"THE RETURN OF THE KING"

Differences Between The Movie And The Book


Gandalf      The first and the best of the pages charting the differences between the movie and the book.
     This page began soon after I saw the film. My friends and I began discussing noticeable differences between the film and the book, and we were curious about why some of the changes were made. The initial version of this page was the result. I decided to make a webpage out of the list, since I thought it would be of interest to those who love the Tolkien stories and to those who have seen the movie. Because of this, I had to devote more time than I anticipated to put the page together. Also, I received suggestions from my friends and those who found the page. As a result, I have added new Differences or changed existing ones that I felt warranted it.
     First, let me say that the compilation of items on this webpage is not meant to indicate that I lack respect for Peter Jackson and those who worked so hard on the films.  I have a significant respect for the attempt that was made to bring LotR to life. And, of course, I have no criticism of Tolkien.
     When books are adapted to the screen, it is well-known that many changes are usually made.  (Screenplays can even be changed before the movie is released, which is one reason why so many screenwriters became directors.)  Movies are a visual medium, and attempting to portray certain parts of a written piece -- thoughts of characters, for example -- can be difficult.  Those who have read the book being adapted may be disappointed.  That is to be expected, and the readers come to expect some of this.  The filmmakers of the LotR Trilogy have pointed out the fact many times that their work is an adaptation, and the process of adaptation means that certain parts of the original story have to be shortened or eliminated for the sake of making a 2-3 hour film.  If the movie had been 100% true to the book, each movie would have ended up to be much longer than the 3 hours that they were. So, in general, there is a difference between books and movies due to the fact that they are different types of media. One goal of the following list of Differences is to help point this out.
     It would be an interesting study if somehow we could quantify this disappointment of readers when they see the movie adaptation and find out whether changes to the story in a certain book (for the purposes of adaptation to the screen) matter less to its readers, while changes to the story in another book have a greater effect on its readers.  I believe some books matter more to their readers than others.  My theory is that there are few books on the level of "The Lord of the Rings" (and you might include "The Hobbit") which have readers who are more devoted to its story, more prone to study it and discuss it.  People are earning degrees studying the story, the background stories (the appendices, etc.), and the languages which Tolkien created.  Few works of fiction written in the 20th century have elicited this much reaction and devotion.  I remember the first time I read the book in 1970 and its effect on me.  If the filmmakers and studio were surprised by the reaction of those who love Tolkien's writings, maybe it is because they misunderstood this fact.
     Tolkien used words to paint such a deep picture that bringing it to the screen was very complicated. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" was published in the 1930s, but "The Lord of the Rings" wasn't published until the 1950s and there were still things about the story that he would like to have tinkered with to make the story even tighter.  Therefore, his book is like a Gordian knot. If you cut one strand, the logic of the whole story may unravel. The screenwriters had to choose what to eliminate or change for the sake of time while at the same time portraying enough information that the whole story made sense. In some cases, they needed to move some events/details from the scene in which they occurred in the book to another one in the movie. Other events/details were left out without hurting the overall story. Scenes may have been added, left out, or changed at the encouragement of the studio as well.  The filmmakers may have failed in some of their attempts, but they succeeded as a whole and they deserve a lot of credit for the effort.
     I am trying not to be too detailed. If a character is missing from the movie, I am counting that as one Difference -- even though there are innumerable Differences that are details involving that character. Though the movie gets the majority of details right (in relation to the book), here are some noticeable -- and not-so-noticeable -- Differences.
     One thing to keep in mind is that I try to use the chronology of the book throughout my Differences pages. So if you are only familiar with the movie, it may be at times confusing. Secondly, the filmmakers have taken parts of the second volume and portrayed them in the first movie. Because of this, I have included those items in both the FotR and TTT Differences pages. This is the one exception to the first point of this paragraph, but, hopefully, this will not be too confusing.
     One thing we Tolkien-philes can be thankful to the movie for is that more people will read the book. It is my hope that all of them will come to understand that the book is better than the movie and that they will come to treasure the book as I do. I am grateful to the movies for inspiring me to re-read the book and to study it in more detail.
     The text of this webpage can be used in research papers. Please give proper credit when using the contents of this page. The text of this webpage cannot be used as part of someone else's website. Just provide links to this page with commentary if you want. Thanks.
     I have added a ranking for each of the Differences. The reason for this is that before the ranking system was included I would get emails disputing whether one Difference was as important as another Difference. Of course, not all Differences are created equal. Since they constitute my opinion, you may not agree with every one of them. Here is my ranking system:
          Scale of 1-4:
             1 - doesn't affect the overall story
             2 - not in the book; a nice addition
             3 - would have been nice to be included in the movie
             4 - affects story
    If you email me, please let me know how you found my Differences webpage.  Thanks!  (My email link is at the bottom of the page. The link to the left will take you there.) If you have a comment about a specific item on the list, please include the number. Thanks!
FrodoRing
 
LINKS:
Chronology of "The Hobbit"
My "The Hobbit" Differences Page
My Review of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' (2012)
My review of "Fellowship of the Ring"
My FotR Differences page
My review of "The Two Towers"
My TTT Differences page
My review of "The Return of the King"
The Chronology of "The Lord of the Rings" (a 66 kb. Excel spreadsheet)
 
From Volume 1, Book 1
From Volume 2, Book 3
From Volume 2, Book 4
Book 5, Chapter:   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10
Book 6, Chapter:   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9
Difference #   5    10    15    20    25    30    35    40    45    50    55    60    65    70    75    80    85    90    95    100    105    110    115    120    125    130    135    140    145    150    155    160    165    170    175    180    185
T H E     L I S T     O F     D I F F E R E N C E S
From the First Volume: In "Book 1"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
1 Smeagol steals the Ring from Deagol whom he kills Described by Gandalf in Bag End In the third movie In the extended version of the third movie with the added detail that Smeagol claimed it was his birthday present
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: At one point Gollum apparently told Gandalf that he got the Ring from his mother who was very important in the community, but Gandalf knew the real story. He knew that Gollum, that is Smeagol, had claimed the Ring from Deagol as his birthday present before choking him. For the rest of his life, Smeagol had to deal with the guilt.
 Comment 2: See Difference 16 on the Fotr Differences page.
From the Second Volume: In "Book 3"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
2 Merry and Pippin at the gate to Isengard, and Merry says, "You smoke too much, Pippin." Not in the book In the third movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Kind of a "politically-correct" updating of the story. In the book, the Hobbits never have a qualm about smoking. See also Difference 112.
3 Theoden, Gandalf, and Company confront Saruman In the second volume Not in movie In the third movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This event was not in the theatrical version of either the second or third movies or the extended version of the second movie. It was included in the extended version of the third movie, but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
 Comment 2: The filmmakers had problems with the Saruman character because of the elimination of the Scouring of the Shire.  Saruman is supposed to die at Bag End at the hands of Wormtongue, but if you don't have the Scouring of the Shire, how would Saruman die?  In the extended edition of the third movie, Wormtongue kills Saruman while they are on top of Orthanc talking to Gandalf and the others.
4 The power of Saruman Gandalf warns everyone before the confrontation with Saruman that Saruman still has power. In the second movie, Gandalf tells everyone that Saruman has no power. In the second movie, Gandalf tells everyone that Saruman has no power, but in the third movie he tells everyone before the confrontation with Saruman to be careful, because Saruman is still dangerous even in defeat.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment 1: The reason I am rating this as a 4 is that the screenwriters need to de-emphasize Saruman's power. In the theatrical release version of the third film, they did not include the confrontation with Saruman where his staff gets broken which Gandalf's statement is related to. The inconsistency of Gandalf's statements regarding Saruman's power is worth noting. Tolkien makes it plain that Gandalf is speaking of the power of Saruman's voice. The statement of Gandalf in the third movie doesn't make this clear.
 Comment 2: This event was included in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
5 Saruman speaks from a window -- unseen at first In the second volume. Not in the movie. Saruman speaks from the top of Orthanc and is visible.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story.
6 Saruman attacks Gandalf with wizard power Not in the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment: In the book, Saruman did not try to do any magic against any of the people who came to him at this confrontation. He just tried to use the power of his voice, and his voice worked with some of the weaker-minded soldiers. Maybe Saruman already knew that his power had diminished.
7 Saruman dismisses them, but Gandalf calls him back In the second volume, Saruman dismisses everyone, but Gandalf calls him back. Saruman, against his will, comes back and is forced to lean against the iron railing of the window/balcony. Not in the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment: This is a perfect chance to show how Gandalf's power has increased. At one time Saruman was considered to be the most powerful wizard. Now he is forced to hear the rest of what Gandalf has to say. The way the filmmakers show the increase of Gandalf's power and the decrease of Saruman's power is when Saruman attacks him with fire and Gandalf is unaffected. See Difference 6.
8 Wormtongue tries to hit Gandalf (or Saruman) with the Palantir In the second volume Not in the movie The Palantir falls from Saruman's hand after Wormtongue stabs him in the back.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment 1: In the theatrical version of RotK, the Palantir is suddenly laying in the water. Its presence is unexplained.
 Comment 2: This event happened in the extended version of the third movie, "Return of the King" -- kind of, but it occurs in the second volume of the book. Saruman drops it when Wormtongue stabs him in the back. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
9 Pippin picks up the Palantir Pippin picks the Palantir up off of the ground, since the water has receded. Pippin picks up the Palantir from in the water.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: This event was included in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
10 Pippin looks in the Palantir (1): Where it occurs, part 1 Pippin steals the Palantir from Gandalf in an encampment between Isengard and Helm's Deep. It occurs in Edoras.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was included in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
11 Pippin looks in the Palantir (2): Where it occurs, part 2 Merry knows that Pippin is having a hard time going to sleep, and he tells Pippin to stop fussing about the Palantir of Orthanc. Merry goes to sleep, but Pippin goes to get the Palantir. Merry is fully awake when Pippin takes the Palantir, and he tells Pippin not to do it. Pippin says he just wants another look and uncovers the Palantir on the bed next to the one on which Merry is sitting.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was included in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
12 Pippin looks in the Palantir (3): What Pippin sees in the Palantir Pippin sees the Nazgul flying around a tower (Barad-dur). One of the Nazgul comes flying toward him. Then Sauron spoke to him. Pippin saw Minas Tirith being destroyed and the white tree being burned. Then he saw Sauron.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This change affects the story, because the book's version sets up the fly-over of the Nazgul on its way to Orthanc which sets up Gandalf's dash for Minas Tirith. Taking out the fly-over of the Nazgul required the screenwriters to come up with a new motivation to get Gandalf to dash for Minas Tirith with Pippin.
