Top Ten Differences Between the Lord of the Rings Books and Films

I've recently finished reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I first watched the films many years ago). I've used the films as the original source because it's more likely you'll have seen them than read the books.

Jesus, I feel like such a nerd after finishing this list.

The Top Ten

Frodo is much braver in the books

I have the upmost respect for Frodo in both books and films, considering the perils he faced on his journey. But in the books he shows more courage in the face of danger. - IronSabbathPriest

Saruman is not truly defeated at Isenguard in the Two Towers book, and returns at the end of Return of the King book to take over The Shire

The Battle of Bywater is integral to the plot! The character's arcs are unfinished in the film.

I still haven't gotten this far in the book. I get about halfway into Return of the King and I stop reading because I don't want the story to end!

But the Hobbits rise up and defeat him. - IronSabbathPriest

It was really something new for me, when I readed the books for first time.

Frodo does not abandon Sam on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol in the books

Frodo in the book would NEVER trust Gollum over Sam! And he would NEVER EVER leave Sam behind for EATING FOOD!

Frodo still gets paralysed by Shelob, but in the books Sam is held back and strangled by Gollum in Shelob's lair. So he can't warn Frodo. - IronSabbathPriest

Shelob is encountered in the middle of the Return of the King film, instead of at the end of The Two Towers, like in the book

The story flows better in the book. 'Frodo is captured by the orcs' is a much better cliffhanger than 'they're going back to where they were at the beginning because Filmamir dragged them back to Osgilliath for some reason'.

The reason for this was because Frodo and Sam wouldn't have much to do in the final film otherwise. - IronSabbathPriest

There is less mention of enemy leaders in the books

E.g. Lurtz doesn't exist in the books, and Gothmog is only mentioned once. - IronSabbathPriest

The Time between Bilbo's 111th birthday and Frodo leaving the Shire is much shorter in the films

Only about a month or so. In the books it is 17 years. - IronSabbathPriest

It isn't a month in the films it's an entire year. Still shorter than 17 years I'll give you.

Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin are the same age in the films.

Who says they were the same age in the films? Oldest to youngest: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin. Funny thing, Elijah Wood was the youngest actor to play a hobbit and Billy Boyd was the oldest, the opposite of their characters, lol.

In the books they are 50, 38, 36, and 28 respectively. - IronSabbathPriest

Tom Bombadil is Not In the Movies

Peter Jackson stated that this decision was the most difficult to make.

This should be number one folks

He should be!

The species of Shagrat and Gorbag are reversed

These are the Orcs that discovered Frodo after he was paralysed by Shelob. Gorbag was an Orc and Shagrat was a Uruk in the books. In the films it was the other way round. However the roles remained the same. - IronSabbathPriest

Boromir dies at the end of the first film but dies at the beginning of the second book originally

Still, 3rd best quote in the Lord of The Rings. One dose not simply walk into Mordor.

Definitely better that they changed it to be at the end of the first film.

Small change, but meh. - IronSabbathPriest

The Contenders

The Witch King is aware that Eowyn is a Female in the Return of the King book

I am only voting to say that I do not understand this "differance". In the book he didn't know she was female until she said so, just like in the movie. The scenes are not different except for Eowyn's wording of the sentence!

In the film it does the feminist thing of the Witch King saying "no man can kill me". Eowyn says "I am no man! " She takes her helmet off and stabs him in the face. Always works. - IronSabbathPriest

He still didn’t die.

Glorfindel Rescues Frodo Instead of Arwen

Glorifndel is important to the scenes, as he is one of the few beings in ME who could fearlessly face down "The Nine". His fighting history is somewhat similar to Gandalf's, in that in the First Age, Glorfindel fought a Balrog to the [mutual] death in single combat. Like Gandalf, Glorfindel was resurrected [after several thousand years].

The Eye of Sauron is not literally an eye in the books

Sauron is more interesting without his physical form appearing.

I don't actually want to vote this but I'm pretty sure when Peter Jackson was reading the book he thought it was an actual eye. Wild imagination it is.

We associate Sauron with the big, fiery eye we see in the Jackson films but in the books it's not literally an eye, but rather a metaphor for Sauron's immense presence and far-reaching grasp across Middle-earth.

The Warg Battle does not appear in the books

One of the more memorable scenes from The Two Towers is where our heroes fight off Orcs on Wargs, with the battle nearly killing Aragorn when he topples over a cliff into a river. None of this actually happens in the books. In fact, Aragorn is never forcefully separated from the group.

In the books, The Battle of Helm's Deep is actually called The Battle of the Hornburg and is much bigger

The Battle of Helm's Deep is actually called The Battle of the Hornburg in the books. Another difference is that in the film, there's only 300 men fighting for Rohan, but at the last second, they're aided by a group of elves. In the book however, there's around 2000 Rohan soldiers who are able to withstand the assault with the elves' help. In both version, they face well over 10,000 Orcs from Isengard, making an impressive victory either way.

Frodo doesn't push Gollum into Mount Doom

I am commenting to say that this is only kind of true. Frodo doesn't literally push him, but he DOES kill him! He uses the ring to curse him. The curse is that is Gollum touches Frodo, then Gollum will throw himself into Mt. Doom. That is what happened. The movies just visualized it with physical pushing instead of magic.

In the book, after Gollum bites off Frodo's finger and gets the ring, he gets so overexcited that he accidentally leans off the cliff and into the volcano. The filmmakers changed it to Frodo pushing Gollum instead cause they thought Gollum just leaning over was anti-climatic.

Sam throws a rock and it knocks him off the cliff.

The Moth that Advises Gandalf the Arrival of the Eagles Doesn't Exist in the Books
Denethor is a Cool and Interesting Character in the Book.

In the book he doesn't say that he wishes that Faramir were dead(he only says that he wishes that Boromir were in Ithilien instead of Faramir). He also doesn't eat tomatoes sloppily. He would never do that.

Council of Elrond Was Longer in Books
Arwen Rescues Frodo Instead of Glorfindel

No doubt, Glorfindel is a really cool character in the first book. But it's so nice that they gave Arwen something useful to do instead of sitting around, looking pretty and being Aragorn's trophy wife. I also think it makes more sense to have a character that will be in all the films be the one to rescue him.

Fatty Bolger is not in the movies

We all know the famous gang of Hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, but what you may not know is that there was supposed to be a fifth hobbit named Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger with the gang. He only makes a fleeting appearance in the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring.

We don't learn the history about the Dúnedain in the films

Though Aragorb is identified as a ranger in the film's, we don't learn about their history or the fact that Aragorn is part of the Dúnedain, an ancient race of men, many of whom become rangers of the north. They played an important part in protecting the north from the forces of evil.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we didn't get to see any of this in the movies.

Gandalf doesn't hang on to the cliff after being hit by the Balrog's whip

In the book, when Gandalf is facing the Balrog, the Balrog uses its whip to drag him down with him. In the film, he gets hit by the Balrog's whip, but suddenly hangs onto the cliff before falling and facing the Balrog.

In the movie, Frodo travels through Bucklebury and The Old Forest

And meets Tom Bombadil.

Lurtz Doesn't Exist in the Books
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