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    General Trivia 
  • Follow the Leader: It started the fantasy genre as we know it, and indirectly started role playing games as we know them too. The live action movies led the way for more film adaptations based on epic fantasy books.
  • Fountain of Expies:
    • Gandalf is up there with Merlin in some circles.
    • 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 high 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. In fact, that's the TV Tropes summary for High Fantasy, a genre which existed long before Tolkien was born and often included quests or journeys, but not necessarily any of the rest.
  • 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.
  • Shrug of God
    • Tolkien deliberately left Tom Bombadil's true nature obscure. Fan debate has raged for decades, and probably always will.
      "Even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are. Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally)."
    • Whether Sam killed Shelob or not is left a mystery.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In Tolkien's lifetime he rejected a proposal from Forest Ackerman and Al Brodax for an Animated Adaptation. This was unconnected to Ralph Bakshi's project which was after his death. It was supposed to involve animation, miniature work, and live action, and Tolkien really liked this and the Arthur Rackhamish concept art. What he didn't like was the script. Unnecessary plot changes, a hamhanded approach to magic, misportrayals of characters and an emphasis on attacks and fights. He wrote a detailed criticism of it, which is in Carpenter's Letters.
    • At one point, The Beatles had approached Stanley Kubrick to direct them in a film adaptation but Kubrick felt the story was unfilmable, which doubles as Hilarious in Hindsight.
    • John Boorman wanted to adapt the books into one long epic movie but this fell through and he made Excalibur instead. Boorman revisited the idea in the mid-1990s, but fell through again due to legal issues between producer Saul Zaentz and Tristar Pictures.
    • When looking to branch out into fantasy comics, Marvel Comics originally considered making Lord of the Rings comics before settling on adapting Conan the Barbarian instead.
  • The Wiki Rule: The One Wiki To Rule Them All, and The Tolkien Gateway.

    Books 
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Hippies and students first discovered The Lord of the Rings via the unauthorized, inexpensive Ace paperback edition, and there were apparently other pulp bootleg editions as well,note  which spread like wildfire on college campuses: then the authorized Ballantine paperback edition came out. All these things created the massive "psychedelic fandom" for the book in The '60snote  (see Memetic Mutation). JRRT loathed paperbacks, and in fact was quite unsettled to learn that American counter-culture was embracing his work. But he took advantage of the young people's devotion to compose his own bit of Creator Backlash for the authorized Ballantine edition, in the form of a written Take That!: "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."
    • 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 Ace 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.) More on the unauthorized editions here.
    • Ironically, the covers for the Ace edition showed that the artist had read the books and knew what he was doing, while Barbara Remington for Ballantine hadn't had time and just created a whimsical-looking alien landscape for Book I (Books II and III are somewhat closer to the right spirit).
    • 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, and declaring that "Those who approve of courtesy to a certain author will not touch this gobbler with a ten-foot battle lance."
  • Creator's Favorite: Tolkien named Samwise Gamgee as his favourite character, going so far as to name him the real hero of the story.
  • Defictionalization:
    • Caradhras, Orthanc, Dol Goldur [sic!], and the Mindolluin Crag are real places in Washington State. Two climbers (and Tolkien fans) in the 1960's were the first to climb a segment of mountains in the Cascade range and thus ensured naming rights.
    • "Lothlorien" is the former name of the thriving nature sanctuary/spiritual retreat (or non-Wiccan Fairy Faith/hippie commune) in Lawrence County, Indiana. Its founding documents were a poetic combination of Tolkien's idealism toward nature and "Christ Light" doctrine, making it a really New-Age Retro Hippie establishment. Today, it's called Elvin H.O.M.E.
  • Executive Meddling: Tolkien and his publisher went back and forth about the titles of the books, with Tolkien suggesting many different possibilities for both the three published volumes and the six narrative books (including some subsequently used by Christopher Tolkien like "The Return of the Shadow" and "The Treason of Isengard", and some very literal ones such as "The Ring Goes East"). Tolkien finally settled on "The Fellowship of the Ring", "The Two Towers", and "The War of the Ring" for the volumes, and left the narrative books untitled. The publisher overruled him and went with "Return of the King" for the third volume despite Tolkien arguing that it was a spoiler for anyone picking up the series.
