee they'd accept, but at least Aragorn could ''try''. Come to think of it, Aragorn could just have made the promise differently - "help us win this war in its entirety and I free you".
* It's probably dependent on the exact wording of the oath that the Army failed to keep before death. In the original novel, the ghosts only fought against the corsairs before their oath was fulfilled. Then Aragorn stripped the fortresses on Gondor's southern border of men (Who had been posted there to guard against the corsairs) and sailed them to Minas Tirith in the captured ships.
** In the novel the ghosts didn't even ''fight'' the Corsairs, only frightened them off their ships and enabled Aragorn and the Gondorian troops to take them. It's implied that they simply ''can't'' fight the living, being merely ghosts and all.
* This is a good example of an AdaptationInducedPlotHole, since the film introduces the idea of Aragorn deciding to free them only after the Pelennor Fields, which seems noble but foolish in context.
* One explanation is that they thought it would be an unwise idea to bring a dead army anywhere near Sauron, who has also been known as ''the Necromancer'' (ie, someone who has magical power over the dead). Sure, the orcs and human armies of Mordor can't fight the ghosts, but Sauron himself probably could, and easily. Worst case scenario, Sauron takes control of them and turns them against the heroes, giving him yet ''another'' powerful army with which to conquer the world. It's not worth the risk.
* The ghosts were cursed in the first place for skipping out on ''one'' battle. If Aragorn hadn't released them from service after they'd made up for it by ''winning'' one battle, as he'd promised them, they might well have cursed '''him''' as an oath-breaker. As for why seizing the corsairs' ships hadn't already set them free, for all we know the corsairs booked it outta there the instant they saw the ghosts, so it didn't count as a "fight".

[[WMG: The One Ring and the Nature of Evil]]
Upon reflection, it seems like the Ring is more powerful in the movie than it is in the book. In the book it's a seductive item, true, and most people who make contact with it succumb to its power, but some people can resist its influence, and do. Power speaks to Power in Tolkien's world, and the ones who can resist the Ring are the ones who don't really crave power for its own sake. Sam is a simple humble country boy who doesn't want anything but his garden. Faramir is a sensitive, intuitive scholar who is smart enough to see what the Ring really is. Déagol doesn't get to hang on to it long enough for it to really do anything to him. The argument can even be made that Frodo isn't so much seduced by the Ring as he is defeated by it; after a protracted Battle of Wills, his just finally gives out. The message is that evil is a powerful force in the world, but it can be resisted and overcome through the simple virtures of decency, earnestness, and perseverance. No such message exists in the movie; in the movie, ''no one'' can resist the power of the Ring. Not Faramir, not Sam, ''no one''. Those simple virtues don't help any more. Perhaps the World has grown colder since Tolkien's day...
* Realistically (ironic choice of words intended) it is not as dramatic to have characters not succumb to the will of The One Ring. It is after all the ''The'' One Ring. Thematically, you can't go into near as much detail in the typical movie time frame as you can in the books, so keeping the concept cohesive for all versus for most is just a simple way to tell the story and not worry about it. As for actual explanation... [[SarcasmMode perhaps the time since the books were written, the ring got more powerful]].
* According to the "making of" video "From Book to Script," this change was deliberate. They weren't confident they could convince the movie audience that the ring was truly powerful and deadly if there were people who could resist it. This was given as a reason specifically for the changes in Faramir's character.
* I can understand making the changes to Faramir's character; they are in line with his established motivations to win his father's approval and to save his country. But ''Sam'' is clearly tempted by the Ring in ROTK as well. The most undeniably good person in the whole story can't resist the power of evil. It almost subverts the central theme of the story.
* There was one person in the movies who never yielded to temptation: Aragorn, when Frodo actually holds the ring out to him at the end of ''Fellowship''. I was actually under the impression that was part of the reason for Faramir's character change--if the Ring never tempted him for a moment either, the strength and nobility of Aragorn's refusal wouldn't stand out as much.
** Also, where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam; and in any case strength doesn't lie in not being tempted, but in resisting temptation.

[[WMG: Legolas and Gimil's "contest"]]

Did they ever make it clear who won?

* Gimli won the first contest at Helm's Deep with 43 kills to Legolas's 42 (this is accurate to the book, although the numbers were ever so slightly inflated - in the book Legolas gracefully accepted defeat after being beaten 42-41). This is shown in a deleted scene that was restored for the Extended edition. They never mention who "won" in the Battle of Pelennor Fields (Minas Tirith).
** I think the numbers were in the mid to upper 100's or low 200's in Pelennor Fields. Been a LONG time since I read the books. But if I am not mistaken, Gimli lost the second match up (and not because of the Mumakil).

[[WMG:Why are all the characters indestructible?]]
Seriously, it astonishes me how often in the movies someone slides down a rocky slope, gets knocked off a ledge, or falls ten feet or so onto rock. I still haven't figured out why everyone in these movies is immune to concussions, fractures, or spinal injuries. I know,I know, that would interfere with the plot, but it still bugs me.
* You're going to have to be more specific. When does that happen ''at all'', let alone so "often"? This comes off a lot like griping to me.

[[WMG: Aragorn's ability to break reality]]
Now I haven't read the books, and this is something that REALLY bothered me, but in the City of the Dead, it is clear that the Dead are immune to conventional weapons, as evidenced by Legola's EpicFail of an arrow. Now Aragorn blocking the King's blade with Narsil: I can understand since it was Isildur's sword.

But then, Aragorn proceeds to GRAB the King by the throat. How in the HELL did Aragorn magically manage to grab a ghost's throat when later on, that same ghost king is seen going straight through Aragorn. Ok, King of the Dead, can Aragorn touch you or no? Make up your damn mind.

* When Aragorn grabs him, he was exercising his power as the King of Gondor. Isildur was the one who put the curse on them, and so had power over them; Aragorn, as Isildur's Heir, has that same power if he wishes to use it. In other words, yes it actually ''was'' magic that allowed Aragorn to grab the King of the Dead. Very specific magic that likely wouldn't work on any other ghosts Aragorn would happen to encounter.
* And as for the King of the Dead passing through Aragorn, that's merely Aragorn choosing not to exercise the aforementioned power. He doesn't need to be forceful towards the King at all times.
* Think of it as Aragorn's rightful ''authority'' seizing hold of the ghost-leader or blocking his sword, not Aragorn's flesh or metal. Authority works one-way, not two.

[[WMG: Why would Saruman dam the river in the first place?]]
* So I'm watching the bit in Two Towers where the Ents unblock the dam and flood Isengard and I can't figure out why exactly Saruman did dam the river in the first place? He mentions to one of his Orcs that they are to block the Isen at the start of the movie but I can't think why he'd do that. Surely he needs the water for something? Granted I don't know much about rivers and dams, but I still can't figure out what purpose creating a dam served him.
** Possibly he was damming the river in order to power some kind of turbine. A piece of machinery for his forge, or even a mill to grind large amounts of grain (all those Orcs have to eat something). Otherwise, it's just blatant RuleOfSymbolism: Saruman is raping the land just because he can.
** It is actually clearly seen that he is working some sort of machines of the forge by the various water paths that are being redirected from the dam. So it was not just to rape the land for the sake of it. He needed all the fires burning (trees be damned) and the waters flowing where HE wanted them, not where the land let the rivers flow.

[[WMG: Where are the Dwarves?]]
I can't remember if this question was answered in the books, but it certainly wasn't in the movies... More than once, Gimli says that an army of Dwarves would've handled this and that situation. But why aren't the Dwarves joining the War of the Ring? If Sauron is to take over Middle-Earth, it seems pretty obvious he wouldn't spare the Dwarves. Okay, since Dwarves don't live in areas near Mordor, maybe they don't know how bad things have gotten. But Gimli knows what the situation is, and he's supposed to be some sort of an envoy of Dwarves, right? So why doesn't he summon them to join everyone else in the fight against Sauron?
* There aren't many Dwarves left, and the ones most likely to pitch in (the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain) are already facing a war at their own doorstep.
* They ''are'' fighting, just in a different theater of war, up north by the Lonely Mountain; if they diverted forces to the Gondorian front, he'd be able to overcome them there and from there retake Mirkwood, threaten Lothlorian, and flank Gondor from the north.
** Okay. It would've been nice if this stuff was mentioned somewhere, though, instead of Gimli just being all, "if only I had some Dwarves with me here".
*** They did allude to it. Immediately after Gimli says that line, Legolas replies "Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to battle; I fear war already marches on their domains."

[[WMG: The title of Bilbo and Frodo's story?]]
Just a silly thing really, but in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I do not recall them ever giving the story an official name. Unlike The Hobbit which was given it's name by Bilbo in story. ''There and Back Again. A Hobbit's Tale.''

My question is regarding a great line from the books that could have been used to make Frodo's part of the story have a more "hobbit-like" sound to it. Like Bilbo's did.

Why did they not call it ''Frodo Nine Fingers and The Ring of Power.''?

Now before you say "WHAT?!" That is a line that Sam uses in the book when they are in Mordor, beat to hell, and talking about all the old stories and how this story is not one of them (and a HUGE missed opportunity in the movie when they do the same thing). Sam (or perhaps Frodo, can't remember at this point) gives that line as the title for a story based on their adventures. I always took it as a sarcastic reference, but it still would have worked. Especially since the context of the scene in question was that they did not think they would survive no matter what happened. So when they do... why not use that title?

Then at the end of the movie, they went with the "easy connection" title of ''The Lord of the Rings''. Why?! And I would actually like both an insider info answer as well as in'verse if anyone knows or can come up with something plausible. Thanks (only thing that REALLY bugged me of the entire trilogy).

* The movie did mess it up a little, but the original title Frodo uses in the book is 'The Downfall of The Lord of the Rings'. Over time I guess that got shortened to 'The Lord of the Rings'. It's not that unusual really; it's just a name for the war, like if we called World War Two 'The Downfall of Hitler'. (The only reason we don't is because it's a lot more complex than that.) Personally, I prefer 'The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings', but hey.
** The full title is "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King". There's also a subtitle "(as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.) Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell". Heck, the book even gives the formatting of the title page. I don't know why the film didn't just point their calligrapher at pg1065!

[[WMG: Eomer's banishment]]
Grima declares hat Eomer is banished from Rohan under the pain of death, and the next thing we see of Eomer is him riding away... ''with two thousand men'', all fully armed, and we later learn that the remaining Rohan forces (at least those immediately available at the capital) amounted to some several hundred men. Uhm... how did Grima manage to banish the former with the latter, and why didn't the next scene after his "sentence" depict his greesy head on a spike, and Eomer taking charge?
* Because Grima had the king's ear, and taking down Grima meant, at that point, taking on the king. Eomer and his men leave ''because'' they're loyal to the king, and can't stand what Grima's doing. Remember that Grima has real authority there because of his place with the king. So it's like asking, "When a corrupt cop gives you a ticket, but you've got four people in the car with you, why don't you just beat up the cop and leave?"
** It's less giving an unfair ticket and more selling a nuke to the terrorists. In which case, it is a moral obligation of any dutiful citizen to stop them. And if it's not a cop but the President's advisor or, hell, the President himself, what does it matter? Are you saying Eomer and his men basically abandoned their country to the mercy of Saruman because of their loyalty to the king, even though the king was clearly either incapable or treacherous? I may not be pryvy to the specifics of Rohan policy, so maybe I'm missing something, but shouldn't at that point loyalty to the country and its people outweigh loyalty to a person?
** They didn't abandon their country. One of the first things we see them do is slaughter the Uruk-Hai. They're still fighting Saruman's forces even though the king isn't. They are protecting Rohan's land and people as best they can from external threats, because the internal threat is not something they can solve. And really, what would be the most likely result of Eomer riding into Edoras with two thousand armed knights and demanding Grima's surrender? All-out civil war. The last thing Rohan needs. Too many innocent lives would be endangered, not the least of which is the puppet king himself.
** And Grima has Eowyn. There probably is a point where, if you hold his sister hostage, Eomer will tell you to kill her and be damned, but I don't think Grima's quite there yet: as far as Eomer knows, this is all just a difference of opinion/competence over military strategy, rather than fundamental treason.
[[WMG: Here goes your traitor]]
Why do they let Grima go? Ok, Aragorn stops Theoden from killing the bastard, fine, he's all noble and merciful. But why let him go? It's obvious he's going to return to Saruman and tell him all he knows, and surely they wouldn't want that, would they?
* Saruman was literally in Theoden's head for the last few months, at the least. What on Earth could Grima tell him that he doesn't already know? Saruman's also an incredibly powerful wizard--the total value he has as a tactical asset to Saruman is infinitesimally small once he's out of Theoden's court.
* I see it as Aragorn trying to look out for Theoden's mental well-being. Theoden had just had his head invaded by evil for a long time... it probably wouldn't have been that great for his stability and the moral center of his soul if the first thing he did upon coming out of it was slaughter a physically defenseless man. It's not that Grima deserved to live so much as killing him or having him killed would have been bad for Theoden's soul at that moment. To judge by their encounter at Isengard, it was probably a good call... once he was fully himself, Theoden was actually ready to offer Grima a chance for mercy and repentance.
** I understand why they didn't kill him - I don't understand why they didn't throw him into prison. As for Grima's lack of useful knowledge, I don't know, he is still shown telling Saruman about the route that Rohans would take to the Helm's deep, and the defences, including the drain gate.

[[WMG: The Faramir "being dead" fiasco]]
After Faramir led a doomed charge to retake Osgilath, the entire group, except for Faramir himself, was wiped out. However they at first thought he was dead, but Pippin notices that he's just KO'd and needs medicine to which Denethor ignores, yelling, "My line has ended!". When he yells to his soldiers to abandon their posts, Gandalf knocks Denethor out and yells "Prepare for battle!" Why didn't Pippin or one of the other Gondor people take advantage of Denethor being knocked out unconscious and take Faramir to the healers?! And when Denethor takes Faramir's uncoscious body to burn it and himself in the Tomb of the Stewards, why did none of the other soldiers question Denethor's suicidal thoughts and incapacitate him for being insane, or check for a pulse on Faramir and tell Denethor that he was still alive?! Has no one in Gondor have a brain or something?!
** In the first case, because they were preparing for battle and trying to fight off an army of orcs and trolls was more important than getting one guy to the healers. In the second case, Denethor is still in charge, suicidal or not, so soldiers are going to obey direct orders from him.
** The soldiers could still disobey Denetohr if he's crazy! Sometimes, soldiers do that. I mean look at Halo 4. Did anybody obey Captain Del Rio when he ordered staff on the bridge of the Infinity to arrest Master Chief? No. So why can't the soldiers disobey Denethor and say no? Are Gondor soldiers stupid or someting?
*** Soldiers in a feudal system in Lord of the Rings are not in any way at all comparable to space marines in Halo. For one thing, in the feudalistic system of Lord of the Rings' world, when the leader of your nation gave you an order, you did it--you swore fealty to them personally. In the modern and future military, it's written in that soldiers have a duty to disobey unlawful orders. You're comparing two situations that could not be more different.
*** There is something of a FreezeFrameBonus during the funeral pyre scene. At least one of the soldiers holding the torches is ''really'' hesitant. He's slower than the others and keeps looking around at them. You can almost hear what he's thinking. "Um, guys? Are we really doing this?"
** Back to the first case. Faramir was important too. Taking him to the healers would also keep him safe!
*** Who's to say they didn't? Some guards bring him to be healed offscreen and then Denethor shows up to drag him to the pyre with no one stopping him because of the above reasons.
** But couldn't soldiers be get morally righteous and pull off a ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight, or go YoureInsane to Denethor and disobey him for being suicidally insane? Especially if it's the case of "If our leader kills himself, WHO'S GONNA LEAD US?!"?

[[WMG: Aragorn banishes Beregond on pain of death - the man is a hero]]
Aragorn banishes Beregond from Gondor at the end of the story. Beregond technically violated a long-standing law against abandoning one's post, but King Aragorn "graciously" pardons the man and allows for exile instead. You could say that Beregond is a hero for what he did. He breaks an ancient law of a world on the brink of total domination by an absolutely evil force, and saves a very important man from being burned to death. Could King Aragorn not make an exception for Beregond? This is the dawn of a new age, it seems inappropriate to me that a law from an old and corrupt one is upheld, when it is clear even to the King that what he is doing is unfair.
* Aragorn ordered Beregond to continue to serve Faramir. Faramir was made Prince of Ithilien. Therefore, if Beregond were to leave Ithilien and return to Gondor he would be abandoning his post, AKA ''desertion''. He was ''rewarding'' Beregond in a rather circuitous manner (for comparison, consider Kirk's demotion to captain at the end of ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'': While technically he was being punished, Kirk and pretty much ''every other person in the room'' knew the Federation President was actually rewarding him by giving him back command of a starship, after how unhappy he was shown in his higher rank in the previous two films).

[[WMG: Why Didn't Boromir Bring His Shield During the Fight at Amon Hen?]]
When Boromir tried to save Merry and Pippin from Saruman's Uruk Hai battle group at Amon Hen, why didn't he bring his shield (which he usually carries around) to the battle? If he did, he would've been able to protect himself from Lurtz's arrows and not be killed!
* If I remember correctly, the events at Amon Hen happen at a rather quick succession: Boromir talks with Frodo, he tries to take the Ring from him, Frodo runs away, the Orcs attack, Boromir tries to save Merry and Pippin from the Orcs. Boromir doesn't have his shield with him when he goes to talk with Frodo, because he has no need for it then. And the Orcs attack immediately after that, so possibly he thinks there's no time to go and fetch the shield, because they might've already killed Merry and Pippin before he comes back with it.
* But didn't he rest his shield nearby when he was gathering firewood when he talks with Frodo? He could've grabbed his shield after Frodo ran away.
** His shield was at their camp. Boromir and Frodo were far away from their camp.
*** How far away?
*** [[SarcasmMode Exactly 3.74 miles.]] Who knows? The orcs were showing up right then, Boromir didn't have time to go back to camp.

[[WMG: Do orcs have five legs?]]
When the forces of Mordor march on Minas Tirith in ROTK - about 1.45 into the extended version - they're marching to a drumbeat in ''[[UncommonTime 5/4]]''. How do they not stumble?
* The beats are still spaced out evenly, you can still walk a steady pace to 5/4.

[[WMG: The Ents are going to war...far too quickly.]]
I'll admit that it makes for a great shot when all the Ents come out of the forest ready to attack Isengard after Treebeard howls, but it also makes no sense. After the Ent Moot they'd most likely dispersed to get on with whatever it is they were doing, which was probably ''not'' hanging around near Isengard - so how did they all get there so quickly? Even in the Extended Edition, there's only about a minute at most between Treebeard yelling and the other Ents coming out of the woodwork.
** They were heading back to whatever it was they were doing, but they're Ents--they don't go fast coming or going. They probably weren't far from where the Ent Moot was held anyway.

[[WMG: Why, after putting up with Sam from Emyn Muil to Minas Morgul, does Gollum want to get rid of him right before he's about to be eaten by Shelob?.]]
It makes no sense to risk confrontation at this point, when he only has to put up with him for a few more hours at most. Just let Shelob deal with him!
** Because Sam was starting to become suspicious of Gollum. It wasn't about "putting up with him," it was about getting rid of him before he convinced Frodo that Gollum had to go.
*** But Sam had already tried and failed to convince Frodo. Unless something else happened, there was no real risk of Frodo changing his mind at this point. And even if they did send Gollum away, they would still have to go through Shelob's lair, since it was the only open way, so Gollum could just have followed them like he did earlier.
*** Sam clearly planned to be persistent about it, and even if Frodo said no, Sam was going to watch Gollum closely, which means Gollum can't get away with as much. And that's discounting the possibility that Sam decides to just kill Gollum. Also, two hobbits together have a better chance at getting through Shelob's lair than one hobbit alone.
*** Plus Gollum is pretty much not on a speaking basis with sanity. Why does Gollum behave irrationally? [[ShapedLikeItself Because he is irrational]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Paths of the Dead]]

* In the Extended version scene in the Paths of the Dead, there are a ''lot'' more skulls buried there than actual ghosts. Where did they all come from?
** The people who were brave/foolish enough to attempt to travel the Paths of the Dead without having the authority to command the dead.
** Alternatively, the Men of Dunharrow lived there for a long time before they were called on to fight Sauron. Therefore, there would be many generations of their dead buried in the catacombs, but only the final generation which was alive when they broke their oath became ghosts. Plus, from the composition of the army, it looks like their noncombatants were given a pass on the 'doomed to haunt the earth until redeemed' thing, but they'd still need burying when they died.

[[/folder]]

to:

----
[[folder:Eru aka God, the Ainur, and Theodicy]]
* Sauron, Saruman, Gandalf and the orcs were fallen angels of Eru Ilúvatar, right? Why did Gandalf not beg his God for help?
** How many ideas did Tolkien steal from ''Paradise Lost''?
*** Because Eru doesn't intervene. If his goal was immediate extermination of evil, he would have blasted Melkor on the spot after the Music. He's an eventualist, not an immediatist -- and he knows that eventually, after Dagor Dagorath, the world will be reformed with the Second Music. (Note also that Eru did intervene when he resurrected Gandalf, but that was it.)
**** Neither Saruman, Gandalf or the Orcs are anything even closely resembling "fallen angels". Saruman and Gandalf might qualify as the non-fallen kind (allegorically), but I don't know where that idea comes from regarding Orcs. If you want to know why Gandalf didn't ask "his god" for help, consider that Gandalf ''is'' the help provided to Middle-earth ''by'' that god.
***** Note that Eru intervened constantly in the course of LOTR, and Gandalf was well aware of it. That's what "you were meant to find the ring, and I find that very encouraging" and "Gollum still has a part to play" and other such statements are all about. The whole course of the books describes the unfolding of Eru's plan, and the lucky chances are his methods. Its subtle, not flashy
***** There's also the fact that Eru knows that ultimately, no matter what Morgoth and Sauron do, no matter how much they divert the world from his original plans, the fallout ultimately leads to the glory of His work. An example: Melkor tries to disrupt the creation of the world with extreme colds and heats. Eru points out to Ulmo, Vala of Water, that now water's beauty is far greater than Ulmo had planned, for now there are the beautiful manifestations of steam and frost. Eru is an eventualist because he understands that tragedy may occur that nonetheless is good to have happened, even if the Valar themselves both don't quite get it and find themselves unable to accept it ''because they love the world they've made so much.''
****** Eru [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation could]] also be said to be a MagnificentBastard who would rather ruin the plans of others indirectly and watch them fail slowly, even going so far as to cripple their ability to [[AlwaysChaoticEvil make free moral choices]] or come up with original thoughts.
****** I think it ultimately comes down to free will. Eru made the universe and gave his children free will, meaning that he set a law by which his creations could create and destroy. Then, to set an example, he decided to obey his own laws. Thus, he does not interfere in what everyone else does because he would become a hypocrite by not abiding by the rules he expects everyone else to follow. That said, if there was some majority to ask Eru to do something, he may or may not. I doubt there is any point in The Lord of the Rings where half the world, plus one, actually prays to Eru to do anything.
** How do you know he wasn't? He might have been praying silently all the time.
*** Gandalf is explicitly thinking that Eru's hand is guiding the events of the War of The Rings.

* Why did the Valar not pitch in to help fight Mordor themselves? They had kicked the ass of Morgoth, a guy who was bigger, badder, and had [[Main/KickTheDog kicked more puppies]] than Sauron could ever hope to. They could've easily annihilated him and his armies. But ''nooooooooooooo'' they just ''had'' to send five minor powers and on top of that, told them not to take any direct action! Bastards...
** Simple enough. The Valar weren't free to act nor all powerful. After all, they had to call upon Eru to beat off the Numeanoreans. So, more than likely it's a Prime Directive Issue. After all, Gandalf himself stated that the wizards' role was not to control Middle-earth or match force with force, but to lead and guide the people against Sauron.
*** They could have done ''something'' to help out, like simply show up in force to march on Mordor. They did that exact thing when Morgoth was threatening the world, and thus could have done it again. The fact that they didn't means they are little bastards. If I were a human king then, I would have followed the elves across the sea to meet the Valar... and then brutally killed them all while laughing manically.
*** You're right, they did intervene against Morgoth. And you know what happened when they did that? The power they summoned to defeat him was so great it ''shattered a continent'' and annihilated the same kingdoms they'd come to help. That's why they're not interfering directly anymore: if they got involved, so much destruction would ensue that it would be a Pyrrhic Victory at best.
** Uh huh. That worked out great for Ar-Pharazôn the Golden. (See also: Fall of Númenor.)
**** And then been crunched pitifully, probably breaking the world again in the process, assuming you could even get there (only the elves know the secret of the Straight Path.) Sauron is Middle-earth's problem; the Valar are not there as a cure-all every time something goes wrong.
***** Crunched. By a guy who could never hope to be as powerful as a guy they had already beaten (Morgoth). Although this was with the elves' help (who were fleeing like spineless ninnies for no apparent reason). And how did they get to Middle-earth to fight Morgoth earlier, if they didn't know how? These bastards refuse to help fight against a guy weaker than the one they had already beaten. If he was only Middle-earth's problem, then why did the show up to fight Morgoth? He was Middle-earth's problem too.
******* Yes, crunched by the Valar, who are, after all, thoroughly destructive ''and'' can call upon the One. Remember, the Valar fighting in the final war against Morgoth ''broke the '''world''' from the destruction.'' They ''chose'' not to fight Morgoth because of a complicated series of events that estranged them from the Eldar, and furthermore because they were afraid they would destroy Men by acting. They only intervened at last because Eärendil pleaded for their help. Seriously, have you even ''read'' the ''Silmarillion?''
******** And the five Wizards were by no means "minor powers". As stated elsewhere, they were limited by the Valar to not match force with force, which, in my reading and understanding of the ''Silmarillion'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' they certainly could have done.
** Part of the plot of ''Lord of the Rings'' is that magic is gradually leaving the world (ie, Middle-earth is becoming the Earth we know). That is why the Elves are all leaving, they are being called away, not "fleeing like spineless ninnies." This transition is part of the natural order, and if the Valar, who were powerful magical beings not seen since the beginning of the world, returned and started to act directly again, it probably would have broken the world worse than Sauron could have ever hoped to.
*** Plus, Morgoth had originally been one of the Valar (he was in fact by far the most powerful, back when he was Melkor), but he had suffused his power throughout the fabric of creation, substantially weakening him. The Valar were still willing to fight him directly, but doing so ended up causing untold destruction, and irreparably ruined the beginning of the Elves. When the High Elves left Valinor in exile after Morgoth escaped again, they decided to leave the mortal world to its own devices, until it was thoroughly proven that they were the only ones capable of permanently stopping Morgoth. After this, they were committed to never directly interfering in Middle-earth again, because to do so would finally and completely ruin the world and Eru's plans for it (particularly that it should pass to the dominion of Men). They were however still compassionate to the plight of the mortal world, which is why they sent their greatest and wisest emissaries (appropriately limited) to guide them to victory (a victory which, if you will remember, would not have been achieved without them).
** 1. Last time the Valar directly assault evil in Middle Earth, an entire continent was shattered. 2. Most of the mortal races could have been seen by them as having lost the right to direct saving, the Noldor and Moriquendi becuase they had been given, and still had, the option to say "screw you guys, I'm going home" to everyone in Middle Earth and head to Valinor, and man for that whole attempted invasion of and take over of their land thing. 3. They only attacked Morgoth after it became absolutely clear that only by their help could he be defeated, and, if not, every living thing not in Valinor would be killed or enslaved, and given Sauron WAS defeated without their direct aid, this clearly wasn't the case. 4, These 'Lesser powers' were Maia of similar standing to what Sauron had before joining Morgoth, Saruman in fact basically being Sauron's replacement as one of Aulë's chief aides, and had nearly as much innate power as he did, but were restrained from using it in a direct confrontaion, but were sent to rally the mortal races to fight, and to guide them. And 5. if mommy and daddy always run to help their kids out of every little situation, the kids will never learn to be self-sufficient.
*** 1. Sauron ain't Morgoth. Without the One Ring, most of what power he had left was out of his reach anyway. He couldn't put up nearly such a good fight as Morgoth did. No content destroying escapades for him. Heck, some men and elves stabbed him to death once, though, of course he got better. 2. So, because the elves could've left, they had no right to help? Should victims of hurricanes get no assistence because they could've abandoned the only homes they've ever known? The only men who tried to invade their home were the evil Númenorians, who were corrupted by Sauron. And God already got rid of those guys. Everyone left was wholly innocent of that (excepting Sauron, of course). 3. So? Both Sauron and Morgoth came from among them, and thus were their responsibilty to deal with, not the mortal races'. In the same way, the US can't just dump its criminals in Mexico and then tell the Mexican government "They're your problem now, bucko." 4. And why no direct confrontation? Sauron was weak, his power shattered, and for thousands of years he had to sit around as a shadow, slowly rebuilding his power. That would be the perfect moment to force a direct confrontation and drag him off kicking and screaming. It's not like he could really do anything about that, what with him missing the One Ring and not having a body for thousands of years. 5. A child can hardly be expected to deal with an immortal spirit with a super-duper ring o'evil. This problem would not have been solved at all were it not for incredibly good luck on the good guys' part (comparable to a murderer bursting into a home only to be thwarted by a chandelier falling on his head).
*** The problem with continent-wrecking isn't Sauron (or Morgoth, fo that matter) choosing to do it on his own; rather, it's presented more as a side-effect of the scale of forces being unleashed, and while Sauron may not be as strong as Morgoth, it seems unrealistic to think he wouldn't land at least a couple of good blows before the Valar took him into custody, and that could still cause some pretty major destruction. Also, the Valar are [[GodsHandsAreTied pretty hands-off gods]], on the whole. It's not their job to swoop in and save the world unless all other courses of action have been exhausted. Also, keep in mind that it's ''very'' heavily implied that destiny is in play during the whole War of the Ring- and it's definitely not the Valar's place to mess with what [[{{God}} their boss]] has planned.
**** Don't forget that the main armies opposing Sauron (and quite a few serving him) are men (and small, hairy-footed man-like creatures explicitly mentioned as an offshoot of men). In the Tolkien legendarium, men are ''explicitly outside'' the control of the Valar; when an army of them invaded the Undying Lands, they had to lay down their positions as guardians and call on God to fix things. Not to mention, the sending of the Wizards as emissaries rather than intervening directly falls pretty well into the whole "fading of mythology" theme that undercuts the whole of the War of the Ring.
**** Just to clarify, Sauron during the War of the Ring is actually ''stronger'' than Morgoth was during the War of Wrath. Morgoth had vented his powers into the fabric of creation in general and his minions in particular whereas Sauron have focused his into the One Ring. Because of this, and the very nature of Sauron's ringcraft, him wearing the One Ring makes him as strong as a Valar, which would require continent shattering combat to bring down.
** At some point, you've got to let the kids solve their own problems. Otherwise they'll just stay dependent on you.
[[/folder]]
----
[[folder:Sauron and the One Ring]]
* Sauron's whole idea of even ''making'' the Ring was throughly moronic from the start. I mean, putting your immortality on the line for a chance to mind control, at most, ''19 people''. What kind of an idiot does that?
** An idiot who needs to keep his mystical power from fading away to nothingness in the Third Age, as it would have had the Great Rings not been forged. Also, an idiot who remembers that those 19 people, collectively between them, possessed virtually all the political and mystical power in Middle-earth.
** Exactly. The Rings of Power were a way to preserve might that would otherwise have been lost. And rather than 19 people, it would have meant ruling 19 ''nations'', had the plot been succesful.
*** Quoth the Silmarillion: "And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was very great, and that which should goven them must be a thing of surpassing potency". The greater part of the strength of the Elves passed into their rings, and to dominate them, the greater part of Sauron's strength had to pass into his. Remember, magic and Elves only left Middle-earth ''after'' the destruction of the One. Because the Three were subject to the One, with its destruction, Sauron was diminished, and so were the Elves in much the same manner, no longer able to hold back the effects of decay and time. So really, it's Sauron's fault that [[TheMagicGoesAway the magic went away]].
** Plus, as far as Sauron was concerned, his immortality was never on the line. He believed that it was beyond the will of any being to harm the Ring, and very few would have been able to bring its full power under their control, in which case there remains the possibility of it being reclaimed by its true master. Its worth noting that in the end, Sauron was ''right'' about noone being able to willingly destroy the Ring. It was only destroyed because Gollum, a mortal being (who was unable to do anything with the Ring other than fawn over it), had possessed it so long, and had lost it for so long, that when he reclaimed it at the Crack of Doom, all he could do was dance around in jubilation, which led to him losing his footing, destroying the Ring.
*** Also because on the trip up the sides of Mount Doom when Gollum had attempted to jump Sam and Frodo, Frodo had used the ring's powers of command to place a geas on Gollum, that if Gollum ever touched Frodo again, Gollum would throw himself into the volcano. Lo and behold, Gollum did attack Frodo again, and look what happened.
** And, plus some more, the One Ring didn't just allow him control over the nineteen other Great Rings. It would have allowed him control over ''everyone''. The One Ring's great power was that it gave Sauron the ability to dominate the wills of others, not just those who wore one of the Great Rings. It would be easier to find and dominate those who wore Great Rings, yes, since they would stand out, but the Ring's abilities was not just limited to them. And, it might not seem so idiotic when you realize the only reason Sauron survived into the Third Age was because of the Ring. When Númenor was broken when the Númenorians marched on Valinor, Sauron was broken as well and if not for the fact that he had invested a great deal of power in the Ring, he would have remained an ineffectual spirit for the rest of time.
*** And it is also worth noting that there was ''no'' Great Ring corresponding to hobbits ... which may have been part of why hobbits (Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, ''and Smeagol'') were so instrumental in its destruction.
**** 1) Hobbits are said to be more resistant by nature, like the dwarves. 2) The Rings of Power were forged in the Second Age, and the existence of hobbits was first documented in the Third Age.
***** 3.) Hobbits are, for all intents and purposes, an offshoot of Men rather than a new race like elves or dwarves.
**** There wasn't any Great Ring for the ents either, presumably because they weren't active enough for Sauron to have worried about them as opponents. Nor for orcs or trolls, as he was presumably confident that neither race would ever dare to defy him.
** The 19 Rings themselves are designed to manipulate and control various fundamental forces governing Middle Earth, such as Fire and the like. It's much more than a gmable to control every mind (though t'would) or keep a firm tie to the world (though it did); it basically makes Sauron the new God, or close to it in Middle Earth terms. With all the Rings in his hands and under his power Sauron would have been a PhysicalGod akin to Melkor in his prime, having command of aspects of all the powers of each of the Vala and basically being the baddest mo'fo on the planet, badder even than Morgoth who you'll not was not the EvilGenius Sauron was. His plan was quite the opposite of idiotic- it was one of the most brilliant evil schemes in fantasy literature/
* If Sauron knew that the only way to defeat him in combat was to remove his Ring, why did he wear it on his finger, thus risking it being cut off (which happened, conveniently)? Would it have made more sense to, I dunno, ''swallow it''?
** He can't use it if he doesn't wear it.
*** OK, a) why would he design a tool so that it can't be used unless it is on a vulnerable part of him b) where does it say he has to have it ''on his finger'' instead of inside him?
**** Ahem. The One Ring was made specifically to control the Elven Rings of Power, so it had to take their form and functionality.
**** Because of the ''other'' Rings of Power ("Three Rings for the Elven-kings...", anyone?), which were designed to be given as gifts that were actually baited traps and thus had to appear innocent. The Master Ring was built in secret, to dominate the other rings, and the principle of sympathetic magic would make the best shape for it also be a ring.
**** Between reading "on his finger" and "inside of him", this troper [[FreudWasRight had the awful idea]] of Sauron wearing the ring on a part that could be protected by a codpiece. Although if the Ring could be small enough to fit a hobbit's thumb/ring finger/middle finger while large enough to be worn by a human, why it couldn't just be worn on his second toe (or first, it's �One Ring fits all"), where it wouldn't be found so easily. There's the possibility that the sympathtic magic required him to wear it like the other ringbearers would have, on his hand, but it still wasn't explained.
**** Umm... I really doubt that Sauron had "cough" that part that could be protected at the point he lost the ring, and probably never had it at all. Also, I don't think the rings would work unless put on at least a toe or finger. So, don't worry about that thought.
***** Why, thank you very much for that imaginative and vivid depiction that will no doubt give me food for captivating reflections, especcialy in sleep. Now, pass the BrainBleach please.
** Keep in mind that in the books, Sauron was wearing the Ring when he was defeated, and Isildur cut off the Ring-finger afterward, to claim the Ring as a trophy and payment for the deaths of his father and brother. The whole "Sauron is invincible while wearing the Ring" thing and Isildur severing his finger with a lucky strike was [[Main/AdaptationDisplacement only in the movies]].
** It occurs to this troper that it would have been smart for Isildur to cut off Sauron's HEAD while he was at it.
*** Sauron was already dead at that point, but would eventually regenerate as long as the Ring existed. Cutting off his head (assuming he still had it) wouldn't have helped at all.
*** As [[WordOfGod Tolkien said]], Sauron, as a Maia, was truly immortal and going to last as long as Arda lasted. Even if his mystical powers had been blown away with the One Ring, he could not ''die'' like Elves, Men or Hobbits did, but [[FateWorseThanDeath to be reduced to a powerless immaterial ghost]].

