Friday, 6 April 2012

5 subtle details that make The Lord of Rings so good

The Lord of the Rings is certainly one of my favourite series of films.  One of the reasons is because the sets, the characters and the world that is created is so rich and detailed.  Of all this detail the LOTR geek in me loves those that are not that obvious, and those that are references to the books and the wider history of Middle Earth.  As I say, the films are rich in detail, but here are my five favourite subtle details that help make The Lord of the Rings such a wonderful series.

5. Thror's Map

As Gandalf visits Bilbo prior to the Birthday party he noses around Bag End. One of the things he sees are the maps that Bilbo has drawn of his travels. One of these maps is Thror's map from The Hobbit, showing the Lonely Mountain. Down the side are some Dwarvish runes, which translate as: “Five feet high the door and three may walk abreast”. Thror is father of Thrain father of Thorin Oakenshield. All should become clear in December.

4. Legolas walking on top of the snow over Caradhras

I still can’t believe that I didn’t notice this the first time I saw the film. As the fellowship are crossing over the Caradhras mountain pass, they are making hard work of ploughing through the deep snow. All of course except for Legloas; as a fleet-footed Elf he is able to walk across the surface of the snow with no effort.

3. The Púkel-men

As Elrond rides up to Dunharrow to present Aragorn with Anduril, we see him ride past a curious statue.  This is one of the so called Púkel-men, a crude and ugly representation of a race known as the Drúedain.  In the book the Drúedain are crucial as their leader Ghân-Buri-Ghân helps Théoden and the Rohirrim bypass an outpost of Orcs when they are on their way to Minas Tirith.  If Ghân-buri-Ghân had not helped them, then the Rohirrim would not have come in time to the fields of the Pelennor. This statue in the film is a nice nod to the Drúedain.

2. The Ring of Barahir

Aragorn has a long history, and his ancestry is very illustrious. The Ring of Barahir is an heirloom that he wears, as a reminder of his connection to the Elder Days. In the first age of Middle Earth the Elf-lord Finrod gave a ring to Barahir, a man who had saved his life. Though Barahir lost the ring when he was killed by Orcs, his son Beren recovered it and the ring became an heirloom of his family. Initially passing to his son Dior, the ring was taken to Númenor by Elros son of Elwing daughter of Dior, but was saved from the destruction of Númenor by Amandil. The ring passed down the line of Kings to Isildur and finally to Aragorn son of Arathorn. A long history indeed.

Check here for extreme LOTR geekery!

1. Éomer talks to horses

Following the Rohirrim’s encounter with Aragorn, Legloas and Gimli, Éomer lends them two horses to help them on their way. However, rather than getting someone to bring the horses across, Éomer whistles and calls out the names of the horses “Hasufeld! Arod!” and the horses dutifully trot over. Blink and you'll miss it.

Bonus detail: PJ’s cameos

One of the other things that makes LOTR so cool is the daft cameo appearances that Peter Jackson makes. This is a bit of a trademark for him. In Fellowship he is just standing on the street in Bree eating a carrot!

In The Two Towers he is involved in the defence of Helm’s Deep, throwing a spear down upon the Orcs with the battering ram.

Finally in Return of the King he has a fabulous death scene as he plays a Corsair who is shot by Legolas.

Those are my choices, what about everyone else?  Is there any that I've forgotten about?


  1. You have earned your geek badge today!

  2. I love this post, Russ, you've put a lot of thought into it. I noticed all of them except No 3, which I'd never actually heard about before.

    Sorry it's taken me so long to see this post - I bet you were wondering why I hadn't commented sooner! - but I've taken a bit of a blogging break recently because I'm starting a new job on Monday so everything has been mad busy. Moving house this weekend so after that I should be back blogging full time.

    1. Ha Ha! Actually I expected you to be the first person to comment! No need to apologise, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had the idea in my head for ages, but I took ages to get round to writing it.

      Starting a new job and moving house! That is crazy busy. I hope everything goes well with the new job. Actually, I've just become unemployed, so now I have more time to blog!

  3. during the siege of minas tirith in the crowd of orcs you can see easterlings, a reference to their prescence in the battle of pelennor fields in the book.

    1. But then we already saw Easterlings in The Two Towers anyway.