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Thread: LOTR - Return of the Kings SPOILER THREAD

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    LOTR - Return of the King SPOILER THREAD

    I wanted a thread for those that have seen it and want to discuss it without spoiling it for those that haven't seen it yet. I'm not sure that other thread is the appropriate place to talk about specific details. So a Spoiler thread seems to be in order.


    Overall I liked it very much. But I haven't read any of the books, so I don't know how much that would have affected me. I wasn't at all bothered by the length. It seemed to go by pretty fast.

    My impressions:

    I thought the Frodo, Sam & Golum/Smiegal story played out very well. The triangle between the three was fraught with tension all the way through. And Shelob the spider was an effective final obstacle for Frodo. Sam really came into his own in this film. He really was the true representation of the gentle, loving spirit of the Hobbitts. I think it's telling that the film ended with Sam being in the final frame with his wife and children. I wasn't expecting him to take center stage so to speak, but I thought it was wonderfully touching how true Sam stayed throughout the journey in these films.

    I actually thought Frodo was going to bite the big one. Throw himself into the fire and lava at Mt Doom. I almost wanted a more dramatic, self-sacrificing ending for Frodo than having him sail off into the sunset with Elron and Company. But that's just me. Of course now I understand it really had to be Gollum that dies, otherwise there would be no way to tie his story up. Somehow I was hoping the inner battle in him would cause the good part (Smiegal) to do something heroic over the evil part of him. But he remained obsessed to the end. Back to Frodo, let me just say that Elijah Woods has got two of the most emotive eyes I've ever seen. He really played a terrific Frodo.

    Happy to see that Merry and Pippin played more than comic relief this time. Both had to face challenges in this installment, particularly Pippin. I LOVED that everyone bowed to the four Hobbits near the end when Aragon was crowned.

    One of my favorite scenes believe it or not is at the end in the Shire tavern. There were no words at all. Just the four of them with their drinks sitting silently while the unknowing Hobbits around them carried on in their usually jovial way. It was such an effective scene that really showed how remarkably affected they were by their adventure, and how different they were now because of it.

    The battle at Gondor was very long and very cinematically exciting. And yet for some reason it felt like it got wrapped up rather quickly once the ghost fighters (I forget what they were called) came into the picture. They just sort of swarmed through and finished the battle without a lot of dramatic tension.

    And while I was happy that it was the blond chick (Again I can't spell the name) that took down the mightiest of the evil warriors, part of me just didn't buy how easy it was to take him down. I kept remembering from Fellowship of the Rings how that particular warrior seemed unbeatable until Ilsidor cut him down with the famous sword. I wanted Aragon to take him down with that same sword. All in all, Aragon didn't leave me with as much of an impression as some of the other characters. I'm not sure why that is.

    But the battle scene at Gondor was truly remarkable. A lot of interesting creatures and beautiful shots. Many in the audience were gasping at one thing or another. It made the final battle scene at Mordor kind of a letdown because it couldn't top the battle at Gondor. Everything about the battle at Gondor was more stirring. Even the blond King of Rohan (Phalen or somethng) gave a more stirring speech than Aragon did when he had to do the same thing at Mordor. Watching the eye crash down, and the reactions of all once they realized the ring was destroyed, was still quite something to see.

    I was disappointed that we didn't see as much of Gimli and Legolas this time around. But I guess we can't have everything.

    One thing that I sort didn't like was that the movie had like 4 or 5 false endings. I kept thinking "Oh, it over....wait no it's not. OK, now it's....oh wait I guess not..." and so on! It got a little comical! I sort of like big, dramatic endings where the music swells to a climatic close. Instead it ended kind of sweetly in a "life goes on" kind of way. Not saying that's bad, just different emotionally than I might have preferred.

    I get easily distracted by the people around me in the theater. But it's a must-see on a big screen. Nevertheless I'm looking forward not only to the extended DVD when it comes out, but also doing a marathon so I can see all 3 back-to-back in the comfort of my home.

    I know I listed more things I didn't like, but I really did love the movie. I just need to see it again to pick up more of the nuances I missed from the first viewing.

    A couple of questions of things I didn't quite catch:

    How did Sam get the ring near the end? I know that the Orcs took everything away from Frodo. It seemed strange that the ring wasn't immediately recognized by the Orcs and taken to the Dark Lord.

