Huinesoron’s Note: In the early 1970s, John Boorman was hired to write a script for a The Lord of the Rings movie. This effort fell between the Zimmerman script denounced by Tolkien in his Letters, and the Bakshi version which was eventually filmed. It’s… uh. Really really interesting?
This description is compiled from two main sources: Ichjua's summary of the script on TORc, and geoffrey's summary on Original D&D Discussion. I make no promises as to its accuracy, or the accuracy of the sources. However, the two sources are clearly independent of one another - Ichjua quotes lines not included in geoffrey’s longer version - suggesting that they likely do describe an actual script.
Missing characters of note:
Bombadil & Goldberry; Butterbur; Bill the pony; Glorfindel; Haldir; Celeborn; Théodred (Éomer & Éowyn are Théoden’s children.) Treebeard (no Ents at all) Hama; Ghân-buri-Ghân and Faramir.
Missing locations and events:
The Barrow-downs; Bree; the Watcher in the Water; Lórien (Galadriel and her people are relegated to a tent by a lake) the Argonath; the Falls of Rauros (relegated to rapids) Helm’s Deep; Isengard/Orthanc (no Rohan location at all, save Edoras) the Corsairs; the Houses of Healing (Merry & Éowyn are healed at the Gate as the battle rages) Minas Morgul; Cirith Ungol (Shelob and the events at Cirith Ungol are relegated to Barad-dûr) the Eagles and the Scouring.
We first see J. R. R. Tolkien in his study, then we find ourselves right by the active volcano of Mount Doom! The camera starts panning away, showing the rocky terrain of Mordor. Back, back, and then we see what can only be called the Great Wall of Mordor. For the most part the Great Wall is natural, but where necessary artificial walls and towers have completed it.
Then we hear a chorus of voices (children and old men) chanting the old familiar "Three Rings for the Elven Kings under the sky..." Etc.
Then we see, right beside Mount Doom, the Tower of Sauron, complete with Eye.
We swoop away from Mordor over the Pelennor Fields to the city of Minas Tirith. Swoosh! Then we're swept over the Misty Mountains, into Forest Fangorn, then to the Great River, catching a glimpse of Theoden's castle. We zip by other castles with convoluted shapes to the crystalline palace of Rivendell. Then...
We're at the Shire. It's Bilbo's 111th birthday party! He's giving his farewell speech, and he obviously doesn't want to leave the Shire. Gandalf has to pressure him to go. There is no "magic Ring" moment.
Gandalf takes Bilbo to the latter's cottage (that's right: cottage), and Gandalf tells Bilbo to go to Rivendell. After a verbal struggle, Bilbo drops the Ring into Gandalf's hat and goes down the road towards Rivendell.
Later that same night Frodo comes to the cottage he inherited from Bilbo. Gandalf is still there. Gandalf tells Frodo to take the Ring, and he bids Frodo try it on. Frodo is psychologically unable to do so. Frodo, in a trance, mutters, "One...to rule...them...In the Land of Mordor...where the Shadows lie." This shocks Gandalf. There is doubt on Gandalf's part about the Ring. No throwing it in the fireplace, or writing on the Ring, or etc. No history lesson.
Frodo then tries to give Gandalf the Ring, but Gandalf sternly forbids Frodo to tempt him with the Ring.
BANG! The door swings open. In come Sam, Pippin, and the fat Merry. They saw "a dark shape...a black horse...a face without...eyes". Yes, the Black Riders have “blind skull-like” faces. Gandalf jumps up and tells Frodo to celebrate his inheritance by taking his three friends on a holiday to Rivendell. (Note: The script never offers an explanation for where Gandalf spends the time between the hobbits’ departure for and arrival at Rivendell. Nothing is said as to why he would send the hobbits out alone when he knew that at least one Wraith was - at that moment - practically on their doorstep. The fact that Aragorn somehow has pre-knowledge of the hobbits and their purpose is the only hint of Gandalf‘s possible off-screen deeds.)
As the sun rises, the four Hobbits leave for Rivendell as Gandalf tells Frodo, "And remember, don't put it on - unless you have to."
