Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
If a character in a fantasy novel is a noble warrior who hangs out in the wilderness, there's about a 50/50 chance he was inspired by either Aragorn or Robin Hood.
The "elf ranger" archetype in fantasy descends almost solely from Legolas.
Along with Thorin from The Hobbit, Gimli is the iconic fantasy dwarf.
After the publication of The Lord of the Rings, it became de rigueur for the villain in a fantasy story to be a manipulative, rarely-seen Evil Overlord who lives in a dark tower in an evil realm, employs various horrible creatures to do his work, and is dependent on an artifact of his making for power and survival.
Hey, It's That Sound!: In the BBC adaptation, each time that the Eagles arrive (when Gandalf escapes Orthanc, and on Mount Doom), the sound effect used is almost identical to a TARDIS.
Name's the Same: No, Sauron is not that pterodactyl guy from X-Men. Actually, that pterodactyl guy from X-Men named himself after him.
Creator Backlash: Hippies buying the Ballantine edition is what popularized the book in The Sixtiesnote Frodo Lives! Gandalf for President! (see Memetic Mutation), and the back cover contains its own bit of Creator Backlash in the form of a written Take That, directed against the numerous unauthorized pulp versions that were spreading like wildfire on college campuses: "This edition, and no other, was authorized by me... those who approve of courtesy (at least) to living authors will purchase it, and no other." as Tolkien was, in fact, quite unsettled to learn that American counter-culture was embracing his work.
To their credit, the college students mounted a campaign of protest against the unauthorized editions after Tolkien made a point of mentioning, in his responses to fan mail, that he was being royally ripped off by the pulp publishers and did not receive a single cent in royalties from any American LOTR paperbacks other than the Ballantine edition. (Ace Books, the main offender among the pulp bootleggers, were harassed sufficiently by angry fans that they made a point of paying a massive royalty check to Tolkien and withdrawing their edition of LOTR from print.)
Ironically, the covers for the Ace edition showed that the artist had read the books and knew what he was doing.
Parodied in the Bored of the Rings inscription, based on the one up top: "This Ring, and no other / was made by the Elves — / Who'd pawn their own mother / to get it themselves." In fact, the first edition included a direct parody of the author's warning stating that the intention of Bored was to make money off the pop-culture colossus that LOTR was becoming.
Referenced By: The source code for Perl 5 contains several quotes from The Lord of the Rings (and one quote from The Hobbit). Most users of Perl 5 never look at the source code and never see these quotes. The file mathoms.c contains artefacts kept only for compatibility. It quotes the Prologue of The Lord of the Rings, about how the hobbits kept mathoms.
What Could Have Been: Previously unpublished materials have a lot of examples of what could have been.
Aragorn being a ranger hobbit named Trotter was one of them. Later, he was a man whose name kept changing back and forth between "Trotter", "Elfstone" and "Aragorn".
Éowyn being Aragorn's love interest (before Arwen was created)
Éowyn dying on the battlefield defending Théoden and not getting to kill the Witch-King
Anywhere from two to five hobbits setting out on the quest instead of four
The original hobbit names were Bingo (Frodo), Odo (Sam), Marmaduke (Merry), and Frodo/Faramond (Pippin)
A Fellowship that consisted of seven instead of nine members (Legolas and Gimli were later additions, and at one point, another elf was supposed to go as well)
Treebeard and the ents appearing at the last battle in front of the Black Gate (and this is after they act as The Cavalry for Lothlórien)
Boromir arriving at Minas Tirith and completely going over to the dark forces partway through the siege.
Denethor surviving the siege of Minas Tirith (but still suspicious of Aragorn)
Denethor originally being less harsh towards Faramir - in fact, in the first draft, it was Faramir's idea to retake Osgiliath, and Denethor reluctantly agreeing, but Tolkien eventually switched this around to make Faramir more sympathetic.
There was a sequel planned called The New Shadow, set more than 100 years after the events of Lot R, involving an evil cult and boys playing at being orcs. Tolkien got about 13 pages in and decided "screw this."
Word of God: The appendices are only the start; Tolkien's son has edited together and published fifteen volumes from his notes.
Ralph Bakshi version
Executive Meddling: There was a concern that audiences would confuse "Saruman" with "Sauron". So Aruman was used. That could be understandable, but then the movie keeps switching between Saruman and Aruman.
The second part of this was planned. However, the first part received mixed reviews and the producers refused to fund part II.
All of the live action parts were supposed to be rotoscoped, which is why the costumes are so basic. The movie as released is largely incomplete.
In the animated adaption, Ralph Bakshi originally wanted to include music byLed Zeppelin. Unfortunately, Saul Zaentz insisted he use an orchestral score because he wouldn't be able to release the band's music on his Fantasy Records label. Bakshi later said that he hated the final orchestral score, as he found it too cliche.
Academy Award: ROTK is in a three-way tie with Titanic and Ben Hur for the most Oscars won by a single film — eleven. Moreover, the film series The Lord of the Rings won more Oscars than any other film series.
