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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Why did PJ remove the Easterlings from the ROTK?
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DeadRabbits
Lorien


Nov 2 2012, 12:39pm

Post #1 of 26 (1160 views)
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Why did PJ remove the Easterlings from the ROTK? Can't Post

This still annoys me to this very day! Why on earth did PJ put the Easterlings in TTT, equipped with the coolest armour you ever saw and those scary war chants, only to cut them from the battle of Pelennor entirely (ok.. you can see them in like a split of a second after the gate breaches, but if you blink you'll miss them).

According to the book Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare the Easterlings were sent through the gate of Minas Tirith as shock troops, after the trolls, so they were in the script at some point. Think about it, how much time did he actually have to devote to the Easterlings? Not that much. It would have taken Gandalf about 5 seconds to mention them to Pippin along with the Haradrim and the Corsairs, and no longer than 30 seconds would have been needed to show them fight inside the walls.

What really bugs me is that PJ, by showing them in TTT, kinda created these expectations and then didn't deliver. So, what was the main reason behind cutting them? Let's hope someone makes a movie about the northern theatre of the War of the Ring, where an army entirely made up of Easterlings attacked Dale and Erebor.

Now now Bill, you swore this was a battle between warriors, not a bunch of miss nancies, so warriors is what I brought


ValarNienna
The Shire


Nov 2 2012, 12:52pm

Post #2 of 26 (549 views)
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I would watch that movie!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always wanted to read more about the northern battles.
I have never really thought about how they were left out of ROTK but it would have been cool to see more of them. There were other missing parts I would prefer to see more- like the scouring of the shire although I understand why it was left out.
The Easterlings in TTT immediately made me think of Michael Jackson when I saw them and still do every time. The eye make-up and the sheer scarf over their faces like his baby. I could even see him wearing their outfits in stage.


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 2 2012, 12:52pm

Post #3 of 26 (572 views)
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I can think of 2 reasons: [In reply to] Can't Post

1) Time contraints
2) Simplifying the story

Who know's why they even bothered putting them in TTT - they served little purpose, and like you said, are never referenced again.

But since scenes were filmed involving them in ROTK, then I imagine it came down to a timing issue and thus, by removing them, it also helped simplify the story (just like removing Ghan, Imrahil and the Grey Company).

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Elenorflower
Gondor


Nov 2 2012, 1:23pm

Post #4 of 26 (476 views)
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yup [In reply to] Can't Post

Its the same reason they didnt show Prince Imrahil and his Swan Knights, at all. Mad


DeadRabbits
Lorien


Nov 2 2012, 1:36pm

Post #5 of 26 (504 views)
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Haha, yeah they kind of look like MJ! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Now now Bill, you swore this was a battle between warriors, not a bunch of miss nancies, so warriors is what I brought


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 2 2012, 3:30pm

Post #6 of 26 (484 views)
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They serve the purpose of giving some depth to Sauron's evil [In reply to] Can't Post

That there are men, as well as orcs, that follow Sauron is a nice detail.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 2 2012, 3:32pm

Post #7 of 26 (502 views)
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I agree that they looked ridiculous, though [In reply to] Can't Post

I would say a cross between Michael Jackson and Shredder, from Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. A pretty bad design, IMO.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Nov 2 2012, 7:28pm

Post #8 of 26 (465 views)
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To be honest... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that the Easterlings should have been more like the Mongol hordes in appearance, not like Japanese samurai.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 2 2012, 7:41pm

Post #9 of 26 (464 views)
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Basically how I pictured them [In reply to] Can't Post

Though with a bit more of a later Crimean Tatar look. Or Kipchaq, who were a Turkic tribe later conquered by the Mongol hordes.

The heavily Japanese-inspired design was baffling, IMO, particularly as the culture of Japan didn't quite enter European consciousness until quite late in history.


Beutlin
Rivendell

Nov 2 2012, 8:37pm

Post #10 of 26 (472 views)
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I certainly can understand your viewpoint that the peoples of Middle-Earth... [In reply to] Can't Post

...should reflect cultures that were known to the Anglo-Saxons during the Early Middle Ages. I would however exempt the other races from this rule a little bit (and even the Dunedain to a certain degree). Dwarves, elves and orcs were vastly different from the mortal men. Therefore for example I liked the use of certain Far Eastern instruments in the scenes with the elves.

The Easterlings somehow resembled Yari Ashigaru of the Sengoku period - and that's a little bit of base if one follows your rule. Having said that, Crimean tatars or Kipchaks respectively entered English documents centuries after the end of the Early Middle Ages (ending in England roughly around 1066). I think a better model for the Easterlings would have been the Huns, the Avars or even the Magyars.

Ceterum censeo montem artis magicae atrae esse delendum.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 2 2012, 9:08pm

Post #11 of 26 (434 views)
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I agree that Hun, Magyar and Avar-inspired designs would be most appropriate [In reply to] Can't Post

But for some reason, Turkic tribes, and those of the Crimean Khanates, always came to mind when reading about the Easterlings. This is possibly because there is something rather Byzantine about Gondor. So I often saw Minas Tirith during the War of the Ring as reminiscent of Constantinople being threatened by Turkic tribes in the Near East.


