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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Where did all the horses go?

Smeagol Bagginsess

Apr 16 2013, 1:32pm

Post #1 of 23 (693 views)
Where did all the horses go? Can't Post

I wonder if anybody's noticed this because I consider it one of worst cases of negligence in the films.

In ROTK, when Aragorn is giving his speech, everyone from the fellowship are sitting on horses.
Then the scene switches over to Frodo and Sam talking about strawberries. When the scene again goes back to the Black gate (when Sauron summons Aragorn as "Elessar") everyone are on their foot! Not only this creates a huge discontinuation from the previous scene, whoever's heard of people going to their last war without any steeds (especially with Rohan as an ally!!!!!)

I noticed this much later. Most probably because the climax is so intense! But now, after watching the films numerous times, the thing really bugs me.

What say you?

The Road goes Ever on and on.
Down from the door where it began.
How far ahead the Road has gone.
And I must follow if I can ...

(This post was edited by Smeagol Bagginsess on Apr 16 2013, 1:33pm)


Apr 16 2013, 1:54pm

Post #2 of 23 (493 views)
I can't quite remember... [In reply to] Can't Post

But didn't they get off the horses to talk to the Mouth of Sauron? Maybe in the cutting of scenes for the theatrical release, continuity was lost on that.

Regardless it was unintelligent not to get back onto the horses before charging the Black Gate.

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.

Grey Havens

Apr 16 2013, 2:15pm

Post #3 of 23 (493 views)
Horses [In reply to] Can't Post

There were five horses there. The rest of the army was marching. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin were on the five horses.

They were mounted during the Mouth of Sauron portion. Then they were off their horses when we come back for "For Frodo!"

LOL. Movie magic makes you forget or mentally fill in these things.

Complete end battle scene with Frodo and Sam removed:

Tol Eressea

Apr 16 2013, 3:30pm

Post #4 of 23 (502 views)
I seem to remember a story [In reply to] Can't Post

about how Viggo's horse (a stallion) was being distracted by some mares and caused so much ruckus they had to remove them from the area so the filming could be completed. Not sure where I heard that, or if it is actually true.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Apr 16 2013, 6:42pm

Post #5 of 23 (428 views)
I noticed [In reply to] Can't Post

Haha yeah, I noticed this a while back but it took MANY viewings to catch it because it wasn't a seemingly huge detail. I just assume they let 'em free in the cut scene to Frodo and Sam and we just didn't see it.


Apr 16 2013, 6:43pm

Post #6 of 23 (442 views)
I heard this as well! [In reply to] Can't Post


Tol Eressea

Apr 16 2013, 7:35pm

Post #7 of 23 (428 views)
Those were some good shows, [In reply to] Can't Post

and thorough. Their Harry Potter ones were great too. I like those guys. Better have some time on your hands, though!


Apr 17 2013, 12:35am

Post #8 of 23 (379 views)
Okay, I'm disturbed at missing this. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've only seen this a gazillion times, and now that you said this I am seeing Aragorn saying "For Frodo" and running at the gate, sans horse. I probably in the back of my mind thought "hmm, no horse," but I never made the connection. It might have been the cross-cutting, but it's probably sheer lameness. Now, of course, it will be all I will see!


Apr 17 2013, 8:43am

Post #9 of 23 (365 views)
Lost during the cutting of the film, I imagine. [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember a rumour that the horses leaving would be in the ROTK EE. The rumour never came to anything, but I imagine something was filmed.


Apr 17 2013, 8:45am

Post #10 of 23 (379 views)
I'm pretty sure Viggo said that [In reply to] Can't Post

in one of the behind the scenes clips. It rings a bell with me. If you look at that scene, Uraeus is rather grouchy! I'm sure there was more footage of them trying to shoot that scene, as it wasn't easy. Stallions march to the beat of their own drum.


Apr 17 2013, 8:51am

Post #11 of 23 (370 views)
The horses refused to appear in the scene [In reply to] Can't Post

They were negotiating for an increase in their oats allowance but were turned down, so they took industrial action.


Apr 17 2013, 2:06pm

Post #12 of 23 (351 views)
I also seem to recall [In reply to] Can't Post

that at the end of Viggo's speech, the horse reared up on his own, he wasn't prompted or trained to do that. So I guess the good news was, that high-spiritedness made for a great scene, but the bad news was he was a bit too unruly to keep around for the later scenes.


Apr 17 2013, 5:32pm

Post #13 of 23 (333 views)
You beat me to it [In reply to] Can't Post

I was going to post something similar to this. Great minds...

