Awesome / The Lord of the Rings

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight!!"

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    Original Books 

  • It's early, and compared to later moments, quite minor, but as Gandalf pointed out - Bilbo is the only being known to willingly surrender the Ring, and this is after 60 years of time for it to take hold on his mind.
  • Sam vs. Shelob was by far the most impressive scene. Somehow even the excellent movie scene couldn't compare to the images the book conjured.
    • Samwise Gamgee to Shelob:
      "Now come, you filth! You've hurt my master, you brute, and you'll pay for it. We're going on; but we'll settle with you first. Come on, and taste it again!"
    • What makes it even more awesome? As Gorbag points out to Shagrat, this is the first time anyone has ever "stuck a pin in" Shelob. That is why he's convinced there's a great Elvish warrior on the loose.
    • Tolkien also pretty heavily implies that there were Orcish and Gondorian warriors who didn't do as well as our brave little hobbit."No such anguish had Shelob ever known, or dreamed of knowing, in all her long world of wickedness. Not the doughtiest soldier of old Gondor, nor the most savage Orc entrapped, had ever thus endured her, or set blade to her beloved flesh." He even goes so far as to say that Sam did better than characters who were considered legendary badasses in a world of legendary badasses.
  • Sam's charge into Cirith Ungol ("Spider Tower") in order to rescue Frodo is simply priceless. He's barely halfway through them and the orcs are convinced that there's a mighty Elf Lord around, with a sword and an axe and magical fire.
  • The entire Chapter 5 of Book 1 (A Conspiracy Unmasked) was a bit of a Moment of Awesome for Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Fatty Bolger.
  • "No living man am I! You look upon a woman."
    • Meriadoc's strike as well (and remember, Elrond wanted Merry and Pippin to return to the Shire: no Merry or Pippin means the Ents don't rise, Saruman is in place, Gandalf doesn't die and thus doesn't become powerful enough to depose Saruman, the Witch-king lives, and Faramir is dead). Arguably, it was Merry's blade which was the undoing of the Witch-king, as it was forged with spells specifically for the defeat of Angmar.
    • It gets even better when the writing implies the Witch King is having an "Oh, Crap! I didn't think of that" moment.
    • The blade was made by the smiths of Arnor, the kingdom that suffered centuries of warfare with Angmar, the Witch-king's realm. It took nearly a thousand years, but the people of Arnor had their vengeance in the end.
      • Gandalf once equates Merry and Pippin's coming to Fangorn to two stones that start an avalanche (LotR III ch. 5).
  • Many acts of valour occurred during the Siege of Minas Tirith & the Battle of Pelennor Fields-
    • Prince Imrahil & the Swan Knights of Dol Amroth play a vital role throughout the siege & even afterwords. Imrahil himself acts a co-commander of the city's defenses along with Gandalf. His men are consistently placed in spots where the fighting is likely to be the fiercest, & they prove their mettle; each & every time. Imrahil personally leads the sortie that saves Faramir from a brutal death on the Pelenor Fields.
    • Forlorn the Old, Lord of Lossaranch goes down swinging, fighting alone, completely surrounded by enemies. True Heart, True Friend- indeed!
    • The Easterling warriors prove to be very formidable foes , fighting to the bitter end long after the Fall of the Witch King & the rout of the orcs.
    • The Haradrim are no slouches either. They managed to regroup after the devastating initial impact of the Rohirrim charge around their towering Mumakils, fighting literally to the last man.
    • Duilin & Derufin die fighting as they led their bowmen to shoot at the vulnerable eyes of the Mumakil.
  • Several awesome moments (unfortunately left out of the film) occur at Helm's Deep.
    • When Aragorn is the last one to run for the safety Hornburg after the Deeping Wall is breached, he stumbles on the stairs, and the following orcs make a dive for him. But the first to appear is shot by Legolas kneeling at the top of the stairs; and then those climbing over him are crushed by a boulder thrown from above
    • Aragorn standing above the gates shortly before dawn and inviting Saruman's forces to surrender, as no foe has ever breached the Hornburg. He even makes the Dunlendings pause, but the Orcs renew their attack — just when the Horn sounds in the Deep, and Théoden & co. ride out, throwing Saruman's forces into a panicked retreat before Gandalf and the reinforcements arrived to hem them in and help finish them off.
      "I have still this to say," answered Aragorn. "No enemy has yet taken the Hornburg. Depart, or not one of you will be spared. Not one will be left alive to take back tidings to the North. You do not know your peril."
    • After Aragorn and Éomer led a small sortie out of the side gate to take out a ram, they are on the way back when Éomer gets jumped by some Orcs who had played dead. But then a small figure appears from the shadows and decapitates two Orcs, causing the rest to flee. Turns out Gimli decided to partake in the sortie "to shake off sleep", but decided their human foes "seemed over large for [him]", and so simply stood by and watched.
    • Gimli wins the orc-slaying contest 42 to Legolas' 41. Last damned orc had a iron collar that nocked his axe too.
  • The Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings got much more of a chance to shine in the novels. The "Scouring of the Shire" section of Return of the King was pretty much a crowning moment of awesome for the entire hobbit race, and Merry and Pippin in particular.
    • No lie. The entire Shire is cowering before a few score Men, far bigger and stronger than they are and more than willing to knock around any hobbit that shows signs of standing up to them, and Merry and Pippin take a brief look at the situation, use the Horn of Rohan to call out the Shirefolk, and form a battle-plan by next morning to deal with the invaders with barely a dozen hobbit lives lost. One has been made a Knight of Rohan and the other a Guard of Minas Tirith by better men than anyone in the Shire and by damn they prove it.
    • Pippin gets one earlier at the Battle of the Black Gate, when he single-handedly takes on an Olog-hai (a breed of troll which are bigger, stronger, sturdier and more vicious and cunning than regular trolls, and able to endure sunlight) to save a friend. And wins.
    • When Frodo and company return to the Shire, they find armed guards trying to order them around. They simply laugh at them. And when the guards summon a Man who acts as their Elite Mook, and said enemy mocks Frodo, Pippin slaps his sword and orders the Man to kneel and ask forgiveness 'or I'll set this troll's bane in you.'
      • Or the part where the ruffians gang up on Farmer Cotton in Bywater. He's just standing there, warming his hands at a bonfire, when they start threatening him. He calmly tells them to back off. They don't. One hundred armed hobbits led by Merry appear out of nowhere. Merry repeats the request to leave. The ruffian leader takes a swing at Merry. He's shot with four arrows before it connects.
    • The Nazgul flee from the Brandybucks after Fatty raises the alarm. A bunch of Hobbits, who have no idea who they're dealing with and have no magical power, and whose last battle was against wild animals, ran off Sauron's elite minions with a well-organized horn-call.
    • FARMER MAGGOT! - asking Khamul the Shadow of the east to "Go back to where you came from, or else I will send my dogs after you!". Yep, a sturdy hobbit farmer asked the second-in-command Nazgûl to go to hell (or more accurately Mordor). And he left....
    • Okay, "YouShallNotPass" "You cannot pass" was awesome, but nothing can touch his completely still "You cannot enter here." when Gandalf stares down the goddamn Witch-king.
      • And don't forget that the Witch-king did not neglect to respond in kind. "Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see him? Die now, and curse in vain!" And then he pulls back his hood, revealing that his "head" consists of a crown floating in midair above his shoulders, while drawing his Flaming Sword. It's almost a pity the Rohirrim had to show up and interrupt what had all the makings of a truly epic throw-down.
    • Lobelia Sackville-Baggins goes from disliked character to awesome when she attacks a group of the thugs infesting the Shire with her umbrella in the penultimate chapter of Return of the King. To quote one of the hobbits, "They've taken people we miss more, but you have to admit she's showed more spirit than most." When she's freed from prison after the hobbits' revolt, the crowd cheers her.
      Lobelia was very touched. She had never been popular before.
    • Even Saruman recognizes Frodo's quiet flavor of awesome after this line:
      'Well, if that is what you find pleasure in,' said Frodo, 'I pity you.'
  • Théoden's speech to Saruman in the ruin of Isengard. Saruman's just spent a few pages using his magic to sweet-talk the entire army of extremely ticked-off Rohirrim in leaving him alone. He's got them eating out of his hands when he asks Théoden whether they will have peace. Théoden promptly tells him where to shove it. "When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc." Thankfully, added back into the extended cut of the movie.
    • Made even more impressive by the fact that very, very shortly before this encounter, Saruman's apprentice had been able to turn Théoden into his puppet. That's one hell of a comeback.
    • Gandalf was pretty awesome soon thereafter, though perhaps less so because of his very nature being 'greater' as it were than Théoden. Having failed with Théoden, Saruman exerts his will even harder on trying to convince Gandalf to come up and make peace with him, so much so that even Théoden believes he will do so, with all feeling as if the pair are above them. Gandalf just laughs it off, and when Saruman tries to withdraw he commands him to come back saying he had not given him leave to go, and Saruman returns as if unable to refuse (though he clearly wanted to), and then Gandalf breaks Saruman's power.
      'Saruman!' he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority. 'Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.' He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. 'Saruman, your staff is broken.' There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf's feet. 'Go!' said Gandalf. With a cry Saruman fell back and crawled away.
      • Particularly powerful in the Toronto musical version, as this scene was done entirely in prose with the background music all but gone, Brent Carver's ridiculously powerful voice thundering through the theater...

