TORn's The Two Towers Pragmatic Observations List

Updated 1/28/07

(double asterisk items ** are from the extended dvd)

  The Lord of the Rings Observations Lists - inspired by the films of Peter Jackson

by the Discussion Board Members of (TORn)

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Film was released on December 18, 2002


1.        Chapter titles within the film are Treebeard, Helm's Deep, The Uruk-hai, Riders of Rohan; and from the soundtrack are The Taming of Sméagol, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits, The White Rider, The King of the Golden Hall, The Passage of the Marshes, The Black Gate is Closed, The Window on the West and The Forbidden Pool, The Old Forest (from The Fellowship of the Ring).  Also, the DVD chapter name 'The Evenstar' appears in both FotR and TTT.




2.        When Frodo and Sam reach the first mountain peak at the opening, you can see the River Anduin far below.  You can also see the river below The Hunters as they reach the mountain peaks.  They are on separate sides of the river... as they should be.

3.        Frodo's carrying a black bag (water bag?) on his right side as they climb up the mountain (just after his dream sequence), then Sam's carrying it for him later when they smell the nasty bog.  Ever helpful Sam.

4.        When Frodo and Sam stop climbing and Sam is saying, "Mordor.  The one place...", he's carrying his pack slung over his right shoulder.  It's the only time he's carried it that way.

5.        Frodo frantically tries to put the Fing back inside his shirt when Gollum jumps him again after kicking Sam.

6.        Gollum jumps up off Sam's back and onto the stone wall face so he can get higher and leaps over to Frodo.

7.        Gollum has 3 sharpened lower teeth and 6 upper teeth, comprised of 4 incisors, one bicuspid & one ground-down molar (both on his upper left).

8.        The moon appears as a crescent during the Taming of Sméagol, and is full at the forbidden pool--both as they should be.

9.        Gollum plays on Frodo's compassion/pity and changes his tactic from screaming and writhing on the ground (making noise Sam was trying to stop) to pleading pathetically.

10.     Some of the scars and moles on Gollum are copied from those found on the Weta artists (their own precious gob of... imperfections).

11.     Frodo is holding sting in left hand when he threatens Gollum.  He needed his right hand free to nab Gollum.  The scene exactly matches a sketch done years ago by Alan Lee.




12.     Andy Serkis plays Gollum and voices the spoken words by the 3 Uruk-hai and Orcs at "man flesh" and the Witch-king.




13.     There is always the loud, low pounding sound in Isengard... industry's heartbeat.

14.     When one of the Uruk-hai is born, it's deformed.  It has no eyes, ears or nose.  The Orcs check others to make sure everything's there.

15.     Éothain, who is sent by his mother (Morwen) to alert Edoras of the village attack, is (in the book) the name of one of Éomer's riders who challenges his decision to help the Hunters.

16.     There is a stool to the left of Théoden's throne that is brought around to his right and used first by Gríma when the Fellowship arrives and then by Gandalf.

17.     Théodred's suit of armour is in the background on a stand. This looks much like Théoden's armour as it is shown in RotK in the tent scene with Elrond.




18.     On the wideshot of the Dead Marshes, you can see Gollum leading Sam and Frodo in the center of the screen. Look for a crescent moon shape of water with a larger pool just to the left of it. There's a strip of soil between them, and that's where our travelers are.

19.     Gollum has a small pouch on his right hip, threaded through the string of his loincloth, first quite visible in the rope removal scene.  In some scenes, you can see a bone sticking out of it and also a fishhook threaded through the pouch. 

20.     Sam sleeps with his pots and pan next to his head.

21.     The thrumming sound is getting louder (in Frodo's head) and the Ring seems to be singing to him until he's distracted by Gollum.

22.     Gollum’s poem about ‘Cold be heart and hand and bone. . .’ is from the barrow-wights in FotR.




23.     When the riders have passed the three hunters, Éomer (riding at the head) holds his spear and points it to the left to signal the riders to turn and encircle the intruders (they move in unison like a flock of birds). 

24.     There is no actual verbal order from Éomer for his fighters to lower their weapons. Instead, he removes his helmet and exposes his head, thus giving the sign that he trusts these strangers not to harm him.