    Where do the elves go when they sail off in these movies? I get the impression that it's a forever kind of thing that they are never to be seen again.

    Any thoughts on why the Elves weren't part of the battle against evil? They were very effective in the battle at Helms Deep. I would have liked to seen them. All in all there was far too little bow and arrow action in the film for my taste. (Of course that's just cause I'm a little sweet on Legolas!)

    But a great film! Go and see it!
    Last edited by Skate Sandee; 12-21-2003 at 09:28 PM.

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    Re: LOTR - Return of the Kings SPOILER THREAD

    Originally posted by Skate Sandee
    I think it's telling that the film ended with Sam being in the final frame with his wife and children. I wasn't expecting him to take center stage so to speak, but I thought it was wonderfully touching how true Sam stayed throughout the journey in these films.
    Personally, I thought it was a bit too cheesy. I mean, OK, we get it, Sam is really good and wholesome, caring about the Shire, you don't have to rub it in so much!

    I actually thought Frodo was going to bite the big one. Throw himself into the fire and lava at Mt Doom. I almost wanted a more dramatic, self-sacrificing ending for Frodo than having him sail off into the sunset with Elron and Company. But that's just me. Of course now I understand it really had to be Gollum that dies, otherwise there would be no way to tie his story up. Somehow I was hoping the inner battle in him would cause the good part (Smiegal) to do something heroic over the evil part of him. But he remained obsessed to the end. Back to Frodo, let me just say that Elijah Woods has got two of the most emotive eyes I've ever seen. He really played a terrific Frodo.
    Having read the book, I knew what the ending was going to be. (BTW, I would recommend everyone read the book before watch the movie.) I think Gollum being the one to destroy the ring is among the more original turns in the novel

    Happy to see that Merry and Pippin played more than comic relief this time. Both had to face challenges in this installment, particularly Pippin.
    I agree. The only thing I did not like was that men seemed to make a bit too much of a joke of them. But nicely done overall.

    One of my favorite scenes believe it or not is at the end in the Shire tavern. There were no words at all. Just the four of them with their drinks sitting silently while the unknowing Hobbits around them carried on in their usually jovial way. It was such an effective scene that really showed how remarkably affected they were by their adventure, and how different they were now because of it.
    ITA.

    The battle at Gondor was very long and very cinematically exciting. And yet for some reason it felt like it got wrapped up rather quickly once the ghost fighters (I forget what they were called) came into the picture. They just sort of swarmed through and finished the battle without a lot of dramatic tension.
    I agree. Though I did not want the battle to last any longer than it did, I thought they might have spent less time on the earlier part of the battle, and more time on ghosts.

    And while I was happy that it was the blond chick (Again I can't spell the name) that took down the mightiest of the evil warriors, part of me just didn't buy how easy it was to take him down.
    When the evil thing said "No man can kill me", I just knew she was going to say, "I am not a man"

    I was disappointed that we didn't see as much of Gimli and Legolas this time around. But I guess we can't have everything.
    Well, Legolas did do a great trick on the oelephant. And I loved Gimli's, "That still counts as one"

    One thing that I sort didn't like was that the movie had like 4 or 5 false endings. I kept thinking "Oh, it over....wait no it's not. OK, now it's....oh wait I guess not..."
    I agree. Having read the book, I knew they had to show the last ship sail off, but the false endings did get annoying.

    How did Sam get the ring near the end? I know that the Orcs took everything away from Frodo. It seemed strange that the ring wasn't immediately recognized by the Orcs and taken to the Dark Lord.
    I assumed he took it off Frodo when he thought Frodo was dead.

    Where do the elves go when they sail off in these movies? I get the impression that it's a forever kind of thing that they are never to be seen again.
    It's one of the more beautiful parts of the book. It's time for men to take control of Earth, and time for older creatures with magic (such as elves) to leave it. They sail off somewhere to a different existance, without such concepts as life and death. Gandalf's parting is also essential, as he now trusts men to fight their battle on their own, without his magical help.

    Any thoughts on why the Elves weren't part of the battle against evil? They were very effective in the battle at Helms Deep. I would have liked to seen them.
    They make a choice to continue their existence elsewhere, not on earth. They don't want to fight men's battles. Their king really makes the exception by giving Aragorn advise, but he really does it for his daughter's sake.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi, Sandy. Great post. I just saw it, too.

