The superior Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings is finally arriving on BluRay. For most fans, these are the only versions to watch. With more than a half an hour added to each movie with additional scenes and even alternate takes of existing scenes to change the tone here and there, they are a near perfect adaptation of the greatest fantasy epic ever written. With the BluRay release looming, here are the ten best additions to the Extended Edition to keep an eye out for during your upcoming fourteen hour marathon of The Lord of the Rings.
Perhaps the most missed scene from the theatrical cut of Fellowship was the gifting. It’s a big, and memorable, part of the book where Galadriel gives each member of the Fellowship a special gift that would become useful later in their quest. In the theatrical cut they do show Frodo receiving the Light of Elendil, as it would be very important in Return of the King, but the Extended Edition restores the full gifting scene as it should have originally been.
The Mouth of Sauron
The Mouth of Sauron was sorely missed from the end of The Return of the King. In the theatrical version, Aragorn just goes up to the Black Gate, yells, and it opens. The showdown with the Mouth is a crucial part of the book and his return in the Extended Edition makes the final scenes of The Return of the King even stronger than they were in the theatrical cut. It’s something else that should not have been cut out.
Fangorn Comes to Helm’s Deep
You can almost understand why this wasn’t in the theatrical cut, I mean explaining how a forest walked to Helm’s Deep to mop up the Orcs is a bit of a stretch for no-fans to get. But it was great to see it back in the Extended Cut. Those who read the book were expecting to see the Orcs run into the forest to be torn up by the trees and it’s a much better ending to big battle in The Two Towers than what we got in the theatrical cut.
The Ring Goes South
This is my personal favorite moment in all fourteen hours of the Extended Edition. It shows Frodo and the Fellowship departing from Rivendell and even show’s Frodo’s point of view as he walks out of the city and begins his quest. The glance that Aragon gives Arwen is explained in the flashback in The Two Towers that is set immediately before this scene.
The Houses of Healing
“The hands of the King are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.” Those words are spoken by a woman of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings when seeing Aragorn helping people in the Houses of Healing. While Jackson made some changes to Aragorn’s character in the movie (as he did most characters for a film adaptation to work), I always felt that from knowing the book that this was a key scene to show prior to Aragorn regaining the crown.
Paths of the Dead
There was a Paths of the Dead in the theatrical cut, but the Extended Edition has so much more. More of the Three Hunters exploring the caves, more with the Army of the Dead, and more right outside the cave after they’ve pledged their loyalty to the rightful king.
The Midgewater Marshes
Aragorn leading the Hobbits through the Midgewater Marshes is important for a couple reasons. One, it shows how the Ranger was able to protect and feed the Hobbits on their trip to Rivendell. Two, Aragorn sings the Song of Beren and LĂșthien. Their story mirrors that of Aragorn and Arwen, and it was so important to Tolkien that Beren is carved on his tombstone, and LĂșthien on his wife’s.
Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way
That song from the Rankin-Bass animated version of The Return of the King didn’t make it into Jackson’s adaptation, but we thankfully got to see Frodo and Sam joining the column of Orcs. In the theatrical cut, they leave Cirith Ungol and then arrive at the base of Mount Doom. We didn’t really see them crossing the Plains of Gorgoroth much, and with them joining the Orcs and then shedding their disguises in the Extended Edition; that bit is restored.
There is a really cool bit added to Moria in the Extended Edition where Gandalf explains that the wealth of Moria was in Mithril. He mentions how Bilbo had a Mithril coat (which Frodo is secretly wearing) that Thorin gave him. That “Kingly gift” happens at the end of The Hobbit, and if Jackson doesn’t include it in his adaptation; the movies will then have a plot hole the size of Leia remembering her mother.
In the book, Faramir is famous for saying “I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs.” Naturally his character was changed in the movie to the ire of purists, but as Jackson explained characters in a film have to grow and have an arc; and the book version of Faramir didn’t have that. In the Extended Edition, Faramir does get a bit of his book personality back when he gives a similar speech to Denethor.