    • Gimli manages to pull a short, but awesome comeback at Saruman. As the wizard tried to enchant Rohirrim and Théoden, he simply stated how much of a nonsense it was. That he was the only one, with Gandalf, to stay unmoved by Isengard's honey is a subtle reminder that the race of Dwarves is not easily enthralled indeed, would it be by Sauron and his rings or Sarumans or his words.
      It was Gimli the dwarf who broke in suddenly. ‘The words of this wizard stand on their heads,’ he growled, gripping the handle of his axe. ‘In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain. But we do not come here to beg.

  • And Théoden's speech to the Rohirrim before the charge at Minis Tirith.
  • Boromir getting shot full of arrows and still killing dozens of orcs to save the Hobbits. The fact that the Hobbits were captured anyway is moot.
    Pippin (to Denethor): Though he fell and failed, my gratitude is none the less.
  • Frodo standing up to the ringwraiths right before he reaches Rivendell.
    Frodo: By Elbereth and Lúthien the Fair, You shall have neither the Ring nor me!
    • Plus the bit a little earlier, where he refuses to take Glorfindel's faster horse and leave his friends to the Black Riders, until he's assured that they're after the Ring and will only follow him. And he's in terrible pain from the Witch King's enchanted sword during all this.
  • The crow of the rooster at the Siege of Gondor, signalling that the Sun had risen again, and with it came the Riders of Rohan.
    • Rohan answering Gondor's call at Minas Tirith is and will always be the most gorgeous instance of The Cavalry in literature.
      And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
    • That whole last bit of chapter V, where Théoden blows a horn with such strength that it bursts into pieces, after which he is compared to one of the Valar. And then the Rohirrim as a whole start singing. While brutally slaughtering everything near them.
    ''Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day's rising,
    he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
    Hope he rekindled, and hope ended;
    over death, over dread, over doom lifted,
    out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.''
  • When the Ring tempts Sam and he, not an Elf Queen, not an angelic Wizard, not the designated King of Men, just a humble Every Hobbit gardener, refuses it.
  • The last march of the Ents. With the song about how they're going to rip down Isengard and the description and their eyes and... makes me breathless just thinking about it.
    • And then Saruman, who'd already proven that he didn't understand Ents, made a major tactical error: he set one on fire. Smart idea: idiotic timing.
      Pippin: "I thought that they had been really roused before; but I was wrong... It was staggering... They roared and boomed and trumpeted, until stones began to crack and fall at the mere noise of them... I saw iron posts and blocks of masonry go rocketing up hundreds of feet, and smash against the windows of Orthanc..."
  • When the hobbits are staying with Tom Bombadil, Frodo decides to slip on the Ring for a 'joke'. Tom simply looks up as the other hobbits freak out and says (not an exact quote) "Put your trinket away, Frodo. Your hand looks more fair without it." Think about this for a moment. Even Gandalf has freaked out at the prospect of using the Ring. And this random dude is completely blase, despite the fact that he clearly had power and knew about evil. And then Tom puts on the ring (without becoming invisible), spins it like a toy, then makes it "disappear" by sleight-of-hand and hands it idly back to Frodo.
    Erestor: It seems that he has a power even over the Ring.
    Gandalf: No, I should not put it so. Say instead that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master... He might [take and guard the Ring], if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian....
  • Frodo while in the Wight's barrow - a situation that Gandalf deemed as dangerous as facing the Nazgul at Weathertop. And it makes one wonder what he would have been like without the Ring. Black Riders? A little scary. Man-eating trees? Freakish, let's get away. But try to kill my friends? I'm going to effing stab you.
    • The even more impressive thing about this was that minutes before, Frodo had been too scared even to move, even when he got attacked by the barrow-wight himself.
  • Frodo's penultimate confrontation with Gollum on the slopes of Mt. Doom. Sam is the eyewitness and even he is starting to see the 'other world' view of the Ring:
    Before it stood stern, untouchable now by pity, a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire. Out of the fire there spoke a commanding voice. "Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom."
  • Dáin Ironfoot, when just a boy, slew an Orc-chieftain. This set the tone for his long, badass life.
    • Which includes, but is not limited to, looking the Balrog of Moria in the face and living to tell the tale and defending the body of his friend King Brand to the death - at the age of 252. And still kicking ass until the very last breath.
  • Speaking of the Balrog of Moria, as it is revealed to the Fellowship as the true evil within Moria, what happens? Gandalf, the Wizard and servant of the Valar, is afraid. Aragorn, Heir of Elendil and Chieftain of the Dunedain, is afraid. Legolas, the Elven Prince of Mirkwood, openly despairs. But Boromir? The Heir of the Steward and Captain of the White Tower simply steps forth and blows his horn, in defiance of the demon of the ancient world. What's more? It pauses, even if just for a brief moment.
  • Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli racing across Rohan in pursuit of the orcs. They ran 45 leagues - that is 155 miles or 250 km - in less than four days with the will of Saruman set against them.
  • While not quite as action oriented and amazing as most entries, Bilbo's compliment/criticism/Take That! during his birthday party is a CMoA for giving us this... the ultimate line for leaving an entire audience wondering if they were just insulted, complimented, or both. note 
    " I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
  • The climax of the Entmoot. Think of it this way, ancient beings, wise but mind-numbingly slow to regular folk, peaceful treeherders, suddenly get it into their heads that they have an enemy to defeat. This is no mere Misfit Mobilization Moment; this is what happens when you piss off the things that are to trolls what elves are to orcs. They tear through the fortress of Isengard as if it were walled with paper.
    We go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break the door!
  • As Glorfindel and Aragorn hold back the Nazgûl to allow Frodo to enter Rivendell, Frodo turns back and sees the Elf-Lord shining with light. Whereas the hobbits had been unceremoniously chased up to that point in the story, we're shown that the elves are not yet entirely diminished, and the forces of darkness are not unmatched.
    • It's also awesome on a meta level - this is the first moment in Tokien's writings that High Elves get put on display in all of their glory. Before this all that was known about Tolkien's elves is that they liked songs and tress, and were somewhat mysterious. Then along comes a bonafide High Elf lord, and we get a glimpse into what the elves were really capable of.
  • Minas Tirith has been breached, is partly on fire, and the Rohirrim are not numerous enough to take and hold the Pelennor Fields, but they're putting up a fight. Suddenly the ships of the Corsairs of Umbar appear on the river, announcing that Mordor's reinforcements have arrived... and run up the flag of the King of Gondor, which has not been seen in centuries. Sauron's forces are horrified, Gondor's are reinvigorated, and much ass-kicking ensues.
    • Éomer's despair paired with his sudden delight, toss and catch of his sword is the perfect combination of Darkest Hour and Big Damn Heroes moments. At the darkest hour comes the dawn. If only they had included it in the film! In just half a page Tolkien goes from the depths of despair, to defiance, to hope.
    • The entire Battle of the Pelennor Fields is one of these. Big Damn Heroes? A truly epic one (the charge of the Rohirrim) then an even more epic one (Aragorn's arrival). Then there's Éowyn and Merry killing the the Witch-King of Angmar through sheer Heroic Resolve. And all the speeches Théoden and Éomer give, which would frankly inspire anyone to go out and fight evil on horseback with a sword. And Theoden's Dying Moment of Awesome (also a powerful tearjerker). It also helps that Tolkien describes the battle in huge amounts of detail, its every phase and movement catalogued, with his usual mastery of language making it one of the finest chapters of his entire Legendarium.
  • Is it possible for a sword to have this? More specifically the sword that Merry picks up in the Barrow-Downs that he uses to cripple the frikkin' Witch-King Of Angmar, which then crumbles into dust after he uses it. Tolkien describes it as fulfilling its task:
    So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dunedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will.
  • Thorin son of Thráin son of Thrór, only a youth, improvises when his shield is wrecked by using a tree branch as both shield and club! This bit of ingenuity earns him the appellation "Oakenshield".
  • The narration describing the actions of Sauron the moment Frodo claims the Ring as his own is another of Tolkein's powerful moments:
    And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung. From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgûl, the Ring-wraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.
  • The invention of the game of golf.
    • To explain: A hobbit decapitates an Orc-chieftain with a club. And the head goes sailing off a ways, into a hole in the ground.
    • The orcs name was Golfimbul. Think about it. Golf-im-bull Golfing ball.
  • Galadriel's awesomeness is revealed in a single line of the Appendices. After the Ring is destroyed, the forces of Lothlórien attack Dol Guldur. "They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed." She destroyed a fortress of Sauron by herself.
  • The Witch-King's entry into Minas Tirith before his confrontation with Gandalf. He weakens the gates with black magic to allow the ram to do its work and then becomes the first enemy in almost four thousand years to enter Minas Tirith.
    "In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face."
  • Even very minor characters get moments. Hama, the door-warden of Meduseld, commands his visitors to lay aside all weapons before they may meet Theoden. When Gandalf tries to pull 'an old man needs a stick to lean on', The Guards Must Be Crazy is averted. Hama is not deceived, but he deems that Gandalf is here to help, and his judgement is vindicated. He goes on to die valiantly at the Hornburg, and is specifically named by Eomer as one of the reasons Rohan can never accept negotiations with Saruman.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome for Gandalf. His battle against the Balrog lasted ten days straight before the grey wizard slew the damned thing and succumbed to fatigue. His resurrection was basically a level up from all the XP that kill must have given him.
  • Something the movies didn't play that well: After destroying the Ring, people start praising and hailing Frodo and the Hobbits left and right, acclaiming them as the ones who saved Middle-Eath. The common folk of Middle-Earth, many of whom have never seen or heard of them before, now KNOW who they are and what they did.