* Sauron's eye could clearly see the entire world. How the Hell did it not see through a rock 100 feet away? Rocks do block energy but his eye clearly created a very powerful beam.
** How the fuck could Sauron see the entire world? Is Tolkien's Earth flat?
*** It ''used'' to be. As one of Tolkien's rare non-Ring stories says: "Westward lay the straight road; now it is bent."
*** The Eye is a metaphysical thing, a manifestation of Sauron's will observed by those he seeks. Making it an actual, physical ''eye'' surveying Mordor's surroundings from the top of Barad-dûr in the movies was apparently a genuine misunderstanding of the books.
**** On that note actually, how in the hell did they let such a monumental fuck up through? Don't get me wrong, I liked that The Eye became an actual physical thing in the movies, it was a great visual effect, but given that (allegedly) most of the production team read and reread the book constantly and one of the screenwriters is a passionate fan of Tolkien's works, you'd think that some time in the development they would have pulled Jackson aside and said "Umm, actually Pete...". Or am I misunderstanding and it was a mistake that they caught early but just went with anyway because it worked?
***** I've always taken it as a physical entity, just with a little more visual flair thrown in for the movies. On Amon Hen for example: "And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep." There's also mention of the top of Barad-dûr in the book as consisting of nothing but windows so that Sauron could look out upon his lands and those of his enemies.
**** Like Jackson's version needed ''more'' exposition? Film is a visual medium. Showing the Eye as a visible entity was a lot more evocative, in that format, than trying to cram a chilling ''description'' of something entirely ephemeral/metaphysical into the dialogue.
** I'm pretty sure the "Eye" is the palantír. Sauron has one, and that's one of the reasons Saruman became corrupted.
*** I always took it like that too. The actual, physical eye in the film in not intended to be Sauron himself (as evidenced by the scene in the Extended Edition where Aragorn challenges him using the palantír and he's clearly visible as the armour-clad, non-eye-like guy we saw him as in the second age), but rather a physical manifestation of the palantír's powers, combined with Sauron's own. It's the filmmakers' way of doing what the book does to make Sauron much scarier than any physical description could be by never showing him.
** 'Sends out a powerful beam'? Eyes do not work that way!
*** [[EyeBeams Yes, they do.]]
** The Eye of Sauron (however you want to take it) can potentially see anywhere. Its gaze can be blocked or redirected by a powerful being (namely the Bearers of the Three Rings (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond), but otherwise it is explicitly stated that he can only focus on one place at a time.
*** Exactly, Sauron may have the ability to see anything unless it's blocked by someone powerful enough, but he still has to be LOOKING at it to see it, which was the whole point of the assault on the Black Gate, make him look at them instead of just wonder around randomly and maybe seeing Frodo.

* (Maybe this was movie-only? I'm not sure) How was Frodo able to simply walk right up to the Crack of Doom? I understand that Sauron and co. were distracted by Aragorn etc., what I mean is: Why isn't there a door on the side of the mountain? Ya know, like "Here's the Crack of Doom. You can't get in unless you know the secret password", and only Sauron knows the password. It's not like the area had heavy foot-traffic or anything. Imagine Frodo getting all the way to the mountainside and then....there's a big ol' iron door in the way and he doesn't have the key. That would have really screwed the Fellowship. Maybe there was some magical reason why the chamber couldn't be sealed? My best guess is that Sauron was ''really'' confident that no one would be coming in this direction. Yeah, I understand that he never expected anyone to attempt to destroy the ring, but you'd think that, with all the time on his hands in all the years since the Last Alliance, he might've built a simple door at some point. Just sayin'.
** ''Cracks'' of Doom. More than one. It. Is. Also. A. ''Volcano''. ''You'' try blocking all the shafts of an active volcano.
** Yeah but, in the movie at least, there was a big friggin' doorway. Maybe the crack(s) can't be blocked up, but did we have to build a giant doorway just to point out the best location for ring-destruction?
*** Why would Sauron be worried about anyone destroying the Ring? Isn't one of the most oft-noted element of the series is that the mere notion destroying the One Ring has ''never'' entered his darkest dreams.
*** The movie also had Barad-dûr as a lighthouse which could be seen from the edge of Mordor. The Men of the West in the films are also fireproof enough to sprint across a gigantic courtyard while on fire. Don't take the visuals too seriously. The sets for the last two films were made for good cinematography, not for utter realism.
** Heh heh, "Crack of Doom". (''I'm so sorry'')
** in the book it clearly says there is a door into the Cracks of Doom made by Sauron, and kept clear by his slaves whenever the volcano messes it up, but remeber, this door was situated specificly so Sauron had a perfectly clear field of vision from Barad-dûr straight through the door, also he knows no mortal has the will to destroy the ring, he doen't even think any can even seriously think about doing it, let alone follow through. So bascily becuase hes a cocky [=SoB=] with a massive [[DramaPreservingHandicap self made]] IdiotBall

* I don't know if this was addressed in the books, but what was the point of making a ring that turns the wearer invisible...unless that wearer is you, the creator?
** Invisibility's a side-effect. The point of the ring is to serve as a focal point for his power so it wouldn't fade when the other magics did, and to control the other rings of power.
** This troper's theory is founded on a comment Gandalf made about the Ring, that it "grants power according to its bearer's measure, and that one would have to devote years of study to bending the will of others before being able to control it." It's notable here that Sauron doesn't turn invisible when he has the Ring on (which is rather a pity, seeing as [[DungeonsAndDragons sneak attacking]] Gil-galad and/or Elendil seems rather a better idea than taking them on in single combat. Anyway, on any of the occasions where the Ring made its wearer invisible, there's an argument that it was accessing some deep, primal need of the current bearer to do so. Isildur was ambushed and put the Ring on, seeking to escape: the Ring granted that request, albeit that it was making a BatmanGambit to betray Isildur in doing so. Frodo, Bilbo, and Gollum are of a similar species in that hobbits try not to be seen by big folk and manage to disappear when they choose. When it's worn by one of these individuals, the Ring -- in service of its own BatmanGambit to get back to Sauron -- grants expression to that primal need and renders the wearer invisible.
*** This gets further wind in its sails by a scene in the book where Sam briefly wears the ring. He wishes that he could comprehend the Orc-speech that's coming from nearby. He then understands Orc-speech. It's best for all concerned that he doesn't dwell on this.
*** Also, don't forget that when the Ring was in Bilbo's possession, it would have been trying to avoid giving away its true nature to Gandalf. He knew it was ''a'' magic ring, but not ''the'' magic ring; if he'd figured it out sooner, he'd have tried to engineer its destruction long before Sauron was ready to send the wraiths after it or assault the realms of Men. Doing something relatively innocuous, like making its wearer invisible, meant Gandalf wouldn't immediately recognize it as an uberweapon rather than a minor enchanted trinket.
** Also there is probably the meta-argument: the book ''Literature/TheHobbit'', and therefore also the magic ring of invisibility, were not written as part of Middle-earth. After writing the ''Hobbit'' he retconned it into taking place in his established Middle-earth universe, and integrated it as a creation of Sauron. He later did make a few changes in the ''Hobbit'' to make it fit better with how he wrote things in the''[=LotR=]'', but something like the invisibility would have been hard to delete from both stories.
** Out of universe, the ring is a reference to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Gyges Ring of Gyges]], which is stated in Plato's ''Republic'' to be a ring that makes you invisible. In the dialogue in which it is mentioned, Plato's brother Glaucon argues that because the ring removes all the consequences from your actions, no one would be able to resist the temptation to use it for their own benefit, even to the harm of others.
*** The One Ring is closer to the Ring of [[Creator/RichardWagner Wagner's]] [[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Ring Cycle]]. That's a magic ring that has the power to [[strike:make its wearer invisible and]] (edt: that's the ''Tarnkappe'') dominate the minds of others (and also change form), and that infects people with a selifsh desire to possess it. The Ring of Gyges just reveals that people are already naturally selfish; Wagner's Ring actually turns people evil.
** Because it also changes the way you experience the world (limiting your sight, enhancing your smell and hearing, and letting you see others who are made invisible by similar magic), because the same thing happened to the Nazgûl, and because everybody seems sure that the ring could be used to conquer the world, I'd guess the invisibility is simply a byproduct of an overall effect. Wearing the ring activates all the raw, corrupt power that Sauron put into it, changing you in some fundamental way, and that change makes you invisible to normal people. It's like a vampire no longer appearing in mirrors, it's hardly the point, just one of many effects.
** It's mentioned several times that when someone puts on the ring he isn't so much becoming invisable, as being partially shifted to another realm, and that certain people (those that had seen the Light of Valinor being the one example given) are able to exist in both realms at once. Hence why certain people were able to remain visable while wearing it. The best example to describe this is when Frodo first sees Glorfindel (Arwen in the movie). He sees a radiant form of golden light, while the rest only see an elf not unlike anyone else, becuase at that point he is crossing over into the other realm from the Morgul blade, and seeing them as they appear on that side.

* This might have been just the movie, but at least it is there. This touches the same topic as the one asking "Why does Sauron wear his ring in battle?" So okay, let's just say he needs to wear it to use his powers. I'm fine with that. My question is: Why does he fight in the freaking front line instead of hiding behind his [[WeHaveReserves massive army?]] To raise the morale of the troops (that consist of Orcs, for crying out loud)? Because he got too self-confident (make evil, complicated plans to seize the entire Middle Earth, fail because of one character flaw)?
** That was just a dramatic convention of the movie. In the books, the Last Alliance laid siege to Barad-dûr for seven years, and Sauron only came out to personally lead his army out of desperation since they were ''winning''.

* Why does everyone seem to think that Sauron + One Ring = AutoWin? He had it last time, but he still lost when he was beaten in combat and stabbed to death (Isildor then took the Ring ''off his corpse'' as a trophy). What exactly would the Ring allow Sauron to do that he couldn't already do? While I understand that destroying it means killing him, and therefore both sides would be on the lookout for it, it's not an instawin button for Sauron. His armies are much more worrisome.
** Sauron was only defeated by the most powerful leaders of the Second Age, and no one in the Third Age can match them in strength. Gondor and Rohan are just about it, and Sauron nearly defeats them without his ring.
** By the time of the War for the Ring, Sauron had already won. He possessed an army of hundreds of thousands of troops that he could breed, equip, field, and replace far easier than the armies opposing him could, and said armies were struggling to rally anything in the neighborhood of ten thousand men, far short of the hundreds of thousands that opposed them. Sauron getting the ring isn't auto-win for him, it's auto-lose for everyone else. It is completely impossible for them to win through force of arms at this point; their only win is destroying the ring.

* Why couldn't they just bury the ring? When Gandalf was fighting the Balrog,why couldn't Frodo throw the ring down into the chasm where Gandalf and the Balrog fell into?It must've been miles deep. Nobody would have found it. Or they could bury it fifty feet deep and put a huge boulder over it.
** All options of what to to with the Ring are discussed in detail at the Council of Elrond (and in other places) and, one after the other, proven as not a viable option. The only valid use of the Ring with a positive outcome for the Free Peoples is to try and destroy it, thereby destroying Sauron's body, the Tower, and everything else that was built using and is controlled by Sauron and the Ring's power - is the only sure, and only ''permanent'' way. Firstly, hiding and thereby keeping the Ring from Sauron won't stop him conquering the world, he can do that by himself (his enemies aren't exactly in the shape they were in last time). Beating him back a little now will just mean he'll come back to bother another generation. Throwing away the Ring and hoping it won't get found again is even worse because ''it will not stay away'', and someone (or [[EldritchAbomination something]]) will find the Ring eventually, and the Ring ''will'' make sure it gets found, as is repeatedly stressed. (Did you miss the whole thing about the Ring leaving Isildur, getting found by Gollum, and then getting itself lost and found by Bilbo to finally get out of the fucking caves? And then making itself constantly noticed at inopportune moments while being carried by Frodo?)
** The Ring ''wants'' to be found, as Gandalf stresses in both book and film. Leaving it unattended and going on your merry way, even in a supposedly secure place, is a phenomenally bad idea. Sooner or later it will somehow manage to ensnare a new bearer, and from their it's only a matter of time before Sauron finds out about it. As for throwing it down the chasm- ''worse'' idea. What just fell down there? a ''Balrog''- in other words ''a freaking demon lord''! If old Durin's Bane gets his claws on the Ring, it's nearly as bad as if Sauron got it himself (to say nothing of the fact that, according to Gandalf, there's apparently a race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that live at the bottom of the chasm- we don't know enough about them to say what they'd get up to with the Ring, but from the little we ''do'' know, it's almost certainly unpleasant). Destroying the Ring is the ''only'' way to put it for certain beyond everyone's reach.

* Assuming the Blue Wizards had the same sort of task as other wizards, and had to go incognito as old men (in as much as Wizards technically look human at all) wouldn't this mean they actually ''looked'' like the Southerners mentioned in the books?

** We don't know how far East or South they went. Given there's lots of Numenoreans who settled well south of Gondor (Umbar is the northernmost of the Kings' Men's cities), and "Easterlings" settled as far west as Dunland (ie they're white Europeans), they could be well into Sauron's domains and still within mostly European-looking populations. Tanned, black-haired, light-eyed Caucasians occur in the real world intermittently from northwestern Europe to northern India (alongside fairer and darker phenotypes as appropriate geographically). As I recall, the only explicitly non-white people we see are one unit of black soldiers from the far South on the Pellenor Fields. Or they went further, into areas with very distinct populations, but presented themselves as foreign travellers or mystics.

* How was Gollum able to bite Frodo's finger off at the climax? Earlier in the story, when Gollum accidentally hints at getting the Ring back, Frodo threatens, "The Precious mastered you long ago. If I, wearing it, were to command you, you would obey, even if it were to leap from a precipice or cast yourself into the fire. And such would be my command." Frodo didn't need to wrestle with Gollum to keep possession of the Ring; all he had to do was command Gollum to back off. And even if Frodo was mistaken and doesn't really have the ability to control Gollum while wearing the Ring, why doesn't he even try this?
** Well, Gollum didn't obey him. So he fell from a precipice into a fire. Ironic, really.
** I double-checked exactly how it went down. When Frodo encounters Gollum on the slopes of Mount Doom, he tells him (while holding the Ring but not wearing it) that if Gollum touches him again, he'll fall into the fires of Doom himself. The "if" implies that Gollum is still permitted to touch Frodo as long as he's willing to accept the consequences. afterward, when Frodo becomes corrupted and he and Gollum are fighting over the Ring at the cracks of Doom, Frodo doesn't say anything. All he had to do was order Gollum to let go, but he didn't, because plot.
** Frodo likely didn't think of it, mostly because it's hard to stop, think rationally, and remember that you can boss Gollum around when he's on top of you and violently struggling to get the Ring away from you. Frodo was ''slightly'' preoccupied by that fact.

* If no other rings were still around or lost or destroyed by dragons,how is invisibility going to help you?
** If all you want is to be stealthy, invisibility helps a lot- just ask Gollum or Bilbo. However, it's worth noting that invisibility is the ''least'' of the Ring's powers, albeit the only one Gollum and the Hobbits were really capable of accessing. In the hands of someone like Gandalf or Galadriel, it might potentially increase all of your abilities to the point that you could challenge Sauron and ''win'' (or at least, so they believe- the risk means it's not worth actually testing that theory).
** The Ring "grants power according to its bearer's stature". In other words, the more powerful you are to begin with, the more power it grants you. Hobbits aren't very powerful at all, hence why invisibility is the only thing the Ring does for them. If someone more powerful (Aragorn, a Balrog, Gandalf, Elrond, etc.) were to get a hold of it and use it, we'd see more powers that it possessed.

* Is there actually a reason why the Ring can only be unmade in Mount Doom? Was Sauron unable to circumvent it being unmade in such a manner?
** Hottest place on Middle-Earth. The general idea with metal is that the higher the temperature used for heat-treating, the higher the temperature would need to be to un-treat it. No other source of heat would even come close to damaging it.

* It seems to be an ironclad assumption that Sauron could never even ''conceive'' of someone opting to destroy the One Ring rather than keep it. Yes, the idea of destroying something that powerful would, logically, be anathema to a being as power-mad as Sauron: doing so out of selflessness, heroism, or idealism would be beyond his capacity to accept. But isn't there actually one reason to destroy the Ring that would make ''perfect sense'' even to Sauron ... namely, the coldly-intellectual realization that '''keeping''' it was, in itself, ''guaranteed'' to either get the bearer killed messily by others striving to possess it, or else transformed into something horrible (a Ringwraith, another Gollum, dragon-chow), like everyone else who'd ever worn it or its corrupted counterparts? Sauron may not comprehend good, but surely he can comprehend self-preservation.
** No. Because in Sauron's mind, ''obviously'' someone that has the Ring would attempt to make use of its power to protect himself from such threats. That's ''precisely'' why Aragorn's gambit in ''The Return of the King'' works: Because he's playing to Sauron's belief that ''anyone'' who claimed the Ring would attempt to use it for their own ends.
** Once you have the ring in your hand, enlightened cynical self preservation just doesn't enter your mind. The ring becomes your answer to everything. You just stop thinking logically.

[[/folder]]
----
[[folder:The Rings of Power]]
* (Having not read the books) We know the rings of men turned them into Nazgûl, but what happened to the bearers of the other rings? Two of the elf rings' owners appear in the movies none the worse for wear, and the dwarven rings are never seen at all.
** The seven and the nine were labeled as belonging to Man and Dwarf after the fact. Originally, Sauron's intent was to use them to control the elves and then spread that control outward from there. When the Three were created without his knowledge, he abandoned the idea of slowly corrupting the elves and instead waged war on them in order to collect the rings they had and obliterate everybody that he had taught the art of ring making to. He then later distributed rings to the Nine and the Dwarves. The rings failed against the dwarves due to their extreme differences in the way they were made and so he was only able to successful take control of the nine men and women that he provided rings to. The Three were subject to the One because I suspect that Sauron basically taught the elves a flawed art, reference Jade Empire where [[spoiler: the main character's master teaches him a martial art with a very subtle and almost impossible to find flaw which none-the-less allows said master to gank him at will]]. Basically, from a programming standpoint, each of the Sixteen rings that he successfully recovered (others might have existed and been destroyed) granted power and were built with the same back door with the One acting as a password/security key. The Three were created using the same basics, but they were created by the elves own design and, as such, the back door they held was much harder for Sauron to take advantage of. However, this showed Sauron that the elves of Eregion might just have learned enough to eventually learn how to unmake the One without resorting to massive armies of distraction and clever hobbits. As such, he annihilated them before they could pass that information on. By the time of Lord of the Rings, the large majority of the Dwarven rings are destroyed and some have been recovered by Sauron.
** Dwarves are explicitly referred to as being incapable of becoming Wraiths; their natural strength of mind and body repels it. The primary corruption of their Rings is to make them insatiably greedy, never satisfied with the wealth their powers bring them. The elvish rings are completely incorrupt; their powers are tied to the One Ring but they themselves do not corrupt. (As the Rings of Power were originally made ''by'' elves ''for'' elves, this makes sense.)
*** Wait a minute. How can the Three Rings be tied to the One Ring in any important way if the One Ring can't influence or corrupt the ones who wear them? It sounds like the Three Rings aren't rings of power at all; they're just nice Elven magic items that happen to be ring-shaped. Otherwise, the verse should have read "One ring to rule them all, except for three of them, but whatever."
**** The Three are subject to the One, but ''only when Sauron is actually wearing it.'' Fortunately, Sauron miscalculated, and the three Elf-lords immediately realized their danger as soon as he put the One on for the first time; they then took theirs off before he could control them, and never used them again ''until the One was cut off his finger and lost.''
*** The Dwarf Rings were said to become the basis of their future treasure hordes. In this case the "corruption" manifests as greed - the Rings increased their natural lust for wealth and this was eventually their undoing when their cities were overrun by Orcs or Dragons who wanted their stuff. Supposedly, many of the Dwarf Rings were therefore consumed by Dragon Fire and the rest were simply lost (one ended up in Dol Guldur, if memory serves, when Thorin's father was held captive and died there).
*** Sauron had four by the start of ''Fellowship'', including the one taken from Thráin in Dol Guldur. The other three were unaccounted for, presumed consumed by dragon fire.
** All three bearers of the Three Rings show up, actually, but that's not exactly made clear in the films. For the record, the last bearers of the Three Rings were Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf.
*** Also for the record, the original bearers were Gil-Galad, Galadriel, and Círdan the Shipwright, respectively.
** The Three Rings are governed by the One because ''all'' the Rings of Power were made using techniques that Sauron taught the Elves in the first place. The Three were the only Rings Of Power which he did not have a personal hand in making,hence why they didn't corrupt, but they still were governed by the One because of the fact they existed.
*** To clarify in modern terms, the Rings of Power are computer programs. The Nine Rings were loaded down with viruses and other malware that corrupted their users. The Seven Rings came packaged with adware of the Nigerian Bank variety, that the dwarves foolishly clicked on. As for the Three Rings, Sauron gave the elves the code for the program, leaving himself a back door to gain access whenever he wanted. Luckily, the elves' virus protection was up to date.

* Wasn't it a little daft for Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf to keep wearing the Three Rings, even when Frodo had made his way into Mordor and Sauron stood a very good chance of getting the One Ring back? Granted, Middle-Earth would be pretty much screwed no matter what if that happened, but by getting rid of the Three Rings they would get the chance to die honorably rather than be corrupted. Did they need to wear them for some reason? What do the Three Rings actually do?
** If Sauron gets the One Ring back, everybody's pretty much screwed anyway. They can take the Three off immediately after Sauron puts his Ring back on; they can sense it if he attempts to dominate them. The Three Rings have varying, but subtle powers, and only a few are expanded on in the books; Gandalf's ring lets him be inspiring, and Galadriel's preserves Lórien's timelessness. The specific powers of Elrond's ring is never made clear.
*** And the "sensing Sauron's attempts to dominate them and taking the rings off" is exactly what happened after Sauron first forged the One.
*** This time, though, it wouldn't matter. "their minds and hearts will become revealed to Sauron, if he regains the One. It would be better if the Three had never been. That is his purpose." Last time around, they hadn't really been used extensively before Sauron revealed his treachery.
** Is Gandalf's ring still lying around in a pit in Moria somewhere, or did it come along with him when he was promoted to Gandalf the White?
*** He didn't lose it in Moria. He fought the Balrog in Zirakzigil, the mountain peak above Moria, and died there. When he came back (naked) he probably picked up his ring before he got on the Eagle. The ring is not something he would tell his friends about casually, so it's not surprising he left it out of his account later on.
*** Gandalf did wear Narya when he left at the Grey Havens at the end of the [=LotR=], so he would have either recovered it or never lost it in the first place.
*** I always assumed that Eru simply breathed new life into Gandalf's physical body and healed the damage wrought by the Balrog. Hence, the ring would still be on his finger. As for being naked, that was just a visual effect from the films - I don't recall it happening in the books.
**** "''Naked I was sent back -- for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top.''" ([=LotR=] III, ch. 5). He gets re-clothed in white in Lothlórien.
**** The naked part is easy enough to explain and still be the body he died in that still wore the ring, he just spent how long in hand to hand combat with a being made pretty much out of pure fire, anything not magicaly protected, like the ring of fire he wore, was problly a pile of char somewhere along the way.
**** "Naked" might not have the most obvious meaning here. Maiar and Valar see their physical bodies as a sort of clothing. Then again, the Istari are apparently unique in being clothed in actual human bodies to mask their true power.

* Oh, hey that's right, dragonfire. Gandalf ''did'' mention that a dragon's fire was enough to destroy a Ring of Power. That doesn't actually bug me, I'm just getting a kick out of imagining his face after confirming that Bilbo's ring was the One Ring. "All right, where's that guy with the Black Arrow? We're going to have ''words''..."
** You're joking, right? Try rescripting the War of the Ring, only with the addition of Smaug to Sauron's forces. It lasts about half an hour each at the Hornburg and Minas Tirith, plus flight time from Erebor. Do you think it was a ''coincidence'' that Gandalf suddenly manipulated an expedition against Smaug into existence shortly after Gandalf's first experience in Dol Guldur had let him know that "the Necromancer" was in fact Sauron? Smaug ''had'' to be taken out of the picture before Sauron could get his own operations moving, or else the next thing you know the Witch-King of Angmar would have been out there riding not on a Fell Beast, but on a scaly tactical nuke with wings.
*** Someone at some point mentions the possibility of an ''alliance'' between Sauron and Smaug, but it doesn't seem like Smaug would have been entirely Sauron's to control. I certainly can't see him taking orders from a mere Nazgûl.
** Gandalf did say dragonfire was enough to destroy the Seven, but he also said that not even the greatest dragons of legend had fire hot enough to melt the One Ring. The only place in Middle-earth the Ring could be destroyed was Mount Doom. Now, in his notes, Tolkien did say a smith of sufficient skill could unmake the Ring, but only Fëanor and Aulë are said to be skilled enough. Neither of them were available to help the fellowship, and I wouldn't trust Fëanor anywhere near the One Ring, anyway.
*** Mind what you say. Fëanor can't be tempted by the Ring no more than any other High Elf. Plus, he's much too proud to be dominated by the will of a mere Maia. Remember, this is the guy who ''slammed the door on [[BigBad Morgoth's]] face!''
**** I'm not so sure. Someone above said something to the effect of "wearing the Ring basically gives you Valar-level Reality Warping powers", which is in line with what the Ring itself inspires its bearers to think it can do. Now imagine Fëanor, the Ultimate (mortal) Crafter, getting his hands on that...
*** High Elves ''can'' be tempted by the Ring (Galadriel sure was); they just seem to be wise and knowledgeable enough to recognize what's happening and say "no". In any case, I'd think the risk with Fëanor is less that the Ring would enslave him and more that he'd ''reverse-engineer'' the thing, and Fëanor with his very own shiny Ring of Power (which might even be superior to Sauron's- he doesn't have the same raw metaphysical force to charge it with that a Maia would, but Aulë aside he's the only artificer known for certain to exceed Sauron's skills and might be able to compensate for that) is the ''last'' thing Arda needs.
*** You cannot rob me of my entertaining image of Gandalf's [[Main/OhCrap incredulous face]]. Though I will wonder what exactly Aulë was doing at the time. I know, I know, the Valar were staying out of the whole thing, but I'm trying to remember if Aulë actually did anything after making the dwarves.
**** Forget Gandalf's Oh Crap face, my favorite mental image of all time is Sauron's, after realising he just got owned BIG TIME!
**** They discuss this during the Council meeting. Even if they had tried sending it to the Valar, it wouldn't have reached them, as anybody they could have sent would likely be corrupted en route, the ring's own malignant nature ensuring that it would fall into the Sea or return to land, and, either way, eventually reach its master.
*** There is that [[WildMassGuessing theory]] that Aulë is Tom Bombadil...
** Plus the dragon would have to actually be willing to destroy the ring (or tricked in some way). However, the dragons we see in canon seem much more likely to outsmart the bearer and take the ring for themself. Some of them might even have the smarts and force of personality to give Sauron a run for his money. Could you imagine how destructive a dragon v. Sauron war would be? Now, to give you nightmares, Bilbo wears the ring in the same room as Smaug.

* What, so Mount Doom was the ''only'' active volcano in the entire world?
** The only active volcano ''in range''.
*** Also, if it was said that it could only be destroyed where it was made, that would probably exclude any other volcanoes.
** The only volcano a Maia is currently using as a forge, and maintaining foot access into the magma chamber (and no, I don't know how that works). Most volcanos don't have superhot lava lying round in pools you can just walk up to - either the stuff at the surface is relatively cool (and may be solidified, blocking the pipes), or there's an actual eruption taking place right now, which means you can't get near it.

* What would have eventually happened to Gollum, had he kept the One Ring and stayed under the mountain? The nine kings of men turned into the Nazgûl under Sauron's influence, and Gollum had gradually changed from the hobbit-like Smeagol into an immortal, goblin-like creature by its influence. Would he have kept changing under its influence, until he slipped into the realm of shadows and become some sort of miniature ring-wraith (and, at that point, probably fallen under Sauron's direct control and handed the Ring over)? Or had the Ring already done as much as it could do to him?
** It probably did all that it could to him. When Sauron woke up he started "calling" the Ring back to him, but he couldn't directly control the Ring's holder for whatever reason. Since Gollum hated to leave the caves, the Ring waited for the appropriate opportunity to get itself found by somebody who would pick it up and take it elsewhere.
** We're told that Gollum stopped wearing the ring (except when he needed to be invisible), and that's why he didn't become a wraith. That's presumably why Sauron couldn't directly control him, either: the ring spent most of its time on that little rocky island, not Gollum's finger.

* What happened to the nine rings that the Nazgûl wore? Did they vanish as soon as they'd worked their effects on the Men who wore them, or are there stray (and hopefully defunct) Rings of Power scattered on the ground at the end of the story, wherever one of the Nine was vanquished?
** Considering how old the Nazgûl were, they probably kept the Rings on them to extend their lifespan and enable them to use all those neat wraith abilities; if they lost them, they'd probably go like Bilbo and wither away. Chances are the rings vanished once Sauron was destroyed, since his malign will was all that was keeping them extant in the half-spirit world that the wraiths existed in.
*** The Nine, along with those of the Seven that were in Sauron's possession, were most likely destroyed along with the One. As far as keeping hold of the Nine, Gandalf at least states that "the Nine the Nazgûl keep." Having them attached to the spirits of the Nazgûl would make sense, since it means that when they return to Mordor after the debacle at the Ford of Bruinen, they keep their rings with them.

* What did Sauron do with the Seven Rings for Dwarves? We know he'd collected all or most of the ones that dragons hadn't destroyed, but what did he actually do with them? He put the Nine Rings for Mortal Men to good use by giving them to his lieutenants, but were there any ring-bearing dwarves going around doing Sauron's bidding too?
** No as the Dwarves could not be enslaved this way. It is explained and told several times in the book itself.
*** Then what did he do with them, then? Did he just keep them in a vault? Did he give them to some dwarfs who, while not mentally dominatable, were still cowed enough by Sauron's power to do what he said? Did he give them to some humans to use (if Gandalf can use an elf ring and hobbits use Sauron's ring, it's possible that humans could use a dwarf ring)?
**** Presumably he wore them himself, to build up his own power.
**** Four of the Dwarf rings were consumed by Dragons (apparently they were easier to destroy than the One Ring). The other three were in Sauron's possession. He offered them to Dáin II Ironfoot, via a Nazgûl messenger, if he could find & return the One Ring to Sauron. The messenger did not identify the One Ring as such, simply saying a hobbit, who Dáin and his friends once knew, had stolen "a trifle that Sauron fancies", and Dáin would be greatly rewarded if he helped Sauron get it back.
* The Rings of Power will give you what you desire, and protect you from what you fear, but at a great price:
** Men (Humans) fear death and desire power over other men; the Nine Rings assured that their wearers do not die (although they aren't really alive any more), and gave them the ability to control and dominate others; it was said that the Nazgûl were great kings.
** Elves fear change and decay; they desire to preserve all beautiful things unstained. The Three Rings enable them to create enclaves in which time and change are slowed. However, they have a tendency to retreat into those enclaves and not engage with the world.
** Dwarves fear poverty and desire wealth; the Seven Rings increased their natural greed to the point of insanity.
** No rings were made for Hobbits, but Hobbits being small and weak desire ways to elude their enemies. JRRT says that their natural magic was 'the ordinary sort that enables them to disappear quickly and quietly when large, stupid folk like you and me come blundering along. . ." Thus, the four Hobbits (Smeagol, Bilbo, Frodo, Sam) who got their hands on a Ring of Power used it to become invisible.
*** But the One Ring made Isildur invisible, too.
*** Isildur, at that point, wanted to hide from orcs. That being well within the Ring's power, it obliged him- and then realized that slipping away and revealing him at an inoppurtune moment would be a ''great'' way of disposing of an unwanted wielder...
**** The rings work on the level of the physical and the spiritual world (the Wraith world), which exist side by side (Gandalf warns Frodo about this when told about encountering the Nazgûl on Weathertop). Elves, because of their semi-divine bodies, exist in both worlds, so when Frodo saw Glorfindel while wearing the ring, he saw him clearly as a mighty Elf-Lord, where everything else was murky. If an elf put on the ring, he probably wouldn't turn invisible. The ring wouldn't work well for the dwarves either, because they are highly resistant to magic. However, humans are fully mortal. As a result, they are partially pulled into the wraith world, making them near invisible (there's still a wavy outline around a mortal ring wearer). It's not that the ring was made to make people invisible, it was a side-effect due to the ring bearer being a mortal.
* Given how dramatic an effect the One Ring had on Gollum and Frodo (just after bearing it for a relatively short time, he was already being drastically worn down by it), why did the same thing not happen to Bilbo, who had it for considerably longer than Frodo? By that time in Gollum's possession of it, wasn't he already seriously going crazy?
** Couple of reasons. One, Bilbo rarely used the Ring after his initial adventure, so it didn't have as much of an oppurtunity to corrupt him. Two, Sauron was weaker while Bilbo had the Ring ''and'' the Shire is a long distance from Mordor; the Ring's power grows as Sauron's does, and as it gets closer to Mount Doom. Third, Gandalf theorizes that because Bilbo's first act after claiming the Ring was to spare Gollum when he could have killed him, it gave him a degree of insulation from the worst of its effects. Gollum, by contrast, literally ''murdered'' for the Ring, while Frodo didn't really do anything noteworthy in a moral sense either way for a while after claiming it, and these things matter.
*** Another note -- According to Tolkien's timeline, Gollum had the ring a lot longer (~ 500 years) than Bilbo (~ 60 years) did. So it had a lot longer to work on him.

