The Lord of the rings Movies are some of the most successful fantasy works of all time, and for good reason. Taking place in one of the most influential worlds in the genre, the trilogy chronicles multiple epic journeys and features iconic heroes and terrifying foes, all while displaying a great deal of heart. Considering the movie setting in the quasi-medieval world of Middle-earth, it makes sense that the characters’ speech patterns aren’t exactly in line with contemporary audiences.
Nonetheless, there are many memorable quotes from the movies that stand out as particularly puzzling. Whether it’s tricky jokes, speeches full of archaic terms, or statements that seem downright suspicious, these iconic lines from the trilogy are remembered precisely for how unnerving they are.
10 “Bad news is a bad guest.”
Grima Snaketongue issues this proclamation when Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas arrive in Edoras, the capital of Rohan, to warn Théoden of Saruman’s impending attack on Uruk-hai. Though it comes off the meandering councilor’s tongue and is eaten by the possessed king, this quote clearly doesn’t make sense.
With Gandalf and company coming to Rohan to initiate an evacuation, they are clearly not “sick guests”, even if Théoden only cared about his own life and not that of his people. If a king never accepted the bad news, that king would not last long, which is precisely what Saruman’s sidekick wants.
9 “The closer we are to danger, the further we are from harm.”
When Treebeard discovers Merry and Pippin in the Fangorn Forest, the Ent are terrified until they manage to convince him that they are hobbits and not orcs. Pippin convinces Treebeard to take them south (towards Isengard) with this line.
Although he sounds wise when he says it, it is a tactic that worked for him and Merry, but it is not always an accurate or advisable position. Treebeard even admits that it doesn’t make sense to him, and that’s probably because the line is a means of making Treebeard see the devastation Saruman caused in the forest to propel the Ent leader into action.
8 “All these years he was on The Shire, right under my nose.”
Gandalf is an Istari, a spirit being sent to Middle Earth to aid in the fight against Sauron using great wisdom. One question that remains on fans’ minds, then, as exemplified by a rather shocking line of dialogue, concerns Gandalf’s ignorance of the One Ring’s location.
When you visit Saruman in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf admits that he never realized that Bilbo’s ring was the same, almighty one created by Sauron. The question of how a wizard whose perception transcends that of mortals could not add two and two, or at least suspect that Bilbo’s ring was worth investigating, for over 50 years is quite puzzling.
7 “I pass the test. I will slow down, go west and remain Galadriel.”
For movie fans not versed in Tolkien’s books, this famous line from Galadriel requires some context to make sense. She hands it over after Frodo offers her the ring and he momentarily appears to the hobbit as a terrifying ruler empowered by the ever-important piece of jewelry.
Although his backstory is not entirely consistent with Tolkien’s other writings, the Silmarillion reveals that Galadriel has been expelled from the Eternal Lands and believes that he will never be able to return. But having overcome the temptation to wear the ring even in an apparent fight for good, and probably to transform into a completely different being, Galadriel feels that her ban has been lifted. This means that you may lose your dominion in Middle-earth to return home.
6 “Gandalf? Yeah … that’s what they used to call me.”
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf seems to meet his end at the hands of the Balrog. First-time viewers may suspect that the wizard has died, but in The two Towers, makes a shocking comeback in a stylish new outfit. It explains that he died defeating the monster, but was returned to Middle-earth to complete his mission, and implies that his time away felt like multiple lifetimes.
But the books specify that the magician was only away for 19 days. If his memory was restored enough to recognize Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, why would he only faintly remember his own name?
5 “We lost the Entwives … And now, we can’t find them. I don’t suppose you’ve seen Entwives in The Shire?”
Ents are a unique species in Middle-earth, clearly possessing power and intelligence, but wielding these abilities at an extremely slow pace. When Treebeard meets Merry and Pippin in The two TowersDrop the bomb that all the female Ents are gone. When Pippin assumes they have died, Treebeard corrects him, clarifying that they have somehow been lost.
It’s a lighthearted moment played for laughs, but it’s still puzzling how half the species could suddenly disappear when so much talk about their icy slow pace.
4 Elrond prediction
“Here you will live, tied to your pain, under the withered trees, until the world has changed and all the long years of your life have been completely spent.”
Elrond issues this proclamation when Arwen decides whether to go to the Undying Lands or stay, mortal, in Middle-earth in the hope that Aragorn will survive the war. Elrond warns her that Aragorn will inevitably die and she will survive him, heartbroken.
But in Tolkien’s appendices, readers discover that Arwen dies only a year after her husband. Although the movie does indeed show a widowed Arwen leaving for an abandoned Lorien to live the rest of her days, Elrond confusingly hints that she will endure a much longer period of pain than she actually will.
3 “A magician is never late or early. He arrives precisely when he wants.”
This is one of Gandalf’s first lines in The Fellowship of the Ring, and also one of the funniest. Of course, since things work out in his favor and Frodo in the end, with the quest to destroy the One Ring a close success, it might seem that Gandalf is right in the end. After all, he shows up at Helm’s Deep with Éomer and his soldiers in tow exactly on time.
But not long after he utters the famous phrase, Saruman takes Gandalf captive and does not show up for his planned meeting with Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin at the Prancing Pony in Bree. Once he escapes from Isengard, he makes his way to the bustling inn, but of course he has lost the hobbits.
two “As Sauron’s power grows, his strength diminishes. Arwen’s life is now tied to the fate of the ring.”
Elrond says this to Aragorn when he presents the ranger Anduil with a powerful and very ancient sword. But why would Arwen’s life and strength be tied to the ring more than any other resident of Middle-earth? It appears Elrond is suggesting that since Arwen has chosen a mortal life, he will die if Sauron wins (as does everyone else who opposes him), a situation that seems increasingly likely.
But that doesn’t explain why he would grow weaker physically as Sauron grew stronger. It is an inexplicable and unjustified statement that was probably included for dramatic effect.
1 “I don’t know half of you or half of what I would like, and I like you less than half of you, half of what you deserve.”
Bilbo’s monologue on his 111th birthday is one of Fellowship From the ringmore iconic scenes and a fantastically fun way to open what will turn out to be a rather dark epic. This memorable line is expressed in the speech Bilbo makes just before he slips the ring on his finger and disappears right in front of the eyes of the party-goers.
The intricate excavation draws a hilarious silence from the crowd as they wonder its meaning. It not only introduces viewers to Bilbo’s sarcastic wit; it also reflects his desire to leave the Shire forever.
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