     Peter Jackson's Film Trilogy 

Fellowship of the Ring

  • The Battle of the Last Alliance, shown in the prologue of the first film. Remember that with a few happy exceptions, fantasy movies before Fellowship were a marginalized and generally mediocre lot. With one establishing scene, Fellowship destroyed fantasy filmmaking's reputation for Special Effects Failure and Rubber Elf Ears and replaced it with the grandeur, terror and beauty that it had always striven for.
    • We're first shown a short clip of Sauron's orcs rampaging around Middle-Earth, before we hear Galadriel's voice say "But there were some... who resisted." Next thing we see is an army of men boldly marching straight at a massive horde of orcs at the foot of Mount Doom. We then cut to a shot of the aforementioned massive horde of orcs charging at the almost equally large Last Alliance army... who then proceed to wipe the floor with the orcs.
    • From the same battle scene, Elrond giving his archers the order to fire, and a volley of arrows goes flying through Elrond's line, narrowly and accurately missing their own troops to lay into the onrushing horde.
    • The Last Alliance just walked into Mordor. Admittedly, they did have to get rid of a few hundred thousand obstacles first.
    • And also Sauron himself demonstrating the power of the One Ring and obliterating the forces of the Last Alliance by himself.
  • Gimli in Moria, coming out of his despair to clamber up onto Balin's tomb, drawing his axes: "Let them come! There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!" The epicness of the soundtrack at this point doesn't hurt either.
    • Another Gimli moment comes a few scenes later, as the Fellowship flees to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The chamber opens up and suddenly they are surrounded by thousands of orcs. The rest of the Fellowship looks terrified, but Gimli? He just hefts his axe and growls. "You take the thousand on the right, I'll take the thousand on the left!"
      • The you in his statement refers to the rest of the Fellowship. That's right, he's basically saying, "You guys take that half; I got this."
    • Also in Balin's Tomb, Frodo has just received what everyone -including him- thinks is a fatal wound from the Cave Troll. Merry and Pippin's response after their initial shock? Reverse grip their short swords, let out angry cries, jump on the Cave Troll's shoulders, and start stabbing the shit out of it.
  • The cinematic and musical richness of the Fellowship's encounter with the Argonath—the rock-hewn statues of two notable kings of the ancient border of Gondor. It draws pause to think of how really, really ancient the history of Middle-Earth is—so much that that characters really are dwarfed (sorry) by their role in it.
  • Aragorn's climactic fight against Lurtz at the end of the first movie.
    • On a duel level, (pun intended) Aragorn, having been knocked half-senseless, swinging his sword at the last moment to knock out of the air the dagger being thrown at him. A classic action moment, elevated when you learn the sequence was not choreographed nor a special effect. The prosthetics that Lurtz had on—specifically the contacts—made him throw a knife that was supposed to be a far miss straight at Viggo Mortensen's face. Mortensen deflected the knife himself out of pure reflex and badassery. This was after the stuntman had failed several times to hit the knife out of the air.
    • Note that the "being knocked half senseless" wasn't acting or scripted either. The stuntman's prosthetic makeup hindered his depth perception, making the headbutt that he delivered to Mortensen quite real and quite painful, nearly knocking him out cold. The punch to his gut was also not pulled, and the sound you hear him making is him grunting in actual pain.
    • Just before Lurtz' decapitation though, he has his own CMoA when Aragorn stabs him in the belly and he pulls the sword in deeper, grinning at Aragorn as he does so.
      • "Grinning," hell, he was trying to bite Aragorn's face off.
    • That fight was so awesome, audiences all around the world have been reported applauding the cinema screens after Aragorn takes Lurtz's head off.
    • When he tells Frodo to go alone, then he stands and turns to meet a mob of Uruk-hai, saluting with his sword in an utterly badass Slow Walk. And starts kicking ass.
  • Boromir's crowning moment coincided with his redemption, when he charges in to protect Merry and Pippin from the Uruk-hai. Then Lurtz puts an arrow in his chest. Boromir falls to his knees, looks at Merry and Pippin, then he gets back on his feet and starts fighting again. Twice.
    • Plus, from how well he was doing until Lurtz intervened, it's entirely possible he would have won, or at least killed enough of the Uruk-hai that Merry and Pippin could have gotten away. And when Lurtz stands in front of him to administer the Coup de Grâce at point-blank range, Boromir stares him down, clearly in agony and exhausted, but not scared, of him or of dying. Lurtz may have mortally wounded Boromir, but he couldn't scare him.
    • His last line to Aragorn: "My brother. My captain. My king." Total awesomeness there.
    • Also bear in mind, those arrows? They were the size of tree branches.
    • Boromir's second-to-last act before his death? Begging Aragorn for forgiveness for trying to take the ring from Frodo. His last act? He uses his own death as a Dare to Be Badass moment to make Aragorn swear to help his people and his city, by claiming that the world of Men would fall while silently begging Aragorn to tell him that he's wrong.
      • This is Sean Bean's favourite of his on-screen deaths.
  • Aragorn's Big Damn Heroes moment on Weathertop. Frodo's just been stabbed, the other three Hobbits are clearly no match for even one of the five Ringwraiths that are surrounding them, and then Aragorn comes flying in from offscreen Dual Wielding his sword and a torch and not only holds off the five of them alone, he sends them running, culminating with one jumping off the side of the mountain to get away with him. And when the last one moves to go after the Hobbits rather than fight Aragorn when he's not looking, Aragorn turns, glares at it, and the thing pauses and looks over with body language that clearly states "I have made a serious mistake tonight" before Aragorn throws his torch into its face and sends it jumping off the mountain.
  • The mind-blowingly stunning shot of Arwen riding on a white horse with Frodo across the plain, chased by the Nazgûl in a V formation, is a crowning moment for cinematography. It says a lot about these movies that a single shot can give you chills.
    • The scene at the Bruinen Ford: do you know how "(If you want him) come and claim him!" should sound in Greek? Molon labe!
      • Made even better by the Nazgul's response: Instead of being intimidated, they immediately draw their swords and start to cross, fully intending to take Frodo if Arwen won't give him to them willingly.
      • They don't just draw their swords, they draw them in unison. As if to say, "Lady, do we look like we're bluffing?"
  • Sam's first Moment of Awesome in all the movies is the sequence after Aragorn has dragged Frodo up the stairs. While his friend is busy getting creeped out by the strange man, he pulls a drunken Merry and Pippin out of the crowd, spots Frodo being pulled away, grabs a chair and a candelabra and prepares to take down a guy with a sword. A preview to the later awesomeness with Shelob, but a Moment of Awesome nonetheless considering all we'd seen of him at this point was a complaining, not-as-bright-as-Frodo-but-not-stupid sidekick.
    • Just to clarify, Pippin and Merry are the ones holding the chair and the candelabra, respectively. Sam charges in ready to take on a shifty swordsman with nothing but his bare fists!
    Sam: Let'im go! Or I'll have you, Long-Shanks!
    • Sam's next moment comes when the four hobbits are surrounded by the Ringwraiths. As the hobbits huddle together fearfully, Sam shouts "Back, you devils!" and attacks the nearest wraith. After doing nothing but running from them up to this point, Sam is the first hobbit to fight back.
    • He gets another one during the Fellowship's fight in the mines, singlehandedly taking out two orcs, with a Frying Pan.
    Sam: I think I'm getting the hang of this... (Knocks out another one)
  • The entire Bridge of Khazad-dûm scene is masterfully translated to screen. Everyone runs over the bridge while badass music plays, and then tiny, frail-looking Gandalf battles a gigantic, flaming demon three times his size. And to crown it all is when he yells his famous, "you shall not pass!" line. The delivery is a crowning moment of awesome in and of itself, but it shows that Gandalf is not just a charming old man who can magically shoot fireworks, but is now a supreme force of good who will face evil incarnate, and kick its ass.
    • The Balrog itself is something that deserved a CGI animation award. If it had been even slightly unconvincing, Gandalf's big scene would have been Narm. Thankfully, it was every bit the primeval demon it needed to be.
      • Oh yes this cannot be understated! The Balrog, one of the most terrifying elements of the entire book trilogy, could have gone so wrong (see for example its almost farcical representation in the Bakshi movie) but the final result was so awe-inspiring that if Tolkien had been alive to see it he would have wept with joy!
      • Let us allow Harry Knowles of Ain't it Cool to explain this to us. "...The bridge sequence is ungodly cool...the sort of ungodly cool that...welll... I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW COOL THIS SEQUENCE WAS! I've never seen anything like it... This is Cinema, big and showing me things my imagination has never conceived of. I was giggly-happy and dumbstruck all at once. Then I saw the Balrog. No s***! I've seen the Thing of Shadow and Fire as it breaks through a wall. My God. This thing is enormous, horns like a black ram from the pit of Hell itself. Old cracked horns. Fire coming out of the cracked skin. Glowing mean-as-f*** eyes..."
      • The delivery of those four words could have been so easily done badly, especially since that phrase has no special emphasis or even exclamations in the book, but Ian McKellen manages to turn it not into an order or a threat, but a goddamn commandment.
    • Trapped with Frodo on the wrong side of a gap too wide to leap, Aragorn surfs a crumbling stone pillar, shifting his weight so that it'll topple and crash into the next part of the stairs. All this while the score builds to a tense, expectant crescendo... and then, when Aragorn succeeds, the Fellowship's theme blares forth triumphantly.
  • Gandalf reminding Bilbo that he's not "some conjuror of cheap tricks":
    Gandalf: I am not trying to rob you! ... I am trying to help you. All your long life, we've been friends. Trust me now, as you once did.
  • A quiet one, but: Frodo and Aragorn's last meeting on Amon Hen. We've just seen Boromir driven mad by desire of the Ring, attacking Frodo to get it, and reduced to sobbing and clawing at the dirt. Right on the heels of this, Frodo comes face to face with Aragorn, cringes away in fear, and then, when Aragorn realizes why, actually offers him the Ring open-palmed. Aragorn walks toward him, eyes burning in his face, reaches toward it... then drops to his knees and gently closes Frodo's hand over the Ring. This moment - the only Man able to refuse the One Ring - was given to Faramir in the book, but it is more emotional (if more predictable) given to Aragorn. Jackson observed that they never got to say farewell in the book, and putting this scene in the movie tied the resulting 'Frodo arc' and 'Aragorn arc' together.
    Aragorn: I would have gone with you to the end — into the very fires of Mordor.
    Frodo: I know.
  • In Balin's tomb, the Fellowship has killed everyone but the troll. Frodo goes down and the tone of the scene suddenly shifts to reflect the collective realization that they're in serious danger from that thing. If someone doesn't stop it immediately, it will kill them — it is huge and strong. Then Legolas shifts his attention and manages to shoot it while standing on its back. Now it is badly injured and Legolas, now on the floor in front of it, takes the time to carefully aim and shoots an arrow into its open mouth. The arrow lodges with the tip protruding from the troll's skull and the tail from its mouth. The troll absently waves its hand at the arrow in its mouth as its brain fires its final commands, then dies.