* If someone had all the rings in their possession including the one ring,what would be their abilities be?
** Presumably, very great (assuming you can actually wield more than one Ring of Power at a time, which is never stated). However, it's worth noting that the One works best when ''other people'' have the other Rings, since you can use it to enslave them and get perfectly loyal lieutenants that way ''a la'' the Nazgûl.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Nazgûl]]
* If the Nazgûl are invisible except for their clothes, than why not have them strip naked most of the time? It would really help stealth operations if no on could see them. Here is a practical application: during the battle of Minas Tirth, have a fell beast with one visible and one invisible Nazgûl fly over the wall. Have the invisible one jump off at a low distance and them quietly sneak up to where the gate wench was. Have him kill the guards with his fists of death (or just strangle them) and then open the gate for the massive orc army that was waiting outside.
** Because without their robes they are "empty and without shape", as Gandalf explained. They travelled a great deal of their journey towards Shire unclothed, as an invisible aura of fear (they can travel invisible, but not undetected), but in that shape they don't have power to affect the physical world. It would seem that the robes give them the memory of physical body, which allows them to do physical things. Remember that in the book the Nazgûl did very little physical fighting. That just isn't their forte; their greatest power is always fear.
*** The Nazgûl are incorporeal beings. If a Nazgûl takes off his glove, there is no hand inside that can hold objects. He can only wield a sword/ride a horse/walk on the ground indirectly by wearing a suit of armor or clothing.
** Given that the Nine are apparently so rubbish, why didn't Sauron send more effective agents after "Baggins"?
*** Who would be more effective? You want agents who are intelligent, can cover large distances quickly without being noticed, will know the Ring when they find it and be completely loyal about returning it. The Nazgûl are pretty much perfect - the only drawback is that they're not very subtle, but the fear effect is effective for extracting information, and hardly anyone is going to try to fight them. Besides which they aren't the only ones out there, it's often stated that Sauron has many spies, and we know that e.g. Bill Ferny works for Saruman at least.
*** There's also a problem of geography. In order to get to the Shire from Mordor you have to either go through the gap of Rohan, the Mines of Moria, or the pass through the Misty Mountains at Rivendell. The only servants Sauron has capable of surviving any of the above ''besides'' the Nazgûl are whatever Black Númenóreans might still be serving him, and Sauron would be an absolute idiot to let any of ''them'' get a moment alone with the Ring of Power several thousand miles from Barad-dûr.
*** Rubbish, huh? Well, let's see. They were utterly enslaved, meaning they could be trusted to go anywhere (the above already covers the Ring itself). They were rich, powerful men in their lifetimes, and are all 4000+ years old at the time of the War of the Ring, thus combining (when robed) physical strength that would be on the high side for men with about 100 times the experience of even the most grizzled veteran. They have the ability to dispense fear disproportionate to their actual threat level. When unrobed, they can cross hostile territory with impunity even if detected. The Witch-King is powerful enough to give Gandalf pause (or a [[CurbStompBattle whupping]] if Jackson is to be believed). They can make you ill or dead just by being around. And, as long as their boss is not utterly broken. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis They. Cannot. Die.]] If you ask me, the Nazgûl were pretty [[AwesomeYetPractical boss]].
* Why did Sauron enchant nine of the Rings to transform their wearers into Nazgûl, in the first place? Giving those Rings to rulers of Men was a ploy to gain control over nine nations of humans, but no king who transforms into a wraith is going to retain political power: his subjects will be scared to even come near him, let alone offer him fealty.
** The rings weren't specifically enchanted to turn their bearers into wraiths - it's a side effect, and one that takes a ''very'' long time to kick in. The bodies of Men simply aren't built for immortality; the rings tie their souls to Middle-Earth but can't prevent their physical forms from slowly withering away over the centuries. By the time the Nine showed obvious signs of being wraiths they would have been ruling their kingdoms for generations, long enough for none of their followers to remember a time before their reign. Combine that with their mandating Sauron-worship throughout their realms and the transition from 'Immortal (but physical) King' to 'Supernatural Regent of your true, divine ruler Sauron' should proceed fairly smoothly.
*** If the Witch-King is any indication of the general evilness of rule of the nine kings, getting a wraith for king would probably make little difference for most of the subjects concerned.
* Weathertop. I'm somewhat confused as to just how capable the Nazgûl are in a stand-up fight. If there were five of them on Weathertop, in darkness, and they were at all powerful warriors, wouldn't that have been the absolute ''best time'' for them to press their advantage ruthlessly and take the ring right away? They just had to get through Aragorn and four hobbits, after all. Aragorn would prove a tough nut to crack, of course, but the other four were at this time completely untrained in fighting. If they were at all capable in a straight fight, they should have been able to snatch it away immediately rather than just stabbing Frodo and then pulling back, waiting for him to turn into a wraith.
** No need to risk fighting a Númenorian Badass and risk their bodies. Just stab the ring-bearer with the Dagger of Death, and wait for him to became a wraith slave, already obedient to them, to surrender, attack the others, or simly throw the ring away for them. The group was miles from help and nobody knew they where there so they could just wait for Frodo to pass to the Shadow, while slowing the others also. Pretty much worked, and I guess the Nazgûl where laughhing their dark asses off just a few steps from their camp fire. But when [[{{Badass}} Glorfindel]] showed up, with the extra fast horse and his powers, ''then'' they got desperate, and not only chased them to Riverdell but also even tryed to pass the river when they hated the water. Actually ''Gandalf'' saved the day again, because he was who sent the elf prince to save their asses.
*** Actually, the Hobbits were more dangerous in that point then they looked. And in the Books, they weren't complete wusses. Each of them was actually carrying an Anti-Nazgûl Blade (Which one of them lead to the Nazgûl Leaders defeat) which were essentially the Good version of the Morgul Blade. If that blade hit, their immortality might of actually been lost...a tactical error, since they clearly underestimated the Proto-Fellowship.
*** Actually, Glorfindel had already set out by the time gandalf arrived with his warning. IIRC it was Gildor the Elf who sent warning to Elrond after saving the Hobbits from the Black Rider in the Shire.
** The point in the book that the Witch-King retreats after wounding him is when Frodo prays to Elbereth. Even if they don't seriously expect her to help, they're not going to risk the 1% chance when they can just back off and wait.
** Peter Jackson had the same riddle to solve: why did they not wrestle the Ring from Frodo before even Aragorn had shown up, or simply stab all Hobbits to death and search their bodies? He designed the movie scene to suggest the Ring somehow had a mystical power over them and they could not take the Ring from a Ringbearer as long as he did not surrender it, either willingly or under torture (the stab of the Morgul blade is made to appear very painful).
* This one concerns the Nazgûl's "fell-steeds": ''where did they come from''? It's been shown that evil can't make creatures, only alter pre-existing ones. They seem too weak and decrepit to have come from the Eagles, and they're sure as hell no fallen spirit like the Balrogs. On top of that, where did the Nazgûls get their horses from, if their only steeds are the aforementioned fell-things?
** The Fell Beasts are speculated in the book to be creatures "of an older world". I always figured they were something natural, but from Middle-Earth's prehistory, and Sauron found a clutch of surviving ones and decided to give them to the Nazgûl. The horses are explicitly said to be normal horses that were simply raised around the Nazgûl so they wouldn't react violently to them the way ordinary animals do.
** If [[Tropers/EmperorOshron I]] recall correctly, one reader during Tolkien's time wrote a letter to him asking if the fell-beasts were pterosaurs, based on their description (the films leave out the beaks that they have in the books), and Tolkien wrote back that he had never considered them as being similar to pterosaurs while writing but admitted that they were very "pterodactyllic" and may have been descended from a relict population of pterosaurs. Personally, I am of the opinion that they are, indeed, the last living pterosaurs and, like many other creatures, have been enslaved by Sauron.
* Now, there was only one Nazgûl that we ever learned his name, and that was [[http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Kham%C3%BBl Khamûl the Black Easternling]], ruler of both Rhûn and Harad. Now, I remember the Men of the East and South worshiped Sauron as a God of Fire, right? Well, did he still rule Rhûn and Harad until his death? Normally, having a undead wraith ruling your country may be a turn-off for others, but if Sauron is God, I'd guess they'd view Khamûl as a Angel, and be more willing to fight for him if he's directly leading them, right?
* Did the Witch-King really die when Eowyn stabbed him? Gandalf states earlier in the book that the Ringwraiths can't truly die while Sauron lives. Was the Witch-King truly gone, or only disembodied, so he had to return to Sauron where he could have been restored later, if the Ring hadn't been destroyed and Sauron killed?
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Orcs and the nature of Evil]]
* What exactly is it that makes Orcs irredeemably [[AlwaysChaoticEvil evil]]?
** Orcs were made the Valar Morgoth, and he made them that way. How exacly they were created was a topic Tolkien never could finish in his life, so there are several versions, although the most common seem to be that they were corrupted from existing creatures. Tolkien also had problems with the whole philosophical issue on why or wether orcs were irredeemably evil, but on this too he could never finish on a (for him) satisfactory final decision; see the Main/AlwaysChaoticEvil page.
** From what the Silmarillion says, Orcs hate everything- even their creators, because all they have done is make them live in misery. As mockeries of the Elves and Men, Orcs are twisted half-imitations, and thanks to the ultimate impotence of evil in Middle-earth, cosmically denied the ability to create or appreciate beauty. That's putting aside their savage societies and their near-constant state of warfare with the rest of the world. Is it really so surprising they're such hateful, sadistic things?
*** Evil cannot create in Middle-earth. It lacks the Secret Fire- the ''divine spark,'' if you will. In fact, strictly speaking, no new thing can exist in Middle-earth without Eru Ilúvatar (God) granting it His blessing- the only reason he allows the creatures of evil to live is the principle that no evil can exist in Middle-earth without in turning greater glorifying His work. As a result, Morgoth had to have bred all of his monsters from warping the originally-intended creatures of Middle-earth, so it's certain orcs are warped versions of something. The Silmarillion says elves- Tolkien wasn't sure about that, but that was his most solid idea.
**** Then how were the Dwarves created? Some blacksmith god made them, not Eru.
***** Because, after he created them, as sort of puppets, extensions of his own will, Eru breathed the divine spark into them, bringing them to life.
***** By the way, trolls are supposed to be warped versions of ents, in case anybody's wondering. It's in the [[AllThereInTheManual Letters]].
****** It's in [=LotR=] as well, when they talk to Treebeard. He also mentions that orcs were corrupted from elves.
****** What are dragons, then? They seem to be AlwaysChaoticEvil in Middle-earth. Are they just really, really corrupted lizards? Or are they originally good creatures who went bad, like the balrogs?
**** Best theroies out there are that the dragons ARE lesser maia that Morgoth crammed into that form and put in ShapeshifterModeLock
** Sounds like Eru has one hell of an OmniscientMoralityLicense.
*** Such is a traditional perk of omnipotent creators of all existence.
*** He's also the god of FantasticRacism.
*** Eru isn't racist. He didn't create the Orcs to be AlwaysChaoticEvil. He created Elves who were turned by Morgoth into Orcs. And who says all Orcs are evil? It's quite plausible that there were many dissidents from evil that we never learn about because Sauron and Morgoth would have purged their ranks of any dissenters.
** Just as an interesting corollary, the Silmarillion mentions that, when the Númenóreans came back to Middle-Earth at the end of the Second Age, that all races participated in that huge war. He mentions, briefly, that every general race had members on both sides, excluding the elves, who only fought in the Last Alliance. This rings true when you go down the list:Men, Dwarves, birds (Eagles and crows, for example), beasts (horses or wolves), and others all make sense. But this implies that some Orcs fought on the side of Elendil's banner. It's important to remember that The Silmarillion and most of the lost tales written by Elvish authors, while the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are told directly from Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam's hand, in the Red Book of the Westmarch. And Tolkien loved to mention just how many unknown and unexplained things existed in Middle-earth (like Tom Bombadil, the Watcher in the Water, etc.)Heroic Orcs could've been an intentional oversight by biased authors. Though they may get acknowledgment, like in the aforementioned line, they would be in no way lauded. This makes sense when you take into consideration in how many letters Tolkien showed sympathy to the Orcs. He said that he regretted painting them in such black and white shades, and added that they were probably misunderstood or misrepresented. As he didn't write himself as an omniscient narrator, this leaves a good backdoor explanation.
*** "All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-galad. Of the Dwarves, few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron."
** Orcs aren't irredeemably evil, just very very hard to bring to a HeelFaceTurn. So much so that the ''easiest'' way is to kill their bodies, sending their spirits to the Halls of Mandos so that ''he'' can deal with it. It's his job.
*** In fact, one way that Sauraman might have gotten involved with orcs is by attempting (out of pride and a desire to do good) to redeem them - and failing.
** At least one adaptation showed dissent among orcs as to their willingness to fight implying many were slaves to sauron and would rather be left alone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXQJS3Yv0Y

* Tolkien played around with another concept: that the Orcs were really animated by bits of spirit shattered off Morgoth's own. Since '''he's''' ChaoticEvil, that follows.
** He also considered making them descendent from humans instead of elves, as that would make less complications in the manner of "Are orcs immortal?", "where do they go when they die?" (which are very popular debates out there on the net btw). Seeming as he died before changing anything, the elves are established as the ancestors of orcs. Tolkien had a hard time dealing with it.
* Do orcs have genders? They must be able to reproduce sexually if they can be cross-bred with Men, and the rate at which they multiply is too great to produce by capturing and corrupting individual elves. Also, Azog was explicitly called Bolg's father, though they may have been father and son as elves before becoming corrupted. Are all the female orcs hidden away like the female dwarves? Or perhaps the male and female orcs look and behave exactly the same? In any case, how does an AlwaysChaoticEvil species keep itself alive, much less spread? It's hard to imagine orcs setting aside attention and resources for the sake of their young, even if they were under orders to do so. Whenever we see orcs interacting with each other, they're always ready and eager to kill each other even when doing very important business for Sauron that requires that they not kill each other. Orc children, being smaller and relatively helpless, would be killed as soon as they posed an inconvenience, and human children are inconvenient enough, so just imagine how difficult orc children would be!
** Perhaps that is why we do not see other Orcs other than adult males, much like bears they are a threat to the young so the females keep their offspring seperate and only get together with the males for the purpose of reproduction.
** We only see orcs in (apparently) all-male war situations, and humans in that situation become unusually violent. Furthermore, the violence we do see is mostly between ethnic groups or units answering to different officers, rather than within them. The exceptions are enforcing military discipline a long way from home, and fighting over illegal loot: neither of these are circumstances where modern militaries shine, never mind orcs! There could well be less intra-group violence in non-combat situations.
** "''There must have been orc-women. But in stories that seldom if ever see the Orcs except as soldiers of armies in the service of the evil lords we naturally would not learn much about their lives. Not much was known.''" ~Creator/JRRTolkien, 1963
* Summary of ideas Tolkien had for the origin of Orcs:
** -They were made by Morgoth, from rock and/or slime. This was the original idea but got discarded when Tolkien decided to make the power of creating truly independent life Iluvatar-only.
** -They were corrupted Elves. This is the closest thing to a 'canonical' answer as LoTR at least hints at it and the published Silmarillion goes with this. Later on, though, Tolkien had philosophical issues with this (how Morgoth could have turned Elves with free will into an AlwaysChaoticEvil race, as well as a bunch of problems raised by Elvish 'reincarnation').
** -They were corrupted Men. Tolkien leaned this way at one point in his later writings, but it would have required a lot of rewriting, since as written Orcs appeared before Men existed. This solves the reincarnation problem, but not the free will one; but later Tolkien tended to suggest that Orcs weren't entirely without at least the potential for good, though it was buried under ages of evil culture and indoctrination and such.
** -They were corrupted Maiar, like weaker Balrogs. Again, this was hinted at in later writings; it seems to have applied only to the top-level Orc chieftains.
** -They were constructs of Morgoth, without any real soul at all. Rather a return to the original 'creations of Morgoth' approach, but this doesn't seem to have lasted long, though it did produce some quotes that appear repeatedly to confuse online discussions of Orc nature.
** -They were (apelike?) animals bred into humanlike forms and given some intelligence & speech capability by Morgoth, as a mockery of Men and Elves. This solves the free will issue (and the fate-after-death one), but Tolkien ran into problems with it because Shagrat & Gorbag in [=LoTR=] seem to be acting like actual people.
** -They were not AlwaysChaoticEvil but were merely prone to it through upbringing, which the Shagrat example seem to suggest, coupled with the fact that Orcs are either incredibly long lived enough to have been personally corrupted like Elves (Shagrat seems to remember the "Great War") or incredibly short-lived due to their propensity for violence. Such a lifestyle would not encourage Orcs to [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch protest too much]].
* Tolkien never really resolved it, though he may have been leaning towards a mixed origin (corrupted Men, with maybe some Elves thrown in, and chieftains as corrupted Maiar); Morgoth's Ring (History of Middle Earth 10) contains most of the discussion of this.
* Now, about the Uruk-Hai. In the movies, it's implied they are a Man/Orc hybrid, but I think Tolkien said it was more usually a Orc/Goblin hybird. But, unlike the movie, aren't Goblins not supposed to be a sub-race and is just Hobbit slang for Orcs, and those Orcs that live in the mountains? So, is it like every 1 out of 5 Orc kids has a chance of being a Uruk in this case?
** Uruks are a specific "race" of Orcs, the product of centuries of selective breeding by Sauron. Whereas Morgoth was perfectly happy with the Orcs being this chaotic rabble of nightmares destroying everything, Sauron wanted total control and order of Middle-Earth, and the Orcs as they were weren't very useful for that purpose. So he went about "improving" them, selecting for strength and intelligence, until he basically had a race of Super Soldiers to do his bidding. These are the Uruk-Hai. Saruman did something similar to breed his army, but it's only ever vaguely implied what he did. The whole Man-Orc Hybrid theory is put forth by Treebeard, because there's something different about Saruman's Orcs that no one can quite put their finger on, but it's never explicitly confirmed. It's not impossible for an Uruk-like Orc to be born naturally, since Uruk-ness comes out of natural traits Sauron selected for, but a true Uruk-Hai is not a natural creature.
* A touch of FridgeBrilliance: LotR and the associated books are ostensibly drawn from Elvish records, or from Mannish records based on same. Perhaps an account of the period written by non-partisan chroniclers might have retained or revealed ambiguities or exceptions to the Orcs' and Trolls' unbroken, monotonous record of wickedness. Impossible to say now.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Power and "Magic"]]
* Magic is a term used by the ill-educated people of Middle-Earth in the same way that those people refer to the Valar and Ainur as gods, Sauron included. The elves, or at least old ones like Galadriel, don't really understand what is meant by it. In general, it seems that magic is a combination of PsychicPowers, Sufficiently Advanced Technology and DivineIntervention.
* Why didn't Saruman use his magic? After turning evil, I doubt he'd care very much of the restrictions the Valar put on him. Why didn't he cut loose and blow and nuke Helm's deep?
** Those who turn evil begin to lose their power as they have turned away from the path of Eru and he stops providing them power.
** It's all about how much you can get away with before you attract too much attention. Melkor/Morgoth, the Main/BigBad before Sauron, trampled Middle-earth freely until the Elves showed up, and then the Valar tied him up and held him captive for a few millenia. And then, after doing some more major destruction, got himself tossed out in the Void. Not cool. Granted the Valar weren't really active at all by Lord of the Ring times, but a confrontation with a suped up Gandalf (dun dun dun daa!! Main/BackFromTheDead and in all new white!) probably wasn't high on his "to do" list either.
** Plus, magic in TheLordOfTheRings isn't exactly a powerful force - having Saruman actually zap Gandalf in the LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition was, in this troper's opinion, a step too far. Magic in Middle-earth should be subtle.
*** Gandalf's magic wasn't exactly subtle when he fought the Nazgûl on Weathertop; Aragorn and the hobbits could see the flashes of light from three days' hike away.
*** It's only subtle because the Wizards were limited by what the Valar let them get away with most of the time. When Gandalf let loose against the Balrog they both made a lightning storm on a mountain top, and Galadriel used her ring to blow up the Necromancer's fortress in the BackStory.
**** I've always been under the impression (and it's some years since I read the Silmarillion) that, even though the various magic-users were capable of some quite impressive stuff, it was still low on pyrotechnics. The "lightning storm" wasn't lightning bolts being thrown from staffs and Galadriel didn't literally "blow up" anything - she just undermined the magic that held the tower in place or whatever. The wizards might have been intentionally limited, but there doesn't seem to be any reason that anyone else doesn't chuck fireballs around, except for the fact that the setting is generally low on the flashy magic that comes up so often in later fantasy.
**** Indeed, there hasn't been "flashy" magic in Middle-earth since the Elder Days, or possibly even the times right after the world's creation. Remember that even the Valar, effectively gods, relied mostly on hand-to-hand combat, although extremely massive and impressive kind, when they went to open battle. Even Morgoth, Sauron's old master never used any nuke 'em all-kind of magic. Gandalf speaks of his own limitations in the books: he can create fire and lightning, but not without [[ElementalBaggage something to work with]]. As he says, [[ElementalBaggage "I can't burn snow"]].
***** That was due to physical limitations, in this case. Recently, Galadriel had used the power of her Ring to blow up the Necromancer's fortress, so nuke'em magic was present.
****** Nowhere at ''any'' point was it ever mentioned that Galadriel would have blown up anything at all with magic. She even mentions that she holds no powers of war, that her power while great, acts in more subtle ways - none of the Three Rings holds the power of combat and subjugation of others, in any case. The Council of the Wise drove the Necromancer off from Mirkwood, but the methods were never specified. Magic was undoubtedly involved, but not of blowing stuff up-variety.
******* The quote referred to about Galadriel is from Appendix B: "They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed." This sure sounds like a blast of some sort, but when Lúthien does the same thing to a different stronghold of Sauron, it's explicitly removing the magic holding it together, so this might be a similar case.
******** I always interpreted "Galadriel threw down" to figuratively mean "Galadriel's army lay seige to and destroyed". When we say "Pompey knocked down the Jerusalem temple" we don't mean he literally hit it with his sword until it collapsed.
******** She probably did something like cause a forest's worth of trees to grow up and undermine it's foundations (Magrat does something similar on a smaller scale in ''Weird Sisters'').
******* The closest thing to one of the Three giving power in regards to combat is Gandalf, who had the Ring of Fire (and showed an unusual mastery of fire, although his most dramatic use when fighting the Wargs required the use of fire that was already there. And was pretty much limited to setting trees and weapons on fire). Even then, though, the Ring is said to be more for rekindling hearts, and defending Gandalf from weariness.
****** Whatever other magic existed in the world, Saruman's powers were always rooted in deception, manipulation and control, not out and out firepower. Creating a gigantic army of supersoldiers (all the strength and ferocity of orcs, but with the ability to go out in the day) out of nowhere, and unleashing them on his enemies WAS Saruman cutting loose with his powers.
*** Galadriel's power was in no way destructive. She was able to destroy Dol Gulder by using the Ring to cleanse it of the evil power that was holding its rotted and corrupted structure together. The things Sauron was doing there were so atrocious that the building would never have been held together were it not for evil magic. The same goes for Sauron's stronghold in the Silmarillion, and how Lúthien was able to destroy that.
**** Magic fire would have the same destructive properties as real fire, but sometimes even stronger, sauron's magic that holds up towers that real rock and metal could not must contain a lot of strength in them and so being able to crumble those buildings is in fact a display of great power, especailly in Middle Earth in which the world was in fact contructed by magic and that magic users in LOTR are just in fact small scale reality warpers or matter manipulators.
*** Galadriel and Lúthien certainly had incredible powers, but all magic worked in more subtle ways in the books than depicted in most media. When Sauron battled Lúthien, he was defeated in wolf-form by Huan and Lúthien only challenged him once he was physically subdued. When Sauron battled Finrod, they did it by "songs of power", since words and music seemed to be the [[NonElemental primary forms of magic]]. Words were also Saruman's primary power.
*** There's the very interesting passage after the Chamber of Mazarbul. Gandalf first of all tried to "put a shutting spell on the door ... but to things of that kind rightly requires time, and even then the door can be broken by force". Then the Balrog notices him, and starts using a counterspell to force the door open against Gandalf's hold; Gandalf panics: "I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces ... and I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well." From an earlier description, there was also a "stab of white light". It seems from this that initially the magic used is just a tug of war. Once Gandalf speaks the word of command, either he can't control the forces he's using, or the physical door and wall can't; hence the explosion. It doesn't seem like a deliberate use of magic to blow things up, and neither he nor the Balrog tries it again.
* Saruman's title is "Saruman the White." Upon defection, he became "Saruman of many colours." Now, white is every colour combined, so didn't Saruman take a few steps down the ladder, from all colours to many colours?
** Well, think of it as a mirror shattering in many pieces as symbolic of Saruman's original purpose and intent.
** Gandalf raises this point after Saruman declares his new title ("I preferred white better"). Saruman is dismissive, saying [paraphrased] "Bah white is a beginning, it may be broken to make something new". Evil's compulsion to break things down in order to 'improve' them is a recurring theme in Tolkien's works, after all.
*** Gandalf's reply in reference to the prism analogy: ''"He who breaks a thing to find out how it is made has left the path of wisdom."'' Which leads to a bit of FridgeLogic. Basically, Saruman's ideology is a paraphrase of '"you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."''
**** Now there's a quote I'd love to hear from Christopher Lee!
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The Dead Men of Dunharrow]]
* Why did Aragorn agree to let the ghosts go after the battle for Minas Tirith was won, instead of just initially negotiating so that he would let them go after they trashed the Witch-king's army ''and'' Mordor's?
** [[AdaptationDisplacement In the book]], he didn't even take them to Minas Tirith: he took them to Belfalas on the southern coast of Gondor, which they liberated from the pirates of Umbar, and then released them.
** He probably didn't think of it until later, and by that time it was too late. A deal is a deal and all that.
** ...and who's to say Sauron didn't have some "Ghost Repellent Spray" stored away in that eyeball of his? That's the excuse I always used.
** http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1258
** Leading an army of malevolent ghosts into the home turf of the most mystically powerful and utterly evil being on the continent, who at one time was known as 'The Necromancer', and who at one time was ''worshipped as a god by those very same ghosts''... strikes this troper as a great way to get eaten by an army of malevolent ghosts. Especially when the the term of your contract with those ghosts is for only one battle, and you've already used them once.
** Also, the ghosts didn't really, you know, ''do'' anything. Any physical fighting, at least. Their main contribution was just terrifying the ever-loving crap out of their enemies.
** From what I recall, the dead army was bound by two oaths: the pledge to defend Gondor, and their secret dark bonds to Sauron. They worshiped him, performing rituals and sacrifices in his name. I'm guessing that's a large part of what prevented them from dying in peace. Aragorn summoned them to fight in Gondor's defence, but they probably couldn't actually attack Mordor because they were tied to Sauron as well. After fighting for Gondor, they no longer had two conflicting oaths because they'd fulfilled their duty to the Steward, meaning they could vanish in peace.
** The ghosts ''DO'' do something! They cause the Corsairs to flee their ships in terror, allowing Aragorn and the Grey Company (a group of Northern Rangers) to convince the local armed forces (also Gondorian) to join them in taking the ships, and using them to sail to the Pelennor Fields to reinforce Minas Tirith and the Rohirrim, their support being crucial to the victory. The Dead Men would have been ineffective at the battle, as ''everyone'' would have been terrified of them. Aragorn ''could'' technically have kept them around, but part of fulfilling his duties as a king (a major theme of the book) was in being true to his own oaths.
** Oaths clearly have power in this context. Considering what happened to the dead when they broke their oath, what do you think would have happened to Aragorn if he broke his? Not only might he lose all power over them, but they might gain power over HIM.
** In the book, contrary to the movie, the only weapon the dead men are shown to have is fear. The Corsairs are just ordinary guys, who get scared out of their wits by the ghosts and run away. (The inhabitants of the local towns also ran and hid.) Leading the dead men into a fight with Mordor orcs would have been recklessly stupid: The Mordor orcs were led by ghosts, both in battle and for the last 1000-odd years back in Minas Morgul, and were well and truly used to it. Compare the Mordor horses the Nazgûl rode, who were conditioned to the mind numbing fear from birth, with nearly every other horse who meets a Nazgûl. Also, fear works better combined with surprise: if Aragorn had been fighting even with normal humans at Minas Tirith, fear might not have worked nearly as well the second time around.
** Because Aragorn is a [[IGaveMyWord man of his word]].
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The Quendi (Elves) and other peoples]]
* Since (in the books at least) it is established that any elves who die eventually end up back on Middle-earth anyway, why would the have lost strength between the ages? What with being immortal and having children, shouldn't their strength have been greater than ever (at least in numbers)?
** The elves don't return to Middle-earth, they stay in Aman (where the Valar are) in all but one case. (Glorfindel)
*** Two cases. Lúthien passed away and was given a choice to leave Mandos and dwell in Valinor, but forget all of her sorrow and be lost of Beren forever; or to be returned to life, with Beren, and live as a mortal in Middle-Earth. It's in ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''.
** The elves also weren't ones to just go around and spout out a trillion babies. They understood the "balance of nature" stuff that humans invariably ''always'' never understand.
*** True, men are [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment invariably always never]] [[OurElvesAreBetter better than elves]].
**** That has nothing to do with conscious "natural resources presarvation", they just are that way. Elves naturally have few children, and don't keep on procreating all of their married life. Even the Elves who populated Aman and had (for Elven standards) an extraordinary amount of children, as the land was save and empty, ''only'' had up to four (Finarfin) or seven (Fëanor).
**** Elves only have children when they can be ''absolutely'' sure of a safe upbringing for the children in question. Bear in mind that, out of all the high-elves in the Silmarillion (as opposed to Sindar or half-elves), very few were actually born in Middle-Earth (Maeglin, Finduilas, Gil-galad, Voronwë).
*** Elves get to have natural in-built birth control: as soon as an elf stops wanting more children, BAM! menopause. Probably painless, easy, no-hassle menopause, too.
** Possible [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliance]]: Elves are completely 'of this world', that is, their souls are bound to Middle-Earth and they don't pass into another world upon death like Men. That means there is no outside source of Elven souls, instead, Elven parents put a piece of their own spirits into their children. This is why the only one Elven couple had seven children, Féanor and Nerdanel, who was almost utterly exhausted by this. It's not balance of nature, since Tolkien's Elves aren't all the typical 'one with nature' kind. It's just that Elven souls are a very limited resource.
* If the Half-Elven have to choose which race to belong to, which one do they look like before they choose; and what's the deadline and what happens if they don't choose?
** Half-elves look like regular elves, the choosing of races involves joining the elves and becoming immortal or staying human and be able to live and die a mortal life. The deadline is usually decided by the time they leave for the Gray Havens. This was covered in both the books and the movies.
** We don't really know what the deadline was for Elrond and Elros though. Interestingly enough, Tolkien mentioned in an early version of the Akallabêth that Elrond always had the possibility to go among Men and die ("yet a grace was added, that [Elrond's] choice was never annulled, and while the world lasted he might return, if he would, to mortal men, and die", ''Sauron Defeated'', [=HoME=]9, p333) but struck out that idea pretty quickly. The eventual fate of Dior and his sons is still mysterious as well.
** They would probably look like elves before and after their choice. It's their souls that are affected by the choice, not their bodies, which are only flesh.
** Judging from the description of Elrond as looking neither old nor young, they probably actually do look like hybrids. As for not choosing, they apparently end up mortal by default.
** There are several occasions where people can't tell the difference between elves and (young, good-looking) humans - even Aragorn, who's grown up in Rivendell, falls for this. And Elrond's family at least are explicitly allowed to live as elves until they decide once-and-for-all. About Elrond's appearance in the Hobbit, apparent agelessness seems to be a characteristic of powerful elves (cf Galadriel and Celeborn).
** Usually Half-Elven DON'T get to choose which Kindred to belong to. In the full account of Earendil reaching Valinor and speaking with the Valar, Mandos states that possession of any "human" blood makes one mortal (from "The Lost Road"; sadly no later text exists). The default state of Half-Elves is mortality (like the children of Mithrellas and Imrazor of Dol Amroth). It's supported by the fact that Dior, Earendil and Elwing all grow up at the same rate as mortal children rather than Elves. However, in the case of Earendil and Elwing, and their children, Manwe was given special license by Eru to decree their fates and said that they could choose. Elrond's choice was passed down to his own children; it's not stated whether Elros's children had the same option, although it would appear not, as all of them died mortal. An interesting extra fact is that Elros didn't age - he had the same physical capacity for life as Elrond, but his soul eventually yearned for release from Middle-Earth, leading to his laying down his life at age 500.
* Just curious, does Tolkien ever explain why the elves have such long hair, and why dwarves have uber beards? I know lots of people copy off of Tolkien, but is this just how the original legendary races groomed themselves, or did Tolkien think it was a good idea "just because"?
** Dwarves do traditionally have beards, I think. As for the elves... I'm not sure.
*** Elves have long hair because everyone has long hair (except possibly the Hobbits). Short hair was more of a Greco-Roman thing, whereas LOTR generally draws its inspiration from Northern Europe.
** Men of Gondor and Rohan wear their hair long or middling too: the Rohirrim favour long plaits; Boromir's is "shorn about his shoulders"; Faramir's is long enough to blow in the wind. You could argue that the Dúnedain are imitating elven culture, but the Rohirrim are not. Also, the Southron Sam sees killed has braided hair.
*** They all wear their hair long for practical purposes, maybe? Hair braided and tucked under a helmet provides an extra layer of padding in the event of a head strike. This would be especially important for the Rohirrim, as battle for them involves potentially falling off their horse.
* I know Elves have an immortal life barring violent death or choosing to pass on, and humans are unique in possessing the Gift of Men when it comes to their lives. What exactly do Hobbits get? They have men-sized lifespans, but no other benefits.
** As hobbits are said to be a relative of Men, it is probably safe to assume that they have the same fate.
** Hobbits basically ''are'' Men, just a very small variety. Not unlike the Woses.