25.     Engraved around the rim of Éomer's helmet it says, 'This helmet belongs to Éomer, son of Éomund.  May he ride forth in valor,' written in Rohirric.

26.     The sunburst emblem is on the front of Éomer's helmet is the same design that's on Théoden's cloak clasp.

27.     Éomer calls to Hasufel and Arod and they come immediately and unassisted. It shows the love and connection between the men of the Mark and their horses.

28.     Legolas says "Hilo hyn hîdh ab 'wanath." Which means, "May they find peace after death" -he thinks the hobbits have died.

29.     There are Rohan helmets lined up at the edge of Fangorn forest.




30.     There are drag marks on the ground in front of the other door at the Black Gate.

31.     There's a line of runes or lettering on the seam of the Easterlings' helmets along the cheekbone region.

32.     The rock Frodo is leaning up against when Gollum brings the coneys is the same one they build their fire in front of.  Frodo's coat is thrown onto the rock while they're cooking (last time we see it).




33.     Gimli has FIVE axes, two throwing axes, one double-sided axe, one little axe, and one walking stick/all-purpose axe.

34.     You can see the endless stair to the right of where Gandalf and the Balrog are fighting.

35.     When fighting the Balrog on the mountain top, Gandalf holds Glamdring up to receive a lightening bolt before he deals the fatal blow.

36.     The flesh between the Balrog's wing spines is burned away when fighting Gandalf on the tower.

37.     The Balrog's fire goes out before it hits the side of the mountain.

38.     The imprint of the Balrog is in the snow where it had fallen on Gandalf.  You can see Gandalf is crawling where the full torso fell on him and even a wing imprint in the snow.

39.     You can see burning houses (smoke is trailing off) in the far distance when the 3 hunters and Gandalf are riding to Edoras.  They are passing a great lake and on the other shore the houses are burning (possibly the same houses as we see earlier when the village is attacked).




40.     When Éowyn looks out over Rohan and the flag rips away and falls at Aragorn's feet - if you look closely you see that the other flags have already ripped away.  Another sign of the decay of Théoden under Wormtongue.  Also that last flag being ripped away is a good visual of the last hope of Rohan being gone.

41.     The shields of Rohan has a symbol that almost looks like a compass or sunburst. That same emblem is over the main doors of Edoras, on Théoden's brooch, on the shields, on the tapestries behind Théoden's throne... it's everywhere! The banners have the white horse.




42.     Gandalf obviously knows Háma as he smiles when they see each other.  But Háma remains very formal, albeit cynical, when he speaks of Gríma's orders.  Háma pauses in apparent disgust has he tells Gandalf and company that by "orders of ... Gríma Wormtongue" the travelers have to be disarmed.

43.     The arm rests on Théoden's throne have the horse heads on their front. There are little warriors carved on the back of Théoden's throne above the arms, leaning on their swords, resemble the Argonath.




44.     The weave of Gandalf's cloak when they enter Meduseld is like the Fellowship's cloaks, but of a different style (more of a wrap than a cloak).

45.     Théoden's sword hilt has the shape of two horse heads facing each other (so does Éowyn's).  The two carven horses facing one another on the quillon of Herugrim - Théoden's sword. They are carven exactly like the horse heads on the top of the pillars in Meduseld.

46.     The large bowls on stands throughout Meduseld (two are on either side of Théoden's throne) are lit with fire to bring warmth and light into the room, whereas they are unlit when Gríma is in charge.

47.     There are many questions about identity.  Gandalf, Théoden, Gollum all search their memories to remember (or question) who they are.

48.     Théodred is buried with his helmet placed at his feet, holding his sword and also holding simbelmyne in his hands.

49.     Théodred's bier is made of shields lying across two long spears.

50.     There are seven mounds of the kings of Rohan on one side, and nine on the other; and they are outside the entrance to Edoras (as described in the book).

51.     When Gimli burps his beer, Háma can be seen smiling in the background in a shot where everyone should be grave.




52.     In Théodred's room there is a small wooden chest embossed with gold sitting on the cupboard in the background. In the hall when Éowyn is swinging her sword around, the same chest appears again, on a table.

