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"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!!"
Aragorn (movie only)

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    The Book 
  • It's early, and compared to later moments, quite minor, but as Gandalf pointed out - Bilbo's 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.
    • Later, at the Council of Elrond, the now 129-year-old Bilbo, long-settled into comfortable retirement, volunteers to be the one to take the Ring to Mt. Doom. He's turned down for being both too old and too vulnerable to the Ring, but everyone present acknowledges it was a heroic offer (all the more so as it's implied he did it to try to spare Frodo).
  • 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. Small wonder he becomes The Dreaded to the Orcs.
      • A Hobbit went up against an Eldritch Abomination that Sauron himself can barely control. And Sam sends her scurrying!
    • Gollum's misjudgment of Sam's character is perhaps the main thing that ensures his plan to get the latter and Frodo eaten by Shelob, so he can take back his Precious when she's had her fill, ends in failure. Sam's no scholar, but he's far tougher and more observant than he seems.
      Fury at the treachery, and desperation at the delay when his master was in deadly peril, gave to Sam a sudden violence and strength that was far beyond anything that Gollum had expected from this slow stupid hobbit, as he thought him.
  • 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."
  • Éowyn should also get credit not only for that line but for having the chutzpah to deliver a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the Witch-King.
  • Eowyn killing the Witch King stands out not only for being an awesome moment on its own, but for being the moment where she finally breaks out the despair she has suffered since her first appearance; Ever since Theoden came under Grima's spell in Meduseld, Eowyn has been filled with despair, able to see her father-figure become corrupted, her cousin die and her brother be sent into exile but unable to do anything about it. Aragorn seemed like her only hope for salvation, but he left on a suicide mission into Dwimorberg. More than anything, Eowyn joined the Rohirrim because she wanted to die. And now she stands in front of the Lord of the Nazgûl, greatest of Sauron's servants and a being that embodies despair itself, and she stands up to him and kills him.
    • 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.
    • The Lord of the Nazgûl pauses in doubt.
    • 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 and the Battle of Pelennor Fields:
    • Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights of Dol Amroth play a vital role throughout the siege and even afterwards. 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, and they prove their mettle; each and every time. Imrahil personally leads the sortie that saves Faramir from a brutal death on the Pelennor Fields.
    • Forlong the Old, Lord of Lossarnach 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 and the rout of the Orcs. Of all Gondor's enemies, they're consistently treated as the most powerful, which is especially cool because they're normal humans unlike Gondorians who have tend to have semi-divine ancestry via Numenor.
    • 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 and 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 of the 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 and 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's 41. The last Orc had a iron collar that nocked his axe.
  • The Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings got much more of a chance to shine in the books. 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.
    • 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 they certainly 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 Nazgûl 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-organised horn-call.
    • Farmer Maggot telling Khamûl the Shadow of the east to "Go back to where you came from, or else I will send my dogs after you!". A sturdy hobbit farmer told the second-in-command Nazgûl to go away. And he did.
    • 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 took others we miss more, but there's no denying she showed more spirit than most." When she's freed from prison after the hobbits' revolt, the crowd cheers her.
      [Lobelia] was quite touched, and drove away in tears. She had never in her life been popular before.
    • Even Saruman recognises Frodo's quiet flavour of awesome after this line:
      'Well, if that is what you find pleasure in,' said Frodo, 'I pity you.'
    • There's also the fact that Hobbits are recognized as basically being the ideal vehicles to transport the Ring to Mordor. They are small and have a proclivity for stealth, and given their relative obscurity, the forces of evil would have a hard time identifying and locating them. They are naturally humble with no dreams of greatness (Sam's greatest dream is just to cultivate a beautiful and marvelous garden), making them the least susceptible race to the Ring's promises. They are also the least physically impressive race, meaning that if any of them fall to its corruption, the amount of damage that they can do is minimal (and would consequently also be less likely to draw Sauron's attention). Despite being small in size, their great inner strength made them able to accomplish a mission that men, elves, dwarves, and even physical gods would have failed.
    • Hobbits' toughness can't be downplayed. The House of Healing's Master is left dumbfounded when he's told that, while Faramir and Eowyn had to stay in bed for a while, Merry was going to be able to walk out of the bed the next morning. Take note that all three were ill due to exposure to the Ring-Wraiths' corruption, and Faramir was of probably the purest Numenorean bloodline bar Aragorn himself, with the inherent resilience. While Merry still has to rest for some time, it's pretty clear that Hobbits are Made of Iron.
