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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Battle of Five Armies vs The Battle of the Pelennor Fields (The Greatest or Decisive?)
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Arandir
Gondor


Aug 28 2013, 5:54pm

Post #1 of 92 (1255 views)
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The Battle of Five Armies vs The Battle of the Pelennor Fields (The Greatest or Decisive?) Can't Post

Following in the trails of my recent article on The Battle of Five Armies (here) and the ongoing discussion on whether 'There And Back Again' should portray the battle as either greater or smaller than the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, I have decided to give my two cents on the matter ...



Whilst this might be more suitable for the Reading Room section, since it concerns mainly Film 3 of 'The Hobbit' Trilogy, I've posted it here.

To understand the concept and meaning of the two battles, we need to take into consideration both the books and the films as reference.

On the one hand, I tend to agree with those who claim that if the Battle of Five Armies is on a grander scale, might it "undermine" the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

But then again, if it turns out that the battle in 'The Hobbit' really is greater (visually), does that necessarily mean that the Pelennor Fields will lose its status and relevance in the story/film?

Surely not ...

Whilst the BOFA had its own significance and considerable effects on the later events during the War of the Ring, the Pelennor Fields battle was the culmination of the War and the thread upon which the fate of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth rested on. So it certainly was a much more decisive battle than the one in 'The Hobbit' - and this is evident in both 'The Lord of the Rings' book and the trilogy.



In book terms, the Pelennor Fields might have retained the status of being the greatest battle in the Third Age (though I'm not exactly sure if it's stated like that), but it does not necessarily mean that the BOFA in the films will affect the scope and meaning of the Pelennor Fields.

Let's take for instance the Battle of the Last Alliance (yes, Second Age not Third - but still) ... Surely the armies gathered for that battle were far superior than either the BOFA or the Pelennor Fields (both in the book and film portrayal) and yet, does it have an impact on the climax of 'The Return of the King'? - apparently not.



Some might argue that in both the book and film, that particular battle is barely glimpsed at and therefore might not provide the necessary emotional resonance as the other two ... fair enough. The Battle of the Last Alliance had, nonetheless, its own impact on the story (with the Fall of Sauron and the Ring ending up in the hands of Isildur) and yet the size and numbers of the battle don't really matter after all.

I'll be honest. I was a bit shocked at first, at the sudden realization of the possible impact and effect on the Pelennor Fields, if BOFA turns out to be grander in scale. But then I started thinking of both battles in terms of the narrative.

In 'The Hobbit' the BOFA could be seen as just another battle fought throughout the Third Age for particular reasons (in this case, the gold of Erebor). In 'The Lord of the Rings', the stakes are much higher and whilst the Pelennor Fields (along with the Battles of Dale and Lorien) involves different races, ultimately it's all about Frodo and the Ring - armies sacrificing themselves to keep evil and bay, whilst detracting the attention of Sauron and buying time for the hobbit and the Quest.

So ultimately, if PJ decides to portray the BOFA as an even larger event than the Pelennor Fields, I for one won't be anxious about the possibility of it undermining the battle in 'The Return of the King', because it won't.

No matter how great, visually pleasing and emotionally resonant the Battle of Five Armies is, the Pelennor Fields (and even the Battle of the Morannon) will always remain the central fulcrum of the entire six films ....

Phew ... that's a load off my chest!Smile

(Now, let the comments being!)Angelic

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog
'How Peter Jackson inches closer to making 'The Silmarillion'


Elizabeth
Valinor


Aug 28 2013, 6:27pm

Post #2 of 92 (638 views)
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The most distinctive! [In reply to] Can't Post

The Five Armies are all quite distinctive: Elves, Men, Dwarves, Goblins, and Wargs (plus Eagles helping the good guys). In contrast, the Pelennor Fields was basically Men and orcs vs. Men, although there were other species used (horses, mumakil, trolls). Therefore, BoFA will have its own unique character, and needn't (shouldn't!) compete for size.








morro91
Bree

Aug 28 2013, 6:50pm

Post #3 of 92 (591 views)
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It'll all be about build-up [In reply to] Can't Post

It'll be all about the build up of the battle, how its portrayed. There is the possibility that PJ will portray it as the big important battle to decide all battles (at least till the next movie comes out). Remember, that currently, film 3 is likely only to contain the BOFA, as the Battle of Dol Guldor seems to be in film 2. So making that an entire film, would be similar to making the Battle of Pelanor Fields one film. And if that was one film, one suspects it'd be bigger than it is portrayed in ROTK movie.