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: It was mostly written between 1937 and 1949. The appendices and final edits weren't completed until 1955. In total it took around 18 years to finish.
  • Iconic Characters:
    • "Frodo Lives!"
    • Also, Gandalf, who beat out Merlin in a "most iconic characters" poll in Britain once. And that was before the films...
  • 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.
    • The Led Zeppelin songs "Misty Mountain Hop", "Ramble On", "Stairway to Heaven", "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "Battle of Evermore" all refer to people, places and situations in the books. But they are only the best known references. There are thousands of others. Tom Rapp, Pearls Before Swine's frontman, set most of the "Three rings for the Elven-kings..." lyric to music, called it "Ring Thing" and put it on the Balaklava album. The men's choral pop group The Associationnote  had a soft song called "Toymaker" with these lines: "Picture book, Pippin Took/Taking a look." There have been several bands called the Hobbits and a number of albums with titles like Middle-earth, Lothlorien and so on. Much more here.
    • In Chakona Space, the Gene Wars produced a race of Plague Master Super Soldiers (Death Guard? What's that?) named Saurons, who were quarantined on the planet Mordor.
  • Publisher-Chosen Title: The publisher meddled with the titles of the three volumes. Tolkien wanted the last one to be named The War of the Ring to avoid spoilers, but it didn't get through.
  • Sequel Gap: The Hobbit (1937) was followed by The Lord of the Rings (three volumes, 1954-1955), 17 years later.
  • Sleeper Hit: The book series' sales really didn't take off until the '60s, when it was embraced by the counterculture.
    • The publisher expected to lose money but decided to publish anyway. The final decision came by telegram: "If you believe it is a work of genius then you may lose a thousand pounds."
  • 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".
    • The History of Middle-earth has many of these, including the above example. Others include:
      • Farmer Maggott and Treebeard being villains.
      • 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.
    • Pippin was originally supposed to die. It was C. S. Lewis, who read the manuscript before the book was published, who objected and insisted that Tolkien let him live. So instead of being crushed to death by the troll at the Black Gates, he just gets a little squished and is saved by Gimli.
    • When Tolkien began writing the sequel to The Hobbit, he mentioned that this story would have a giant instead of a dragon as the antagonist. His early outlines have a "Giant Tree Beard" imprisoning Gandalf much like Saruman does in the final story.
    • Frodo was originally intended to be Bilbo's son. But Tolkien thought that Bilbo wouldn't allow his son to be placed in danger, and would have difficulty explaining where he was (as well as Bilbo's wife) during The Hobbit. So he made Frodo Bilbo's nephew, inspired by legends and tales involving uncles raising their nephews.
    • There was a sequel planned called The New Shadow, set more than 100 years after the events of LOTR, involving an evil cult and boys playing at being orcs. Tolkien got about 13 pages in and decided "screw this."
    • There were originally going to be good orcs! Frodo would've met them on the road, but Tolkien couldn't fit them into the story. The reason he wanted these orcs in the story was because, as a Catholic, he couldn't see a whole species as 'irredeemably evil'. This scene was later in the Rankin-Bass adaptation of The Return of the King as a dream sequence.
    • The Siege of Minas Tirith was supposed to have tanks at one point.
  • Word of God: The appendices are only the start; Tolkien's son has edited together and published fifteen volumes from his notes.
  • Working Title: There were going to be six books. The first book was going to be The First Journey, The Ring Sets Out, or The Return of the Shadow. Book two was going to be The Journey of the Nine Companions, or The Ring Goes South. Book three was going to be The Treason of Isengard. Book four was going to be The Journey of the Ring-bearers, or The Ring Goes East. Book five was going to be The War of the Ring. Book six was going to be The End of the Third Age.
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    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.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Due to Executive Meddling.
  • Troubled Production: This was one of Ralph Bakshi's less problematic productions, but that's not saying much. Bakshi feuded with producer Saul Zaentz throughout production, the initial screenplay had to be heavily rewritten — with the new writer, Peter S. Beagle, doing so for a derisory sum in exchange for guaranteed work on Zaentz's other productions... which he never received — and Bakshi decided to shoot the whole thing in live-action and just rotoscope over it to save time, only to discover that he'd ended up making the scenes far too complex to rotoscope in any reasonable amount of time, forcing him to use a far quicker and cheaper method that resulted in massive Art Shifts throughout the entire film. Then, he was forced to stop the story after adapting the first two books due to budgetary reasons, resulting in the property being handed back to Rankin/Bass — who had previously adapted The Hobbit — to create an adaptation of The Return of the King.