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when FŽanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Apr 17 2013, 6:41pm

Post #14 of 23 (335 views)
Yes, [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that's right.
It's another great example of Viggo's ability as a horseman, as he sits that unexpected rear and just deals with it.
My other favourite example is the slow motion scene in The Two Towers, as he rides off to fight the wargs. He has such a good seat. And I mean that in a pure way. Cool

The Shire

Apr 18 2013, 2:26am

Post #15 of 23 (310 views)
Sorry about my late post, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

I always thought that it was from a purely practical point of view if fighting the battle. The battle was very compact and the horses would be hard to maneuvere, meaning that the riders would actually be at a disadvantage as they could be more easily targeted and killed. Calvary only really work when charging and in greater numbers to trample the enemy making swift attacks.

I have always liked to think that shadowfax lead the others horses away to safety at this point since their riders were a wee bit occupied with the whole battle of Morannan thing Wink

"I don't know half of you as half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you as well as you deserve"

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 18 2013, 3:30am

Post #16 of 23 (311 views)
So, with your horsey eye, [In reply to] Can't Post

who in the films do you think looked like skilled or natural riders, and who looked like they could be bounced off at any moment?

(Full disclosure: I've fallen off most horses I have tried to ride.)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Apr 18 2013, 7:46am

Post #17 of 23 (315 views)
Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

without cheating by putting in any dvd's or using my google finger, Viggo is the only one I can think of who is a skilled rider. That's assuming you are talking about the 'star' cast, rather than any stunt riders. Obviously Jane Abbott is pretty darn good, and the guy who doubled as Gandalf (whose name escapes me). Jed Brophy is a good horseman.
Watching Bernard Hill riding always distracts me, because he is pretty terrible. There was an interesting conversation about his riding a while ago, discussing the scene where he clashes swords as he is revving up the troops prior to battle. He is using his non-dominant hand, which helped me understand why his riding looked particularly bad there. That would have been very tricky for him. And at least he didn't have to ride the barrel! But the less said about the barrel the better...Wink


Apr 18 2013, 12:35pm

Post #18 of 23 (287 views)
starling, me too!! [In reply to] Can't Post

(re bernard hill's riding.)

except the part that's always most distracting to me is where he and the host ride off together (i'm not remembering if it's to the encampment or gondor) and he's giving the sides of his horse a good thumping with his calves.

cheers --


aka. fili orc-enshield
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Apr 18 2013, 12:49pm

Post #19 of 23 (286 views)
Ah yes that scene [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I had the precise shot where he's framed in the scene and looking perfectly graceful and utterly cool as only Viggo can :-), but this one is close.


Apr 18 2013, 6:06pm

Post #20 of 23 (292 views)
Poor Bernard [In reply to] Can't Post

I seem to recall he liked his horse very much, but it would be fair to say that it could not exactly be described as 'forward-moving', so a lot of heel thumping ensued. Laugh That scene you described is a good example!

I think he worked hard on his riding, and although it isn't fabulous, I do admire him for doing it himself.

Tol Eressea

Apr 19 2013, 3:40pm

Post #21 of 23 (248 views)
I am in total admiration of his riding skills [In reply to] Can't Post

and always notice them. He shows them off beautifully in Hidalgo as well.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Apr 20 2013, 8:58pm

Post #22 of 23 (222 views)
um... [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, considering that the other actors only ever get on a horse for a movie it is rather nice to see that Viggo won't fall off a rearing horse.
But as far as I remember there was no scene (in the movie at least) where the horse reared dangerously - in danger of falling over backwards, that is. And to be quite frank, I actually do expect any experienced rider to be able to handle a rearing horse to the extend shown on screen.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to derogate Viggo's abilities. He seems to know what he's doing around and on horses, and that's a lot more than can be said about the average actor, but as a horseman I just don't think it's that extraordinary.

Back to the original question: Yes, I've noticed it before but I just guessed it was a cutting mishap. I never gave it much thought. It's an interesting piece of information and sounds like a good decision. A horse acting up seriously with a lot of extras, cameramen and whatnot standing around is a risk I would deem not worth taking. Especially in a high suspense scene like this, when it's rather unlikely anybody remembered it once they walked out of the cinema the first time around.

(This post was edited by Misto on Apr 20 2013, 8:59pm)


Apr 20 2013, 9:29pm

Post #23 of 23 (224 views)
And also [In reply to] Can't Post

the fact that they were shooting on an abandoned military mine field. Probably not good to have horses running all over the place! Tongue


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