Its importance may depend upon whether the Necromancer is involved or not. There is the chance that PJ will have the Necromancer show up. I've always felt that 'Wargs' were never an army, so it wouldn't be surprising to me to have Men/Elves/Dwarves vs. Orcs of Gundabad vs. Necromancer forces. Throwing Nazgul and other such Mordorish elements makes the battle perhaps even grander as well as very important in the landscape of Middle-earth.

From a cinematic point of view, theres no doubt it'd be bigger and grander than in the film, and theres no way when(/if) Bilbo passes out, they'll just skip the battle, it'd be like Game of Thrones season 1 ep 9.

It'll be interesting what happens, and I look forward to it and how Desolation of Smaug dangles the carrot to make us watch the third film.


Brandybuckled
Lorien


Aug 28 2013, 7:27pm

Post #4 of 92 (551 views)
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I just hope it's appropriate... [In reply to] Can't Post

Battle-wise, I think the running battle along the riverbank in FOTR, and Helm's Deep were done well.
I think the AUJ fighting at Azanulb...Azab...outside Moria was too slow and stylized and greenscreeny.
Pelennor Fields was mostly good with some cheese.

The "battle" under the Misty Mtns should have been one of claustrophopia and ambush (more Balin's Tomb/Shelob's tunnels) rather than the videogame-style slapstick.

Hoping they get Bo5A right ... at least it won't be a bunch of black dots vibrating on the screen like the animated Hobbit.Wink

NAArP: Not An Ardent purist since Arda was dented



Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 28 2013, 7:34pm

Post #5 of 92 (607 views)
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My only issue with BO5A being grander than Pellinor is [In reply to] Can't Post

Pellinor was the free peoples of middle earth against the vast total of Sauron's armies and allies, the BO5A is a skirmish over treasure which led to a battle for survival. This battle wasn't very big at all in the scope of middle earth battles. Dain only brings 500 dwarfs, the elves were about 1000 strong, and the men following Bard were I believe somewhere between 200 and 300. So we are talking less than 2000 against the orc/goblin army of probably 6 to 10 thousand. I think it said they were outnumbered 4 to one or something like that. But Pellinor Fields was 10s of Thousands of men against Saurons forces. So the numbers are severely different. I'm sure what Jackson shows us will be OTT and blown out of proportion but it shouldn't seem as large (nowhere even close) as the greatest battle of the 3rd age.Tongue

To watch all 6 films in chronological order as Jackson has claimed will be the norm years after the Hobbit is released. It would make completely no sense to have this HUGE epic battle in the middle of the 6 films set dwarfing the final battle on which rested the entire fate of middle earth, compared to what should be a skirmish in one region of middle earth.Wink

Not saying Jackson should cheap out on it but he shouldn't make it appear as important as Pellinor Fields that IMO would be a huge mistake Evil


(This post was edited by sinister71 on Aug 28 2013, 7:35pm)


dormouse
Half-elven


Aug 28 2013, 8:28pm

Post #6 of 92 (523 views)
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Hmmm.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see what you mean, but the big problem there is that any battle feels important to the people involved in it - matter of life or death, literally - and it doesn't get more important than that. So if they don't give Five Armies that kind of weight and tension they will fail. The audience has to be caught up in the moment, and care, and believe this is a life-or death struggle.