On this spring day the Hobbits merrily walk through an apple orchard full of swirling apple blossoms. Then they come to a field of mushrooms, which they pick and eat as fast as they can. The language here is somewhat ambiguous, so you be the judge of what exactly is happening:
“A path leads them out of the swirling petals into a field covered with mushrooms. The HOBBITS are delighted. They set to, picking and eating them as fast as they can. They begin to laugh and giggle, becoming rather unsteady on their feet. They lurch on their way with contented smiles on their faces. The world looks a little misty, different.
Suddenly they are in a field of buttercups. Naked children run and play among the golden flowers. The HOBBITS blink and grin and MERRY belches.
They run over a hill and into a flock of sheep, which opens up to let them through and closes behind them again.
Now they are in a vast ploughed field. And there are perhaps fifty scarecrows, very nasty faces and scraggy arms fluttering in the wind. They hurry on, somewhat sobered.”
Frodo first uses the Ring when the Hobbits come across some men working in a field, one of the latter says, "Halfling? Where? There's a reward if you catch one of them." Frodo teases them, saying, “Oh, I’m a Hobbit of the Shire. Am I the Halfling you desire?“ Then he somersaults through the air, putting on the Ring as he does so (and then accidentally stepping in a cowpat). Afterwards, Frodo excuses himself to Sam: “It just got itself to slip itself on.”
Later, the Hobbits see a Rider coming down the road. They hide in the hedge. The Rider stops, does his sniffing thing, then rides off. The Hobbits continue their journey, but now they avoid the road.
The four Hobbits are sitting around a campfire after having eaten. The passage of time and distance is strangely uncertain in the entire script, as exampled by some statements in this scene:
SAM: We've come so far so fast, I think our Hobbit-sense got left behind. We squeezed a Shire month into a day.
MERRY: Where is Rivendell, then? Tell me that, one of you.
PIPPIN: Some say it's here, some say it's there.
MERRY: Does it move around, then? Why doesn't it stay in one place? Elfs are very Elfish. [Geoffrey's comment: Yep. Elfs instead of Elves, and Elfish instead of Elvish.]
The Black Riders are more than monsters that will kill you. They unsettle your heart:
FRODO: Those Black Riders - it's funny - when they've gone, it feels like they were never here, and when they're here it feels like they'll never leave...
SAM: Master, if you think about them too much they'll never leave you.
Soon thereafter here one comes...a Black Rider! Off the Hobbits go at a run into the thick forest. The Hobbits notice that the branches of the trees seem to fight against the Black Rider, impeding its progress, allowing the Hobbits to get away.
But then a bad tree trips Pippin and then Merry. Sam laughs, but then the tree gives him a smack, which makes Sam angry enough to try to attack it with his axe. The tree knocks the axe out of his hands, so the Hobbits try a different tack:
They apologize to the tree, and the Hobbits chant to it:
Go to sleep.
Now the tree likes the Hobbits, and allows them to sleep the night in safety up in its branches.
The next day is misty, and before long here it comes again...a Black Rider! Run and hide!
They hear a horse gallop up. Thinking it's the Black Rider, Sam leaps out and challenges it to combat with his kitchen knife. But it's not a Black Rider, it's a man.
"Which of you is Frodo?" he asks. Then: "Do you bear it?" Finally self-identification: "I am a Ranger." Then they hear that insidious snuffling from all sides. Run!
The four Hobbits and the Ranger run, but are too slow. They stand and fight. The Ranger fights with the broken halves of a sword: the hilt-less half has a makeshift handle of leather. The wraiths fight with lances and scimitars. Frodo puts on his Ring. The nine Riders see him better now. They come after him, and Frodo pulls off the Ring, but suddenly he's stabbed in the shoulder by one of their lances.
The Ranger runs to help the barely conscious Frodo, and the Riders disappear into the fog. All five of them (weird, I know) somehow manage to sit on the Ranger's horse and gallop away to the river.
Uh, oh! Here are the Black Riders galloping after them. But look! There's the river, with Rivendell's palace of crystal right across it! Notice anything missing? ;D Not only is there no Tom Bombadil, there is no Bree. Whoosh! All gone with the wind. The Hobbits in the woods simply run into Aragorn--oops, at this point he's known only as "the Ranger" and then BAM! here we are at Rivendell. Middle-earth seems small in this screenplay. Obviously in paring LotR down to a single 2.5 or 3-hour film, Boorman chose to obscure time and distance so the viewers wouldn't necessarily think that Rivendell was 2 days away from the Shire.