Two Towers
Forth Eorlingas!
  • "Where is the horse, and the rider? Where is the horn that was blown? They have passed like rain on the mountains, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the west, behind the hills... into shadow. How did it come to this?" The atmosphere of this simple scene, devoid as it is of action, makes my hair stand on end without fail.
  • Gimli has one at Helm's Deep, too. Dwarf lands on bridge; circular axe-sized swath appears in enemy troops within two seconds. In another classic Gimli moment during the same battle, leaping off of a 20 foot wall onto a sea of orcs and narrowly avoiding impalement on their enormous spears in the process, only to crash down on top of an orc and then nearly drown in knee-deep water. What a card, eh?
    • Gimli's moment during the warg attack while marching to Helm's Deep. He's pinned by the carcass of a warg and an orc comes in, thinking it will get an easy kill. Gimli just reaches up, grabs the orc's head, and snaps its neck! Proving that a dwarf doesn't need to be flashy to be awesome.
  • Gimli has another great one after Helm's Deep in the extended version, he and Legolas are discussing their kill count competition:
    Legolas: Final count, forty-two.
    Gimli: Forty-two? Oh, that's not bad for a pointy-eared elvish princeling. Hmph! I myself am sitting pretty on forty-THREE.
    Legolas: [takes out an arrow, and shoots the Uruk Gimli is sitting on in the stomach] Forty-three.
    Gimli: He was already dead!
    Legolas: He was twitching.
    Gimli: He was twitching because he's got my axe EMBEDDED IN HIS NERVOUS SYSTEM!
    [rattles the handle of his axe; the Uruk's arms and legs twitch]
    • Also pretty amusing how a medieval society knows enough about life science to use the phrase "nervous system."
    • And remember that Legolas had a very unfair advantage of a ranged weapon, having racked up 17 kills by the time Gimli got his first two. Even a tie would have been impressive, and he still won!
      • Though he did even the odd with the whole Causeway Back-to-Back Badasses with Aragorn quite a bit. I'd say it was a fair fight. No less awesome though.
      • While Aragorn and Gimli's Back-to-Back Badasses moment on the causeway is buying time to shore up the main door to the keep, the manage to get some more ladders up, guided by ropes to prevent them being knocked down. Legolas snipes the support rope on one before it can be landed on the wall, and the ladder's landing looks to have squashed about forty orcs right there. Perhaps Legolas was only counting the ones he killed directly?
      • Considering an entire Mûmakil "still only counts as one"...
  • The scene at Helm's Deep where the Rohirrim charge down hill and into the horde, riding down everyone on the slope only to find Gandalf has arrived with reinforcements is made of pure win. Topped off with Sam's declaration that "There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for!" The only way Jackson could have made it better is if he went back to his early work and had Aragorn and Gimli charge down the slope with lawnmowers raised...
    "Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath! Now for ruin! And the red dawn!"
  • On a similar note, Aragorn's utter refusal to let despair stop him where it's stopped Theoden and his desperate attempts to save as many as he can, to slow the Uruk-hai for as long as possible.
    Theoden: "So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?"
    Aragorn: "Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them."
    Theoden: "For death and glory?"
    Aragorn: "For Rohan. For your people."
  • "That is no orc horn!" The elves arrive at a woefully undermanned Helm's Deep, just before the Orcs get there, in gleaming armor, marching with military precision. And you can tell from the expressions on the Rohirrim's faces that this was the hope they desperately needed.
    • Even more awesome given that Elrond sent them, since he seemed ready to all but give up on the race of Men not long before (justifiably given his experiences with Isildur, but still). A crowning moment for Elrond, Haldir, and the race of Elves in general.
    • What's more, it's implied that the Elves there were all volunteers. The Elves had decided to evacuate Middle-Earth but knew Men could not stand alone, so Elrond could have asked his people if they wanted to either stay and fight or leave. Take a good at look how many Elves went to Helm's Deep.
  • In the Extended Edition, we see Faramir remembering his brother, Boromir. This time, we see Boromir as he truly was: not as a doubt-filled man, near-driven mad by the Ring's corruption, but instead Gondor's finest warrior. Her protector and her champion.
    Boromir: This city was once the jewel of our kingdom. A place of light, and beauty, and music. And so it shall be once more! ...Let the armies of Mordor know this: Never again will the land of my people fall into enemy hands! ...The city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed. For Gondor!
    • He also displays a moment of personal awesomeness by calling out Denethor for his shoddy treatment of Faramir. He may be his father's favourite, but denigrate Faramir? He will not let that stand.
  • Faramir has a rather understated one when he lets Frodo and Sam go, simultaneously rejecting the Ring and successfully doing what his older brother couldn't.
    Madril: You know the laws of our country, the laws of your father. If you let them go, your life will be forfeit.
    Faramir: Then it is forfeit.
  • The last march of the Ents. Saruman's forces were taken out by walking trees.
    • If you look carefully one of the Ents is using a CAVE TROLL to swat Orcs with.
      • Ironically hilarious if you have read the The Silmarillion, where you'll know that Trolls were made in mockery of Ents by Morgoth. So you now have an Ent using its Evil Counterpart to take out more evil all spawned by the same master in a great case of Karmic Death.
    • Also, Treebeard's roar as he finds the forest destroyed. It has the perfect mix of pain and anger, where you completely understand what's going on in his mind. And all the other Ents coming out of the forest just tells you Saruman messed with the wrong species.
      • It had already been established that Ents take a long time to speak about anything, so being able to rally a normally pacifistic race to war just by roaring speaks volumes of how united the Ents are.
  • Gandalf's exorcism of Saurman from King Theoden at Meduseld.
    Gandalf: I release you from the spell. (raises hand and holds it towards the Saruman-possessed Théoden)
    Théoden: (starts to laugh) You have no power here, Gandalf the Grey. (continues laughing, then exclaims in pain as Gandalf throws off his cloak, fully exposing his power)
    Gandalf: I will draw you, Saruman, as poison is drawn from a wound! (presses harder, Théoden yells again)
    Saruman: If I go, Théoden dies!
    Gandalf: (presses even harder) You did not kill me. You will not kill him!
    Saruman: Rohan is mine!
    Gandalf: (even harder push) Begone!
    [Saruman is BLASTED out of Theoden and is blown to the floor right in his tower of Isengard]
    • Barely a moment before, when Grima tried to stop him from getting to Théoden, Gandalf cuts him off with this line, in the most contemptuous tone ever:
    "Be silent! Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm!" OH SNAP.
    • When Saruman's hold over Theoden is lifted, Theoden's transformation effect is, bar none, one of the most stunningly impressive piece of visual effects of all time. In five seconds he goes from an ancient, dead-eyed, white haired, hunchbacked, butt-ugly albino to a hale and hearty Badass Grandpa.note 
    • One for Theoden also. When he gets up from his chair, he's still weakened and needs support. Gandalf then brings him his sword, and as Theoden draws it the music swells magnificently and gives an indication of Theoden returning to his old strength.
    Gandalf: Your fingers would remember their old strength better... if they grasped your sword.
  • The Freefall Fight between Gandalf and the Balrog. It was only hinted at in the novel, but the film managed to portray exactly what you might expect a sword-wielding wizard and a giant fire demon beating the stuffing out of each other while falling into the bowels of the earth to look like.
    Gandalf: ... until at last I threw down my Enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside.
    • That fight is technically a fight between a demon and an angel. It is exactly what you'd expect of that context.
  • Pippin gets a minor one in having the presence of mind to drop his cloak clasp for the others to find.
  • Merry and Pippin fulfill Gandalf's declaration of being small stones that signal the start of an avalanche by arriving in Fangorn when Merry becomes instrumental in gathering the Ents together and Pippin's quick thinking to divert Treebeard towards Isengard to finally convinces the Ents to actually fight.
  • The last charge of Helm's Deep's defenders is rushing from the gates into the Uruk-Hai army, and even though they're all being Badass, it still looks like they're lost, and this is a suicide charge. Then Gandalf's words get echoed, the sun rises... and Gandalf and Éomer appear on the ridge. They proceed to have the following exchange:
    Gandalf: Théoden King stands alone.
    Éomer: No. Not alone. Rohirrim! TO THE KING!
    • Cue the arrival of The Cavalry as Éomer's Riders of Rohan charge down the hill towards the Uruk-Hai, the sun shining brightly behind them as they proceed to absolutely crush the Uruk-Hai.
    • During Sam's "World of Cardboard" Speech, when the film cuts to different good-guy victories, backing up his point, we see the Uruk-hai army sprinting away from Helm's Deep as quickly as they possibly can.
    • And the Uruk-hai flee straight into Fangorn Forest. Which wasn't there when the battle started. And appear to be eaten by the forest.
  • Sméagol gets one when he tells Gollum, who's been mocking him constantly, to buzz off. Gathering strength and courage and telling him to leave and never come back. It doesn't last, but it shows that Sméagol still exists and remembers what his life was like before he encountered the Ring and was genuinely happy.
  • A minor (and anonymous) moment of awesome for the Rohirrim who, when Eomer's forces attack the Orcs holding Merry and Pippin captive, takes the time to notch arrow to bow and turns backwards to shoot an Orc. While on horse, of course. Sagittarius, meet your Middle-Earth counterpart...
  • Meta-example, when Aragorn kicks the helmet and screams about Merry and Pippin's apparent deaths, Viggo Mortensen broke two of his toes with that kick. Him managing to stay in character and work the pain of that into his performance produced the best take they had and it was used in the final film.