53.     Shadowfax's stall is like a palace in the stables with a beautiful gate. 

54.     The stables of Edoras are adorned with beautifully carved pillars, stalls, and beams (images of running horses around the pillars).

55.     As Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli follow Gandalf to the stables, Legolas is carrying his quiver of arrows and bow which he must have just retrieved from the door warden.

56.     When Gandalf the Grey walked, he was stooped and at times walked with some effort.  Gandalf the White feigns feebleness at the doors of Meduseld, yet strides upright and with vigor as he's walking to the stables.

57.     A league equals approximately 3 miles.  [From <i>The Atlas of Middle-earth</i> by Karen Wynn Fonstad.]

58.     Aragorn's pipe in his belt when he and Éowyn spar with sword and dagger.




59.     The Orc that oversees the wargs (Jed Brophy) is also the one that Aragorn fights and then tells how Aragorn fell (he's got straps or metal strips on the top front of his head.  The metal strips the orc wears are a crude piece of reconstructive surgery.  The gashes on his face are a Wargs scratch marks, the price you pay for keeping pets in Middle-earth.




60.     Every time Aragorn is with Arwen, he speaks of dreams.  Arwen always speaks of hope.

61.     Nearly every time someone says "Hope" in a scene with Aragorn, the camera cuts right to Aragorn--who is also named "Estel", which is "hope."

62.     The conversation between Elrond and Aragorn in TTT takes place at Gilraen's grave - the statue is visible to the left of the screen, behind Aragorn.




63.     When Sam is talking about potatoes, he says, "boil them, mash them, put them in a stew," it is the song the trolls sing in the old Hobbit cartoon while deciding how to eat Bilbo and the Dwarves.

64.     When Sam and Sméagol are arguing, Frodo goes over to Sam's pack to get some plates.

65.     When Sam and Frodo see the Oliphaunts, the beasts aren't painted for war or wearing the spikes and barb between their tusks.

66.     When Faramir's men capture the hobbits, their packs are back at their camp.  Frodo loses his pack and coat.  The men are carrying Sam's pack and their swords as they march Frodo and Sam through the woods.

67.     The shields of Gondor have trees with leaves on them, and the White Tree symbol worn by Faramir, Aragorn, etc. are without leaves!  When they lost their king and the tree withered, Gondor must have changed the symbol while the Stewards ruled.

68.     The map only shows the cities involved with the film in larger, dark print.  Done so non-readers won't be confused with too many locations on the map.




69.     Arod whinnies an alert when Gimli falls/jumps off.

70.     Legolas managed to kill the Warg riding towards Gimli so quickly by shooting it through BOTH eyes.   (the tip of the arrow is clearly visible), causing instant death.

71.     There is a small dagger strapped to Aragorn's scabbard.

72.     There's a coat of arms over the main hall entrance of Helm's Deep.




73.     In the books, Brego was not a horse, but "the second king of Rohan, son of Eorl the young"

74.     The wall hanging in Arwen's room is of the Two Trees in Valinor - which neither she nor Elrond would have ever seen, but surely would know about.  There's also a small elven ship low in the picture between the two trees.




75.     **Boromir serves the celebratory drinks of ale to Faramir... honouring his brother. 

76.     **The same music is being played when Denethor is talking with Boromir about the Ring as when Boromir is trying to take the Ring from Frodo.

77.     Sam refers to Orodruin (named Mt. Doom by the people of Gondor) as The Mountain of Fire (called that by Shirelings and is one of the variations of the name Fire-mountain or Firey Mountain in Westron). 

78.     During Gollum's interrogation by Faramir he is huddling to the wall with his back to Faramir. When Frodo pushes away Faramir's sword he assumes the same position huddled against the wall.

79.     When Faramir tells his lieutenant "prepare to leave," the Ring sighs.  It wants to go to Osgiliath.




80.     In Arwen's vision of Aragorn's tomb, he's lying with Narsil in his hand and Boromir's bracers on his arms, he is still wearing the ring of Barahir, and his tunic is bordered with silver prints of the White Tree!

81.     At Aragorn’s deathbed scene, his crown has small bird-wings above the ears -- quite subtle, unlike most of the illustrations of Gondorian winged helmets.