"T.h.e ... R.i.n.g! T-H-E R - I - N - G!" cry the Riders. But as the Riders enter the river, a wave of water comes down, with actual elven warriors on ponies galloping down the center of the river. The laughing elfs joust the Riders into the water and give a cry of victory. The Riders dissolve into slimy rivulets of dark liquid which all join-up and flow downstream.
The naked Frodo lies covered with leaves on a large, round, solid crystal table in the Great Hall in Rivendell. A bearded Elrond ("King of the Elves"), Gandalf, the Ranger, Boromir, the four Hobbits, Gimli, and a bunch of elves are present. Frodo suffers from the "wraith essence" in the wound. Elrond says if they don't get it out, Frodo will serve Sauron. Elrond also predicts that from the "fowl" essence of the Riders, a new form shall rise again.
The elves start chanting in an attempt to heal Frodo. Then enters Elrond's daughter, the 13-year-old Arwen, "our little lady Arwen" to try to heal Frodo. Elrond tells Gimli to stand with his axe ready to cut-off Frodo's infected arm if Arwen should swoon or cry out. The surgery is delicate in that it is, as Gandalf says, “a struggle, a test of strength, between the power of Sauron and the power of the Elves.”
Arwen plunges a thin, red-hot knife into Frodo's wound. Tension mounts. It seems Gimli is going to have to cut-off Frodo's arm. Then Boromir pipes up: "Enough! How long shall we fuss over a ring and a sick Hobbit? ...Lord Elrond, did you summon me to sing hymns over a Halfling?"
Gandalf tells Boromir to shut up, because Arwen is literally risking her life in this operation. Boromir wants to take the Ring, and Gandalf challenges him to do so. Boromir tries to grasp the Ring, but an unseen force holds him back.
Then Arwen succeeds, pulling a dark splinter from Frodo's wound. Pippin cries out, "Frodo will live!"
And right then and there they start having their council, Frodo presumably still naked.
The elves start chanting the history of the Rings. Then a Kabuki Theatre-like play begins.
“A play has begun. The stage is the table (a huge round table). The acting is stylized, emphatic. As in Kabuki Theater, the costumes are flamboyant, and symbolize beings and entities of Middle-earth.”
A group of actors in costumes and masks enter and play-act the history. The elves are represented by a juggler with three glass rings. The dwarves are represented by a midget juggler with seven rings, harassed by a dragon. Mankind is represented by a beautiful woman juggler "swaying like a belly dancer, with nine rings rotating on her arms and legs."
A wretched cur (symbolizing Fate and the will of the Ring) joins the show, and Sauron is represented by a white-garbed (with darker colors underneath) guy: “a combination of Mick Jagger and Punch.” The Sauron-figure has a transparent ball with a golden band wrapped around it--the Ring.
Sauron bounces the ball around, and the dog chases it, gets it, plays with it, etc. All the while the elven chorus chants.
The elven juggler makes the three rings disappear, and "applause breaks out in the audience". Sauron takes three rings from the dwarf, and says that the dragons consumed the other four. Then "Sauron struts up to the woman juggling the nine rings, and starts to dance lasciviously in front of her… She becomes entranced by him. The rings fall to the floor, and Sauron picks them up."
Then they play-act the war between Sauron on the one hand and Elendil and Gilgalad on the other. Elendil's sword snaps in half. The dog takes the ring and falls asleep under a blue cloth representing a river.
Two creatures fight over the dog's ball. One kills the other and makes off with the ball, muttering "gollum, gollum". Sauron, in dark clothes ("In this new body of fate, I have stepped well beyond hate.") comes back swinging a bull-roarer.
Then figures representing Gandalf and Saruman come in. Saruman can't help imitating Sauron's dancing-prancing strut. Then Saruman starts behaving "like a femme fatale. Saruman grabs Gandalf and the two roll around the table." The Gandalf figure rejects Saruman's seductions. Of note is that there are only two wizards: Saruman the White and Gandalf the Grey. No Radagast the Brown. No "Blue Wizards".
A figure representing Bilbo gets hold of the Ring and starts skipping away, oblivious to Sauron and Gollum after him.
End of the Kabuki Theatre.
