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The Books

Fridge Brilliance

  • The Lord of the Rings does this to me on a semi-regular basis, but the one that I realized this morning is so simple that it should have struck me years ago: nine members of the fellowship, nine black riders, nine rings... and nine fingers on Frodo's hands when he finishes his journey. In the end, everything bows to symbolism.
    • Sauron also has nine fingers after the one with the ring gets cut off.
  • I read Lord of the Rings when I was young and loved it. Saw the movies, loved them. A year ago, I read the Silmarillion, and then suddenly the whole sequence with Shelob, already horrifying, becomes both a hundred times more intense and very symmetrical. The draining, total darkness in Shelob's lair isn't an absence of light, but Shelob is quite literally excreting darkness as its own material just like her mother Ungoliant. Also, the light of Earendil, which is the light of a Silmaril, shines through that darkness. When Ungoliant devoured the first trees, Feanor refused to allow the use of the Silmarils to restore them.
  • While rewatching "The Return of the King," I sobbed so hard at the end that I had to turn the movie off; the whole experience was just emotionally draining, and I couldn't bear to watch Sam go home to the cute little Shire after all he and Frodo had been through in Mordor. Then, while rereading the book, I realized that that was the same reason Frodo needed to leave Middle Earth; the experience had taken so much out of him that he simply couldn't return to the Shire. O.o It was a very emotional weekend all around.
    • Now that I think about it, I remember that soldiers with PTSD often have trouble adjusting to life back home after returning from a war. Frodo gets away from this by leaving the world entirely.
      • Considering the fact that Tolkien wrote Frodo and Sam (and the whole story, really) with his experiences of war in mind, this works beautifully. Tolkien likely knew men who came home with these symptoms.
  • I always thought that Galadriel giving Gimli three locks of her hair was kind, but I really never thought much about it. Then I was reading through the Unfinished Talesof Numenor and Middleearth and read about the description of her hair and how the Eldar believed that the light of the Two Trees were ensnared in it and how Feanor was attracted to it, yet she refused to give him any lock. Some of the Eldar believed that her hair inspired Feanor to create the Silmarils. So it was a very great honor that she gave Gimli not one, but three locks of her hair.
    • It sort of mirrors her Character Development: she starts off a prideful Noldorin princess, setting out to forge her own land in Beleriand. By the end of the Third Age, she is mature and wise enough to not only turn down the Ring, but graciously gift something as trivial as a lock of hair (or three) to a traditional enemy of the Eldar. Seems plausible that she wanted to mend relations between the Dwarves and Elves partly because she saw how King Thingol's pride was his downfall in regards to the Dwarves.
  • Pippin's immaturity and the fact that he's ruled by his impulses makes a lot more sense when you taken into account that he is still a child by hobbit standards. Hobbits come of age at thirty-three, and Pippin is twenty-nine during the events of the trilogy, so he's not a small child, but in way of physical and emotional maturity, he's in the 14-16 age range. All of the other hobbits are adults (in Merry's case, a very young adult), but Pippin's still a teenager. --ncfan
    • Hobbits live to be in their mid-nineties on average, where the non-Numenorian human average is about 70. Pippin would have been about 21 in Hobbit-years. Hobbits are more childlike than humans partly because of their longevity, but also partly because of their relatively easy lives and laid-back culture. They don't come of age until about the equivalent of 24.
    • In the book, Pippin has a somewhat funny conversation where Pippin assumes a boy asking about him because he's young for a hobbit rather than because the boy is mistaking him for someone his age.
  • Aragorn's alias Thorongil is a combination of his father's - Arathorn - and his mother's - Gilraen - names. --lordleycester
  • Only after reading it on some forum, I realised that Sauron was actually right about the Ring - no one could have destroyed it! All those eagles visions would fail – no one would thrown the Ring into fire - Sauron didn't even need to protect the cracks - even Frodo, who was specifically suited to be least affected by the ring, was incapable of destroying it. It took several twists of fate and coincidences, also known as Eru ex Machina, to destroy One Ring - something that could not be predicted by Sauron
  • Denethor's madness wasn't just because of Faramir's injury and the Palantir's visions of the power of Mordor. The Palantir also showed him things that caused him to believe Frodo had been captured and Sauron had obtained the ring:

 "Comfort me not with wizards!" said Denethor. "The fool's hope has failed. The Enemy has found it, and now his power waxes; he sees our very thoughts, and all we do is ruinous."