Despite all of the series' wins and nominations, the trilogy's cast was snubbed: the only acting Oscar nomination was Ian McKellen for the first film. Most notably, Andy Serkis was not eligible for being nominated for best supporting actor because his character was CGI.
Peter Jackson was still putting the finishing touches on the extended cut of Return of the King when it won Best Picture, prompting him to muse in one behind-the-scenes clip (as they were adding the rolling skulls to the army of the dead sequence) about how he could still be working on a film that had already won Best Picture.
Agony of the Feet: To the actors. Sean Astin stepped on a big piece of broken glass when wading into the river at the end of Fellowship, and Viggo Mortensen broke his toe kicking a helmet (see Throw It In).
Author Phobia: Peter Jackson actually used his own phobia of spiders to measure the effectiveness of Shelob's design and animations.
It seems that he only got one minor thing wrong: spiders don't sting, they bite. Yet it is true to the book. Justified in that Shelob is an Eldritch Abomination, not a simple giant spider, so the rules don't necessarily apply to her.
Backed by the Pentagon: The New Zealand army in this case. Heck, parts of Mordor were from old mine fields (that were swept beforehand), since they had enough ash to make the look needed.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: People often don't remember Aragorn's speech before the Black Gates quite right—possibly they're remembering the version in the trailer, which was from a different take. Théoden's speeches get this, too, to a lesser extent.
In addition to the lead actors who were trained on horses, and numerous digital extras, the Riders of Rohan were portrayed by regular horse riders from all across New Zealand who came with their own horses to act as extras.
For The Return of the King, The New Zealand Army provided extras for the final battle in front of the Black Gate. Behind the scenes commentary on the DVD's makes note of how good they were as following directions and setting up formations, as well as how much enthusiasm they brought to the combat scenes.
Dawson Casting: In the Prologue, Sir Ian Holm is very briefly seen wearing a dark, curly wig, as Bilbo 50 years younger. The effect is, unfortunately, that of a 60-ish actor wearing a dark, curly wig. Mercifully, the shot is only a few seconds long.
Deleted Scene: Many put back in the extended editions, but some were still left out.
DVD Bonus Content: Set the standard for in-depth behind the scenes features, even though most DVD releases still can't compare to the sheer mass of juicy bonus material in the DVD sets, even discounting the extended cuts.
Executive Meddling: Subverted. Jackson anticipated only being able to greenlight one or two movies so his writing team wrote the initial treatment accordingly. When the producers saw it they said "What are you doing? This is three movies." And this before Hollywood was obsessed with cranking out trilogies.
Fatal Method Acting: Averted, thankfully, but nonetheless a close call for Viggo Mortensen, who was pulled under by a current and nearly drowned while filming the river scene in TTT.
Elrond considers humanity to be a broken species for much of the trilogy. While he's not openly hostile (nor does he comment on the smell), he openly shows his contempt. At least this time he has a reason for it (that being Isildur's betrayal).
And yes, he's wearing a dress again. Sort of, anyway.
Seems like somebody went from Flipper to carrying the Soul Jar of the Big Bad.
Life Imitates Art: According to behind the scenes material, Viggo Mortensen was a natural leader of the actors and film crew. Sean Astin also ended up more or less taking care of Elijah Wood during filming.
In a scene at the beginning of the first movie, when Gandalf visits Bilbo at Bag End, Ian McKellen bumps into the low hanging lanterns, which was expected. Then he turns quickly, and... whacks his head on a wooden beam in the low ceiling. Since it looked just fine and also pretty funny, it was kept as the final cut.
According to the wiki, when Aragorn deflects Lurtz's thrown knife it is pure luck. Lurtz was apparently scripted to miss, but the actor accidentally threw the knife right at Viggo’s face, who (fortunately!) managed to deflect it with his sword.
That whole fight scene includes this trope. That headbutt? Real. Aragorn getting punched in the ribs? Real. Aside from any stab wounds incurred, Lawrence Makaore and Viggo Mortensen were actually beating the crap out of each other. It was mainly because the make-up Makaore was wearing obscured his vision, and a lot of 'missed' punches ended up actually connecting. Mortensen figured that it would be better to just fight back, so Makaore fought harder and they got tired and pissed off...
At first Viggo Mortenson couldn't get the cry of grief and anger right at the scene when the trio think Merry and Pippin were killed. In the final take, he kicked a helmet and broke two of his toes. That's why he screamed and fell to his knees. The scream actually fit the mood perfectly, and was the one used in the final cut.
In Helm's Deep, the army of orcs stomping their feet and weapons before battle was entirely unscripted. It all happened because one of the actors playing the orcs got bored and began stomping his feet and weapons. Then other orc-actors began to do the same thing. Before long, they all did it, which led to Peter Jackson throwing it in.
When Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli first arrive at Edoras, there is a shot of a Rohirrim flag fluttering to the ground. The flag had simply slipped loose due to the wind but Peter Jackson threw it in because he liked the symbolism.