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 2 2012, 9:35pm

Post #12 of 26 (447 views)
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Only in 1 film for minutes. [In reply to] Can't Post

Doesn't seem that threatening.

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Beutlin
Rivendell

Nov 2 2012, 11:39pm

Post #13 of 26 (419 views)
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I concur with the Gondorian-Byzantine connection. [In reply to] Can't Post

However, you do not necessarily need Turkic tribes to enforce this similarity. Constantinople was besieged by the Avars and their Slavic tributaries in 626, and the Bulgarians (another semi-nomadic tribe of the Eastern Europe steppe, which I have not mentioned before) tried to sack the city in 813. In fact, the Bulgarians used to be a constant threat for the Romans until the early 11th century, therefore being a much older enemy than the Turks or other Central Asian tribes. Personally I always compared Gondor to this particular period of the Roman Empire, rather than the one of the Palaoilogoi dynasty: At the time Constantinople was still a great power on its own, but the glory days of Justinian or the ceasars of old had long faded. Land had to be given to tributaries in the West and greater empires threatened the sheer existence of the state. Whereas the Byzantine Empire after the sacking of the city in 1204 was just a small regional power.

(PS: Sorry for rambling on here, but I am studying history at university, and this is one of my favorite periods.)

Ceterum censeo montem artis magicae atrae esse delendum.


Ereinion Nénharma
Lorien

Nov 2 2012, 11:43pm

Post #14 of 26 (400 views)
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Somehow... [In reply to] Can't Post

...this makes me wonder if there possibly were different ethinicities in the races of Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits? Or wizards?
Were there, for example 'African' dwarves or 'Asian' elves?

''Do not fear the shadows, for seeing them means light is near...''


Thorins_apprentice
Rohan

Nov 2 2012, 11:46pm

Post #15 of 26 (421 views)
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I would have loved to see an African dwarf in the hobbit. [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool What a missed opportunity.Chiwetel Ejiofor would be perfect.Dwarves stayed out of the sunlight and underground so they would have had light skin

We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.



(This post was edited by Thorins_apprentice on Nov 2 2012, 11:48pm)


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 2 2012, 11:58pm

Post #16 of 26 (382 views)
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Yup, understood [In reply to] Can't Post

It's just that Minas Tirith reminds me of Contantinople in its later days, when the basileus' were growing weak, and Turkic tribes were threatening (with the Ottomans finally succeeding).


Beutlin
Rivendell

Nov 3 2012, 12:00am

Post #17 of 26 (388 views)
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In Tolkien's legendarium at least, there were none. [In reply to] Can't Post

Although it is perfectly fine to include them in your own imagination. But I did not mean this with my statement from above. The inclusion of certain elements, which were in no way known to the Anglo-Saxons - or even anachronistic - for the other races, gives them an otherworldly vibe. They were so different from the mortal men of Middle-Earth that their culture could not just be a reflection of other cultures of the early Middle Ages. Therefore I liked the use of particular instruments for the elves, and I even liked the Naginata swords of the Galadhrim. By including these anachronistic details, the Elves stood out in a positive way. Nevertheless I have to agree with Shelob's Appetite here (who should have known, that it comes to this once!) that the Easterlings should have better resembled tribes of Eastern Europe, not foot-soldiers of feudal Japan. But then again, there presence in the film is rather limited, so they do not bother me at all.

Ceterum censeo montem artis magicae atrae esse delendum.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Nov 3 2012, 12:04am

Post #18 of 26 (379 views)
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IMO [In reply to] Can't Post

The non-human peoples of Middle Earth are primarily mythic representations of "forgotten" peoples, or spirits, mined and resurrected from the empty spaces in the Anglo-Saxon collective conscience. So I would say no, there were no Asian or African elves or dwarves.

But people should feel free to believe there were.


Beutlin
Rivendell

Nov 3 2012, 12:19am

Post #19 of 26 (409 views)
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If you just concentrate on the capital of Minas Tirith, I would agree with you. [In reply to] Can't Post

Both cities - Minas Tirith and Constantinople - faced a severe decrease in population levels at that time. Both of them were the easternmost castle - all the land left to rule lay in the West. Having said that, Gondor as a whole resembles an earlier period of the Empire, in my opinion - especially when you think about the fact, that Middle-Earth bears the greatest historical resemblance to the Early Middle Ages. Gondor still had the strength to defend itself against many attacks at the time, whereas the downfall of Constantinople was only a matter of time in the early 15th century. Concerning their respective enemies I would say that the Haradrim reminded me rather more of the Arabs and Turks, whereas the Easterlings (who had attacked Gondor more often in its earlier history and did not play such an important part in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields as their Southern allies.) always reminded me of the Eastern European tribes of old - especially the Avars and the Bulgarians.

Ceterum censeo montem artis magicae atrae esse delendum.


