Despite the epic length of the the Lord of the Rings trilogy, fans can’t seem to get enough and revisit the films over and over again. Filled with beloved characters, unforgettable footage, and a great cinematic feel, it’s no surprise how impactful the films have remained after all these years.
Throughout the three films there are countless memorable moments, but there are also these particular scenes that really stand out. As soon as fans think about the trilogy, these are the moments that spring to mind that serve as examples of all the thrills, scares and triumphs of the the Lord of the Rings trilogy delivered.
ten Gandalf vs. the Balrog
As the Fellowship of the Ring heads to Mordor, Gandalf appears to be the heart of the group as well as their most powerful weapon. But even the mighty wizard finds himself in danger when he ventures into the Mines of Moria where he faces all kinds of dangers.
As they seem to come out of the mines, a Balrog appears. Gandalf takes a stand to allow the others to escape. He shows his incredible power and seems to cast the beast into darkness, to be dragged along with it. His latest line to Frodo, “Fly you fools,” adds to the grief of losing such a key member of the team.
9 Boromir’s redemption
Although he only appears in one of the films, Boromir has a huge impact as one of the most complex characters in the trilogy. It is clear that he covets the Ring and its power in a way that could be dangerous. His obsession comes to a head as he tries to take the ring away from Frodo.
But just as the public is ready to dismiss Boromir as a villain, he takes action to save Pippin and Merry from the orcs. He fights valiantly and as he is struck by several arrows, he refuses to back down. He eventually falls, but not before cementing his redemption and naming Aragorn as his true king.
8 Orcs eat
While the trilogy is packed with memorable creatures, the orcs really stand out as great villains in the story. At the beginning of The two towers, a group of orcas cross the country with Pippin and Merry as kidnappers.
Stopping to rest for the night, some orcs start to complain that they haven’t had a decent meal in a while and that they should eat the Hobbits. Their leader insists that the prisoners will be kept alive for questioning. When one of the orcs keeps asking for hobbit meat, the chef beheads him and says the now famous phrase, “Looks like meat is back on the boys’ menu”, as the other orcs feast on their dead comrade.
7 Gollum speaks to himself
After being mentioned in The Fellowship of the Rings, Gollum was fully introduced in The two towers and instantly became an iconic character. She’s a creature who has been twisted and corrupted by her obsession with the ring, and her struggle is best seen in a sequence in which her two personalities have a conversation.
One side of Gollum’s personality wants to trust the hobbits he travels with and insists Frodo is his friend. The other side of his personality is trying to convince him that he should kill them and remind him that he has no friends. It’s a fascinating back-and-forth and shows Andy Serkis’ incredible acting skills.
6 Sméagol’s backstory
The opening sequence of The king’s return further explores Gollum’s backstory with a flashback. Back when Gollum was a hobbit named Sméagol, he was fishing with his friend when they discovered the ring. Sméagol immediately kills his friend and takes the ring for himself, initiating his dark fall.
The flashback continues to show that Sméagol is taken over by the influence of the ring, torturing his mind and turning him into a grotesque creature. It’s a chilling reminder of what the ring did to him as well as a clue as to what could happen to Frodo if he doesn’t destroy the ring.
5 Stalked by a giant spider
Considering Peter Jackson’s background in the horror genre, it’s not too surprising that he infused some great scary moments into the trilogy. But the one that really makes the audience crawl is when Frodo finds himself in the lair of the giant spider Shelob.
Fans who have a phobia of spiders will likely want to cover their eyes for this scene, while other fans might have developed a fear of eight-legged creatures just from watching. It’s an incredibly tense streak as the massive spider pursues Frodo and it’s even scarier when it silently stalks him without him knowing it.
4 Legolas shoots down an oliphant
Although some of the characters are a bit more central to the story, Legolas stole many scenes with his heroic antics and superb warrior skills. But his best moment comes during the decisive battle in The king’s return when he takes down a massive oliphant on his own.
He first resizes the charging beast, kills any enemies that straddle it, then takes down the beast itself before effortlessly sliding into his truck. The moment is capped off with Gimli looking in astonishment before saying, “That always counts as one.”
3 Sam carries Frodo
Some of the most emotional parts of the trilogy are Sam and Frodo’s relationship. These two young hobbits find themselves far from home and charged with a mission far beyond what they are capable of. And while Frodo continues to fall under the spell of the ring, it’s up to Sam to get them both to move forward.
During the heyday of The king’s return, the Hobbits climb Mount Doom so they can destroy the Ring. Frodo is overwhelmed by the weight of the ring and cannot continue. Sam knows he can’t take the ring himself, so he lifts Frodo onto his back and continues to climb in a beautiful moment of heroism and friendship.
2 Crowned aragorn
It’s not hard to see why Aragorn became the fan favorite character of the trilogy, and when the heroes triumph at the end, it was a great moment to finally see him crowned King. The scene is a pleasant ending for the character and allows the audience to cheer for victory.
But fans remember the moment best for the heartwarming gesture Aragorn gives to the hobbits. When Frodo and the others bow to the newly crowned king, Aragorn says to them, “My friends, you do not bow to anyone.” It is a touching recognition of what these humble heroes have accomplished.
1 The final farewell
Some have criticized and parodied The king’s return for its endless end. Not only is it not shorter than most fans probably remember, but it makes sense that such a long and epic journey would take a little while to complete.
With all that has come before him, the sequence in which Frodo tells his friends that he will not return to the Shire and sail west is incredibly moving. Audiences get the chance to say goodbye to these characters as they say it to each other and it’s a totally unique cinematic moment.
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