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Tear Jerker / The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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  • Gandalf's self-sacrifice and the survivors' reactions afterwards. Probably the only Big "NO!" that really works.
    • It was that look on Frodo's face like that of a lost little child that's the worst.
      • Keep in mind that Gandalf was basically Frodo's surrogate father or surrogate uncle. Frodo is an orphan and Bilbo, Merry and Pippin were the only biological family he had. When Gandalf fell, Frodo was basically a young child who was crying for his lost father.
    • The music that plays just after Gandalf falls is one of the most beautifully sad themes ever heard.
    • And Pippin is curled up on the ground, clearly bawling his eyes out despite the fact that there's no sound.
      • Remember: Pippin was the one who dropped the skeleton and its armor down the well, alerting the enemy to their presence within the mines. The Orcs came out immediately after the echoes from the well faded, and the Balrog came soon on their heels. Even if a reasonable argument could be made that they may have been discovered either way, it's little wonder Pippin is in hysterics - and for bonus points, the last thing Gandalf said to him was to call him a fool of a Took and suggest he throw himself in next time. Suddenly that interaction isn't so funny anymore...
    • The need to abridge the story to make it film-length cut out most of Boromir's likable moments from the book, but here you get a powerful one - Aragorn's right about the urgent need to keep moving, but Boromir's anguished "give them a moment, for pity's sake!" speaks for the audience.
    • Gimli's reaction is also one. Boromir is physically holding him back as he shouts and tries to run back towards the cave and in some futile attempt at rescuing Gandalf or to avenge him on the Orcs.
      • What makes it even worse is that Gimli was adamant about going to Moria in the first place over the objections of Gandalf. The look on his face is anger, disbelief and maybe even guilt that his insistence lead to Gandalf's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Also Legolas's reaction. While the Hobbits are sobbing in grief, he just stands there, utterly confused. Being immortal, Elves don't fully understand what death is. And now Legolas has witnessed the death of someone close to him. He clearly has no idea what just happened, or how he should feel.
      • This is repeated when Boromir dies, as is pointed out in the cast commentary. Legolas looks grief-stricken but confused, as if he still doesn't understand it. Gimli however, merely sighs as if to say "That's another friend/soldier we've lost to the enemy."
    • Though Aragorn is the first to remark that the Fellowship should move past the loss of Gandalf and continue, his initial reaction as he watches Gandalf let go of the ledge and fall is a look of hurt and even anger that Gandalf decided to leave himself behind for the good of the party. It's like he's silently cursing the wizard for dying.
    • The "Bridge of Khazad-Dûm" is considered a highlight of the trilogy's soundtrack, in part due to its prominent incorporation of the Fellowship Theme; however, it also becomes somewhat sad after you realize that the reason the theme is so prevalent in that track is because it's the last time the entire Fellowship is together.
  • Boromir's Last Stand is one of the most poignant and tear-jerking scenes in the entire trilogy. Made all the better by the fact that as you watch it, it becomes very clear that he knows he won't survive...and in the face of seemingly endless orcs, still refuses to stay down. And who can forget the looks on Merry and Pippin's faces when Boromir is shot. It gets worse when you realize that as far as Boromir knew his Heroic Sacrifice was in vain! One of the last things he saw was the very ones he gave his life to protect get captured, and (as far as he knew) carried off to their deaths, that is, if they're lucky.
    • The only scene that surpassed it is when Pippin tells Denethor the story and Denethor's reactions to his words.
    • And his ultimate acceptance of Aragorn's role in the whole business. "I would have followed you. My king."
    • And of course... "They took the little ones!" It says something here about Boromir's development that when Aragorn reaches him, the only thing on his mind is not that he's riddled with arrows and about to die, but that the hobbits are in danger and he can't save them.
      • And his phrasing: "The little ones." He doesn't think of them as children, per se, but they're still the little guys that Boromir failed to protect.
    • Anyone who's read the books will know what's coming, but to actually see it in action is just heartwrenching. You see Lurtz walk down the slope, and raise his bow while Boromir is fighting, and then he jerks, an arrow protruding from his chest. He staggers, but he keeps on fighting. Despite this horrible injury, he raises his weapon against the enemy again. Lurtz raises his bow and fires again, and the mighty warrior falls to his knees. He looks up at the horrified hobbits, panting in pain and exhaustion, and the realization that he's not going to survive hits him...and he stands up and keeps fighting. Then the third, inevitable arrow hits, and we know it's coming so much that the movie doesn't even need to show it being fired. And Boromir falls.
    • There's at least one other Boromir scene to mention: when he's sitting in Lothlórien, talking to Aragorn about Minas Tirith, and the love he feels for his city is both astoundingly clear and strong and heartbreaking, because if you've read the books, or seen the movie already, you know he's never going to see his beloved home again.
