10. One of the most iconic scenes is based on the cartoon
The Fellowship of the Ring is full of memorable sequences ripped straight from J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork, but one of the best bits is nowhere to be found in the books. Early on, the hobbits are being pursued by ringwraiths who will do anything to get their hands on Frodo's precious. Lacking fighting skills, the halflings had no choice but to hide under an outcropping of tree roots. We know that the hobbits won't be disemboweled right then and there because it's like 30 minutes into a 12 hour trilogy, but that doesn't make the scene any less creepy.
It's impressive that such a sequence might come straight from the minds of the filmmakers, but that's not exactly how it happened. A similar scene can be found in the Ralph Bakshi-directed Lord of the Rings animated movie from 1978.
The resemblance is undeniable. You'd think that this was director Peter Jackson's way of paying homage to his forbears, but apparently the truth is a little more complicated. See, the scene we see in the film was actually inspired by this painting:
Contrary to what the watermark tells us, this was actually painted in the 80s. Artist John Howe explains on his website that he saw the animated movie and loved that scene so much he remade it in his own style. This very painting appeared a couple years later on a Tolkien calendar, and seeing that is what inspired Peter Jackson and his team to create the scene for the film. In a roundabout way, the live-action film was inspired by the animated movie, even if nobody realized it at the time.
9. Legolas and his snow walk
Elves have a lot of fine qualities superior to that of mortal men. Besides the fact that all members of the race are born as TigerBeat-ready dreamboats, elves are blessed with disease-free immune systems and immortality. And judging from the Fellowship of the Ring, they uh, have built-in snow shoes?
Notice that while everyone including Gandalf trudges through the snow, Legolas deftly walks above it all. This is actually an accurate representation of what happens in the original text.
Slowly they moved off, and were soon toiling heavily. In places the snow was breast-high, and often Boromir seemed to be swimming or burrowing with his great arms rather than walking.
Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others.
`The strongest must seek a way, say you? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf or over snow-an Elf.'
With that he sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow.
So not only are elves undying supermodels, they're also very light on their feet. Like a lot of great details in the Lord of the Rings movies, nobody ever calls it out. This bit is only on the screen for a few seconds and could easily be missed, but the production team still thought it was important enough to depict on-screen.
It's such a neat detail that it's replicated in the LEGO Lord of the Rings video game.
Oh Legolas, you beautiful mannequin asshole.
8. Aragorn's sneaky tribute to Boromir
Boromir is misunderstood. Yes, he spends most of his time in the Fellowship bickering over who gets the ring and lusting after its power, but his epic sacrifice has to be recognized. Boromir is more of less the Vegeta of Lord of the Rings. He's treated like a hero by the survivors in the Fellowship, given a proper viking sendoff in a boat headed for Gondor. But you might have missed just how much Aragorn takes the death to heart. After cradling the dying man in his arms, Aragorn takes Boromir's bracers from his body and wears them for the rest of the trilogy.
Aragorn can be seen wielding Boromir's bracers on and off throughout Two Towers and Return of the King. And even in the extended editions, nobody says a word about it -- all we get is a quick shot of Aragorn slipping on his gauntlets that presumably give him +10 to badassery. It's another silent detail that is much better left unsaid.
Hell, according to a flash-forward in The Two Towers, it looks as though Aragorn will be wearing the bracers at his own funeral.
Of course, it's probably only a matter of time until someone loots Aragorn's corpse for those bracers. Can't let that kind of legendary gear go to waste.