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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: How would you have done the armoury, etc, in LOTR?         Reply with quote

How would you have done the fights? The weapons and armor, etc
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not sure that I would have changed a whole lot. I really think for the most part that the weaponry and armor were in line with Tolkien's vision. I really liked the Gondorian and Rohan armors. There were couple of far-fetched things that I might have altered - IE, when Aragorn throws the torch and pegs the Nazgul in the face, the fact that Glamdring did not glow, or the fact that Tom Bombadil and Glorfindel were omitted. Alot of the weapon-lore was missing as well, in Tolkien's work, most of the weapons seemed ot have a long history and a presence - whereas PJ only focuses on Narsil/Anduril in the films.

But, as it stands, I'm not sure I could have done any better given the resources, budget, and time constraints.

J.E. Sarge
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would have made all the elves weapons more like Glamdring and Sting. Tolkien clearly did not have curved blades in mind for elven swords or other weapons.... I am with John Howe on this one.... they should be straight!! An army with glamdring-like swords would have rocked! They also would have been clearly different from Gondor and Rohan's swords so it would have done the same things. Apart from that much of it was very good. It would have been nice if more evil men were included in many of the wars apart from just the gents on the oliphants as well as they made up a major part of the fighting in the books and they were shown marching but not actually in the battles which was sad. I am hoping that they give the men of laketown in the hobbit a late 13th to early 14th look actually. Some neat COPs, mail and plate mix would be great. More interested in Smaug though!!!

RPM
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 1:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No plate. Tolkin was clear that everyone wore maille.

M.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M.,

Thatís not quite 100% true. The use of greaves, vambraces and such appear in several places and scale is also fairly common. Dwarves in Sil. have some plate bits, the men of the west in the 2nd age, Dol Amroth do as well as that is how he sees Eowyn's breath. So not completely wrong with plate more a frequency thing. That said I get your drift. The use of plate in the books are fairly sparingly done while in the movie they were much more common.
Wink
RPM
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ahh, good point. I must admit I have never read the books Cry

All I know is from asking (dumb) questions to various people, and reading what others have written about it. Personally, I think it's a mediocre story, with the usual unlikely hero cliche as the center point of the plot. I do laude the shear size of the universe, however.

I would like to have seen that fight on Weathertop to have been more than "sword waving".

M.

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Lou Weaver




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

kaor good gents! my problem with addapting books into movies is that if you are going to leave parts out do not put in things you make up! the LOTR is a huge work that would have required six movies four hours long each. now, i could handle that but you know how the suits in hollyweird would not have gone for it and it would have taken two or three more years. as said before, orcs used scimitars and the eldar hadsttrait swords as did the high men. glamdring not glowing was an oversight for sure. maile with vambraces and grieves yes but no full plate. PJ could have left out the stupid action hero B.S. as well ( legolas shield surfing , ect. ect. )
'...you know best the promptings of yor own heart. that i shall need your sword i have little doubt, but accept from john carter upon his sacred honor the assurance that he will never call upon you to draw this sword other than in the cause of truth, justice and righteousness.'
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd scrap the two handed swords like what Aaragorn used in the movie. LOTR was based more on 6th-11th century europe from waht they used.

There was plate, but it was limited to greaves and vambraces. This is not different from the Carolingian age. But full plate like Gondor should be out, no breastplates, etc. etc.

The pike armed Uruks don't fit either, they should have been javelins, spear, swords and bows.

And the Katana armed elves seemed a bit off. Standard straight one handed swords, shields, and spears. A few descriptions of elvish armies talk about their gleaming mail armour and spear points gleaming in the sun.
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Helge B.





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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think for most parts PJ did a good job in creating a believable atmosphere with the requisites used. In the extended DVD version there is a lot of background information about the design of the weapons, armours, architecture etc. They tried to keep most of the things somehow "realistic" and not too fancy.

For the Gondor, Rohan, Isengard and Elf faction it worked pretty well.