 Comment 2: In the book, the motivation for Sauron's early attack on Osgiliath and Minas Tirith is Aragorn's revealing of himself in the Palantir. Sauron assumes that Aragorn has the Ring or will get it, and he wanted to attack Minas Tirith before Aragorn could bring all of his forces together in the city's defense. But in the movie, the motivation for Sauron's attack on Minas Tirith is Pippin's use of the Palantir of Orthanc. Then the screenwriters had someone at the Last Debate question whether Sauron would take their army seriously when they approached the Black Gate, so they had Aragorn finally use the Palantir after the Last Debate which would presumably give Sauron the motivation to take them seriously. In the book, Sauron had motivation to attack Aragorn and his forces outside of the Black Gate, because he again assumed that Aragorn had the Ring. Here was, Sauron's eyes, the chance to get final victory, and the army was coming to him and wouldn't have those pesky walls to get in the way. I guess one thing I'm saying is that they didn't need to manufacture a motivation for Sauron to attack them at the Black Gate. Sauron had plenty of motivation. So the filmmakers eliminated the fly-over of the Nazgul from Barad-Dur to Orthanc (along with having everyone in the audience wish they could see Saruman's face when the Nazgul arrived), and they changed the reasons Sauron made some of the moves he made. All of these changes were unnecessary. Following the chronology of the book would not have added any more time.  Comment 3: This event happened in the second volume, "The Two Towers", but it is portrayed in the third movie. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
13 Pippin looks in the Palantir (4) Pippin wakes up the whole encampment with his screams. The men around Pippin remain asleep when Gandalf and Aragorn burst in to save Pippin.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was included in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
14 Aragorn tries to pick up the Palantir, but his hands are burned Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I debated about rating this a 4. In the book, Aragorn doesn't try to pick up the Palantir. After Pippin cries out, Gandalf takes the Palantir. Then Aragorn says that it really belongs to the Kings of Gondor, so Gandalf gives it to him. He then uses the Palantir before going into the Paths of the Dead.
15 Gandalf tells everyone to get to Minas Tirith as soon as possible In the second volume In the third movie
Rating: - affects the story
 Comment 1: In the book, Gandalf tells Aragorn to get everyone to Minas Tirith. Since the screenwriters did not include this in the story, they were able to make further changes to Theoden (for example, his unwillingness to go to Minas Tirith).
 Comment 2: This event happened in the third movie, "Return of the King", but it occurs in the second volume of the book. I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
From the Second Volume: In "Book 4"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
16 Statue of a huge sitting figure with the severed head crowned with flowers In the second volume Not in the movie In the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This was portrayed in the Extended Version of the third movie. Well done.
17 Frodo nearly puts on the Ring as the Witch King (at the head of his army that is coming out of Minas Morgul) stops and searches the mountainside. Frodo has to use the phial of Galadriel to stop himself from putting on the Ring. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
18 Gollum attempts to turn Frodo against Sam Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: In order to fit into the book's chronology, this event would have happened in the second volume, "The Two Towers", but it was portrayed in the third movie. Of course, it never happened in the book.
 Comment 2: The attempt in the movie of Gollum to turn Frodo against Sam includes the act of Gollum throwing the lembas over the cliff (which could actually be another difference).  In the movie, Sam finds the lembas later at the bottom of the precipice.  There are actually a whole series of events that lead up to the lembas incident, but they are more acceptable because they relate to what was happening in the book.  In the book, Sam is always the one who hears Gollum, and it is Sam who acts on his suspicions.  But the lembas incident is a completely fabricated event. Frodo never comes to mistrust Sam. Frodo trusts Gollum a little more than Sam, because Frodo thinks that Gollum will be true to his oath to the "precious."
 Comment 3: Some have emailed me saying that they thought that having Frodo lose his trust in Sam seemed right, and if Tolkien didn't have it in the book he should have. Their idea is that friendship, to be true friendship, needs to be tested. I think that this idea of friendship is more of a modern view. One of the points of the book was that Frodo could sense who he could trust. He didn't trust Boromir. He didn't trust Strider at first, but he was the first of the Hobbits to trust him. He always trusted Gandalf, and he always trusted Merry and Pippin and Sam -- most of all Sam. Frodo and Sam may have disagreed about how much they could trust Gollum, but that didn't mean that Frodo ever lost trust in Sam (in the book, that is).
19 Gollum sneaks off to visit Shelob before bringing Frodo and Sam into Shelob's Lair. In the second volume. Not in the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Tolkien would do this kind of thing. He would add something to the story to make you wonder how that could have happened, and then he might offer only a short explanation.
20 Frodo and Gollum go on to Cirith Ungol. Sam begins to go down the stairs. Not in the book. Frodo does not send Sam away.  All three go up the stairs and enter Cirith Ungol. Then Gollum sneaks off. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: Another awful change to the story. Hard to watch.
 Comment 2: This event was moved to the third movie from the second volume.
21 Frodo and Sam go through Shelob's Lair They go through Shelob's Lair together. They go through Shelob's Lair separately.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: This event was moved to the third movie from the second volume.
22 Shelob's Lair (1) Pitch black. They have to feel around with their hands. Not very dark.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment 1: Moved to the third movie from the second volume.
 Comment 2: I guess they could have portrayed Shelob's Lair as dark as it is described in the book, but the Shelob's Lair of the movie is OK.
23 Shelob's Lair (2) There is a web across an opening that Frodo and Sam come to, but it is not sticky. They have to cut through it with Sting. There is a web in the cave, and Frodo gets caught in it.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment 1: Moved to the third movie from the second volume.
 Comment 2: In the book, Frodo and Sam feel the presence of Shelob even in the pitch black darkness. Frodo pulls out the vial, and the light from it causes such pain in Shelob's eyes that she retreats long enough for them to work out the problem with the web.
24 Galadriel Sam has a memory (verging on a vision) of Galadriel giving Frodo the vial. Frodo has a memory (verging on a vision) of Galadriel.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
25 Shelob Shelob is a spider. The web comes out of the rear, and the fangs are on the front of the head since they are part of the mouth. Shelob is a weird cross between a spider and a wasp. There is a "stinger" in the rear, and the web comes out of there, too.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story.
 Comment 1: The only way this affects the story (rating 4) is that the spider needs to get above Frodo to surprise him, so there is less cave than in the book. In the book, the cave is more extensive. The actual bite of Shelob occurs outside of her lair, but it could have happened in the cave, too. It would be hard for the movie's Shelob to sting Frodo in a cave. I'm not sure why they portrayed Shelob in this way. Didn't anyone connected to the film know the anatomy of a spider? I guess we'll never know. Maybe they had read the part where Shelob tries to crush Sam with her abdomen and decided to place the added threat of the stinger there.
 Comment 2: Moved to the third movie from the second volume.
26 Frodo and Gollum fight Frodo and Gollum do not fight outside of Shelob's Lair. Frodo and Gollum fight. Frodo tells Gollum that he has to destroy the Ring for both of them.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This event never happened in the book. Gollum was in the dark about what Frodo wanted to do until Frodo and Sam were climbing Mt. Doom.  Comment 2: In order to fit this into the chronology of the book, it would have occurred in volume 2. It was portrayed in the third movie.
27 Sam and Gollum fight Sam and Gollum fight. Gollum flees to Shelob's Lair. Sam and Gollum fight. Gollum flees and then falls over a cliff.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: Moved to the third movie from the second volume.
28 Sam's choice Sam finds out Frodo is not dead by hearing a conversation of Gorbag and Shagrat from the other side of a door. Sam hears Frodo is not dead by hearing Gorbag from behind a rock.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Moved to the third movie from the second volume.
Book 5, Chapter 1 - "Minas Tirith"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
29 The beacons of Gondor are lit Gandalf and Pippin see them as they are riding toward Minas Tirith Denethor refuses to allow the beacons to be lit. Gandalf has Pippin climb up to the first one and light it.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The event in the movie occurs much later than in the book. It makes more sense in the book, since it takes time to muster forces and march them to Minas Tirith. See Difference 43. Also see comments under Difference #65.
30 Gandalf dismounts Shadowfax Gandalf stops before the Seventh Gate of Gondor Gandalf stops Shadowfax past the White Tree
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
31 Shadowfax is housed in the stables In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Of course, this could be happening in the movie's version of the story without the filmmakers actually portraying it. Shadowfax has to go somewhere.
32 Gandalf's warning to Pippin before the first interview with Denethor. At one point, Gandalf tell Pippin not to speak of the death of Boromir with anyone in the city until they are sure the Denethor has heard the news from them, and later he cautions Pippin not to speak of Aragorn. Gandalf warns that Denethor will want to speak of Boromir, but he cautions Pippin not to speak of Aragorn. He then tells Pippin not to speak at all.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
33 Pippin swears fealty to Denethor (1) Pippin swears fealty during his first meeting with Denethor. Pippin offers his service to Denethor, but he swears fealty to Denethor the next day.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
34 Pippin swears fealty to Denethor (2) Pippin swears fealty, and Denethor accepts it with a sword. Pippin swears fealty and Denethor accepts it, but Denethor does not use a sword.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
35 Denethor eats After Pippin swears fealty, Denethor eats with Gandalf and Pippin. Denethor eats in front of Pippin without offering him any food. Gandalf is elsewhere. Faramir is on his way back to Osgiliath.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
36 Gandalf's opinion of Pippin's offer of fealty Gandalf does not think it is foolish. In the theatrical version, Gandalf hits Pippin with his staff after Pippin offers his services to Denethor, implying that it was a foolish thing to do. In the extended version, Gandalf doesn't react to Pippin offering his services to Denethor. He hits Pippin with his staff when Pippin begins to give a lot of detail about Boromir's death.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
37 Allied forces marching into Minas Tirith In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was transferred to Helms Deep in the second movie.
38 Beregond In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: Beregond has two profound lines in RotK.  The first one is where he says to Pippin that the calm is the "deep breath before the plunge," and the second line is where he says to Pippin that the "hammer stroke" of the enemy will fall hardest on Minas Tirith.  In the movie, Gandalf says both of these lines.