  • 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 no. "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 this was 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.
    • 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.
    • Gimli manages to pull a short comeback at Saruman. As the wizard tried to enchant Rohirrim and Théoden, he simply stated how much of a nonsense it was.
      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."
  • 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!
  • 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 a wonderful example 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.''
    • While heavily tinged with the grief of Théoden and Éowyn's (assumed) death, the Rohirrim's second big charge, this time led by Éomer; they're no longer singing, they're fey and furious.
      And with that the host began to move. But the Rohirrim sang no more. Death they cried with one voice loud and terrible, and gathering speed like a great tide their battle swept about their fallen king and passed, roaring away southwards.
  • When the Ring tempts Sam into turning leading armies into Mordor, throwing down the Dark Tower and changing the land into a garden realm, he refuses it.
    • Let us be clear here: only one other figure, Tom Bombardil, who might be a god, was able to resist the ring. Sam did what wizards, kings, and mighty Elf Lords could never hope to do: bear the ring and give it up WILLINGLY.
    • And there's the fact that the best the One Ring had to offer to Sam is making Mordor a garden. The guy is so humble that he make the Ring run out of options.
    • Even better? The One Ring's MO is typically subtle corruption over time. With Sam, it flat out drops the subtly and tries to give him visions directly from the word go. As this isn't something we see from anyone else, which implies the Ring realized it was so close to Mount Doom, beared by someone so resistant to it. While Sam doubts his ability to handle the burden long enough, this implies he actually made the One Ring think he could and actually panic.
  • 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.
    Here we come with a boom! Here we come at last. Come, join the moot. We are off, we are off to Isengard!
    • One Ent is burned in Isengard's defence:
      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."
  • Tom Bombadil and the Ring.
    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.
  • 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.
    • The reason the witch-king stabs Frodo in the shoulder instead of the heart, which would have definitely ended him? Because Frodo, cornered, slashes at him with his own sword and skews his aim.
  • 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."
    • Especially the implication that Frodo, evil though the outcome might be, found the power within himself to become more than the sorry state of Gollum if he claimed the Ring; he could been a Dark Lord himself.
  • Dáin Ironfoot, when just a boy, slew an Orc-chieftain.
    • 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.
  • Only Boromir shows no fear at the Balrog in Moria. What’s more, when he blows his horn, the Balrog briefly hesitates.
  • Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli racing across Rohan in pursuit of the Orcs. They ran 45 leagues - that is 155 miles or 250 kilometres - in less than four days with the will of Saruman set against them.
    • It's even more amazing when you consider that the "Will of Saruman" may not even have been a factor; they believed that Saruman was sapping their strength, his dark magic dogging their steps, when in fact they were just exhausted. They were so single-minded in their pursuit of the Uruk-hai, they had no idea just how far they had run; Éomer is astounded when Aragorn mentions where they began the chase.
      Éomer: "Strider is too poor a name, son of Arathorn. Wingfoot I name you. This deed of the three friends should be sung in many a hall."
  • 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:
    " 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."
  • Sam gets a non-combat moment during the Breaking of the Fellowship. With Aragorn having quickly outpaced him, he tells himself his legs won't work and admonishes himself to use his head. In minutes, he's mapped out an incredible portion of what happened between Frodo and Boromir and what his master's reaction is going to be, allowing him to arrive just in time to keep Frodo from setting off for Mordor alone.
  • The climax of the Entmoot.
    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.
  • 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. Up runs the flag of the King of Gondor, which has not been seen in centuries. Sauron's forces are horrified, Gondor's are reinvigorated.
  • The sword that Merry picks up in the Barrow-Downs that he uses to cripple the 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.
  • In contrast to the film, Aragorn's confrontation with Sauron via palantir is this. Sauron is implied to have had a minor freak-out upon seeing one of Isildur's bloodline wielding the reforged Narsil. And Aragorn's status as a rightful wielder of the palantir means Sauron can't manipulate what Aragorn sees in said palantir like he did with Denethor.
  • A grieving and enraged Gandalf delivering an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! speech to the Mouth of Sauron that leaves him speechless with rage before the Death Glare he gets from the rest of the Captains of West sends the Mouth fleeing in terror.
