"THE TWO TOWERS"

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 review of "The Return of the King"
RotK Differences Page
The Chronology of "The Lord of the Rings" (a 66 kb. Excel spreadsheet)
Book 3, Chapter:   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11
Book 4, Chapter:   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10
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
T H E     L I S T     O F     D I F F E R E N C E S
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
1 The order of the presentation of events in the story The first half of the book relates to Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Gandalf, Merry, and Pippin. The second half of the story relates to Frodo and Sam and Gollum The movie intertwines the story more tightly.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
Book 3, Chapter 1 - "The Departure of Boromir"
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
2 Lurtz, the orc who leads the orc group from Orthanc Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: This event is transferred to the end of the first movie.
 Comment 2: This difference is inconsequential. It is good to have a leader of the orcs, someone you can love to hate. It was good to see Aragorn kill him. In the book, however, the leaders of the orc group were intact when they began the trip back to Orthanc. That is not portrayed in the second movie.
 Comment 3: I am using the term Orc over and over again to refer to the Uruk-Hai who captured Merry and Pippin in order to take them back to Saruman. I understand there are some differences between true orcs and the Uruk-Hai, but in my view they are still a variation of Orc.
3 Whose orcs are they? It is not revealed whether the orcs are from Sauron or from Saruman. It is revealed that the orcs are Saruman's.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This event is transferred to the end of the first movie.
 Comment 2: It is not revealed at first whether the orcs are from Sauron or Saruman. More information is revealed later in volume 2, so the revelation of the fact that the orcs are from Saruman is an important suspense/surprise point.
4 Symbol used by Orcs of Saruman. An S-rune. White hand.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
5 The fight with the Orcs, the death of Boromir, and the capture of Merry and Pippin by the orcs These events occur at the beginning of the second book, "Two Towers." The first book ends with Merry and Pippin running off to find Frodo, and Frodo and Sam slipping off in one of the boats. I guess this wasn't dramatic enough nor was it enough of a cliff-hanger for the movie makers. "And that's OK." These events were taken from the second book and placed in the first movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event is transferred to the end of the first movie.
6 Aragorn and Frodo. Aragorn goes to Amon Hen, but he doesn't find Frodo. Aragorn goes to Amon Hen, and he finds Frodo.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event is transferred to the end of the first movie.
7 The death of Boromir and capture of Merry and Pippin In volume 2. In movie 1.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: I can see the reason for moving this to the first movie. Of course, the "Lord of the Rings" was intended by Tolkien to be a continuous story to be published in one volume. So moving this event to the first movie is not a big deal.
8 Aragorn finds Boromir. Boromir is left for dead by the Orcs. Aragorn has to drive the Orcs off.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event is transferred to the end of the first movie.
9 Merry's and Pippin's scabbards. Found near Boromir's body. Gimli finds them in an ash pile near Fangorn Forest.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
10 Frodo and Sam leave. Aragorn finds their footprints, and he concludes that Frodo and Sam have crossed the Anduin River to the eastern side. Legolas sees Sam and Frodo climb up the bank of the eastern side.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
11 Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli place Boromir in a boat and send him over the falls. In volume 2. In movie 1.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
12 Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli have a ceremony (singing, etc.) over Boromir before sending the boat over the falls In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
13 The endurance of Dwarves. Dwarves are known for their long endurance. Gimli is constantly whining about trying to keep up.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The filmmakers made Gimli into one of the characters who would be comic relief in the movies. In the book, Gimli was a highly regarded warrior.
Book 3, Chapter 2 - "The Riders of Rohan"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
14 Theodred is killed at the Battle of the Isen and is taken back to Edoras to be buried. Theodred dies, but he is buried at the site of the battle. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
 Comment: Having Theodred live long enough to die and be buried at Edoras adds a couple scenes to the Extended Edition.
15 Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are sitting in their cloaks, and are not seen by the Rohirrim. In the book. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli step out from behind some boulders.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
16 Aragorn's announcement to Eomer and his group of horsemen. Aragorn tells Eomer who he is. "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Elessar, the elf stone, Dunedain, heir of Isuldur. This is the sword that was broken ..." etc. Then he says, "Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly." Aragorn says, "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn."
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
 Comment 1: There is so much drama in this scene in the book, and this scene is the perfect kind of thing for the movie. Why didn't the screenwriters just use it word for word? Beats me.
 Comment 2: Someone has suggested that the filmmakers were attempting to make Aragorn into a "reluctant hero". That may be true.
 Comment 3: The sword that was broken would not be reforged until the 3rd movie (it is reforged in the 1st volume of the book (FotR)). Elrond will bring it to Aragorn at a critical point in the fight at Minas Tirith. It is the excuse for another "Arwen" moment, since Elrond makes the announcement that Arwen is on the point of death.
17 Eomer's statement that there were no Hobbits among the Orcs that are dead. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli accept the statement. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli search the ash pile for signs of the Hobbits.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 3, Chapter 3 - "The Uruk-Hai"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
18 Pippin drops the brooch. Pippin is on foot. Pippin is still on the back of an Orc.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
19 On the way to Orthanc, the orcs make Merry and Pippin drink some of their potion from a flask. In the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
 Comment: The orc potion serves as a nice contrast to the Ent draft/drink.
20 The orc Grishnakh searches Merry and Pippin for the Ring. In the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: In the movie, there is some one-on-one time between an orc and Merry and Pippin two or three times in the film. The film seemed to emphasize that the orcs wanted to eat them rather than the fact that Tolkien has the orc (Grishnakh) looking for the Ring.
