LOTR Errata Sheet
Many readers have rightly pointed out these errors, and referenced (even mocked) them in blogs, forums, etc.. I'm big enough to admit that I've been wrong—on numerous occasions—and here document my sins in full...  


THE LORD OF THE RINGS
ERRATA SHEET

 

This page was created on April 17, 2004
This page was last updated on May 31, 2005

LOTR Errata Sheet
Notes from
Pastor Greg Wright

hjpastorgreg@hotmail.com


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In the middle of 2000, Hollywood Jesus web master David Bruce and I started assembling the web page structure for coverage of The Lord of the Rings. The Big Event was still more than a year away, but interest in Tolkien—and anticipation of Peter Jackson's film trilogy—was building.

Nearly five years ago now, I first came on board with Hollywood Jesus as a volunteer editor, reviewing as many of David's reviews as I could, and feeding him notes via email about various typos and grammatical gaffes.

So it was with some irony that, as I started assembling and publishing my own web pages for the Rings coverage, a great number of errors found their way into my work. This was natural, of course, because even editors need an editor, and my wife, Jenn, had not yet begun editing my work for me.

In recent months, though, the all-volunteer corps of writers at Hollywood Jesus has been stepping up its editorial profile. As part of that effort, almost the entire suite of Rings web pages is being updated: typos are being corrected, spelling and punctuation massaged.

Because web publishing is what it is, however, there remain places where, though my language is flawless, I am simply in error in my statements. This web page offers comprehensive documentation of this errata. I would much prefer it, of course, if these errors could be corrected at their source; but that would be unfair to the many readers who have rightly pointed out these errors, and referenced and translated (even mocked) them in blogs, forums, etc.. I'm big enough to admit that I've been wrong on numerous occasions, and here document my sins in full.

Saruman, Sauron and Power

Introduction: Again in this column, I mistakenly refer to Cirith Ungol as Cirith Gorgor. Why? I have no idea. I certainly knew the difference.

Théoden's Ill Choices

Another Man of Action: Tolkien refers to Aragorn, Legolas and Gilmi as the Three Hunters, not the "Three Runners" as I do here.

The Will to Act, Even Badly: While the cinematic Théoden does "bide his time and brood," Jackson has actually stacked the deck against him by giving him different circumstances and counsel to which he must respond.

Haldir at Helm's Deep

Elves and Mortality: Only in the sense that the Indians might have said, "As long as the wind blows," can the Elves really be said to live forever. Elvish lore clearly recognized that Arda, the physical world, would some day come to an end—and that their physical existence would end with it. So technically, it's more accurate to say that Elves may live as long as the earth—thousands and thousands of years, but not forever. From that standpoint, Elves are not truly immortal.

Elves in The Two Towers: Lórien is veiled, not Galadriel. Doriath, one of the ancient Elven kingdoms, was protected by Melian's spell. Even Melkor could not sense its location. Similarly, Galadriel, through the power of the ring Nenya, protected Lórien. In Westron, Lórien was even called "The Hidden Land."

Haldir's Death: In this section, I again make a rather odd application of the Old Testament scripture, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Properly speaking, this passage is describing the wounds inflicted by a friend: they are not meant for ill, hurt though they might. So why do I use the passage to describe the wounds Jesus bore on our behalf? Well, it's sloppy mental shorthand on my part. Isaiah also says that by the Messiah's wounds we are healed; and in the gospels, Jesus says that there is no greater love than sacrificing one's life for a friend. So I have always made this shortcut in my brain that says: "Okay, so Jesus laid down his life for us; and it's by his wounds we are healed. So that's another kind of faithful wound. Boy, faithful wounding amongst friends is a two-way street!" Odd, I know.

An Odd Place to End?

Thread One: Ithilien is in Gondor. Properly speaking, then, Faramir takes the Hobbits toward Minas Tirith via Osgiliath.

Thread Three: The extended edition of The Two Towers, of course, makes it clear that the Huorns really are at Helm's Deep, and that they are, in fact, responsible for annihilation of the orc army. Nonetheless, this cinematic fact does not obviate the point of my article: that Jackson had to mess with time lines significantly to get these three story threads to coalesce. In fact, the presence of Huorns at Helm's Deep while the Ents are simultaneously ripping up Isengard means that the Huorns had to travel really really fast to get to Helm's Deep in time—only emphasizing my point, rather than undermining it.