[[/folder]]
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[[folder:The place formerly known as Khazad-dûm, aka Moria]]
* An elf built Lothlórien's mines and the inscription included an antidwarf slur. Why the Hell would he write such an inscrption? He must have been surrounded by dwarfs and had any recognized this slur the builder would have been lynched!
** What are you referring to, the fact that the door calls the place Moria instead of Khazad-dûm?
*** That's probably what the OP was referring to, given that Khazad-dûm means "mansion of the dwarves" and Moria means "black pit".
*** The inscription on Moria's west gate reads "'''''Ennyn Durin aran Moria'''''". As Khazad-dûm was not yet named "Moria" at the time the door was inscribed, is is safe to assume that it was a slip on Tolkien's part. (Yes, he did make mistakes and oversights and acknowledged it, and corrected them if he could.) Also, please note: Khazad-dûm aka the Mines of Moria were a Dwarven realm, friendly to the Elves of Eregion. It never belonged to Elves nor had any special connection to Lothlórien.
**** Actually, Khazad-dûm was [[TimeAbyss much older]] [[OlderThanTheyThink than that]]. The [[BeneathTheEarth Dwarrowdelf]] was on the east side of the mountains, around the main entrance, and was fully carved out thousands of years previously before the West Gate was tunneled to facilitate trade with the newly-arrived Elves of Erigion. Program note: A dwarf and an elf (Narvi and Celebrimbor) collaborated on the West-Gate.
**** An "anti-dwarf" slur? Which was engraved by a dwarf, who probably knew the language, since he signed his name afterwards in the same tongue? It may well be that "Moria" was an affectionate, ironic nickname for Khazad-dûm, which might have been used only by the capricious elves; or, more likely, a name which was used ironically (or at least tolerated) by the dwarves themselves at the time the inscription was engraved. Remember that dwarf-halls are actually very well lit, and Khazad-dûm was considered one of the greatest halls in Middle-earth, so calling it a "black pit" would be ironic indeed.
**** Balin's tomb, even, possesses the inscription "Balin Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria." Gimli's song has the line "In Moria, in Khazad-dûm." In Appendix A, Khazad-dûm is also referred to as Moria even before Eregion was destroyed. Given that it was written using the Fëanorian characters, rather than Daeron's runes, using the Elvish name seems reasonable. "Hadhodrond" might have been used, as that was the elvish name before they called it Moria, but by the time the doors were made, it might have already been referred to as Moria.
** They're ''dwarves''. Passageways that lead downwards are their normal route home. Why would they consider "pit" a pejorative title? As for "black", maybe the rock it was carved out of happened to be black in color.
* Best explanation: Moria is its name. Dur.
* More on Moria that bugged me ever since I saw it. The entrance itself. "Speak friend and enter." How the hell did it take Gandalf that long to figure out what that meant? He seems like an intelligent person, and he couldn't figure out that "Speak friend and enter," meant, well, speak the elvish word for friend and you may enter? Not just Gandalf, but everybody else in the group except Frodo couldn't figure it out, and even Frodo took awhile. Did the door have a "make everybody within range too stupid to speak a password" enchantment on it?
** In the book, Gandalf figures it out, not Frodo. Merry was actually the one who asked what the phrase meant, but Gandalf easily dismissed that line of thought at first, expecting an actual password and not a literal instruction.
** Gandalf was expecting some cunning password, which dwarves are notorious for by the way, instead of something so simple.
*** Its not ''that'' unreasonable to jump to the conclusion that if the door is magically locked, you need some kind of key. The idea of a locked door being openable by a simple password ''that's written directly on the door for anyone to read'' is actually counter-intuitive, because if the door's meant to be opened that easily then why have a lock on it at all?
** Of course, Gandalf suffers from being too bloody clever for his own good in that scene, as he translates the inscription. If he'd simply ''read what it said'' (in Elven), the door would have opened right away.
*** Really, that kind of thing happens in real life too. Sometimes we expect certain things to be too difficult, only to facepalm when they were as easy as initially thought.
*** Yeah, I don't see what's unreasonable about it. Imagine you're trying to get into a computer, and the prompt says "Enter Password for access". Would you immediately assume that [[ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish the password is ''Password''?]]
*** The password was just a ritualistic frivolity. The doors already had guards on it. If the Dwarves ever were besieged from that direction they would have put stronger passwords. Once they had fled Moria because of the balrog, they were in to much of a hurry to see to such things and in any case anyone who broke in from that side would probably be the balrog's enemy; in which case good luck to them. This is especially the case when you remember that facing that door when it was made were Noldor friendly to them. The only reason to have a gate at all would be to assure the dwarves privacy and perhaps to tax any goods coming through.
* The Balrog of Moria was [[DugTooDeep accidentally set free]] by Durin's tribe several hundred years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, right? So why was he still hanging around in Moria after all that time? He couldn't have been [[SealedEvilInACan trapped there]], because he knew an escape route that he used during his fight with Gandalf.
** He was afraid of the Balrog-killing superelves that wait outside.
** Superelves? The Balrog made short work of a whole society of dwarves - it seems like the only beings who pose any threat to him have to be Maiar or better. Too bad he chanced across the only Maia who was present and accounted for on the side of good in Middle-earth.
*** Dwarves don't have elven superpowers. And, yes, superelves. Glorfindel, otherwise known as "That Guy Who Gave Frodo A Lift Once", is also known as "That Guy Who Killed A Balrog By Himself But Died In The Process (He came back)".
*** It's probably not the same Glorfindel. Middle-Earth doesn't appear to follow the OneSteveLimit.
*** The Elves seem to follow it, and old material from the History of Middle Earth series seems to suggest they are the same. Later material suggests that he did indeed return to Middle-Earth, in the company of the Blue Wizards.
*** Third Age Elven warriors were not the same caliber as some Elven superheroes from the First Age, just like not all Men are equal in physical strength and skill nowadays. If anything, Fëanor and a small company of Elven troopers held at bay ''all the seven Balrogs together'', but died in combat. Fingolfin fought ''Morgoth'' hand to hand to a draw. But out of the Elder Days warriors, only Elrond and Glorfindel (too far North to count) and Galadriel survived, and none was too eager to provoke directly a monster whose exact nature they did not even know.
**** Legolas certainly seemed terrified of the Balrog, and the guy wasn't exactly an easily scared fellow.
** Maybe he didn't want to lower himself by cooperating with Sauron, who after all was just a toady of his old boss, but didn't quite have the power to oppose Sauron directly. So he thought he'd just hang around and eat some goblins.
** At the time the Balrog was freed, Sauron didn't have much power. Minas Morgul was still Minas Ithil, and Sauron would rather flee from his stronghold in Dol Guldur than face even Gandalf. What options did the Balrog have? Leave, and make his presence known to the outside world? As it stood, every other balrog in existence had been destroyed. He was safe where he was, mostly unknown and almost completely unassailable. In fact, if he hadn't bothered trying to attack Gandalf & Co. on the way through, he'd likely still be around. A much better tactic than, say, revealing himself openly when you've got Galadriel (Bearer of a Ring of Power and sister to Finrod Felagund) and Celeborn (Kinsman of Thingol) on your eastern border, and Elrond (Bearer of a Ring of Power, Son of Eärendil and Elwing) and Glorfindel (famed Balrog-killing Superelf) on the west. Also, you'd have to deal with whichever side you went to on what is effectively their home turf. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.
** Maybe the Balrog just didn't ''want'' to go outside. Maybe he figures Moria is his home now, and he's content to stay where he is.
*** That is why he had his slippers on.
** FridgeLogic: The 'deep dark places' underneath Moria were the remnants of Morgoth's original underground fastness. The reason there was one Balrog left behind in the ruins of that place when all the others marched out to fight is because ''it was the seneschal''. Damn straight the Balrog isn't leaving Moria; the boss told him 'Wait here and watch over my stuff until I get back' and he's still waiting, like one of those Japanese soldiers stuck on an island who didn't know World War II was over until it was like 1975.
*** That doesn't seem quite right with regards to geography; both Angband and Utumno were originally located far away from the Misty Mountains; there isn't really any record of a dark fortress great enough to warrant a Balrog of its own. My guess is that the Balrog fled the apocalyptic carnage of the War of Wrath and hid in the Misty Mountains.

* What This Troper has always wondered is: What did all those hordes and hordes of Orcs in Moria, and in the Misty Mountains, ''eat?'' Mountain country's notoriously not good at supporting large populations, but apparently Moria held enough Orcs to give the combined Dwarven armies a very nasty tossing around at the Battle of Azanulbizar, and, a few decades later, enough were available to fight ''four'' enemy forces at the Battle of Five Armies---and, a few decades after ''that,'' Moria was literally crawling with them. Orcs don't strike me as being farmers, and as I've said, mountains aren't prime farming country. What. Did. They. EAT? (The first person who says [[Film/RedDawn1984 "Rats, and sawdust bread...and sometimes, each other,"]] will be soundly ignored.)
** In all likelihood, they would have probably had to till the dwarves' underground fungi farms, fish in the underground lake, and eat the bugs and rats that scavenge the resulting scraps and waste. Really, those goblins were probably on their way to becoming a sedentary society of evil gits.
** Passing strangers. Why do you think they [[SoMuchForStealth jump at every noise]]? Goblins gotta eat!
* I've never understood the conflicting opinions about Moria that are held by Gimli and Gandalf. Gimli seems to think entering Moria would be a great idea, that they would receive a "royal welcome" but Gandalf wants to avoid it like the plague. Did Gimli not know that the dwarves of Moria had unearthed a Balrog several hundred years ago? If the dwarves have been fighting or holding off a Balrog for centuries then surely they're not going to give a royal welcome to a fellowship toting the One Ring into the place, regardless of Gimli's relation to their leader. Plus Moria has been completely ruined by orcs/goblins by the time the fellowship does enter, something that appears to have taken a while to accomplish; how did this go unnoticed by the other dwarven nations? Did nobody wonder why they haven't heard from a single dwarf from Moria for the last several years?
** For one thing, Gimli only things entering Moria would be a "swell" idea in the movies; in the books, everyone is apprehensive about it, Gimli is just the least apprehensive. For another, everyone who is familiar at all with Moria knows that the original dwarven inhabitants stirred up ''something'' in the depths centuries that destroyed their kingdom and drove them out (based on Gandalf's reaction to seeing the thing and Celeborn and Galadriel's to hearing it decribed, however, it does not appear to have been common knowledge that Durin's Bane was a Balrog); they also know that orc subjects of the ''something'' have taken up residence. Gimli is hopeful of meeting an expedition lead by his cousin Balin that went to ''reclaim'' Moria, and hasn't been heard from in several year- Gimli is being unrealisticaly optimistic here, and everyone else seems to at least suspect that something bad happened to Balin and co. So yes, in the oooks, everyone knew that entering Moria was a bad idea, it just happened at the time to be the least bad of their feasible options, and Gimli's expectations were based on hope rather than objective reality.
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Arnor and Gondor]]
* What's the deal with Minas Tirith? I've heard good explanations about how not all of {{Mordor}} is blasted wasteland and the orcs actually do have land to grow food on, but I still don't understand how Minas Tirith can function as a major city. Carrying stuff up and down those seven hundred-foot-tall levels all day, in such an incredibly cramped space, would just be way too difficult. And where do all its food and supplies come from? I'm not sure if it's exactly the same in the book, but in the movie there are no nearby farms or anything as far as the eye can see. Even if everyone retreated to the safety of the city walls during the events of The Return of the King, there would still be at least ''some'' evidence that people recently lived outside the walls.
** In the book, the Pelennor Fields immediately outside Minas Tirith are a vast expanse of ''farmland.''
** So it's just laziness on the part of the filmmakers that the fields just happen to look like a lot of uncultivated New Zealand scrubland.
*** In the section about location scouting from the extended ''[=RotK=]'' Peter Jackson comments that one of the things about the site that appealed to him was that it looked like it might have been farmland during a better time.
** It seems likely that most of the city's population and industry is on the lowest levels, while the upper levels are reserved for armories, garrisons, and major civic buildings. In which case most of the goods moving into the city don't have to go up more than a level or two. Still a problem, but not such a big one.
*** A hundred feet is a lot! That's about eight stories, or two 50-Foot Women standing one atop the other. Whether they're using stairs or very steep ramps (and they'd have to be steep with that little area to work with), it would be nigh-impossible to take anything with wheels up even one level. There's a reason why 700-foot-tall structures didn't exactly catch on until the invention of the elevator.
*** The Antiquity and Middle Ages had seen human or animal-powered elevators, and Middle Age cranes in ports could move many tons of supplies if needed. Just because our heroes do not see them, it doesn't mean they don't exist at all.
** Minas Tirith is built in rich farmland, it is built near a river and goods can travel to it(albeit, this is less valid in Denethor's time because the Enemy controls the East bank). Even if there was no farmland that would not be a problem as long as there was trade and many of the most famous cities are built in deserts. Being built on a mountain isn't a problem; Jerusalem has a vaguely similar arrangement.
** In any case Minas Tirith was built originally to be a military depot and the rest of the city grew up around it. Naturally it would put millitary considerations first. Which is a good reason to build on a mountain.
** Because Minas Tirith was originally the summer home of the Kings of Gondor. Osgiliath was the original capital city but that was ruined during a civil war.
** Valparaiso, Chile reputes your baseless assertion!
** TruthInTelevision. Italian hill-towns are like this, as are Ethiopian and Anasazi cliff-top dwellings (some still occupied) and ancient Inca fortress cities (they used the differences in altitude within city limits to grow different crops). It's only modern Westerners that prefer to build on the flat lands, ironically because we have elevators for tall buildings. In ancient times, they needed that land for farming, and the steep hills for defense.
*** Exactly. Not only that, but in mountain villages some fields and orchards are abandoned because modern vehicles can't reach them: too steep, no roads, they won't fit through some passages... Once, good position and workable land were worth the treck and donkeys and mules wouldn't care about road conditions.

* If Men are supposedly the most susceptible to power-hunger of all the good-guy races, then why did the Stewards of Gondor never once, in ''five hundred years'', say to heck with musty ol' traditions and have themselves proclaimed Gondor's new royals? With humans' short lifespans, it's hard to justify most of Gondor's inhabitants even knowing they'd ''had'' a king once, let alone awaiting the royal line's return; it'd be like modern-day British citizens honestly believing in King Arthur and being eager to swear fealty to him. The Stewards had led their people in warfare, ruled like kings, were buried with all the honors due to kings. Plenty of real-world regents have seen fit to usurp power from heirs who were ''still alive'' at the time, so why did Gondor's interim rulers bother to maintain a pretense that they were just managing the kingdom for a hypothetical "true king"? Why didn't the first one to beat back an Orc raid declare himself King, by right of military triumph? Or do ambition and political corruption in Tolkien's world ''only'' exist if a Dark Lord's whispers put them there?
** In all aspects, they pretty much ''were'' kings. Keep in mind how languages change over centuries- the word "steward" had pretty much come to mean "king" in Gondor, with "king" being the equivalent of the modern "regent". Note how Denethor was reluctant to allow Aragorn the throne, and cited how he and his had ruled for centuries, and he didn't want to stop that now.
** Boromir once asked his father how long it takes for a Steward to become a King. Denethor's reply was along the lines of, 'a few years in places of less nobility, but a thousand lifetimes isn't long enough in Gondor.' So it was a pride thing.
*** Exact quote: "In places of lesser royalty, maybe a few years. In Gondor, not even ten thousand years is long enough."
** Yeah, I'm guessing that, after a while, the title of "king" began to carry special, mythic significance in Gondor. Asking why the Stewards didn't crown themselves kings would be like asking why the Pope doesn't call himself the Messiah.
** For the same reason that for five hundred years, the Roman Emperors never gave in and crowned themselves "king." Although the word "emperor" sounds awesome today, the meaning of Latin ''imperator'' was much less lofty--closer to "commander" or "managing executive." The Romans were an independent-minded lot, and one of their cherished founding legends was about kicking out their last king and establishing a Republic. Calling oneself by the royal title ''rex'' would be begging for a revolt. Guys like Augustus, Vespasian, and Constantine figured that instead of calling themselves kings, they could live with simply BEING kings in any sense that mattered. Even the most ambitious ruling Steward probably felt the same way.
** Bloodline, and the throne itself, are not necessarily as powerful as we might think: this is a feudal kingdom that's undergone an incredibly destructive civil war over the royal succession. Arvedui of Arnor had his claim to the throne refused on the grounds that it was through Isildur, not Meneldil (who was Isildur's nephew and the first king of Gondor), and via his wife (who was the daughter of the previous king). Instead, the throne went to Eärnil (who was a minor royal himself, in the southern line). We don't know if there were any other potential claimants after Eärnur went MIA, but it's a good chance that there were too many and that maintaining the Stewardship was a good way to avoid a civil war. Even after 500 years, the nobility of Gondor seems a fairly loosely-held group, and the legitimacy of being the (legally emplaced) Steward rather than a king-pretender in your own right could be a useful tool to gain support.

* Denethor sends the women and children of Minas Tirith to "safety" in the villages of Lebennin. Then he drafts the men of South Gondor to come and defend the city. Then Tirithites whinge that the draft only raises 3k soldiers.
** '''If''' Sauron had signed the Geneva Convention, then the families would be safer in unprotected villages.
** The draft was so small because some of the men had to stay at home to protect their families and even more men had to stay at home to protect the families of the Tirithites.
** Also, if you let the civilians stay in Minas Tirith then you have to feed them. Clearing the city of everything but your soldiers and minimum necessary support staff is the best way to stretch your available supplies for maximum siege duration.
** Aside from logistics (and thousands of extra mouths to feed in a siege is a nightmare problem), they probably are safer in the villages, even if Sauron wins. Enslaved, maybe, but that's better than being in a city while it's sacked. Also, there's a good chance that some of them will be able to take to the mountains (most of central Gondor is hill country of some sort), where they'll be able to make Sauron's administrators' lives hell on earth. The Edain were very good at that in the first age, even if most of them died eventually.
** Sauron also has a logistics problem. If he leaves a siege-camp on the Pellenor, and then pushes parties south and west to loot Lebennin, his supply lines get horribly overstretched, through hill-country with a hostile population. Also, if he does attempt genocide of a dispersed rural population, he's going to have to divert a lot of troops and materials away from holding the siege and dealing with the southern levies. The main reason the southern fiefs are witholding their troops is because they're expecting a second invasion from the coast, not because they need to defend the central regions. The same problems apply from the other direction to the Corsairs: they need to deal with Angbor at Linhir (and defeat any other regional armies) before they can start to ravage the inland regions. Basically, Gondor doesn't have the manpower to defend both fronts simultaneously.
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[[folder:Geography and Economy of Mordor]]
* WalkIntoMordor is a {{Flanderization}} of Mordor, which in spite of being the TropeNamer is just not a very good example. Mordor may have formidable natural barriers to entry, but it's by no means an isolated place that nobody visits:
** Middle Earth has a road network connecting the major locations, though it is badly maintained at some places. You can go from Hobbiton to the Black Tower entirely on road, in spite of some overgrown roads in Eriador and some badly maintained river crossings.
** Mordor has its own means of food-production. The Plateau of Gorgoroth featured in the story was only a small part of the realm, important only because Sauron required an active volcano to aid him in magic, like forging of the One Ring. To the south of Gorgoroth there was a region where slaves grow food.
*** Indeed, there's some FridgeBrilliance involved with Nurn, the "breadbasket" of Mordor. Nurn is downwind of Mount Doom, so there's plenty of volcanic ash mixed into the soil. Volanic soil is highly fertile. There's also a nearby inland sea, no doubt used for fishing and/or aquaculture. Given that, combined with Sauron's fanatical love of order and efficiency, Nurn is probably extremely productive, which explains how Sauron can keep fed armies of both Orcs and Men that number in the hundreds of thousands.
** Mordor has plenty of trade with the kingdoms to the South and East. Since the story is told from the point of view of the good western peoples, who are at eternal war with Mordor, we don't see much of this traffic. But Frodo, Sam and Gollum actually have to ''avoid'' several roads that go directly to Mordor because of the risk of getting caught by all the folks who travel on them.
*** Just before tackling the mountain range separating Mordor from Gondor, Frodo and Sam nearly run into a Southron army traveling to the Black Gate of Mordor through the north-south road just outside the mountains. This region, called Ithilien, is a war zone disputed between Gondor and Mordor, both of which regularly mount raids against the other. The land is empty because the Gondorian civilian population has abandoned it because of the war, and neither Mordor nor its allies have tried to settle it.
*** Later in the story, when Gondor and Rohan send an army openly against Mordor, they don't go through the wilderness like Frodo and Sam did; they take the roads. Going from Minas Tirith to the Black Gate isn't a particularly hard trip; it's just very dangerous.
** The novels explain that the primary purpose of the formidable natural, man-made and supernatural defenses of Mordor isn't to keep the good guys out; it's to keep the bad guys '''in'''. Many of the fortresses in the western border of Mordor were actually built by Gondor to keep a watch on Mordor. Sauron's forces later conquered them, but their main function then became to keep his own folks from escaping Mordor.
* What purpose did the stairs at Cirith Ungol actually serve? I can't imagine it gets much traffic from visitors, and it just seems to make one more route of ingress to be guarded.
** As mentioned above, most fortifications around Mordor were originally built by Gondor and Cirith Ungol is no exception. The stairs were probably first used by the Gondorian garrison.
** Yup. There is a practicable pass there, so it must be fortified. Imagine if orcs could do an end-run on Minas Ithil. Even if they didn't think a significant army could come over the pass, small looting parties and saboteurs certainly could, and get into the civilian population of Ithilien.
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[[folder:Geography and Economy in General]]
* Although the late Karen Wynn Fonstad did an excellent job of [[JustifiedTrope justifying]] Middle Earth's geography, economy, population density and so forth in her ''Atlas of Middle Earth''... But after reading Jared Diamond's ''Guns, Germs And Steel'', I can't help but wonder what is it about the Shire that '''kept Men out''', seeing as how it was obviously the best farmland in Eriador and the [[{{Dune}} only place in the known universe]] where pipeweed was grown and all that.
** The Shire is not the "only place in the known universe where pipeweed was grown". We know of the Shire and Bree as planting pipeweed and practising smoking, and know that the Dwarves and northern Men have taken over smoking. As for other cultures, why should they cultivate a plant for which they have no use? And who said that the Shire "kept Men out"? In 1601 T.A. Argeleb II gave them the land to settle it, and in 6 F.A. King Elessar issued a law that forbade humans from entering the Shire, but it doesn't seem you refer to that.
*** The Shire is the richest farmland in Eriador, that's established. ''Because''' pipeweed and all these other crops are grown there. In other areas, it was considered, well, a weed.
** In any realistic model of human behavior, there has to be something keeping men off the land, as there is NoOntologicalInertia preventing the "Southern men" from staying there and displacing what is ultimately a society of clan-based, peace-loving pygmies -- no matter ''what'' the law says. This Troper is trying to figure out ''what'' it is that is keeping men off the land.
** Jared Diamond argues that the only reason pygmies and other low-yield civilizations guard against encroachment is due to exotic diseases, poor soil, or specialized livestock that provide them with protein and the like.\\
On the one hand, we know that the only reason the land is available was because of ThePlague. So that fits right into Jared Diamond's thesis. And we know the Dúnedain spent many lives protecting the Shire from evil men, despite seemingly having no farmland or homesteads of their own.
*** Now then. What's preventing men with weapons from taking over and squatting the only farmland in Eriador, law or no law? Especially since many of them don't even know the Shire exists, since the Dúnedain have kept it a secret, the hobbits are so good at keeping a low profile (pun intended) and are effectively a bunch of utopian anarchists? We didn't bother to determine the boundaries of the Iroquois Confederacy before we annexed their land. Bottom line: Dúnedain [[MemeticMutation gotta eat!]] -- but are for the most part LawfulGood.
** Clearly someone read not only the Cliff Notes version of not only ''The Lord of the Rings'' but Jared Diamond's ''Guns, Germs and Steel.'' What kept Men out of the Shire back when the Kingdom of Arnor was around? The fact that the kings were willing and able to use armed force to keep people from encrouching on what was essentially a client state. The same thing is true after Aragorn becomes King. As for the long period when there was no Kingdom of Arnor, consider that one of the themes of the geographic and demographic approach to history is that low population density areas tend to get taken over by their high population neighbors. I don't recall that Tolkien ever said the Shire was the best farm land in Eriador (actually, in real life, tobacco tends to deplete the soil) however it was clear that they had the highest population density in Eriador once a series of wars, plagues and famines wiped out the Kingdom of Arnor. Keep in mind that during the long distance between Bree and Rivendell, even when traveling along a major highway, there is a whole lot of Nothing as far as settlements go. The same is true of the trip south from Rivendell. So the reason that the Men in Eriador never took over the Shire is that such Men as were left were mostly scattered in tiny villages so unimportant that Tolkien never bothered putting them on the map, or were wilderness dwelling Lawful Good Heroes like Aragorns rangers that were more likely to protect the Shire than to invade it. There was Bree, but they and their neighbors were smaller than the Shire, and at any rate close had more to gain from staying in their own reasonably well to do homelands and trading with the Shire than from trying to take over a larger, more populated country over which the folk of Bree enjoyed no military advantage. Finally, there is the Hobbits themselves. Many people are clearly Missing the Point if they think that hobbits are pushovers. The Hobbits have defeated military incursions into the Shire before, to include invasions by orcs, and once they got some good leadership and a bit of motivation they were able to make short work of an ex-wizard and his lackeys.
** OK, so your thesis, is that the Hobbits are outbreeding their Human competitors, due to their apparent ability to breed like rabbits. And being diminutive, they could survive better in greater numbers off the low-yield, tobacco-depleted soil. Now we're getting somewhere.
* Because the Men don't need the land. Middle-earth (the Northwest anyway) is underpopulated, after a bunch of plagues and stuff. "The land has not grown less wild with time; rather the reverse." There just aren't enough people to occupy all the land, and the isolated chunks of civilization (Gondor, Lothlórien, the Shire, Rohan) are far enough apart that there needn't be much competition between them. (And I don't think the Shire is necessarily better farmland than anywhere else that's being farmed in Eriador. It works great for the Hobbits, but their population doesn't seem that huge.)
** According to the suggestions [[WordOfGod made by Tolkien himself]], during the early centuries of the Third Age, Arnor, and not Gondor, had been the economic and military center of the two Kingdoms of Men. A lethal combination of plagues, invasions, poverty and descendancy into barbarism depleted northern half of Middle-Earth from Men, not unlikely the post-Roman Europe of the Dark Ages.
* Who says that the Shire is the best farmland? Yes it as far as we know it is has the most productive farms compared to any where else in the region, but who said it was becuase of the land itself and not just that Hobbits are that damn good at growing stuff?
* The Shire and hobbits in general had been ignored for centuries. What would suddenly make it appear on the radar for Men?d
* WildMassGuessing: Some Men tried that once, but they made the mistake of going through the Old Forest on their way there. Between the malevolent trees, the Barrow-Wights, and Tom Bombadil doing random stuff, almost none of them made it back alive, and the few who did told horror tales of monsters and demi-gods; after that, no one dared try it again.
* Also, IIRC, Eriador outside the Shire was severely depopulated at the end of the Third Age. Bree-land was the only significant settlement of Men in the region.
** This. Who, exactly, is going to be in a position to do any hypothetical invasion of the Shire? The Bree-men? They're a tiny nation of villagers and farmers with no demonstrated military strength or strong centralized government, and get along decently with the hobbits anyway. Dwarves in the Blue Mountains? What would they even ''want'' with that much open farmland; dwarves prefer caves and mountains. It's much more beneficial to them to trade with the Shire, selling their metalwork and buying food or the like. Elves of the Grey Havens or Rivendell? The elves in general aren't in much of position to expand their territory in the Third Age under the best of circumstances, and the ones at the Havens in particular are mostly concerned with building ships to sail West. Orcs of Mount Gram? Tried it, and earned themselves a humiliating defeat for their troubles. Dunedain of the North? No longer have an organized nation, and for the most part the Rangers were concerned with quietly helping and protecting other people rather than trying to take their stuff. About the only nation with significant power to actually conquer the Shire that is in range for a military strike that I can see is Dunland, and even that seems extremely unlikely, seeing as the Dunlendings were mostly interested in pursuing their ongoing rivalry with Rohan and a Dunland war-leader who proposed a "let's go march northwest to take over a bunch of midgets who might or might not actually exist on the off-chance they have really great farmland" would probably get laughed out of the room. Basically, until Saruman I don't think there was anyone who had the right combination of power, knowledge, and motivation to attempt a serious take-over of the Shire.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15739_50-reasons-lord-rings-sucks.html Pewp]]. How do barefoot little people who raise livestock avoid stepping in the brown landmines that come from said livestock's rear ends?
** They probably have different standards about cleanliness than humans. Plus, they can always just wash their feet. I'm sure people don't like stepping in poop while wearing shoes anyway.

* How did Boromir get to Rivendell for the council meeting in the first place? The whole plot seems to turn on just how difficult a journey that is. Where did he cross the Misty Mountains? At the Gap of Rohan, so close to Isengard, and then travel through Dunland? Did he cross at the Gladden or the High Pass, both of which were supposedly closely watched by Sauron? Granted, Boromir was not traveling with the Ring at that time, but he was still the son and heir of the Steward of Gondor, the ruler of the country with which Mordor was at war and which was Mordor's principal military opponent, so he would still be a very high-priority target for Sauron. I think we can assume he did not pass through Moria. I suppose he might have taken the Redhorn Pass, but that wasn't exactly an easy trip either. So how did Boromir even get there in the first place?
** Rohan. He advises going that way when they head back south, and Saruman's treachery wasn't widely known at the time even in Rohan. He's specifically mentioned as having crossed the Greyflood at the ruined city of Tharbad, which is more or less north of Dunland. And Éomer stated that the Rohirrim had lent him a horse (which he lost at Tharbad, and later came back riderless). As for Sauron, 1.) he's still just one traveller, and 2.) All of Sauron's attention at this point is on the Shire and the Ring.
*** Except we know that all his attention wasn't on the Shire and the Ring: he was also watching the Gladden Fields, and preparing to invade Gondor, and conspiring with Saruman, and governing Mordor, and who knows what other tasks. Are you telling me that, on the eve of his long-planned invasion of his ancient enemy Gondor, he can't spare any attention to what Gondor's leadership is doing? You said it yourself: Boromir is riding ''alone''. Why would Sauron give up such a perfect opportunity to capture a the heir to the Stewardship of Gondor? Or, if he wants to tie it into his efforts to reclaim the Ring, why not take this opportunity, while Boromir was by himself, to subvert Boromir? Send someone to meet him to tempt him to Sauron's side?
**** Sauron can't watch everything at once, and one horseman heading northeast into the wilderness is probably something that doesn't concern him at all. Even if he knows that that horseman is the heir to the steward (and it's not like he's carrying a driver's license, or that Sauron has a book of Minas Tirith Police Department mug shots to flip through) and one of their top captains, what does it matter? He's not trying to sideline Gondor's captains; he's got the numbers to crush Gondor underfoot barring supernatural influence or sudden outbreaks of Plot.
**** IIRC Sauron doesn't even know who Aragorn is, or where he is, until the latter gets his attention by besting him (an almost-god) in a battle of wills over the palantír. Sauron isn't omniscient, the way he sees things seems to be tied to the power of individual places, people, and activities: he almost sees Frodo on Amon Hen when he puts on the Ring; he can see Gandalf but only when he does something impressive, as on Carathras when he summons fire; and he's constantly striving with Galadriel. Boromir claiming the Ring would immediately get his attention, Boromir on a vague mission to Rivendell wouldn't.
**** Sauron couldn't care less about what Boromir is doing. He might simply assume that the Council of Elrond is a desperate attempt by his enemies to unite in the face of impending military doom, and that Boromir is going there to plead Gondor’s case to no avail (considering how distrustful the Free Peoples are towards each other). Remember that Sauron couldn’t even imagine the true purpose of the Council, which is to work out a plan to destroy the Ring. Come to think about it, Sauron may well benefit from Boromir’s absence because it means that Gondor cannot rely on Boromir’s talents as a warrior when Sauron lands his blow. If Sauron is in fact paying attention to Gondor’s leadership he will factor this in, knowing that Denethor and Faramir do not get on very well.
**** Sauron is supposed to be interested in the fact that a Gondorian prince pays a goodwill tour to Rivendell, probably stopping by Théoden's court along the way? He probably thought it was just Denethor tidying up his diplomatic loose ends and exchanging intell while he had the chance before Sauron's invasion started. And in fact that was what Borimir was doing. It was just neither Sauron nor Denethor knew how hot the intell really was.
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[[folder:Tom Bombadil ''"And even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."'' (''Letters'', # 144)]]
* Tom Bombadil. Just Tom Bombadil. I have listened to all the theories, but still, the guy makes '''no sense what so ever.''' I've read the books, and he is the worst part of all the books, and the only thing I was glad to be cut from the movies. Biggest problem: Why doesn't Tom help with the quest besides with equipment, when he is described to be almost all powerful? Even if he will be affected if Sauron gets the ring, unless he really is "God." Anyone have any defense of Tom? And, why include him in the first place? Even if he is "not important to the narrative" and "a mystery, even to the maker," then he still shouldn't influence the plot that much.
** Tom Bombadil doesn't need a reason to be exactly there, in that exact moment. He simply ''is''. Makes sense, like 75% of all things mentioned in [=LotR=], if you take the whole legendarium into consideration and not just the events in the book. In this troper's understanding, Bombadil is one of the "spirit which inhabited the Earth" (I don't remember the exact words, but they are mentioned many times in the Silmarillion) ''before'' the coming of the Ainur/Valar, a direct creation of the Music. Remember Ungoliant? They are not Valar nor Maiar, they were in Ea ''before'' them. Bombadil is another of them: events in Middle Earth, even happening right under his nose, are of no concern to him. He ''could'' choose to actively fight for the Free People, but he simply doesn't. Gandalf very explicitly states this. And yes, he indeed is relevant to the plot because 1) He gives the Hobbits Numénorean blades and 2) Gives the Hobbits, especially to Frodo, useful insights on what they should and what they shouldn't do with the Ring. Long story short, I always thought Bombadil makes great sense in the book. It would be incomplete without him.
** [[strike:Tom Bombadil was originally the main narrator of the stories that Tolkien told his children, that eventually evolved into the Middle-Earth legendarium.]] Tom isn't "all-powerful", he's got great power ''within the limits he has set himself''. He ''can't'' help the Fellowship with the quest of the Ring, because his way isn't direct confrontation. ''They spell this out very clearly in one chapter''.
*** Struck out portion of above comment is incorrect. The character Bombadil existed before the [=LotR=] and there are several stories with him, but he was not part of the Middle-earth universe.
*** This is the key to the reason Bombadil Just Bugs so many [=LotR=] fans. He wasn't designed to belong in Middle-earth. He is from an entirely separate set of stories written by Tolkien long before [=LotR=], and shoehorned in for reasons Tolkien himself doesn't really understand. In ''The Adventures of Tom Bombadil'', the first things he does are fight Old Man Willow, fight the Barrow-Wights, and meet Goldberry, who is explicitly a river-nymph.
** He clearly is ''extremely'' powerful, seeing as Gandalf says "Sauron wouldn't want to meet Tom in a back alley." The point is, why include someone so powerful, so mysterious, when you don't reveal him?! It would be as if Merry and Pippin went and found an Entwife, but nothing was revealed about them. If you include all powerful characters who don't care about the fate of the world, at least give an explanation for them, don't just have them "be."
*** No, if the character's limitations are made clear, then you don't ''have'' to provide an explanation, especially in this case, where ''it's a stylistic choice''. There are dozens of beings in the legendarium that Sauron wouldn't be able to defeat. There are ''good reasons'' why they don't just show up and put the beatdown on him as well. In this case, Tom ''isn't a guided weapon system''. He has power over a limited area, and even that would fail if Sauron gained supremacy.
**** Yes, but there are reasons why the Valar and others would not interfere. Also, (more importantly) they have a backstory, and are not randomly written in, (even Tolkien himself says he does not know who Tom is.) The whole thing comes of as a BigLippedAlligatorMoment, and doesn't seem to fit the tone or style of the rest of the book, and seems like something out of the Hobbit.
** Personally, I think that Tom Bombadil would be more tolerable if Tolkien had done a better job of incorporating the idea of nature spirits into his overall mythos. Maybe if he had mentioned similar enigmatic beings in the rest of the stories, Tom would be more plausible.
*** Very, very much agreed.
*** Tom isn't the only enigmatic being in the mythos. Much like Tom, Ungoliant was also an huge unknown and seemed to be already there when the Vala and the Maia entered Arda. Also, there are those "Nameless Things" Gandalf found deep beneath the earth, and of course the Watcher in the Water is also another enigma. Even Beorn could be argued to be as such, since the apparently was a human that possesed mysterious abilities unlike anybody else during the third age.
** Tom didn't help them out cause he's a CloudCuckooLander. He just doesn't ''get'' what the big deal with the One Ring and Sauron is. They actually said at the Council, if entrusted with guarding the Ring, he'd probably throw it away and forget about it. If sent to fight Sauron, he'd probably get distracted by something along the way and never even make it to Mordor.
*** And also that just hiding the Ring from Sauron wouldn't be enough to stop him conquering the world. Tom's country might be the last to fall, but it would fall.
** Bombadil is a remnant of the early phase of writing the book, when it was intended to be another book like The Hobbit; hobbits just having one adventure after another. But Tolkien said he left him in because he wanted a True Neutral character to give a third point of view besides Good and Evil: don't get involved. Tolkien made it clear he thought this view was wrong. "It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But [...] ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even survive. Nothing would be left for him in the world of Sauron."
** It seems pretty clear to me: Tom is Nature itself, given form and will. Neither good nor evil; random, unpredictable, inscrutable; subject to no one save Eru himself, most likely; can be helpful, but ultimately cares for nothing save himself and his own and it's continuation, and cannot be counted on to actually accomplish anything for anyone. He's a force of Nature, to coin a phrase; he does as he pleases. I've always imagined his little routine with the Ring being his figuratively flipping the bird at Sauron and it just because he can, to prove that there are some Things they ultimately will never and can never have dominion over.
** Tom and the Ents function well as opposites. They're very similar in many ways, but Tom won't go outside his self-imposed limits - he can't understand (or isn't affected by) the stakes. The Ents ''think'' themselves to be uninvolved, but eventually conclude that they must either act or be acted upon. It could also be considered important for Merry and Pippin's character arc - they can't convince the first WackyWaysideTribe to join them, so they try harder on the next one after they, themselves, start to realize what's at stake. I'm not saying this doesn't make Tom a BigLippedAlligatorMoment: just that his presence makes the later, successful recruitment of the Ents a little more impressive.
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[[folder:The stories as fictional documents and the LiteraryAgentHypothesis]]
[[WMG: What is up with The Red Book, anyway?]]
* We know that Professor Tolkien supposedly didn't invent any of it, it all came from the Red Book of Westmarch, which contained There and Back Again, The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King (split by modern publishers into three books), and The "Translations from the Elvish". The first two components alone would put it beyond most concievable books in size. The last bit adds on the entire Silmarillion, the Narn i Hin Húrin, the lay of Beren and Lúthien, and a story about Queen Berúthiel's cats. How big ''was'' this book, exactly? The same stuff can take up the better part of a small shelf on a bookshelf.
** Tolkien's inspiration was the Red Book of Hergest, which is 724 pages long (362 sheets of vellum), each roughly 2.5 times the size of a modern trade paperback page, so it would take up about 1800 pages if printed in paperback. My copies of The Hobbit (400 pages), Lord of the Rings (1200 pages) and The Silmarillion (500 pages) add up to about 2100 paperback pages. That would make a book a little bigger than the Red Book of Hergest, but not enormous.
*** Also, it would have been written in Tengwar, which are more compact than our alphabet. (No distinct letters for vowels, for instance, and certain phonemes like "th" get one letter instead of two.) It might actually have fitted into 1800 pages.
**** Small correction concerning the Tengwar: The use of full letters for vowels or vowel signs depends on the Tengwar modus used, but both existed.
* The copy that was supposedly found was copied at the behest of Pippin's grandson. Even allowing for 70 years or so that this gives, it was still printed at least ''five thousand years ago'', and kept in the damp climate of Western Europe- probably somewhere in either Britain or France, neither of which are exactly ideal for preserving paper ''that'' long-term (the only place on earth that WOULD be ideal for such preservation is the inside of a desert tomb, notably lacking in Britain and France). How the smeg did the book not disinitigrate and rot to nothing over the millennia?
** [[AWizardDidIt Gandalf did it.]]
*** Either Radagast or one of the blue guys, not Gandalf. Gandalf went home about 69 years before the copy Professor Tolkien found was copied.
** Really awesome elf paper.
** It wouldn't have been printed on paper, but on vellum -- i.e., sheepskin. Vellum is ''extremely'' durable. If the book was in active use and exposed to the environment, it would have been recopied; if it was forgotten somewhere in Western Europe (and somewhere sufficiently obscure that no one before Tolkien ran into this mammoth pre-Indo-European book in an unknown script, from an era which was supposed to have been the Late Stone Age), it would not have been exposed to the elements much at all.
** The book was copied a few times. Do we have the original manuscripts of Literature/TheBible?
* The parts of Red Book that form ''The Lord of the Rings'' are supposedly written by Frodo, except for the very last pages, right? But the actual story is told from the point of view of multiple different characters, so how could Frodo know what each of them was doing and thinking when he was not around? Okay, with the members of the Fellowship, he could have asked about the events later on. But what about the characters that died during the story (Boromir, Gollum, Sauron, etc), or various incidental characters he never met, or only met once? For example, how could Frodo know what Boromir's last stand was like? I guess he could've just made up the story based on what was likely to have happened, but that seems kinda disrespectful towards a dead comrade...
** In the case of Boromir's last stand, we never actually see it in the books. Aragorn finds the dying Boromir, who tells him what happened, and then later we have Pippin remembering the parts he saw. Frodo could have easily asked both of them, and no invention on his part was neccessary. Sauron's last thoughts were probably easy enough to extrapolate, based on how he reacted (and the only time we see his thoughts is immediately after Frodo put on the Ring). With Gollum, Frodo had all the information he'd need to work out the gist of his deal with Shelob; the only part he couldn't have known it all was the bit at Cirith Ungol where Gollum nearly repents before Sam wakes up and yells at him for "pawing at Frodo"- and we could go so far as to say that Frodo put that bit in to reflect his own pity/sympathy/forgiveness towards Gollum.
* If we accept the theory that Tolkien found a copy of the Red Book and based his stories on it, how was he ever able to translate it? It was written in a language that had been dead for millennia, so Tolkien would have had no other contextual clues to base his translation on. Even if the book had some illustrations (and I'm not sure if it did) which would've helped Tolkien guess some of the words, a full translation would've been nigh impossible based on the Book alone. Yet according to the appendixes Tolkien had a very good understanding of the language, which seems highly unlikely if all he had was that one book.
** He probably had more sources. It's unlikely that the Red Book was the only thing to survive from a time evidently full of scribes and whatnot.
*** But those other sources from the time would've been written in the same dead language(s), so that still doesn't answer the question.
*** It's a rather obscure point of the legendarium, but some of those "other sources" at least in the early writings came from historical-period sailors who had found the "straight road" to Valinor. Assuming Tolkien also found one of Ælfwine's writings, he'd have a Rosetta Stone translating the Elven languages into Anglo-Saxon, which conveniently was a language he'd studied...
*** Or, being a philologist, he managed to decipher the languages. Given the hugenormous amount of text he had, much more than many linguists have when deciphering ancient texts in unknown languages, it isn't beyond the realm of thought.
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[[folder: General Worldbuilding]]