There are some things which I think are overstretched though:

- The double bladed naginatas used by the elves. They look nice but do not seem practical in formation fighting. Spears and shields would have fit them better.
- That huge flail used by the witch king. (In the background dvd the armourer said, that he was so ashamed about the ridiculous size that he hid that weapon before his colleagues when he brought it to PJ)
- The ragtag armour and weapons of the Mordor-orcs. Tolkien described Mordor with a high grade of industrialization (intensive farming, numbers instead of names etc.). Something similar to the Uruk-Hai would be more suitable
- The massive rocks thrown by the trebuchets at Minas Tirith

Besides of that some other strange parts that come into my mind:
- The Rohirim cavalry breaking into the pikes of the Uruk-hai at Helms Klamm
- The Gondorian heavy cavalry almost without any lances. (Why attack a Osgiliath with cavalry at all?)
- No moat around Minas Tirith
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think it had a moat in the books also there accounts that mention historical trebuchets that could fire six hundred pound stones over half a mile with a counter weight of 9 and a half tons Eek! Also Narsil was used by Elindil who stood over seven feet tall

I think the Rohirrim would resemble Normans Long Hauberk, Tall Kingly Helm with a horse tail plume, Chausses, Mail Guantlets (Mabye richer Rohirrim have Poleyns and Couters?) with a Thureos, Longsword, Bow, and a Polish Hussar style lance

Gondor Keep the Helms only make the wings (On the common soldiers helms) embossed instead of engraved
Tolkien mentions that the citadel guard had a hauberk of jet black mail made from strange metal I would get rid of the cuirass and outfit all them with full mail, gorget, greaves, vambraces, couters, poleyns, spaulders, guantlets, sabatons, longsword, sheild, spear (Archers would have no spear or shield). The heavy cavalry would be equipped in the same fashion and with a lance, horses would have a chanfron (BTW in the book the whole attack osgiliath with cavalry thing never happened). The rangers are fine the way they are. Give Gondor greek fire as the book describes whole siege towers getting roasted

Orcs the book says they have cloaks and while their gear was filthy and ugly it was of pretty good quality so outfit them the way the book says

Elves get rid of the naginatas outfit them in the same style as gondor

Make the witch-kings flail a reasonable size

Evil Men Isenguarders are okay as they are in them movie

Mordor men are okay and follow the books description

Fiefdoms have them the way they were in the book

Dol Amroth A hybrid between Normans and Klibanophoroi?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the Rohirrim would resemble Normans Long Hauberk, Tall Kingly Helm with a horse tail plume, Chausses, Mail Guantlets (Mabye richer Rohirrim have Poleyns and Couters?) with a Thureos, Longsword, Bow, and a Polish Hussar style lance


Little too much for me. I'd either go with the early norman type without anything but hauberk and helm, or even something more along carolingian types, mail shirt or short hauberk, greaves and vambraces worn by the better off. Some Avar type armour thrown in would not be bad IMO either.

Quote:
Tolkien mentions that the citadel guard had a hauberk of jet black mail made from strange metal I would get rid of the cuirass and outfit all them with full mail, gorget, greaves, vambraces, couters, poleyns, spaulders, guantlets, sabatons, longsword, sheild, spear (Archers would have no spear or shield).


I'd get rid of most of the plate devices.

If trying to be true to Tolkien, it's more of a Dark Age setting, more akin to the Germanic sagas around the Migration era and a little after (Beowulf is thought to be a 6th century or so setting IIRC?).

Other than there seems to be a lot of armour worn. I'm not sure if Tolkien pictured all the forces wearing metal armour, or a mix of metal armour and unarmoured troops.


Anyway, he was a fantasy writer, not a historian! Big Grin
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Ben C.





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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

reading LOTR in the early 80's when I was just 7 years old is what set up my life long love of fantasy and medieval history but to be honest Tolkien was just a literature professor and was not amazingly knowledgeable about warfare, fighting or medieval equipment. It's really not relevent whether or not the movie was accurate to certain periods of European history because it's a fantasy piece. Orcs, wizards and balrogs weren't exactly common in the 11th century either.

Personally I think the movie improved on Tolkien's books in a number of ways. One of the major weak points of Tolkien's work is that there is a huge amount of characters but nearly all of them are fairly shallow and under-developed. That becomes even more of a problem when you turn the story into a movie. You have very limited screen time for each character so therefore you have to rely heavily of visuals to give them personality and distinguish them for the audience. The end result of having everyone equipped in a fashion that matches the books and 6-11th century Europe is that you'd end up with thousands of similarly named characters all looking the same with mail, shields, straight swords and spears. The would be little visually to really distinguish between Gondor, the Rohirrim and the elves. The 3 movies already run roughly 10 hours between them and already required a number of scenes being cut so there just isn't time to establish characters like that so using distinct visuals is a must.

