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January 20, 2004 - 11:09 p.m.

LOTR Fake Death Tally Sheet

More Lord of the Rings Spoilers
As We Discuss Who Didnít Die!

Tolkeinís original Lord of the Rings had its fair share of faked deaths (which I will note with a JRRT after the movie name), but Peter Jacksonís version took this trend to new heights! Note, this is not a negative criticism, just a fun melodramatic listing of the big screen fakeouts. Before scrolling ahead, take a guess how many fake deaths there are between the 3 installments, and let me know how your tally jibes with mine. Enjoy!

1) Sam stabbed in his sleep (Fellowship)
The scene in Bree in which the Ringwraiths viciously stab the fluffed up nonhobbits was one of the most horrific scenes in LOTR if you hadnít read the book. If you were prepared, Iím sure you enjoyed snickering at all of the people who jumped out of their seats! While true to the book, it is much more visually impactful with the fakeout of Sam waking up startled at just the right moment, bwah hah haaaah!

2) The Morgul Blade (Fellowship; JRRT)
Frodoís tainted wound at the hands of the Witch King of Angmar was handled very well, as was the fake death scene fadeout in Glorfind- I mean Arwenís arms! Of course, this didnít fool anybody, but this first of many Frodo stabbings was quite the shocker both to first-time readers and moviegoers alike!

3) Wet and Wild Nazgul Style (Fellowship; JRRT)
Well now, that takes care of those pesky Ringwraiths now doesnít it? Doesn;t it!!!?

4)Frodo-kebab! (Fellowship; JRRT)
Another shocker faithfully rendered from the book. How could Frodo possibly survive being skewered by a Cave Troll!? Oooh that nutty mithryl shirt, gets ya every time!

5) Gandalf Falls (Fellowship; JRRT )
I canít tell you how many folks at work came up to me after Fellowship and were pissed about Gandalf dying! How could they kill Gandalf? Snicker, snicker. My buddy Dave reminds me that this is not technically a fake death, as Gandalf the Grey does in fact really die, but is then reborn as Gandalf the White. Yup, youíre absolutely right Dave, but Iím including it anyway, so there!

6) Pippin is trampled by The Rohirrum! (Two Towers)
Good one PJ! Nothing like pounding hooves to really drive home the lesson that these hobbits canít just crawl away unseen!

7) The Dark Orc Returns! (Two Towers)
The Orc Who Wouldnít Die was actually my favorite orc in the movie vesion! Speared by the Rohirrum, this obsessed Misty Mountain Reject really craved White Hobbit Burgers, huh? Get Ďem by the sack!

8) Aragorn Falls (Two Towers)
I found this to be needlessly melodramatic. So Aragorn is dragged over a cliff by a Warg! Big deal! At least they didnít add an extended scene of Aragorn fighting the Warg as he plummets!

9)The Death of Faramir (ROTK; JRRT )
Pippinís Song and the slaughter of Faramirís Rangers of Ithilien was truly moving and masterful filmmaking. The apparently lifeless body of Faramir being dragged home by his mount was wonderfully cruel orc nastiness. Denethorís inability to realize he could still save his son is an important allegory to his failure to see hope for the salvation of Gondor. See what happens when you mind-wrestle with the Dark Lord? (Read the book)

10) Gollum Falls (ROTK)
So who doesnít seemingly plummet to their doom, anyway? After Frodo and Gollum scuffle outside of Shelobís Lair, how many of you actually thought that this was the end of Gollum? Show of hands? Anybody?

11) Frodo Stabbed by Shelob (ROTK; JRRT )
Whoa! I knew it was about to happen and still, well, whoa! This is yet another scene where, whether you first encountered it in the book or the movie, you just didnít see it coming! You just couldnít believe Frodo was dead, but damn, was he?

12) Pippin finds Merry on the Pellenor Field (ROTK)
After Bernard Hillís awesome death rattle as King Theoden, Pippin finds Merry on the verge of his own death scene! I almost didnít include this, because being well-versed in the book I didnít initially see this as a death scene. Only upon subsequent viewing did I get that Jackson intended moviegoers to think Merry was dying here, too. Great scene either way!

13) Frodo Falls (ROTK)
Damned if that Frodo doesnít have more lives than Sylvester The PuddyTat! ďI tawt I taw a hobbit die! I did, I did taw a hobbit die! ď No Tweety, he made it after all.

Some of this is arguable, and there are other scenes no doubt which I overlooked. Still, I loved the old-fashioned filmmaking and literal cliffhangers, departures and all! Now one of these days I have to figure out exactly how many fake movie endings we had. Iíve seen folks get up and leave on the first Mount Doom fadeout, only to loiter by the entrance for another 20 minutes, hee hee!

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