21 The wood of Fangorn. The Orcs never reach Fangorn. The Rohirrim use the wood of Fangorn Forest to burn the Orc bodies. The Orcs reach Fangorn and use the wood of Fangorn to start fires.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
22 The nature of Fangorn Forest. Aragorn compares Fangorn Forest to the Old Forest. Merry tells Pippin that Fangorn Forest seems to be like the Old Forest.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 3, Chapter 4 - "Treebeard"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
23 Merry and Pippin are chased into the forest. Ugluk and some of the Uruk-Hai try to escape to the forest but are run down by the Rohirrim. Grishnakh chases Merry and Pippin into the forest. Merry and Pippin are saved by Treebeard.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: I could have labeled this as a 4, but this short series of events adds a little excitement to the movie and illustrates the abilities of Treebeard as well as his feelings about orcs.
24 Merry and Pippin see Gandalf in Fangorn Forest. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: In the book, Treebeard says that he consults with Gandalf from time to time, but he also had consulted with Saruman. The screenwriters add a scene to the movie in which Treebeard consults with Gandalf the White.
25 Treebeard consults with Gandalf about whether Merry and Pippin are orclings. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: In the book, Treebeard knows they are not orclings right after they first speak. In the movie, Treebeard must consult with Gandalf the White.
 Comment 2: In the book, Gandalf says that he saw Treebeard, and Treebeard looked at him, but Gandalf says that he was too much in thought to stop and talk to Treebeard. Treebeard probably thought the sorcerer in white was probably Saruman.
26 Treebeard's home In the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
27 The Ent draught In the book.  Treebeard offers the draught to the Hobbits. Not in the movie. The Ent draught was added to the Extended Edition.  The Hobbits find out about the draught by accident while Treebeard is away from his home.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie.
 Comment 1: Merry and Pippin are supposed to be taller than most hobbits during the Scouring of the Shire. The Ent draught is what did it. No Ent draught = no tall Hobbits.  One of the main parts of the book where the effects of Merry and Pippin's new height is important is during the Scouring of the Shire, but there isn't a Scouring of the Shire in the third movie.
 Comment 2: Even though Merry and Pippin drink Ent draught in The Two Towers: Extended Edition and seem to grow some immediately, they are basically the same height as Frodo and Sam at the end of "The Return of the King."
28 Treebeard talks about the Entwives In the book. Not in the movie. In the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to see in the movie
 Comment: Added to the Extended Edition.
29 Old Man Willow In the book, but Old Man Willow should be in the Old Forest. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to see in the movie
 Comment: In the Extended Edition, Old Man Willow was moved from the Old Forest to Fangorn Forest. It is a nice nod to an interesting character from the book. However, there are some differences in the detail. In the book, Frodo was tossed into the river and held down in the water by one of Old Man Willow's roots. He freed himself. Pippin was inside the tree trunk, and the top half of Merry was trapped inside the tree. Frodo ran along a path calling for help. That is where he met Tom Bombadil who saved Merry and Pippin. In the Extended Edition DVD, Treebeard says some of Tom Bombadil's lines.
30 Fangorn/Treebeard and the Ents and Saruman Fangorn/Treebeard and the Ents decide to take care of Saruman Fangorn/Treebeard and the Ents decide not to do anything about Saruman.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: A major change to Treebeard and the Ents.
31 Treebeard and Saruman Treebeard knows that Saruman has changed, and trees are being cut down. Treebeard decides that something has to be done about Saruman after he hears of Saruman's treachery (the orcs, death of Boromir, kidnapping of Merry and Pippin, Saruman's aligning with Sauron). Treebeard calls the Entmoot in order to convince the other Ents to war on Saruman. Treebeard is not aware that Saruman has been cutting down trees until Merry and Pippin take him to the southern part of the forest. Treebeard called the Entmoot, but he is hesitant to do anything. Treebeard decides to do something about Saruman after finding out about the trees that were cut down. Until Treebeard sees that trees have been cut down, Merry and Pippin badger him about acting against Saruman -- without any effect.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment 1: This affects the portrayal of the character of Treebeard. This is not really a timesaver, nor does it simplify the story.
 Comment 2: Why were the Ents able to appear so quickly in the movie after Treebeard called them?
 Comment 3: I received an email that said that this may be the biggest departure from the book, and I think he had a point.  All of the other Differences were possible within the world that Tolkien created (with the possible exception of the telepathic conversation between Elrond and Galadriel).  This Difference, however, is not possible.  It is not possible that Treebeard would not have known that trees were being cut down in any part of his forest. I'm not sure it is the biggest departure though.
 Comment 4: I received another email to say that in the book Treebeard knew about the felling of the trees, so all he could do kind of say "I knew that." He just wasn't doing anything about it yet. The movie allows the viewers to see his reaction on screen. I can understand that point of view. I am still rating this difference as a "4", since it really is a change to Treebeard's character. I don't think it is the most important change to the basic nature of one of Tolkien's characters, since the change to Faramir is more egregious.
32 Quickbeam In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story.
 Comment: Quickbeam has a small part in the book and was left out of the movie in the interest of limiting the length of the movie. However, the description of the hobbits' first meeting with Quickbeam is one of the humorous parts of the book. Of course, it is the kind of description that would have been difficult to portray in a movie.
Book 3, Chapter 5 - "The White Rider"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
33 Finding of a belt by Gimli in the pile of burned orcs. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
34 Saruman is seen at the edge of the forest. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
 Comment: This is one thing that had always puzzled me. (It puzzled Aragorn and the other companions, too.) Is this Gandalf or Saruman? Later, Gandalf is very insistent that it was not him, and I would think that Gandalf should know if it was himself or Saruman. And at one point Gandalf says that he was in the forest and Treebeard saw him, but neither stopped to talk to each other. Here is the evidence as I see it. Eomer tells the three companions that Saruman is seen here and there in a hooded cloak, yet the person the companions see is wearing a hat like Gandalf would have done. When the man appears, the horses make sounds that sound like they are meeting an old friend or someone they enjoy meeting. This would make sense if it was Gandalf, since Gandalf would have been on Shadowfax. However, if it was Saruman who chased the horses away, that does not mean that they could not still have met Shadowfax somewhere nearby. Someone suggested that when Gandalf said that they did not "see" him, it was the new Gandalf who had not taken on the identity of Gandalf quite yet. I don't think that is the point that Gandalf was making when he denied that it was he that the companions saw. So the only possible explanation that we are left with is that it was Saruman who for some reason was wearing a hat. And either Saruman chased away the horses to handicap the three companions, and that the horses met Shadowfax somewhere nearby - or the horses ran away when they sensed that Shadowfax was nearby (so the appearance of the figure dressed in white and the running away of the horses may have been a coincidence). My impression is that Tolkien loves to add details to his story that puzzle his readers.