  • What Could Have Been
    • 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 by Led 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.

    Films 
  • Ability over Appearance:
    • The producers intended to cast only British actors as the Hobbits as Tolkien had imagined the Shire as a form of England but American Elijah Wood sent in a strong audition tape and was cast as Frodo. A marginal case, seeing as Wood speaks The Queen's Latin with very few slips. Sean Astin's North Country take on Sam Gamgee has also received generally good notices (funnily enough, it's the exact same accent Bill Nighy gave Sam in the '80s radio adaptation, despite Astin not having heard it when he came up with the voice).
    • Gollum was meant to be an animatronic, but Andy Serkis's performance impressed the filmmakers so much that they decided to use CGI and motion capture (trope-naming Serkis Folk), plus having him physically acting on the set. That also allowed them to have the flashback scene at the start of Return of the King where a live-action hobbit-Sméagol played by Serkis transforms into Gollum.
  • Actor-Inspired Element:
    • It was Viggo Mortensen's idea for Aragorn to take Boromir's gauntlets, both as a tribute to their fallen companion and to constantly remind himself of the promise he made to save Minas Tirith and their people.
    • The dream scene between Aragorn and Arwen in the second film was scripted entirely in English. Liv Tyler had fallen in love with the Elvish language and asked for some of the lines to be translated into Elvish.
    • Supposedly, Christopher Lee helped direct his death scene, since he knows from his WWII service how people react when getting stabbed in the back.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Numerous lines and events are taken from the books but given a different meaning by changing the context or speaker.
    • In the book, Sam wakes up to find Gollum crouched over Frodo and accuses him of "sneaking" about. Gollum was actually in the middle of a near-repentance, but Sam's words harden his animosity towards the hobbits and his resolve to feed them to Shelob. In the movie, Sam surprises Gollum disposing of the lembas, and uses the same language on him. In this context, Sam's accusation is more justified and lacks the negative consequences of the original.
    • In the book, Éowyn says the line "Do you not know?" to Faramir, in order to let him know that she has fallen in love with him. In the movie, her relationship with Faramir is downplayed, and her feelings for Aragorn emphasised, so the line is kept the same, but said to Aragorn instead.
    • In the book the whole "heed no nightly noises" speech was said by Goldberry and by Tom Bombadil in their house in the Old Forest on the borders of the Shire. When they decided to cut Bombadil from the film adaption they gave this line and some others to Treebeardnote  in Fangorn forest. This changes the meaning of the line from "no matter what you hear tonight, it won't harm you" to something more like "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite".
    • Sam's vision of the star over the Ephel Dúath shows up in the extended edition of the movies, but is given slightly different significance. In the book, the vision is a private experience of Sam's that gives him strength to continue the journey. In the movie, Sam points out the star in order to encourage Frodo, taking the focus off of Sam's inner struggle and shifting it to Frodo's need for support.
    • Gandalf's line discribing Éowyn is changed to something Grima says to her directly. As Peter Jackson says, it wasn't important who said it, only that it was said about Éowyn
    Wormtongue: "When you are alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seemed shrinking, and the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?”
    • Sam's monologue at the end of The Two Towers, the one about how their state was "like in the great stories," was actually transplanted not only from a different context, but also a different moment. In the books, the speech was given while they were camping at Cirith Ungol after passing Minas Morgul, and it was just part of a series of musings Sam had while chatting lightly with Frodo. The film placed it much before, during the battle in Osgiliath, and made Sam utter it as a shocked, heartfelt revelation about their fears and hopes, which the speech pretty much summed up. Gollum's reaction diverges too, as in the book he wasn't present and thus never heard it, while in the film he was right there with them and was uncharacteristically moved by Sam's words in one of his most redeeming moments.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • All-Star Cast: A staggering list of recognizable names in the cast, not to mention that these movies made recognizable the names of every actor in them whose names hadn't been beforehand.
  • Author Phobia: Peter Jackson actually used his own phobia of spiders to measure the effectiveness of Shelob's design and animations. By all accounts, it worked..