      Boromir: Have you ever seen it, Aragorn? The white tower of Ecthelion... glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, its banners caught high in the morning breeze? Have you ever been called home... by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?
      • Funny how so many of the Tear Jerker moments in the films coincide with speeches taken straight from the books. Sean Bean's delivery was spot-on here.
      • "They will look for his coming from the White Tower. But he will not return."
    • Just before his Last Stand we have Boromir's My God, What Have I Done? moment when he tries to take the Ring from Frodo and causes him to flee. It's a running thread through the story that everyone, but especially the Men of Gondor, underestimates the power of the Ring. Like his father, Boromir just thinks of the Ring as this powerful magical weapon that can — and should — be used against Sauron, and he's immensely frustrated with Aragorn for not understanding that. Then Boromir finds Frodo alone, tries to convince him of his point, and then snaps when Frodo refuses. It's only after Frodo runs away that Boromir finally understands, and he realizes that in driving the Ringbearer away from him, he's just snuffed out Gondor's only hope. No wonder he throws himself into suicidal redemption.
    • Not to mention the fact that that was the last time Frodo saw him alive. He didn't see Boromir's Heroic Sacrifice on behalf of his cousins. It's doubtful whether he even heard the warrior's shouted apology.
      • Which leads to another tearjerking moment in The Two Towers: Frodo says "Yes, for my part," when Faramir asks him if Boromir was his friend, and looks genuinely shocked and saddened when he learns of Boromir's death. Boromir will never know that Frodo had forgiven him.
  • In the extended version, Frodo overhears Aragorn singing a ballad about an elf maiden who fell in love with a mortal man and eventually died. The sorrowful look on Aragorn's face makes it clear he's seeing a parallel between that story and his relationship with Arwen, feeling guilt that she would give up thousands of years just for him.
  • An example of Howard Shore's music pulling at the heartstrings, just the scene when the Fellowship enters the halls of Moria and Shore's music swells. You'll tear up at the beauty of an ancient land lost.
  • The minute they got into Moria, knowing what was about to happen, again when Gandalf read the Book of Mazarbul, and more than one fan turned into a complete soggy mess when the Balrog appeared.
  • The first Tear Jerker of the trilogy is actually when Frodo is attacked by the cave troll in Moria. The looks on the faces of his friends afterward, and then how they all keep fighting harder just because of what happened, are bad enough, but the way that Aragorn (who was wounded) crawls to Frodo and then whispers "Oh, no..."
  • Bilbo's tearful apology to Frodo for having given him the Ring, just before the fellowship set off from Rivendell...and just after he tried to take the Ring from Frodo in a frightening manner.
    "I'm sorry I brought this upon you, my boy... I'm sorry that you must carry this burden... (he breaks down weeping) I'm sorry for everything!"
    • Bilbo's line about there always being a Baggins in Bag End, "and there always will be." while writing his book is saddening when you consider the end of the quest and what it does to Frodo.
    • Before he leaves Bag End, Bilbo has a much less frightening, but still troubling spat with Gandalf over the ring that almost plays out like a loved one receiving an intervention.
      Gandalf: I am not trying to rob you. I'm trying to help you.
  • One scene, or at least an interpretation of it. In Rivendell, Sam talks about wanting to go home, and Frodo realizes: sure, why not? After all, he got the Ring to Rivendell like he was supposed to. His job is done, so what's to stop him from leaving? (...Meanwhile, Gandalf pleads with Elrond to not burden Frodo with the Ring, knowing what it would most likely do to his young friend.) Then cue the Council meeting. It's a complete disaster. Nobody can agree on anything, Boromir wants the Ring for himself, Gimli won't work with elves, and everyone is arguing... hell, even Gandalf is yelling. The Ring is spreading chaos and malcontent. Then Frodo, visibly overwhelmed, stands up and says, "I will take it!"... and at first nobody hears him, but then Gandalf does and just closes his eyes...
    • ... like all the fathers at the start of the Second World War hearing their sons say "I signed up today!"
      • Which is now a Fridge Tearjerker because Gandalf knows what the relatively lesser quest to reclaim Erebor did to Bilbo.
    • Followed of course by the Fellowships' pledges, with one brave Hobbit uniting all these disagreeing minds. As if the only thing that all of these seasoned warriors can agree on is that this innocent soul must be protected.
  • Once Boromir gets knocked out of his craziness and comes back to himself on Amon Hen, it is heart wrenching to see his horrified realization at what he nearly did. As Frodo runs away we can hear his anguished screams and pleading for him to come back: "Frodo, I'm sorry!"
  • The moment when Frodo is leaving for the opposite shore, but Sam refuses to let him go to face the mortal peril of Mordor on his own. It's Awesome, Heartwarming and a Tearjerker all rolled into one:
    Frodo: Go back, Sam! I'm going to Mordor alone.