* Is there ever some kind of explanation for the total lack of organized religion among Men in Middle-Earth? The church was a fundamental part of the medieval European cultures that much of Middle-Earth is based on, and things wouldn't have gone down in the same way without it. Any kind of religious impulse seems to be based on actual contact with beings like Sauron and the Valar, and Men in the absence of such contact don't make up deities who don't really exist, the way real people do.
** Yes, in his ''Letters''. Apparently, the impulse to organised religion is absent in the presence of supernatural and eternal spirits who directly commune with [[strike:God]] Iluvatar. You just don't feel like it when you can just walk up to Manwë and hear him talk about how he used to play drums in Iluvatar's band back in the day. The only hints of religious observance in the Middle-earth are by humans for whom immortals of any sort are largely legend: (1) facing west before eating, practised by Faramir and Co, and (2) human sacrifice in the silver-domed temple in Númenor before the downfall, orchestrated by Sauron as a deliberate blasphemy. (Also, it seems that the Eldar call upon Iluvatar in their marriage ceremony. We don't see it in the novels, since we don't see an all-Eldar marriage, but it's [[AllInTheManual stated in one of the essays]] published in ''The History of Middle-Earth'' by Tolkien ''fils.'')
** Also, seeing as the story is, among other things, a representation of Tolkien's real-life Catholic beliefs, he intentionally omitted all obvious religious elements from Middle-Earth. It's all supposed to be in the symbolism.
* Religion and mythology do exist, they're just not as formalized as in RealLife. The myths and legends found in Literature/TheSilmarillion serve the same purpose as the stories of Literature/TheBible or the ancient Greeks do for us.
* Another thing - whenever a myth or tale is presented in the story, with the exception of the song Bilbo made up about the moon coming to earth and getting drunk, it's treated as a completely faithful depiction of historical events. It's sort of an in-universe version of AllMythsAreTrue. Real myths contradict themselves and change a bit with each telling. Even the elves, who experienced all these events personally, you'd expect to also have fictional stories and differing interpretations of the past.
** Alternate versions of many myths are present in the ''History of Middle-Earth'' series. Most of the myths told in LotR proper are hacked-down bare bones versions as well (i.e., many details on the life of Hercules changed with the telling, but how many authors screw up the Twelve Labors?). Finally, considering the LiteraryAgentHypothesis, the same person (or someone very close, writing in the same style) is writing both the story proper and the appendices.
** This might partially be a case of RealityIsUnrealistic. Premodern cultures don't have a very strong sense of what "fiction" means. Peoples with no printing presses tend not to preserve a story unless they think it has some basis in fact. These peoples find nonsense verse (like Bilbo's song) amusing and fascinating, not just because of any jokes or wordplay contained within the work itself, but because of the novelty of the idea of a story that clearly isn't true.
* The whole story features a weird, contradictory set of morals. War and industrialization are bad (which are natural opinions of someone who's experienced World War I,) and evil can't be fixed by force, but pacifism is bad, too, and so is attempting to compromise with the enemy or see things from his point of view. The only acceptable course of action [[FantasticAesop is dependent on the existence of magical artifacts.]]
** Missing the point, much? War and industrialization, bad, but being heroic and fighting for your country and for the innocent, good. Compromising good for peace with evil also bad. What saves them is not the magical artifacts, but virtue: courage, hope, and mercy. Above all, it is Bilbo's mercy on Gollum -- (as well as later, Frodo's mercy), that allows for the wretched creature to do what Frodo could not. Sam's Hope and Frodo's courage (as well as the hope and courage of all their friends) allows them to survive the day. Basically, you do the right thing not because it is expedient or because it will get you the right results (against utilitarianism). You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and hope for the Eucatastrophe.
** Man, I am getting kinda tired of people trying to see a "moral" in every little bit that happens in a story. Not everything is an Aesop, people! Tolkien wasn't writing, "Here's how the world has to work, does work, and should work, today and in all instances." He was writing, "This is what happened in my fantasy land this one time. Also, trees and my made up languages, aren't they neat?"
** Not everything is an Aesop in, for example, Conan, but Lord of the Rings basically created the genre of HighFantasy, in which everything *is* morally charged. Even the trees and the languages.
** You ''do'' know that Tolkien hated allegory, right? While there are certainly strong moral elements present in the book, it wasn't intended to teach any single Aesop or be a representation of a given RealLife conflict. ''TheLordOfTheRings'' is a single story about a particular (if fictional) event (namely the destruction of the One Ring, the Downfall of Sauron, and the War of the Ring), not an absolute guide to how Tolkien thought you should live day-by-day.
* How did the Hobbits have potatoes? Tolkien intended [=LotR=] and the Silmarillion to be a history of England and Europe. But the potato is a New World food. I can sort of fudge it, but if I do, it doesn't sort of fit.
** Same way they got tobacco and pipeweed, Tolkien took an AcceptableBreakFromReality because he felt potatoes and pipesmoking were so integral to his vision of English character that he couldn't ''not'' include it in some form. If it helps any he took care in his books to call them "taters" rather than potatoes per se, so just tell yourself that since the books we got were supposed "translations" of "The Red Book Of Westmarch" into English that "taters" is a TranslationConvention for some unspecified starchy vegetable. That's the best I got. Or [[AWizardDidIt elves did it]] somehow...
** It's most likely the result of PopCulturalOsmosis: Potatoes are popularly associated with Ireland since it became the major food source among the poor Irish in the 18th and 19th centuries, and failure of the potato crop was a major contributing factor of the Great Famine of 1845-1852. Tolkien may not have realized the potato was ''not'' originally native to Ireland, but was introduced in the 17th century. However this is no less odd considering the perfectionist Tolkien originally had the hobbits cooking the similarly introduced ''tomato'' in one scene, before recognizing his mistake and rewriting it to remove them.
*** Unlikely, Tolkien was a historian and a linguist who studied the history of languages. As you say, he noted and corrected the usage of tomatoes (from tomatoes to pickles) from the original version of ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and he purposefully altered tobacco into "pipeweed" to avoid the same problem. There was no way he would not have known the origin of potatoes, especially since it is part and parcel of the mythology of Sir Walter Raleigh whose adventures are taught in every British elementary school and was famous for pretty much two things "introducing potatoes" and that business with the cape and the puddle.
*** He explains tobacco in the Prologue, section 2 "Concerning Pipe-weed". First of all, it's described as "a variety probably of Nicotiana", ie tobacco, not cannabis (also, pot on sentry duty would not be a good idea, Gandalf). He may be choosing to avoid the word "tobacco" because it's a borrowing from an American language that doesn't have cognates in ME. Merry says, of the origins of the plant "is not native to our part of the world, but came northward from the lower Anduin [ie Gondor], whither it was, I suspect, originally brought over the sea by the men of Westernesse". He notes it grows wild in Gondor (unlike further north), and is valued as a sweet-scented flower; he speculates it reached Arnor with the Dunedain as well. Potatoes could travel by the same route. As to why tobacco and spuds but not tomatoes? I don't know. Potatoes are a very useful staple crop, and much easier to manage in cool, wet climates (since they don't need to set seed to survive). Luxury crops may just be a bit more random in what ends up where. Possibly, tomatoes were seen as too big a risk in the climate: they need a large investment of rich soil to crop well, and assuming a climate like Cornwall's, can fail one year in two. Although there's no suggestion of it in canon, nicotine is a very effective insecticide: it's possible the northern Dunedain were cultivating it as a poisonous herb, or even as a medicine, and since the leaves are the part you want, you don't need to ripen seed very often. That might match well with the hobbits starting to smoke it, too.
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[[folder:Additional Comments -- General Discussion]]
* Okay, there was a whole hell of a lot to read through across this whole page just to post one question and I haven't seen most of the rest yet, so feel free to edit this out if the question's already been addressed, but one thing I have never understood is why, when Gandalf reveals himself to be the guy in the gray robes and not Saruman, the others ''instantly believe that it's him and he's back from the dead'', and not Saruman pulling a shapeshifting or illusory magic on them. They know that Saruman has great magical powers, the scope of which is not clear to them; they know this guy is wearing white; they know Gandalf is dead: why don't they put two and two together? Why do they ''immediately'' trust him? "What veil was over my sight" my ass. How do you know it's not veiled ''now''?!
** Considering the depiction of the scene both in the book and in the movie, it seems they felt deep in themselves that it was actually Gandalf that was back from the dead. Something along the lines of light and power that could not be masked by Saruman. But taking in consideration Gandalf came back more powerful than Saruman it is possible he made them believe in him much like Saruman would have made them believe his lie.
*** Also consider that Gandalf is wearing a Ring of Power that specifically kindles hope in other beings. Revealing himself to Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli may well have been an exercise of that power.
* Why weren't Gandalf and the others allowed to have a direct confrontation with Sauron? Why would the Valar forbid them from beating the shit out of Sauron, bringing him back in chains, and tossin' him in the ol' Void, like the did Morgoth?
** Out of worry the power would corrupt them like Sauron and Morgoth were corrupted. Incidentally, the last time the Valar directly intervened in a gods' war ''the collateral damage took out entire continents'', so they're quite understandably reluctant to ever authorize such action again. Also, it's not clear if the five wizards combined could take on Sauron at his peak.
** There's also this little problem that Radagast the Brown has forgotten his mission from the Valar and turned all his attention to the creatures, Saruman wants the ring for himself, and the two blue wizards have wandered off somewhere to the South; we don't really know what they're doing. Maybe this would have been different if they had taken on Sauron as soon as they came, but they came in the year 1000 of the Third Age, and I believe that's between his original downfall and his return to power. I'll have to check, though. I'll come back and edit this if I'm wrong. Or someone else can correct me.
* What was Gandalf's original plan for getting the Ring into Mordor? As far as we know, there are only two ways in: The Black Gate and Cirith Ungol. Did Gandalf count on everybody climbing up those stairs right under the nose of the Witch-King at Minas Morgul? And why didn't he let everybody else in on the plan before they left Rivendell?
** Aragorn was of the opinion that Gandalf didn't have a specific plan beyond Lórien - he was intending to talk to Galadriel and possibly take a gander in her mirror, and see if he could [[IndyPloy cook up a plan on the way]].
** There's also that Aragorn himself is the one person other than Gollum to have successfully snuck into Mordor and back via Cirith Ungol -- its mentioned in the ROTK appendices. Gandalf had a reasonable presumption of being able to duplicate that feat with the full Fellowship, especially given that the Witch-king would be ''leaving'' Minas Morgul at some point... or, if not, Gandalf could easily decoy him away with a show of power.
*** A suicide mission is sometimes the only option. Put the ring-bearer in back and shove everyone else into the [[MeatShield meat grinder]] until it clogs. 100,000 dead soldiers is better than Sauron destroying the world.
**** Nice idea, but you would need 100,000 life soldiers first. And they don't have them. We're not in the First or Second Age with its huge Elven and Human realms anymore. When marching on the Morannon, Gondor and Rohan had less than 7000 men.
** Maybe he wasn't going to take the path at Cirith Ungol at all. Mordor isn't ''completely'' surrounded by mountains.
*** Like Aragorn's player said in DMOfTheRings, "I'm entering a country. You can't put a door on a country."
*** Also, the 'pass' at Cirith Ungol wasn't just the winding stairway cut into the mountain on a sheer vertical face, there was a rather wide pass that lead up through the mountains from Minas Morgul to Cirith Ungol, it just would have made no sense for the Hobbits to take an extremely well-traveled, militarily strategic pass.
** Gandalf apparently wanted to send the two [[KansasCityShuffle decoy hobbits]] west all along and make Sauron think that the armies of Rohan and Gondor had the Ring, since Sauron [[EvilCannotComprehendGood would not imagine]] they would use a hobbit in posession of the Ring as anything other than a prisoner or a prop. He was pleasantly surprised that the Nazgûl thought Saruman had imprisoned Frodo, and recommended that Aragorn [[BatmanGambit challenge Sauron]] to make him think he had taken the Ring from Frodo like Isildur would have; but when Pippin looked into the palantír he nearly gave up the whole game, which is why Gandalf took Pippin to Minas Tirith, where there were many spies, to draw Sauron's eye.
** Gandalf believed that Eru was intervening directly (if subtly) in events. He believed that Frodo was "meant" (by Eru) to bear the Ring. And he believed that the only viable long-term solution for Middle-Earth was for the Ring to be destroyed, and he knew that there was only one place on Middle-Earth that it COULD be destroyed. So he didn't have a "plan" as such: he simply decided to get Frodo moving in the general direction of his ultimate goal and trust in Eru to make sure that a way would open itself up for him. Call it an IndyPloy if you must, but it worked, didn't it? It's entirely possible that if Gollum hadn't stopped Frodo from walking up to the Black Gate and knocking politely on Mordor's front door, something else would've happened after he was captured to give him another chance to complete the mission.
* Why exactly did Saruman decide to steal the Ring for himself?
** Study of the Ring and the 'arts of the Enemy' apparently corrupted him. [[TheAbyssGazesBack Gaze too long into the abyss]] and all that -- and Saruman's one big flaw always was pride.
*** Plus jealousy towards Gandalf. Saruman always knew that Gandalf was mightier of the two, although Gandalf didn't and wouldn't have cared if he did. As a result Sharky was always demeaning Gandalf with his words, while imitating him in secret.
** ''Everyone'' who has anything to do with the Ring wants to steal it for him- or herself. That's what it does.
** Sauron was able to mentally dominate him through prolonged mental dueling via palantir.

* Staying with Bree, Aragorn knows the Nazgûl have pursued the Frodo there, so he moves Frodo... ''to another room in the inn'' - or possibly to a room in a different inn, but all of about fifty feet away. He certainly doesn't take the hobbits out of the town, or even pick a particularly well-hidden nook within it. The Nazgûl must have been informed, presumably, that their prey was in a particular room. But when he's not there, they just... go away, leaving Aragorn and the hobbits to wander off into the wild at their leisure? Why don't they tear the town apart? Threaten to kill people until someone talks? I can't remember if it's any different in the book, but I rather think it's pretty much the same.
** In the book, Aragorn discusses why the Nazgûl won't attack in Bree ("That is not their way. In dark and loneliness they are strongest; they will not openly attack a house where there are lights and many people �not until they are desperate, not while all the long leagues of Eriador lie before us.") However, they're not above putting people in Bree who are working for them (Bill Ferny, for one) up to a little mischief �sacking rooms, loosing ponies� which has the dual benefit of being intimidating and making the journey to Rivendell that much more dangerous.

* In ''The Hobbit'', trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. Yet in the movies of the trilogy, trolls move around freely in the sunlight. Are they just different types of trolls? If so, what happened to all the stone by day trolls? Did they go extinct by all turning to stone?
** There are different breeds of troll, only the weaker varieties of which turn to stone. The ones in Sauron's armies are the much-improved Olog-hai, who (like orcs) dislike sunlight but are not harmed by it. (Incidentally, you can see the three stoned trolls from ''The Hobbit'' in the ''Fellowship'' movie.)
**** "stoned trolls" conjures up an entirely different scenario!
***** there is a card in the munchkins card game that is a "stoned golem" it has a bong. not exactly the same thing but close enough,
*** Also, in the books, Sauron begins his assault on Gondor by clouding the skies such that there really isn't any sun. The only trolls mentioned at the siege of Gondor that I recall are those that wielded Grond, and no mention is made of if they turn to stone when the clouds are driven away or if they're killed by Imrahil & Co.
*** The three stone trolls appear in the ''Fellowship'' book, too.
** Also, ''The Hobbit'' was not originally part of the Middle-earth setting when it was published. Tolkien only moved the ''Hobbit'' to his (already existing) Middle-earth legendarium when he began writing ''The Lord of the Rings'', which is the reason for inconsistensies in plot and style between the ''Hobbit'' and the other Middle-earth works.
*** Including some things so plot breaking (like Gollum willingly giving up the ring) that the original had to be altered.

* How exactly did Morgoth make dragons? We're told he cannot create anything, only corrupt and alter existing works (incidentally, making the weaker in the process). He made orcs by corrupting elves; trolls were likewise once ents. So, where do dragons come from? They're much too large and powerful to have been made from eagles, and we know that they're not corrupted Maiar like the Balrogs if there was a "father of dragons".
** Tolkien himself [[FlipFlopOfGod never really decided]]. It's not inconceivable that Glaurung was an incarnated Maia, and that the race of Dragons was bred from his physical body, though that brings up questions about whether dragons have souls and where they come from. In ''Morgoth's Ring'', there are essays about the origins of Orcs that relate to this. (Note that Melian, an incarnated Maia, was able to conceive and have a child with an Elf-King.)
** Maybe they were from the Eagles. While they are much bigger and powerful, that could be chalked up to them growing DrunkOnTheDarkSide, or something like that.
*** The first dragons didn't have wings, though. Mutant lizards, maybe?

* The Easterlings and Haradrim allied with Sauron. In a world in which the sides of good and evil are ''very'' obvious, and in which evil's ultimate goal is blatantly to enslave the entire world, and in which Sauron has shown himself over the course of many, many centuries to be treacherous and only out for his own power, what country made up of free-willed people ''chooses'' to fight for Mordor? It's not like even Sauron's human allies would benefit in the event of his victory, and unless they were all completely idiotic it's not like that fact wouldn't be very, very obvious from the start.
** We the readers, and the protagonists know of Sauron's treachery and malice because the characters in question are the descendants of elf-friends, having learned Truth and bearing the knowledge of Númenor and the elder races. Not all men are so fortunate to have such teachers. Men who are not descended of the Edain, living far from the northwestern coast, have only their own experiences to go by. They were seduced into the service of Morgoth in the first age, and if they ever received any instruction from the Ainur after the War of Wrath, it was forgotten to the years. Sauron is the greatest Power they know of, and has likely lied to them to convince them that he is the ''only'' great Power that exists, and as their God-King, they have no choice but to obey him. Sam himself wonders at one point what lies they had been told to take them so far from their homes to die in battle -- so even the characters know that the "evil" men are merely being deceived on a national scale.
** Every temptation in the book is stronger to the characters than it would be to real people. Without being able to feel the supernatural forces behind them, the allure of the One Ring seems easy to ignore, and the voice of Saruman as he tries to convince Théoden to switch sides again just sounds silly.
** Also, note that at least some of the human allies of Sauron had really big trouble with the "good" nations, especially Númenóreans and their descendants, due to the colonialist arrogance of the latter. Remember for example Dunlendings that were driven off their lands by the Rohirrim. So, in the opinion of the Haradrim, joining evil Sauron was the least evil - think Finland in WWII or the numerous volunteers from Ukraine who fought alongside Nazis even though they knew that the Nazis considered Slavic peoples as inferior to Aryans.

* The elves gave Frodo, Bilbo, and Gimli permission to go over the Sea with them. But was permission really theirs to give? The Valar get really snippy about Men coming over to see them, and hobbits are basically Men by lineage. They might have been in for an unpleasant surprise when they arrived.
** In the case of Bilbo and Frodo, don't forget Gandalf was there too and he may have already known exception had been granted for the Ring Bearers, he may have even been informed of such when going back to get his new body and becoming Gandalf the White.
** Also, there's no indication that Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli were given the gift of immortal life like Tuor was. Most likely they were allowed to live out their days in the closest thing Middle-Earth has to Heaven as a reward for their service to Eru/the Valar.
** Tolkien explicitly states that Frodo and Bilbo died. It's unclear about Gimli. Plus, they never actualy went to the Undying Lands themselves, but the island just outside, so immortality wasn't necessary. Arwen claimed to give up her place for Frodo, and Gandalf then interceded on his behalf.
* The Valar either can't grant immortality to mortals or choose not to. Setting foot in the Undying Lands doesn't actually let you cheat death, but mortals are nevertheless still not allowed in.
** Leave us not forget the Gift of Men, that allows men to die and leave Arda. For a mortal to travel to the Undying Lands is to give in to Morgoth's perversion of the Gift, and fear the right to leave the world at death. Aragorn rightly receives his Gift at the end of his life as a reward earned, not a doom inflicted. Why would the Elves allow any of the Fellowship to refuse the greatest gift Ilúvatar could grant? As I recall, the Elves/Maia/etc were jealous that the souls of men were not tied to Arda for all time. (An extremely special "Well then I'm not going!" exception was granted in Beren & Luthien's case.)

* Why are the Númenóreans considered so special? I mean, the original reason for this was because they were descended from Elf and human royalty, and their kings were blessed with long lives by Eru or something, but that was thousands of years ago. Simple genetics would show that by the time of ''TheLordOfTheRings'', ''[[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale every]]'' [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale Man alive would be descended from the Númenóreans]], so having Dúnedain ancestry shouldn't be at all remarkable. Elros was essentially the Middle-earth equivalent of Y-Chromosomal Adam. Shouldn't all Men have centuries-long lifespans and friendship with Elves by this point?
** Extended lifespans and physical hardiness are things you only get if you've got ''very'' pure Dúnedain blood (and wisdom and knowledge are probably a function of the longer lifespans and greater experience, rather than something purely inborn)- Aragorn's got it, and some of the noble houses of Gondor, but otherwise, while you're right that there probably ''are'' lots and lots of Men with some Dúnedain ancestry, there are ''maybe'' a couple hundred at most actual Dúnedain left by the time of LOTR. And friendship with Elves isn't genetic- there've been plenty of Dúnedain who envied the Elves and didn't get along with them at all (looking at ''you'', Ar-Pharazôn...)
** Not all Númenóreans were descended from the royal line (although the royals lived quite a bit longer than the "normal" Númenóreans). The long lifespan is essentially a gift from the Valar for supporting the Elves in the war against Morgoth. The reduction in lifespan wasn't a simple matter of genetics (in the Appendix, it's mentioned that a civil war was fought in Gondor over a "half-breed" king who lived about as long as his ancestors, indicating in part what Tolkien thought of the matter), but rather it's just the "changiness" of Middle-Earth. The tragedy of the Valar is that Morgoth has "marred" Arda from the beginning, so all of their works will fail in some manner or another (although the failure itself might be much more wondrous than the initial plan); this was no exception.
*** All Númenóreans had far longer lives than ordinary Men, just the royal clan (descendants of Elros and so having a significant percent of Elven genes) lived up to 300-400 years, while commoners [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld only]] lived a bit more than 200 years. It's in the ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales'', the story of King Aldarion and Erendis: he lived to be 398 years old and reigned for 192 of them, while she, as a commoner, lived only 214 years. Their daughter, Queen Ancalimë (half-Elrosian by genes), lived 412 years.
** Númenórean royalty has actual divine blood. They're descended from Thingol and Melian, who begat Lùthien, who married Beren, they begat Dior, who begat Elwing, who married Eärendil, son of Tuor and Idril. THEIR sons were Elrond (whom you know) and Elros (first King of Nùmenor).
** So, yeah, they're special. They're descended from third-rank deities. (Eru > Valar > Maiar) And also from half the named characters in the Silmarillion. That special enough? (Okay, I hate the trope of "everyone who's involved in the writing of History comes from the same, unbroken line of descent". But it wasn't trite when Tolkien did it, and moreover he did it well. Mythology and all that. Still, UnfortunateImplications that you can only be important by birth or association with someone who is.)
*** It's not unfortunate implications. It has been simple reality within many cultures in history. Look at historical monarchies, for example. Many people weren't considered important, unless they happened to be born into the family line in power. That's not Tolkien saying it's morally correct. It's simply how many cultures have worked. Only the rich being educated and only those educated know how to document history. In fact, there's quite a significant subversion of this trope you hate in LOTR. Frodo isn't royalty or from any powerful bloodline and, yet, he's the one who wrote down the account of much of the events that leads to us reading about it.
**** Actually, a class system in the Shire, with the Bagginses as members of its gentry, is made pretty clear in the books. For starters, according to the “Concerning Hobbits” part of the prologue of ''Fellowship'', it was “only the richest and poorest hobbits that maintained the old custom” of hole-dwelling. Bilbo’s father, Bungo, built Bag End, which probably cost a pretty penny (or farthing, what have you). As well, the Gamgees are servants to them, with Samwise often addressing Frodo formally or referring to him as his master. There’s ''also'' the fact that Bilbo is considerably wealthy after his return from Erebor, which may have meant Frodo experienced a life of privilege as his adopted heir (we certainly don’t ever hear of him working in the fields like plenty of other hobbits do). However, the norm in the Shire concerning education is unclear, so it may be that Bilbo and Frodo received no more than would anyone else. For instance, after Frodo departs to the Undying Lands, Sam easily takes it upon himself to continue writing in the Red Book, so even he, a gardener’s son, is certainly literate. OTOH, it's worth noting that the other two hobbits on the journey to destroy the One Ring, Merry and Pippin, are both heirs to the ''very'' prominent Brandybuck and Took families.
**** Re-subverted when you consider that Tolkien thought Samwise was the real hero of the story, and he was the son of a gardener.
** Elros (founder of Númenorian royal line, Elrond's brother) was not Y-chromosomal Adam, he was the equivalent of King Alfred the Great of England. There were three entire tribes of Elf-Friendly or enlightened Men in the First Age who had come from the East and fought in the war against Morgoth. Many were killed in doing so. Elros and Elrond were the descendents of the leaders of these branches, as well as of the Maia Melian, the leaders of the elves who never went to the promised land, and at least one branch of the elves who went to the promised land but came back. Also, remember that in the semi-medieval world that Tolkien created (where Eru takes a subtle but active hand in the world), the Divine Right of Kings is a real thing. The Kings are the wisest, most able, literally God-gifted amongst their people. This is not to say that there still weren't many people who the Kings, you know, ruled over. Elros and Elrond were the descendents of nearly all the greatest beings of the First Age on elven and mannish sides and were given the choice of their fate, and were very wise and good beings themselves. Elros chose Men and was therefore made King of the remnants of the three branches of Men that had fought in the War. After the innumerable tragedies of the War and the loss of most of the developed continent, the Valar wanted to reward the surviving Men but couldn't because they are mortal, so they made an island half way to the promised land for Men to live on. These men are the Númenorians. There were other Men who did not fight in the war or did not go to the island, and those are the other Men in Middle-Earth. So the line of Elros was just the royal line, not the entirety of the Númenorian people. It's in the Silmarillion.

* The palantíri. What was the ultimate fate of the last one? To recap, the palantíri were placed at: Minas Ithil (captured by Sauron, presumably lost in the destruction of Barad-dûr), Osgiliath (lost during the Gondorian Kin-Strife), Minas Anor (intact, but with a bad case of "burn-in"), Orthanc (intact), two in Arnor (lost during the downfall of same), and the last was in the Tower Hills west of the Shire, presumably in the hands of the Elves. When the keepers of the Three Rings and the ringbearers of the One Ring set sail at the end of the story, they take the Tower Hills palantír with them. Why would they do that? The palantíri weren't made with the now-powerless Three Rings, and we see every indication that the stones still work. We know that Aragorn is in possession of the Orthanc stone. You'd think he would have use for a palantír in the newly-reestablished realm of Arnor, to facilitate easier communication between the distant kingdoms. But no, the Elves decide to be dicks, and take away ''the'' '''one''' ''other intact and fully-functional stone!'' And if Valinor really was "removed beyond the cirlces of the Earth," it's not like they could've used the Tower Hills stone where they were going, anyway.
** The Tower Hills stone was permanently affixed westward, towards Valinor and Númenor (i.e., the "straight road"). It was a reminder to the Dúnedain of what they had lost in the Downfall. With the Age of Men at hand, no one remaining had any need for it.

* What was Sauron planning to do if he won the war? Seriously, then what? Was he planning to eventually [[OmnicidalManiac just kill everyone]]? Was he just doing it ForTheEvulz? What was his next step?
** To rule the world after conquering it. Sauron was not an OmnicidalManiac (though his predecessor, Morgoth, was), nor was he doing it ForTheEvulz. His desires are for power, control, and an ordered system with himself at the pinnacle. Might as well ask what any human dictator would do in the same situation.
*** But that's just it: most of the really evil human dictators of history (your Lenins, Stalins, Hitlers, Maos, etc.) were driven by some ''ideology'' that generally informed their drives for power. If you had asked Mao why he was killing tens of millions of Chinese people, he would have been able to give you an answer about building the Communist future, the need to remake Chinese culture, create the new Socialist Man, etc. In other words, most of the great monsters of history ''believed'' in something. Conquerors like Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, or Cyrus the Great were all driven by colossal ambition and lust for power, and they certainly killed a lot of people, and harmed many more, in the course of building their respective empires, but they also did a lot of good things too. After all, once you rule a country, even, or rather especially, if you rule it as an absolute dictator, its interests become your interests: you want the empire you rule to be peaceful (at least internally) and prosperous. If Sauron is just an ordinary empire-builder like Alexander the Great, that doesn't really fit well with the whole Dark Lord, altogether evil, Devil-{{expy}} image that the novels are clearly trying to create for him. What does Sauron believe in?
*** What does Sauron believe in? Per WordOfGod, order and himself. He plays a longer game than a human dictator would (on account of being immortal and all) and on a broader scope than most, but he ''does'' have an ideology, albeit a fairly straigtfoward one. To Sauron's mind, order is good, an ordered world is desirable, and he alone is fit to bring it about. Of course, he's extreme enough that if he won, it would pretty much mean the elimination of free will for everyone else- note that his most favored servants, the Nazgûl, had been turned into little more than extensions of his own will and you have some idea of what his ideal follower is like. Also, he's ''not'' Middle-Earth's devil, though he did work for him [[DragonWithAnAgenda to advance his own ends]]- the "devil imagery" is partly inhereted from Morgoth, and partly a function of the fact that he is, effectively, a FallenAngel.
**** That's a perfectly reasonable answer, but it does lead to a paradoxical outcome. You appear to be suggesting that Sauron wants to eliminate free will because he believes that that is the only way to eliminate evil. In Sauron's world, everyone would presumably be all good all the time, because they would have no choice in the matter. In this conception, Sauron is actually a KnightTemplar, and is not altogether evil. (That would actually fit with Tolkien's religious beliefs, since Catholics, following Augustine and Aquinas, generally do not believe that anything that exists could ever be totally evil.)
**** Tolkien didn't believe Sauron was purely evil, though he did believe he was about as close to it as a thinking being can be. To Tolkien, evil isn't a "thing" so much as it is the absence of a thing (like darkness is the absence of light, or cold the absence of heat- evil would therefore be the absence of good, and therefore of God). Pure evil, in Tolkien's mind, would be a void- Sauron has very, very little good left in him, and what is there is warped, but as a rational, thinking being, even he can't be completely corrupted. "Nothing is evil in the beginning- even Sauron was not so".
*** Also, a key point that seperates Sauron from human dictators- many of history's worst tyrants (Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot all come to mind) were on some level patriots whose obsessive love for their countries was a motivator for their atrocities- but Sauron does not love Mordor. He is older by far than Mordor as a nation is, and he has no empathy whatsoever for his subjects. He is a calculated, largely rational evil with specific goals, but he would gladly sacrifice any of his servants if he knew that was what would take to reach his goals. Even Hitler was a human ruling over other humans, but Sauron is an immortal and, to his own mind, a god ruling over lesser beings- no matter what atrocities he has to commit, no matter how many of his worshippers or followers die, he'd think it was worth it if it brought him closer to reshaping the world in his own image. ''That's'' why this guy is evil.
**** What you are saying is technically true, but only technically. The individuals in question were so lacking in empathy for others, including their own followers, that they never had any qualms about sacrificing them in unspeakably large numbers in order to accomplish their political goals. And most of them were arrogant to the point that it would not be inaccurate to say that they believed themselves to be gods ruling over lesser beings.
**** Sauron, though, doesn't even have the illusions in those regards- to him, mortal lives would exist in an eyeblink even without his interference. There's a difference, I think, between a mortal megalomaniac who believes himself godlike and a semidivine immortal who knows full well he is a different order of being from his minions and can convince them he is God with minimal effort. It's not so much a difference of type, though, as it is of degree- Sauron is Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao with immortality, magic, and absolutely no illusions about the effects of what he does (at least regarding how his actions effect others). He's the archetypical, mythic, "pure" conqueror and tyrant as it were.

