The Lord of the Rings trilogy has over 450,000 words all put together. Peter Jackson had a daunting task adapting The Lord of the Rings into film. (And some would say even more daunting task expanding The Hobbit into a trilogy). He had to condense three books worth of characters, plot, magic and awesome moments into nine hours of entertainment. Many things we loved about the books made it in. But some moments were left out, and it’s not really surprising.
Jackson had to choose which scenes to prioritize, what plot points needed expansion and which characters deserved the most screentime. He recut the fabric of the books to make something that better fit the medium of film. And so some things were left on the cutting room floor. But these moments in particular are painful losses. They show the depth of Tolkien’s characters and the liveliness of his world.
Here are 9 Awesome The Lord of the Rings Moments Left Out of the Movies:
The Invention of Golf
Okay, this is technically in The Hobbit, but it’s too cool to leave off the list. The invention of the golf is a mentioned in the first chapter of The Hobbit and never brought up again, which is a shame. Because the invention of golf is probably one of the most awesome little moments in the entire series. Long before the events of The Hobbit, goblins invaded The Shire. What happened there would deter many from bothering with the area for many generations. The Battle of Greenfields took place and one hobbit in particular distinguished himself. Bandobras “The Bullroarer” Took (yes, he is related distantly to Pippin) rode into battle. His unusual height of four foot five allowed him to ride a horse instead of a pony. He charged in with a club and whacked the leader of the goblins, Golfimbul. Golfimbul’s head flew through the air and landed in a hole. The orcs fled, frightened by this show of prowess from the “little” hobbit. Hobbits celebrate Golfimbul’s death by smacking balls into holes and cheekily call it golf. If Peter Jackson wants to make more movies in Middle Earth, a movie about the Bullroarer wouldn’t be a bad one.Advertisement
Bilbo’s Snarky Gifts
Like in the movie, Bilbo disappears in front of everyone at his birthday party after sort of insulting less than half of them. “I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve,” he says. In the book, he gets a little bit more snark in with his will. To the hobbit who wrote long letters full of advice, he gave a waste paper basket. Ouch. Another hobbit got a bookcase… because he was constantly failing to return borrowed books. Peter Jackson doesn't really show off Bilbo’s snarkier side, excepting for the “I don’t know half of you…” line. I believe he wanted to play up the everyman side of the old adventurer. But in the books, Bilbo is no longer an everyman after his adventure in The Hobbit. He’s a little sharper, as shown with his snarky will, and a little wiser to follies than his fellow hobbits. This is just a beginning of one of the key themes of The Lord of the Rings; you cannot go on and adventure and come back unchanged.
In the Peter Jackson films, the hobbits just kind of stumble together on the journey to Rivendell. Sam and Frodo literally run into Merry and Pippin as they’re crossing Farmer Maggot’s farmlands. Then they trip down a hill together and hide from a Black Rider. But in the book, the Hobbits came together a little bit more deliberately. A fact about the hobbits that the movie overlooked (and in it’s defense that would be hard to show). Merry and Pippin used their hobbit eyes and ears and picked up on the fact that Frodo was leaving the Shire and was in great danger. Merry even knew about the Ring, having spied on Bilbo using it many years before. So Sam, Merry and Pippin decided to come with Frodo on his journey, all without telling him! When this is all revealed to Frodo and the reader, Frodo is upset of course that his friends have been keeping secrets. How can he trust them after this? To which Merry responds, “That depends on what you want… You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin-- To the bitter end… But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a world. We’re your friends, Frodo.”
There isn’t a bigger badass in Middle Earth than Glorfindel. If anyone deserves a spin off movie, it’s him. He defeated a Balrog (the shadow demon that took Gandalf down) by himself! He went out with it, but the Valar were so impressed by him that they resurrected him to act as their emissary on Middle Earth. And that’s all before The Lord of the Rings begins! Despite that, he’s not anywhere to be found in Peter Jackson’s adaptation! In The Lord of the Rings proper, he’s a High Elf that Frodo and company meet on the road to Rivendell. Frodo takes his horse and rides by himself to Rivendell so his injury can be treated. Arwen takes on the role of his protector in the movie for reasons we’ll explore later. Glorfindel was considered for membership in the Fellowship of the Ring, but he was deemed too badass to join. He would simply draw too much attention to the party and secrecy was of the utmost importance. If the books have a flaw, it’s that they introduce this awesome character and never let him shine. Putting him in the movie probably would have been too distracting.
