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Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Battle Of Helm's Deep

April 29, 2021 408 votes 60 voters 3.5k views15 items

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There is no shortage of intense and important skirmishes in the Lord of the Rings franchise, but the one most readers and fans of the films think of is the Battle of Helm's Deep (sometimes called the Battle of the Hornburg). The conflict was one of the most intense, and if you've seen the movies, you know why. It involved a massive force-on-force engagement that pitted the army of Rohan against a horde of rampaging Uruk-hai.

The battle was insane on the silver screen, thanks to Peter Jackson's interpretation as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The battle and other associated conflicts went on for 40 minutes of screen time, making it one of the longest and most complicated battle scenes ever filmed.

While it was incredible to behold in the movie, there's far more to it than meets the eye.

  • 1

    The Elves Didn't Take Part In The Battle In The Books

    While Peter Jackson's interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's work doesn't stray too far from the source material, he did take some artistic license with a few aspects that fans noticed. One glaringly obvious to fans of the books was the inclusion of Elves at the Battle of Helm's Deep. If you think back to the film, an entire army of Elves arrive to support the Men fighting against Saruman at Helm's Deep.

    That didn't happen in the books. In the original Lord of the Rings story detailing the battle, the victory was won by the Men of Rohan alone. Aragorn and King Théoden led the army deeper into Helm's Deep to save them from wave after wave of Uruk-hai warriors, but the Elves weren't involved at all. In the end, Gandalf arrives with reinforcements from Westfold to help push back the invaders, winning the battle. In the film, he arrives with Elves from Lothlórien, but they weren't involved in the books.

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  • 2

    The Huorns Brought The Battle To An End

    In Peter Jackson's films, the audience is introduced to the Ents, who explain they take care of the trees of Fangorn Forest. What they don't explain is the trees are beings like the Ents, though they are a different race. The Huorns aren't as intelligent and may not be truly sentient, but they are massive and able to move whenever they need to. When they become angry, a Huorn can move with great speed, making them incredibly dangerous.

    The Huorns were responsible for bringing the Battle of Helm's Deep to a decisive conclusion. After Gandalf arrived with reinforcements, the Uruk-hai army began to break their ranks and flee. Their passage to the valley was cut off, so they had no choice but to move into the Huorn forest, which only appeared after the tree-like beings moved there overnight. When the Uruk-hai were among the Huorns, they were immediately defeated and slain. Were it not for the Huorns, they would have fled and reinforced their numbers, but in the end, Saruman's army was utterly defeated.

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  • 3

    The Battle Became A T-Shirt

    Filming the Battle of Helm's Deep was no easy task. With a 120-day shooting schedule and tens of thousands of extras, it was one of the largest undertakings in cinematic history. When it was all said and done, all of the 20,000-plus extras were given a T-shirt that read "I survived Helm's Deep."

    The shirts had a small modification made to the text. The letterwas crossed out, so the message takes on a slightly different meaning. There were so many extras with these shirts, many would bump into one another in New Zealand's largest cities, recognizing one another through the shirts.

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  • 4

    Peter Jackson Used Cricket Fans To Create The Uruk-Hai Roar

    When it came time to give the Uruk-hai some form of vocalization beyond an individual's voice, Peter Jackson turned to the sports world for help. Jackson went to a cricket stadium filled with 25,000 people. He had to generate a sound that realistically conveyed what was going on during the Battle of Helm's Deep, so he needed to figure out what 13,000 Uruk-hai warriors sounded like when they unleashed their battle cry.

    Jackson walked onto the pitch during a break in the match and explained what he wanted everyone to do. The fans happily complied with the director's request and began to chant the words “Derbgoo, nashgshoo, derbgoo, dashshoo,” which was spelled out on the main view screen. Jackson recorded the sounds they made, which were used in the film.

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