I don't really see a problem, though, because visually it's so different. The tighter space, with the mountain behind. The involvement of so many very different armies - the airborne battle, the giant bear. It shouldn't be about numbers but about choreographing different looks and styles of fighting, and Weta love all that, so I think it will be fine.


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Aug 28 2013, 8:30pm

Post #7 of 92 (516 views)
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I think you know where I stand on this... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think maybe my original numbers for the orcs were a little low, and the ones in that article you showed me were a little high, but in any event, even going by your numbers, Pelennor should dwarf the Bo5A as far as numbers are concerned.

Now, that doesn't mean I think the Bo5A should be portrayed as a simple little skirmish. As was stated over in the other thread (and this one), there are quite a few differences between the make-up of each battle. The film version of Pelennor consisted of mostly men and orcs, with some trolls and Mumakil (with the Nazgul, a dwarf, an elf, and later on the "scrubbing bubbles" Dead Men of Dunharrow). The Bo5A will likely consist of a whole boatload of orcs and wargs, a large amount of elves and dwarves, and a small amount of men, plus bats, eagles, and a giant man-bear-thing. It's a safe bet that the elves alone will bring all sorts of dazzling fighting skills to the table, and since we've never seen an army of dwarves (aside from the minutes-long snippet of Azanulbizar), that'll be new too. Also, we've never seen a warg army as big as the one we're likely to see in TaBA, so there's that. Then there's the whole eagles/bats dynamic, and we've never seen anything like that yet (Eagles vs Nazgul at Morannon doesn't really count as it took up all of about 30 seconds of screentime). So there's lots of opportunities for Jackson to "wow" the crowd without having to resort to making it "bigger and better" than Pelennor. We don't need half a million orcs to show up at the Bo5A just because it's Jackson's last hurrah in ME.

*edit* In other words, basically what Elizabeth said Wink


(This post was edited by Salmacis81 on Aug 28 2013, 8:39pm)


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Aug 28 2013, 8:45pm

Post #8 of 92 (485 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

One battle is Sauron doing his best to out-and-out destroy the last major stronghold of the descendants of the Numenoreans (his mortal enemies), and the other battle is a dispute over treasure that is interrupted by orcs out to avenge the Great Goblin's death (although I'm certain the reason for the orc muster will change for the film).


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Aug 28 2013, 11:08pm

Post #9 of 92 (454 views)
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One thing which is different about Bo5a [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that it does feature a charge by Dwarves! That might be interesting to see.


MouthofSauron
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 3:08am

Post #10 of 92 (416 views)
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it'll be bigger, and in the book it read like it was bigger... [In reply to] Can't Post

you have a army of dwarves, an army of goblins, orcs, bats and wargs. An army of men. An army of elves. Oh and a giant bear and more eagles show up than the number of eagles which appeared at the end of ROTK. So the question should be, how could it not be a bigger battle than any seen in LOTR's.


take me down to the woodland realm where the trees are green and the elf women are pretty....Oh will you please take me home!!


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 3:39am

Post #11 of 92 (400 views)
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the BO5A was nowhere near the scope of Pellinor fields [In reply to] Can't Post

it never read that way at all in the books. And should be treated accordingly on screen....Crazy

There were merely different various type of characters there but the numbers were tiny compared to Pellinor Fields and the Battle at the Black gate. Tiny. It's just at Pellinor you had mainly men and Orcs, where as the BO5A you have dwarfs, elves, men, Eagles, Orcs, bats and wargs. But they are in much smaller numbers than Pellinor. Which Anything put on screen should reflect that. The BO5A is not the biggest battle in the 3rd age and should NOT be treated as such. Do do so is sacrilege to the story in any context IMO be it visual or written.

and Hopefully Jackson is smart about it and keeps the Necromancer away from the BO5A which if he is involved will be terrible IMO taking things way too far out of context with the way Tolkien wrote any of his stories


MouthofSauron
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 3:51am

Post #12 of 92 (409 views)
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Tolkien... [In reply to] Can't Post

never was very detailed about the BOT5A, other than its sheer size. As far as staying to the book, not going to happen, did you watch AUJ? Good thing to that it's not, no necromancer/dol-guldur or high fells if PJ stuck to the book.


take me down to the woodland realm where the trees are green and the elf women are pretty....Oh will you please take me home!!