When adapting characters to screen, sometimes changes must be made. But sometimes changes go too far. Gimli's character went through changes that really did him a disservice. In the movies, Gimli is bumbling comic relief and it’s cringe-inducing when compared to his characterization in the books. He’s proper and courteous and smooth. He charms Galadriel with his words and courtesy. When asked what he would desire of the elves, he responds, “Nothing, unless it might be… A single strand of your hair which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gem of the mine. I do not ask for such a gift. But you commanded me to name my desire.” Galadriel asks more questions of his intentions and is so impressed with his answers that she not only gives him a strand of hair, she gives him three. As the series goes on, Gimli defends his lady from slander and it’s heartwarming and sweet to read. A bit of this aspect of Gimli is in the Extended Editions of the movies, but Gimli’s charm and courtesy never come across as well as they do in the books.
Hamá is a minor character in the books, but deserved more recognition in the movies. He appears in The Two Towers as the door guard of King Théoden’s hall. He asks that the group remove the weapons. Aragorn tries to bluff for Gandalf, giving Hamá the “you wouldn’t part an old man with his staff” bullshit. But Hamá is not fooled, responding, “The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age.” However, he does let Gandalf carry his staff in, believing that the group has no evil purpose. This turned out to be the right call. Gandalf uses the staff to lift the enchantment holding King Théoden and return the king’s wits to him. The group is asked to remove their weapons in the movie, but the guard is not named. And he falls for the “old man” bull. He doesn’t seem to have anything in common with the wise guard from the book.
Faramir’s Refusal of The Ring
The movie and book versions of Faramir could not be more different. It came to the point where fans called the movie version of him “Far-from-the-book-amir.” Movie Faramir was just awful to Sam and Frodo and acted suspicious and almost cruel to them. He was definitely cruel to Gollum, ordering his men to beat the pathetic creature. Book Faramir on the other hand, was much kinder to the hobbits and their guide and certainly did not order any beatings. This change in personality was made because the third act of The Two Towers needed tension (in the book that tension was provided with an encounter by Shelob the Giant Spider). He figured out that Frodo was carrying the One Ring, but did not even consider taking it from the hobbits. He says to them, “ I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory.” Peter Jackson cut this moment because he felt that it downplayed Frodo’s struggle with The One Ring. It’s a great moment in the books though and it illustrates Faramir’s strength of character and contrasts him with his brother Boromir, who succumbed to the temptation of The Ring.
Eowyn’s Takedown of Aragorn's Sexism
Frankly, this is surprising that this was left out of the movies. It comes across as very girl-power. The films do try to incorporate that element. After all, they did have Arwen outrace the black riders to increase her role in the movies because the books lacked women. The lack of women is a problem in the books and it’s understandable why Peter Jackson would want to fix it. So it’s baffling as to why this moment wasn’t included in the movies. In both the movies and the books, she asks to follow Aragorn on the Paths of the Dead. In both he refuses her. But in the books she calls him out on his shit. She says, “All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more… I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.” While she’s still in love with Aragorn in the books, she will not be cowed by him. The movies instead focus on her heartbreak and forget that she is a Shieldmaiden and won’t take shit from anyone. Even the man she loves.
The Scouring of the Shire
It’s understandable why this was cut. The ending of the movie of The Return of the King drags on and on, tying up subplot after subplot. Adding The Scouring of the Shire would have added a good thirty minutes to an already long movie. So the movie shows Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo coming home to an unchanged Shire. The film does do a good job of showing how much they’ve changed. They wear their fancy elven cloaks and carry themselves differently than before. They sit quietly in The Green Dragon, realizing they can’t relate to their fellow hobbits. In the books, on the other hand, there’s a lot more ass kicking when the hobbits return to the Shire. Agents of Sauron have overrun the place and it’s up to our four heroes to rid their home of them. They chase out Sauron's servants and free the hobbits who resisted the occupation of their home (one hobbit, Lobelia Sackville Baggins beat up a few of the ruffians with her umbrella and it was amazing). Saurman even shows up in this chapter and we see him pathetically trying to bully the hobbits, a far cry from the powerful wizard he used to be. Frodo shows Saruman mercy, but the wizard meets his end at the hands of his servant, Wormtongue.