35 Shadowfax is one of the Mearas. Spoken by Gandalf. Spoken by Legolas.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
36 Gimli on a horse (1). Gimli rides behind Gandalf to Edoras. Gimli rides behind Legolas to Edoras.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
Book 3, Chapter 6 - "The King of the Golden Hall"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
37 The fall of the Balrog Causes an avalanche Nothing else happens.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event happens at the beginning of the film. In the book, Gandalf describes it after he is reunited with the 3 companions at the edge of Fangorn Forest.
38 Gandalf relays Galadriel's message to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Galadriel's message to Aragorn relates to his ride to the Paths of the Dead. Galadriel's message to Legolas relates to Legolas eventual passing over the sea. Both are important events in RotK, the third volume.
39 Gandalf says, "Saruman has a hold on Theoden's mind. It is an old device of Saruman's" Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This line isn't in the book, but it brings the movie viewers up to speed.
40 Lineage of their weapons When they surrender their weapons before entering Theoden's throne room, Legolas and Aragorn give the lineage of their weapons. Not in the movie. Everyone gives up their weapons without comment.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie.
 Comment 1: It is disappointing that at no point in the movie does Aragorn announce that he is carrying the sword that was broken and has been reforged.
 Comment 2: The reason Aragorn doesn't refer to Narsil is that the sword that was broken would not be reforged until the 3rd movie (it is reforged in the 1st volume of the book (FotR)). Elrond will bring it to Aragorn before he takes the Paths of the Dead.
41 Weapons laid against the wall Aragorn and Gimli rest their weapons against a wall and warn that no one should touch them. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
42 Grima and Eowyn Gandalf makes a short reference to Grima possibly wanting Eowyn. Eomer accuses Grima of a desire for Eowyn.  The movie makes Grima's desire for Eowyn a little clearer and out in the open.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
43 Eomer - arrested or banished? Arrested by Grima Banished by Grima
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
44 The condition of Theoden when Gandalf and company enter Theoden is aware of what is going on. He speaks clearly and forcefully, and he argues with Gandalf. Theoden is a shell of a man. He barely mumbles, and he does that very little.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The changes to Theoden may rank up near the changes made to Faramir. Even after he is "exorcised" by Gandalf, he is argumentative and uncooperative. The heroic character of Theoden is virtually removed. It isn't until his statement to the Rohirrim at Dunharrow after Aragorn rides into the Paths of the Dead or the Ride of the Rohirrim in the third movie that you get a sense of his nobility.
45 The fight between Gandalf & the 3 companions and Grima & his supporters Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Completely unnecessary. This was an annoying addition.
46 Gandalf exorcises the spirit of Saruman from Theoden Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The problem Theoden had in the book was that Wormtongue had deceived him, but the screenwriters changed it to something more visual. Completely unnecessary. This was a very annoying and disgusting addition. For me, this change was as disgusting as the change made to Faramir -- which is very disgusting.
47 Eomer offers his sword to Theoden. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
 Comment: In the movie, the sword suddenly appears. Gandalf offers it to Theoden. In the movie, Eomer has been banished, so he cannot offer his sword to Theoden.
48 The accusation against Grima about Eowyn. Spoken by Gandalf after the freeing of Theoden. Spoken by Eomer before his banishment.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the story.
49 The expulsion of Grima. Grima leaves without assistance.  Theoden does not threaten his life. Theoden tosses Grima down the stairs and threatens him with his sword.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the story.
50 Burial of Theodred, son of Theoden Theodred is buried near the Fords of the Isen where the battle occurred. Theodred is buried among the row of kings' mounds near the gates of Edoras.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story.
51 Gimli attempts to wear chainmail but it doesn't fit. This happens while they are still at Edoras before they make their way to Helm's Deep. This happens at Helm's Deep.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the story.
52 Theoden's gift of Shadowfax to Gandalf. In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to be in the movie.
53 Aragorn and Eowyn cross swords Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the story.
 Comment 1: The only interaction between Aragorn and Eowyn in the book is when she gives him a cup of wine. Similar words to those spoken during this interaction are stated by Eowyn in the 3rd book when she meets Aragorn for the last time before the Battle of Pelennor Fields before he starts out for The Paths of the Dead.
 Comment 2: This could actually be ranked a 2.
54 The decision to go to Helm's Deep Gandalf counsels Theoden to take all men who can fight to Helm's Deep. Theoden decides on his own to go to Helm's Deep.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
55 Aragorn calms down Brego, the horse of Theodred Not in the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the story.
56 Gandalf's view of Theoden's decision to go to Helm's Deep Gandalf counseled Theoden to go to Helm's Deep and supports Theoden in this decision. Gandalf goes to get Shadowfax in the stables. He tells Aragorn that Theoden's decision to go to Helm's Deep is foolish, because Helm's Deep is a trap.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
57 Eowyn and the women Gandalf counsels Theoden to command Eowyn to take those not going to Helm's Deep (i.e., women, children, and aged) to the refuges in the mountains. Theoden does this. All the Rohirrim go to Helm's Deep.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie.
