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Trivia: While Gothmog (played by Lawrence Makoare) is the only Orc identified in the film, here are the names of those un-named, who appear in the films: 1) Gorbag: the Orc (played by Stephen Ure) that argues over the mithril shirt and then fights with the Uruk in the Tower at Cirith Ungol, and later Sam stabs in the Tower when rescuing Frodo; 2) Shagrat: the large Uruk (played by Peter Tait) that argues with Gorbag over the mithril shirt; 3) Snaga: is Grishnákh's lieutenant in The Two Towers (he's played by Jed Brophy). He is the Orc who argues over food - Merry and Pippin - and tries to sneak up behind the Hobbits, but is killed by Uglúk.

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Question: Did Denethor in the original book suffer from some form of mental illness?

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Chosen answer: Not exactly. While this isn't stated in the film (unless it appears in the Extended Cut), Denethor has access to a palantir, like the one Saruman possessed that Pippin ultimately looks in. Denethor has used this palantir to follow events in Middle-Earth, but, just as Pippin did, he has encountered Sauron. The Dark Lord used this opportunity to mess with Denethor's mind, bringing him to the point of terrible despair, where he simply cannot conceive of anything other than defeat at Sauron's hands. This affects Denethor's judgement horribly, leading him to first send out Faramir's suicide mission, and then to break completely when he sees the Mordor forces arrayed against him.

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Question: Is there evidence that Peter Jackson was influenced by the 1996 PC game "Warcraft II" in how the soldiers of Gondor and the Orcs dress? The armored uniforms of the Gondorians resembled those of the humans in Warcraft.

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Chosen answer: For practical armouring, there are only so many possibilities that you can go with - inevitably some of these will resemble each other. The Gondorian armour is described to a reasonable degree within the books - the designs would have been based on those descriptions, rather than any non-Tolkien influences.

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Question: Is there any more significance about the tree of Gondor other than what Pippin saw in a vision?

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Chosen answer: Quite a lot of significance, yes. Okay, deep breath, here goes. Back before the First Age, there was a time referred to as "The Years of the Trees". At this time, before the sun and the moon, the domain of the Valar (local godlikes) was lit by the radiance of two revered and mystical trees. The elder tree, called Telperion, was known as the White Tree. Destroyed by Melkor, the first Dark Lord, shortly before the beginning of the First Age, its image was preserved by the Valar in a second tree, Galathilion, in the elven city of Tirion (and Telpirion's last flower was set in the sky, the light now known as the moon). Seedlings of Galathilion was the source of many trees throughout the kingdoms of men and elves. One of the most famous of these was the tree Nimloth that grew in the royal courts in the prosperous human kingdom of Numenor. Sauron's influence ultimately allowed him to take control of Numenor's government, and he had Nimloth burnt, seeing it as a link to the Valar, his enemies. However, Isildur saved one of the fruits of the tree and took it with him to Middle-Earth after the fall of Numenor. He planted it there, in the Gondorian citadel of Minas Ithil (later to fall to the Nazgul and become Minas Morgul). Seedlings from that tree was planted in Minas Tirith, and, since that time, a White Tree has always grown there. So the Gondorians see the tree as a link to their founders, to the fabled kingdom of Numenor and ultimately to the Valar themselves.

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Question: Lord Denethor is not the king of Gondor, but a steward, a caretaker of the throne according to Gandalf. Does this means that he is acting as a regent?

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Chosen answer: Effectively, yes - the Stewards rule in the absence of the rightful King of Gondor. That being said, the Stewards have now ruled Gondor for 26 generations of their family and believe the bloodline of the King to be destroyed, so, as we see with Denethor, they pretty much consider themselves to be the true rulers of the kingdom these days. As such, while they are technically fulfilling the role of regent, they might not actually consider that to be the case any more.

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Question: What is the difference from Hobbiton and The Shire? Is The Shire a village, and Hobbiton the region where the Hobbits live?

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Chosen answer: Actually, it's the other way around. The region is called Shire, the village Hobbiton. There are several other villages in the Shire, for example Buckland.

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Question: I understand that Faramir and Aragorn are both Rangers, but what is a Ranger as depicted in the "Rings" trilogy?

