The Lord of the Rings prequel series, The Rings of Power, will begin streaming on September 2, and excitement is at an all-time high. Fans know that the series covers several stories outlined in a variety of JRR Tolkien’s works and will take place centuries before the events of Frodo and the Ring. However, fans still disagree about how much the series should adhere to Tolkien’s canon or whether adding details or cutting them out is acceptable.
But changes to Tolkien’s works are nothing new. The Lord of the Rings novels are known for following multiple storylines, each with its twists and turns. When it came to making the movies, not all of these twists could fit, and they had to be cut. While fans often criticize removing a canon plot point from Tolkien’s works, the films may have been better off without some of these twists from the books.
Tom Bombadil’s Rescue
Shortly after they first left the Shire, the four hobbits found themselves prey to an old Willow tree that tried to pull them down below its roots. But before all was lost, a strange man named Tom Bombadil appeared and rescued them. He brought them to his home, fed them, and then sent them on their way.
The twist was that shortly after this when the hobbits found themselves in even more trouble with a Barrow-wight. Frodo thought they were doomed, Tom Bombadil appeared yet again. Nobody expects the same rescuer to appear twice, and the surprise caused readers to both sigh in relief and chuckle. However, the little plot twist would have felt repetitive and confusing in a film.
Aragorn Reforging His Sword
Shortly after meeting Frodo in the books, Aragon says that he carries around the fragments of his ancestor’s sword. Once he had delivered Frodo to Rivendell, Aragorn decided the time had come to reforge the blade. He revealed the fresh blade once the Fellowship left, and for the first time, Frodo saw Aragorn as the king he was.
This twist in the book showed that Aragorn had always known his destiny and that he was proud to begin his journey back to the throne. However, the movies portrayed Aragorn as a character reluctant to be king. Overall, this version was more appealing to audiences, so removing his original twist was likely one of the best changes the LoTR movies could make.
Glorfindel Saving The Day
After the Witch-King stabbed Frodo, Aragorn had limited time to get him to Rivendell. His strength was failing, and he kept passing back and forth between the veil of reality. Finally, just as everyone was about to give up hope, an elf named Glorfindel appeared and used his strength and speed to deliver Frodo to Rivendell before all was lost.
Of course, this twist technically made it to the movies, but with Arwen saving the day in the knick of time instead. Glorfindel did not appear in the films, much to the disappointment of fans who considered him the coolest character of LotR. However, cutting out his twist appearance and replacing it with Arwen allowed the film to give her some development, as she had very few lines or important moments in the books.
The Story Of Beren And Lúthien
The story of Beren and Lúthien is mentioned a few times in the Lord of the Rings books. Aragorn tells the hobbits the tale, and they found it to be a tragic and beautiful love story, but what they did not know was that the story was about Aragorn’s ancestors and that it paralleled his romance with Arwen.
In the story, a man falls in love with an elf woman who chooses to live a mortal life to remain with her love after several heartbreaks and tragedies. The reveal that Aragorn was also in love with an elf woman and the fact that Beren and Lúthien were both Aragorn and Arwen’s ancestors was a great twist. But the story was also a lengthy one, and there would have been no time to fit it into the film with the same level of impact.
Merry’s Unlikely Bond
One major twist of the book was the unlikely relationship between King Theoden and Merry. Theoden had very little understanding of hobbits before he met Merry and Pippin, but Merry was happy to tell him everything he needed to know. When Theoden died, he told Merry that he considered him a son, and Merry wept over his body.
While this relationship was touching, it took away from the depth of Theoden’s relationship with Eowyn. In the movies, Eowyn was the one who was told that she was like Theoden’s child and who sobbed over his body. Since Eowyn had finally had a chance to prove herself, it made for a much more touching scene.
Eowyn Falling In Love
In both the books and the movies, Eowyn falls in love with Aragorn. However, since Aragorn’s heart remained with Arwen, he could not give Eowyn the companionship she was looking for. This broke her heart but did not stop her from riding into battle and fulfilling her destiny to defeat the Nazgûl Witch King.
Eowyn came close to death after her battle in the book. As Faramir was also recovering from his injuries, the two spent a lot of time around each other. They very quickly fell in love and ended up getting married. There was undoubtedly some romance to this plot twist, but jumping so promptly from loving one man to another did not seem believable. The LotR movies made some unnecessary changesbut this was not one of them.
Aragorn’s Prophesy Fulfilled
After the Battle of Pelennor Fields, Aragorn did not wish to enter the city of Minas Tirith, as the time had not yet come for him to claim his throne. However, when he heard of Faramir, Merry, and Eowyn’s dire health, he rushed in to help. As Aragorn began to miraculously heal the injured, the people of Gondor remembered a prophecy that stated that the rightful king would have the hands of the healer. Thus, Aragorn was revealed to the people of Gondor.
Neither Aragorn’s healing abilities nor the twist prophecy that would reveal him to his people made it into the movies. Ultimately, this scene did not fit with the exiled prince’s reluctance to take the throne in the film. Aragorn’s dramatic return was a great one canon event in the Lord of the Rings booksbut it was better left off the screen.
The Scouring Of The Shire
After Frodo destroyed the Ring, and Aragorn was crowned King, it was time for the hobbits to return to the Shire. However, when they got there, they were surprised to find that much of the beautiful countryside had been industrialized, all for the benefit of Saruman. The hobbits, led chiefly by Pippin, rose against the men who took over their home, and a battle ensued.
The twist that Frodo’s conflict was not over and that more would still have to be done to return to his peaceful life was a surprising one. The plot seemed like an afterthought to the story’s central conflict, even in the book, and the twist would have been more out of place in the movie. Returning to a home untouched by the war made Frodo’s journey feel even more surreal, to significant effect.
Grima’s Betrayal Of Saruman
In the books, Treebeard guarded Saruman until the war’s end. When he was released, he and Grima went to the only place they expected to still have any power, the Shire. However, they did not get a chance to enjoy this power for long as the heroic hobbits soon arrived home.
After defeating Saruman’s men, the hobbits were ready to take on the wizard himself, no matter the cost. But before they had the chance, Grima became enraged with Saruman and murdered him. A version of this twist ending for Saruman was included in a deleted scene from Return of the King, but did not make the final cut of the movie. This was a wise choice as it allowed audiences to focus on the true villain of the series, Sauron.
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