 Comment 1: In the book, Theoden sends Eowyn and the women and children into the mountains from Edoras. The screenwriters changed this so that Eowyn would lead the women and children to the mountains from the caves of Helm's Deep. It allows them to add the drama of the attack of the warg-riders on the column of people fleeing from Edoras to Helm's Deep (there is more drama if they are attacking women and children). That scene leads Aragorn being carried over a cliff and nearly die, the scene between Aragorn and Brego the horse, the scene between Aragorn and Arwen, and the entrance of Aragorn into Helm's Deep. All of these are extra scenes that aren't in the book. They were added with the intent of adding drama and reminding the audience of the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen.
 Comment 2: There is a scene in the RotK movie where Theoden tries to send Eowyn back to Meduseld to rule in his place. It is in the scene where Theoden and his men are preparing to ride from the hills onto the Pelannor Fields.
Book 3, Chapter 7 - "Helm's Deep"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
58 Gimli on a horse (2) Gimli rides behind Eomer on the way to Helm's Deep. Gimli never falls of a horse. Gimli rides his own horse and falls off.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment: Another attempt to make Gimli into comic relief.
59 Aragorn has a dream sequence with Arwen Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Arwen is not in the second book.
60 Saruman and Grima discuss strategy in Orthanc Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the overall story.
 Comment: This is the last we see of Grima in the second movie.  He is not in the theatrical version of RotK.
61 Aragorn tells Eowyn that he is 87 years old, and she realizes that he is one of the Dunedain. Not in the book. Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the overall story.
 Comment: Actually, Aragorn met Gandalf in Fangorn Forest on his 88th birthday.
62 The Wargs attack the Rohirrim fleeing toward Helm's Deep. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This scene was added for visual effect and drama.
 Comment 2: There was a man who came from Erkenbrand and Helm's Deep to meet Theoden, Gandalf, and company on their way to Helm's Deep who referred to "the wolves of Isengard," and there is another man who comes to Theoden and company about attacks of wolf riders, but there is no description by Tolkien of an attack of wolves/wargs on any Rohirrim that are on their way to Helm's Deep. Other references in Tolkien to wolves/wargs are the wolves in "The Hobbit" and the wolves who attack the companions before they attempt to go through the pass on Caradharas.
63 Aragorn is injured and dragged over a cliff during the Warg attack Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Aragorn is not injured in any of the books.
64 While Aragorn is laying injured, he is again visited by Arwen Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: The addition of the Warg attack and of the injury of Aragorn all lead up to this one event. The whole thing was for the purpose of increasing the Arwen part, because, after all, she is not in the second volume of the book at all.
 Comment 2: The source for almost all of the Aragorn-Arwen-Elrond part of the movie scripts was the appendices of "The Lord of the Rings." Tolkien could have added that romance to the original story, but he must not have felt it was necessary. The screenwriters added it, because filmmakers have the view that blockbuster movies need romance. I don't share that view. But if it was necessary to insert a little romance, the screenwriters inserted more than was necessary. Someone else suggested that they had to build up Arwen so that Aragorn's choice of Arwen over Eowyn would make more sense. They had to emphasize that Arwen and Aragorn had a history and a future. That may be true.
65 Brego the Wonder Horse. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: I have rated this Difference a 4 only because it is closely linked to the injury of Aragorn and his dream-like moment with Arwen. The event is consistent with the nature of the horses of Rohan which are very loyal and intelligent. But the only thing I could think while the horse nuzzled Aragorn was that I hoped the horse didn't mistaken Aragorn's nose for a carrot.
 Comment 2: According to the movie, Brego was the horse of Theodred, the son of Theoden, who died in a battle with the orcs at the Ford of the Isen. Aragorn was given a horse named Hasufel by Eomer when they first met. Brego is not mentioned in the book as the name of a horse. There is a man named Brego who is referred to in the third volume (a fact is found also in the book "A Guide to Middle Earth"). In any event, the point of this Difference is not the name of the horse but the fact that the horse is doing something to an injured Aragorn and that neither the injury nor the horse doing something to Aragorn are in the book.
 Comment 3: The probable Brego chronology in the film is that Aragorn tames Brego in the stables. Then he rides Hasufel from Edoras, but Hasufel is killed during the battle with the Warg-Riders. Then Brego finds him at the side of the stream, and Aragorn rides Brego to Helm's Deep.  Of course, none of this is in the book.
66 Sight of thousands of Saruman's forces Seen by Theoden, Aragorn, and company on their way to Helm's Deep. Aragorn sees it on his way to Helm's Deep.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the overall story.
67 Theoden and the Rohirrim arrive at Helm's Deep They arrive at Helm's Deep with the Orcs just on their tail. They arrive well ahead of the Orcs. This is necessitated so that Aragorn can make it to Helm's Deep after falling off of the cliff.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Closely related to the issue of Aragorn nearly dying and having a dream of Arwen.
68 Extended conversation between Elrond and Arwen Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: There is a reference in volume 3 (RotK) to a final meeting between Elrond and Arwen after the fall of Sauron. This may be the screenwriters speculation of what went on in that meeting, or it could be based on Appendices which Tolkien never saw fit to include in the main story. In any case, the scene is too long. I always thought that the final meeting was just a meeting where they said their last goodbyes. Elrond is portrayed in the book as having accepted Aragorn's and Arwen's relationship long before the Council of Elrond. Any reference in an Appendices to a discussion between Elrond and Arwen occurred soon after Aragorn and Arwen fell in love. Besides, I don't believe that Elrond would have tried to dissuade Arwen that late in the game from staying with Aragorn. Also, I don't believe that Elrond would have asked whether Arwen loved him as much as she loved Aragorn. That is not a fair question to ask. It makes Elrond look petty and foolish.