* Why on Middle-Earth did Saruman reveal his betrayal to Gandalf? Even assuming that Gandalf didn't escape from the roof of Orthanc, what would this achieve? Why not feign continued friendship and loyalty to the Istari and the White Council and go with Gandalf to Rivendell? Then he can join the fellowship and say 'Hey, we can cross the Misty Mountains most easily at the Gap of Rohan, and while we're there, we can stop at Isengard to rest and refit.' The Ring would have fallen into his hands like a ripe apple. How does imprisoning Gandalf bring Saruman any closer to getting the Ring?
** Saruman did not know they were going to form a fellowship and try and get the Ring to Mordor. The whole plot rests on the idea that the bad guys ''do not even consider this''. As for why he reveals it to Gandalf? I don't know if they changed it from the books, but in the movies, Saruman is explicitly trying to get Gandalf on his side.
** In both books and films, Saruman plainly wants Gandalf to join him, presumably as his Dragon. Gandalf would obviously need to know the general shape of Saruman's schemes to become a willing participant in them. It's only when Gandalf refuses that Saruman imprisons him, in both versions, since he can't have him wandering around and telling everyone that Saruman's a traitor. And as stated above, it's absolutely central to both the plot and the themes that the bad guys could never concieve of anyone willingly trying to destroy the Ring. As far as Saruman knows, he's already ''been'' privy to the most important plans of the Wise and has no need to go to Rivendell to learn more.
*** Even if you are both right that it couldn't possibly have occurred to Saruman that they might have tried to destroy the Ring, it surely occurred to him that the Ring would be on its way to Rivendell! Going there gives him the chance to get near the Ring and possibly engineer the circumstances by which it would fall into his hands. He can always try to subvert Gandalf after he has the Ring.
** While no one's figured out Saruman's motives until he reveals them to Gandalf, going to Rivendell in person means that the disjointed parts and pieces (his dealings in the Shire and Bree, his misleading of the White Council, his actions towards Gondor and Rohan) have a chance to show his treachery in full (and in a town full of people powerful enough to oppose him). In addition, things are moving quickly, and a soujourn to Rivendell would leave a strong chance of him being cut off from the base of his power in Isengard.
** To put it in perspective, Gandalf by his lonesome Saruman can handle (at least before Gandalf's rebirth as the White). But at Rivendell he's exposing himself to Gandalf ''and'' Elrond ''and'' Glorfindel ''and'' the possibility that someone else like Galadriel might decide to put in a showing- and that's just talking the mystical heavyweights, not ordinary warriors like Aragorn. If Saruman's treachery comes out in that company, he's toast, and he knows it.
*** Again, even if you are both right, why would anyone suspect Saruman at that point? Gandalf goes to Isengard trusting him implicitly and thinks of him as a good friend. Neither Elrond nor Galadriel nor anyone else is likely to accuse him of treason without ironclad proof, of which there was none. ''We know'', having read the novels and all the background materials, that there were already signs of Saruman's betrayal, but really they didn't know. All he had to do was say the right things about how Sauron had to be defeated and that the only way to do that was to destroy the Ring, which was a vital necessity. If Galadriel had shown up, and had started making accusations, she would have looked like the bad one. As it is, what was Saruman's plan, exactly:
-->1. Attack Rohan.
-->2. ????
-->3. Get Ring.
*** You're missing one key thing: He was trying to bring Gandalf in ''as an ally''. He thought he could get Gandalf on his side before all that. That's why he reveals it at all--when Gandalf first refuses, then escapes, then he has to modify his plans. His original plan was
-->1. Get Gandalf on my side
-->2. Get Gandalf to retrieve the ring and bring it to me directly
**** But why would he think that would work? He knows perfectly well that Gandalf is coming to him for help in ''stopping'' Sauron. Why would he expect that Gandalf would betray everything he stands for all of a sudden, out of nowhere? On top of which, it's a huge gamble: he's staking everything on Gandalf behaving in a way that is completely out of character. What's his backup plan for getting the Ring if Gandalf says no? Plus which, what if Gandalf does agree to retrieve the Ring and bring it to Saruman? Such an agreement could never be trusted, because once the Gandalf ''has'' the Ring he'd never give it up: that's the whole point of the Ring. Saruman, expert on the subject that he is, has to know that. And with the Ring, Gandalf would almost certainly be more powerful than Saruman. The only person Saruman can trust to retrieve the Ring and bring it to him is he himself.
*** Listen to the dialogue: Saruman starts out by saying it's later, and the situation more dire, than Gandalf thought it was. His argument was along the lines of, "Look, it's too late. Sauron's going to win whatever we do, so we should just join up with him." And don't forget that Saruman has been palantíring with Sauron--something that's been shown to drive people a little batty and screw with their heads (see Denethor). Simply put? Saruman is no longer playing with a full deck.
**** Yes, I know what Saruman's argument to Gandalf was. But that doesn't really answer my questions: why would Saruman really have believed that would work and what was his back-up plan if it didn't, and if it did work, how could he trust Gandalf to bring him the Ring instead of keeping it for himself. Your real argument is that Saruman was just stupid (which was my point) from palantíring with Sauron. The problem with saying that, well, yes, Saruman was just stupid is that he's also ''the'' major antagonist from the time the Fellowship leaves Rivendell until the end of ''TheTwoTowers''.
*** What do you want? If Saruman and Sauron had developed back-up plan after back-up plan, and had contingencies for everything, ''they would have won''. At some point, the villains have to have significant flaws or else there's no story. In this case, the major flaw of the villains is they do not understand the heroes and their motivations, and this is exactly an example of that: Saruman thinks he can get Gandalf on his side with offers of power.
**** There is a backup plan: torture Gandalf for information about the ring's location. Also, bear in mind that Saruman is doing a rush-job: he knows that the Nazgûl are hunting for the ring (they turn up at Isengard soon after Gandalf escapes).
** Why would Saruman know that the ring is being moved? It's still in the Shire at that point, and the plan to leave that autumn was kept pretty secret. It's possible (maybe even probable, depending how often he's getting reports) that he doesn't even know Frodo's planning to move to Buckland. Remember that Gandalf arrives to ask his advice about what to do about the ring. If he can threaten Gandalf into helping or giving intelligence, his agents can grab the ring easily. If not, he's still in a good position compared to the Nazgul (he knows where the Shire is, has people on the ground, and is much nearer) - he's really worried when they do turn up at Isengard, because they're now heading in the right direction.

* The mithril shirt. It is described as "lose-woven of many rings, as supple almost as linen, cold as ice, and harder than steel." Key descriptor here: "as supple almost as linen." So, it is flexible, and apparently thin enough to be worn under clothes without adding much bulk (in the film adaptation it was basically a light t-shirt, which he wore under his entirely unremarkable clothing.) Now, the problem with this is that, no matter how steel-hard the individual rings in the chain mail are, something ''that'' supple and ''that'' thin is only going to wrap around weapons, blunting their sharp edges but doing ''nothing'' to the force behind them. And even a blunted spear, with sufficient weight behind it, can run through skin and muscle tissue and break bones. While the mithril shirt ''itself'' wouldn't be pierced by the orc spear in the battle of Balin's Tomb, a "cloth" of metal as light and flexible as linen would still be pushed into Frodo's body -- the heavy blow of the spear should have burst his internal organs at best, or it should have run him through (with the un-pierced front of the shirt meeting the back) at worst. But all Frodo got was the wind knocked out of him. Chain mail is designed to stop attacks with blades, and any arrows fired at Frodo would lose their momentum upon striking it; for that matter, an orc ''slashing'' at it would probably knock Frodo aside. But the shirt doesn't have the rigidity to deflect, or the padding to absorb, so much blunt force applied to such a tiny surface. So how exactly does mithril chain mail work, that it can reduce blunt force so drastically? Does it instantaneously generate tension at the point of impact to prevent wrapping around the weapon?
** Good point, but when Frodo is hit by the spear, he does not just have "the wind knocked out of him". It's made clear that the rings were pushed into him, causing severe bruising that was "sore to the touch for many days" and requiring that Frodo be carried for a while. Tolkien realized that the shirt wouldn't make Frodo invulnerable, but as for why the injury was not worse, call it elven magic.
** He's explicitly wearing leather under the mail to spread the force of blows, and the rings are still driven through into his skin. He's incredibly lucky not to break ribs, though.

* There are several passes explicitly mentioned in Fellowship through the Misty Mountains -- there's the High Pass (Caradhas), Moria, and the Gap of Rohan. However, looking at the helpful map in the front, I notice there's another way- the Old Forest Road, east of Rivendell. Now, it may have been stated or implied in the text and I missed it (though I read through the chapter on the Council of Elrond like three times looking for reference), but why didn't they take that road and avoid the rather perilous Caradhas/Moria? Did they just want to stay away from Mirkwood as possible?
** The High Pass isn't Caradhas, it's the one taken in The Hobbit, leading to the Old Forest Road. On that route, there's still a risk of orc ambush in the mountains, though it's safer than Moria, but if they go through the forest, they miss out Lothlórien, then have to travel several hundred miles through the open country east of Mirkwood, an area under Sauron's effective control. They could turn south as soon as they cross the mountains, but the range bends south-west. Moria isn't far off due south of Rivendell, but on the east side of the mountains they'd need to head slightly westwards to reach Lothlórien, adding days to their journey.
** Also, if they were to head over that pass but then turn south and follow the river, you come to the Gladden Fields, which was being watched by Sauron because that was where Isildur was slain and the Ring lost. That route would have alerted the enemy to their prescence.
** December. They expect the pass at Caradhras to be far enough south to be clear of snow, which implies that the northern passes will not be. Imagine the drifts on Caradhras going on for miles, and you'll get some idea of why it's not an option. And they daren't wait for spring, because the snow is at its most dangerous for avalanches and such once the thaw starts: it may be April or May before the High Pass is safe again.

* Are weapons that turn blue when orcs are around all that desirable? Under some circumstances, yes, but couldn't they in fact prove counterproductive, giving your location away in the darkness?
** Nobody in their right mind would delve into an orc-infested cave with such a sword. Or into any orc den in general. I always got the impression that the swords were meant to be used on the surface where daylight or any possible encampments would already give your position away to the oncoming orcs, and the elves who carried them always had a non-magical spare, or avoided the thickest hordes all together.
** Remember that these swords were forged in Gondolin, an Elven nation of the First Age, which was hidden in a deep mountain valley and only accessible by hidden undergound passageways. The Elves of Gondolin rarely left their hidden valley, so most of their conflicts would have been defensive in nature. They would fight against raiding parties, but they wouldn't proactively go hunting Orcs. Swords that glow as Orcs approach could be a very valuable early-warning system in those situations. Also, glowing wasn't the ''only'' things the swords did; the light also produced a subtle magical effect which would instill any Orc who saw it with tremendous, often-paralyzing fear. Finally, since Gondolin was one of the most powerful nations of the First Age, and ''knew it,'' it could also be a nod to the suicidal overconfidence of Elves in battle. "Screw staying hidden; we're the ''freaking Firstborn!'' Die, Goblin Scum!"

* Why Saruman deems it wise to keep prisoners on top of his tower? Wouldn't it be more secure to hide his captives deep within the caves that run under Isengard, where there certainly are more than enough locked doors, maze-like tunnels and hordes of Uruk-Hai to see that the prisoner stays put? Sure, the tower lacks a door, but it's still exposed to the surrounding enviroment. What's keeping his prisoners from receiving an airborne rescue like in Gandalf's case, or in a more darker tone, [[DrivenToSuicide falling to their deaths]] if they're desperate enough? What if they fall sick, or freeze to death? And if Saruman is the only one who can teleport to the rooftop, wouldn't the prisoner starve if he'd have to leave Isengard for more pressing matters for more than few days at the most?
** The threat of death by starvation, thirst, or exposure is ''precisely'' the point of such imprisonment. It's meant to ''break'' prisoners' wills so they'd be more easily swayed over by Saruman's compelling voice the next time he visits. As for airborne rescues, the Eagles aren't exactly at Gandalf's beck and call, and since very few people on Middle Earth even KNOW they exist, let alone how to summon them, such escapes are a virtual impossibility.

* I would imagine that Sauron knows of the plan to sneak the Ring into Mordor and destroy it at Mount Doom at least by the time he has formed a solid alliance with Saruman (who certainly knew this). What reason, apart from your garden variety villain overconfidence, would Sauron have ''not'' to have round-the-clock guard at the entrance to the cavern into Mount Doom? Maybe have a nice solid locked iron gate built there while you are at it. Having, say, twenty orcs guarding the site wouldn't be too much of a drain on his attack forces.
** Because Sauron did ''not'' know of the plan to destroy the Ring (and, so far as I'm aware, neither did Saruman, who defected prior to the Council of Elrond). In fact, the book explicitly makes the point that Sauron could never imagine why someone would want to destroy the Ring, [[EvilCannotComprehendGood since throwing away such a tremendous source of power is so completely antithetical to the way he views the world]] (and note that he's not entirely wrong- at the Crack of Doom, with the Ring's power at its height, it seems that no one could work up the will to deliberately destroy it- Frodo certainly couldn't). When Frodo puts the Ring on in Sammath Naur and Sauron realizes both that he's there and the only possible reason for it, he ''freaks out'', because it's a danger that would never have occurred to him. So far as he'd been aware up to that point, either Aragorn or Gandalf had (and was using) the Ring.

* I can understand why Legolas is never referred to as a prince (beyond being named once or twice as 'the son of Thranduil') - as the Elves are immortal, Legolas would most likely not be expected to become King for thousands of years, if at all. However, it bugs me a little that Gimli is never referred to as anything close to royalty. At the time of the War of the Ring, he's sixth in line to the throne (fourth discounting Balin and Oin, who no one at this point knew to be dead). It stands to reason Gimli would be extremely important, yet the books and films never imply he's anything more than an ordinary Dwarf. Did this bug anyone else?
** 1) We only even see or hear Prince used in its older sense of ruler of a (semi-)independant principality. Prince for the sons of kings is a relatively modern courtesy title. And, at least for the dwarves, if you're going to allow nephews and cousins, half the cast of The Hobbit should get courtesy titles of some sort.
** 2) There's a recurrent theme that good guys don't make too much of a fuss about titles. Elrond and Celeborn both have rock-solid claims to call themselves kings (and Galadriel can make a claim for Queen regnant as well as consort). Even Lord is often restricted to rulers, or to people the speaker is sucking up to (Eomer, Faramir and Boromir are all often addressed without titles by subordinates or in formal situations).

* Why did no one taunt the Mouth of Sauron when he mentioned only 1 prisoner? They could have boasted:"''You have only 1 prisoner!?! And since you showed us the Mithril coat that means if he had the Elven Blade Sting you would have showed that and Phial as well! Sounds like the other Assassin got through and took the Hobbit's favorite sword Sting and his Phial and left him for your agents to find and sped straight off to Barad-dur to assassinate and is now halfway between Mount Doom and Barud-dur. Let me repeat already half way between it. better yet closer to Barad-dur than he is to Mount Doom. You brought the armies of Mordor here I'm assuming and left your precious master's Dark Tower undefended? Your even stupider than I thought! Better get your entire armies to Barad-dur and start searching for the Assassin because by the time you get there he'll be almost within shooting distance from your Dark Tower!''"
** There's a trope called JustBetweenYouAndMe for when the villain stupidly gloats about the genius of their plan and how the heroes never saw it coming, as well as all the intricate steps and subtle manipulations. This inevitably ends with the hero realizing the danger they're in and foiling the villain's plan. Just switch the words "villain" and "hero" for the above and that's what would have happened if the heroes taunted.
*** Plus taunting a foe is more of a villain thing, or ChaoticGood. Neither of which describe any of the main heroes of this story.
*** Also telling him all that would be really stupid, considering the whole point of the attack on the Black Gates was to draw Sauron's attention ''away'' from the Hobbits. Telling them, "One of them is still alive in there!" is the complete and exact opposite of the whole point of the expedition. It's like doing a magic trick and "taunting" your audience by saying, "Ah, but you're not looking at how I'm palming the ball in my other hand!"

* So Aragorn is a Badass Heir To The Throne Ranger who has spent entire decades wandering the Wild, defending the helpless from forces of evil beyond understanding. So shouldn't he at least carry more than [[LegendaryWeapon the broken shards of his ancestor's sword]] in his sheath? He even lampshades it to Sam in the inn when they first meet ("Not much use, eh, Sam?"). ''How did he live this long'' without a functioning weapon? Or does he carry another sword in his pack that we never get to read about?
** Aragorn spent some years in the armies of Gondor and Rohan under a pseudonym, where he presumably was issued weapons. When he was taking Frodo to Rivendell, he probably had a knife on him, since he said he could hunt game if needed. As to whether he carried the broken sword at all other times... the text doesn't really say if he did or didn't. But it may be worth noting that even after his sword is repaired, Aragorn is said to be lightly equipped like a typical Ranger, until before the siege of Helm's Deep where he borrowed some armor. When some other Rangers appear before the siege of Gondor, they're also heavily armed and armored. It may be that the Rangers usually engaged in scouting and spying and only "suited up" in their hideouts to fight the occasional goblin or troll band that ventured within their areas. This is in contrast to the Rangers of Gondor led by Faramir, who appeared to be a unit of the standing army.
* After Theoden leaves control of Rohan with Eowyn, she just leaves too. So who was left in charge?
[[/folder]]
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!!Adaptations of ''The Lord of the Rings'':
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[[folder:Animated Adaptations]]
* In the 1977 ''WesternAnimation/TheHobbit'' movie, in the song where the party is captured by goblins, why the fuck do they all run right into the exact cave that the ponies just got dragged into? They clearly realized from the start that it was goblins at work. Seems like the only sensible thing to do would be to get the hell away from that cave, not run right into it, regardless of the ponies. Here's a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPkqjc23yqs&feature=related link]] to the song if you've never seen it.
** Weren't all their supplies on those ponies? They were a little too far up in the mountains to make it back without any food. Not to mention that Thorin the exile and his compatriots could only afford to fund ''one'' expedition. If they lose all their resources, then even if they avoid starvation on the trip back they've still failed in their quest.
*** On closer inspection, Thorin actually shouts something like ''protect the ponies'', it's just really badly muffled by the music.
**** He says "The goblins are upon us! Save the ponies from the goblins!"
* Why do Goblins have [[BizarreAlienBiology two throats]]? Does it have something to do with their [[MusicalWorldHypotheses singing ability?]]
[[/folder]]
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[[folder:Peter Jackson's Adaptation of ''The Lord of the Rings'']]

[[WMG: Any reason why Gandalf loses several centimeters of beard when transformed into Gandalf the White]]
* What the Hell? The longer the beard, the better.
** The same reason his hair turns white and he gets greater magical powers.
*** In this case, I think we can safely assume, AWizardDidIt.

[[WMG: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr_i2w0W-ZM The Opening Scene]]]]
Sauron clearly bashes Isildor's dad into a cliff, and that is where he gets his finger cut off and subsequently explodes. But, when they show the explosion, the two are clearly in the middle of a mob of Orcs, and there's not a cliff in sight.

[[WMG:I do remember there's a more or less decent explanation in the book as Frodo's first brush with the ring happens differently, but in the film, do the patrons of the Prancing Pony have short attention spans or what? The ring falls onto Frodo's outstretched finger. Everyone reacts with the sort of shock you'd expect and stare down at the empty space. He's invisible for no more than about ten seconds. Yet by the time he takes the thing off everyone's forgotten all about it and is chatting mildly as if nothing has happened.]]
** The patrons of the (movie) Prancing Pony are drinking copious amounts of beer of the Prancing Pony. Would you care about such trivial a thing as a vanishing midget if your tankard was running empty ? Priorities, man. Priorities.
*** Maybe they were at stage that he didn't vanished but changed into white mouse?
** We're seen that all sorts of folks come into the pracing pony (the bartender knows Gandalf and he's a wizard), what's to say that the people in there haven't seen something like a vanishing person before? They might be surprised that someone decided to up and vanish but once he has they would be like "Oh, ok, he's just ones of THOSE folks. Back to the drinks!"
*** For that matter, hobbits are well-known for being able to blend into the countryside. Possibly the bar patrons saw him vanish, gawked a bit, then quipped, "Wow, that's the fastest-hiding hobbit I've ever seen!", and went on drinking.

[[WMG:Two things bugged me about the entry to Moria. One, why didn't Gandalf tell the Fellowship 'oh hey, I've heard Khazad-dûm isn't exactly a swinging place these days? They could still have chosen it as the least treacherous route, but it seems somehow cruel to let Gimli build up their expectations of feasting and fun for no good reason. And two, how did Gimli not realize something was up a lot sooner? Okay, maybe the lighting was bad and they didn't see the dwarven ''bones'', but shouldn't he have noticed it was awfully quiet?]]
** The dwarf who attempted to retake Khazad-dûm was a family friend. Gimli was far too optimistic about it. In the books, the entire Fellowship was aware that Moria was a hellhole, but it was literally their only route.
** Balin was Gimli's cousin, and in the books he states that part of the reason he wants to go through Moria is to find out what happened to Balin and the others who tried to retake the place.

[[WMG:After the victory on the Pelennor Fields, they hold a council to decide what to do next. Present are Gandalf and his cronies (Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Pippin) and King �omer. No-one is there to represent Gondor or Minas Tirith (surely Denethor had deputies beyond Faramir?)]]
It's just not believable that a city that was taught to see "Gandalf Stormcrow" as an untrustworthy villain would all of sudden accept him and his protégé as their leaders, and follow them on a suicide mission, the purpose of which was not explained to them.
** Actually, Stormcrow was a nickname given to Gandalf by Theoden. In Gondor, they refer to him as Mithrandir, Sindarian for the Grey Pilgrim.
** Which is why [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation some of us]] believe the entire War of the Ring was a [[EvilPlan fairy tale]] cooked up by ManipulativeBastard Gandalf in order to effect [[TheChessmaster regime change]] across Western Middle Earth while siezing control of the pipeweed trade. And it worked!
** In the original the city is under the command of another Gondorian noble (Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth). Considering the movies seem to mess up any social hierarchy and relationships, taking away the reasons for some and making up other things, this is one among many. "''Why don't the elves come to help us Rohirrim?''"/"''yadda-honor-Last Alliance-yadda''" Remember that to you elves are fearsome mythical creatures you better stay away from? The ancestors of the people that would ''eventually'' become the Rohirrim had no part whatsoever in the Last Alliance? Damn, the conscious memory of your nation has things half a millenia ago filed under "ancient times, mists of", and the Last Alliance was ''over three thousand years'' ago! "''Why should we help Gondor?''" Oh, perhaps because that is the ''rent you pay'' for living in the Gondorian province Calenardhon?
*** In an interview, Peter Jackson and the writers talk about how they wanted to add in Imrahil, but it seemed like too late in the game to add in another main character.
*** They also ''claimed'' that they wanted Imrahil to be played by Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger.
** The stage version resolve the Council of the Captains of the West scene.
--> Aragorn: Hey! Who are you?
--> Imrahil: I am Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth.
--> Are you important enough to be in the movie?
--> Imrahil: No.
--> Aragorn: Fuck off then.
**** Really technically, Imrahil is in the movie but never named and never given his due, he's that unnamed guy who seems like a sergeant at times and as a whiny fairy at others (he says "It is as the Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he foreseen this Doom!") who survives far longer than an unnamed character has any right to.
**** No, that's Irolas, an original character. He was going to be Beregond, but they decided he wasn't worthy of the character.

[[WMG:What is Merry doing at the battle at the Black Gate towards the end? I mean, I get how affecting it is to have the remaining members of the Fellowship there and all. Just a nitpick that if Éowyn is stuck in the Houses of Healing, Merry should be too.]]
** Merry didn't get his arm broken, just magically burned/shocked and a little bit squashed. He would have been fine after a day or two rest.
** Hmm, not in the book he wasn't. I think it would have preserved the tension if Merry had stayed behind and Pippin, not Aragorn, fight the troll. But PJ loves his BigDamnHeroes so...
** Maybe after the stunt Éowyn pulled at Pelennor, Éomer told her she was under no circumstances going to go out fighting, and she decided to stay because hey, someones' got to keep Faramir company.



[[WMG: What is up with the moth?]]
Seriously. It's this random moth that is somehow connected to the Eagles? What?
* It was basically an AssPull by PJ to give some reason for the Eagle coming to save Gandalf from Orthanc with out having to include Radagast.
** It's a way for Gandalf to communicate with Gwaihir. Dur.

[[WMG: What idiot designed the fortress of Hornburg?]]
A long wall that forces the defenders to spread their forces thin while protecting...nothing at all. Flimsy gates that open inwards. No moat. No second line of fortifications. No war machines. No boiling tar. No people assigned with pushing ladders off the wall. A HUGE opening in the wall (what was its purpose anyway? Because if it as a water way, its the dumbest idea ever since it's just asking the invaders to block or poison it). I could go on.
* The opening is necessary because if you built a big wall there without any drainage, you'd get a ''dam''. The lack of war machines or boiling tar is a side effect of Rohan not having prepared for war until the last second, due to Théoden's Saruman-induced "inactivity". The other objections are valid.
** Well, I do not know is there is an individual designer or group of designers known, but it was very probably somebody at WETA. (In case you didn't just refer to the film: The fortess itself and its sister-fortress Isengard, each guarding one side of the Gap of Calenardhon (later Rohan), were built by the Gondorians. Also its build and the battle itself work a bit different in the original.)
** ''A long wall that forces the defenders to spread their forces thin while protecting...nothing at all.'' The wall prevents attackers from surrounding the keep and attacking it from multiple directions. The area beyond the wall also likely serves as a mustering point for massing troops; there doesn't appear to be much room inside the keep for horsemen or camping troops. The wall also provides a wide firing point for archers to rain arrows on attackers; if they'd all been restricted to the keep there wouldn't have been enough room on the walls for all of their archers to fire down at the enemy. Also, it allows for a greater concentration of ranged fire against any attacker. It's quite clear that the Hornburg was intended to be defended by a far larger force than the one the Rohirrim was able to muster - especially considering it was built by Gondor originally, who could easily muster the manpower to defend it.
** ''Flimsy gates that open inwards.'' The gates didn't seem that flimsy, considering they held up for what appears to be hours of constant hammering by rams and Uruk swords. They only broke inwards because the Uruks pounded them in.
** ''No moat.'' No moat in the book either. The lower area beneath the wall could probably be flooded if the fortress' garrison had considered it or had time to divert enough water to it. That said, fortresses don't ''require'' moats and a lot of historical ones didn't. This, like the bit below about war machines/tar, can be chalked up to Rohan being sabotaged by Saruman's meddling with Théoden's mind.
** ''No second line of fortifications.'' The keep is the second line of fortifications. The long wall is the first, and there's an inner keep as well. They probably could have built additional lines and walls along the valley, and IIRC there was a palisade or dirt wall at the entrance to the valley in the books.
*** Besides, even with PJ's elf army that arrived in the movie, they barely had enough men to set up a ''first'' line of fortifications.
** ''No war machines. No boiling tar.'' The fortress, along with Rohan in general, was not in any shape to fight in general thanks to Saruman mucking with Théoden's head. It's also questionable if Rohan has the technology to field catapults, ballistae, etc, considering their tech base. It is also notable that the Rohan army in the book didn't have these war machines or tar either, and that Jackson clearly did consider whether or not the defenders should have war machines, considering that Gondor had an array of trebuchets.
** ''No people assigned with pushing ladders off the wall.'' Pushing the ladders off the wall would be hard when you've got giant berserkers wielding enormous greatswords that are killing a half-dozen troops with a single swing of their weapons who are clearing away everyone from the tops of the ladders, and the individual Uruk-Hai infantry are an even match for the defenders. They're having trouble simply ''getting'' to the ladders in the first place, let alone pushing them over.
** ''A HUGE opening in the wall (what was its purpose anyway? Because if it as a water way, its the dumbest idea ever since it's just asking the invaders to block or poison it).'' It was a grating to let water drain out. Otherwise your fort gets flooded.
** That 'long wall that doesn't protect anything' seals off the box canyon above the fortress. These are the ''Riders'' of Rohan, who love their horses second only to their kin. And horses need pasturage and running water.
** Also: Didn't Saruman only just invent gunpowder to exploit that specific weakness? Before then, a small tight solid iron grating wouldn't have been so easy to breach. You'd have to go in with a saw, taking ages to get all the bars cut, by which time you could have been shot or stabbed to death from defenders on the other side.
*** Yes he did. In the books and in the movies it is clear that Grí­ma Wormtongue had never seen anything like gunpowder before in his life. Rohan's tech base had nothing like it for them to even know to defend against. For all they knew it was a very well defended weakness in their otherwise impenetrable wall.
* Bit of a point on the gates- It's actually very prudent they're hinged inwards- if they were hinged outwards a) every time you want to open them you have to have men running out into the open (not to mention getting in the way of anyone who wants to come in rather than being able to withdraw from the entrance as they open) and b) although the physics does aid a battering ram by having the gate open in the way you're battering it, it also aids the physics of barricading it shut- i.e it's a lot easier to push than to pull- running repairs like the one done in the film wouldn't be possible and you'd have to weaken the integrity of the gate's materials if you wanted to riddle it with holes for handles to pull on (and if the bolts went right through the gate the Uruk-hai wouldn't need to bother with a battering ram- all they'd need would be a spanner/wrench). Also, you could argue that having them open inwards actually blunts a bit of the force of a battering ram since you've built in a little bit of flex.
* For me, the problem isn't with the Fortress itself, it's actually very well designed and the defenders exact a heavy toll on the Uruk-Hai by the time Gandalf arrives. Despite that, my complaints are with the HollywoodTactics on display at the battle. Mostly at the deeping wall itself where they could have held the Uruk-Hai for longer.
** Firstly, why did the Men and Elves wait until the Uruk Hai charge to start shooting arrows?! You've got some of the best archers and warriors in Middle-earth who have just reinforced you, and you don't catch the Uruk-hai out by attacking the moment they get within bowshot? You not only kill several hundred more before they reach the wall, but you likely kill some carrying the explosives and ladders, buying you more time. Why wait? To make matters worse, in the books the Rohirrim harass the advancing army before they arrive at the fortress.
*** Probably they didn't have enough stockpiled ammunition to risk wasting it on extreme long-range shots.
** Second, why do they not kick down the ladders? You see one get knocked down early on, and that's it? Even if there is a lot of Uruk-Hai, it stops them climbing up, allowing you to shoot them to death. This is again used in the book.
*** Pushing down siege ladders is not as easy as people tend to think it is. Most modern people only have experience with modern lightweight metal ladders that do often seem unsteady and easy to push or fall over. But if siege ladders were as easy to push off as people seem to think, they would never have become a standard part of siege warfare. Siege ladders are built to be heavy and durable and are, by necessity, very long. You put them up and immediately start sending your big heavy fighters up them, which just makes them even heavier and more dug in. It's not like you can just give them a nudge and send them toppling. You start telling people "focus on knocking down the ladders", each ladder starts getting three or four defenders shoving at it trying to topple it, people get tunnel visioned, other ladders go up, your wall defenders start getting slaughtered while they're busy trying to shove ladders down.
** Third, why only assign Legolas to shoot the torch carrier? You were able to spare some Elves to pick off the force advancing up the ramp, surely peppering it with arrows would have ended him, you have flippin' Elves at your command! Granted Aragorn might not have known what was exactly planned, but he clearly noticed it was a threat and failed to act accordingly.
*** You're misunderstanding what happened there. Aragorn did not assign Legolas alone to shoot down the single orc. He started frantically shouting "Shoot him! Kill him!" to pretty much everyone, and added a personalized shout to Legolas because 1) he saw Legolas and 2) he knew Legolas would be listening for his friends' voices amidst the tumult where other voices might not be. At that point Aragorn's just one voice in a shouting, churning maelstrom of sound, even if other elves heard him they might have thought "What is that ranger on about?", whereas Legolas knows "If Aragorn thinks it's a big deal, it's probably a big deal".
** Fourth, when the wall is breached why do the Elves immediately not pepper the Uruk-Hai with arrows again? The water was clearly bogging them down, easy pickings? Not helped by Gimli's stupid jump into the advancing army. Granted Aragorn was dazed from the explosion and that helped him regain his senses. But then this forces him to charge the Elves into the army to save him, however this buys them time to form up and meet the charge with their pikes, and it just becomes more of a massacre.
*** Because calmly standing there peppering the enemy with arrows works a lot better when you have the high ground and a lot of separation between yourself and the enemy. When the enemy is overtaking your position, standing there and firing arrows means that the three guys behind the one you just shot have time to charge you while you're nocking another arrow to string. Yes, elves can fire with amazing speed, but that still doesn't mean much when there's basically eleventy-jillion Uruk-hai bearing down at them... if nothing else the elves would eventually run out of arrows and at that point there would be a big green gangbang right on top of them.
[[WMG: How did Gandalf get Glamdring and his staff back?]]
Saruman clearly took the staff and presumably took the sword, and Gandalf clearly flew straight away, so how did he get them back?
** Gandalf could easily get a new Staff, probably from Galadriel or so. The Staff itself is not so important on it's own, as it's more of a Symbol of a Wizard's power then anything else. As for the sword, I got no idea. Maybe Saruman didn't even know Gandalf had it, and he kept it hidden.
** The making of shows that Gandalf the Grey has two staffs- the one with the pipe which fits in the top and the one with the crystal at the top which we see close up in Moria. And I think that Gandalf hiding his sword from Saruman is probably the most likely explanation.
*** Agreed. As for the sword, I think we see it once on his horse that he takes to Isengard. If it ran off after Saruman's betrayal, Gandalf could retrieve it later.
** Gandalf isn't show wearing his sword when he fights Saruman, is he?
*** Nope
** Let's not forget ''The Return of the King'''s extended edition, which shows the Witch-King destroying Gandalf's staff. He then gets it back during the battle in front of Mordor's gates.
*** No, he doesn't. He's conspicuously without his staff during that scene.