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Cate Blanchett joked that the main reason she wanted to play Galadriel was so she could wear pointy ears.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: The New Zealand army in this case. 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.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • 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 DVDs makes note of how good they were at following directions and setting up formations, as well as how much enthusiasm they brought to the combat scenes.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Christopher Lee originally auditioned for the role of Gandalf, as the latter was his favorite character in the books. However, he immediately realized that Gandalf was a very physical role that he only might have been able to do 25 years ago and chose Saruman instead.
    • Dominic Monaghan originally auditioned for Frodo Baggins before being cast as Merry.
    • John Rhys-Davies auditioned for Denethor. He played two roles - Gimli and Treebeard.
    • Sylvester McCoy was considered for Bilbo Baggins. He would later play Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit.
    • Bernard Hill was briefly considered for Gandalf before being cast as Theoden.
    • Orlando Bloom originally tried out for Faramir, not Legolas. The producers ended up convincing him that he'd be better suited for Legolas.
    • Billy Connolly was considered for Gimli. He would later play Dain in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
  • Creator Backlash: Christopher Lee was understandably not happy that his one (and only) big scene was cut from the theatrical cut from The Return of the King (if he had been kept he would've got a SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast). But he eventually reconciled his feud with Peter Jackson to be in The Hobbit.
  • Dawson Casting: In the Prologue, Sir Ian Holm is very briefly seen wearing a dark, curly wig, as Bilbo 50 years younger. While Gandalf does say that Bilbo "hasn't aged a day" since seeing him last, Holm is obviously too old to have such brown hair.
    • A rather interesting case is Billy Boyd as Pippin, as Boyd was the oldest of the four hobbit actors yet also played the youngest of the hobbits.
  • Deleted Scene: Many put back in the extended editions, but some were still left out. Scenes that were filmed that have yet to be seen include:
    • Additional footage from the Battle of the Last Alliance in The Fellowship of the Ring prologue.
    • An obscure shot from the trailers of two Elven girls playing about in Rivendell.
    • A scene mentioned in The Fellowship of the Ring commentary, about an animal disrupting Frodo and Sam while they sleep, after seeing the Wood Elves. Many animals were used, including rabbits and deer.
    • Dialogue from the Council of Elrond, such as Gandalf explaining how Sauron forged the One Ring.
    • An attack by Orcs from Moria on Lothlórien after the Fellowship leaves Moria. Jackson replaced this with a more suspenseful entrance for the Fellowship. Much of the lost footage can be seen as promotional material on The Fellowship of the Ring theatrical DVD and tie-in books, documentary footage on the Extended Editions, and Trading Cards.
    • More Arwen footage, including a flashback scene of her first meeting with a beardless Aragorn (seen in The Two Towers teaser).
    • Faramir having a vision of Frodo becoming like Gollum.
    • Footage of Arwen at Helm's Deep, cut by Jackson during a revision to the film's plot. Foreshadowing this sequence were scenes where Arwen and Elrond visit Galadriel at Lothlórien (seen in The Two Towers teaser trailer). The scene was edited down to a telepathic communication between Elrond and Galadriel.
    • Théoden speaking to the troops in the armoury, prior to the Battle of Helm's Deep.
    • Éowyn defending the refugees in the Glittering Caves from Uruk-hai intruders.
    • An unknown scene displayed in The Two Towers preview of Éomer lowering a spear while riding his horse in a forest.
    • Frodo and Sam fighting on the ground in Osgiliath (after Sam tackles Frodo away from the Ringwraith). The scene's fighting was deleted, but Frodo drawing Sting and pointing it at Sam after he is tackeled was left in.
    • A line of dialogue during the death of Saruman, in which he reveals that Wormtongue poisoned Théodred, giving further context as to why Wormtongue kills Saruman and Legolas in turn kills Wormtongue.
    • A conversation between Elrond and Arwen in a library in Rivendell, after Arwen decides to wait for Aragorn. Elrond leaves, saying, "You gave away your life's grace. I cannot protect you anymore."
    • Sam using the Light of Eärendil to pass the Watchers at Cirith Ungol.
    • Aragorn having his armour fitted during the preparations for the Battle of the Black Gate. This was the final scene filmed during principal photography.
    • Sauron fighting Aragorn at the Black Gate. A computer-generated Troll was placed over Sauron due to Jackson feeling the scene was inappropriate. Sauron is also seen in a beautiful form as Annatar, Giver of Gifts.