    'These we will take!' said Gandalf suddenly. He cast aside his cloak and a white light shone forth like a sword in that black place. Before his upraised hand the foul Messenger recoiled, and Gandalf coming seized and took from him the tokens: coat, cloak, and sword. 'These we will take in memory of our friend,' he cried. 'But as for your terms, we reject them utterly. Get you gone, for your embassy is over and death is near to you. We did not come here to waste words in treating with Sauron, faithless and accursed; still less with one of his slaves. Begone!'
    Then the Messenger of Mordor laughed no more. His face was twisted with amazement and anger to the likeness of some wild beast that, as it crouches on its prey, is smitten on the muzzle with a stinging rod. Rage filled him and his mouth slavered, and shapeless sounds of fury came strangling from his throat. But he looked at the fell faces of the Captains and their deadly eyes, and fear overcame his wrath. He gave a great cry, and turned, leaped upon his steed, and with his company galloped madly back to Cirith Gorgor.
  • The narration describing the actions of Sauron the moment Frodo claims the Ring as his own is another of Tolkien'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.
  • According to 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."
  • 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. And then he is confronted solely by Gandalf. The entire scene is probably some of Tolkien's greatest writing and stands far-above its adaptation in the movie.
    The drums rolled louder. Fires leaped up. Great engines crawled across the field; and in the midst was a huge ram, great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains. Long had it been forging in the dark smithies of Mordor, and its hideous head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravening wolf; on it spells of ruin lay. Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old. Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind walked mountain-trolls to wield it.
    But about the Gate resistance still was stout, and there the knights of Dol Amroth and the hardiest of the garrison stood at bay. Shot and dart fell thick; siege-towers crashed or blazed suddenly like torches. All before the walls on wither side of the Gate the ground was choked with wreck and with bodies of the slain; yet still driven as by a madness more and more came up.
    Grond crawled on. Upon its housing no fire would catch; and though now and again some great beast that hauled it would go mad and spread stamping ruin among the orcs innumerable that guarded it, their bodies were cast aside from its path and others took their place.
    Grond crawled on. The drums rolled wildly. Over the hills of slain a hideous shape appeared: a horseman, tall, hooded, cloaked in black. Slowly, trampling the fallen, he rode forth, heeding no longer any dart. And as he did so a great fear fell on all, defender and foe alike; and the hands of men drooped to their sides, and no bow sang. For a moment all was still.
    The drums rolled and rattled. With a vast rush Grond was hurled forward by huge hands. It reached the Gate. It swung. A deep boom rumbled through the city like thunder running in the clouds. But the doors of iron and posts of steel withstood the stroke.
    Then the Black Captain rose in his stirrups and cried aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten tongue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone.
    Thrice he cried. Thrice the great ram boomed. And suddenly upon the last stroke the Gate of Gondor broke. As if stricken by some blasting spell it burst asunder: there was a flash of searing lightning, and the doors tumbled in riven fragments to the ground.
    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.
    All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen.
    "You cannot enter here," said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. "Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!"
    The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
    "Old fool!" he said. "Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!" And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
    Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the city, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of war nor of wizardry, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
    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.
  • Gandalf's struggle with the Balrog.
    • As a Maiar, Gandalf is limited in how he can help Middle-Earth fight evil. The Balrog is as close to an equal as Gandalf can get. When the old wizard reveals his titles ("Wielder of the Flame of Anor"), it's his way of saying, "You have no idea who you're messing with!"
  • Faramir's example of nobility in Ithilien, when he says that he would not desire or take Isildur's Bane, even once he knows that it is the Ring that Frodo is carrying:
    "But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No. I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo. We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt. Not if I found it on the highway would I take it, I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them."
    • This needs to be emphasized. The only other people known to completely resist the Ring are Tom Bombadil (who may be some kind of divine being) and Sam (who just plain doesn't have any real desires the Ring can manipulate). Faramir has just that much strength of character!
  • In an Offscreen Moment of Awesome during the first book, Gandalf goes toe-to-toe with several of the Nazgul at once at Weathertop, to the point where the Hobbits can see the flames from miles away.