69 Who shoots first The Orcs. One of the men defending Helm's Deep.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
70 Elrond and Galadriel share a moment of telepathy Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The conversation between Elrond and Galadriel was used to relay some points of the story -- either new ones or ones that needed to be re-emphasized. It wasn't in the book. And Galadriel's point that Frodo was not going to survive (and that he knew it) is not expressed anywhere in the book. The slim chance of success was known by all, but the idea that Frodo would not succeed was never mentioned (except maybe by Boromir when he argued for taking the Ring to Minas Tirith). Frodo's mission is almost always referred to as their one slim hope, and the actions of the others were taken with the hope that they would distract Sauron and his forces from finding Frodo and Sam. There was always a slim hope. It is because of Galadriel's statement that I've rated this a 4.
71 Theoden asks Aragorn where Gondor was while villages of Rohan were being attacked. Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 1 - does not affect the overall story.
72 Elves at Helm's Deep Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This is kind of reminiscent of the groups of men (no elves) which came into Minas Tirith in the third book. No groups of elves or men came into Helm's Deep in the second book except the army that traveled with Gandalf and Theoden. Hopefully, the filmmakers are not using this as a substitute for the actual event at Minas Tirith.
 Comment 2: At one point in the book, before the battle at Helm's Deep, Legolas wished for Elf archers. He said that Rohirrim archers are good, but elf archers would be better. Gimli says that it's too dark for archery. No elf archers appeared at Helm's Deep in the book.
 Comment 3: The filmmakers probably wanted to added archers to Helm's Deep to make it more believable that the forces held out until Gandalf and Erkenbrand (Eomer in the movie) returned.
 Comment 4: There were actually elves at Helm's Deep in LotR. In the second book, Legolas was at Helm's Deep during the Battle. After the confrontation with Saruman (in the second book), the group returns to Helm's Deep to assemble the forces of Rohan, etc. It was here that 30 of Aragorn's people, the Dunedain, met him along with the two sons of Elrond. But only Legolas was involved with the battle at Helm's Deep.  So there were elves at Helm's Deep -- just not where the screenwriters put them, and there were at the most three, and none of them died, etc. etc.
 Comment 5: Many people have written to me about the fact that elves fighting at Helm's Deep is not consistent with the nature of elves who were now retiring to the Grey Havens, since this is the age of men. Actually, the age of men to which Elrond refers at one point in the book is the Fourth Age which begins after the fall of Sauron and the departure of the elves. Elves fought the forces of evil throughout the Third Age. Elrond's sons were involved with Aragorn in battles, there was Glorfindel, there were the battles between the elves of Lothlorien and the orcs coming out of Moria, there were the elves who fought during the Battle of the Five Armies in The Hobbit. In addition, one of the appendices refers to battles that the elves of Lothlorien had with orcs that came out of Moria -- actions which prevented the enemy forces at Helm's Deep from being even larger. However, maybe their point is that the elves didn't join in with men during the fighting at Helm's Deep and at Minas Tirith as they had in earlier ages. That decision, though, was not related to their peaceful nature but to the realization that the age was now the age of men.
73 Saruman's army at Helm's Deep Orcs and hillmen Orcs only
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: In the book, the army at Helm's Deep is a mix of orcs and hillmen. The movie splits Saruman's forces. The hillmen are used by Saruman to attack the villages of the Rohirrim, but the army at Helm's Deep is made up of orcs. No hillmen are seen.
74 Devilry of Saruman There is an explosion, and Aragorn describes it as "devilry of Saruman." No visible description is given. The movie portrays the "devilry" as a set of bombs that are placed under the wall and then set off by a dying orc.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: The movie's portrayal of bombs is kind of consistent with Saruman's turn to technology. Aragorn later refers to it as "a blasting fire." The book does not describe how the "blasting fire" was used or how it worked.
75 Legolas surfing on a shield down the stairs Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is an "X Games" type modernization of the action. It was added in order to make the action more interesting for younger viewers. My rating on this difference goes back and forth between a 4 and a 1, but it is really over the top. It was more than I could take.
76 Erkenbrand In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
77 Eomer and Helm's Deep Eomer was inside of Helm's Deep. Gandalf went off to find Erkenbrand. Gandalf went off to find Eomer.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
78 The attack on the orc forces on the causeway Aragorn and Eomer go out a side door and walk on a pathway along the wall. Aragorn and Gimli go out the side door.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
79 Aragorn tosses Gimli Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: It was humorous in the first movie, but the screenwriters "went to the well once too often." The scene was inserted in a clumsy way, and it was obvious that it was out of place. It is a good thing that they didn't carry on the "tradition" in the third movie.
80 The idea to ride out from Helm's Deep to meet the Orcs The idea was Theoden's. The idea was Aragorn's.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: They transferred this to Aragorn and took away one more incident related to Theoden's leadership and heroism. Of course, in the book, there is plenty of time and plenty of events to make everyone a hero. The movie doesn't have that kind of time.
81 The attack on the army attacking Helm's Deep (1) Aragorn, Theoden and others ride out at the crack of dawn to attack the enemy at Helm's Deep. (2) Then everyone notices the trees. (3) The enemy cowers between the trees and Aragorn, Theoden, and the others who are riding forth. (4) Gandalf appears on Shadowfax. (5) Erkenbrand and his men run down the hill on foot and attack the forces surrounding Helm's Deep. (6) Gandalf and Erkenbrand's forces and Theoden's forces attack the enemies. (7) The enemy flee into the forest, and none of them are ever seen again. (1) Aragorn, Theoden and others ride out of Helm's Deep. (2) Gandalf and Eomer and his forces ride down the hill on horseback to attack the orc army at the crack of dawn. (3) The enemy flee toward the horizon.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: It would have been nice to see the forces attacking the orc army by running down hill on foot. It would be reminiscent of the Scottish forces when they were in battle with the English. The other thing to note about this is that in the movie Eomer's forces were riding down hill into a sea of spears, and Eomer's forces were light cavalry -- not the best units to attack spears. Not exactly the thing to do on a horse. The only reason Eomer can get away with it is that Gandalf timed his arrival with the rising of the sun. The sun blinded the orcs who raised their hands to cover their eyes. The horsemen were able to attack the orcs when the spears were raised as well.