The "rat catcher's cottage" in Minas Tirith. The build team interpreted one of Alan Lee's drawings of a building as having a dead rat hanging in the window, and based an entire house around the idea that the Official Gondorian Rat Catcher lived there. Alan Lee maintains he didn't have something so specific in mind when he did the sketch, but then he realized that it was completely logical: after all, a medieval city the size of Minas Tirith would have a rat problem.
Somehow, they also planned that she arrive at Helm's Deep to give Aragorn his sword Andúril, the Flame of the West, and, of course, to fight alongside him.
The idea of Sauron taking form (specifically Kate Winslet's form - The Eye was really bishonen back in the day) and almost kicking Aragorn's ass at the final battle was also briefly entertained, and then mercifully abandoned in place of a troll.
Looks awful blue-skinned. In the book, the Gondorians were encroaching on their forest to mine it. Hmmm... Yeah, Tolkien did it first.note David Boyle wrote: "The good Woses have disappeared completely from the narrative, with their implicit message that indigenous peoples, too, are folk worthy of respect. If there are Maori experts on Tolkien..."
The movies were originally planned as duology because Jackson thought making a trilogy was going to be a hard sell. Thankfully, when he pitched it as a duology to New Line, they responded with "why do you want to make two movies?" and just as Jackson was about to launch into his defense of why it couldn't possibly be done in one film, they continued... "this is three movies."
The plans for two movies is why The Two Towers has an additional writing credit for Stephen Sinclair. Sinclair worked on early drafts for the duology but apparently left once production expanded to three films. However he contributed enough on The Two Towers to warrant a writing credit.
Stuart Townsend was actually cast as Aragorn and in New Zealand filming. A couple of days in they realized it wasn't going to work out and called up Viggo Mortensen. There's even a still of him in character.◊ um... Yeah.
Jackson didn't realize until four days into filming that Aragorn should be an older, mature type.
Sean Astin lobbied for his father, John Astin, to be given the part of Gandalf.
When Miramax was unable to finance the original two films, they tried to get them meshed into one two-hour movie. Thankfully, Jackson understandably considered this to be "cutting out half the good stuff." Apparently, it was suggested that they:
Shorten Rivendell and Moria.
Cut Bree and the Battle of Helm's Deep.
"Lose or use" Saruman.
Merge Rohan and Gondor with Éowyn as Boromir's sister.
As well as having Ents prevent the Uruk-hai from kidnapping Merry and Pippin.
Frodo was originally gonna push Gollum and the Ring into the lava.
There was also another take that was true to the book - namely, that Gollum, while celebrating getting the Ring back, slips and falls off the edge. They decided to Take a Third Option and go with the take that's in the movie.
There was going to be a river rapids scene in the first film when the Fellowship was traveling by boat. However, real life wrote the plot when the equipment the crew was going to use was washed away or ruined by flood waters.
The tenor of the times in 2002 compelled them to actually cut out a lot of material that mostly served to humanize the other races, such as the bit with the Southron or the conversations with orcs. (The writers said that people felt it necessary to show that the villains were "irredeemably evil").
The musings on the Southron soldier are in the Extended Edition of The Two Towers. Though, it's Faramir who delivers the musings (in the book, it was Sam).
You know that song at the end of The Two Towers that's sung by someone who sounds an awful lot like Björk? Well, the original idea was for her to sing it, but she was pregnant at the time and declined the invitation. They used another Icelandic singer, Emilíana Torrini, instead.
The Balrog was going to be shown after falling in the water with its fire gone out and covered in slime.
Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke were being considered for Éowyn and Éomer. Thurman initially accepted the offer but had to cancel due to pregnancy.
Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Gandalf, but turned it down because he didn't like the first script. (Another version of this says he "didn't understand the story".) Russell Crowe was another actor who turned down a role from this movie (as Aragorn) because he didn't like the shooting schedule.
Christopher Lee originally auditioned for the role of Gandalf. He immediately realized that Gandalf was a very physical role and he might have been able to have done it 25 years ago.
Patrick McGoohan was one of the first choices for Gandalf but he had to turn it down due to his declining health.
Tom Baker was offered "a role" according to him, not necessarily "the role of Gandalf". He turned it down because he didn't want to be in New Zealand for months at a time. Speculation still exists on what this role may have been. Some speculate that it might have perhaps been Radagast the Brown (which eventually went to fellow Doctor Who alum Sylvester McCoy for Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit).
Nic Cage was offered the role of Aragorn, but turned it down due to the time commitment.
Jeffrey Combs (with whom Peter Jackson had worked on The Frighteners) auditioned for the role of Gríma Wormtounge. Combs contends that he lost the role due to a less-than-stellar British accent, which did not sound credible when opposite the likes of Ian McKellen.
During the scene in Ithilien when Faramir attempted to take the Ring from Frodo (only to be stopped by Sam), the original intention was to have Frodo have a moment where he changed into a hideous Gollum-like appearance, as Bilbo did in Rivendell. Although this was cut, you can still see traces of it in the moment where Frodo, face hidden from the camera, cowers against the rock, and the greatly disturbed look on Faramir's face.
Orlando Bloom originally tried out for the part of Faramir, not Legolas. The producers ended up convincing him that he'd be better suited for Legolas.