Return of the King
By all that you hold dear on this good Earth. I bid you stand, Men of the West!!!
  • For some reason, Pippin singing that hobbit song "All Shall Fade" while Faramir rides to his death gives me goosebumps and chills every single time.
    • In a meta example, that song was written by Billy Boyd. Using an adapted version of Tolkein's own words. In one day. The crew cried during the filming of that scene. And then he recorded it in Abbey Studios so that the sound crew could juxtapose it with the simplest orchestral backing they could manage. How's that for a moment of awesome?
  • "For Frodo."
    • Who are the first to follow Aragorn into the fray? Merry and Pippin. Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli, and all the other warriors twice their size follow after them.
      • With such bravery and loyalty outshining all of the stronger races of middle earth, it's small wonder that Merry and Pippin, just like Frodo and Sam, bow to no one.
    • Before that, not in the theatrical release but on the DVD and the videogame, when the Mouth of Sauron comes out to meet Aragorn and offer to spare them if Aragorn surrenders, as the fight is hopeless (showing the clothing that Frodo and Sam had discarded earlier, to say they were dead), Aragorn replies by chopping off his head. Gimli notes that negotiations seem to be over.
      • Directly before this, we are treated to an awesome speech by Aragorn:
      "A day may come, when the courage of men fails, and we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship — but that is not this day! A hour of wolves, and shattered shields, as the age of Men comes crashing down — but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear, on this good earth, I bid you STAND! MEN! OF THE WEST!"
      • And to top it off, it's paraphrased from the Poetic Edda ("Voluspa", verse 45: Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered, || Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls; || Nor ever shall men | each other spare.)
      • To make it even more Awesome - when the horse rears up after his speech? All done by itself, that wasn't part of the script. The horse did it all on its own.
      • While Aragorn's making his speech, you can see several soldiers looking terrified of what they're up against, but when Aragorn wraps it up, they all pull out their swords at once.
  • Aragorn also drove off a gang of immortal Nazgûl with a sword and a torch on Weathertop. Outweighed by his later moments, but it allowed for a true anticipation of the badassery to come.
    • Such as the scene where Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas, standing openly on the shores of Gondor's borders, towards the pirates of Umbar:
      Gimli: Right. We warned ya! Prepare to be boarded!
      Aragorn: This army. (Cue ghost army swarming over entire pirate fleet at once).
  • Aragorn parrying the dead king's blade.
    • Aragorn grabbing the dead king by the neck and telling him straight up that he is the new king of Gondor and the ghost army will obey him.
      Dead king: "That line is broken!"
      Aragorn: "It has been remade".
    • Also:
      Dead king: "We do not suffer the living."
      Aragorn: "You will suffer me!".
  • Éowyn: "I am no man." 'Nuff said.
    • It was unfathomably moving in the films because the fact that she would not face away from this embodiment of black sorcery despite being visibly horrified was far more courageous and awesome than simply not being afraid in the first place (which was what happened in the books, although that is mostly because she seems to be a bit unhinged). One is merely an ability, the other is a heroic choice. The fact that she was scared out of her wits, stood her ground, and still delivered a Pre-Mortem One-Liner quadruples the sheer Badassery.
    • "Do not come between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not smite thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the Houses of Lamentation, beyond all darkness; where thy flesh shall be devoured and thy shriveled mind left naked before the Lidless Eye." Nuff said.
    • Let The Duke say it: "Courage is being scared to death—but saddling up anyway." In the movie, she's showing real courage by looking at something she fears (and, let's face it, anyone in their right mind ought to fear him) and refusing to back down. It's easy to stand your ground against something you don't fear. It takes a lot more, and says more about your character, to stand your ground when you're terrified. That is badass.
      • If you watch the scene, Éowyn is clearly pants-browningly terrified of this creature in front of her, and stares at Its flail with horror. But she stands there, between it and her King, because she is that badass.
      • The fact that she is that scared and still has the courage to stand firm and scream "I will kill you if you touch him!" shows that you do not fuck with Théoden when Éowyn is around.
    • And in the Extended Edition, after she downs the Witch King Eowyn is lying on the ground, arm broken and visibly freaked out by what she just did. Then she spots the Orc captain Gothmog coming her way- after she wounded him earlier- and starts crawling, going for a weapon.
      • She doesn't manage to get ahold of one, but she does hold his attention long enough for Aragorn and Gimli to catch him off guard and cut him to pieces like he was nothing as they press forward, turning him into an Anti-Climax Boss done awesomely.
  • Visual effects, acting, and music combine for one massive awesome moment when The Ring is finally destroyed; Sauron's shriek of pain driving the dark army into retreat, the Fellowship slowly realizing that Frodo has done the impossible, the music building to a crescendo as the dark tower crumbles, Merry calling out "FRODO!"...then the Mood Whiplash as Mount Doom erupts, and the heroes fear that Frodo and Sam are lost, all topped off by a very cool shot of Frodo and Sam scrambling for safety to avoid the rising lava...awesomeness on all levels.
  • The entire teamup of Éowyn and Merry in battle. Merry steers the horse through a charging oliphaunt's legs as Éowyn hamstrings it - with her own sword and one she plucked from an Orc like it was an apple. Another one falls and knocks them both off the horse, so they get off and take down at least ten orcs in the next thirty seconds. Éowyn beheads a Nazgûl steed like it was nothing, and then they work together to kill Sauron's second-in-command and most powerful warrior, gigantic flail and all.
    • The cinematography of Éowyn's takedown of that oliphaunt makes it even more awesome. As she and Merry ride at this huge monster elephant, possibly bigger than any elephant or mammoth in the entire geological history of our planet, we get a feel for just how fucking gigantic this thing is as it sweeps its tusks around, tossing Rohirrim and their horses left and right. And Éowyn still takes it down. By herself.
  • And let's not forget that thing Éomer did with the spear. Two oliphaunts down without breaking a sweat.
    • And an associated one for Karl Urban, after his statement on the commentary that he practiced the spear flip for days just for that shot.
    • Eomer also shows brains by specifically targeting the Haradrim who was driving the oliphaunt; not only would this confuse the creature, but it would deprive the others of a commander. The dead man's weight+harness pulling on the oliphaunt's ear, painfully forcing it to crash into another and bringing them both down was just the icing on the cake.
  • In keeping with the theme of the Rohirrim: Théoden's speech to his riders on the Pelennor Fields and the subsequent charge.
    • "DEATH!!!!"
    • Let's not forget that Théoden tapping his men's spears with his sword was Bernard Hill's own idea, and was very difficult for him to do, as he's left-handed.
    • Speaking of Théoden: The first "Forth Eorlingas!", charging with five or so horses into a crowd of thousands of seemingly victorious Uruks.
    • That whole charge scene gave me more chills than any other movie, book, or any other form of media put together. It was an epic moment, period.
    • Not to mention the way the music was used. The typical theme of the Rohirrim, together with their battle cries and actually scared looking Uruks is just amazing. Then, the moment the two armies meet, the music cuts for a few seconds which leaves only the sounds of battle, and then changes to a darker tune. Pure epic-ness.
      • Also, the fact that the Orks are scared proves that the Riders of Rohan are seriously terrifying when they want to be. They just keep coming no matter how many arrows the Uruks fire and that is not something they've seen before. The fury of the Rohirrim terrifies and demoralizes the Orcs, causing them to break ranks and flee rather than stand their ground and meet the massive cavalry charge with their pikes. Before the battle was even joined the Orcs had already lost.
    • One small detail: had all of the riders been real, it would have been the largest cavalry charge in history. Our history (and even then, it made for the largest cavalry charge since the 19th century). And they brought only half of what they hoped to bring!
    • Little note to add this:" Half what they hoped to bring" equals 6000 riders. Tolkien's notes make it known that Rohan can muster a total of 12,000 riders at full strength. In other words, Théoden wanted to bring every last warrior in his land to one final charge before the ending of the world.
  • That ultimate, badass normal gardener, Samwise Gamgee. "Then let us be rid of it! Once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you! Come on! *Awesome Music*
    • That is the Moment of Awesome for Film. Not merely Sam, or the Lord of the Rings films, but Film. Period.
      • Arguably, the whole film trilogy is literally the best defining point of Sean Astin's career.
    • That was very badass of Sam, but his Crowning Moment came when he challenged a truck-sized spider who, if you read the books, you knew was in fact no ordinary monster, but an unkillable demi-goddess that even Sauron could barely control - armed with nothing more than a magic dagger and a magic lantern - and won. Sure, it was a fluke, but still. Just as Frodo is being webbed up by Shelob (the spider) and the music is descending lower and lower, it suddenly raises to a triumphant chorus, and Sam advances, weapons in hand. Let him go, you filth. Ooh, that's Awesome. Watch it here.
      • Samwise owned those films, no two ways about it. Taking over the world, enslaving mankind, killing everyone and everything on the planet, sure. But you even think about hurting Frodo, and Samwise Gamgee will cut you. Of course, Tolkien did write Sam as basically the ultimate normal person, just a loyal, down-to-earth man who wants nothing more than to work in his garden and start a family. A whole Aesop about the everyday courage of the average person being equal to those of the heroic sagas.
    • This exchange:
    stabs orc
    Sam: That's for Frodo.
    stabs second orc
    Sam: And for the Shire.
    stabs final orc
    Sam: And that's for my old Gaffer!
    • The Lord Of The Rings should just be called, "Samwise Gamgee Is Better Than You: The Movie."
