Everyone goes into a film adaptation of a novel expecting some divergence. For the most part, director Peter Jackson was true to Tolkien's beloved tale and expansive universe when he made the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even so, there were things left out of the Lord of the Rings films, and a few of the lost details are rather massive.
While some devout readers hate the LOTR movies for these changes, a number of the creative choices Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens made are understandable. But some revisions make the story more convoluted, leaving fans to wonder what went into those decisions. Most people were probably okay without the ever-singing Tom Bombadil, but the final battle at the Shire was more sorely missed. With more than nine hours of screen time, it's amazing how many important details Jackson's LOTR trilogy is missing - and knowing the full story leads to a better appreciation of Tolkien's genius.
Aragorn's Fellow Dúnedain Descendants Are Missing
As a Ranger of the North, Aragorn's job entails more than just wandering around. He is a descendant of the Dúnedain, an ancient race of Men whose purpose is to stalk the free lands, smiting evil wherever they can. They are superior warriors and live three times as long as normal humans, which explains why Aragorn is 87 years old in the movies despite looking relatively young.
In the books, Aragorn is the leader of the Rangers of the North, and the Grey Company (a division within the group) assists him throughout the War of the Ring. From The Two Towers on, the Grey Company supports basically everything Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas do, but the group is totally absent from the films.Should this be in the movies?
Arwen's Brothers Are Nowhere To Be Seen
The movies feature Elrond's daughter, Arwen, but there's no mention of the Lord of Rivendell's twin sons, Elrohir and Elladan. In the books, not only are they companions of Aragorn's father, they also work closely with the Rangers of the North (and Aragorn himself) prior to the War of the Ring. During the war, they accompany Aragorn through pretty much all the events of The Return of the King. These twin brothers stick by Aragorn's side all the way to the bitter end, yet Legolas is the only Elf depicted in the film's final battle.Should this be in the movies?
Merry Loses His Invaluable Barrow-Blade In The FilmsPhoto: New Line Cinema
While exploring the hallowed Barrow-downs in The Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Bombadil helps the Hobbits find several Barrow-blades, ancient daggers crafted by the Dúnedain. They forged these special weapons to conquer evil, and the Fellowship's eventual triumph over the Witch-king of Angmar (the leader of the Nazgûl) is only possible because of the Barrow-blades.
In the films, Aragorn gives the Hobbits their Barrow-blades, since the adventure through the Barrow-downs never happens. But Merry and Pippin lose their daggers when they're captured late in the first film, and they're never explicitly seen retrieving them. For this reason, when Merry and Éowyn later succeed in killing the Witch-king, it doesn't make much sense.
While the movies accurately depict how the heroes slay the Witch-king, they shouldn't be able to kill him - the weapon Merry stabs him with was not created by the Dúnedain to vanquish evil. This inconsistency led some fans to speculate that in the films, the Witch-king is temporarily disabled, but not fully killed.Should this be in the movies?
The Movies Skip Over Major BattlesPhoto: New Line Cinema
While the Lord of the Rings films are full of epic battles, a number of conflicts are completely absent. In the books, the War of the Ring takes place on a much grander scale than the films depict, with battles taking place at Dale (the city of Men in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain), Mirkwood (the Elven forest kingdom located in Eastern Rhovanion), and Lórien (the Elven kingdom ruled by Galadriel, south of the Misty Mountains). The Battle of Lórien is vaguely shoehorned into The Two Towers, as the Elven warriors who assist at the Battle of Helm's Deep don't appear there in the books.Should this be in the movies?