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 3:56am

Post #13 of 92 (412 views)
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And if he had the films would be SO much better [In reply to] Can't Post

Not everyone thinks Jackson's made up stuff is stellar material. The best stuff in Jackson's films for many of us is the stuff where Jackson actually stuck to Tolkien. Many here are willing to accept the changes but If presented with something that actually represents Tolkien or something obviously made up by Jackson. I think many would chose Tolkien

I'm glad you like all the additions but not everyone is a fan of them Wink


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Aug 29 2013, 4:58am

Post #14 of 92 (374 views)
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Here is why, even though we know the numbers were greater on Pellenor fiel, it wouldn't be a big problem (or wouldn't have been) for this battle to be more grand. [In reply to] Can't Post

The Battle of Pellenor field was not really the sole great battle of Sauron against the free people. It was one battle in a much larger war which saw Sauron's forces unleashed in several places at once, against Gondor, but also against Thranduils kingdom, against Erebor and Dale, and against Lothlorien. And The Battle of Fiver armies AND the battle of Azanulbizar doubtless played a MUCH larger role in the eventual war than is usually consiedered, for, if not for the Battle of Fiver Armies, the goblin and orc forces would have almost certainly proven sufficient in size to completely overrun the North, and if not for the battle of Moria, along with Gandalf's defeat of The Balrog, the attack on Lothlorien would have been FAR more significant, and possibly successful, especially if the hosts that fought with Azog were commanded by a Balrog of Morgoth.

The battle for Gondor was, again, but one battle being fought in the same timeframe as several other important conflicts, and all of those other conflicts would very likely have been decisive victories for Sauron, if not for battles fought earlier in the Third Age, Azanulbizar and Five Armies chief amongst them, possibly alongside the Dol Guldur assault.

In Reply To
Pellinor was the free peoples of middle earth against the vast total of Sauron's armies and allies, the BO5A is a skirmish over treasure which led to a battle for survival. This battle wasn't very big at all in the scope of middle earth battles. Dain only brings 500 dwarfs, the elves were about 1000 strong, and the men following Bard were I believe somewhere between 200 and 300. So we are talking less than 2000 against the orc/goblin army of probably 6 to 10 thousand. I think it said they were outnumbered 4 to one or something like that. But Pellinor Fields was 10s of Thousands of men against Saurons forces. So the numbers are severely different. I'm sure what Jackson shows us will be OTT and blown out of proportion but it shouldn't seem as large (nowhere even close) as the greatest battle of the 3rd age.Tongue

To watch all 6 films in chronological order as Jackson has claimed will be the norm years after the Hobbit is released. It would make completely no sense to have this HUGE epic battle in the middle of the 6 films set dwarfing the final battle on which rested the entire fate of middle earth, compared to what should be a skirmish in one region of middle earth.Wink

Not saying Jackson should cheap out on it but he shouldn't make it appear as important as Pellinor Fields that IMO would be a huge mistake Evil


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Aug 29 2013, 5:16am

Post #15 of 92 (367 views)
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Sticking to the book... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Good thing to that it's not, no necromancer/dol-guldur or high fells if PJ stuck to the book.


We also got a fork-handed orc that is supposed to have been dead for 150 years, and a member of the Istari walking around with insects in his mouth and bird-crap in his hair. Plus, I personally am not too psyched about the whole "High Fells" thing. The Nazgul were never dead, so how could they be buried in tombs? I'm sure you'll disagree, but I felt it was lazy writing (especially since the Nazgul not being dead was mentioned in Jackson's own films already). I am cool with Dol Guldur and the White Council being in, but I wish they hadn't made it seem as if everything has only started happening recently.