 Comment 2: At one point Pippin says to Beregond that "waiting on the edge of one (i.e., a battle) that I can't escape is worst of all."  In the movie, Pippin says this to Gandalf.
39 Pippin gets armor in Minas Tirith From Beregond Not in the movie. From Faramir.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
40 Pippin's visit with Shadowfax in the stables of Minas Tirith In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
41 Beregond's son, Bergil In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 5, Chapter 2 - "The Passing of the Grey Company"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
42 Merry's armor Eowyn gives Merry his armor before she disguises herself as Dernhelm. Eowyn gives Merry his armor after she disguises herself as Dernhelm.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
43 The Logistics related to the Paths of the Dead Aragorn leaves Theoden and the Rohirrim army and Merry at the Hornburg where Theoden is mustering Rohan. The Beacons of Gondor have already been lit, so they know the situation is desperate in Minas Tirith. Aragorn is accompanied by the Dunedain, the sons of Elrond, and Legolas and Gimli. He travels to Meduseld where he has a meeting with Eowyn where he makes it plain that she cannot hope to have a relationship with him. He also makes it plain that he will be taking the Paths of the Dead. She does not see the reason for taking such a hopeless measure, and she becomes extremely depressed. Aragorn and his group leave Meduseld before Theoden and the army arrive. No one thinks poorly of Aragorn for going on that Path. It is a heroic deed they know, but one which is hard to understand. (No one ever questions Aragorn's courage.) Theoden confronts Eowyn, asking her if Aragorn ever gave her hope of having a relationship with him. She admits that he had not. Aragorn, Theoden, and the army travel from Orthanc to Dwimerberg where the mustering take place. Aragorn has his conversation with Eowyn, and then he departs for the Paths of the Dead with only Legolas and Gimli accompanying him. The Rohirrim army sees him leave and question his courage. Theoden has the conversation with Eowyn.
Rating: 4 - affects the overall story
 Comment: There are several differences here, but I thought it was worthwhile to put them together for comparison. The biggest difference is the attitude people have toward Aragorn, but I have split that one out as a separate difference. The thing I want to point out here is the overall difference.
44 Arwen sees a vision of Aragorn and their son Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
45 Who encourages Aragorn to seek the Paths of the Dead? Elrohir, son of Elrond Elrond
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Actually, in the book, Gandalf gave the same message to Aragorn on the edge of Fangorn Forest. Only the message from Elrond makes it into the movie, but Elrond delivers it himself.
46 The Sword that was broken was broken. The Sword was broken in two pieces. Again, the Sword is portrayed as having been shattered.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This Difference is on multiple Differences pages.
47 The Sword that was Reforged The Sword of Elendil is reforged at Rivendell after the Council of Elrond before Aragorn left Rivendell Arwen pleads with Elrond to reforge the sword, and Elrond does it
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This Difference is on multiple Difference pages. Aragorn doesn't have the sword in any fights until after he goes through the Paths of the Dead.
48 Arwen is on her death bed Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 4 - addition affects the story
 Comment: See Comment under Difference #50.
49 Aragorn receives an item before entering the Paths of the Dead. The sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, bring the banner which Arwen made. Elrond brings the sword -- partly at the insistence of Arwen.
Rating: 4 - addition affects the story
 Comment: In the book, Aragorn has the reforged sword from the time of the Council of Elrond.
50 Elrond tells Aragorn that Arwen's life is tied to whether the Ring is destroyed or not Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 4 - addition affects the story
 Comment 1: I am sure that many people will disagree with me about this one. I know that Arwen kind of did "die" in that she chose to be mortal as Elrond's kinsmen did centuries before, but that is not really what the film is showing. If the movie meant that she will become mortal because of her choice, then what is the drama of her being on her deathbed when Elrond leaves her? Elrond's statement is meant to relay to Aragorn the seriousness of his mission and the mission of Frodo. Arwen is actually going to die immediately if the Ring isn't destroyed, if Aragorn and Frodo fail. Of course, if the Ring is destroyed, she will die eventually because of her choice to marry Aragorn and not go across the sea. The book never mentions that Arwen will die if the Ring is not destroyed. The book only says that Arwen will die because of her choice to become mortal. The screenwriters may have written the script in such a way that it is open to this interpretation. Arwen chose a mortal life, because of her love for Aragorn. Her death (in the Tolkien's writings) was not related to the Ring but was related to her choice -- though she faced the same threat from the Ring that Elrond, Gandalf, Aragorn, and everyone else did.
 Comment 2: In Tolkien's writings, Aragorn faces a different pressure.  Elrond tells Aragorn that he will not allow Arwen to give up her immortality for "any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor."
51 Aragorn learns of the Corsair army Through use of the Palantir of Orthanc From Elrond
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Aragorn reveals himself to Sauron after Gandalf has departed with Pippin to Minas Tirith on Shadowfax. He shows Sauron Narsil (the Sword that was Broken and has been Reforged), and then he wrests control of the Palantir from Sauron in order to see what dangers are confronting him and the people of Minas Tirith. He sees the ships of the Corsairs. There is no indication in the book how long he used the Palantir, but it seems like he would have used it longer than he is shown to use it in extended edition of the third movie. Besides this, Aragorn uses the Palantir in the movie at Minas Tirith after Denethor has died and the Battle of the Pelannor Fields is over.
52 Aragorn arrives at Dunharrow With Legolas and Gimli and Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir. He has his last confrontation with Eowyn. Theoden arrives at Dunharrow after Aragorn goes to the Paths of the Dead. With Legolas, Gimli, Theoden, and the Rohirrim.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
53 Eowyn has a dream that she relates to Aragorn. Not in the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
54 When Aragorn departs from the Rohirrim with Legolas and Gimli He tells Theoden everything before departing from Theoden. He asks Legolas and Gimli to go with him. He doesn't tell Theoden anything, and the Rohirrim think Aragorn is a coward. Legolas and Gimli have to insist that they are going with him.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This change allows the screenwriters again to show that Theoden lacked character. I say this, because a man of character would be able to see the big picture. In the movie, Theoden keeps saying things like, "What has Gondor ever done for Rohan?" A man who saw the big picture would be able to see what the critical priorities of the situation are. In the book, Theoden knew that all of men had to stick together or they would fall separately. In the movie, Theoden doesn't seem to see the real danger. He seems to hold a grudge against Gondor and its leaders.
 Comment 2: Another possible difference: The separation of Aragorn and Theoden occurs in the book at the beginning of the mustering of Rohan. In the movie, the mustering of Rohan is finished.
 Comment 3: No one in the book ever questioned Aragorn's courage. They knew he was a leader and that he had been a companion of Gandalf through many of Gandalf's travels. They also knew he had wisdom and a plan that wasn't necessarily completly spelled out for everyone. When Aragorn chose to go into the Paths of the Dead, no one questioned his courage or wisdom. They accepted that this was part of the plan. They had accepted him as a person who was headed for the throne of Gondor, and they treated him with respect due to one to whom they had allegiance. In the movie, however, many questioned Aragorn's courage. He may have been a leader among the nine people who set out from Rivendell months before, but he wasn't necessarily their leader -- even though he was heir to the throne of Gondor. He is portrayed as a reluctant leader, so it was easy for people in the movie to voice their concern about his courage.
55 Theoden tells Eowyn to go back to Meduseld and rule in his place. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This is the scene that is replacing one that happens in the book before the Battle of Helm's Deep. In the book, Eowyn disguises herself as Dernhelm much earlier than is portrayed in the movie.
56 The Paths of the Dead (1) In the book In the movie, but it is never really called The Paths of the Dead
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
57 The Paths of the Dead (2): The last king of Gondor According to Tolkien, there were other kings after that though. The last king was many years later. Elendil came to the throne in 3441 of the Second Age. Isildur, his son, came to the throne in the year 2 of the Third Age. The last king of Gondor was Earnur who came to the throne in 2050 of the Third Age. Aragorn, also known as Elessar Telcontar, came to the throne in 3019 of the Third Age or year 1 of the Fourth Age. When Legolas describes why the ghosts became ghosts, he says that they made an oath to the "last king of Gondor."
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
58 The Paths of the Dead (3): Gimli Gimli is portrayed as such a renowned warrior that his inability at first to go into the Paths of the Dead is supposed to have dramatic effect. Gimli is used for comic effect.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
59 The Paths of the Dead (4): Who goes with Aragorn? Dunedain and sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, go with Aragorn through The Paths of the Dead Only Legolas and Gimli go with Aragorn
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: After the Battle of Helm's Deep, Aragorn and everyone go to Isengard. Then they make their way back toward Edoras. On their way they stop at Helm's Deep where Theoden begins the mustering of Rohan. It is at Helm's Deep that the Dunedain and the sons of Elrond meet Aragorn. They then go to Edoras (where Aragorn has his last meeting with Eowyn before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields), and then they go through the Paths of the Dead with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. Theoden goes to Dunharrow where he continues to muster Rohan.
 Comment 2: I am sure that the appearance of Elrond with the Sword of Elendil is supposed to substitute for the appearance of the Dunedain and the sons of Elrond.
60 The Paths of the Dead (5): The horses The horses are led through the Paths of the Dead after they are calmed down by Aragorn, the Dunedain, and Legolas The horses run off in terror
Rating: 4 - affect the story
 Comment: I am giving this a rating of 4, because this is a significant change. In the book, Aragorn tells everyone that it is important for them to get the horses to go through the Paths of the Dead, because there are many leagues that they have to travel to the Stone of Erech.  Without the horses, how did they get to the ships in the movie?
61 The Paths of the Dead (6): The skeleton of the warrior In the book. Not in the movie. Instead, the extended version has the group walk on skeletons.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
62 The Stone of Erech In the book. It is a stone that is reached after going through a tunnel (or cave system?) called the Paths of the Dead. Not in the movie. The dead meet Aragorn in the cave system.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
63 Aragorn and the ghost army relieve the sieges and battles of southern cities In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This change affects the story, because it allows the screenwriters to have the ghost army arrive at the Pelennor. In the book, the ghost army only relieves the south. They are then relieved of the curse, and they disappear. The forces in the south are the ones which get off of the boats with Aragorn at the Pelennor Fields.
 Comment 2: I've been told by some people that having Aragorn arrive at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in the movie made it more exciting.  I tend to agree.