    • Also at the Black Gate sequence, Pippin was seen in the trailer holding a wounded Merry, a scene which takes place after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields upon Pippin discovering Merry under the mûmak.
    • Further epilogue footage, including that of Legolas and Gimli, as well as Éowyn and Faramir's wedding and Aragorn's death and funeral.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: On the wall of Helm's Deep during the battle, a one-eyed warrior turns to the camera, revealing his scarred empty socket. The performer who played him showed up as an extra, wearing an eye patch. Peter Jackson politely asked to see what was under the patch, and then inquired if the gentleman would be interested in appearing in the film sans eye patch. The gentleman was reluctant at first, and quite self-conscious, but afterward, said the experience had made him more comfortable with his condition.
  • 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.
  • DVD Commentary: All three films, including the Extended Editions, have several impressive tracks by the Director, Producers, Production Designers, and Cast. They're especially notable for including a rare public appearance by Peter Jackson's wife and co-writer Fran Walsh, who didn't return for the Hobbit commentaries.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Sean Astin gained thirty pounds to play Samwise Gamgee.
  • Executive Meddling: Played with. Jackson anticipated only being able to greenlight one or two movies so his writing team wrote the initial treatment accordingly. And indeed, the first few picture studios he visited did indeed want to do only one film (which Jackson found unacceptable, and would almost certainly have been too little time to tell the story), but when he pitched it to New Line, the producers saw it and said "What are you doing? This is three movies." And this before Hollywood was obsessed with cranking out trilogies—indeed, Lord of the Rings may have sparked the trend.
  • Fake Brit: The filmmakers went with an Accent Adaptation to have all the characters speak with English accents. In addition to the British actors cast, we also have...
    • Americans - Elijah Wood (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Viggo Mortensennote  (Aragorn), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Brad Dourif (Wormtongue).
    • Australians - Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), John Noble (Denethor), Hugo Weaving (Elrond).
    • New Zealanders - David Wenham (Faramir), Karl Urban (Eomer), Craig Parker (Haldir), Martin Csokas (Celeborn) and various bit parts filled by locals.
    • Otherwise averted with Billy Boyd, who kept his natural Scottish accent as Pippin. Word of God is that his comic timing was better using his own accent, and they justified it by saying that Pippin's home was very similar to Scotland.
  • Fake Scot: John Rhys Davis gives Gimli a Scottish accent, the same one he had used for Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Averted twice, thankfully, but nonetheless some close calls for Viggo Mortensen, who was pulled under by a current and nearly drowned while filming the river scene in The Two Towers. Then there was his fight with Lurtz in Fellowship. Lurtz's actor mistakenly threw his real-sharp knife directly at Mortensen's face, and Mortensen managed to deflect the blade with his sword. The shot remains in the movie.
  • Fountain of Expies:
    • Gandalf is ranked up there with Merlin in some circles.
    • Thanks to Viggo Mortensen's portrayal, this applies to Aragorn. Although he may have already been one, anyways.
    • Gimli, who usually serves as a base for many Dwarf character creations for fantasy roleplay, if it helps.
    • Even people who haven't read the book or seen the film are familiar with Gollum, if only through Pop-Cultural Osmosis or his role as childhood Nightmare Fuel in The Hobbit. Or, the reference to him in Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On."
    • Legolas, who is made even more so by Orlando Bloom's portrayal in the film version.
    • 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.
  • Hostility on the Set: There was something of a rivalry between the extras playing Elves and the extras playing Uruk-hai. The Uruks coined the nickname "cupcakes" for their Elven counterparts. This apparently started because the Elven extras (who were largely local college students) weren't getting into character as soldiers, so the Uruk-hai decided to start taunting, jeering, and otherwise acting like actual members of an opposing army. This got the Elven actors riled up enough to be in character. This doubles as Enforced Method Acting.
  • 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.
    “Sean was very much Sam for me. You know, always looking after me, being there for me.”
    - Elijah Wood (2001)

    “Well, I felt very, um… protective over Elijah, for no reason. He could take care of himself fine.”
    - Sean Astin (2012)
  • Looping Lines:
    • The entire trilogy was dubbed in post: the enormous noise of the on-set fans and the assorted background noise made it impossible to hear any of the dialogue spoken while recording.