82 Gandalf's sword, Glamdring Glows when orcs are near. Is never shown to glow.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affects the story
83 The rescue Theoden and Aragorn (and the Rohirrim) ride forth and drive the Orcs and Men back. The enemy is dismayed by the charge and doubt is entering their minds just as Gandalf and Erkenbrand arrive with a large force. The Orcs turn and run. Theoden and Aragorn ride forth into an overwhelming force. They are saved by the arrival of Gandalf and Eomer and a large force.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: The real point of this Difference is the difference of the effect of the charge of Aragorn and Theoden. In the book, the charge was at a point of desperation (just as in the movie), but the effect was much more positive in the book than in the movie. In the book, the charge of Aragorn and Theoden caused panic in the Orc/Man forces. The movie does not portray the enemy having any sense of panic.
84 Gimli's tally Gimli has a tally of 42. Gimli has a tally of 43.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: Gimli had one more than Legolas at Helm's Deep. This is the only time they compete.
85 Post-War Travel plans of Legolas and Gimli In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
Book 3, Chapter 8 - "The Road to Isengard"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
86 The trees (Huorns and Ents) at the end of the Battle of Helm's Deep In the book.  They are between Helm's Deep and the Isen. Not in the movie. In the movie.  They are much closer to Isengard than in the book.
Rating: 4 - affects the story.
 Comment 1: The film shows the orcs running away. In fact, it is most of the orc army. This sets up needless questions. Where did they go? Wouldn't they have caused problems later? But that's the question I always have when I read the book and I come to the point of Sauron's fall.
 Comment 2: The sequence in the book is different than in the movie. In the book, the defenders of Helm's Deep are assailed by a huge force of orcs and men. Then when things look their darkest, trees suddenly appear near the orc/human force. The orc/human force are fearful. It is then that the forces in Helm's Deep sally forth and those which come to help them (Erkenbrand and his forces along with Gandalf) sally forth and drive the orcs/humans into the trees, and no survivors or bodies were ever found. When the battle is over, Theoden and the men who were in Helm's Deep are surprised by the mysterious trees. So even though the Difference related to the trees (Huorns) appears in relation to this chapter, it is really a more complicated Difference which stretches over two chapters in the book.
 Comment 3: The Extended Edition has the scene where the orc army flees from Helm's Deep into a stand of trees where there is a lot of creaking and screaming.
87 Legolas sees the Ents and that the trees have eyes In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie.
Book 3, Chapter 9 - "Flotsam and Jetsam"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
88 Legolas sees the Ents and that the trees have eyes In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie.
89 The passing of the huorns toward Fangorn during the night In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
90 The cleansing of the Isen In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
91 When Merry and Pippin see Saruman's forces. After the Entmoot, Merry and Pippin see Saruman's forces leave Isengard when they are with Treebeard outside of the gates of Isengard. When Merry and Pippin are on their way to the Entmoot, they see Saruman's forces leave Isengard.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
92 The dam The Ents drive off or kill all the Orcs defending Isengard. Then they divert the River Isen. The Ents break down the dam in order to kill all the Orcs defending Isengard.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
93 Ent on fire The Ent Breechwood was burned, and the Ents become very angry. There is no mention of the fire being put out, so, presumably, Breechwood died as a result. An Ent is set on fire, but he puts himself out by dipping his head into the water from the dam.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
94 After Grima is expelled by Theoden, he makes his way to Isengard. Grima arrives after Isengard has been attacked by the Ents. He has to wade through chest-high water to get to Orthanc. Grima arrives before Isengard is attacked by the Ents.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment 1: This could actually be ranked as a 3. It would have been nice to have had Grima shocked by the state of Isengard after the Ent attack and to see him crawl into Ortanc like a wet rat. But this Difference isn't as important as other ones ranked as 3. It could also be ranked as a 4.
 Comment 2: This event is done in flashback in the book when Merry and Pippin relate what happened from their capture by the Orcs near Amon Hen to their reunion with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli at Isengard. In the movie, the event occurs soon after Grima leaves Edoras.
Book 3, Chapter 10 - "The Voice of Saruman"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
95 Theoden meets Merry and Pippin and calls them "holbytlan". Pippin says that Theoden is a fine old fellow. In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice
96 Theoden, Gandalf, and Company ride to Isengard In the book Moved to the third movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I am rating this only a 1, because it was included in the third movie.  This may not be a true difference, since the three volumes can be viewed as one book and the three movies could -- if stretched -- be viewed as a unit.
97 Theoden, Gandalf, and Company confront Saruman In the book Not in the 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.
 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.
98 The power of Saruman Gandalf warns everyone before the confrontation with Saruman that Saruman still has power. Gandalf tells everyone that Saruman has no power.
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, they did not include the confrontation with Saruman where his staff gets broken, nor did they include the Scouring of the Shire where Saruman gets killed. It was simpler for them to take away his powers in the script than have Gandalf do it.
 Comment 2: This event happened in the extended version of the third movie, "Return of the King".
99 Wormtongue tries to hit Gandalf (or Saruman) with the Palantir In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 3 - would have been nice.
 Comment 1: In the theatrical version of RotK, the Palantir is suddenly laying in the water.
 Comment 2: This event happened in the extended version of the third movie, "Return of the King" -- kind of. Saruman drops it when Wormtongue stabs him in the back.
100 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 happened in the third movie, "Return of the King".
Book 3, Chapter 11 - "The Palantir"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
101 Pippin and the Palantir (1): Where the event occurs, part 1 In the book, this event occurs in an encampment between Isengard and Helm's Deep. Moved to the third movie.  The event occurs at Edoras.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
102 Pippin and 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". I reference the same difference on the TTT Differences page.