    Some of the questions that you asked were answered in the book.

    How did Sam get the ring from Frodo? When Frodo was bitten by Shelob, after Sam wounded Shelob and forces her back into the lair, Sam thought that Frodo was dead. After a long soliloquy with himself, Sam came to the conclusion that it was his duty now to take up the ring and fulfill the quest. So he took the ring.

    Just then a company of Orcs came around the bend, and to hide from them Sam put on the ring and became invisible. The Orcs said (as in the movie), Oh, he's not dead, just poisoned. So then Same said, Oh no, I've made the wrong decission, now I have to go rescue Frodo.

    The Elves sailed off to their own magic land. In the beginning (this is told in the Silmarilion) the world was "straight" (i.e., flat and I guess infinite. Then because of the evil brought on by Morgoth (Sauron was a servant of Morgoth and continued his evil ways after Morgoth was defeated at the end of the first age. Gandalf, BTW, was the same kind of magical person as Sauron, kind of one step below the gods), -- anyway, after this the Allfather (God) caused the earth to "become crooked, and smaller" -- in other words, the earth became round like it is now.

    But imortal creatures like the elves could still find the "straight path. So when the elves sailed away at the end, they just kept going stright as the earth curved away beneath them, until they reached their magical home.

    The elves did not do much fighting in these battles because the age of the elves was passing away, and the age af men was begining, for good or for ill. So they really had no stake in the matter.

    The elves came to Helm's deep because Elrond Halfelven (Arwin's dad and one of the three big shots among the elves) was half human and so he decided togive one last hurrah in memory of the days long past when men and elves worked together to oppose evil.

    More later.

    Mathman

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    OK. I'm back from dinner, LOL.

    Why could Eomer kill the main bad guy (the Witch-King of Angmar, leader of the Nine (the Nazgul)) in such a straightforward way?

    OK, in the book (omitted from the movie) one of the early adventures of Frodo and his companions took them to a place called the Barrowdowns, which was haunted by the ghosts of men long dead who fell in the battles of the first wars against Sauron, back in the days of Isildur (ancestor of Aragorn, who originally cut the ring off Sauron's finger). The kings of some of these battles were taken over by the malice of Sauron and turned into the ringwraiths (the Nazgul). This was kind of a half-living, half-dead state, where they grew in power as Sauron grew.

    Anyway, the hobbits were threatened by these ghosts and saved by Gandalf. They acquired some swords there (not Fordo's sword, Sting, but the others). Since these swords dated back centuries before, to the days when the Nazgul were ordinary mortal men, they could still kill them.

    In the book, while the king of the Nazgul was threatening Eomer, Meriodoc snuck up behind him and, with this ancient sword, wounded him in the leg. This was enough to break the spell, so to speak, and render the Witch-King mortal so he could be killed by Eomer. So Merry and Eomer killed the Witch-King together.

    Note that neither of them was a "man." Eomer was a woman and Merry was a Hobbit.

    BTW, this act of heroism, together with the death of her father, softened Eomer and she stopped wanting to be a warriar queen and stopped lusting after Aragorn, and she eventually married Fairamir.

    More about Sam carrying the ring for a brief time. Anyone who had anything to do with the ring fell under its spell to some extent (except Tom Bombadil, who they left out of the movie). So Sam, too (this is in the appendix, after the book itself is done), eventually (after he was a grandfather many times over) felt a great weariness come over him, and he went down to the Grey Havens of the Elves, and there Cirdan the shipright (he was the third elflord who owned one of the three rings, along with Elrond and Galadriel) -- there Cirdan was waiting with the last ship, and Samwise sailed into the West, the last of the ringbearers in Middle Earth.

    MM

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    Wow - thanks Mathman! It helps to have that background. Makes more sense now.

    Eventually I do want to read the books after I gain some distance from the movies.