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Aug 29 2013, 5:23am

Post #16 of 92 (364 views)
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Depends what you mean by "grand"... [In reply to] Can't Post

You're correct in that Pelennor was not the sole battle in the War of the Ring, but it was likely the biggest, and most important of the big "invasions", which I'm guessing is why Tolkien focused on it instead of, say, the attack on Lorien or the Battle of Dale.

Anyway, back to the Bo5A. If by "grand" you mean a more dazzling spectacle of a battle, that's one thing. But they can accomplish that without having to blow the numbers up to the point that it dwarfs Pelennor.


(This post was edited by Salmacis81 on Aug 29 2013, 5:24am)


patrickk
Rohan

Aug 29 2013, 8:55am

Post #17 of 92 (337 views)
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Remember 12 dwarves turned the Bo5A in the book [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to remind people that in the book of the Hobbit a charge of 12 dwarves turned the battle. If that happend in Pellenor Fields they would have been chewed up by orcs et al in seconds. PJ of course may amend that to give it some more grandeur


Arandir
Gondor


Aug 29 2013, 9:27am

Post #18 of 92 (334 views)
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But these are not just any dwarves ... [In reply to] Can't Post

this is the Company of Thorin Oakenshield Wink ... plus it's 13 not 12 - though Thorin may count for a couple more Smile

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog
'How Peter Jackson inches closer to making 'The Silmarillion'


Skaan
Lorien


Aug 29 2013, 11:33am

Post #19 of 92 (317 views)
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BoFA (some spoilers) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's fine if the BoFA turns out to be more spectacular than the battle of Pelennor (and let's not kid ourselves here, it will), all they need to make sure of is that they don't make it seem bigger than the battle of Pelennor (bigger as in more troops). I think the ideal size would be something slightly bigger than the battle of Helm's Deep.

I personally found the BoFA to be more spectacular in the book than any of the other battles aswell. And that wasn't because of the size, but because of all the stuff that happens in it. You have men, elves, dwarves and orcs/goblins. You have the dwarves break loose out of their mountain to fight, you have the Eagles arriving and you have Beorn arriving. You have the unneven terrain which could make it very interesting aswell. And there's also Dain which makes an appearance. And that isn't including all the stuff that PJ will throw in it aswell (dwarves riding on boars, bats, snowy/winter environment, etc).

I'm not saying none of Tolkien's other battles were interesting, but i think the BoFA is certainly the most fun/interesting one to see on the big screen.


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 1:18pm

Post #20 of 92 (299 views)
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So true.... Mirkwood [In reply to] Can't Post

had been going down hill for hundreds of years before the events of the Hobbit. I don't see anything wrong with them letting it play out that way, I didn't see anything wrong with mr forkhand being dead and Bolg actually being the main antagonist and Thorin's nemesis, Radagast over all other than the "bird poo" looks ok but still is OTT in his being a moron department (Opinion of course, I don't mind some absent mindedness but its just too OTT for me)From DOS why do they need to be fighting in the barrels going down the rapids,awful writing to me, the scene was about whether or not Bilbo made the right choice in trying to save the dwarfs, Bilbo's decisions and the results of what he was going thru thinking he had drown some of the dwarfs. Its a scene that didn't need to be bloated could have had some rapids still had some tension in it, BUT never ever needed to be turned into some fight, chase sequence that looks ridiculously OTT from just the little we have seen of it.