Instead by using highly varied styles of equipment between the factions the audience can instantly get a feeling for the characters as soon as they see them and I think the choices they made were quite good. Simply using plate and mail and different styles of clothing and weaponry gave a strong distinction between the men of Gondor and the Rohirrim that wouldn't have been achieved if they were both wearing mail. Unique curved swords/polemans gave the elves a distant exotic feel which was much better than simply slapping some wigs and pointed ears on the extras. The depiction of elves with light long curved swords has been a popular theme ever since the 80's and those types of weapons seem far more appropriate for a bunch of pampered nancy boys than blades which often involve a lot more up close and personal work Cool

The orcs though had the best update IMO. The urak hai with their pikes, sword like cleavers and crude plate armour were easily identifiable as a professional/elite force among the bad guys. It gave the impression that they had man power and resources but also left the feeling that the lacked the skill to produce quality equipment which sums up a lot of the orcs character. The regular orcs with their rag-tag equipment, smaller size and more twisted appearance left a much different impression. Just with these visual differences alone Jackson established personalities for different sets of characters without having to use dialogues and explanations.

The movies had some flaws (especially the 3rd one) but the changes to the equipment was not one of them in my opinion. It was especially refreshing to see that the human weapons were based on reality rather than looking like the cheap He-man castoffs that you usually see in fantasy artwork and games.
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
the fact that Glamdring did not glow


Yeah, definitely this one.

I'm in favor of glow-in-the-dark swords in general.

Randall Moffett wrote:
I would have made all the elves weapons more like Glamdring and Sting. Tolkien clearly did not have curved blades in mind for elven swords or other weapons.... I am with John Howe on this one.... they should be straight!! An army with glamdring-like swords would have rocked! They also would have been clearly different from Gondor and Rohan's swords so it would have done the same things.


While I wouldn't have gotten rid of those nifty curved swords, I would have thrown in some of those leaf-blades as well for variation. Since Sting and Glamdring are already established to be elf swords, it's strange they are the only ones of their kind to show up.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Personally I think the movie improved on Tolkien's books in a number of ways.


I guess it's what you are looking for. I would have liked them to be more true to the books, but I see your points.

It also depends on who you are appealing to. For the historians who disike non-period arms and armour being used together, it may not be as appealing, but I'm sure to the general audience the mixing of these was not a problem.

Just kills me a bit that Gondor is 14th-15th century, Rohan seems to be more 10-12th century.

Quote:
The depiction of elves with light long curved swords has been a popular theme ever since the 80's and those types of weapons seem far more appropriate for a bunch of pampered nancy boys than blades which often involve a lot more up close and personal work


This I have to disagree with. One problem is elves made Glamdring and Sting - why are they making straight swords when they use exclusively the curved Katana's? The portrayal of elves as pointy eared samurai killed it for me.

I do think there could have been ways to clad elves, gondorians and Rohirrim in mail but give them a different look. Could do distinctive surcoats worn by one or the other, different helms, different style shields, make certain plate accessories common among one but not the other (long mail hauberks for the Gondorians, short hauberks for the Rohirrim, use a lot of vambraces and greaces for the elves for instance)etc. etc.

Quote:
The urak hai with their pikes, sword like cleavers and crude plate armour were easily identifiable as a professional/elite force among the bad guys. It gave the impression that they had man power and resources but also left the feeling that the lacked the skill to produce quality equipment which sums up a lot of the orcs character.


Per the books, the Orcs made ugly but effective weapons.

The Uruk Hai would have been easy to distinguish without the Pikes and partial plate armour - Their size, white hand "heraldry" device already make them clearly different. But why they use a completely different weapons system than Saruman's other orcs makes little sense. I don't picture orcs in general, even the Uruk-Hai as overly well disciplined, which makes the Pike not the right choice for me. I see them more as a loosely packed horde charging full speed into combat using hand to hand type weapons, more like the rabid charge of woad painted picts or gauls than disciplined swiss pikemen.
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Gabriele A. Pini




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OT: I also noticed the reduction of the number of character, in primis the intervent of Arwen at the ford... I think that that this high number kis one of the strong point of the book, because it's like in real life, where you encounter a lot of people by passing, or with only as much as a word... This was clearly impossible in a movie, like the use of some character good but minor, like Bombadil (even if he is a incarnation of Eru, like some think), or small stories in the story, like the return in the Shire.