    • Much has been said (by many people) about Tolkien's apparent love for the old pre-industrial classist social system where you had folks who were the well-to-dos and you had the folks who were the faithful servants. That said, Samwise Gamgee's role in the story was to show how Tolkien felt about those faithful servants, a badass Determinator who is solely responsible for his master surviving, let alone succeeding in his mission. He was based on the soldiers and batmennote  of World War I, who faced terrible conditions, and who Tolkien thought of as far superior to himself. In one of his letters, Tolkien describes Samwise as nothing less than The Hero of the saga, despite being the designated sidekick.
  • Sam gets another one when he starts a civil war on the outskirts of Mordor to rescue Frodo from Cirith Ungol.
  • Faramir's CMoA is when he leads a suicidal charge against the Orcs simply because his father and duty demand it. This is even though he KNOWS it will almost certainly be his death and has to go and prepare so he has plenty of time to think about it. All in an attempt to win the respect of his father.
  • This is admittedly for the villains, and it is only on the extended home video cut, but it's still incredibly awesome since it shows just how threatening the Witch-king really is: When he confronts Gandalf, says that Gandalf's exit from Middle-Earth is long overdue, and then makes his staff explode.
  • Gimli in Return of the King, just before the Fellowship decides to storm the Black Gate to provide Frodo with a distraction:
  • Frodo's intellectual Moment of Awesome: When in the midst of an orc regiment, tired and starving and dehydrated and PARANOID FROM THE FREAKING EYE LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER! and about to be discovered, he somehow has the idea to distract the officer by starting a fight. This may seem simple, but when you consider how hard it was to even breathe by this point, it's pretty amazing.
  • A little bit before that, when both hobbits are lying at the bottom, Frodo - already in terrible shape - wearily looks up at the top of the mountain, gets this really determined expression on his face, and then attempts to reach the top by crawling forward on his hands and knees.
  • Denethor's death during the battle of Minas Tirith— where he, near-out of his mind with emotion, runs out onto the great pinnacle while on fire, and throws himself off. And then, the camera pulls back, and back, and back.... revealing his insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
  • Merry and Pippin got one at the Black Gate. After Aragorn decide to chage into the enemies, who's going second? Gandalf? No. Gimli? No. Legolas? No. Men of Rohan or men of Gondor? No. Just these two hobbits. Now THAT's being courageous.
  • The whole "Gondor Calls for Aid" beacon sequence. Awesome Music just makes it that much better. Also, probably the awesomeness of New Zealand terrain. That's the most beautiful scene ever filmed.
    • This after Théoden had said in an earlier scene, "What have they done for us? What do we owe Gondor?" adding doubt that Rohan would go to aid their onetime ally. But in that moment he realizes this isn't about what Denethor, High Steward of Gondor, would do: it's about what Théoden King will do.
    • Gandalf trusting Pippin to light the beacon is one for both of them. Pippin for completing the objective in order to do his people proud, and Gandalf for showing confidence in him after doing nothing but reprimanding him for pretty much the entirety of the story so far.
  • Gothmog, the leader of the Mordor Orcs gets one at the beginning of the Siege of Minas Tirith, when his response to a car-sized peice of masonry being flung at him is to wait until the last moment, then casually side step it, completely avoiding harm. Then, just to show his superiority over the humans, he spits on it in disdain. To clarify, he'd told all his Orcs to "Stay where you are," as the masonry comes at them. All the Orcs around Gothmog don't bother to listen, and run about twenty feet in all directions, just to be sure. Gothmog freaking sidesteps the projectile at the last minute, moving all of three feet in the process. The "Damn," look a battle troll gives him is the icing on the cake.
    • Another moment for Gothmog comes when his second in command falls back after failing to open the main gates of Minas Tirith with a battering ram.
      Gothmog: Get back there and smash it down!
      Second in Command: But nothing can breach it!
      Gothmog: *calm smile* Grond will breach it. Bring up the Wolf's Head!
    • When Sauron's army breaks the gate of Minas Tirith with a giant, flaming battering ram (Grond) and then rushes through with giant, armored trolls.
      • Grond itself is pretty cool. It's like the orcs of Mordor thought: "Well, a normal battering ram is one thing, but what if we made a giant metal one shaped like a wolf, on fire?" No wonder they all chant its name.
      • When the Orcs and Uruks get into a fight over Frodo's mithril shirt, an Orc dropkicks an Uruk out of the tower.
  • Pippin arrives with soldiers to fight as the orcs start entering the city walls via siege towers. Gandalf tells him to get back to the citadel. His response, despite being clearly scared?
    Pippin: You called us out to fight.
    • Followed by Pippin taking out an orc that was about to get Gandalf from behind, leading Gandalf to compliment him with a sincere, "Guard of the citadel indeed!" He still send Pippin back, but that is what allows Pippin to see Faramir's situation and help save him.
    • This is Pippin's Took a Level in Badass moment as, just a couple of days before, he was hoping that his position was ceremonial and he wouldn't have to do any actual fighting. Come the actual call to battle, he throws himself into the fray.
  • "Eagles! The eagles are coming!" And they're dogfighting the Nazgûl!
  • In a deleted scene, the Mouth of Sauron appears before the party and viciously mocks them, claiming Frodo is dead and holds up his chainshirt to prove it, and then laughs about it to their faces. Aragorn's response? Shut the bastard up via decapitation. "I do not believe it! I will not!"
    • It was even more badass in the original novel where, instead of decapitation, Aragorn delivers a Death Glare that makes the Mouth shit his pants out of fear.
  • After Gandalf manages to rally the soldiers of Gondor after Denethor's mad call for them to abandon their posts, the last gasp of Numenor prove why they are, as Boromir put it, the means by which the rest of the free world was kept safe. Whether it be by trebuchet, arrow volley, or the sheer guts of the men-at-arms, the Gondorians show they are not going to give up without a fight.
  • "They will answer to the king of Gondor!" (unveils sword to Aragorn)
  • In the extended version of the Return of the King, Aragorn literally uses himself as bait for Sauron by taking the palantír, staring down the Great Eye, showing Andúril to it, then taunting it by saying, "I don't fear you!"
    • This taunt is actually based on his earlier quiet scene with Gandalf, at Meduseld. Ever since the One Ring was found, Sauron has been terrified that somebody on the other side will have the necessary will to bend the Ring to his purposes. (It would only create a replacement Dark Lord in the end, but Sauron has no desire to be replaced.) Aragorn flaunts himself, his sword, and his ability to match his will against Sauron in order to convince Sauron that the One Ring is... on Aragorn's finger. This is why the Nazgul stop combing the land and unite at Osgiliath, and why the armies of Mordor go marching to intercept Aragorn's assault: Sauron has switched from defense to offense - too soon - because of Aragorn's taunting.
  • A small one by comparison to all that's gone before, but still sweet: when the hobbits are finally home, having a friendly drink together, and Sam visibly decides that after all he's been through, literally going to (and through) Hell on Middle-Earth and back, he will be damned if he's too intimidated to go talk to a girl.
  • Aragorn singing his lines in the coronation ceremony in the third movie. Freaking awesome.
  • "My friends. You bow to no one."
  • Gandalf kicking the Squishy Wizard trope in the balls during the siege of Gondor, Dual Wielding his staff and sword, killing Uruks left and right while also trying to get Pippin out of danger. Culminates in one for Pippin too: "Guard of the Citadel indeed!"
  • A Moment of Awesome for the Forces Of Mordor occurs when, after Faramir is brought back to Denethor and the steward, realizing just what kind of a fool he's been, rushes out and stares in horror as the camera pans back and we see the army of Minas Morgul literally covering the entire Pelennor Fields as they chant in the Black Speech, All hail Sauron, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the World!
  • When all the armies stand outside the Black gates of Mordor preparing for battle and almost certain death, They stand frozen in fear for a moment. Then Pippin, who has been treated as a fool by most, and Merry, who many dismissed as being unable to fight, are the first following Aragorn to battle, letting out truly epic battle cries. If ever one needed a visual definition of Awesome, there it is.
  • This brief exchange between Fire-Forged Friends Legolas and Gimli, who have spent much of their time with cheerful banter during the second and third films while in combat. Yet here they know this isn't the best time for joviality. Despite this, they find time to have a brief moment of awesome and heartwarming all at once as this scene, more than anything else, cements that they are, indeed, friends.
    Gimli: Never thought I'd die side by side with an elf.
    Legolas: What about side by side with a friend?
    Gimli: ... Aye. I could do that.
  • One that had people cheering their lungs out in the theater: when first Frodo claims the One Ring and Sauron finally realizes where the Ring actually is, followed by what happens to the Lidless Eye when the Ring is finally destroyed.
    • In the Extended Edition the scene is called "Sauron Defeated", which is named for the ninth volume of The History of Middle-earth. The name says it all: Sauron begins screaming in what can only be described as mortal terror. At first, it seems like an overreaction. Then... Sauron is undone. Barad-dur starts collapsing under its own weight, the Lidless Eye begins to shrink until it explodes. This destroys the Dark Tower, and when the shock wave reaches the Black Gate of Mordor, the very earth opens up and swallows not only the gate but The Legions of Hell that were manning them, just narrowly avoiding the Army of the West. Watching it makes the whole three hours worth it.
  • A meta example: The moment when Return of the King was announced Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the first fantasy film to win the top Oscar to cap an evening in which it swept its categories to tie it with Ben-Hur and Titanic (1997) for the most all-time (and likely the only reason it only tied is because it wasn't nominated in some other categories in which it was a more than worthy contender, IE Sean Astin for Supporting Actor). Besides cleanly earning the award on its own merits, it was also a moment of vindication for fans of the genre as a whole, who felt the previous genre nominees had been deliberately snubbed by an Academy who, much like literary critics who have still refused to accept Tolkien into Literary Canon despite his undeniable influence on Western culture, view fantasy as a "lesser" genre.