64 Aragorn lets the ghost army go, saying that they fulfilled their oath After they helped defeat the forces in the south and helped relieve the sieges of the southern cities After they helped defeat the corsairs in the south, and after defeating the orc army around (and inside of) Minas Tirith.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is a big change. In the book, the ghost army stops the corsairs and the forces besieging the southern cities. It is the forces in the south that are freed from dealing with those forces of Sauron who arrive at the battle on the Pelennor Fields and help defeat the forces of Sauron there. In the book, the ghost army is not involved at Minas Tirith at all.
Book 5, Chapter 3 - "The Muster of Rohan"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
65 The red feather brought by courier from Gondor In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: The courier is later found dead, killed by the orcs who are blocking the road to Minas Tirith.
 Comment 2: The beacons and the red feather of the book were summarized by the beacons of the movie. The beacons were lit in the movie about the time the red feather occurred in the book. Denethor's unwillingness to light the beacons is supposed to add drama, and having Pippin light the first beacon gives him something constructive to do.
66 Dernhelm - Eowyn in disguise Eowyn dresses as a man and disguises her identity until she has to defend her uncle, Theoden. Merry doesn't know Dernhelm is Eowyn until she announces it in the confrontation with the Captain of the Nazgul. Eowyn dresses as a man and reveals her identity to Merry right away
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This Difference could be categorized as a 4, unnecessary change, since it doesn't seem to add anything. I'm not sure why this was necessary. But in the final analysis, it isn't that big of a deal.
67 Merry rides with Eowyn/Dernhelm Eowyn/Dernhelm offers to let Merry ride in front of her/him Eowyn/Dernhelm snatches Merry up off of he ground and deposits him in from of her/him
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 5, Chapter 4 - "The Siege of Gondor"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
68 The wall around the Pelennor In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: I am rating this Difference a 4 because of how it affected the story. In the book, the forces of Mordor break through the gate in the wall around the Pelennor, then they surround the city, the gate of the first level of the city was broken down by the battering ram, and the horns of the Rohirrim are blown. Even though the wall around the Pelennor isn't in the movie, the screenwriters still have the forces of Mordor break through two gates. This means that the movie has the forces of Mordor take control of the first level of Minas Tirith with all the subsequent attacks on women and children that aren't in the book. Even if the attack on Osgiliath in the movie replaces the attack on the walls around the Pelennor, it still is a major change to the story.
69 Pippin and a song for Denethor Pippin does not sing. Pippin sings a song.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
70 Gandalf rides on Shadowfax to rescue Faramir and his men Gandalf rides alone while Pippin watches from the walls Pippin rides with Gandalf.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
 Comment: Why???
71 Faramir's returns to Minas Tirith from Osgiliath Faramir returns to Minas Tirith with a large group of men, but there is still a large group of men defending Osgiliath. Gandalf has to come to his aid, because he is being harrassed by the Nazgul. He has a conference with Denethor and Gandalf. He is sent back, and he takes as many men who are willing to go to bolster the defense of Osgiliath. When Osgiliath is not defensible, Faramir leads all the men back -- many, if not most, of whom are on foot -- to Minas Tirith, Faramir commanding the rearguard on horseback. They are attacked by Orcs and men on foot and men on horseback. Gandalf again comes to their aid. Faramir has to abandon Osgiliath, so he and a small group of men flee to Minas Tirith. Gandalf has to come to their aid, because they are harrassed by the Nazgul. He is sent back with his men on a suicide mission to try to retake Osgiliath. He alone returns, being dragged on the ground by his horse.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: There are multiple Differences within this one, but it is better to view them all together.
72 Gandalf and his power Gandalf lifts his hand and a white bolt shoots out at the Nazgul. The white bolt shoots out of Gandalf's staff.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
73 Faramir and his seeing Pippin Faramir admits that he had met Hobbits before he met Pippin when he is in a meeting with Denethor and Gandalf. At one of the gates of the city, Gandalf tells Faramir that he has seen Hobbits before. Denethor is not nearby.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
74 The Captain of the Nazgul -- the King of Angmar, and Grond, the battering ram The Captain of the Nazgul places curses on Grond, and he is at the Gate of the city when it breaks it down. The Captain of the Nazgul is not involved.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: In the movie, the captain of the orc forces seems to take most of the actions attributed to the Captain of the Nazgul in the book.
75 The wall around the Pelennor, Grond, and the main gate to the city See comment below See comment below
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This difference involves to the chronology and geography of Minas Tirith and its surroundings and how it relates to the siege of the city by the forces of Sauron. Here is how the book describes the city and its surroundings. First there is the city. It has seven levels. Then outside the city is the Pelennor which is a flattish area surrounded by a wall. The wall has become run-down and is being repaired as Gandalf and Pippin ride up to the gate through which they gain entry. The Pelennor is extremely large, and there are farms and other residences on it. So you could say that the city has 8 "levels." Faramir rides from Osgiliath through the wall around the Pelennor to the city to have his meeting with Denethor and Gandalf. Then he rides back to Osgiliath. After Faramir retreats from Osgiliath, he goes through the walls around the Pelennor and then into the city. When the walls of the Pelennor are breached, the forces of Sauron fill the Pelennor, and there is much looting and burning. Then Grond comes up and breaks down the first gate of the city. It is here where the confrontation with the Witch King takes place. When the horns of Rohan are heard, the Witch King turns around and goes back to the battle on the Pelennor Fields. It is on this field where all of the action takes place around the city. The problem with the movie is that there is a Pelennor and a battle on it outside of the city, but there isn't a wall that is found around the Pelennor. So, in the book, (1) the forces of Sauron break through one wall and then (2) use Grond to break through one gate (the main gate of the initial wall of the city proper). In the movie, there is no wall around the Pelennor (one Difference), so Jackson changes things. The forces of Sauron still break through one wall and then one gate -- the same amount as in the book. (1) The forces of Sauron bring up Grond to break through the gate of the first level of the city (rather than the wall around the Pelennor), and they take control of the first level of the city -- something that does not happen in the book (a second Difference). Grond is used to gain access to this first level just as in the book, but as you can see Grond is supposed to be part of step 2 (a third Difference, since it is out of its proper place in the chronology). Then (2) they are about to break through the gate of the next level when the Rohirrim arrive. It is understandable for the filmmakers to do away with the wall around the Pelennor Fields. That would be a huge expense of either making a real wall or a graphical one. It would also get in the way of the action on the Pelennor.
76 Grond hits the main gate of Minas Tirith Three times. Four times.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Three, seven, and nine were important numbers used by Tolkien.
77 Denethor's anger at Faramir Denethor is angry that Faramir let Frodo take the Ring into Mordor rather than bring the Ring to Minas Tirith. Denethor is angry that Faramir abandoned Osgiliath. Denethor is angry that Faramir abandoned Osgiliath. There is another confrontation where Denethor is angry about the Ring.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: Part of the unnecessary changes to Faramir and Denethor.
 Comment 2: I cover the changes made to the story in relation to Faramir's movements between Osgiliath and Minas Tirith in another Difference (#71). The key is that in the book, Faramir comes to the city the first time by himself. His forces are still at Osgiliath. Denethor's anger is concerning Frodo and the Ring. There are also some words about how Boromir would have defended Osgiliath. Faramir goes back to Osgiliath by himself. At the time, it is not so obvious what peril Faramir is going back to. In the movie, however, Faramir comes to the city with his troops. Denethor is angry that Faramir has abandoned Osgiliath (theatrical and extended versions). A scene is added in the extended edition where Denethor is angry about the Ring. Also, I believe that in all the confrontations between Denethor and Faramir, Gandalf is present (but I have to confirm that).
78 Flying Nazgul above Minas Tirith Stay high enough so as not to be shot down by archers. Swoop at people in the city.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The main effect of the Nazgul over head is the psychological and the condition that became known as "The Black Shadow".
79 First through the Gate of the City The Captain of the Nazgul. Orcs and trolls.  
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is affected by the elimination of the walls around the Pelennor.
80 Chronology of Grond through the saving of Faramir (1) Grond, the great battering ram (2) Gandalf has confrontation with Witch King (3) Pippin finds Gandalf and tells him about Faramir and Denethor (4) Gandalf and Pippin save Faramir (1) Grond, the great battering ram (2) Gandalf and the men of Minas Tirith face the forces of Sauron pouring in (3) They retreat to the second level (4) Pippin finds Gandalf and tells him about Faramir and Denethor (5) Gandalf has confrontation with Witch King on the way to the Tombs on the top level of the city (6) Gandalf and Pippin save Faramir  
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is affected by the elimination of the walls around the Pelennor.
81 Confrontation between Gandalf and the Captain of the Nazgul (1) - Did it happen? In the book Not in the movie In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the overall story
 Comment 1: This change is either an affect of other changes (lack of wall around Pelennor Fields) or is directly involved. Rather than being stopped at the first gate by Gandalf, the forces of Mordor sweep into the first level of the city.
 Comment 2: One of the people who reviewed this page before publication wrote, "The showdown between the Witch-King and Gandalf could have been a match-up on par with Gandalf vs. the Balrog. It would have elevated both characters as THE key figures on the battlefield. With the confrontation missing, Gandalf is left dealing with mere orcs and trolls."  I totally agree.  The screenwriters missed an opportunity.
 Comment 3: Several people have emailed me that in the trailer for RotK there is a confrontation between the Captain of the Nazgul and Gandalf.  A version of the scene was later included in the RotK: Extended Edition, but the confrontation was on top of one of the walls.
 Comment 4: Maybe I was numb by the time the confrontation took place in the Extended Version, but it lacked the punch that the Gandalf vs. Balrog scene had in the first movie. Maybe that's because there is so much drama that is inherent in the Balrog scene -- in both the book and the movie. The confrontation with the Captain of the Nazgul is cut short. We never find out what would have happened.
82 Confrontation between Gandalf and the Captain of the Nazgul (2) - Where? At the main gate to the city Not in the movie On top of one of the walls
Rating: 4 - affects the overall story
 Comment: This is a 4, because it goes back to the point about the forces of Mordor being inside of the city in the movie.
83 Confrontation between Gandalf and the Captain of the Nazgul (3) - Mounts? Both Gandalf and the Captain of the Nazgul are on horseback Not in the movie The Captain of the Nazgul is on one of the flying beasts, and Gandalf is on foot.