    Another question from the books: Do the Hobbits in the Shire ever learn of how the four (Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pippin) made such a historical impact in this epic struggle? Or did the Hobbits remain largely untouched and unknowing of the struggle for Middle Earth? Just wondering.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Well, let's see. In the book the part after the grand climax and the destruction of the ring went on for some time, quite a bit longer than the movie. There were lots of odds and ends to tie up. For instance, Saruman stiull had to be deal with (Treebeard eventually felt sorry for him and let him go, or else lost interest in guarding him at Isengard), and some minore villians had been menacing the Shire. So Merry, Pippen and Sam (with Frodo tagging along, but pretty much spent) came back home to set things right in the Shire. Also some time later the King and his bride visited the Hobbits with great pomp and circumstance. So the people of the Shire did know that the four were heros in some sort of outlandish adventure.

    But they weren't much impressed, even so.

    BTW, Hobbits still live in the Shire and various other places. But they have grown wary of "big people" and shy, so they mostly stay out of our way and we rarely see them.

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    Wow,

    Great wrap-up Mathman, I was going to write an explanation but you said it all. :D

    By the way, the woman's name is Eowyn not Eomer.

    Eomer is the man that takes the throne of Rohan after Theoden's death. Eowyn and Faramir get married and they stay in Gondor as steward to Aragorn.

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    Oh yeah, Eowyn. Eomer and Eowyn were brother and sister, IIFC.

    A couple of other odds and ends.

    "The battle at Gondor was very long and very cinematically exciting. And yet for some reason it felt like it got wrapped up rather quickly once the ghost fighters (I forget what they were called) came into the picture. They just sort of swarmed through and finished the battle without a lot of dramatic tension." -- Skate Sandy


    "I agree. Though I did not want the battle to last any longer than it did, I thought they might have spent less time on the earlier part of the battle, and more time on ghosts." -- Ptichka
    In this, they followed the book. Aragon, Legolas and Gimli enter the caverns of the dead and make their little speeches, then we don't hear from them again as the story shifts to the preparation for war in Gondor. We kind of forget about them.

    So then the battle is raging, going back and forth, one side is winning, then the other, very excitiing. Then just as everything is poised on the razors edge, will it fall this way or that, there is a great cry from the river -- the ships of the Southrons are coming! Oh no, we're doomed!

    But then instead of the bad guys, out jump Aragorn and his ghostly mob and that is the end of the battle.

    So the tension is nicely developed in the book, IMHO.

    BTW, the Nazgul were so terrifying that not even the bravest men could stand and fight them. So the only person who could oppose them in the great battle was Gandalf. But just at the time that Gandalf was supposed to be rushing out into battle, Pippin came running up with the news that Denothor was about to burn himself and Faramir alive, so Gandalf had to go and prevent that tragedy, leaving the soldiers of Gondor to fight on their own.

    This shows the sublety and malice of Sauron. Denothor had one of the palantir (seeing stones, like the one Pippin found), and he thought that he was spying on Sauron with it. But he only saw what Sauron wanted him to see, which was the invincible strength of evil, so that's why Denothor gave way to despair, especially when Boromir was killed.

    Anyway, without Gandalf all was lost when the Nazgul appeared, which made the heroic act of Eowyn and Merry the turning point of the battle.
    (The battle at Gondor) made the final battle scene at Mordor kind of a letdown because it couldn't top the battle at Gondor. Everything about the battle at Gondor was more stirring. Even the blond King of Rohan (Phalen or somethng) gave a more stirring speech than Aragon did when he had to do the same thing at Mordor. Watching the eye crash down, and the reactions of all once they realized the ring was destroyed, was still quite something to see. -- Sandy
    I think this was deliberate. I think the idea was to underscore the point that really, all these alarums and excursions and rushings to and fro by warriors, orcs and elves had nothing to do with it. The only thing that mattered was, would Frodo destroy the ring. If not, all the battles in the world would not help.

    In the movie, this point is made only briefly, but in the book there is quite a long scene where Gandalf, Aragorn and the others are sitting around after the battle of Gondor saying, well, that was fun, but our goose is still cooked unless Frodo can somehow do this impossible thing. Too bad there is nothing we can do to help him. Oh, wait, we can fool around and gather up a little remnant of an army and march to Sauron's northern gate. Maybe this will distract his Eye long enough that Frodo can sneak up to Mount Doom from the South.

    And this is just what happened. So the "battle" before the gate was not intended to be anything more than a ruse. It was Frodo or nothing. (BTW, Tolkien allows the readers to think for a while that Pippin is killed in this battle.)