  • When the Fellowship are in Lothlorien, it's said that Aragorn left the hill of Cerin Amroth and "came there never again as a living man". This seems strangely specific but still merely a fancy way of saying he just didn't go there again, until you read about Arwen's death, when she "laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth." It's possible (even implied?) that Aragorn did return - in spirit, already on the higher plane and indeed not as a living man; to wait for Arwen so they could go wherever next together. Subtle reunion or what - but it makes their story all the more poignant.
    • Alternatively, perhaps it is where he was buried upon death, and his grave lies beside hers - appropriate for husband and wife.
      • Aragorn's tomb is in Rath Dinen, in Minas Tirith, where the kings and stewards are put after death by tradition. Lothlorien is at that time fading and deserted; Arwen only travels there in her grief.
  • The alarm call that rouses the Shire when the Black Riders attack in the first book: FEAR! FIRE! FOES! Or, to put it another way, Fe fi fo!

Fridge Horror

  • Aragorn's son is half-elven; so his childhood will be roughly 60-70 years long. He grows up in Gondor, so, all of his friends will grow old and die before he even reaches adulthood.
    • Where is it ever indicated that Elven children take longer to reach adulthood?
      • In Morgoth's Ring, chapter "Laws and customs among the Eldar" (Unfinished writings edited by Christopher Tolkien). Elves are fully grown by their 100th year and hit puberty somewhere between that age and 50 years.
      • So, also being half human, Eldarion should be fully grown after about thirty years. If the thing with childhood friends being retired by the time he hit puberty, remember that King Elessar also had (apparently) countless daughters, so there were people there growing as fast as him.
  • So, Uruk-hai are supposed to be crossbreeds of orcs and humans. Just what exactly did the process of their... um... creation involved?
  • "The Fellowship of the Ring", Book 2, "The Council of Erlond":

 Saruman: "...the third choice is to stay here, until the end".

Gandalf: "Until what end?"

Saruman: "Until you reveal to me where the One may be found. I may find means to persuade you".

Of course, you may, Saruman. Of course, you may. The White Wizard just loves him some good old torture.