103 Pippin and 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: This event happened in the second volume, "The Two Towers".
104 Pippin and the Palantir (4) Pippin wakes up the whole encampment with his screams. The men around Pippin remain asleep when Gandalf bursts in to save Pippin.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
105 The Nazgul flies overhead In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This change affects the story, because the fly-over of the Nazgul on its way to Orthanc 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: This event was not included in the third movie, "Return of the King".
106 Gandalf tells everyone to get to Minas Tirith as soon as possible In the book Not in the movie
Rating: - affects the story
 Comment 1: Gandalf tells Aragorn to get everyone to Minas Tirith. Since this is not included in the story, the screenwriters 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".
107 Pippin's conversation with Gandalf on Shadowfax In the book Not in the movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This event was not included in the third movie, "Return of the King".
Book 4, Chapter 1 - "The Taming of Smeagol"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
108 Frodo falls Frodo falls down a slope when not using the elven rope, but he doesn't fall down when using the rope. Frodo falls down a slope when using the elven rope.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The extended edition shows the rope unfastening itself from above. It was nice to see.
109 The Hobbits tie an elven rope on Gollum The rope is tied on his ankle The rope is tied around his neck
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This change makes the Hobbits look sadistic and mean.
Book 4, Chapter 2 - "The Passage of the Marshes"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
110 Gollum leads Frodo and Sam across the Marshes At night. During the day.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: See Difference #111.
111 Frodo/Sam falls into the Dead Marsh Sam actually falls down to his hands and knees in the mud and sees dead things in the marsh Frodo falls into the water and barely escapes
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
 Comment: The screenwriters reversed this event (between Sam and Frodo). They do another switcheroo later when they have Sam slide down into a pit rather than Frodo.  See Difference #110.
112 Frodo offers lembas to Gollum. Gollum spits it out. In the book Not in the movie. In the movie.
Rating: 3 - would have been nice to have been in the movie
113 Gollum sings a song about fish At the border of the Emyn Muil. At the Forbidden Pool beneath Henneth Annun.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
114 Sam overhears Gollum's debate between Slinker and Stinker Before they reach the Black Gate. After the Hobbits move south into Ithilien.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
115 Gollum refers to a "She" Sam overhears Gollum before they reach the Black Gate. Gollum mentions "She" out of the hearing of the Hobbits.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 4, Chapter 3 - "The Black Gate is Closed"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
116 Orc patrols in front of the Black Gate In the book. Not in the movie.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
117 Sam or Frodo slides into a pit near the Gate of Mordor Frodo slides into a pit where he cannot be seen from the gate. Sam slides down near the road that leads to the Gate of Mordor and is nearly detected.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The screenwriters reversed this event (between Sam and Frodo). They did another switcheroo earlier when they have Frodo fall into the water in the Dead Marshes. See Difference #108.
118 Frodo, Sam, and Gollum view the Black Gate From a depression. From the top of an ash heap.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
119 Frodo attempts to go to the Black Gate. Frodo talks about going to the Gate, but Gollum offers another way. Frodo has to be restrained by Sam and Gollum after he physically attempts to go to the Gate.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This could be linked to the attempt to show the Hobbits as being strategically-challenged, i.e. "dumb, which certainly seems to be the pattern with how all of the Hobbits are portrayed.
120 Nazgul's eyesight during the day On Weathertop, Frodo asks Aragorn about whether the Nazgul can see during the day. Aragorn says that they cannot see during the day. The Nazgul seem to be able to see day or night.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I place this difference here because of Gollum's fear in the movie that the Nazgul are going to see them -- when the light conditions were not that dark.
Book 4, Chapter 4 - "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
121 Conies Sam asks Gollum to find some food fit for Frodo and Sam. He comes back with conies. Gollum brings the conies to Frodo and Sam without being asked.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
122 Gollum brings the conies Sam takes the conies and begins preparations to cook them. Gollum brings the conies, but Gollum attempts to eat one of them raw and Sam grabs it from him.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: The screenwriters were probably attempting to re-emphasize that Gollum ate his food raw. This is a minor thing.
123 Sam sees an oliphaunt Sam sees the oliphaunt from a tree. Sam sees the oliphaunt from the ground.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
124 The life of a dead Southron Sam wonders what kind of life a dead Southron had. Faramir wonders what kind of life a dead Southron had.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: This seems out of place for Faramir who views the Southrons as enemies.
125 Arrows and the oliphaunts Arrows do not stick into the hide of the oliphaunt. Arrows stick into the hide of the oliphaunt.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: Not sure what this "bought" the filmmakers. They use this later in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.
126 Frodo and Sam are captured by Faramir and his men The capture occurs before Faramir and his men attack the southron men and the oliphaunt The capture occurs after Faramir and his men attack the southron men and the oliphaunt
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
127 Frodo is questioned by Faramir Frodo is questioned by Faramir in the woods of Ithilien. Then Frodo and Faramir have a discussion on the way to Henneth Annun. Then Frodo is questioned again by Faramir in Henneth Annun. Frodo is questioned by Faramir in Henneth Annun.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
Book 4, Chapter 5 - "The Window on the West"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
128 Boromir and the Council of Elrond Boromir insisted on going to the Council of Elrond. Not dealt with in the theatrical version. Boromir was told by Denethor to go to Rivendell.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
 Comment: This point is made clear in the first volume of the book, but it isn't dealt with until the second movie.
129 Boromir and the Ring Boromir did not know what Isildur's Bane was until the Council of Elrond. Not dealt with in the theatrical version. Boromir knew about the Ring as did Denethor and Faramir.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story.
130 Faramir's portrayal in the screenplay Faramir says that he should take Frodo to see Denethor, guesses that Frodo is carrying Isildur's Bane, states that does not want to take Isildur's Bane from Frodo, and he decides to let Frodo go on his journey. Faramir sees the Ring and is sorely tempted to take it for himself and for Gondor and decides to take Frodo to Denethor.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This change to the Tolkien story is one of the most disgusting of all of the changes. It nearly turned my stomach to see how Faramir's character was twisted and destroyed.
