Questions Raised by a Marathon Viewing of the “Lord of the Rings” Extended Editions

Questions Raised by a Marathon Viewing of the “Lord of the Rings” Extended Editions


Given that Gandalf seems to be the better, wiser wizard, how did Saruman get to be the boss of the wizards? Was it, like, a political thing?

How did Peter Jackson decide that in his cameo, he’d be menacingly eating a carrot?

Why does that guy in the Prancing Pony have a ferret?

Why is everyone in Bree so dirty? Do all of Middle Earth’s trash men live in Bree, like all the farmers live in the Shire?

If Aragorn wants the hobbits to trust him, why does he spend so much time eerily staring at them from across the tavern?

When Frodo loses consciousness after being stabbed by a Ring Wraith, why does he slip away into a screen saver from 1995?

Do those carved wooden chairs stay out on Rivendell’s patio all the time, or is there an elf custodian who has to haul them out when Elrond wants to entertain?

Why does Aragorn have a twangy accent when he’s outside that disappears when he’s inside?

How did elves decide that their formalwear would be velour ponchos?

Does Arwen have pants to match her elven blazer?

When Pippin tips that desiccated corpse down the well and draws the attention of the cave troll…why did he even want to touch that?

When Frodo gets stabbed by the cave troll, his elven chain mail isn’t punctured—but why doesn’t he die of internal injuries?

Why is everyone so big and tough in Middle Earth, when in the actual ye olde days, people were small and frail and sick all the time?

When Galadriel is handing out gifts, why does Gimli ask for a lock of her hair instead of something useful like a rope, or a knife, or a candlestick?

Is Boromir totally pissed that he has to spend his dying moments watching Aragorn prove yet again that he’s the most awesome man?

Why does Sam think he and Frodo are “lost” when Mount Doom’s smoking away right in front of them?

Is it bad that my signature for credit card receipts is less legible than the signature of the possessed King Théoden?

Why is Gimli confused about why Merry and Pippin ran into Fangorn Forest, when it’s just been established that they were about to be eaten by orcs?

Did Wormtongue read The Mystery Method?

Why doesn’t Gandalf’s possession-breaking spell work until he’s wearing the right outfit?

How poorly designed are the wargs that each can be derailed by a single thin arrow, while Boromir can take four thick ones and still gasp confessions?

How long was Wormtongue in Saruman’s tower that he didn’t notice that enormous army massing outside?

Why don’t the forces of good have at least, like, one guy standing watch at the Helm’s Deep storm grate?

Given how outrageously deliberate the Ents are, why do they make a decision about whether or not to go to war with Isengard without bothering to check out what was going on at Isengard?

During the drinking game, what the hell does Gimli say about hairy women?

In all these years, how is this the first time those beacons have been pranked? Shouldn’t there be a beacon cancellation signal or something? What if they light a beacon and it’s foggy out?

Is beaconkeeper the most boring job in all of Middle Earth?

How many times actually in the history of the world has it happened that two guys are fighting on the edge of a cliff and one guy gets thrown off while the other one holds on? Maybe like, twice?

Is the carved-wolf battering ram the greatest artistic achievement of the Uruk-hai race?

Why are the giant elephants so late to the siege of Gondor? Was Sauron, like, keeping them in reserve just in case Rohan showed up?

Why does Gandalf bother to go save Faramir from being burned alive—which is admittedly horrific, but perhaps a minor consideration given that the forces of good are in a pitched battle for the fate of Middle Earth?

When is there going to be a theme park attraction called Legolas’s Goofy Elephant Ride?

Why does Éowyn’s near-death experience turn into a music video?

Doesn’t Aragorn feel a little awkward taking his sword and threatening Sauron, who is, after all…a mountain?

How long after Frodo woke up did it take for all his friends to convince him that he wasn’t actually dead, that he was just in Gondor and everything just happened to be glowing white and everyone just happened to be wearing their Sunday best and Legolas just happened to look like he was about to play the harp?

Where are all those flower petals coming from in the coronation scene? Did they find a peaceful use for all those trebuchets the orcs left behind?


Jay Gabler, listening to Linnea Goderstad, Dana Hanson, and Dih-Dih Huang