  • Legolas brain-kebabing an orc with an arrow before killing another orc with the same arrow in Fellowship.
    • Legolas running along the chain whip that the cave troll was using against him to shoot it point blank in the head with two arrows simultaneously.
    • In the second film, his stunt in which he rides a shield down the stairway connected to the main wall of Helm's Deep, while firing arrows. When he hits the bottom, he kicks the shield, impaling an orc with it.
      • As spoofed here.
      • When he hit the bottom, he put an arrow through an orc's skull. By hand.
    • When he casually swung himself up onto a horse behind Gimli - one-handed, under the horse's neck, backwards, while it was moving. Anybody not suitably impressed by that move has never tried to mount a horse.
      • The funny thing is that they used CG to do that shot because Orlando Bloom had broken his ribs shortly before filming it, so he couldn't do the relatively conventional horse-mount that had originally been planned.
    • What about Legolas single-handedly bringing down a charging Oliphaunt? First, he climbs up the thing's tusk, then up the hind leg and onto its back, picking off every enemy soldier on it, all while counting off the kills in his and Gimli's kill count challenge. He then kills the Oliphaunt with three arrows at the same time in the back of its head, and as it slumps forward, dead and skidding, he glides down off its trunk and lands, with an expression that basically says "huh. okay then", in front of a positively appalled Gimli, who could only respond with, "That still only counts as one!"
      • Pretty good comeback though.
      • Now remember he basically killed every man riding this thing. How many were there? Like fifteen? Twenty? Yeah, Legolas wins this round, even if you count the Oliphaunt itself as one kill.
    • Shooting a rope apart from an impossible distance was pretty damm cool too.
      • Wasn't the first time either- recollect at Helm's Deep when he put an arrow through an even smaller rope at an even great distance at in the midst of a ferocious battle at night, during a rain storm, destroying a colossal scaling ladder swarming with orcs (Including Berserkers) and sending it toppling back in to the invading army.
    • Another favorite: putting an arrow through the brain of an orc at a distance that would make Robin Hood blanch.
    • Also, cutting short Denethor's rant of despair with a decisive thwack to the head and then knocking him out.
      • Even better during that scene, after the first whack to the head, Gandalf just growls in disgust, then proceeds to knock him out with two more hits.
    • And then fighting the Balrog while both of them are still falling. Just after he desperately gives out that "Fly, you fools!", like he has lost the last of his strength. Holy SHIT.
      • It's only after seeing it that you realize that "Fly, you fools!" was less, "Don't try to save me, save yourselves," and more, "Don't worry, I got this."
      • Then he kills it. Gandalf fell God knows how far (fighting the whole way down), landed, got back up, then struck down a giant fire demon. And only then was he content to die. Because if he was going to die, he was damn sure not going alone.
      • Further punctuated by Gandalf's narration, wherein Sir Ian Mckellan delivers the most Metal line ever uttered on film: "Until at last, I threw down my enemy, and smote his ruin upon the mountainside."
    • Also also, Gandalf blasting away Saruman's Brainwashing of King Théoden, while simultaneously revealing that he's taken a level in badass.
  • The Ring itself has a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Gimli tries to smash it with his axe at the Council of Elrond. Not only is his axe shattered, not only is the Ring without a scratch, but the Ring doesn't even move.
    • The Ring has another moment when it's thrown into Mount Doom, and before it melts... it glows once again with the Dark Tongue words, like it did in the fireplace. Good job remembering that factoid, Mr. Jackson.
    • And another, in the beginning of the trilogy, when Bilbo drops the ring to the floor in the entranceway of Bag End and it slams to rest without bouncing, so perversely for so slight and small a thing that the audience recoils as if it were a pound of human flesh. Whoever was responsible for the effect, that was their Crowning Moment.
      • They put a magnet in that point. Simple, yet effective.
  • And then, of course, Howard Shore's entire musical score for the movies is a prime example of Awesome Music.
  • The end of the Arwen/Nazgûl chase.
    Nazgûl: Give up the halfling, she-elf!
    Arwen: (draws sword) If you want him, come and claim him!
    • Also for Arwen, having that vision and finally getting the balls to realize that she can't leave, despite her father's wishes.
  • From an effects standpoint, the shot in Return of the King where Andy Serkis' made-up face morphs into Gollum's CGI face at the end of the prologue.
  • Not part of the movie itself, but during filming they needed to go up this mountain using a chopper. Sean Bean didn't want to get into the chopper, so... the next few days he climbed the mountain dressed as Boromir.
  • Something from Behind the scenes just after the 55 second mark: A group of riders on their horses are running down a road when they come aross a car. Most of the guys just go around, but one of them jumps on top of the car and keeps on going! Badass Riders.
    • Note that this was an early CGI test during the process of creating virtual horse doubles. The virtual descendants of the car jumping horse would go on to get wiped out by flying Nazgul or be killed by arrows and be sent tumbling.
  • Something that works as CMoA for the setting more than any character is whenever we see Barad-Dur. In the first movie especially, the camera shows us this massive fortress — and then it pans back to reveal a freaking MOUNTAIN of iron and stone and adamantine crowned by the Lidless Eye. With a moat of lava!

