How do you share your love for all things Lord of the Rings? You can gently entice your friends and family to watch the movies with you or read the books aloud. You can plan leisurely marathons with friends who are already excited about the story of Frodo Baggins and the One Ring.
But even then … how will you ever know that they are enjoying the movies on the same level as you are? Will you know how much Sean Bean hated helicopters? Will you know how long it took to film the scene where all the hobbits say goodbye? I ask you, Will you know that Viggo Mortensen really broke his real toe when he really kicked that helmet?
2021 marks The Lord of the Rings 20th anniversary, and we can’t imagine exploring the trilogy in just one story. So we’re going to go back and forth every Wednesday throughout the year and examine how and why the films endure as modern classics. This is Polygon’s Year of the Ring.
You will if you keep spreading facts about the films during their runtime. These are igamesnewss Guide to Being a Very Annoying Person to Watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy with, compiled by Polygons Toussaint Egan, Austen Goslin and Susana Polo, who all admit to being very annoying at times to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
We’ve arranged our facts in the order they appear in the movies and even made suggestions for things we can say something about maximum annoyance. In all fairness we pissed ourselves off, and we’re not proud of it. This item is a cursed item and should be treated with caution.
Conclusion: If that’s how you watch the Lord of the Rings, then it is fine. But you should probably only see it with people who are like that.
People like us.
Community of the ring
“You did this scene with a forced perspective.”
The first good example is Frodo sitting on the wagon with Gandalf, but you can almost always bring this up when there is a short looking person on the screen with a tall looking person.
“Hey, these are Peter Jackson’s kids!”
These are Peter Jackson’s children.
“Look out, Gandalf hits his head on Bilbo’s ceiling beams.”
Ian McKellen actually hit his head on the ceiling joist
“Christopher Lee was a huge Lord of the Rings nerd.”
Christopher Lee was the only cast member JRR Tolkien had met in person, and he was able to recite the ring poem from memory in the Black Speech of Mordor just for you to know.
“This is Peter Jackson.”
The guy on the streets of Bree with the carrot is Peter Jackson.
“Daniel Day Lewis was the first choice to play Aragorn.”
If Aragorn shows up in the dancing pony, it could have been Daniel Day Lewis.
“Viggo Mortensen actually threw that apple.”
Viggo was actually the one who threw apples at Billy Boyd’s head.
“Can you believe this is the first scene that Viggo Mortensen shot?”
The Weathertop battle against the Ringwraiths was the first thing Viggo filmed.
“Arwen’s doppelganger actually owns this horse now.”
Arwen’s riding doubles loved this horse so much that Viggo Mortensen bought it for her at the end of production so that she could keep it. Liv Tyler accidentally stabbed herself in one of the outtakes during this scene.
“John Rhys Davies is actually so much taller than the Hobbit actors.”
John Rhys Davis is so tall and all Hobbit actors are so small that they didn’t need a double or CGI when shooting Gimli and the Hobbits.
“Hey, that’s the name of the movie.”
Elrond says “the companions of the ring”.
“Howard Shore used a lot of leitmotif.”
The leitmotif, or the use of specific musical phrases to accompany recurring characters or themes, was popularized by the composer Wagner, which is ironic because Tolkien hated Wagner for having treated one of his favorite subjects, Nordic mythology, in a Nazi way.
“Look, Legolas is walking on the snow.”
When they cross the Pass of Caradhras, Legolas walks on the snow while everyone else is in it.
“Did you know Sean Bean hates helicopters?”
Sean Bean hated flying in a helicopter so much that he got up extra early to wear makeup and costumes and then hike to mountainous areas every day in his full Boromir outfit.
“Take a good look at Galadriel’s eyes.”
They set up a special light device just for Cate Blanchett’s close-ups, so that she would appear as if stars were reflecting in her eyes.
“Gosh, this scene is so sad, but did you know they have to pause in the middle for lunch?”
Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean filmed Bean’s death scene twice to capture each side of their close-ups with a lunch break in between.
“Viggo Mortenson is really good with swords.”