[[WMG: Why on Middle-Earth, in the extended editions, is Boromir the only one who doesn't get a gift from Galadriel? I know that they changed some of the other gifts, but just to completely ignore any gift for him seems to make it as though he is a less worthy member of the fellowship. Poor Boromir.]]
* Because it's totally irrelevant to the plot? I don't even remember what he got in the book.
** He got a golden belt. It played a semi-semi-major role when Faramir had that vision-thing where he saw Boromir dead. He only believed that it was true when he saw the belt on him. PJ cut out a lot of Galadriel-relevant scenes anyway, so it's not such a big deal, but it would have been a nice bit of continuity. Plot-wise, it does less than the other gifts anyway, what with Faramir's altered personality and scenes.
* But they changed half the gifts anyway (Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn). Why not give Boromir something that he can use in his remaining screentime?
** Maybe she knew he was going to betray the Fellowship (still a unfair move though). Most likely it just didn't matter. It's not like he was ever going to get a chance to use the gift, since he [[spoiler:died at the end of the movie anyway.]]
* In one of the DVD extras, Philippa Boyens (one of the scriptwriters) addresses the complaints of fans who thought Tom Bombadil shouldn't have been excised from ''The Fellowship of the Ring''... She says that there's nothing in the movie that would suggest the Hobbits ''didn't'' meet Tom Bombadil, so maybe they met him, and that whole episode just wasn't shown, because it wasn't relevant to the main plot. Similarly, nothing in the gift-giving scene suggests that Boromid didn't receive a gift, so maybe he did, and his gift simply wasn't shown in the movie, because it wasn't important.

[[WMG: How could Wormtongue not know about the 10,000 orcs at Isengard? I mean, he's already inside the tower, and he tells Saruman "hey we don't have a lot of orcs" and Saruman shows him the big army. How did Wormtongue ''miss'' that when he first arrived at Isengard? Were the orcs all hiding or something?]]
* They were probably all housed in the caverns under the courtyard while Wormy stayed on the surface and went straight into Orthanc.
* You see him gallop into Orthanc and there are no Orcs there at that time, so they must have assembled after that. He probably knew of Saruman's designs, but had no idea of the number that had been bred. Plus he had been away from Isengard for a while, and we know that the majority of Orcs were bred a few days before we see them.
* If you were Saruman would ''you'' tell your prime mole in your enemy's court the size of your force? Besides the fact that Grí­ma had already proven himself a traitor, he might conceivably be caught. That is like asking why Stalin did not give his most precious secrets to Kim Philby.

[[WMG: "The Uruks turn northeast. They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!"]]
Where the hell ''are'' they, that Isengard is to the northeast? Why did they go so far south or west to begin with? What did Legolas expect on this side of the Anduin? Aaaaarrrgghh.
* They're downstream of Anduin, on the western bank. They were trying to reach Mordor when they were intercepted by the Uruk-hai, remember? And it was the Uruk-hai that Legolas was afraid of on the western bank. Like all the elves he has occasional foresights to things to come, but unlike big names like Elrond, he can't get anything but vague feelings.
** The original poster has a problem with the geography being wrong. Isengard is '''west''' (and slightly north) of the Rauros. If the orcs had turned ''northeast'' at any point, they would be heading away from Isengard and towards great (mostly-)empty Rhovanion. To reach Isengard while heading northeast you would have to be ''west'' of Isengard, aka west of the Misty and White Mountains, while the characters are currently ''east'' of it. (But, after all, this film does not care for in-universe logic.)
* Alternatively, we can explain this by saying that the Uruks turned north-east to get around a [[HandWave large lake]], [[PatchworkFantasyMap marshland]] or rocky hills, and that happens to be the best route to Isengard.
* The simple answer is that Orlando Bloom messed up his line, and nobody realised in time -- he should've said "northwest".
** The line is indeed simply messed up. In the german Version - and most likely all others - Legolas says that they turn northwest.
** Aragorn later says to Eomer "We track a party of Uruk-Hai westward across the plains." So yeah, even in English they should be heading west.

[[WMG: Doesn't anybody know geography in Middle-Earth?]]
* When Frodo, Sam and Gollum get to the Black Gate, we see an army of Easterlings marching towards it. They are coming in from the south... what the hell? First of all, they should have been coming in from the east, obviously. They actually didn't even need to march all the way to the Black Gate, because you can easily get into Mordor from the east, due to a lack of mountains on that side. But instead they apparently went around Mordor, through Ithilien, which is populated by Faramir and his Merry Men which doesn't really seem like a good way to not get killed.
** The book doesn't actually say the Easterlings came from the south. It lists three roads converging on the gate, from north, east and south, then says the Easterlings were arriving, but doesn't mention which road they took. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume they took the last named road if there were no evidence to the contrary, but there is. Slightly later, people are described as arriving at the black gate from the south, but this group is not identified with the Easterlings by anything beyond juxtaposition, somewhat less than conclusive.
*** I meant the scene in the movie. They are coming from the south, which as I described, is really quaint. Then again, as stated earlier, Legolas also has difficulties with geography...
* Faramir and his band of Merry Men aren't exactly up to taking out any force of any size. Sure, they can harrass small companies here and there, but if they could automatically defeat everything that passed through Ithilien, they would have been able to prevent the whole attack on Gondor.
* Perhaps the Easterlings needed to visit the Southrons for something, maybe diplomatic talks or reinforcements or weapons or something like that.
* While the men approaching the gate in the book were Easterlings, in the movie they had the black serpant on their flags which in the books was the standard of the Haradrim leader at the siege of Gondor. Maybe in the film they were Southrons.
* They are not expected to take on forces of any size. They are expected to recon, make trouble, and most of all, just be there as a reminder that Gondor had not ceded Ithilan to Mordor.

[[WMG: "A wizard is always on time."]]
* Really, Gandalf? You could've been a little earlier, don't you think? And saved a metric shit tonne of lives? Honest to god, that's just a bit of a dickish thing to say to a bunch of people who have just seen friends and family killed because you weren't there very early.
** Said only by people that are ungrateful for having their rears pulled out of the fire by Gandalf's reinforcements. If they could have gotten there any early, they would have.
** "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."
** Or it's just a saying and not an absolute truth. It's part of the running joke that wizards are busy people (or that Gandalf ironically comes off as a grumpy grandpa to most hobbits) so stop being nosy and get them their pack of smokes and slippers, you young whippersnappers.
** No, he DID arrive precisely when he meant to (on the dawn of the third day, was it?). He IS a wizard, but he was still limited to traveling by horseback, to find a group of people who were in exile. I must say, he made decent enough time as it was.
** The phrase refers to ''a'' wizard, as in a wizard traveling on his own. The ''reinforcements'' aren't wizards, and arrive as fast as non-wizards can manage it; Gandalf arrives at the same time they do, because he's hardly going to leave them behind or deny them his protection along the way.
** "Gandalf arrives when he means to" does not mean "Gandalf chooses when he arrives." He arrives when, based on travel time and other concerns, he intends to. The line could be interpreted as "I know what exactly what I'm doing so don't you sass me young hobbit."

[[WMG: Isildur and Elrond in the Crack of Doom]]
* Why didn't Elrond ''force'' Isildur to throw the ring into the fire? "Evil was allowed to endure", indeed!
** Pehaps the Ring itself subtly influenced him not to? It's at its most powerful within Mt. Doom, where ''no one'' has the strength of will to destroy it- Elrond could concievably have pushed Isildur in with the Ring, but even that likely wouldn't have worked, and he would have been reluctant to murder a friend in cold blood anyway. In the book, of course, there's no indication that either of them actually went inside the mountain, so the opportunity for Elrond to do anything beyond talking to Isildur never really came up.
*** It just needs to be mentioned publicly that "cold blood" doesn't mean what everybody seems to think it means. A "cold-blooded" murder is one done logically, with time and preparation. Elrond pushing Isildur off the cliff as a spur of the moment response to Isildur not destroying the Ring would be "hot-blooded" - Check it and see.
** Tolkien specifically addressed this -- attempting to seize the Ring in an act of force (or push Isildur in) would have corrupted Elrond much quicker than Isildur. Tolkien says this is why Bilbo wasn't corrupted as easily as Gollum, who stole the Ring and killed his cousin after being tempted by it.
** That doesn't explain why Elrond couldn't have just slapped it out of his hand, or cut his hand off, or hurled him in. There are lots of ways to get that thing in the lava without ''taking'' it. Elrond seemed to be lacking creativity. The thing that stuck out in the scene most for me is that Elrond didn't even have another go at getting Isildur to throw it in, he just lets him walk away and looks a bit annoyed. "Cast it into the flames... please?"
*** Because then he'd have to walk out and explain to the tens of thousands of Human soldiers still remaining where the ring went and why Isildur, their beloved Prince-turned-king and the guy who 'killed' Sauron, is no longer with him.
*** Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Elrond at this point does not fully realize how bad of an idea it really is to let the ring continue to exist. He knows it's an evil thing, but Sauron is as far as he knows, ''dead,'' and not coming back. He may suspect allowing the ring to exist is a stupid idea, but not one worth ''pushing your buddy into a volcano'' over.
*** Plus, given that the Ring was already influencing Isildur's mind for the worse, Elrond may have realized that if he pushed the issue any further at the moment it would probably drive Isildur ''completely'' mad with jealousy, provoking a fight to the death on the spot. Letting Isildur step away from the brink of the Cracks of Doom, at least for the moment, was Elrond's only hope of buying time for the king (who was his friend) to come to his senses: time he didn't know Isildur wouldn't have.
** I was always of the idea that Elrond did know the importance of the ring (otherwise he wouldn't have led Isildur inside the volcano), but that he didn't force Isildur for two reasons: 1) he couldn't. He entered before Isildur so he couldn't block him, and as soon as he tried to force him Isildur would have slipped the ring on and vanished. 2) he was probably hoping to convince Isildur at a later date, or possibly do the deed himself after stealing the ring, but the ring got away before this could be done.
** He could've just grabbed the Ring it out of Isuldur's hand and throw it into the fire and magma himself, which could avoid either one getting killed!
** Remember how Gandalf refused to touch the Ring, and seemed loathe to even talk about it? He was terrified of what would happen in the event he possessed the Ring for even of a fraction of a second. Galadriel just looks at it and freaks out. Elrond is one of the Wise yet weaker than either of those two. He knew the second he touched the Ring, or even tried to take the Ring from Isildur it would corrupt him. He wouldn't turn into Sauron v2 instantly, but he definitely wouldn't throw the Ring into the fire either. Isildur himself was mentally tough, and probably full of hatred and determination against Sauron since his father and brother were both killed, his old Kingdom destroyed and his new one at war. Yet the Ring influenced him in the short walk to Mount Doom.


[[WMG: Massive {{Idiot Ball}}s for Sauron and the Witch-King]]
In the opening scene of the first movie Sauron had Isildur at his mercy - downed and unarmed, but for a broken sword. All he had to do was swing his mace one more time and the human was finished. What did he do instead? He put the mace away and reached for Isildur with his bare hand. Why? To grab him? To strangle him? To help him get up? WHY?!

During the Pelennor Battle in the third movie the Witch-King had Éowyn at his mercy - downed, crippled and unarmed. All he had to do was swing his EpicFlail one more time and the humie was finished. What did he do instead? He put the flail away and grabbed Éowyn with his bare hand. WHAT'S. THE. POINT?!!! Couldn't he deliver his punchline without bringing her close to him?
* Well, per the books, Sauron's flesh is hot enough to be fatal- he's supposed to have killed Gil-Galad simply by his own inner fire. He presumably intended to do the same to Isildur. As for the Witch-King, he simply believed he was invincible and that he could afford to pull stunts like that. Obviously, he was wrong.
** They both had perfectly functional weapons with which they had already casually killed tons of enemies by their responsive moments. Why suddenly try to be creative with "pathetic human # 3082"?
*** Think of it as a fighting game in which you're almost completely invincible (and your one weakness hasn't even occurred to you). You could win by spamming the same attack until you've won the whole game, but it would be boring, so you try for variety, only to find out that the game can actually kill you in real life. If they knew their peril, they would indeed stay safe, but I think that if a villain truly considers himself invincible, he would see even the War of the Ring like a game.
**** While it does sound plausible for Sauron, the Witch-King is an undead. Do you honestly think he was even capable of enjoying what he did whatsoever? I always saw the Nazgûl as fantazy counterparts of the Terminator - cold, determined, emotionless and efficient. When Éowyn faces him, what does he say? "Never stand between the Nazgûl and his prey". He doesn't even seem to regard her as an opponent as much as a nuisance. And, well, she kind of is - he defeats her in several swings. It just doesn't run well with me that he SUDDENLY feels sadistic and playful when all his previous behaviour spoke against that kind of act.
**** Both are meant to pad scenes from the book into something filmable. Sauron is effectively killed by Elendil and Gil-galad before Isildur reaches him, and the whole Éowyn/WK/Merry thing occurs in like a split second on the battlefield.
**** As for the Witch-King, I thought he was only devoid of positive emotions such as happiness, compassion, and so on. He could still feel anger, hate, malice and other bad emotions. As for Éowyn, I'm sure she was of interest to the WK because she was the only soldier to openly challenge him without fear or hesitation. Curiosity and amusement would make him draw out her death to see how much she can take.
**** Moreover, killing the opposing army's leader with your bare hands is a great way to break the morale of the ''rest'' of the Last Alliance troops. Sauron didn't just want to kill Isildur, he wanted to rip him apart where all of Gondor's soldiers could see him do it. Likewise, the Witch-King wanted to make an example of Éowyn, to show how futile it was for any of Rohan's troops to stand against the Nazgûl, who know all about terror as a battlefield weapon. And if she hadn't secretly been female, it ''would'' have been a very nasty example, indeed.
***** Did it really even have anything to do with her being female? The book never says "Women can kill them" - they follow the "You can't kill what's already dead" rule, after all. He was defeated because Merry managed to stab him with a special PlotCoupon sword right before Eowyn jabbed him.
***** There's a prophecy in the book (somewhere in the appendices, I think - the context is trying to stop the last king of Gondor from being a complete idiot), that "not by the hand of man shall he fall". This applies only to the Witchking, not the rest of the Nazgul. Of course, there needs to be other circumstances than him being stabbed by any old not-man: Merry uses an anti-Nazgul knife to hamstring him, and once that's broken the spell protecting him, Eowyn can behead him.
**** I read somewhere that Sauron killed Gil-galad by picking him up and burning him alive. Adding on to what the previous post said about morale, it would be in keeping with Sauron's nature to inflict more gruesome deaths upon the leaders of his enemies. He probably intended to finish Isildur off in the same way as Gil-galad.
**** Sauron wanted to not just kill but to ''utterly destroy in the most humiliating way possible'' the leaders of those who opposed him to demoralise his (remaining) followers. It's like he was playing Mortal Kombat and went for the impressive looking Fatality rather than just the Fingerpoke of Doom.

[[WMG: Just a niggling thing, but during the attack on Weathertop, Sam bravely challenges the Ringwraiths and slashes at them twice, both attacks being blocked. We see one of them swing his sword, we hear a slashing sound, and Sam is hurled aside. Where's the big gaping wound?]]
* Actually, if you look closely, it appears that the Ringwraith in question batted Sam aside with the flatof his blade while countering his swings.
** Fine, but what's with the slashing sound?
*** Big scary wraith-men make big scary sounds when they do stuff.

[[WMG: This particular one has been the ire of fans for years; Gandalf is a Maia/Angel, correct? And the Witch-King is basically just a corrupted undead Human, right? Then ''how'' in all the seven Hells is the Witch-King able to shatter Gandalf's staff?! ''Does not compute!!'']]
* In the book, it's heavily implied that the Ringwraiths can draw on some degree of Sauron's power ("the power of their Master is in them..."), and Gandalf pretty much says that the Witch-king would be a tough fight even for him. But you're right- the kind of curbstomping the WK dishes out in the movie shouldn't have happened, and Gandalf ''would'' (especially as the White) almost certainly win any conflict between them, though WK would doubtless make him work for it.
* The Wizards are pretty much forbidden to match power with power. Remember, they're not there to beat down Sauron or the Ringwraiths; they're there to convince the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth to work together to beat down Sauron and the Ringwraiths. ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Númenor and Middleearth}}'' also shows that Olorin/Gandalf is one of the weaker (but wiser) Maiar, and that he fears Sauron.
* Gandalf all but says that he ''did'' intend to fight the Witch-King at the Pelennor Fields, but was distracted by having to save Faramir from Denethor. It's distinctly possible that he just intended to keep WK tied up and out of the main battle, however, rather than actually going in for the "kill". Also, the prohibition about meeting force with force doesn't seem ''completely'' absolute- it's doubtful Gandalf killed the Balrog in direct combat using just the abilities of an old man. In any case, while Gandalf might not have been willing or able to defeat the WK directly, it's also very unlikely that the WK could curbstomp Gandalf so effortlessly.
* One thing I would point out is that Gandalf ''does'' take on the Nazgûl once in the book - at Weathertop before Strider and the Hobbits get there. He mentions that their battle caused a lot of flashes of light, so we can assume he's not afraid to show his true power in the face of danger. It may be that the ringwraiths were not so powerful by that point. Personally, I wouldn't accept the WK alone treading water against Gandalf, but I could accept him channelling Sauron to give pause to a lesser Maiar.
** The battle was against Four Nazgûl, not all nine. They were probably the weaker ones, as the Witch-King and the Number 2 were chasing Frodo at the moment. Gandalf eventually had to retreat and the Nazgûl were none the worse for wear. Of course, the White Wizard is more powerful, but it seems Corrupted Undead are dangerous enough to give him pause. He does admit that "Black is Greater still", and he said that after hailed as the White Rider. I mean, Wargs almost killed him once. The Nazgûl are essentially compared to being an extension of Sauron's Will more then individual beings. And this isn't the ONLY upset that has happened....a Man has also killed quite a few Dragons, and they were said to be more powerful then Balrogs even. Of course, how it was a CURB STOMP battle is abit odd. It does make sense because Sauron is unwilling or unable to appear himself, he has to project his power through the Nine who are tied to his Will. And in terms of combat skill, the Leader of the Nazgûl has a fairly good track record in the backstory. Destroying Arnor, requiring what was essentially the second greatest battle of an age to bring him down at last, THEN surviving and conquering Minas Ithil a few years later.
*** In all likelihood, if Gandalf really wants to "win" he might have to overclock his body and die. Again. Otherwise, he'll be too strained by the limitations the Valar placed on him.
*** Gandalf actually was facing all nine Nazgûl on Weathertop. He escaped, and four of them went after him.
** This is a little wanky, but I assumed Sauron had given him a tailor made 'kick Gandalf's ass' spell and training in how to best handle him. Gandalf is the single most powerful combatant on the field, it would make sense to have a plan to take him down.
* Neither the movies nor the LoTR books ever say Gandalf is a Maia; they don't even mention the Maiar. Even Silmarillion, where Valar and Maiar are introduced, doesn't say wizards are Maiar. That idea comes from a text that was only published after Tolkien's death. We may never know whether he even wanted it to be published. So, if we leave out this extratextual information, nothing in the text itself (the movies or the books) suggests Gandalf is way more powerful than the Witch King.
** He mentions to Faramir in a flashback that his name in the East was Olorin, and the Silmarillion describes a Maia by that name. So while he doesn't spell it out in six-foot high letters across the front cover, the intent is obviously there. Not to mention that if he comes from the West, isn't an elf, and wields the Secret Fire, if he isn't a Vala or Maia, then just what the fuck is he?
*** "Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten"
**** Again, the idea that there was a Maia named Olórin comes from a book (The Silmarillion) which Tolkien never finished, and which was only published posthumously. If we look at the evidence found in the two books that were published as Tolkien intended them (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), the Wizards could simply be a group of extremely long-lived and powerful Men, or they could be members of a race separate from Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits.
***** I'm sorry, but you're grasping at straws here. Gandalf isn't a Man -- lifespan issues notwithstanding, the only Men to have ever reached Valinor were Earendil and (possibly) Tuor. The Istari are agents of the Valar sent from Valinor, so without other evidence, this constrains them into being Maiar or Elves. The most damning evidence, however, lies in the circumstances of his death and rebirth: ''"The darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell. Naked I was sent back-for a brief time, until my task was done."'' Now, we know that Elves go to the Halls of Mandos after death, and this isn't really any special knowledge. Gandalf's description, however, matches the expectations of what would happen to a Maia whose physical body is slain: he was left as a disembodied spirit (like Sauron at the end of the Second Age), but with the potential to be re-embodied (by Eru's intervention, it is implied).

[[WMG: "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn!" Since when is the dawn considered terrible?]]
* Elves like the moon and stars more than the sun, and due to their acute eyesight, don't fear the night. Dawn probably has the same poetic connotations for them that nightfall does for us.
** For the Elves, dawn and the appearance of the Sun represent the appearance of Men (who came into the world at the first sunrise).
** Remember, the Sun was set in the sky as a herald of the coming of Men and the beginning of the diminishment of the Quendi: "''...and Anar the Fire-golden, fruit of Laurelin, they named the Sun. But the Noldor named [it] Vasa, the Heart of Fire, that awakens and consumes; for the Sun was set as a sign for the awakening of Men and the waning of the Elves...''" Dawn more likely has the same connotations for them as dusk does for us: fading and diminishment, both of which the Elves are big on stopping; indeed, the warding off of decay and preservation of what was loved was part of the power of the Three Rings.
** She could also just have been using the archaic meaning of the word 'terrible' as in "great and awe-inspiring" instead of "extremely bad."
** Galadriel saw the first sunrise ever. It was totally unexpected, and freaked out plenty of the goodies who saw it as well as the baddies. And then all the elves who'd crossed the Helcaraxe started fighting Morgoth. Not something with entirely fluffy connotations in elvish culture, and probably something that made you as an individual feel pretty small.
[[WMG: The elven rope. It can be any size you need it to be, so at the scene in the second movie where they are on the mountain and looking over to Mordor why don't they just make a lasso and throw it all the way to a ledge in mordor, get a twig and zip line across? It would have saved about 4 hours of movie time.]]
* Are you suggesting that a pair of hobbits throw a rope '''hundreds of miles'''? Seriously? Just '''wow'''.
* To put a slightly more explanatory answer on the comment above, there are several reasons. Firstly, outside of the Middle Earth universe, there would be no story. Secondly, Hobbits are small and somewhat lacking in physical strength. Even if they tried, do you really think the rope would fly that far thrown by a hobbit? Even thrown by an Ent it wouldn't go any more than a mile. Third, even if they succeeded in getting enough strength to throw it that far, there's any number of obstacles the rope might encounter on its way to Mordor which would stop its course. Fourth and finally, How is Sauron not going to notice a magical artifact '''made by the Elves''' that is flying extremely conspicuously through his domain?
* There is nothing to suggest that the elven rope can change size/length; no idea where you got that from. The only thing 'abnormal' with it was that it unknotted itself, and Sam was of the opinion that it 'magically' knew when to do so.
** They're confusing it with WonderWoman's magic lasso.

[[WMG: What happened when Treebeard brought Merry and Pippin to see Gandalf in The Two Towers?]]
Treebeard is unconvinced that they're not orcs, so he takes them to "the white wizard" to make sure. They're tossed at Gandalf's feet, but to preserve the mystery he's shown from behind and the scene ends before we see their reaction. The next time we see Gandalf, he's on his own again, and Merry and Pippin are back with Treebeard who is still unclear on the orc/hobbit issue. It's as though they never met with Gandalf at all.
* I've always pictured it happening like this: Treebeard takes hobbits to Gandalf, who assures him that they are not orcs. Gandalf asks Treebeard to keep an eye on the hobbits a little longer (Gandalf knows the effect the hobbits will have). Treebeard calls the entmoot to decide if the ents should go to war, but first he has to convince the other ents that the hobbits aren't orcs. Because entish is such a slow language, it takes forever to explain and allow the others to decide whether to believe him or not.

[[WMG: What's the password, cousin?]]
* Okay, so Gandalf was too clever by half in trying to figure out the password to get into Moria. But why didn't Gimli know it? I mean, it's his cousin's place, and he was expecting a "royal welcome," so shouldn't he at least know how to knock on the door?
** Several reasons, Gimli never visited Khazad-dûm beforehand. Also worth remembering that Balin went on the expedition against the wishes of his kindred, it's also reasonable to assume that because of Durin's Bane most of the Dwarven folk deliberately forgot the password to ensure no one would stupidly go in and try to destroy it themselves. Gandalf also directly implied that forgetting such passwords is common amongst the Dwarves so thats another factor. Finally, consider that by the end of the Third Age, the Dwarves were living in the Lonely Mountain and the Iron Hills, which are north east of Khazad-dûm. So Balin would logically have gone through the eastern gate, but we don't know if that gate needed a password to get in to it.
** Another Headscratcher from that scene: How likely is it that, of all the hundreds of ''other'' passwords that Gandalf knows and tries, in various dialects of Elvish and dozens of other languages, not even one of them would incorporate the Elvish word for "friend", or a homonym of that word in some other tongue?
*** What the below says, it's probably just the exact word. And it's a Dwarvish door, making the password the ''Elvish'' word for "friend" is actually pretty brilliant, it would be like a white supremacist making his password "my_nword".
** ExactWords.

[[WMG: Why wait to toss Frodo?]]
* In Moria, when they're jumping over the shattered stairs, why do they wait to get Frodo across last? He should have been second, after there was someone on the other end to catch him. He's got the ring. You've got a balrog chasing you. A balrog getting the ring is the second-worst thing that could happen after Sauron getting the ring.
** They didn't exactly have a lot of time to plan, or much room to maneuver. It's a narrow stairway and they're being shot at and chased. At that point, you go in whatever order you ended up in when you got there.

[[WMG: How come Gandalf knows what happened down in the mines of Moria yet Gimli doesn't?]]
* Sarumon says that Gandalf knows the Dwarves DugTooDeep and unleashed the Balrog. If Gandalf has heard about this, how come Gimli never heard anything about what happened to his own cousin?
** Going by the books, the Balrog was released centuries ago. Gimli's cousin Balin was leader of an expedition that was trying to resettle Moria, not the original inhabitants who were killed and/or driven off by the Balrog and his minions. ''Everyone'', Gimli included, knew what happened to the original inhabitants (though the book gives the impression that it wasn't common knowledge that the monster of Moria was a Balrog- the dwarves just called him Durin's Bane- it was pretty clear that anyone who'd heard of Moria by this point knew that there was something bad lurking down there). Gimli's excitement was mostly him getting his hopes up unrealistically high.
*** It's actually not as clear in the book. Moria had been abandoned for nearly a thousand years by the time Balin and his followers showed up to reclaim it. Exactly what happened down there had been lost to Dwarven myth and legend. All that's remembered is that the miners unearthed...''something'' and for all anyone knew it was long gone, if it even existed in the first place. For all Balin knew, "Durin's Bane" could have been something as mundane as a poisonous gas pocket which had been conflated by legend into a fire-breathing monster. It's worth noting that in the book, Balin's colony in Moria survived for quite some time, reclaiming a small part of the mines and even starting to work them again, before things began to stir once more.
** (Also only in the book:) Gandalf and Aragorn have both been inside Moria before (apparently before Balin attempted to re-colonize the place.) They know its general history - but not the nature of Durin's Bane.
---> '''Aragorn:''' "I, too, have been in Moria. And although I, too, came out again, the memory is very dark. I do not wish to enter there again."

[[WMG: How did Shelob's stinger penetrate Frodo's mithril armor?]]
* The cave troll's spear failed to injure Frodo, and that was made of metal. I don't know how hard Shelob's stinger is, but I doubt it's stronger than whatever the Cave Troll's spear was made of.
** She hit him in the neck. It's a chainmail shirt, not a forcefield.
** He's talking about the movie, where she clearly hits him somewhere in the stomach.
** Perhaps the tip of Shelob's stinger is thin enough to get between the links of the shirt.
*** It isn't. We see it, the stinger is about the size of an adult male's forearm and the tip isn't that sharp.
*** The shirt isn't very long. Possibly Shelob managed to stab Frodo right under it. Or else, it might simply be because she's ''Shelob!'' The last daughter of Ungoliant who made Morgoth Bauglir cry like little girl. If any creature can corrode even mithril with its poison, it's Shelob.
** It's because, if you look closely, Frodo's shirt was unbuttoned near the collar, leaving plenty of flesh exposed for Shelob to stab.
** Shelob's stinger is nowhere ''near'' his collar. He's very clearly stabbed in the ''stomach''.
*** She struck low and her stinger went under the mithril. It's a shirt, not a full suit of armor.
*** So she stung him in the crotch? ouch.

[[WMG: How did Aragorn learn the name of the Uruk-Hai?]]
In the first film we see Saruman naming his new creation, but at no point do any of the good guys hear the name during the movie, and they seem to consider them just another breed of orc. But in ''Two Towers'' Aragorn, when confronted by Eómer, tells him that: "We were tracking a band of Uruk-Hai westward across the plain". Where on earth did he hear the name in between the two movies?
* My guess is Gandalf overheard it while he was a prisoner of Saruman, and told the others about it at some point during the trip before faced the Balrog.
* ''Uruk-hai'' simply is "Orc-folk" in Black Speech. The name has also been already used decades before as a term for a similar big breed of Mordor-serving orcs.

[[WMG: Arwen, Elrond, and the last ship out.]]
So, Elrond wanted Arwen to go to the Undying Lands so she wouldn't have to face the pain of watching the man she loved grow old and die and subsequently die herself of [[BuffySpeak brokenheartedness]], right? So he sends her off with the boarding party to go to the ship and . . . he doesn't go himself? He stays behind to die and leave his daughter alone for the rest of eternity? Or have I grossly misinterpreted something?
* It wasn't the last ship. Where do you think the ship that Frodo sailed off in came from?
* Elrond ''couldn't'' leave with her at the time, because he wears one of the Three. If he sails off before he's sure the One has been destroyed, he'd have to leave the Ring of Air behind so he's not carrying Sauron's influence into the Undying Lands with him.

[[WMG: The final splitting of the group.]]
Two questions -- one, why were the remaining Hobbits not given invitations to join Frodo on the last ship out? Was this not possible, or was there no room? Two, did Frodo just not care about anything but his own self-interest when he saw how much grief and agony his leaving would cause his friends, especially poor Sam?
* Frodo was only offered the spot because he was a Ringbearer, and in the books, Sam ''does'' join him later on (''after'' he's done living his life with his family), because he bore the ring temporarily. Merry and Pippin never bore the Ring, so they don't get the invite. Frodo left because he simply didn't fit in the Shire anymore.
** It was more that Frodo left because he hoped that, in the Undying Lands, he might find some peace from the injury that he recieved from the Witch King, along with an escape from the memories of carrying the ring.
** Would it be any easier for Sam et al. if Frodo died of his injuries or went mad? In the book, he's ill every year on the anniversaries of Weathertop and Cirith Ungol, and he seems to be getting worse each year. The compressed film timeline, so we don't see how he suffers, make it seem less reasonable.

[[WMG: How big are orcs exactly?]]
In ''The Return of the King'', orcs are the same size as Men during the battle of Minas Tirith and the Black Gate, yet they are also the same size as Frodo and Sam after the scene with Shelob and when they [[DressingAsTheEnemy Dress As The Enemy]] near the end. Did Creator/PeterJackson simply forget to change their sizes?
* There are different breeds of orc. Orc soldiers, like you'd see at major battles such as the Pelennor Fields, are human-sized or slightly shorter, but there are other breeds (like trackers, one of which is described at one point in the book of ROTK) which are quite a bit smaller. Frodo and Sam would still be on the small end for orcs, but not so much as to instantly arouse suspicion.
** Smallest Orcs (Moria Goblins) were even shorter than Hobbits and very monkey-like in appearance. It's the scene in the first film, before the Balrog comes, when Goblins climb desperately the pillars. They look much shorter than Men and slightly shorter than Gimli or the Hobbits.

[[WMG: Did Arwen lose her immortality or not?]]
It seems that Arwen gave up her immortality to stay in Middle-Earth and marry Aragorn. But in ''The Two Towers'', Elrond tells her that Aragorn will die from old age while she lives on. What?
* Arwen ''did'' give up her immortality; however, the Appendix of ''Return of the King'' establishes that she did indeed outlive Aragorn, and since ''he'' lived to be over 200, she must have still had a longer-than-human lifespan. Also, keep in mind that Elrond's foresight isn't perfect.
** It's inferred she died of grief - Tolkien is not very explicit in the book on how she died after Aragorn lied down forever, and as an Elf she is supposed to have an immensely long life, but the good Professor never forgets to mention how vulnerable psychologically are the Elves and how grief can make them grow weary and die. ([[FridgeBrilliance It's a way of telling the difference between Elf and Man]] - Men cling to life and are ready to make superhuman efforts to preserve it when facing hardships.)
** When her uncle, Elros, chose mortality (to become the founder of the line of Kings of Numenor), he lived 500 years and died only because he laid down his life, wearied of the world due to his mortal soul questing beyond it. It says in "Unfinished tales" that both Elros and Elrond had "the same physical capacity of life" - ie, the Half-Elven that were given the Choice (and only a very few were ever allowed the Choice as to which Kindred they should belong; the default is "any mortal blood makes you mortal") and chose to be mortal retained the Elven agelessness until they chose to lay themselves down.

[[WMG: Scale in the Shire]]
After watching the start of the first movie again, I suddenly noticed - everything in the Shire is to scale. So a Shire dog seems just as large to a hobbit as a Gondorian one would to a human. But hobbits are explicitly likened to ''children'' in terms of size when compared to Men. So, really, a full-grown hound or freshly harvested ear of corn in the Shire is going to be considered rather puny beyond its borders. Do the hobbits have a whole mess of miniaturized animals and produce? Is there something in the water there that stunts everything’s growth?
* There is only the same thing in the water that stunts our human dog's growth: Why don't you go and buy a dog that's up to your shoulder, as those can be and are bred after all? Answer: Size of domestic plants and animals is mostly the result of how it's been bred to be, and you breed and keep animals/plants to whichever specifications you need. So why would they want a monster dog bigger than themselves if we humans (usually) don't want one either? And more besides that: keep in mind that those over-bred huge-ass livestock breeds in use nowadays are a pretty much recent modern invention, and the livestock/plants traditional for most of the history of agriculture were significantly smaller.
* It's also mentioned in the DVD commentary that building everything in two scales is difficult, so any excuse to use a "normal" sized object in a scene that is only ''just'' going to have hobbits is easier. I doubt a hobbit would complain about food twice as big anyway. [[FridgeBrilliance maybe they're just eating three normal Man-sized meals a day]].

[[WMG: Unicorns? In my Mordor?]]
If you look closely at the Battle of Minas Tirith, when the enormous wolf-headed battering ram is brought out, it's pulled by what look like two enormous one-horned rhinoceroses. Are those creatures ever elaborated on?
* The book says that "great beasts" drew Grond and nothing more. Sauron has Middle-Earthian pterodactyl-substitutes, it's not much of a stretch to assume he has Middle-Earthian dinosaur-substitutes as well.
* The movie design team say that the Great Beasts were based on ''Megacerops'', an extinct rhinocerous ancestor which stood at 8 feet tall. Interesting side note: Tolkien had limited knowledge of dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna (partly because some of the discoveries were still being made at the time he was writing), but when someone pointed out to him how much the Fell Beasts (the Nazgûl winged mounts) resembled real-life pterodactyls, he basically said, "SureWhyNot" and thought the resemblance to be a delightful boon to the framing device that his stories were actually histories of a long-past age of the world.

[[WMG: Gandalf vs the Balrog]]
Gandalf fights the Balrog on the bridge until collpasing it. He falls into the great chasm. Then in Gandalf's flashback, they're back at the top of a mountain (I'm just gonna chalk the falling into an underground lake up to Frodo's imaination, since that was a dream). Still, how did he end up on top of a mountain after falling into the abyss?
** Endless Stair.
** After they hit bottom (yes, the underground lake exists, it's in the books), the Balrog wanted to get back up to Moria, and Gandalf followed it. When they got back there, they continued their fight, and it just happened to take them to the peak (via an epically long staircase that is indeed called the Endless Stair), where it was finished.
-->'''Gandalf''': From the deepest dungeon to the highest peak, I fought my enemy.