I have see one "certified" reconstruction of the blade of Arwen, and I have to admit that impress with its strenght and balance (visually, naturally), even if it is not-period.

Much more that armor and weapons I was disturbed by some error of the battle's strategies, like the charge of the Rohirrim which is more a race than a concerted moviment...
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

regarding specifically the swords, my main complaint about the movies (in addition to others already voiced) is how the FOTR completely glosses over how the hobbits got their swords.......... the four hobbits suddenly pop up in bree skipping a substantial piece of the story and this is particularly strange as Merry's sword plays a very important role later on ..... not just any sword could have done what Merry's did. tr
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elves The book mentions they were clad in a type of armor that was kind of like scale

Mabye gondor only with the armor I mentioned above and different helms and sidearm and a polearm?
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Dan P




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wrote a long thing and then decided not to post it. I love the movies and the books and don't care that they had to make significant changes adapting the books to the film medium since I can go back to the originals whenever I want. So instead I'm going to just state the one thing I hate most about what they did with the weapons from LOTR:

Giving the license to make reproductions to UNITED CUTLERY. Who then stamped blades out of 420J steel, slapped on the flimsiest rat-tail tangs made by mankind, and even sharpened some of their sword like repros for some reason which I can only imagine involves joy from human suffering. And then went out of business or bankruptcy or something like that.
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
regarding specifically the swords, my main complaint about the movies (in addition to others already voiced) is how the FOTR completely glosses over how the hobbits got their swords.......... the four hobbits suddenly pop up in bree skipping a substantial piece of the story and this is particularly strange as Merry's sword plays a very important role later on ..... not just any sword could have done what Merry's did. tr


In the movie - I distinctly remember Aragorn giving them the swords and making a big deal about it. Or was that just in the extended version?
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Ahh, good point. I must admit I have never read the books Cry

All I know is from asking (dumb) questions to various people, and reading what others have written about it. Personally, I think it's a mediocre story, with the usual unlikely hero cliche as the center point of the plot. I do laude the shear size of the universe, however.

I would like to have seen that fight on Weathertop to have been more than "sword waving".

M.


M. if you read the story and the supporting backround literature, particularly The History of Middle Earth and Letters of JRR Tolkien, you will find that your assertion of the center point of the plot is not correct.

As far as the weapons are concerned.

There is only one mention of a single elf ever wielding a curved blade and this was part of Tolkiens earliest writing (prior to 1920) that was never bought into line with the later works. In later works curved blades are only ever mentioned as being used by orcs and some men under Sauron's dominion.

Legloas bore a single white knife. The reference to "white" means simply burnished or bright steel, the knife was specifically stated to be silver hafted, not some sort of bone handle as shown in the movies.

Gimlis armour was all wrong, he wore a short coat of steel rings (maille), not the type shown in the movie.

Gimli carried a single axe not 50 of them.

Narsil/Anduril is referred to both as a long sword and a great sword in the book, so hand and a half / two handed may be appropriate. Historically didn't longsword also have another meaning though that may not mean what we commonly use the term for now days?

Boromirs sword is said to be like Anduril but of less lineage, so whatever sword type Anduril was represented as, Boromirs sword should have been simlar and only stylistically different as it's cultural backround was different.

For further consideration as to the type of sword that they both are please note Boromir carried and used a shield at all times, so his sword had to be appropriate to be used in a single hand, this of course does not discount it also being used two handed. Also Aragorn uses a shield from his time in Rohan onwards so the same requirements apply.

The Rohan swords in the movies had blade lengths that were only around 27"-28", not allowing for much effective reach, which seems to be opposite to what we historically see in single handed cavalry blades.

In one of his letters Tolkien specifically refers to the armour in his story as the sort shown in the Bayeux tapestry, and his understanding was that this represented maille. IIRC this was in direct reference to the armour of Rohan.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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