    • Notably averted with Bilbo's speech at the party, as Ian Holm couldn't recreate the drunk tone while looping those lines sober. That gave the sound editors quite some work.
  • Missing Trailer Scene:
    • The trailers for The Two Towers and The Return of the King both feature scenes of Arwen that didn't make the final cut- the former were moved to the third film for pacing purposes and the latter scenes (of Arwen standing on a bridge and hugging Elrond) didn't feature at all. Also, the scene of Éomer cradling Éowyn's unconscious body in Return didn't appear in the theatrical cut, but was restored for the Extended Edition.
    • Also seen in several trailers but cut is Merry apparently pledging his sword to Théoden.
    • The teaser trailer for The Two Towers that appeared as an Easter Egg on The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition DVD which featured (for about a second) a clean-shaven Aragorn.
  • Name's the Same:
    • No, Sauron's not that pterodactyl guy from X-Men (who actually named himself after him!)
    • In-universe — the name Gothmog initially belonged to a Balrog who served as Morgoth's Dragon. This Gothmog may have been named after that one.
  • No Stunt Double:
    • Viggo Mortensen: Broke his toe kicking a helmet (which stayed in the final cut), lost a tooth, nearly drowned and did many of his own stunts while filming The Lord of the Rings. He was also described by legendary swordmaster Bob Anderson as "the best swordsman I've ever trained" (which is saying something in a 50-year career), and kept his sword with him at all times for the duration of the filming. Oh, and slept in the stables in order to bond with his horses, and bought said horses after the production finished.
    • With the exception of physically impossible moves that required a digital double, Orlando Bloom did all of his own stunts.
  • One-Take Wonder: The scene where Gandalf calls for his horse, and Shadowfax comes galloping across the fields and straight up to his Master, was achieved on the first take.
  • Orphaned Reference: Faramir's lines "A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to prove his quality," and "Tell him I send a mighty gift" were supposed to be Meaningful Echos of what his father Denethor says to him earlier, in Osgiliath. The scene in Osgiliath was deleted, though it can be found in the Extended Version of the film. Granted, Faramir in the book did say the first line at about the same point in the story and Book!Denethor did refer to the Ring as "a mighty gift" that Boromir would not have let slip by in Return, so the references are merely demoted to "shout-outs to the source".
  • The Other Darrin: Sala Baker played Sauron in his "black knight" form, when he still had the One Ring, in The LOTR trilogy. When The Hobbit was filmed, Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed the character in his guise as the Necromancer instead.
  • The Other Marty: 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.
  • Playing Against Type: Sean Bean at the time was heavily typecast as villains. His role as Boromir is what's recognised as the one that broke him out of those parts. While he did still play some villains, he was able to get more varied roles afterwards.
  • Permanent Placeholder: The One Ring's design was based on Rick Porras's wedding band after the producer used it as a prop for an impromptu acting session.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Elijah Wood's sister Hannah played one of the Rohirrim refugees.
    • Sean Astin's eldest daughter Alexandria, who was 4 at the time, played Sam's daughter Elanor in the ending of The Return of the King. In the same scene Sarah McLeod, who plays Rosie, is seen holding a baby played by her infant daughter Maisy.
    • Viggo Mortensen's son Henry played an Orc as well as a Rohirrim soldier.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Several scenes that happened in the books or early versions of the movie script are removed, but are replaced by similar scenes in later films (not only in later LOTR films, but in The Hobbit as well).
    • Merry and Pippin are nearly eaten by Old Man Willow before being saved by Tom Bombadil in The Fellowship of the Ring—>Merry and Pippin are nearly eaten by a Huorn before being saved by Treebeard in the extended edition of The Two Towers.
    • Frodo sings "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late" at the Prancing Pony in FOTR—>Bofur sings the same song in Rivendell in the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
    • Wargs attack the Fellowship on the way to Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring—>Warg riders attack Rohan refugees on the way to Helm's Deep in The Two Towers.
    • Orcs pursue the Fellowship into Lothlorien before being killed by Elves in FOTR—>Orcs pursue Thorin and Company from the Lone-lands into Rivendell before being killed by Elves in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
    • Orc archers attack Fellowship in their boats on the River Anduin in FOTR—>Orcs attack Thorin and Company in their barrels as they escape to Lake-town in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
    • Winged Nazgul attacks Fellowship after said Orc archer attack before being shot by Legolas in FOTR—>Winged Nazgul nearly captures Frodo in Osgilliath before being shot by Faramir in The Two Towers.