Rating: 4 - affects the overall story
 Comment: Having the Captain of the Nazgul on one of the flying monsters is a major change.
84 Confrontation between Gandalf and the Captain of the Nazgul (4) - Result? Nothing happens to Gandalf at the confrontation. The Captain of the Nazgul turns away when he hears the horns of Rohan. Not in the movie The Captain of the Nazgul destroys Gandalf's staff. He flies away when he hears the horns of Rohan.
Rating: 4 - affects the overall story
 Comment 1: This is a MAJOR change. HUGE! I am almost tempted to rank this change right up there with the change made to Faramir. Gandalf never loses his staff in the book. In the movie, he doesn't have a staff (after this scene) until the scene at the Grey Havens. It is completely unnecessary. Since it comes so soon after Gandalf destroys Saruman's staff, it seems redundant besides. In the book, Gandalf is always thought to be a match for anything he comes against -- short of Sauron, that is. The breaking of Saruman's staff is a major part of the casting out of Saruman from the wizard order. I'm not sure what Gandalf's broken staff implies.
 Comment 2: The filmmakers added it in order to ratchet up the suspense and tension. But it also goes to the portrayal of the Captain of the Nazgul as someone who is powerful. I'm sure they thought about Merry and Eowyn killing the Captain of the Nazgul and how it was described in the book, how Tolkien led up to it. It is difficult to portray in a visual form what Tolkien did so powerfully in the book. What would people think when they saw the Captain was bested by a Hobbit and a young woman? Would they not assume that the Captain was not that great after all? 'How can we show how powerful the Captain was and therefore how much of a fluke/miracle, one might say, that his death on the battlefield was? We can have the Captain best Gandalf.' However, when they attempted to portray the Captain as a very powerful, invincible mage, they made Gandalf smaller/weaker.
 Comment 3: The movie showed a confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King in which the Witch King bested Gandalf on top of the walls. In the book, there was a confrontation between Gandalf and the Witch King, but it was at the gate. Though there was a confrontation, it never came to blows or a test of magic, since the Witch King turned around when the horn of Rohan blew. It must be said that there is no real evidence who would have won a real battle between the two, since Tolkien decided to leave that out. There are arguments on both sides. First, the prophecy said that the Witch King could not be destroyed by any man. It took a hobbit and a woman to kill him, and the hobbit had a special weapon he used. However, Gandalf was always up to any task. He bested the Balrog of Moria, and whenever there were confrontations between him and the Nazgul, his power was sufficient. Plus, what is Gandalf anyway? Is he a man? Gandalf may have a human (or human-like body), but he was more than human.
85 The forces of Mordor in the city of Minas Tirith They are stopped at the first gate to the city by Gandalf and the horns of the Rohirrim They control the first level of the city and are stopped at the second gate by the horns of the Rohirrim.
Rating: 4 - the change affects the story
 Comment: I think the screenwriters could have just left out the walls of the Pelennor and left the rest intact. They could have had the battering ram break down the first Gate, Gandalf confront the Captain of the Nazgul, and the horns of the Rohirrim be heard
86 Gandalf's sword, Glamdring Glows when orcs are near. Is never shown to glow.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affects the story
Book 5, Chapter 5 - "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
87 The road to Minas Tirith is blocked In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
88 The Woses, the Wild Men of the Druadan Forest In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The blocked road, the Wild Men, and the attacks on the southern cities serve the purpose of showing that Sauron is somewhat of a tactician. He needs to block the Rohirrim and pin down the men of Gondor in the south in order to be able to have a superior, overwhelming force against Minas Tirith -- an indication that Gandalf was right: Sauron did attack Minas Tirith before was actually ready. In the movie, Sauron has an overwhelming force that would be able destroy Gondor -- short of a ghost army, that is.
89 Theoden's speech before the ride of the Rohirrim Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!
Death! Ride, ride to ruin and world's ending!
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Theoden's speech in the movie is actually spoken by Eomer in the book after he had found his uncle dead and the comatose body of his sister who he thought was dead.
Book 5, Chapter 6 - "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
90 The mumakil (1) The mumakil are not engaged, because the horses of the Rohirrim are afraid of them. As a result, the Harradrim rally around them.  The demise of a mumakil is not described. The mumakil are engaged. One is killed by Legolas.  Others are brought down by the Rohirrim, or they run into each other.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Eowyn riding through the legs of the mumakil is reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's flight through the legs of the walkers in the beginning of "Empire Stikes Back," and Legolas mounting a mumakil is somewhat reminiscent of the Fremen mounting a worm in "Dune".
91 The mumakil (2) The mumakil do not enter the story until after the Witch King and Theoden are dead. The mumakil appear early.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
92 Chronology of Theoden's death (1) The Nazgul kills Snowmane with a dart
(2) Eowyn stands between the Witch King and Theoden
(3) The Witch King warns her, "No man can kill me."
(4) Eowyn says, "I am no man. You look upon a woman." Then she reveals she who she is. Even Merry is surprised.
(5) Eowyn kills beast with one stroke.
(6) The Witch King strikes at her with his mace and shatters her shield.
(7) Merry strikes the back of the Witch King's leg.
(8) Eowyn strikes him, and her sword breaks into shards.
(9) Eowyn falls down in a coma.
(10) Eomer rides up and talks to Theoden.
(11) Theoden dies without knowing Eowyn is lying nearby.
(12) Then Eomer sees the body of Eowyn. He wants to die a glorious death like them and rides off to fight more of the battle.
(1) The Nazgul kills Snowmane and mortally injures Theoden
(2) Eowyn stands between the Captain of the Nazgul and Theoden
(3) Eowyn cuts off the neck of the beast with two hacks
(4) The Witch King attacks Eowyn, breaking her shield
(5) The Witch King says, "No man can kill me."
(6) The Witch King grabs Eowyn's neck.
(7) Merry hacks at the back of the Witch King's leg. Merry's sword disintegrates.
(8) Eowyn says, "I am no man."
(9) Eowyn stabs the Witch King in the head. She falls on her back, and her sword falls in one piece
(10) All clothes and armor of the Witch King fall to the ground.
(11) Eowyn crawls over to Theoden, and they talk. (12) Theoden dies. Eowyn collapses. (13) Eomer finds them after the battle is over.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I am putting the chronology of the book and the movie side-by-side here (even though I've mentioned some of the items as individual Differences), because there is a difference in the basic chronology of events between Eowyn and the Witch King. Specifically, when the Witch King and Eowyn make their announcements is different. In the book, it occurs before the death of the beast and before any blow is struck by the Witch King.
93 Snowmane's death A poison dart fells Snowmane, Theoden's horse, and the horse falls on Theoden. The Captain of the Nazgul on his flying beat then lands on the body of Snowmane. The flying steed of the Captain of the Nazgul swoops and mortally wounds Theoden and his horse.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
94 Eowyn kills the flying steed of the Captain of the Nazgul (1) With one stroke. She has to hack at the neck twice.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
95 Eowyn kills the flying steed of the Captain of the Nazgul (2) After she announces she is a woman. Before she announces she is a woman.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: The Witch King (or Captain of the Nazgul) collapses in death, and his clothes and armor fall to the ground. But what happened to the ring he had been wearing which he received from Sauron? It is not dealt with in the book or the movie.
 Comment 2: One person emailed me to say that the ring of the Witch King was in the possession of Sauron as were all of the other rings of the nine and the rings of the dwarves.
96 Merry's sword Merry's sword was acquired in the barrows of Barrows Down when they were rescued from the Barrow Wights by Tom Bombadil. The sword was made by the men of Westernesse who were waging a war against Angmar, the kingdom of the Witch King. It was imbued with spells that would be effective against the Witch King. That makes his blow against the Witch King so important. Merry has a sword, but it is not shown to be significant or have any important spells on it.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is an important omission from the story. It is important to those who are familiar with the story, but it may not be significant to anyone who knows the power of the Witch King. For them, the dual blow of Merry and Eowyn would be sufficient. However, the implication in the book is that Eowyn's blow would not have done anything if Merry hadn't struck first.
97 Eowyn -- after killing the Captain of the Nazgul Eowyn collapses.  When she is discovered, she is thought to be dead. Eowyn crawls over to her uncle. She talks to Theoden and then collapses.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The main significance of this Difference is that the Witch King is much more powerful in the book. His demise nearly kills both Eowyn and Merry. In the book, Theoden is not able to have last words with Eowyn. He has last words with Eomer who becomes king as he dies. Then Eomer sees Eowyn in her coma, assumes that she is dead, and determines to kill more orcs.
98 Eowyn's sword Her sword shatters. Her sword remains in one piece.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: Merry's sword disintegrates, and he grabs his arm when it is injured. However, Eowyn's sword falls intact from her right hand as she falls to the ground on her back. It is very quick, but the full length of the sword is still visible. This may be logical in one sense, since Merry's blow was the one which really had an effect on the Witch King which allowed Eowyn's final coup de grace.
99 The conversation with the dying Theoden. Snowmane rolls off of Theoden. Merry has the conversation. Eomer speaks to his uncle. Eowyn is in a coma, and Theoden and Eomer don't know she is nearby. Snowmane does not move off of Theoden. Eowyn has the conversation with her uncle.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
100 The finding of Theoden and Eowyn Eomer finds them during the battle. Aragorn and his southern forces have not yet arrived. He determines to die gloriously in battle and charges off with his knights. Eomer finds the two of them after the battle is done.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The significance of this change is that in the book Eomer is given an opportunity to be kingly right after the death of Theoden. There is nothing like this in the movie.
101 The Death cry of the Rohirrim Eomer cries "Death" after Theoden dies. The Rohirrim cry in unison, "Death." Then they ride off. Theoden leads the Rohirrim in the Death cry before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
102 Gimli and Legolas in competition Only takes place at Helm's Deep Continued at Minas Tirith and the Pelennor Fields
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
103 Ghost army and the Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This change affects the story, since the movie has Aragorn get off of the ships with the ghost army rather than with the men of Gondor who were defending the south.
Book 5, Chapter 7 - "The Pyre of Denethor"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
104 Gandalf hits Denethor with his staff Gandalf never hits Denethor with his staff. Gandalf hits Denethor multiple times with his staff. One incident is when Denethor, Gandalf, and several others are looking at the forces surrounding the city. Gandalf hits him more than once. Another time Gandalf hits Denethor is when Denethor is trying to burn Faramir alive on the pyre.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This is another scene in the book where Gandalf exhibits the strength and virility of a young man. The vitality of Gandalf is portrayed in the movies at different times. Don't know why it needed to be changed.