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Chosen answer: Not as simple a question as it sounds, as, while Faramir and Aragorn are both described as Rangers, they're actually different types of Ranger. Faramir is one of the Rangers of Ithilien, a Gondorian group who specialise in using guerrilla tactics against the forces of Sauron in the land of Ithilien, between the Anduin river (which runs through Osgiliath) and the Mountains of Shadow that form the western border of Mordor. Aragorn is the current chieftain of the Rangers of the North, who came into being after the fall of the northern kingdom of Arthedain, ruled over by Isildur's descendants. After the loss of Arthedain, the people survived in the wild as the loose-knit organisation known as the Rangers. The two groups are related - both originate from the Dunedain, the long-lived descendants of the survivors of Numenor - but have been seperated for around 3000 years.

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Chosen answer: He says it specifically - he's offering his service in payment of what he sees as a debt to Denethor, in that Boromir gave his life to protect Pippin and Merry.

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Question: How does Smeagol over time becomes the hideous-looking Gollum? Did the One Ring radically changed his appearance? Also, what kind of Hobbit was Smeagol?

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Chosen answer: Smeagol was believed to have been a Stoor, a branch of the hobbits known for being quite large and strong (by hobbit standards). His mutation is because of the Ring - precise reason unclear, but almost certainly related to the fact that it has prolonged his life far beyond a normal hobbit span (Gollum is around 580 years old when he dies, easily five times the normal lifespan)- note that Bilbo, who, while old, is still within a normal hobbit lifespan, looks physically normal. Smeagol, through use of the Ring, has been influenced by the wraithworld, in exactly the same manner that the kings of men who were given the nine rings ultimately became the Nazgul - in time, he would presumably have become a wraith-like being like them. Gollum's current appearance may be some intermediate stage.

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Question: This is very absurd but some of my friends strongly think that Sam is a closet homosexual, and that his relationship with Frodo is more than loyality and friendship. They claim that Sam speaks of Rose Cotton as a way to "keep up with appearances." Can anyone tell me that Sam is not a homosexual?

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Chosen answer: Sam ultimately marries Rosie and has thirteen children. Unless your friends still regard that as "keeping up appearances", in which case it's the most heroic case ever recorded, they're wrong. His love for Frodo is merely great loyalty and friendship, nothing more.

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Question: I have yet to read the book, but what are the Corsairs?

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Chosen answer: The Corsairs of Umbar are a piratical group, originally of Gondorian origin, whose founder, Castamir, was ousted as ruler of that land (he usurped the throne and had a vicious and cruel reign lasting ten years) some 1500 years before the events of the film. Since that time, they've held a great hatred for Gondor, fighting against them as much as possible. As a trivia note, forty years prior to the films, the Corsair fleets were all but destroyed by a devastating Gondorian attack led by a man named Thorongil. Thorongil was, in fact, Aragorn - he used this alias during his early life and his service to the lords of both Gondor and Rohan (as mentioned in the extended Two Towers film).

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Question: Is there a romantic relationship between Galadriel and Gimli? Also, it seems foolish, but is it true that Galadriel seems to have some sort of infatuation with Frodo? She seems pleased (by her come-hither looks) that Frodo is coming with her to the Undying Lands in the Grey Havens scene.

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Chosen answer: Galadriel and Gimli? Bizarre mental image. Um, no, there's nothing going on there. Gimli does fall for her beauty, true, and she's flattered, but there's nothing else there. Do bear in mind that Celeborn, her husband, is around as well. No, she doesn't have an infatuation with Frodo either - her initial rapport with him would be down to them both being Ringbearers. Come-hither looks at the Grey Havens? I don't really see those - what I see is that she's excited about returning to Valinor, the land where she was born, and that she hasn't seen for seven thousand years. Nothing to do with Frodo going along, or any desire for hobbit lurve...

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Question: Are there hidden allegories (Christian, political, social, etc.) behind the stories of the Ring trilogy?

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Chosen answer: None whatsoever. To quote Tolkien "As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none". He was strongly opposed to those who tried to read deeper meaning into the books.

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