Starling
Half-elven


Nov 3 2012, 1:11am

Post #20 of 26 (384 views)
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I always think they have an '80's music video look [In reply to] Can't Post

Every time they appear I think, 'here comes the New Romantic Army'. They would fit perfectly in a Spandau Ballet video.


Ereinion Nénharma
Lorien

Nov 3 2012, 8:42am

Post #21 of 26 (341 views)
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:) [In reply to] Can't Post

It's too bad we know so few about the world outside of Middle Earth. For example, if there were no dwarves, elves and hobbits out there (which indeed seems to be the case), why weren't there? And were there orcs and trolls? Or was it 'just' men, like today's continents? That would be a bit boring for a fantasy world, wouldn't it?
But I'm going way offtopic now, thanks all for your replies :)

''Do not fear the shadows, for seeing them means light is near...''


imin
Valinor


Nov 3 2012, 9:02am

Post #22 of 26 (373 views)
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I think there were some dwarf colonies/tribes out in the East [In reply to] Can't Post

Four Fathers of Dwarves were laid to rest in the far east, two of them at the northern end of the Orocarni, and the other two near the southern end of the range. These founded the lines of the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks and Stonefoots.

So there were dwarves way out east but they just dont come into the tales of Middle-earth that Tolkien wrote about.

Maybe you could make up some tales about those lines/colonies/tribes of dwarves yourself - expand the mythology!


Ereinion Nénharma
Lorien

Nov 3 2012, 9:28am

Post #23 of 26 (407 views)
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Ah, yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

...you're right about those dwarves! I had totally forgotten them!
Well, I might just do that :)

''Do not fear the shadows, for seeing them means light is near...''


Kendalf
Rohan


Nov 3 2012, 2:28pm

Post #24 of 26 (369 views)
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Minas Tirith as Constantinople? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is possibly because there is something rather Byzantine about Gondor. So I often saw Minas Tirith during the War of the Ring as reminiscent of Constantinople being threatened by Turkic tribes in the Near East.



Whilst your and Beutlin's discussions of the parallels between Minas Tirith and Constantinople have been both fascinating, enjoyable and enlightening Smile, I'd always thought, given Tolkien's confession that Mordor was "Roughly the Balkans", that Minas Tirith was actually much farther to the west than Constantinople. In my mind, she is just as likely to represent the fading Rome.

http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/.../06/middle-earth.jpg

In this scenario, historical parallels for the Easterlings might be the Visigoths (sacked Rome in 410), Vandals (sacked Rome in 455) and Ostrogoths (sacked Rome in 546).

Still, I think what we can all agree on is that going quite as far east as Japan in search of inspiration was a little too far, right? I suspect one perfectly innocent explanation for this might be the simple fact that, for an NZ film-maker, the central Asiatic steppes aren't to the east; they're way, way west! Add to this the ubiquitous and powerful association of the term "The East" with the Orient, and I think we have our answer, no?

"Show...a little more respect...for faerie tales, Riskbreaker."


Beutlin
Rivendell

Nov 3 2012, 5:45pm

Post #25 of 26 (382 views)
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This map is a little bit odd. [In reply to] Can't Post

Amon Sűl and Bree are to the east of the Shire, not to the north. It is my impression that the creator of this map tried a little bit too hard to show the similarities between Europe and Middle-Earth, thereby altering the geographic outlook of these subcontinents.

Let us quote Tolkien on this matter:

"The action of the story takes place in the North-west of 'Middle-earth', equivalent in latitude to the coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean. ... If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be at about the latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy."

Mind you, Tolkien only compared Middle-Earth and Europe from a geographical point of view in this letter. Tolkien does not say that Minas Tirith looks similar to Florence and/or that the Gondorians resemble Southern Europeans. The only race/culture in Middle-Earth that specifically resembles a real culture from our history are the hobbits. Tolkien referred to them as an ideal representation of 19th century English country folk. Although the Rohirrim bear a great resemblance to the Anglo-Saxons, Tolkien specifically stated in the appendix of the "lord of the Rings":

"This linguistic procedure does not imply that the Rohirrim closely resembled the ancient English otherwise, in culture or art, in weapons or modes of warfare, except in a general way due to their circumstances: a simpler and more primitive people living in contact with a higher and more venerable culture, and occupying lands that had once been part of its domain."

In other words, Tolkien would have probably dismissed our comparison between Constantinople and Minas Tirith, if we had claimed that there were similarities between them in architecture, culture, language, warfare. Likewise, he would have probably admitted that they bear a resemblance in a general way: Both successors of greater empires/cities, faced with powerful enemies to the east, and most importantly a sence of (anachronistic) pride in the belief that one was the respective heir of a superpower.

There are many other cities in the old world which bear a resemblance to Minas Tirith: Rome or Vienna comes to mind. But Minas Tirith was not the first capital of Gondor, it only became so when the empire started to crumble - Rome seized to be the capital of its empire more than a century before the Goths sacked it. In the 5th century the capital of the Western Roman Empire was at times Milan, at other times Ravenna - the city on the seven hills only remained as the symbolic heart of the Imperium, similar to Osgiliath.

Ceterum censeo montem artis magicae atrae esse delendum.

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