  • Shoot the Money: The entire trilogy embodies this. The level of detail put into the, well, everything is astonishing, and it shows. Every penny of its $285 million budget is right up on the screen.
    • Minor subversion in one scene, mentioned in the extended edition DVD for Return of the King: Still in Rohan, Éowyn offers a cup to Aragorn, and he drinks from it. Miranda Otto, along with the costume designers, lamented that the dress she wore as Éowyn for that scene was fantastic and intricate, particularly the skirt and sleeves - in a scene shooting the actors from the chest upwards.
    • The trilogy actually has a lot of subversions. For example Bernard Hill noted that Théoden's breastplate had beautiful, intricate stitching and details—on the inside, where only he and wardrobe ever saw it. However, it served to make him feel like a king.
  • Shrug of God: Whether Sam killed Shelob or not.
  • Star-Making Role: The trilogy gave massive career boosts to a few of the cast members.
  • Stunt Casting: Word of God is that Liv Tyler playing Arwen was this - as they wanted a Hollywood star in one role (as Uma Thurman had to turn it down due to her pregnancy). As such the marketing for the first film heavily promoted Arwen as if she was a major character.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: An out-of-universe example: As revealed in the DVD supplementals, Viggo Mortenson apparently dated a female extra that was costumed as one of the (male) Rohan warriors. The other cast members never let him hear the end of it.
  • Talking to Himself:
    • John Rhys-Davies plays Gimli and voices Treebeard.
    • Lawrence Makoare has a scene between himself as Gothmog and himself as the Witch-King. Both of whom are voiced by Andy Serkis, making it two different versions of this trope.
    • The Gollum & Sméagol conversations are In-Universe sort of this trope.
  • Throw It In!:
    • 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, which was not expected. Since it looked just fine and also pretty funny, it was kept as the final cut.
    • Aragorn and Lurtz's fight is a lot more real than intended. Lurtz's actor threw the wrong knife instead of the safe prop, which made it quite lucky that Mortensen successfully deflected it. Lurtz's actor also could not see well in the costume, so many of his blows actually connected, which prompted Mortensen to go stiff on his own blows.
    • At first Viggo Mortensen 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.
    • John Rhys-Davies couldn't be bothered to learn most of the fight choreography. According to Dominic Monaghan fight scenes involving John were along the lines of John telling the stunt men to charge in a certain order and hitting them as they closed in.
  • Trilogy Creep: The movies were originally planned as a 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, "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." (There is more about this in Lindsay Ellis' take on the Hobbit films.) 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.
  • Underage Casting: Frodo is 33 at the start of the story and is said to still look as such, even when he turns 50. Elijah Wood was 20 when he was cast.
  • Wag the Director: Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler both requested that the script be re-written so they could speak more of the Elvish language.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for Frodo.
    • Arwen was actually supposed to arrive at Helm's Deep to give Aragorn his sword Andúril, the Flame of the West, and, of course, to fight alongside him. Her role was ultimately reduced, and the scene of her arrival at Helm's Deep instead became Legolas giving Aragorn back Arwen's pendant. Haldir was written in her place.
    • Aragorn was originally supposed to personally duel Sauron in the end, but Sauron was ultimately replaced by a troll.
    • A scene with Ghan-Buri-Ghan and the Wood Woses (who were hunted and killed by the Rohirrim for sport) was cut out.
    • Sean Astin lobbied for his father, John Astin, to be given the part of Gandalf.
    • James Corden revealed that his first audition was for Sam.
    • 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.note 
      • "Lose or use" Saruman.
      • Merge Rohan and Gondor with Éowyn as Boromir's sister.
      • Having Ents prevent the Uruk-hai from kidnapping Merry and Pippin.
    • The filmmakers tried to create the "Gollum into the lava" scene true to the book, but the take with Gollum simply falling into the lava while celebrating was deemed too anticlimactic. So they tried again, filming a scene where Frodo deliberately pushes Gollum and the Ring into the lava. That was basically murder, so they filmed a third take where they still fight, but Gollum's fall is an accident, which is the one we see in the final product.