105 Palantir of Denethor In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: I thought about rating this as a 4, since it was through the Palantir that Denethor received his information about how "hopeless" the battle was. But there are plenty of other reasons for Denethor to be without hope.
 Comment 2: There were eight of the Palantiri: one master Palantir, and seven minor ones. They were made by one of the Noldori elves. The seven were given to Amandil and eventually came to the kings of Gondor. They were placed throughout Gondor by Elendil. The chief one was in Osgiliath, and it could be used to communicate with the other seven which were in Minas Ithil, Minas Anor, Orthanc, Annuminas, Elostirion in the Tower Hills, and the Tower of Amon Sul. The Eldar took the palantir (1) in the Tower Hills, and it was taken by them in the last ship that passed over the sea (TA 3021). Amon Sul was destroyed in the war with Angmar (TA 1409), but the palantir (2) was saved and taken to Fornost. It was kept with the Annuminas palantir (3). Both were lost in the shipwreck that killed Arvedui. The palantir of Osgiliath (4) was lost when the city was burned. The palantir of Minas Ithil (5) was captured by the Nazgul when they gained control of the fortress (TA 2002). It was probably destroyed in the collapse of Barad-dur at the end of the War of the Ring. The palantir of Minas Anor/Tirith (6) was not used until Denethor II used it, but Sauron was manipulating his visions. It was burned when Denethor burned himself in the pyre. Though it wasn't destroyed, the person attempting to use it would, unless he had a great strength of will, only see two aged hands whithering in flames.  The palantir of Orthanc (7) was unused for most of the Third Age. Saruman came to Orthanc in TA 2759. He was ensnared by Sauron when he used the stone. Grima threw the stone out of a window of Orthanc, and it was recovered by Pippin. Gandalf took it and later gave it to Aragorn. Aragorn used the palantir to see the forces that were arrayed against Minas Tirith. After the War of the Ring, he used the stone to show him the state of his kingdom.
 Comment 3: The movie is not very clear, but the Palantir that Aragorn uses is the one from Orthanc. No Palantir of Denethor is revealed.
106 The rescue of Faramir from the pyre Gandalf bounds up onto the wood, picks up Faramir, and carries him away before the fire is lit. Pippin rolls Faramir off after the fire is lit.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This is another scene in the book where Gandalf exhibits the strength and virility of a young man. The vitality of Gandalf is portrayed in the movies at different times. Don't know why it needed to be changed.
107 Denethor's speech about Aragorn Occurs in the tombs just before Denethor's death. Occurs when Gandalf and Pippin first get to the city.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
108 Denethor's death Denethor dies on the pyre, holding the Palantir, still thinking that Faramir is dead. Denethor realizes Faramir is alive, and he runs out of the door and falls off of the cliff.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
109 Where is Gandalf during the battle? Gandalf has to deal with the continuing drama within the city's walls and is never able to join the battle outside of its walls. The battle never gets into Minas Tirith. Gandalf joins the fighting from time to time inside of the city's walls.
Rating: 4 - affect the story
 Comment: It is a significant difference that the fighting enters the city, and it is signficant that Gandalf is involved. The only debate about whether this affects the story is whether it affects other parts of the story later on. It probably doesn't.
110 The death of the Captain of the Nazgul, and how the people of the city react. Gandalf and Pippin and the residents of the city all feel darkness is lifted from them. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 5, Chapter 8 - "The Houses of Healing"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
111 Where does Pippin find Merry after the battle? In the city. On the field of battle.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
112 Longbottom Leaf pipeweed Merry and Pippin still have some of the pipeweed they found at Isengard. Pippin smoked all of his pipeweed.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: See Difference 2.
113 The Black Shadow In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
114 The Houses of Healing In the book Not in the movie The Houses of Healing are in the extended version.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: This Difference could be rated as a 4. The Houses of Healing are important for the following reasons: (1) It was at the Houses of Healing where Faramir and Eowyn met and fell in love. The movie shows a brief glimpse of Faramir and Eowyn giving each other loving looks, but there are no scenes of how they met and fell in love. Maybe the scenes will be added to the Extended Edition, though they probably aren't really necessary. (2) It was where Tolkien showed the seriousness of the Black Death.  (3) Aragorn shows that he is the rightful king by his ability to heal.
 Comment 2: Some things make more sense in the extended edition because the Houses of Healing are included in it.
115 Aragorn's use of athelas In the book Not in the movie Not specifically mentioned in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
 Comment: In the extended version of the movie, Aragorn's use of athelas is only implied. He is seen touching Eowyn and wiping her brow with a wet cloth. Presumably the liquid has some athelas in it -- I guess.
116 Faramir's and Eowyn's meeting In the book Not in the movie Briefly shown in the movie. No dialogue.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
 Comment: In the extended version of the movie, Aragorn's use of athelas is only implied. He is seen touching Eowyn and wiping her brow with a wet cloth. Presumably the liquid has some athelas in it -- I guess.
Book 5, Chapter 9 - "The Last Debate"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
117 Prince of Dol Amroth In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: In the book, the Prince of Dol Amroth comes out of Minas Tirith to help Faramir and his men. The Prince carries Faramir into the city. (In the movie, Faramir is dragged through the city gate (from his attempt to regain Osgiliath) by his own horse.) He later becomes the temporary ruler of Minas Tirith and is involved in "The Last Debate." The Prince of Dol Amroth is not in the movie.
118 The location of the final debate In Aragorn's tent on the Field of the Pelennor. In the throne room in Minas Tirith.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: In the book, Aragorn does not enter the city, since he has not been recognized as king yet. The movie probably doesn't have time to cover these kinds of protocols.
119 The suggestion of sending an army to the Black Gate as a diversion Made by Gandalf. Made by Aragorn.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The filmmakers have raised Gandalf up throughout all the movies. Up until this scene Aragorn has been portrayed as a reluctant hero. This scene gives Aragorn the chance to actually be a part of the planning.
Book 5, Chapter 10 - "The Black Gate Opens"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
120 Merry and Pippin Merry stays in Minas Tirith in the Houses of Healing. Pippin goes to the battle in front of the Black Gate. Both Merry and Pippin are at the battle.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is a significant change. In the book, Merry was involved with the Battle of the Pelennor Fields while Pippin was in the city. He was affected too much by the death of the Witch King to be anywhere else but in the Houses of Healing inside of Minas Tirith. Pippin gets his chance to be in a battle when he accompanies the army to confront the forces of Sauron at the Black Gate. In the movie, both Hobbits are involved to some extent with both battles (if you think of the battle in the first level of Minas Tirith as the movie's version of the Battle of the Pelannor Fields). The idea of Merry being able to go to the fight in front of the Black Gate minimizes the power of the Witch King. All of this is a significant change to the story.
121 Aragorn and his army march through Ithilien with the sounding of horns In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
122 Aragorn lets those who are fearful go In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
123 The Black Gate Three vast doors under their frowning arches One vast door under its frowning arch
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
124 The heralds of Aragorn and the Captains of Gondor In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
125 On horse or on foot? Most of the army is on horse. On horse and then on foot.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: The movie is a little inconsistent here. It shows Aragorn and the army arriving at the Black Gate. If you look at the scene very carefully in the beginning when they first arrive, many if not all are on horseback. Then Aragorn, Legolas, and Gandalf ride to the Black Gate with Merry, Pippin, and Gimli on their horses. If you look at the army as they start out, no one else has a horse. Then after the confrontation at the Gate (in the extended edition there is a confrontation with the Mouth of Sauron), they ride back to the army. Aragorn rides back and forth giving a speach. Then when he says, "For Frodo," everyone is shown running at the forces of Sauron which have surrounded them. No horses are seen. In the book, Aragorn and his army are described as riding through Ithilien with the army. I'm not sure what they do with the horses when it is obvious that they are going to be attacked. It seems like horses would be best used to charge an enemy rather than wait on a hill for an attack. Maybe that's the problem that the filmmakers were trying to solve.
126 Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin approach Black Gate and then fall back Not in the book. In the book, they wait for the Mouth of Sauron on the hill on which the army stands. In the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
127 "Mouth of Sauron" In the book Not in the movie In the extended version
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: This is a very good portrayal that the filmmakers made.
128 Clothes of Frodo presented to Aragorn and Gandalf by the Mouth of Sauron. In the book Not in the movie In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: I am rating this difference as a 4, since the scene where the Mouth of Sauron present Frodo's clothes to Gandalf and Aragorn is important.  It is the event that dashes their hopes of victory before the attack. It also gives the opportunity to show that Gandalf and Aragorn aren't unflinching heroes.  It is on the Extended Edition, so the effect is minimized there. Jackson has said that the theatrical version of each film is the authoritative version, so the 4 rating stands.
129 Aragorn kills the Mouth of Sauron before the final battle. Not in the book Not in the movie In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: In the book, the Mouth of Sauron turns around and rides back to the Black Gate. I don't remember there being any word of his fate in the book.
 Comment 2: Originally I had this rated as a '1', but it was pointed out to me that Aragorn's actions made him into a war criminal in just about any culture. That affects how Aragorn will be viewed. Tolkien was careful to make sure Aragorn had the highest integrity.
130 The attack of Sauron's army Sauron's army attacks out of multiple holes and openings around the Gate of Mordor Sauron's army attacks only out of the Gate
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
131 The final engagement Aragorn and his army wait on an elevated position, and Sauron's army crashes into them. Aragorn and his army dash toward Sauron's army
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
132 "The Eagles are coming, the Eagles are coming" (1) Pippin hears Gandalf shout this before he passes out under a troll. Pippin says this and is unharmed.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
133 "The Eagles are coming, the Eagles are coming" (2) The eagles come after Frodo is in Mt. Doom and after Sauron has recalled the Nazgul. The eagles come before Sauron has recalled the Nazgul, so the eagles engage the Nazgul and their flying beasts in the air.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
Book 6, Chapter 1 - "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
134 Chronology of Cirith Ungol and Minas Morgul (1) The Captain of the Nazgul and his army go by (vol 2).
(2) Frodo, Sam, and Gollum go up the stairs to Cirith Ungol (vol 2).
(3) Frodo and Sam go into Shelob's Lair (vol 2).