I agree we should be seeing DolGuldur and the white council stuff, that material to me at this point actually seems quite "dry" compared to the rest of Jackson's made up OTT filler material

This time around I don't think Jackson really knows middle earth or what Tolkien did at all. All he knows is what he wants to make up and force into Tolkien's world whether it fits or not. I found the Hobbit AUJ great when there were those moments that stuck close to the book and felt the ones that were OTT just seemed forced and unnatural. Taking away from the Tolkienesque feel of Jackson's own middle earth


Elessar
Valinor


Aug 29 2013, 1:43pm

Post #21 of 92 (291 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

Not everyone rags on them every chance they get either. Wink

I do prefer Tolkien to Jackson but I really love what Jackson has done as a whole. Cool



(This post was edited by Elessar on Aug 29 2013, 1:46pm)


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 2:28pm

Post #22 of 92 (269 views)
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I love the parts that were close to the book [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

And sure I make it known that Jackson could have stuck closer to the book if I can, Its true. Tongue

I loved what Jackon did with LOTR even the changes, although I have issues with Aragorn's reluctant king schtick and Faramir's poor character choices. But I can overlook those and enjoy the story because it IS LOTR, for the most part which I found quite good. The Hobbit on the other hand is some over stylized video game wanna be put on the big screen, with as much made up or completely changed content as we get from the book. I'm sorry but I don't consider that an adaptation as much as I consider it a rewrite. The stuff that mirrors or comes close to the book I think is great I love it, but when we get into unrealistic video game type action for no better reason than Jackson wanted it that way. Maybe at that point there should have been thoughts of a new director. One who actually cared for the story Tolkien wrote, one who wanted to tell Tolkien's story because he loved it, Instead of one who felt obligated to make it because he couldn't relinquish control of it to someone who cared about the story Tolkien wrote.

All Jackson has given us at this point is a highlight reel of the Hobbit taking bits and pieces of it and changing many of them into something similar but not quite the story. Then turning around and adding more material than the material he is supposedly adapting. I like a couple of the additions, the betting scene, Thorin's late arrival, I thought the Stone giants were AWSOME until they turned into a theme park ride at Six Flags. Then they became a joke. Azog what was the purpose of him that Bolg could not have filled? That's right Azog the defiler is just too cool a name not to use Crazy I forgot. and his chasing Thorin around middle earth.... WHY? That's right! To wipe out the line of Durin.... but again WHY? its not explained at all at this point and to me right now seems like a worthless part of the story inserted to do nothing but add action. And get us nowhere that we weren't already going. I'm sure Gandalf would have found a way to lead them into Rivendell with or without Thorin's knowledge. (which wouldn't be a problem if Jackson didn't have to make up some bitter feud between the races, there's a difference between not liking and not trusting to outright hating) The appendices at this point I fail to see why they even bothered since what we got is horrible compared to what Tolkien gave us in those appendices.

So sure I make it known that Jackson isn't being faithful to what Tolkien wrote, some people don't even realize Azog was NEVER a character in the Hobbit. Some people don't know Radagast was only mentioned once but never seen in the Hobbit. If there were a bit more respect to what Tolkien wrote then it would not be an issue. The parts of the Hobbit that stuck to the book I think are amazing, its Jackson's choice to make the rest of it an over stylized video game style film I have problems with.. Wink

So what Jackson has done as a whole including LOTR I would agree, but if we are talking the Hobbit we'll have to agree to disagree Wink


Elessar
Valinor


Aug 29 2013, 3:09pm

Post #23 of 92 (262 views)
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We all love the books [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we all love the parts that come from the book. There is no arguing that point at all.

Believe me we know. The corpse of that horse has long been beaten. lol Tongue

I think we have to as you said agree to disagree. I had a longer post but I don't see either of us moving much from our positions. lol



Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Aug 29 2013, 3:14pm

Post #24 of 92 (256 views)
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until I get my COMPLETE fan edit [In reply to] Can't Post

of the Hobbit which will happen (Ive already seen the edit of AUJ which is awsome) and which will satisfy me.... there is always just a bit of that horses carcass to kick once in a while. I'm not dwelling on it like I used to. But its still there. Wink


Elessar
Valinor


Aug 29 2013, 3:28pm

Post #25 of 92 (258 views)
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Fan Edits are lame [In reply to] Can't Post

No offense to anyone who enjoys them but I find fan edits to be so super lame. I wouldn't pay for that at all. If I want the fan edit I have the book.


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