Tom Bombadil vs. Peter Jackson

Who Is Tom Bombadil? and The Eternal Thing: Bombadil is not "disinterested" in the Ring; he is indifferent to it. He may be disinterested, too—meaning "impartial" or "unbiased"—but that's not what I meant.

Saruman, Magic and Wizardry

Why, Then, Jackson's Saruman: In Peter Jackson's movie, Gandalf's encounter with Saruman is shown in a sequential narrative order. In the book, the encounter is revealed out of sequence: at the council of Elrond, orally, by Gandalf. Though the encounter took place in Book I of The Lord of the Rings (the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring), the exposition takes place in Book II. So Jackson does, indeed, modify the narrative flow to pump up the action and build tension; but the way in which I stated the case was inaccurate. I confused myself by mixing up the six books of The Lord of the Rings with the three volumes in which they were published, apparently. Odd.

Gandalf and His Hobbits

Why Bilbo, and Why Frodo: Frodo is actually Bilbo's cousin, not his nephew as I erroneously state.

Further Understanding Jackson: Tolkien was fairly clear, privately, that Gandalf knew his act was sacrificial. But Gandalf's descent into Khazad-dûm with the Balrog, as portrayed on film, can be interpreted as accidental. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, and moving pictures even more—but sometimes the words in a book convey a more precise reading of an event. At any rate, my comment here was less than clear.

Also in this section, I make a rather odd application of the Old Testament scripture, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Properly speaking, this passage is describing the wounds inflicted by a friend: they are not meant for ill, hurt though they might. So why do I use the passage to describe the wounds Jesus bore on our behalf? Well, it's sloppy mental shorthand on my part. Isaiah also says that by the Messiah's wounds we are healed; and in the gospels, Jesus says that there is no greater love than sacrificing one's life for a friend. So I have always made this shortcut in my brain that says: "Okay, so Jesus laid down his life for us; and it's by his wounds we are healed. So that's another kind of faithful wound. Boy, faithful wounding amongst friends is a two-way street!" Odd, I know.

Elrond and Peter Jackson's Aragorn

Further Understanding Jackson: As Boromir dies, it's actually Aragorn who is in Boromir's arms, depending on which reverse-angle shot we see. When looking at Boromir, his right hand may be seen on Aragorn's left shoulder. When looking at Aragorn, Boromir's right arm is at his own side.

Peter Jackson's Arwen

Seizing the Day: Properly speaking, the tale of Arwen and Aragorn is published in Appendix A, not in a separate appendix as I claim in the article.

bk6_sm.jpg - 6225 Bytes The Return of the King, Book VI

Before the Black Gate: The self-announced "Lords of Gondor" are described by Tolkien as the "Captains of the West," not the "Princes of the West," as I describe them.

bk5_sm.jpg - 6225 Bytes The Return of the King, Book V

Éowyn: As I state correctly initially, Éowyn is Théoden's niece. That would make "the King of Rohan" her uncle, not her father.

Éowyn and the Witch King: This is simply the most messed up paragraph I've ever written. I got my notes confused, and it all went downhill from there. It is Denethor who Gandalf says may not "order the hour" of his own death, though, of course, the same applies to the Witch King—perhaps even more significantly so. Against Denethor I should have contrasted Jesus, who could very much say with certainty, "My hour is not yet come"—and not the Witch King. Jesus acts in submission to the will of the Father, yes; but he does know in advance the hour and mode of his demise. By comparison, none of us—or the Witch King—have such insight; yet we are still subject to Providence, and God's timing.

bk4_sm.jpg - 6225 Bytes The Two Towers, Book IV

The Road to Cirith Gorgor, Cirith Gorgor, and Sam's Great Strength: Three times in this column, I mistakenly refer to Cirith Ungol as Cirith Gorgor. Why? I have no idea. I certainly knew the difference. At least I was consistent! Also, the course that Gollum and the

 
bk3_sm.jpg - 6225 Bytes The Two Towers, Book III

Helm's Deep: I remark that "Rohan gives Isengard into the keeping of Saruman." It was actually Beren, Steward of Gondor, that put the keys of Orthanc in Saruman's keeping, as warden of Gondor's westernmost fortress.

bk2_sm.jpg - 6225 Bytes The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II

Anduin: I mistakenly describe Amon Hen as "below Rauros." Amon Hen is actually to the north of Rauros, at the top of the falls.

Bilbo: I state, "Elrond overrules, designating Frodo as the Ringbearer." Technically speaking, Gandalf overrules Bilbo. Elrond does, however, designate Frodo.

LOTR Coverage Index here

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