The knife Lurtz throws at Viggo is real and Viggo really distracted it with his sword. Viggo carried his sword everywhere during filming and was apparently one of the best people the film’s sword master had ever trained.
The two Towers
“Every single actor in this scene is hurt.”
When they filmed the footage of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing the Orc Company, Orlando Bloom had a broken rib, Viggo Mortenson a broken toe, and Gimli’s double board Beattie had chronic knee problems.
“Brad Dourif had to shave his eyebrows to be wormtongue and he hated it.”
Brad Dourif had to shave his eyebrows and he hated it.
“Heh, most of Rohan’s ‘men’ are actually women.”
When the production called for extras who could bring their own horses, most of the applicants were women, so most of the Rohirrim in a given scene are actually ladies with gum beards.
“Did you know that Viggo Mortensen broke his toe here?”
Viggo Mortensen broke his toe while filming this scene. Peter Jackson wanted him to kick the helmet near the camera, but he kept getting missed. In the last shot he kicked a real metal helmet instead of the prop helmet and fell over screaming. Peter Jackson was like Wow, Viggo really got into it but he actually broke his toe. The recording was so good that it was kept in the film. We just saw Viggo Mortensen really break his toe.
“If you think Aragorn’s age is strange, check out Frodo!”
Get the age of a character that is not specified in the movie. Denethor is only a year older than Aragorn. Boromir is 41. Frodo is 51, Sam is 39, and Merry is 37. Hobbits grow up at 33, so Pippin is technically a teenager at 29. Gimli is 140. Eomer and Eowyn are 28 and 24 respectively.
“You had to use CGI to put Legolas on this horse because Orlando Bloom was injured.”
Orlando Bloom fell from a horse and broke his rib. He was unable to jump on a running horse, so the production replaced a CGI double that did a bizarre flip.
“Treebeard and Gimli are played by the same guy.”
John Rhys-Davies speaks Treebeard. Treebeard says many lines from Tom Bombadil’s books.
“This is the child of screenwriter Philippa Boyens.”
What if Aragorn tells the blond boy that he has a good sword? This is Philippa Boyens’ child.
“Did you know that it would be Arwen here originally?
Arwen originally wanted to lead the elven powers in Helm’s Deep, not Haldir.
“This is Peter Jackson’s child.”
The kid in Helm’s Deep caves who looks like one of those hobbits played by Peter Jackson’s kids? This is Peter Jackson’s kid.
the return of the King
“Christopher Lee knew what it sounded like when you stab someone in the lungs.”
Peter Jackson asked Christopher Lee to scream when Wormtongue stabbed him, and Lee explained that if you stab a man in the lung, he can’t scream.
“This is Jed Brophy’s son.”
When Arwen has a vision of her and Aragorn’s son, he is played by the orc stuntman’s child (and the dwarf Nori in the Hobbit films) Jed Brophy.
“These are Peter Jackson’s children.”
The sad children who watch Faramir leave look just like the hobbit children Community are Peter Jackson’s children.
“This is Peter Jackson.”
The pirate Legolas shoots is Peter Jackson.
“Did you know that Peter Jackson is afraid of spiders?”
Peter Jackson is scared of spiders and doesn’t like having to design Shelob.
“The design of the destruction of Barad-dûr was influenced by September 11th.”
The destruction of Barad-dûr, the ill-looking fortress of the Dark Lord Sauron with the giant Honkin fireball eye on top, was deliberately designed so that no comparisons were made with 9/11, to the point that the tower should be destroyed by a magical shock wave from the center of the tower instead of top to bottom and simulates the sound of the tower being destroyed with broken glass.
“Viggo Mortensen composed this melody himself.”
The lyrics are a quote from Elendil, the first king of Gondor, in which Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, but Mortensen himself set it to music for Aragorn’s coronation scene.
“The Hobbit actors cried for this scene for three days.”
Due to accidents on set (cameras went out of focus during an entire shoot and Sean Astin forgot to put his vest back on after a lunch break), the Hobbit actors had to film their entire farewell scene three times – for three days to cry on camera.
“This is Sean Astin’s daughter.”
Sam and Rosie’s oldest child is played by Sean Astin’s daughter.