    BTW, Sandy, when you get around to reading the book, start with the Hobbit. It is more of a children's book, but it is still fun and it tells the story of how Bilbo came into possession of the ring in the first place.

    Then afterward I heartily recommend the Silmarilion which tells about all the events leading up to the thrid age of Middle Earth. It is based a lot on Scandinavian mythology. Tolkien himself was a linguist. He published a famous translation of Beowulf, for instance. He first stared creating this world because of his interest in languages. The languages of the Elves (High Elfish and Low), Dwarfs, Orc, etc., were fully developed in his notes.

    For instance, "El" means "star" i Elfish. So the Elves are the people of the stars. They came into being at a time before the sun and the moon were created, and they lived under the stars. Many of the Elves have "el" in their names, like Galadriel, Elrond (literally, Star-half, or halfelven), and Arwen Umdomiel -- Undomi-el means Evening Star.

    Mathman

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Mathman.........excellent post, couldn't have said it better myself, and I struggled through the "Silmarilion"........I just got back from LOTR about an hour ago....wonderful adaptation of a wonderful book.........must say the movie was better than the book.....how often does that happen?

    I am glad that they ended the movie on a calm note rather than an intense battle scene. There were a lot of loose ends to tie up, which I thought they did nicely. The special effects were quite good, but I thought the spider was too mechanical looking (even though, it scared the heck out of me).

    I loved the humor throughout the movie......my favorite part was when Legolas, after climbing down from the downed "elephant" beast was met by Gimli who said "That still only counts as one". I loved that they carried on their counting of downed Orks from the last installment.........42

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi, Show -- Yeah, the Silmarilion is written in a different style, more like an actual historical account than a narrative tale like the Lord of the Rings.

    I am so biting my tongue about "the movie is better than the book," but I have written enough "book spoilers" on this thread, so I will just keep my silence about that, LOL.

    Mathman

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    I'm dragging this thread out of the cellar because my hubby and I went to see it today.........this is our second viewing of the film, having seen it in December. I have to tell anyone who enjoyed it the first time, it's better the second time around. Instead of being on pins and needles, waiting for the action to happen, I knew what was happening next, so I actually enjoyed the plot, diaglogue, scenery, music, etc. even better than the first time we saw it.............you also inevitably, pick up more of the background action during a second viewing.........anyone else go to see it twice? 42

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Twice? I've seen it five times

    What I find interesting is that all this occurs 7,000 years ago, our time.

    Also, what does Sauron look like? Besides his eye, that is..

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    more timeline:


    Aragorn rules for... er... I think he's 212 when he dies (he's 87 at the time of the War of the Ring), and Arwen, in her grief, goes to Lorien and lays down on a mound, and eventually goes to sleep and there passes into history. Merry and Pippin live to be very old hobbits and eventually die of old age. Same outlives Rosie by a decade or two (I think) and eventually decides to go to the Grey Havens.

    When Aragorn dies, Legolas builds a boat and he and Gimli sail from the Grey Havens for Valinor (the Undying Lands). Gimli is the only Dwarf ever to do that, because of the friendship he maintained with Legolas.

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Timeline II

    Rosie dies in SR 1482; Sam departs the Grey Havens later that same year (he is 102 years old)

    Year 3021 of the Third Age (Year 1421 of the Shire Reckoning) Frodo, Bilbo and the Ring Keepers depart the Grey Havens.

    Shire Reckoning 1484: Death of King Eomer of Rohan. The timeline mentions that Master Meriadoc (age 102) was with Eomer at the time of his death, and that "then he and Thain Peregrin went to Gondor and passed what short years were left to them in that realm, until they died and were laid in Rath Dinen among the great in Gondor

    Shire Reckoning 1541 (Year 120 of the Fourth Age): Death of King Elessar; the catafalques of Meriadoc and Peregrin were placed beside King Elessar's catafalque. "Then Legolas built a grey ship in Ithilien and sailed down Anduin and so over the Sea. And with him it is said went Gimli the Dwarf. And when that ship passed an end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring."

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Excellent Johar, for including that time line in your post. Wow, five times. My hubby's ready for another viewing, so we might do just that next weekend! I am impressed...........42

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