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Inside Information

Once upon a time, actually a beautiful and warm Los Angeles afternoon, as I sat at my desk writing furiously, I looked over to my window and realized a little bird was sitting there watching me. He was a bright eyed and handsome thrush, with a wild tuft of blond plumage atop his head. I could have sworn he wore wee spectacles.

He cocked his head to one side, blinked at me, and began telling me all manner of dazzling stories about his homeland, his many adventures, and his purpose sitting on my sill. You see, he’s a very special NEW ZEALAND breed of thrush who flew all the way over here to share secrets with me. Well, I’ve read enough Tolkien to know that when an intelligent thrush wants to tell you secrets you better listen good!

And wouldn’t you know it – he works in Wellington where the movies were made. After years of flitting and flying around the sets, watching carefully as WETA worked on the production, he learned enough to fill many volumes.

So gather around, dear friends, and listen as I recount what he told me.

For WETA and the Three Foot Six team, it really hit home how much the fans loved and embraced The Fellowship of the Ring. They were very happy and proud. No less proud when they won all those Oscars! He said, "I've been enjoying the positive buzz and discussion since the film's release. ‘Thank God they like it!’

"Anyway, in particular, I've found it fun seeing what little Easter-eggs are being found by fans as they scan the movie for details. As a Tolkien fan myself, it has been rewarding seeing the little touches we popped in there being noticed and appreciated by our peers on the other side of the silver screen. With that in mind, I thought I'd chime in with a bunch more.

* * *

1) The sword wielded by Arwen when she rescues Frodo is the same one carried by Elrond in the 2nd Age Last Alliance scenes. Its inscription identifies it as originally belonging to Idril, daughter of the King of Gondolin, and the ancestor of both Elrond and Arwen.

The Argonath2) As some have pointed out, one of the Pillars of the Kings is carrying a sword rather than an axe, an obvious departure from Tolkien's script, and to most, an inexplicable one. Surprisingly, no one has yet noticed that the distinctive pommel design of the sword matches it to Narsil, as seen in the Last Alliance scenes and again in Rivendell. This was an intentional change, to further emphasize the importance of the great sword's history and symbolism. In a further deviation, but less obvious, while the axe-bearer is Isildur, the figure holding the sword in the Argonath carving is not Anárion (who doesn't appear at all in the film), but Elendil (check his stylized helmet with reference to the one glimpsed on him in the prologue sequence). This deliberate deviation was I imagine intended to connect viewers with the two characters seen at the beginning of the film.

3) In the prologue, we see the Three Elven rings being given to their respective wearers. This gives us a tantalizing glimpse of both Gil-galad and Círdan.

4) We get another glimpse of Gil-galad in action during the Battle of the Last Alliance. If you pay attention, there is one quick shot of the Elf King in full armour, plunging his spear Aeglos down into a prone Orc. Hopefully we'll see more of him in the DVD, including maybe his death at Sauron's hands?

5) Also in the Last Alliance battle scenes, look for Gil-galad’s heraldry as designed by Tolkien, incorporated into several of the banner designs being held aloft by the Elves.

6) On the helmets of the High Elves in the Last Alliance battle scenes, are Gil-galad's initials, GG. These are best seen on the noseguard of the Sideshow/WETA High Elven Warhelm collectable – check it out!

7) Gimli’s Helmet bears a stylized star on its crest. Reference to his name meaning Star in Khuzdul?

Moria8) On entering Moria, Gandalf lights up his staff by placing a crystal of some kind in its end, and then lightly blows on it to make it give light – a nice reference to his true nature as a being of light.

9) The white hand-prints borne by some of the Uruk-hai signify their service to the White Hand of Saruman.

Legolas and Bow10) After leaving Lothlórien, Legolas has a new bow and quiver, just as he did in the books. Again, we'll see him receive these as all the Fellowship are given their gifts in some more footage on the DVD. Certainly, there was a shot of him admiring the new bow in one of the Making Of TV specials that have aired, that didn't appear in the final cut of the film. Also, one of Decipher’s Trading Cards shows him with arrow bundles from Lothlórien, another thing we didn't see in the film [I must interject here: I actually have that card.... it’s called Bow of the Galadhrim and it’s splendid! — QB]

11) Around the boss of Boromir's shield can be discerned, seven embossed stars.

12) The cloak pins worn by the Fellowship after Lothlórien bear the shape of a stylized Mallorn leaf. Several Mallorn leaves can be seen scattered about throughout the Lórien scenes.

* * *

"I hope you enjoy these. I'll send more as I remember/spot them," he said. And with that, the thrush’s tale was done. With a fond farewell, my friend was soon flying beyond sight, fast and true as a falcon, headed home to get back to work on new goodies for The Two Towers.

So there you have it folks. Wonderful and delicious details that just make you want to go out and see the movie JUST ONE MORE TIME.

And remember, I got this from a reliable source. A little bird told me.

Much too hasty,

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Past Limbs
An Open Letter to the Screen Actors Guild
Review: The Return of the King
Kingly Proof
For the Love of Arwen
The Atlantis Connection
Noble Is As Noble Does
Send in the Penguins
War! What is it Good For?
In Defense of Philippa Boyens
Movie Review - The Two Towers
The Final Word
Very, Very, Very Impatient
Book Review: The Annotated Hobbit
Finding a Hobbit’s Voice
Conversation with a Newbie
Inside Information
The Silver Lining
Movie Review - Fellowship of the Ring
Where the Stars are Strange: Part V
Where the Stars are Strange: Part IV
Where the Stars are Strange: Part III
Where the Stars are Strange: Part II
Where the Stars are Strange: Part I
The Spectacular Cannes Footage
Comic-Con International 2001
An Open Letter to Jeffrey Wells
The Shadow of Racism
All About Sam
The Game’s the Thing!
Who’s Spiking Who?
The 2000 Vote: Gandalf or Saruman?
Tolkien’s Greatest Hits
Return to The Furthest Reaches
The Furthest Reaches
True Fans, Truly Obsessed
"Yes, Elanor, there really is a Gandalf"
…And In the Closet Bind Them
Welcome to Merchandising Hell
In Defense of Escapism
Out on a Limb Home


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