(4) Shelob attacks (vol 2).
(5) Frodo is taken to the Tower (vol 2).
(6) Sam faces the Watchers as he enters the courtyard wearing the Ring (vol 3).
(7) Sam rescues Frodo (vol 3).
(8) They exit into Mordor but have to pass the same Watchers again (vol 3).
(9) The Watchers crumble with a shriek (vol 3).
(1) Frodo, Sam, and Gollum see the Watchers in front of Minas Morgul (movie 3).
(2) They start up the stairs to Cirith Ungol (movie 3).
(3) They Stop when the Captain of the Nazgul goes by with his army (movie 3).
(4) Sam is told by Frodo to go away (movie 3).
(5) Frodo goes into Shelob's Lair (movie 3).
(6) Shelob attacks (movie 3).
(7) Frodo is taken to the Tower (movie 3).
(8) Sam follows the orcs and rescues Frodo (movie 3).
(9) They go into Mordor (movie 3).
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there are two incidents involving the Watchers, and the incidents occur at a different point in the chronology than the one that is in the movie. The Watchers are at the entrance to Minas Morgul on the Mordor side. Tolkien writes that they were built there in order to keep the creatures of Mordor from getting out of Mordor.
135 The Captain of the Nazgul rides forth with his army In the second volume of the book Moved to the third movie -- kind of
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was moved to the third movie, but the Nazgul is on his flying steed.
136 Mordor cavalry In the second volume of the book Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: There wasn't a Mordor calvary in the third movie.
137 Sauron's forces attack Osgiliath In volume 2, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have been released by Faramir at the cave and have seen the Captain of the Nazgul and his army near the crossroads. The attack on Osgiliath occurs in volume 3. While Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are making their way up the Stairs of Cirith Ungol, the attack on Osgiliath has begun. In volume 3, Faramir rides back to Minas Tirith in order to consult with Denethor, he rides back to Osgiliath, and then he leads his men in the retreat from Osgiliath to Minas Tirith. The attack on Osgiliath begins in the second movie while Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are still in custody and are being taken to Denethor. Frodo, et. al. are released during the height of the battle for Osgiliath. The attack continues in the third movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Many changes were made to the story in relation to Faramir and Osgiliath.
138 Faramir and his forces are firing on orcs in the city of Osgiliath In the book, the attack on Osgiliath occurs after Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have been released by Faramir and have seen the Captain of the Nazgul and his army near the crossroads. In the movie, Faramir and his forces are firing on orcs in the city of Osgiliath
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: The city of Osgiliath is split into eastern and western parts by the River Anduin. There are two ways of looking at the movie portrayal of the battle of Osgiliath. (1) Faramir and his men are on the western shore of the Anduin while the forces of Sauron are on the eastern shore. This causes a problem for Frodo. How does he get to Cirith Ungol if Sauron's forces are in the way? (2) Sauron's forces have captured the western part of Osgiliath. Faramir and his men are shooting from the eastern side. When he releases Frodo, Sam, and Gollum, they are able to make their way to Cirith Ungol with little difficulty. This causes a problem for Faramir. How do Faramir and his men get back to Minas Tirith? Either way, the changes made to the story have had a domino effect -- causing other needed changes.
 Comment 2: Tolkien was smart enough to work all of this out. In the book, Faramir lets Frodo and company go at the cave. Faramir and his men make their way to an island that is in the middle of the Anduin in Osgiliath. Frodo sees the forces of Sauron as they leave Minas Morgul. Faramir leaves most of his men on the island and returns to Minas Tirith for a conference with Denethor and Gandalf (attended by Pippin). Faramir returns to Osgiliath. The forces of Sauron attack, and Faramir and his men flee to Minas Tirith.
 Comment 3 (Comment on Comment 1): The Two Towers: Extended Edition straightens this out by having Faramir show Frodo a way through the sewers of Osgiliath under the River Anduin and under the eastern part of Osgiliath. Also, one of Faramir's men comes up to him during the Battle of Osgiliath and says that the Orcs have taken the eastern shore. Therefore, Faramir, his men, and Frodo and Sam and Gollum are on the western shore.
139 Watchers of Minas Morgul Sam has to get by the Watchers in order to get into Minas Morgul to save Frodo. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
140 Sam and the Orcs on the stairs Sam scares one Orc on his way up the stairs. Sam kills three Orcs on his way up the stairs.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
141 Sam and the Tower Sam cuts Snaga's arm off, and Snaga falls and breaks his neck. Shagrat flees with Frodo's belongings which are later presented to Gandalf and Aragorn by the "Mouth of Sauron." Sam kills Snaga with a sword, and Shagrat takes his bundle from the Tower.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This rating of 4 is for the theatrical version. It is minimized in the extended version.
142 Sam offers to carry the Ring Sam makes this offer after he rescues Frodo. Sam makes this offer on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol before the encounter with Shelob.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This affects the story, because Sam's offer in the movie is one of the events which leads to Frodo sending him away.
Book 6, Chapter 2 - "The Land of Shadow"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
143 Orc encampment on the plains of Mordor Orcs were camped along the western mountains of Mordor. Orcs were camped all over the plains of Mordor.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: The movie portrays all of the Orcs emptying the plains of Mordor very quickly on their way to the Black Gate -- physically impossible.
144 Orc empty the plains of Mordor It is a process. Very quickly.
Rating: 4 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: The movie portrays all of the Orcs emptying the plains of Mordor very quickly on their way to the Black Gate -- physically impossible.
145 Orcs force Frodo and Sam to march In the book Not in the movie In the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: The scene in the Extended Edition DVD is very good.
Book 6, Chapter 3 - "Mount Doom"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
146 Sighting of Gollum by Sam after they have escaped the troop of orcs and before they reach Mount Doom In the book Gollum doesn't appear in the movie until they are climbing up Mount Doom.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
147 On Mount Doom Gollum attacks Frodo and Sam. Frodo stands up, grabs the Ring, and orders Gollum to leave. Frodo leaves, and Sam threatens Gollum. Gollum backs away. Gollum tackles Frodo and Sam. Sam wrestles with Gollum while Frodo dashes toward the Crack of Doom.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
148 The Eye Sauron is not just an Eye, though he could appear as that. He has a man's shape. Gollum who has seen him says that he has four fingers on one hand. Frodo says that the power and presence of Sauron is always on his mind like an eye (which the filmmakers and others have made too much of). He says this as they approach the Black Gate in TTT. Frodo senses that Sauron is searching for him at different times. Sauron is portrayed as a red Eye suspended at the top of Barad-Dur.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment 1: The Eye is given comic treatment as the tower collapses.
 Comment 2: There are times in the book when Sauron is referred to as the Eye, but Gollum's description of him still is the most authoritative.
149 Sauron nearly sees Frodo on the slopes of Mt. Doom Not in the book. Sauron is too occupied with the coming of Aragorn and his forces. In the movie.
Rating: 2 - nice addition to the story
150 The road up Mt. Doom There is a road from Barad-Dur to Mt. Doom. There is no road. There is an area that is near the opening to the Cracks of Doom that is easier to walk on.  
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
151 Frodo and Gollum struggle for the Ring a second time after Gollum regains the Ring after biting off Frodo's finger. There is no second struggle. Gollum dances around, loses balance, and falls into the abyss. There is a second struggle. As a result, both Frodo and Gollum fall into the abyss. Frodo grabs hold of part of the cliff, and Sam helps him back up.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The movie portrayal makes Frodo partly responsible for Gollum's demise. In the book, Gollum falls on his own. It is implied that the reason for his fall was due to the Ring and Gollum's promise to the Ring.
152 The fall from Sammath Naur. Gollum fights for the Ring with Frodo. He bites off Frodo's third finger, dances with the Ring and the finger, and falls into the molten center of Mount Doom. Gollum and the Ring are destroyed. Gollum fights for the Ring with Frodo. Frodo fights him off. Gollum attacks him again, and during the struggle both Frodo and Gollum begin to fall into the molten center of Mount Doom. Sam catches Frodo, but Gollum continues into the molten mass. Gollum and the Ring are destroyed.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
153 The collapse of Mordor Mt. Doom erupts, and Barad-Dur collapses. All of Mordor collapses into a pit of lava.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This difference could be rated a 4, but I debated about how much of Mordor will ever be reclaimed for habitation by non-orcs. If Mordor can never be reclaimed and must be avoided by men, then having Mordor collapse in a pit of lava wouldn't affect the story.
154 Which finger did Frodo lose? Frodo lost the third finger on his right hand. Frodo lost half of his first finger (the pointer finger) on his left hand.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This is specifically stated in the "Field of Cormallen" chapter.
Book 6, Chapter 4 - "The Field of Cormallen"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
155 The Orcs attacking the Captains of the West and their forces. They flee. Many are swallowed up by chasms that open up beneath them.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
156 Sauron's spirit "A vast soaring darkness sprang into the sky, flickering with fire. ... And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them in a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed." There is some kind of darkness that rises up from Barad-Dur.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
157 The reunion on The Fields of Cormallen Frodo and Sam wake up in a soft bed under the golden trees. Then Gandalf speaks, and they are surprised that he is still alive. Then they meet Aragorn who is clothed in mail and sitting on a throne, though he wore no helm. Then they met Elrond, Legolas, Gimli and the Dunedain who were nearby. Finally, they met Merry and Pippin. Frodo wakes up a room in Minas Tirith and meets Gandalf, then Merry and Pippin, then Gimli and Legolas and Aragorn, and finally Sam.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: I thought the idea of having Sam come in last was a good one. Kind of touching.
158 Frodo and Sam receive honors (1) On the Fields of Cormallen. In Minas Tirith.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
159 Frodo and Sam receive honors (2) Frodo and Sam wear the clothes they wore into Mordor. Merry and Pippin are wearing armor as part of their office and as a sign of honor for Frodo and Sam. They are all in casual Hobbit clothes.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: There were actually two events that are summarized into one event in the movie. The first one was on the Field of Cormallen. That is where Frodo and Sam receive honors. Aragorn was not yet crowned. At that event Frodo and Sam wear the clothes they wore through Mordor. Merry and Pippin are wearing finery associated with their station due to their oaths of fealty they made to Denethor and Theoden. After Aragorn and everyone shouts and sings their praises, Frodo and Sam change into something more fitting for a coronation. Frodo wears his mithril shirt, the cloak he received in Lothlorien, his sword Sting, and a circlet on his head. Sam wears armor. That is how they are clothed when they arrive at the gate of Minas Tirith where Aragorn is crowned (which happens in the next chapter). So when Frodo and Sam receive honors from Aragorn and the others assembled (which occurs on the Fields of Cormallen instead of Minas Tirith) Frodo and Sam are wearing the clothes they wore through Mordor. In the movie they are not wearing those clothes, but they are wearing what looks like the clothes they were wearing when they started out from the Shire in.