    Other Adaptations 

  • In Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings:
    • The poster itself is arguably the most Crazy Awesome one for any LOTR film, LOOK AT IT.
    • Frodo outrunning the Nazgul on horseback, and when they corner him, he stands up for himself and tells them off:
    Frodo: "Go back to the land of Mordor! And follow me no more!"
    Nazgûl: "The Ring! The Ring! To Mordor we will take you!"
    Frodo: (draws sword) "By all the Shire, you shall have neither the Ring, nor me!"
    • When Aragorn says, "If I wanted the Ring, I could have taken it - NOW", you believe it.
    • The Riders stalking Frodo and company? The Jackson film copied the Bakshi film nearly shot-for-shot.
    • Some scenes the Bakshi version was far superior to the Jackson film include the moment when Bilbo is tempted by the Ring. The animated film puts the scene in Frodo's POV, as he sees Bilbo as a pathetic, grasping creature — and Frodo pulls his hand back to strike him, before Bilbo breaks down crying and apologizes. In the Jackson film, a CGI mess and Frodo has no real emotion.
    • The same when Galadriel is offered the Ring. The Bakshi film manages to keep it subtle and frightening. The Jackson film? A CGI mess.
  • The Moria-quest "We cannot get out" in The Lord of the Rings Online, where you get to take control of Ori, one of the dwarves of Balin's expedition to Moria. After the death of Balin, the remaining dwarves decide to make a last stand against the orcs of Moria. The quest ends with the player writing the last passage in the Book of Mazarbul, before the chamber is flooded with orcs and Balin's expedition is wiped out. While it may sound like a Downer Ending, being able to make a last, heroic stand in the chamber of Mazarbul and watching a good number of orcs fall before you is one of the absolute highlights of the game. Also awesome because it depicts an event not invented for the game, but actually one of the tiny bits of backstory that is briefly touched upon in the books.
  • Where There's a Whip, There's a Way.
  • In the BBC Audio Adaptation:
    • Théoden rising from his throne:
    Théoden: I... sit no longer!
    • Every time the horns of Rohan sound. It's just five rising notes, but the sound sends chills up your spine. The most effective is when the Rohirrim arrive at Minas Tirith. They've not been 'on-screen' for the better part of an hour, the gate has fallen and the Witch King is exulting in his victory. Then, suddenly, the same five notes ring out.
    Gandalf: "The Horns of the Rohirrim! Theoden is come at last!"
  • Fellowship!, The Musical, is generally very silly, but the closing song is actually pretty cool:
    My brothers, it's clear where our path lies: remember the pledge that we made. There's no time to waste, let's go hunt some orc! We've got some hobbits to save!

  • From the Bakshi film, the way John Hurt sells the line: "If I wanted the ring, I could have taken it from you: now." Later, his rendition of "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Butterbur.
  • The original publication of LotR is a Moment of Awesome in itself. Co-founder Stanley Unwin published The Hobbit on his ten-year-old son's recommendation (believing that children were a good judge of good children's books), and commissioned a sequel which eventually became Lot R, which his now-grown son recommended as well - even though they might lose money on it. His father gave him the go-ahead: "If you believe this to be a work of genius, you may lose a thousand pounds." (The first print run, 3,500 copies, sold out within six weeks. And it's still selling.)
  • Another example is how, along with The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings changed the face of the entire fantasy genre.
  • The Lord of the Rings was considered to be an impossible work to adapt into a Live-Action rendition. Too big and too grand in scope and size. Jackson's films not only succeeded (albeit with some liberties) with stunning visual and audio work to bring this world and story to life, it was one of the biggest things that gave the fantasy genre a newfound respect in the public and mainstream eye.
  • The Rankin/Bass adaptation had the following dramatic monologue from Gandalf. It is not taken directly from Tolkien, but written for the animated film. However, it is brilliant and poetic, and actually sounds like Tolkien could have wrote it:

    Gandalf voiceover: "Who causes the minutes to fall dead? Adding up to no passing hour, bringing no change from day to night, as the unseen sun fails to filter into the ever-present shadows? Who is this Dark Lord who turns starless nights into sunless days? How does His piercing eye see through the ever-present darkness, seeing all—and nothing? The restless eye, in His Dark Tower, wearing a veil of protective shadows He has woven from fear. And yet He fears too. In the security of His protective realm He fear the winds of the world are turning against Him, tearing aside His veils and troubling Him, with tidings of bold spies that have passed through His fences."