    • 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 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. Also, his fall would scare away several tentacled monsters similar to the Watcher in the Water.
    • Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke were being considered for Éowyn and Faramir. Thurman initially accepted the offer but had to cancel due to pregnancy. She was also considered for Galadriel.
    • Helena Bonham-Carter expressed interest in playing Arwen.
    • Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Gandalf, but he turned it down because he didn't like the first script (another version of this says he "didn't understand the story"). Patrick Stewart was offered the role, but declined citing similar reasons. Nigel Hawthorne and Patrick McGoohan both declined due to ill health, while Christopher Plummer did it due to the long filming schedule. Rumoredly, Richard Harris lobbied heavily for the role and felt cheated when Ian McKellen was chosen over him, which would have been the origin of his notorious one-sided enmity with McKellen.
    • Christopher Lee had originally intended to play Gandalf, his favorite character in the story, so he was displeased to find Jackson had already cast McKellen for that role. Eventually, although Lee was famously sick of playing villains, Jackson managed to convince him that he would make an excellent Saruman. (According to rumors, another factor was Lee finding out how physical would be the role of Gandalf in comparison.)
    • Tom Baker was offered the role of Gandalf, but he turned it down because he didn't want to be in New Zealand for 18 months at a time. Interestingly, Baker once implied the offer was not necessarily Gandalf, or perhaps that they also offered him a second role which he rejected too. Speculation still exists on what this character may have been, with some believing that it might have been Radagast the Brown (which eventually went to fellow Doctor Who alum Sylvester McCoy in The Hobbit) or even Tom Bombadil (who to date has never made an appearance in an adaptation, film or otherwise).
    • Jackson wanted either Russell Crowe or Daniel Day-Lewis for Aragorn, but they both passed on it. Nicolas Cage was offered the role, but turned it down due to the time commitment. Vin Diesel, a fan of the books, auditioned.
    • Jackson considered Tim Curry, Jeremy Irons or Malcolm McDowell for Saruman.
    • Bill Bailey, Timothy Spall and Warwick Davis were considered for Gimli.
    • Jackson wanted Lucy Lawless for Galadriel, but she had to decline due to pregnancy. Nicole Kidman was also considered.
    • 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. Richard O'Brien was offered the role, but turned it down.
    • 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. Images of Elijah's makeup tests of this scene can be found here.
    • Liam Neeson was offered the role of Boromir, but turned it down. Bruce Willis lobbied for the part.
    • The narration in the prologue for Fellowship by Galadriel was originally intended to be spoken by Frodo — Elijah Wood even did a recording, but the filmmakers felt that not only did the information in the prologue have little bearing on Frodo's character, but there was also the Fridge Logic of him knowing that information — and if he did know all of that, he would have had to have learned it during the trilogy and it would have been a bit of a spoiler alert to the fact that he survives. So then they got Ian McKellen as Gandalf to do a recording of the narration, but decided again that he wasn't the right person to be saying this. They eventually picked Cate Blanchett as Galadriel to speak these lines, emphasising the timelessness of the elves. (And in Elvish - the first voice you hear, while the screen's still dark, is speaking the language to which Tolkien devoted his life and for which he created the Elves and Middle-earth. In the beginning was the word.)
    • Kate Winslet was considered for Eowyn, but was unavailable.
    • Right from the time of the series' release there were rumors that David Bowie had auditioned for a role, most popularly suspected to be Elrond. Dominic Monaghan finally confirmed it was true after Bowie's death (he had found out because they'd run into each other as he was leaving the audition).
    • Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino were considered for the film, but Miramax executives warned Jackson against casting them, claiming they were difficult to work with. In reality, however, this was Malicious Slander spread by Harvey Weinstein because both women had rejected his sexual advances, which Jackson only realised after Weinstein's fall from grace.
    • Weinstein also considered replacing Jackson with Quentin Tarantino. Seriously.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The trilogy was shot like that. Even as the cameras kept rolling, scenes and plots were being rewritten again and again - some versions of the script reached not just the double digits, but went up to 40 and above. Actors frequently got their lines only at the night before the shooting and major revisions resulted in whole scenes being re-shot. Ironically, the writers insist that each iteration was ultimately closer to Tolkien's work and even stated that some of the remaining controversial changes might have been gone too, had they not reached a deadline by then.

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