 Comment 2: The book specifically mentions that Gandalf told Frodo and Sam to wear the clothes they wore through Mordor. Frodo had been stripped of all his clothes in the tower, so when Sam rescued him, they had to search around for clothes for Frodo to wear. They found breaches made of the hairy hide of some fell-beast and a tunic of leather. They eventually covered everything with Orc robes and helms. So, based on the book, it seems like Frodo would have been wearing the hairy hide and leather tunic, but that just doesn't seem right. Sam, of course, had not lost his clothes. According to Gandalf, the clothes they wore through Mordor were going to be placed in a museum.
Book 6, Chapter 5 - "The Steward and the King"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
160 Where Aragorn is crowned Before the gate of Minas Tirith. In Minas Tirith at the Citadel.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
161 The shape of the crown The crown was shaped like the helms of the guards of the citadel except it was loftier and it was all white, and it had wings of a sea-bird on either side that were made of silver and pearl. Seven gems were set at the top in a circle. The crown is in the shape of a circlet. There are no wings, it is not white, and there are no gems at the top.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The book describes it as being similar to the helms worn by the guards of the citadel. To me that means that it was a completely enclosed cap. Aragorn's hair would not have been visible through the top of the crown. What Aragorn wore in the movie could not be called a helm. Someone emailed me to say that they thought the movie version of the crown had wings. You'd have to look at it long and hard and squint your eyes to see wings on the movie's version of the crown. A sea-bird's wings would be long and easily recognizable as wings. When I read the description of the crown in the book I think of the Egyptian Pharaoh's crown, only in white and with wings on the sides (pointing back, of course).
162 How Aragorn is crowned Aragorn asks that Frodo take the crown from Faramir who would give it to Gandalf who would crown Aragorn. Gandalf crowns Aragorn.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
163 The old White Tree Aragorn has the old Tree removed and set in a place of honor The tree is shown to be coming back to life
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
164 The finding of the young White Tree Aragorn finds the young White Tree in the mountains Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
 Comment: There are petals falling at the Aragorn's crowning.
Book 6, Chapter 6 - "Many Partings"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
165 Burial of Theoden In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
166 Final meeting with Treebeard In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
167 Meeting Saruman on the road In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
168 The stay at Rivendell; meeting Bilbo again In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
169 Frodo lets Bilbo know that the Ring was "lost" In Rivendell On the way to the Grey Havens
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 6, Chapter 7 - "BB62Homeard Bound"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
170 The stay at The Prancing Pony in Bree In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
Book 6, Chapter 8 - "The Scouring of the Shire"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
171 Hobbits return to the Shire On foot On horseback
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
172 The state the Shire is in The Shire was almost destroyed by Saruman and his cohorts. There were factory-like buildings, the Party Tree was cut down, and Bagshot Row was dug up. The Shire looks the same.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: I think that the filmmakers were trying to finalize the point they'd been making about Hobbits from the beginning of the first film: that they are not necessarily affected by the evils of the world, and they just go on with their lives, not having a care in the world. This is the point of view from which the four Hobbits came from and led to their early portrayal as what could be seen as "Dumb and Dumber."
173 Scouring of the Shire In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: I can understand that the Scouring of the Shire had to be left out due to time constraints, but they missed an opportunity to show how the four Hobbits had developed into those who could handle threatening situations without calling on the bigger folk to help.
 Comment 2: If the filmmakers cut this part of the book because of the time constraints, I can see their rationale. If they cut it in order to make a point about the Hobbits not being affected by all the evil around them, then they missed the point of this part of Tolkien's story. The point of the Scouring of the Shire is that evil has to be resisted even at home. Certainly there are references by Gandalf and others about the Hobbits and the Shire not being affected by evil or the evil of the Ring, but that is what makes the necessity for the Scouring of the Shire to be the ultimate evil in the book. Though Tolkien clearly stated that he did not write his book as an allegory about World War 2, one could understand what kind of evil happened to the Shire in the book if they thought of what it was like for any of the nations that were conquered by Germany during that war -- or what it would have been like if they had conquered Britain. Besides, the emphasis on the naïveté of the Hobbits is somewhat of a cliché.
174 The deaths of Saruman and Wormtongue In the Shire. Wormtongue stabs Saruman to death, and the Shiriffs shoot Wormtongue full of arrows. Not in the movie At Orthanc. Wormtongue stabs Saruman to death. Saruman falls from the top of Orthanc. Legolas shoots Wormtongue to death.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Of course, it was necessary for Saruman and Wormtongue to die in order "to tie up those loose ends." In the book, they die at the end of the Scouring of the Shire. The filmmakers had made the choice to exclude the Scouring of the Shire, so they had them die at Orthanc. I guess, if you don't know the real story, it makes sense, but it is a major change.
175 Scouring of the Shire In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
Book 6, Chapter 9 - "The Grey Havens"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
176 Lobelia, Shiriffs, Rosie Cotton's family In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: Of course, Rosie is in the movie.
 Comment 2: I am giving this a 4, because it is intricately linked with the Scouring of the Shire. A lot of people were looking forward to the Scouring of the Shire with the portrayal of the Shiriffs and the deaths of Saruman and Wormtongue. Someone emailed me that "noone dies like Christopher Lee." Well, he did die in the third movie, but he wasn't in the Shire. Major change.
177 The planting of the new party tree In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
 Comment: The party tree is not in any of the movies.
178 Frodo's book "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King" "The Lord of the Rings"
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The full title of the book in the movie includes the title of Bilbo's book, "There and Back Again".
179 Sam's new home with his family Bag End #3 Bagshot Row
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: #3 Bagshot Row is probably where the Gaffer and Sam had lived before Sam moved in with Frodo after Bilbo went to Rivendell. See Difference 187.
 Comment 2: I have had a running correspondence with one of the people who has read my Differences pages. He says that Bag End is not #1 Bagshot Row. My point is that Bag End is called "Bag End" because it is the first (or the last, depending on which why you are looking at it) Hobbit hole in Bagshot Row. I believe that all of the books about the Tolkien world bear this out. For example, Robert Foster's "The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth" where Bag End is referred to as being part of Bagshot Row. He is very insistent on this.
 Comment 3: In the final analysis, Sam is supposed to reside in Bag End, not #3 Bagshot Row. He lives with Frodo before and after his marriage to his wife, because Frodo says that Bag End is so big that there is plenty of room for Sam and his family. Then Sam inherits Bag End as a gift from Frodo as he leaves for the Grey Havens and the lands beyond. It is very clear in the book, but then the filmmakers seem to miss a lot of details that are clear in the book -- for no apparent reason. This detail could have been portrayed correctly. It has no bearing on any other part of the story. It just makes you wonder how closely the filmmakers actually read the story.
180 Who Frodo meets and where he meets them. In the woods he meets Elrond, Galadriel, and Bilbo. Cirdan meets them at the gates. They meet Gandalf at the quay. Merry and Pippin ride up as a surprise. Gandalf and Bilbo meet Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. They travel to the Grey Havens where they meet Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, Gandalf. There is another elf near the boat who may be Cirdan.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: In the book, Celeborn does not go with Galadriel to the Grey Havens.
181 Bilbo means of travel On a pony In a wagon
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Bilbo looks extremely frail in the movie. The fact that he rode a horse in the book shows that he still had a lot of life.
182 Frodo tells Sam he's leaving on the ship In the woods when they meet Elrond, Galadriel, and Bilbo. At the Grey Havens at the last second.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
183 Merry and Pippin at the Grey Havens Merry and Pippin arrive at the last minute and tell Frodo that he couldn't give them the slip before, and he couldn't give them the slip now. Merry and Pippin travel with Frodo and Sam.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: There is an elf waiting near the boat with Celeborn, Galadriel, and Elrond. He is probably Cirdan the Shipwright who is mentioned in the book as being involved in sailing the vessel.
184 Frodo goes in the boat with Gandalf and Bilbo Sam knows he is going to do this. It is a complete surprise to Sam.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
185 As the ship goes to the horizon, Frodo holds the Phial of Galadriel. Sam, Merry, and Pippin watch until the light of the phial disappears. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
186 Sam's return from the Grey Havens (1) He enters Bag End, sits down next to Rosie, and he says "Well, I'm back." He meets Rosie and their child outside of #3 Bagshot Row (they do not enter the home), and he says, "Well, I'm back."
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This may seem very similar to Difference 180, but there is a subtle difference. Difference 180 relates to how Sam and Rosie moved into Bag End after Sam married Rosie. Difference 187 refers to how Sam and Rosie inherited Bag End when Frodo left for the Grey Havens at the end of the book.
187 Sam's return from the Grey Havens (2) He enters Bag End, sits down next to Rosie, and he says "Well, I'm back." He meets Rosie and their children outside of #3 Bagshot Row, and he says, "Well, I'm back." Then they enter the home together.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
188 Sam's return from the Grey Havens (3) Sam and Rosie have one child, their daughter Elanor. Sam and Rosie have two children, Elanor and little Frodo.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
   As I state above, I have read the book several times in order to glean the following Differences. Much of what follows are based on my observations. But I have also received timely help, suggestions, and criticisms from the following people. I mention them with their permission.
   Joel Appenzeller, Greg Bressler, Tino Aloise, Andrew Bridgwater, Tyler Bryce, Warren Darragh, Gareth Evans, Tom Golway, Michael Hansen, Paul Holt, Jordi Kroon, Bart Miller, Michael Rhodes, Sam Stein, Annie Teasdale, Dwight Woodward, Orson Wright.

Sites that may be of interest:

  • ign.com on LotR
  • The Encyclopedia of Arda
  • Wikipedia.org article on the movie
  • Wikipedia.org article on the book
  • The Land of Shadow
  • The Land of Shadow - The Morder Map
  • If you noticed other Differences
    or if you have any comments,
    feel free to contact me at:
    Gary's Home Page