 Comment 2: Many may not understand why others reacted to the change to Faramir like they did. Faramir was one of my favorite characters in the book. Faramir was intended by Tolkien to be a poignant character. He had the qualities to be a very good ruler of Minas Tirith (in spite of Denethor's opinion of him). The poignancy comes when Faramir realized that Aragorn was the rightful king -- he had Numenor blood in his veins, and he (Faramir) would probably lose his position. Of course, Aragorn rewarded Faramir at the end by retaining him as Steward and appointing him as ruler of Ithilien.
 Comment 3: The main reason that the screenwriters made this change was to simplify the story by making sure that the viewers understood the power of the Ring. If there were any -- including Gandalf, Galadriel, Aragorn, and Faramir -- who could take the Ring without the evil influence of the Ring having immediate effects, then it undercut the very evilness of the Ring. Tolkien was more subtle in his writings. The evil influence of the Ring may have started right away, but it did not necessarily instantly turn the possessor into evil as soon as the Ring was taken possession. In the book, Gandalf was able to handle the Ring, but he refused Frodo's offer of ownership of it. Galadriel did the same. Gollum, Bilbo, and Frodo surprised everyone by how they resisted the power of the Ring over them for as long as they did. Boromir showed his weakness of character by succumbing to its influence. Faramir showed his strength of character by being able to resist it. However, it is understandable that the screenwriters would take the route that they took. It would be difficult to visually portray this subtle point of Tolkien's and still have time to show all of the other great things that they did.
 Comment 4: A secondary reason for the change to Faramir's portrayal was that his character could then have the ability to grow in the third film when he is under the constant criticism of Denethor.
131 Gollum at the Forbidden Pool Faramir takes Frodo to view the Forbidden Pool. Sam follows. Faramir takes Frodo to view the Forbidden Pool. Sam remains sleeping.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Part of the distortion of Faramir's character.
132 Gollum and Faramir's men Gollum is captured and treated well. Gollum is captured and beaten and kicked.
Rating: 4 - doesn't affect the overall story.
133 Faramir finds out that Frodo has the Ring Sam lets it slip to Faramir that Frodo has the Ring. This happens before Gollum is captured at the Forbidden Pool. Faramir finds out that Frodo has the Ring during his interrogation of Gollum.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Part of the distortion of Faramir's character.
134 Faramir's interrogation of Gollum Frodo is present. Frodo is not present.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
135 Faramir sees the Ring Faramir does not want to see the Ring. Faramir sees the Ring and pull it out from under Frodo's shirt with his sword.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: Part of the distortion of Faramir's character.
Book 4, Chapter 6 - "The Forbidden Pool"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
136 The Captain of the Nazgul rides forth with his army In 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.
137 Mordor cavalry In 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.
138 Sauron's forces attack Osgiliath The attack on Osgiliath occurs in volume 3 after 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 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.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: Part of the action related to this event was moved to the third movie.
 Comment 2: During the movie scene of the attack on Osgiliath, Sam says to Frodo, "We're not supposed to be here, Mr. Frodo." All I can say is, "You got that right!"
139 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? Or (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. The Two Towers: Extended Edition straightens some of 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.
 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.
140 Hovering Nazgul to whom Frodo offers the Ring Not in the book. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This is a silly addition to the story. Do you think that a creature that big could hover like a hummingbird? I don't.
Book 4, Chapter 7 - "Journey to the Cross-Roads"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
141 Statue of a huge sitting figure with the severed head crowned with flowers In the book Not 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.
Book 4, Chapter 8 - "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
142 Gollum attempts to turn Frodo against Sam Not in the book In the movie
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment 1: This event would have happened in the second volume, "The Two Towers", but it was moved to the third movie.
 Comment 2: This 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.
143 The stairs of Cirith Ungol In the book Moved to the third movie
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
 Comment: I am rating this a 1, since it was moved to the third movie.  This may not be a true difference, since the three volumes can be viewed as one book and the three movies could -- if stretched -- be viewed as a unit.
144 Sam's statement about being in a story In volume 2, when Sam and Frodo were outside of Shelob's Lair at the top of the Stairs of Cirith Ungol. In the second movie, when they are hiking through the Ithilien woods on their way to Minas Morgul.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the overall story
145 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. In the movie.
Rating: 4 - affects the story
 Comment: This event was moved to the third movie.
146 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.
Book 4, Chapter 9 - "Shelob's Lair"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
147 Shelob's Lair Pitch black. They have to feel around with their hands. Not very dark.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: Moved to the third movie.
148 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.
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.
 Comment 2: Moved to the third movie.
149 Sam and Gollum Sam and Gollum fight. Gollum flees. Sam and Gollum fight. Gollum flees, and Gollum falls over a cliff.
Rating: 1 - doesn't affect the story
 Comment: Moved to the third movie.
Book 4, Chapter 10 - "The Choices of Master Samwise"
THE DIFFERENCES
THE BOOK
THE MOVIE
Theatrical Release
THE MOVIE
Extended Version
150 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.
   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.
   Greg Bressler, Helmer Aslaksen, Phil Boswell, Simon Bramwell, Earl Canares, Martin Christen, Greg Coates, Jason Etheridge, Gerrit Gielen, Joel Grimes, Benjamin Henry, Paul Holt, Jordi Kroon, Brian McBurney, Jay Ribak, Sforza Ricci, Tobias Robison, Stuart Tewksbury, Matt Tolbert, Doug Williams.

Sites that may be of interest:

  • ign.com on LotR
  • The Encyclopedia of Arda
  • The Seat of Kings - TTT Theatrical Release Script
  • 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 email me at:
    Gary's Home Page