82.     When we see Arwen leaving Rivendell, she is wearing a brooch with a green gem in the middle of it.  It appears to be a great bird of some sort with its wings spread.  Could this possibly be the Elfstone, that Galadriel gives him in the gift-giving scene from the book.  It is described in the book as a brooch of an eagle with outstretched wings, with a stone of clear green in the middle. 




83.     Aragorn loses his quiver and bow/pack when he falls from the cliff.  He still has on his cloak, but removes it when checking the ramparts with Théoden.

84.     When Aragorn sees Saruman's army marching, you can see the dark storm clouds behind them.

85.     During the horse and rider speech of Théoden's, the tables are set as though they were about to eat (or have eaten hastily).  Later, Legolas knocks one of the tables over so that he can barricade the door with it.

86.     Mike Horton (editor for TT) has a cameo as the Sword Sharpener at Helm's Deep when Théoden is making his "horse and rider" speech.

87.     Haleth at Helms Deep is Philippa Boyen's son.  The boy standing next to him before Aragorn speaks to them is Viggo's son, Henry (Hank).

88.     Haldir has a finger guard on the first and second fingers of his right hand - to prevent from bow-string chafing.




89.     The inside of Théoden's armour has a royal emblem to keep Hill in character.

90.     The elves man the wall while Théoden's men man the wall above the causeway and the Keep.

91.     In the prologue of FotR when the orcs charge at the Elves, it shows Elrond waiting at the front line, he gives orders, and Elves behind him shoot right beside the front line's heads. You can see the arrows swooping by and blowing up the wind in Elrond's hair.  The same tactic is used at Helm's Deep.




92.     The Ents stand in a circle around Merry & Pippin when Treebeard tells them the Ents cannot hold back this storm.

93.     Pippin used to fasten his cloak under his scarf, but since he lost his elven-brooch, he fastens it above this scarf.

94.     Treebeard is shivering with anger as the other Ents break through the tree line to join him.




95.     All of the White Hands seen on the Uruk's armour are left-hand prints - whereas the ones on the Uruk banners are right hand prints.  Some of the shields are carried upside-down.

96.     An elf is the first of the defenders to fall at the Battle of Helm's Deep.

97.     There is a line of Elves behind the walls firing arrows up and over the walls at the beginning of Helms Deep. Later, after the wall blows up, these Elves are the ones who fire at and charge the Orcs to keep them from getting inside.

98.     The ladders are the exact correct height for the walls.  Information gained from Wormtongue?

99.     The children that we see before the king and Aragorn make the counter-assault right before Gandalf appears are the same children we saw in FotR listening to Bilbo's story about the three trolls (The have close-ups in other shots).  They are Peter and Fran's children.

100.  Many of the black uniform Haradrim are holding their bows backwards!

101.  We can hear the Orc with the iron collar, who notches Gimli's axe in the book. "17! 18! 19! 20! TWENTY-ONE! *CLANG!*  Gimli's hit that guy twice. When we see the shield wall, you can hear the axe swing again.

102.  The Uruks are using crossbows because they're shooting up. Crossbows don't work well shooting down, but bows do no good shooting at that angle upwards. The arrows are so powerful, some Elves get thrown off the wall! Another example (along with the explosives) of how Saruman's troops have more advanced weapons than the defenders.

103.  Saruman's bomb is made of two parts. The gunpowder is at the bottom while the detonator component is at the top (Saruman was pouring the powder into the top). The explosion of the top part leads to a bigger explosion at the bottom- that's why the wall explodes outwards.

104.  Gandalf has known the secret to gunpowder all along, while Saruman has just discovered it and uses it with evil intentions.  Unlike Saruman, Gandalf mixes this explosive mix into his fireworks to entertain the people of Middle-earth.

105.  The shield Legolas uses as a surfboard has the same shape as the one that pins Aragorn to the tree at the end of FotR (Aragorn's fight with Lurtz).  It is an Uruk-hai shield, which is bowed, with no raised ornamentation, and with spikes on one end.

106.  Saruman's 'engineers' are wearing the pikemen helmets.  They're slapping the giant crossbows, raising the ladders, etc.