The Films

Fridge Brilliance

  • In The Two Towers, there's a scene where Saruman is preparing explosives. Wormtongue is curious (he's never heard of explosives before), and leans over, and Saruman looks at him funny. I always thought Saruman was implying "You're an idiot for not knowing what explosives are." But then I realized that Wormtongue is holding a candle, and if he had leaned just a little bit father over it would've really changed the plot of the movie. =)
    • That scene was a reference to Army of Darkness, which has a nearly identical scene with Ash mixing gunpowder and stopping someone from bringing a candle too close to it.
    • Also note that Saruman does not simply give Grima a dirty look, he actually looks a bit alarmed, quickly grabs Grima's hand holding the candle, and moves him away from the explosives.
  • Upon rewatching The Lord of the Rings I realised there's a whole layer of depth to Merry and Pippin's story arc that I didn't realise first time around. Up until the moment where Gandalf separates them they are practically attached at the hip, with Merry always looking after Pippin (nearly ten years Merry's junior). When they are separated Merry finds a new close friend in Éowyn and Pippin does the same with Faramir. Pippin ends up looking out for Faramir and even risking his own life to save him, by getting up on the pyre. Meanwhile Merry lets Éowyn take care of him (even stated in dialogue - "Whatever happens, stay with me. I'll look after you.") After the Battle of Pelennor they are reunited, and it is now Pippin who looks after Merry. - Pingvin.
    • There's also another thing. Boromir dies to save Merry and Pippin (and actually does save them, since that orc seemed intent on hacking them to pieces when Boromir showed up). The Hobbits are later freed from the uruk-hai thanks to Éomer attacking. Pippin goes on to save Faramir's life and Merry to save Éowyn's. Faramir and Éowyn then fall in love. Thanks to Boromir and Éomer aiding the Hobbits, their siblings survived the war and ended up married.
    • Eowyn and Merry are developmentally the same age; she is 23 and Merry is 47, (since hobbits' life cycles are about twice as long as that of humans); meanwhile Faramir and Pippin are both, in a sense, little brothers.
  • It always bothered me that Elrond, a supposedly ageless elf, is played by the visibly balding Hugo Weaving, while all the other (equally ageless) elves in the movies have full hair. Then I remembered that, according to Silmarillion, Elrond is a half-elf. Perhaps he'd already started to bald (a trait inherited from the human side of his family) before he reached the "ageless" stage in his life cycle?
    • This is supported by the fact that, according to Tolkien's timeline, Elrond was in his forties when the First Age ended, and he chose the path of immortality.
    • It could also be due the fact that he is a Ring-bearer, and that the stress of that alone (never mind the warrior's life he's led as a king of the Elves) has its toll on him. Galadriel shows it less by virtue of her being a full, High Elf.
    • Elves do grow old ("grow weary", Tolkien said), it just takes millennia. Cirdan was described to have looked like a very old Man, with a great white beard. (He was over 16,000 years old by then.) Elrond had been born in the late First Age and was about 6,500 years old by the War of The Ring.
  • While the charge of the Rohirrim has always struck me as one of the most epic movie moments ever, I thought it was slightly deflated by the ridiculous reaction shot of the stunned Orc commander. He couldn't really believe that three volleys of arrow fire would turn back the charge, could he? But then I realized that from his position at the bottom of the hill, he couldn't see the vastness of the Rohirrim army. He couldn't imagine that Rohan could field a much larger force than the one Gondor sent to attempt to retake Osgiliath, which he had easily slaughtered. For Rohan to commit so many troops to the battle, they would have to leave their own lands undefended for the benefit of an ally, a risk that he couldn't imagine taking. So he's stunned not just by the fearlessness of the charge, but by the fact that so many Rohirrim are there at all!
    • I always took it to be a moment of, "Oh, Rohan sent a few guys on horseback. Easy targets. Wait, there's a few more behind them. And a few more behind them. Wait, there's how many? And they're not turning back from our arrow barrages? HOLY SH-(squish).
  • The scene near the start where Bilbo drops the Ring is one that is very, very unsettling. Something's not right, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Later, usually on another watching, you finally realize what it is: It does not bounce. It simply falls and stops. It's a fantastic underscore to the fact that the Ring is very unnatural.
    • The effect incidentally was created by using a very strong magnet under the floor. It's meant to express the Ring's symbolic weight, both in importance to the Middle-Earth's fate and as a burden on Bilbo's, and later Frodo's shoulders. In The Return of the King you can actually see scars on Frodo's neck, caused by chafing of the chain due to the Ring's heaviness.
  • At first the impact of the ring on Frodo seems rather extreme, but aside from Bilbo who only handles it before Sauron's rise to power, and Gollum (and look what happened to him), Frodo is the only one to ever touch the ring. Everyone else just comes close to touching it, then pulls away or is forced away somehow.
    • Well, except for Sam. He carried/wore it while Frodo was being held prisoner in the tower.
  • There's european folklore explaining you have to kill a wizard three times to keep him dead. Interestingly, Saruman in the movie is stabbed with a knife, falls from a great height, and impaled on a spike. Naturally, an actor famous for playing Dracula gets impaled right in the chest...

Fridge Logic

  • In the Extended version scene in the Paths of the Dead, there are a lot more skulls buried there than actual ghosts. Where did they all come from?
    • The people who were brave/foolish enough to attempt to travel the Paths of the Dead without having the authority to command the dead.
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