  • A darker example, but still Gollum is pretty awesome once you come to think of him this way: the guy has basically wandered through the entire Middle Earth, including such dreadful places as Moria and Mordor, almost entirely on his own and with little outside support. Of mortals alive at the time, he was probably second to none bar Aragorn (who could still often rely on his Rangers) in that regard. And he managed to stay alive until the very ending, in which his role turned out to be more than instrumental.
    • Heck, the guy talked his way out of Shelob's Lair - quite possibly the first and only such example.
  • One for Sam again, when he and Frodo are nearly at Mount Doom and Sam, despite his optimism, faces up to the fact that they're likely going there to die. This in no way stops him from vowing to get Frodo up there nonetheless.
    Sam: I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind. And I'll carry Mr Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart.
    • Less than a page later, Frodo can't take one more step, and Sam knows that to try to take the Ring and complete the quest himself would break Frodo - if not prompt a violent response. Therefore, he does exactly what he said he'd do and carries Frodo on his back up Mt Doom - and whether because Frodo is so worn, or "some final gift of strength" is granted him, it feels like carrying a child.
    Sam: I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well.
    • Before this Frodo gets one that is simultaneously awesome and heart-breaking when, unable to walk up Mount Doom's slope, he doesn't give up but instead starts to crawl.
  • Beregond, the man-at-arms of Minas Tirith. He's a worthy but ordinary soldier with no noble blood and has no hand in any of the great decisions being made by the likes of Denethor and Gandalf; all he can do is defend his city as best he can under orders that come from someone else, or so it seems for much of his time in the story. When Denethor takes himself and Faramir to burn, Beregond finds himself faced with his own great choice: follow the Steward or save Faramir. Alone of all the soldiers and keepers who encounter Denethor in his madness, Beregond rejects blind obedience to do what he knows is right. He does it even though it looks very likely that Denethor is right and they're all going to be slaughtered by Mordor before dawn, even condemning himself by fighting the guards to get into the mausoleum and save Faramir.
  • Boromir's reputation outlives him. During the infighting between the Mordor and Isengard uruks, the ones from Isengard insist that they should be in charge because they were the ones who "slew the great warrior." When Aragorn speaks of Boromir's death, Éomer takes the news as a heavy blow because he knew Boromir to be a mighty warrior who would be missed by more than just his own city.
  • After the war, Gimli and Legolas go on to establish colonies in the lands of Men in a symbolic gesture of unity. Legolas led some Silvian Elves from Mirkwood to Ithilien to restore the land there, becoming one of the fairest forests in all of Middle Earth and Gimli became "Lord of the Glittering Caves" after being allowed to have Dwarves settle in the caves behind the Hornburg. Not bad for the representatives of two Dying Races.

     Peter Jackson's Film Trilogy 


  • 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.
    • The only time Legolas is seen missing a shot in the entire trilogy is when the Three Hunters are facing off with the Corsairs of Umbar in the extended edition, and Gimli tells him to "mind your aim!" while knocking the bottom of his bow. Even then it still ends up being a killshot to one of the pirates.
    • 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.
      • 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, at 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.
      • It was also the 18 inch wide ring model that they used in the shot.
  • 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.
  • 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 across 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!

    Amazon's series 

    Other Adaptations 
  • In Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings:
    • The poster itself is arguably the most 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 it - NOW", you believe it.
    • Aragorn's rendition of "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Butterbur.
    • The Riders stalking Frodo and company? The Jackson film copied the Bakshi film nearly shot-for-shot.
    • Boromir's Heel–Face Turn, after Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and scares Frodo and Sam away. His defense of Pippin and Merry is ultimately a Senseless Sacrifice, but even dying, he lets loose a roar that frightens the orcs into having to put him down for good from a distance.
    • The Orcs marching and chanting into Helm's Deep: an army of pure dark creatures involved in a red mist, chanting in an ominous Black Speech. Makes the orcs look like an army of demons coming from hell itself.
    • After Gandalf falls to the Balrog in Moria the Fellowship are noticebly downtrodden. After Frodo refuses medical aid from Aragorn due to how hopeless it all is, Aragorn replies with one of the greatest two sentence pep talks in cinematic history.
      Aragorn: Then we must do without hope! There is always vengeance!
  • 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.
  • Frodo putting the fear of God into Gollum, with a little assistance from the Ring.
    Frodo: Begone and trouble me no more! You touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the fires of Doom!
  • 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!