107.  There are barrels of arrows behind the wall so that the archers can grab them when their quivers run out or can grab them for quicker shots. You can see them when the Elven archers first bring up their bows.

108.  You can hear, "Heave! Heave!" behind Legolas as he pulls them up. The rope is also straight behind him- the Rohirrim are helping.

109.  When they all retreat to the Keep, Legolas continues to shoot arrows. The sound of his arrows is among the last things we hear in that scene.  Legolas is firing arrow after arrow as he runs to the inner gate.




110.  **You can see Minas Tirith in the distance when Faramir and his men look down on Osgiliath.

111.  Osgiliath is attacked and burning the same time Helm's Deep is attacked.




112.  When they're waiting for the Uruk-hai to break through at their last stand (after bracing the door with benches and tables), Legolas is standing ready with his bow and arrow waiting to shoot.

113.  When Aragorn tells Théoden that they should ride out to meet them... it's exactly what Gandalf had told Théoden to do from the beginning.

114.  The last line by Gimli in both movies so far has been an emphatic and enthusiastic "Yeeesssss!!!!"

115.  Nine ride out to charge the Uruk-hai; Théoden, Aragorn, Legolas, another elf, and four of Théoden's guards/lieutenants in green cloaks (one must be Gamling) and a banner bearer.

116.  Gandalf, Éomer and the Rohirrim MUST hear the Horn of Helm Hammerhand across the fields as they race to the defense.

117.  When the Rohirrim charge down the hill and the sunlight breaks on the orcs faces at the last moment (effectively the Rohirrim and Gandalf use it as a weapon), it is exactly timed against Saruman saying, "There will be no dawn for men."

118.  Gandalf is not holding Glamdring when he charges and fights the Uruk-hai.  He only uses his staff.

119.  **Legolas is wearing a Gondorian sword at his side after the Battle of Helm's Deep.




120.  During the Storming of Isengard scene, one of the Ents has a troll or large orc in his hand and he uses it as a club against the other Orcs.

121.  Some of the Ents are throwing boulders against the base of Orthanc.

122.  When the water is rushing the Ents, Treebeard reaches up like he's trying to shield the hobbits.




123.  On the barrels of Longbottom leaf that Merry and Pip find at Isengard, you can see the words "Longbottom Leaf" at the top of the label.  You can also make out an "h" and an "er" at the very bottom as well -- that would be the remains of the name "Hornblower" (there's a picture of a horn right above it), the family that the book mentions grew that particular leaf.




124.  As Faramir and the captives arrive in Osgiliath, one of the guards behind Frodo is clearly carrying Sting (not both swords, as earlier) even as they run through the fighting.

125.  Just when Frodo is overcome by the Ring and cannot hear, Sam is saying, "We'll get through this together, just as we've always done."

126.  Even though he's falling under the influence of the Ring, Frodo is able to warn that the Nazgûl are approaching Osgiliath.  "They're here.  They've come."  When he does, you can't hear the fighting anymore... just the slow beat of the Nazgûl's wings.  Frodo's disconnected and is overpowered by the Ring and Nazgûl's presence.

127.  When the Ringwraith flies over Osgiliath you can see the broken bridge! That was from the battle the previous June where Boromir and Faramir fought right before the dream which started everything.

128.  Men are cowering as the Nazgûl flies overhead, but Sam is undaunted.

129.  As Sam is racing up the stair to stop Frodo, men are passing him on their way down.

130.  Sam lifts Frodo up off the ground in Osgiliath the same way Aragorn lifts Sam up outside Moria. "On your feet, Sam."  In other words... buck up... you can do this!

131.  Osgiliath can be seen behind Frodo and Sam as they crest the hill in the forest when Sam starts talking about tales.

132.  The last word of dialogue in both films is the same: "me". At the end of FotR, Frodo says: "I'm glad you're with me" then at the end of TTT, Gollum says, "Follow me".

133.  The same music they play when Sam says, "If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been," is played for Samwise the Brave.

134.  TTT begins with a pan of the Misty Mountains and ends with a pan of the Mountains of Shadow?  Two natural towers to contrast with the man-made towers of Orthanc and Barad-dûr!