    Sam: Of course you are, and I'm coming with you!
    • This scene is even more of a tear-jerker when you realise Frodo just witnessed his best friend near drowning. He pulls him out of the water and hugs him tearfully, relieved because he thought he had lost he had lost his parents. Both Frodo's parents drowned when he was a child, leaving him alone and unwanted. Add almost losing your best friend to the same fate.
    • "I made a promise Mr Frodo, a promise! Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee... and I don't mean to. I don't mean to." To Howard Shore's heartwarmingly pure "Concerning Hobbits" musical theme.
      • It's the remarkable message of sacrifice and undying friendship being expressed by Samwise, who has to know all-too-well, in his little Hobbit heart, that by going with Frodo into Mordor he's almost certainly sealing his own doom. Yet he gladly chooses to walk that dark path with Frodo, even if it means his end. Now THAT's true friendship.
      • The line is actually a continuity error: Gandalf tells Sam "Don't you lose him, Samwise Gamgee." That means that Gandalf didn't tell Sam to stick with Frodo no matter what; Sam chose to do so himself.
  • Just before that, Frodo is making his escape as the battle starts up, Merry and Pippin have found a hiding spot and are beckoning their friend to hide with them. Frodo simply stares for a moment as Merry realizes what he's up to.
    Pippin: What's he doing?
    Merry: He's leaving.
    • This, of course, followed by Merry and Pippin drawing the orcs' attention and running the opposite way to cover Frodo's escape, which is what leads to all of their troubles in the following film.
  • Same scene, just before all of that; Aragorn realizing that events have gotten to the point where Frodo must go on his own and that he must let Frodo go, but it visibly pains him to do it; "I would have gone with you to the end..."
  • The Extended Edition has a scene where Boromir tries to convince Aragorn to take the Ring to Gondor, but he still refuses. As Boromir lays into him, we cut to Frodo wide awake listening, like a child hearing his parents arguing. It cuts even deeper because during the argument, Boromir is trying to convince Aragorn that there is still strength, goodness, and honor in Gondor, before calling him out for being afraid of his own lineage and what he could be. Aragorn tells Boromir flatly that he wouldn't bring the Ring "within a hundred leagues of your city." Your city.
  • When Frodo is reunited with Bilbo in Rivendell, he sees the book Bilbo has been working on and remarks on how amazing it is. Bilbo explains what he'd planned on doing to help him with finishing it, but giving up the ring meant he lost its preservation powers and now has a body that reflects that of his advanced age. It's sad hearing him lament on how he wouldn't be able to have one last adventure.
    "I meant to go back. Wander the paths of Mirkwood... Visit Lake Town... See the Lonely Mountain again... But age it seems has finally caught up with me."
    • For an extra layer of sadness, this is less than the book version. Bilbo intended to go on multiple adventures in the book but was only able to retrace his path back to the Lonely Mountain. It's even implied that some of the dwarves present at the house of Elrond may have accompanied him back on learning about the Ring. Movie!Bilbo doesn't even get that: he got to Rivendell and already the preservation powers decayed enough that he hasn't left to go on with even the one last journey his book-version managed to do.
    • This line is even sadder after watching The Hobbit trilogy and seeing a young Bilbo on his grand adventure and knowing that adventurous spirit never left him.
  • Early in the Extended Edition when Frodo and Sam spot see a procession of elves passing through the woods on their way to the Grey Havens, singing a hauntingly beautiful, somber song.
    Sam: I don't know why... it makes me sad.
  • Gimli's increasingly horrified reactions as instead of the warm welcome he expects, the mines of Moria greets him with more and more dwarf corpses. It reaches the crescendo when he bawls his eyes out over his cousin Balin's tomb. Made even sadder if you watched The Hobbit films or at least read the book, where you would have known Balin while he was still alive: Kind, grandfatherly, and a loyal companion who was one of the first dwarves in the Company that had taken a liking to Bilbo.
    • Then the cave troll destroys the tomb.
    • And if you read the book, you'll recognize the skeleton holding the Book of Mazarbul as belonging to Ori, AKA the nice and polite dwarf who was the youngest dwarf member of the Company. How tragic that he would perish just minutes after burying one of his dearest friends after all they went through, and then the last thing he would do before his death was record an ominous Apocalyptic Log describing just what happened.
    • Because dwarfs reproduce very infrequently, bonds of kinship are held in the highest regard. For a dwarf like Gimli, seeing so many of his kin slaughtered like that would be an emotionally devastating experience.
    • While the show is not on the same continuity with the movies, we still get to see in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power what a thriving and beautiful kingdom Moria was once. Now is even sadder to see what it will became by the time of The Lord of the Rings.