[[WMG: Terrible strategy that actually turns out to be intelligent?]]
In ''The Two Towers'' Gandalf is angry that Théoden isn't taking the field against the Uruk-hai and Dunlanders but is instead taking his people to Helm's Deep. The only problem? Not only does Grí­ma point out to Saruman that it's the best move Théoden can make it's also the ''same one that Gandalf suggests in the books''. To make it more irritating, Théoden was completely correct. With so few soldiers they would have been cut to pieces if they had tried to fight Saruman on the fields. It hurts Gandalf's image as a wise man when everything we see afterwards suggests that his advice would have gotten everyone killed.
* Gandalf is weed-smoking beatnik who loves to hang in the countryside with peace-loving, half-pint [=BoHos=]. It makes sense he wouldn't know that much about proper military strategy.
** The problem is that Aragorn also seems to consider it a bad idea and Gandalf has been in Middle -arth explicitly for the purpose of opposing Sauron. You expect a bit more from both of them.
** This happened in the films because it makes a good story. It's more of Jackson's "character growth" idea. This is also why Aragorn doesn't want to be king (in the book he does); Andúril doesn't get reforged until Film III (in the book it's fixed in Book I); Théoden is possessed by Saruman (in the book he's just depressed); the Ents don't do anything until Pippin tricks Treebeard into seeing what Saruman's been doing to his tree friends; Pippin and Merry are more like Moxie and Pepsi from ''Bored of the Rings'' (in the book they're mature, responsible young men), etc.
** Consider also that Gandalf is voicing this opinion right after Théoden has snapped out of his brainwashing. He knows that the people of Rohan need to see their king in action, not cowering behind a wall. He's pushing for Théoden to take action so as to inspire men to noble deeds in defense of their homes. He just didn't know about the 10,000 strong HumanoidAbomination army that was bearing down on them. When he arived at Helm's Deep with Éomer (Erkenbrand in the book), he was expecting to see Orcs and Dunlanders from the raiding parties, not an organized Uruk-Hai army.
*** The problem is (again) that this completely contradicts the books. If it's supposed to be for character growth (which is a bit hard considering that pretty much all of Gandalf's happens prior to this) then it sure doesn't make sense because this isn't growth, it's tactics. Tactics which Gandalf apparently fails at.
** There are tactical explanations: the army of Saruman is composed completely of heavy infantry, which makes them slow and vulnerable to faster units, in this case, the rohirrim, which are shown to be capable of horse-archery; the other problem is that to properly be able to defend you need to have enough numbers, which they don't; and finally, it is a bad idea to go in melee foot combat against an army that not only is better armed and trained in that field but surparses yours in numbers.
*** Also, wasn't Gandalf's advice not just "go and fight Saruman" but "go and find Éomer and the rest of the Rohirrim with him and ''then'' fight Saruman"?
**** Exactly. The "hide at Helm's Deep" strategy was losing until Gandalf found the cavalry and brought them over, which was arguably his strategy all along.
** Even in the book, Gandalf initially plans to go to the Fords and help the defense there. It's only once he realises that the enemy has already crossed the river and routed a large army that he sends them to Helm's Deep, while he goes off to rally the relief force.

[[WMG: Frodo in Osgiliath]]
Ok, so the whole Frodo in Osgiliath thing. Ignoring the changes made to Faramir's character, etc, there's one issue that I can't work my head around: In ''Return Of The King'', Pippin looks into the palantír, and ends up having to go on the run with Gandalf because Sauron thinks he's got the ring. Merry says as much explicitly. Except, this doesn't make any sense. Why would Sauron think that Pippin has the ring in Rohan, when he knows for a fact that the ringbearer was in Osgiliath? Not suspects, knows. Frodo went all weird, and ended up offering the ring clear as day to the nearest Nazgûl he could find. Did the Nazgûl just forget to tell Sauron that the ring was in Osgiliath? In the book this wasn't an issue, by virtue of Frodo being nobloodywhere near Osgiliath, but in the film this just creates a massive plot hole that I cannot get my head around. A plot hole that then drives the entire plot of the third film.
* Why would the Nazgûl think it was The One Ring? They can sense it when Frodo puts it on but no earlier. Remember, the first time hobbits encounter a Ringwraith, he's literally a feet away from them but cannot find them. So when the Nazgûl in Osgiliath was about to attack Frodo, he probably didn't even see in detail what that stupid midget was doing. He saw Frodo in the open and decided to feed him to his dragon. Then Faramir shot the dragon and he retreated, because he saw no point in direct confrontation at that point. Had he known WHAT Frodo was bearing, there is no way in hell he'd backed off.
** Frodo was holding the bloody thing out in front of him! He could not have made it more obvious if he tried. The Nazgûl can sense the presence of the Ring if it's close by, with or without Frodo wearing it. Tolkien made that pretty clear by the way the Wraiths stalk Frodo and company in Fellowship. In Osgiliath, Frodo was holding the Ring out in both his hands, bright as day, practically offering it to the Ringwraith. Are we to assume that after all the effort of Fellowship, the Ringwraith was too incompetent to see the Ring when it was literally being offered to him by the very hobbit he's spent the last few months tracking? Because that doesn't really say very much about PJ's 'additions' to the story.
** The armies of Mordor are marching out and launching a full-scale attack on Gondor shortly after the battle at Osgiliath. It's safe to say that yes, the Nazgûl told Sauron where the Ring was. Sauron then concluded that the Ring was in Gondor, driving him to attack, because that would be the only direction to take the Ring; they came from the North, they wouldn't go south because of the Southron forces, and they're certainly not going to go ''east'' into Mordor with the Ring, because that would be silly. The only reason to go into Mordor with the Ring would be to toss it into Mount Doom, and no one would want to ''destroy'' the Ring, by Sauron's estimation.
** You're of course assuming that both Merry and Gandalf knew that the Ringwraiths knew the ringbearer was in Osgiliath. Honestly, when I first watched the film (which was admittedly almost a decade ago), I just assumed that Gandalf went to Gondor primarily because of The "Gondor's gonna get invaded really soon" part of Pippin's vision, and thus wanted to hopefully lend some more help to the Steward in preparing defences while also requesting he relinquish the throne to Aragorn, with Pippin tagging along because he wanted to keep up his charade not knowing it was already found out.

[[WMG: The Death of the Witch King]]
* (I've never read the books) The whole ''No mortal man can kill me - I'm no man'' line spoken by Éowyn during the final battle of the Return of the King. Was this just overconfidence on his part or a genuine loop hole in his powers? because the sheer concept of being able to circumvent someone's immortality solely by what you have between your legs just flabbergasts me. Although having said that I am appreciative of the fact that in an age where the only soldiers were male it would certainly be a handicap that wouldn't present a problem too often.
** The Witch King is especially susceptible to women in the same sense that Macbeth was especially susceptible to soldiers with leaves in their hats. It's a twist upon a prophecy, nothing more.
** Basically, keep in mind that this is a prophecy (made by the elf-lord Glorfindel, one of Elrond's retainers and a powerful reincarnated hero of the First Age), not part of the Witch-King's powers- destiny is in play here. It's not that he ''can't'' be killed by a man, but that he ''won't'', a subtle but important distinction. Seems like Éowyn and the Nazgûl Lord were always meant to cross paths on the Pelennor Fields.
*** In the movie this isn't the case. The Witch-King says "No man can kill me" and the idea that he cannot be killed (except by some sort of magic) fits everything we're ever told about the Nazgul. They are ghostlike beings who cannot be made dead because they are already not alive in the first place. Nothing supports any idea that they would have invulnerability to death by males only. In the book, Merry has a magic sword that makes him vulnerable, but the movie doesn't show this.
**** But in the movie, "I am no man" basically comes across as a badass bit of LiteralistSnarking on Eowyn's part: and it has a kind of psychological/spiritual force, too, in both book and movie. This is the moment where she conquers her fear, the Nazgul's greatest weapon, and ''turns it back on him''. Shaking off his influence, believing that she has the power to kill him, and shocking him into doubting the invulnerability he's believed certain, she is able to overpower him. The sword through the head is almost superfluous, and it's not ultimately about her genitalia either, but about both Eowyn and the Witch-King believing he's met an exception to his rule.

[[WMG: The Rabbits]]
* This is probably a silly one, but in the original novel, the scene where Gollum catches some rabbits and Sam turns them into a stew is in a different chapter from the scene where Sam and Frodo are captured by Faramir. But in the movie, Sam makes the stew, then he and Frodo wander off to see the oliphaunt, then they get captured, leaving their campsite abandoned. So what happened to it? My family's favorite theory on this is that some of Faramir's men found the campsite and ate the stew themselves.
** Alternatively, some hapless Haradrim footsoldiers, fleeing the ambush by Faramir's Rangers, stumbled upon the campsite, praised their strange southern gods for this tiny stroke of luck, and had a good Hobbitish rabbit stew before starting the long demoralizing trek back home.

[[WMG: Gondor's Outer Defenses]]
* Denethor objected to Faramir abandoning Minas Tirith's outer defenses by withdrawing from Osgiliath. The problem with that is, ''what'' outer defenses? Osgiliath was rather obviously indefensible, and had been so for a long time. Why did they not take some effort to actually fortify it? At a minimum, they should have torn down any structure that could be used to anchor a bridge from the other side, and dumped the rubble into the river to make it harder for the enemy to boat across. A river is only a defensive barrier if you take efforts to ensure that it's hard to cross it somehow.
** Stuff left out of the adaption, unfortunately. In the book Minas Tirith did have some extensive outer defenses. The entire Pelennor Fields was encircled by a wall, although that wall had largely fallen into disrepair. As for Osgiliath, more is made of it in the movie than in the book; it's been little more than an abandoned ruin for nearly a thousand years. There isn't much left to fortify. In addition, it's a running theme throughout the book that Denethor has become a neglectful ruler in his despair and age, and has simply left defenses and affairs of state to decay.
** Denethor ''does'' know that the outer defences won't hold, but that doesn't mean he just gives them up. He '''must''' make Sauron pay for the territory he gains - and if that costs him whole companies of men - well, "Much must be risked in war."
** Even with pontoon bridges and smallcraft, crossing a river under enemy fire is no fun at all, especially for the unfortunate engineers who are trying to coordinate it. Osgiliath is the best place for Sauron to attempt the crossing, though: northward, there's marshland, and southward the river gets wider. There's also a good access road, to bring up the armies and the engineering train. The defense isn't very effective because PJ's tactics are univerally abysmal throughout the films - the situation required archers and artillery in the greatest concentration Faramir could bring to bear, targetting as far out into the river and the far bank as they can reach, and that is presumably what he did in the books. Also, in the books, once he realises he can't hold the crossing, he withdraws in good order to the Causeway Forts, where the road crosses the outer walls. Even once the Fort falls, it still isn't a rout and they're getting the wounded back to the city, until the Nazgul scatter the rear-guard.

[[WMG: Legolas thinks Grí­ma makes good target practice]]
* I mean, why else would he shoot him? He's just rid them of one huge pain in the ass and has made no direct attacks against them. Why put an arrow through him?
** Legolas was trying to keep Grí­ma from finishing off Saruman, a rather valuable intelligence source. It didn't work, but that was why Grí­ma ended up dead.
*** What bugs me was Legolas's ability to hit him to begin with. That angle? A distant target that small at that altitude? From horseback? Yeah I know, it's Legolas, but still.... Of course, they could somehow hear everything that was being said even from that distance...

[[WMG: Army of undead = poor use of resources]]
So we get to see the full power of the Army of the Dead during the battle for Minas Tirith: they're invincible, fast and efficient, and effectively curbstomp the enemy army with no losses whatsoever. After this, they're freed and vanish. But hang on: how come nobody thought of asking them "Since y'all are immortal and all it'd be jolly good if you could help us by, y'know, killing all the orcs and other unpleasant individuals behind the gates of Mordor". There's no guarantee they'd accept, but at least Aragorn could ''try''. Come to think of it, Aragorn could just have made the promise differently - "help us win this war in its entirety and I free you".
* It's probably dependent on the exact wording of the oath that the Army failed to keep before death. In the original novel, the ghosts only fought against the corsairs before their oath was fulfilled. Then Aragorn stripped the fortresses on Gondor's southern border of men (Who had been posted there to guard against the corsairs) and sailed them to Minas Tirith in the captured ships.
** In the novel the ghosts didn't even ''fight'' the Corsairs, only frightened them off their ships and enabled Aragorn and the Gondorian troops to take them. It's implied that they simply ''can't'' fight the living, being merely ghosts and all.
* This is a good example of an AdaptationInducedPlotHole, since the film introduces the idea of Aragorn deciding to free them only after the Pelennor Fields, which seems noble but foolish in context.
* One explanation is that they thought it would be an unwise idea to bring a dead army anywhere near Sauron, who has also been known as ''the Necromancer'' (ie, someone who has magical power over the dead). Sure, the orcs and human armies of Mordor can't fight the ghosts, but Sauron himself probably could, and easily. Worst case scenario, Sauron takes control of them and turns them against the heroes, giving him yet ''another'' powerful army with which to conquer the world. It's not worth the risk.
* The ghosts were cursed in the first place for skipping out on ''one'' battle. If Aragorn hadn't released them from service after they'd made up for it by ''winning'' one battle, as he'd promised them, they might well have cursed '''him''' as an oath-breaker. As for why seizing the corsairs' ships hadn't already set them free, for all we know the corsairs booked it outta there the instant they saw the ghosts, so it didn't count as a "fight".

[[WMG: The One Ring and the Nature of Evil]]
Upon reflection, it seems like the Ring is more powerful in the movie than it is in the book. In the book it's a seductive item, true, and most people who make contact with it succumb to its power, but some people can resist its influence, and do. Power speaks to Power in Tolkien's world, and the ones who can resist the Ring are the ones who don't really crave power for its own sake. Sam is a simple humble country boy who doesn't want anything but his garden. Faramir is a sensitive, intuitive scholar who is smart enough to see what the Ring really is. Déagol doesn't get to hang on to it long enough for it to really do anything to him. The argument can even be made that Frodo isn't so much seduced by the Ring as he is defeated by it; after a protracted Battle of Wills, his just finally gives out. The message is that evil is a powerful force in the world, but it can be resisted and overcome through the simple virtures of decency, earnestness, and perseverance. No such message exists in the movie; in the movie, ''no one'' can resist the power of the Ring. Not Faramir, not Sam, ''no one''. Those simple virtues don't help any more. Perhaps the World has grown colder since Tolkien's day...
* Realistically (ironic choice of words intended) it is not as dramatic to have characters not succumb to the will of The One Ring. It is after all the ''The'' One Ring. Thematically, you can't go into near as much detail in the typical movie time frame as you can in the books, so keeping the concept cohesive for all versus for most is just a simple way to tell the story and not worry about it. As for actual explanation... [[SarcasmMode perhaps the time since the books were written, the ring got more powerful]].
* According to the "making of" video "From Book to Script," this change was deliberate. They weren't confident they could convince the movie audience that the ring was truly powerful and deadly if there were people who could resist it. This was given as a reason specifically for the changes in Faramir's character.
* I can understand making the changes to Faramir's character; they are in line with his established motivations to win his father's approval and to save his country. But ''Sam'' is clearly tempted by the Ring in ROTK as well. The most undeniably good person in the whole story can't resist the power of evil. It almost subverts the central theme of the story.
* There was one person in the movies who never yielded to temptation: Aragorn, when Frodo actually holds the ring out to him at the end of ''Fellowship''. I was actually under the impression that was part of the reason for Faramir's character change--if the Ring never tempted him for a moment either, the strength and nobility of Aragorn's refusal wouldn't stand out as much.
** Also, where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam; and in any case strength doesn't lie in not being tempted, but in resisting temptation.

[[WMG: Legolas and Gimil's "contest"]]

Did they ever make it clear who won?

* Gimli won the first contest at Helm's Deep with 43 kills to Legolas's 42 (this is accurate to the book, although the numbers were ever so slightly inflated - in the book Legolas gracefully accepted defeat after being beaten 42-41). This is shown in a deleted scene that was restored for the Extended edition. They never mention who "won" in the Battle of Pelennor Fields (Minas Tirith).
** I think the numbers were in the mid to upper 100's or low 200's in Pelennor Fields. Been a LONG time since I read the books. But if I am not mistaken, Gimli lost the second match up (and not because of the Mumakil).

[[WMG:Why are all the characters indestructible?]]
Seriously, it astonishes me how often in the movies someone slides down a rocky slope, gets knocked off a ledge, or falls ten feet or so onto rock. I still haven't figured out why everyone in these movies is immune to concussions, fractures, or spinal injuries. I know,I know, that would interfere with the plot, but it still bugs me.
* You're going to have to be more specific. When does that happen ''at all'', let alone so "often"? This comes off a lot like griping to me.

[[WMG: Aragorn's ability to break reality]]
Now I haven't read the books, and this is something that REALLY bothered me, but in the City of the Dead, it is clear that the Dead are immune to conventional weapons, as evidenced by Legola's EpicFail of an arrow. Now Aragorn blocking the King's blade with Narsil: I can understand since it was Isildur's sword.

But then, Aragorn proceeds to GRAB the King by the throat. How in the HELL did Aragorn magically manage to grab a ghost's throat when later on, that same ghost king is seen going straight through Aragorn. Ok, King of the Dead, can Aragorn touch you or no? Make up your damn mind.

* When Aragorn grabs him, he was exercising his power as the King of Gondor. Isildur was the one who put the curse on them, and so had power over them; Aragorn, as Isildur's Heir, has that same power if he wishes to use it. In other words, yes it actually ''was'' magic that allowed Aragorn to grab the King of the Dead. Very specific magic that likely wouldn't work on any other ghosts Aragorn would happen to encounter.
* And as for the King of the Dead passing through Aragorn, that's merely Aragorn choosing not to exercise the aforementioned power. He doesn't need to be forceful towards the King at all times.
* Think of it as Aragorn's rightful ''authority'' seizing hold of the ghost-leader or blocking his sword, not Aragorn's flesh or metal. Authority works one-way, not two.

[[WMG: Why would Saruman dam the river in the first place?]]
* So I'm watching the bit in Two Towers where the Ents unblock the dam and flood Isengard and I can't figure out why exactly Saruman did dam the river in the first place? He mentions to one of his Orcs that they are to block the Isen at the start of the movie but I can't think why he'd do that. Surely he needs the water for something? Granted I don't know much about rivers and dams, but I still can't figure out what purpose creating a dam served him.
** Possibly he was damming the river in order to power some kind of turbine. A piece of machinery for his forge, or even a mill to grind large amounts of grain (all those Orcs have to eat something). Otherwise, it's just blatant RuleOfSymbolism: Saruman is raping the land just because he can.
** It is actually clearly seen that he is working some sort of machines of the forge by the various water paths that are being redirected from the dam. So it was not just to rape the land for the sake of it. He needed all the fires burning (trees be damned) and the waters flowing where HE wanted them, not where the land let the rivers flow.

[[WMG: Where are the Dwarves?]]
I can't remember if this question was answered in the books, but it certainly wasn't in the movies... More than once, Gimli says that an army of Dwarves would've handled this and that situation. But why aren't the Dwarves joining the War of the Ring? If Sauron is to take over Middle-Earth, it seems pretty obvious he wouldn't spare the Dwarves. Okay, since Dwarves don't live in areas near Mordor, maybe they don't know how bad things have gotten. But Gimli knows what the situation is, and he's supposed to be some sort of an envoy of Dwarves, right? So why doesn't he summon them to join everyone else in the fight against Sauron?
* There aren't many Dwarves left, and the ones most likely to pitch in (the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain) are already facing a war at their own doorstep.
* They ''are'' fighting, just in a different theater of war, up north by the Lonely Mountain; if they diverted forces to the Gondorian front, he'd be able to overcome them there and from there retake Mirkwood, threaten Lothlorian, and flank Gondor from the north.
** Okay. It would've been nice if this stuff was mentioned somewhere, though, instead of Gimli just being all, "if only I had some Dwarves with me here".
*** They did allude to it. Immediately after Gimli says that line, Legolas replies "Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to battle; I fear war already marches on their domains."

[[WMG: The title of Bilbo and Frodo's story?]]
Just a silly thing really, but in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I do not recall them ever giving the story an official name. Unlike The Hobbit which was given it's name by Bilbo in story. ''There and Back Again. A Hobbit's Tale.''

My question is regarding a great line from the books that could have been used to make Frodo's part of the story have a more "hobbit-like" sound to it. Like Bilbo's did.

Why did they not call it ''Frodo Nine Fingers and The Ring of Power.''?

Now before you say "WHAT?!" That is a line that Sam uses in the book when they are in Mordor, beat to hell, and talking about all the old stories and how this story is not one of them (and a HUGE missed opportunity in the movie when they do the same thing). Sam (or perhaps Frodo, can't remember at this point) gives that line as the title for a story based on their adventures. I always took it as a sarcastic reference, but it still would have worked. Especially since the context of the scene in question was that they did not think they would survive no matter what happened. So when they do... why not use that title?

Then at the end of the movie, they went with the "easy connection" title of ''The Lord of the Rings''. Why?! And I would actually like both an insider info answer as well as in'verse if anyone knows or can come up with something plausible. Thanks (only thing that REALLY bugged me of the entire trilogy).

* The movie did mess it up a little, but the original title Frodo uses in the book is 'The Downfall of The Lord of the Rings'. Over time I guess that got shortened to 'The Lord of the Rings'. It's not that unusual really; it's just a name for the war, like if we called World War Two 'The Downfall of Hitler'. (The only reason we don't is because it's a lot more complex than that.) Personally, I prefer 'The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings', but hey.
** The full title is "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King". There's also a subtitle "(as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.) Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell". Heck, the book even gives the formatting of the title page. I don't know why the film didn't just point their calligrapher at pg1065!

[[WMG: Eomer's banishment]]
Grima declares hat Eomer is banished from Rohan under the pain of death, and the next thing we see of Eomer is him riding away... ''with two thousand men'', all fully armed, and we later learn that the remaining Rohan forces (at least those immediately available at the capital) amounted to some several hundred men. Uhm... how did Grima manage to banish the former with the latter, and why didn't the next scene after his "sentence" depict his greesy head on a spike, and Eomer taking charge?
* Because Grima had the king's ear, and taking down Grima meant, at that point, taking on the king. Eomer and his men leave ''because'' they're loyal to the king, and can't stand what Grima's doing. Remember that Grima has real authority there because of his place with the king. So it's like asking, "When a corrupt cop gives you a ticket, but you've got four people in the car with you, why don't you just beat up the cop and leave?"
** It's less giving an unfair ticket and more selling a nuke to the terrorists. In which case, it is a moral obligation of any dutiful citizen to stop them. And if it's not a cop but the President's advisor or, hell, the President himself, what does it matter? Are you saying Eomer and his men basically abandoned their country to the mercy of Saruman because of their loyalty to the king, even though the king was clearly either incapable or treacherous? I may not be pryvy to the specifics of Rohan policy, so maybe I'm missing something, but shouldn't at that point loyalty to the country and its people outweigh loyalty to a person?
** They didn't abandon their country. One of the first things we see them do is slaughter the Uruk-Hai. They're still fighting Saruman's forces even though the king isn't. They are protecting Rohan's land and people as best they can from external threats, because the internal threat is not something they can solve. And really, what would be the most likely result of Eomer riding into Edoras with two thousand armed knights and demanding Grima's surrender? All-out civil war. The last thing Rohan needs. Too many innocent lives would be endangered, not the least of which is the puppet king himself.
** And Grima has Eowyn. There probably is a point where, if you hold his sister hostage, Eomer will tell you to kill her and be damned, but I don't think Grima's quite there yet: as far as Eomer knows, this is all just a difference of opinion/competence over military strategy, rather than fundamental treason.
[[WMG: Here goes your traitor]]
Why do they let Grima go? Ok, Aragorn stops Theoden from killing the bastard, fine, he's all noble and merciful. But why let him go? It's obvious he's going to return to Saruman and tell him all he knows, and surely they wouldn't want that, would they?
* Saruman was literally in Theoden's head for the last few months, at the least. What on Earth could Grima tell him that he doesn't already know? Saruman's also an incredibly powerful wizard--the total value he has as a tactical asset to Saruman is infinitesimally small once he's out of Theoden's court.
* I see it as Aragorn trying to look out for Theoden's mental well-being. Theoden had just had his head invaded by evil for a long time... it probably wouldn't have been that great for his stability and the moral center of his soul if the first thing he did upon coming out of it was slaughter a physically defenseless man. It's not that Grima deserved to live so much as killing him or having him killed would have been bad for Theoden's soul at that moment. To judge by their encounter at Isengard, it was probably a good call... once he was fully himself, Theoden was actually ready to offer Grima a chance for mercy and repentance.
** I understand why they didn't kill him - I don't understand why they didn't throw him into prison. As for Grima's lack of useful knowledge, I don't know, he is still shown telling Saruman about the route that Rohans would take to the Helm's deep, and the defences, including the drain gate.

[[WMG: The Faramir "being dead" fiasco]]
After Faramir led a doomed charge to retake Osgilath, the entire group, except for Faramir himself, was wiped out. However they at first thought he was dead, but Pippin notices that he's just KO'd and needs medicine to which Denethor ignores, yelling, "My line has ended!". When he yells to his soldiers to abandon their posts, Gandalf knocks Denethor out and yells "Prepare for battle!" Why didn't Pippin or one of the other Gondor people take advantage of Denethor being knocked out unconscious and take Faramir to the healers?! And when Denethor takes Faramir's uncoscious body to burn it and himself in the Tomb of the Stewards, why did none of the other soldiers question Denethor's suicidal thoughts and incapacitate him for being insane, or check for a pulse on Faramir and tell Denethor that he was still alive?! Has no one in Gondor have a brain or something?!
** In the first case, because they were preparing for battle and trying to fight off an army of orcs and trolls was more important than getting one guy to the healers. In the second case, Denethor is still in charge, suicidal or not, so soldiers are going to obey direct orders from him.
** The soldiers could still disobey Denetohr if he's crazy! Sometimes, soldiers do that. I mean look at Halo 4. Did anybody obey Captain Del Rio when he ordered staff on the bridge of the Infinity to arrest Master Chief? No. So why can't the soldiers disobey Denethor and say no? Are Gondor soldiers stupid or someting?
*** Soldiers in a feudal system in Lord of the Rings are not in any way at all comparable to space marines in Halo. For one thing, in the feudalistic system of Lord of the Rings' world, when the leader of your nation gave you an order, you did it--you swore fealty to them personally. In the modern and future military, it's written in that soldiers have a duty to disobey unlawful orders. You're comparing two situations that could not be more different.
*** There is something of a FreezeFrameBonus during the funeral pyre scene. At least one of the soldiers holding the torches is ''really'' hesitant. He's slower than the others and keeps looking around at them. You can almost hear what he's thinking. "Um, guys? Are we really doing this?"
** Back to the first case. Faramir was important too. Taking him to the healers would also keep him safe!
*** Who's to say they didn't? Some guards bring him to be healed offscreen and then Denethor shows up to drag him to the pyre with no one stopping him because of the above reasons.
** But couldn't soldiers be get morally righteous and pull off a ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight, or go YoureInsane to Denethor and disobey him for being suicidally insane? Especially if it's the case of "If our leader kills himself, WHO'S GONNA LEAD US?!"?

[[WMG: Aragorn banishes Beregond on pain of death - the man is a hero]]
Aragorn banishes Beregond from Gondor at the end of the story. Beregond technically violated a long-standing law against abandoning one's post, but King Aragorn "graciously" pardons the man and allows for exile instead. You could say that Beregond is a hero for what he did. He breaks an ancient law of a world on the brink of total domination by an absolutely evil force, and saves a very important man from being burned to death. Could King Aragorn not make an exception for Beregond? This is the dawn of a new age, it seems inappropriate to me that a law from an old and corrupt one is upheld, when it is clear even to the King that what he is doing is unfair.
* Aragorn ordered Beregond to continue to serve Faramir. Faramir was made Prince of Ithilien. Therefore, if Beregond were to leave Ithilien and return to Gondor he would be abandoning his post, AKA ''desertion''. He was ''rewarding'' Beregond in a rather circuitous manner (for comparison, consider Kirk's demotion to captain at the end of ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'': While technically he was being punished, Kirk and pretty much ''every other person in the room'' knew the Federation President was actually rewarding him by giving him back command of a starship, after how unhappy he was shown in his higher rank in the previous two films).

[[WMG: Why Didn't Boromir Bring His Shield During the Fight at Amon Hen?]]
When Boromir tried to save Merry and Pippin from Saruman's Uruk Hai battle group at Amon Hen, why didn't he bring his shield (which he usually carries around) to the battle? If he did, he would've been able to protect himself from Lurtz's arrows and not be killed!
* If I remember correctly, the events at Amon Hen happen at a rather quick succession: Boromir talks with Frodo, he tries to take the Ring from him, Frodo runs away, the Orcs attack, Boromir tries to save Merry and Pippin from the Orcs. Boromir doesn't have his shield with him when he goes to talk with Frodo, because he has no need for it then. And the Orcs attack immediately after that, so possibly he thinks there's no time to go and fetch the shield, because they might've already killed Merry and Pippin before he comes back with it.
* But didn't he rest his shield nearby when he was gathering firewood when he talks with Frodo? He could've grabbed his shield after Frodo ran away.
** His shield was at their camp. Boromir and Frodo were far away from their camp.
*** How far away?
*** [[SarcasmMode Exactly 3.74 miles.]] Who knows? The orcs were showing up right then, Boromir didn't have time to go back to camp.

[[WMG: Do orcs have five legs?]]
When the forces of Mordor march on Minas Tirith in ROTK - about 1.45 into the extended version - they're marching to a drumbeat in ''[[UncommonTime 5/4]]''. How do they not stumble?
* The beats are still spaced out evenly, you can still walk a steady pace to 5/4.

[[WMG: The Ents are going to war...far too quickly.]]
I'll admit that it makes for a great shot when all the Ents come out of the forest ready to attack Isengard after Treebeard howls, but it also makes no sense. After the Ent Moot they'd most likely dispersed to get on with whatever it is they were doing, which was probably ''not'' hanging around near Isengard - so how did they all get there so quickly? Even in the Extended Edition, there's only about a minute at most between Treebeard yelling and the other Ents coming out of the woodwork.
** They were heading back to whatever it was they were doing, but they're Ents--they don't go fast coming or going. They probably weren't far from where the Ent Moot was held anyway.

[[WMG: Why, after putting up with Sam from Emyn Muil to Minas Morgul, does Gollum want to get rid of him right before he's about to be eaten by Shelob?.]]
It makes no sense to risk confrontation at this point, when he only has to put up with him for a few more hours at most. Just let Shelob deal with him!
** Because Sam was starting to become suspicious of Gollum. It wasn't about "putting up with him," it was about getting rid of him before he convinced Frodo that Gollum had to go.
*** But Sam had already tried and failed to convince Frodo. Unless something else happened, there was no real risk of Frodo changing his mind at this point. And even if they did send Gollum away, they would still have to go through Shelob's lair, since it was the only open way, so Gollum could just have followed them like he did earlier.
*** Sam clearly planned to be persistent about it, and even if Frodo said no, Sam was going to watch Gollum closely, which means Gollum can't get away with as much. And that's discounting the possibility that Sam decides to just kill Gollum. Also, two hobbits together have a better chance at getting through Shelob's lair than one hobbit alone.
*** Plus Gollum is pretty much not on a speaking basis with sanity. Why does Gollum behave irrationally? [[ShapedLikeItself Because he is irrational]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Paths of the Dead]]

* In the Extended version scene in the Paths of the Dead, there are a ''lot'' more skulls buried there than actual ghosts. Where did they all come from?
** The people who were brave/foolish enough to attempt to travel the Paths of the Dead without having the authority to command the dead.
** Alternatively, the Men of Dunharrow lived there for a long time before they were called on to fight Sauron. Therefore, there would be many generations of their dead buried in the catacombs, but only the final generation which was alive when they broke their oath became ghosts. Plus, from the composition of the army, it looks like their noncombatants were given a pass on the 'doomed to haunt the earth until redeemed' thing, but they'd still need burying when they died.

[[/folder]]
----
14th Mar '14 9:08:25 AM Discar
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[[folder: Eagles]] - ''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)''

to:

[[folder: Eagles]] - Eagles]]

''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)''


Added DiffLines:

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Paths of the Dead]]

* In the Extended version scene in the Paths of the Dead, there are a ''lot'' more skulls buried there than actual ghosts. Where did they all come from?
** The people who were brave/foolish enough to attempt to travel the Paths of the Dead without having the authority to command the dead.
** Alternatively, the Men of Dunharrow lived there for a long time before they were called on to fight Sauron. Therefore, there would be many generations of their dead buried in the catacombs, but only the final generation which was alive when they broke their oath became ghosts. Plus, from the composition of the army, it looks like their noncombatants were given a pass on the 'doomed to haunt the earth until redeemed' thing, but they'd still need burying when they died.
27th Feb '14 11:28:47 PM erforce
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* Aragorn ordered Beregond to continue to serve Faramir. Faramir was made Prince of Ithilien. Therefore, if Beregond were to leave Ithilien and return to Gondor he would be abandoning his post, AKA ''desertion''. He was ''rewarding'' Beregond in a rather circuitous manner (for comparison, consider Kirk's demotion to captain at the end of ''StarTrekIV'': While technically he was being punished, Kirk and pretty much ''every other person in the room'' knew the Federation President was actually rewarding him by giving him back command of a starship, after how unhappy he was shown in his higher rank in the previous two films).

to:

* Aragorn ordered Beregond to continue to serve Faramir. Faramir was made Prince of Ithilien. Therefore, if Beregond were to leave Ithilien and return to Gondor he would be abandoning his post, AKA ''desertion''. He was ''rewarding'' Beregond in a rather circuitous manner (for comparison, consider Kirk's demotion to captain at the end of ''StarTrekIV'': ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'': While technically he was being punished, Kirk and pretty much ''every other person in the room'' knew the Federation President was actually rewarding him by giving him back command of a starship, after how unhappy he was shown in his higher rank in the previous two films).
27th Feb '14 3:18:33 PM hbi2k
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[[folder: Eagles - ''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)'']]

to:

[[folder: Eagles Eagles]] - ''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)'']]1958)''



[[folder: Balrog Wings ''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."'']]

to:

[[folder: Balrog Wings Wings]]
''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."'']]"''
27th Feb '14 3:17:56 PM hbi2k
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[[folder:Eagles - ''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)'']]

to:

[[folder:Eagles [[folder: Eagles - ''"The Eagles are a dangerous 'machine'. I have used them sparingly, and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness." (Letter to F. Ackerman, June 1958)'']]



[[folder:Balrog Wings ''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."'']]

to:

[[folder:Balrog [[folder: Balrog Wings ''"And the shadow spread out like two vast wings..."'']]
22nd Feb '14 11:49:48 AM kaleidoscopes
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to:

*After Theoden leaves control of Rohan with Eowyn, she just leaves too. So who was left in charge?
17th Feb '14 2:00:20 AM citharadraconis
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** Also, where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam.

to:

** Also, where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam.
Sam; and in any case strength doesn't lie in not being tempted, but in resisting temptation.
17th Feb '14 1:58:46 AM citharadraconis
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* There was one person in the movies who never yielded to temptation: Aragorn, when Frodo actually holds the ring out to him at the end of FotR. I was actually under the impression that was part of the reason for Faramir's character change--if the Ring never tempted him for a moment either, the strength and nobility of Aragorn's refusal wouldn't stand out as much. (Also, where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam.)

to:

* There was one person in the movies who never yielded to temptation: Aragorn, when Frodo actually holds the ring out to him at the end of FotR.''Fellowship''. I was actually under the impression that was part of the reason for Faramir's character change--if the Ring never tempted him for a moment either, the strength and nobility of Aragorn's refusal wouldn't stand out as much. (Also,
** Also,
where does Sam really succumb to it? There's the "share the load" bit, which I thought was a genuinely selfless offer warped by Frodo's mind; and he hesitates to give it back after wearing it, which I think is in the books too and is as much about sparing Frodo as anything. I don't remember movie Sam being much more susceptible to the Ring than book Sam.)
Sam.
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