The Ranger reveals that he holds the Sword-That-Was-Broken. Boromir is horrified, but Elrond vouches for him: "He descends from Elendil" and says his name is Aragorn. Then Elrond explains that the Ring cannot be kept, hidden, or wielded, but must be destroyed in Mount Doom. Frodo says he will do it.
That bizarre Kabuki Theatre lasts about 6 minutes. The council lasts about 2 or 3 minutes.
ZIP! Suddenly we see the Nine Companions walking through the wilderness. Elrond's voice-over tells the viewers who each of them is. Legolas doesn't walk on the ground when in a forest: He walks across the tree-tops. He wears feathers and leaves.
Elrond's voice-over continues, intercut with dialogue from the Company. Elrond notes that "Arwen shall be a light in their hearts, to guide their way." Frodo has a vision of her in a white gossamer dress, indicating which way to go at a fork in the road.
Legolas and Gimli needle each other about which is better: tree or rock.
Frodo remembers back in Rivendell Bilbo telling him about his book, and giving him Sting, noting that "The Dwarves gave it to me." He also remembers an uncomfortable moment in which Bilbo asked to see the Ring.
A great flock of birds approaches, zigzagging as though searching for something. The Fellowship hides. While hiding under their new elven cloaks, the Hobbits remember back in Rivendell that Arwen and other elf-maids gave them to them. They also gave them Waybread/Lembas, which tastes "like any food you think of while you're eating it." There are no other gifts given or requested.
There's a funny little part on page 49 in which Merry and Pippin are sneaking bites of the Lembas:
MERRY: Leek soup.
PIPPIN: Honey cake.
MERRY: Bread and butter pudding.
PIPPIN: Buddle and squeak.
MERRY: Goat cheese.
PIPPIN: Cherry pie.
Then Gandalf comes up and makes them choke by saying, "Cod liver oil."
One night Boromir asks Aragorn for the Sword-That-Was-Broken; he wants to take it to Minas Tirith. Aragorn refuses, saying he cannot give it to any but the rightful King. So Boromir snatches one half of the sword and challenges Aragorn to fight. But when their blades meet, Arwen appears to them. They stop fighting and bow their swords to her. She declares that each shall bear one half of the sword.
Arwen then kisses each half of the sword, bloodying her lips. She kisses first Aragorn and then Boromir on the lips, leaving her blood thereon: "I bind you in brotherhood with my blood." Then the two men kiss the thighs of her dress, and Boromir, weeping, kisses Aragorn, cementing a blood bond.. Arwen vanishes.
The Fellowship comes in sight of the Misty Mountains, including Redhorn, Caradhars, and Cloudyhead. Gimli mentions the Dwarf Kingdom under the Misty Mountains from which the dwarves were driven.
The heavy snow oppresses the Fellowship as they try to cross a glacier in the Misty Mountains. Gandalf starts a fire with powder from a flask. Then Wargs attack! They "are furry-white mutants of men and animals, ferociously savage.". The Fellowship is hopelessly out-numbered.
Gandalf snatches the Hobbits' elf-cloaks and throws them on the fire, making the fire enormous with smoke seemingly made of flowers and leaves. This stalls the Wargs. Then Gandalf takes a little flask from his cloak and has everyone take turns taking a swig, which immediately makes you “tipsy and giggly.”
The big fire is causing the ice near it to melt. Gandalf takes each member of the Fellowship, puts him in the liquid water, and rotates his fingers over his eyeballs. All the while Aragorn keeps the Wargs at bay. Then Gandalf pours fistfulls of salts and powders on the fire, which makes the fire blaze forth and makes the wargs retreat. This allows Aragorn and finally Gandalf to take swigs and get their eyeballs rotated.
“The companions are caught in helpless and infectious giggles, as they drift into unconsciousness.” The water flows over their faces, then freezes. The wargs can't get at them through the ice, so they give it up as a bad job. The next day chunks of ice (containing the Fellowship) break-off and fall into a swift stream. The ice gradually melts, freeing the Company. They climb onto the bank -- where Gandalf hangs his cloak up to dry, and Boromir blows water from his horn.
They have been carried to an idyllic setting: balmy, trees, flowers, grass. "A combination of Spring and Autumn, with Spring flowers blooming and trees turning." A line of Frodo's continues the film's overall lack of definite time: "It hasn't been a month since we left Rivendell, or has it? ... or two months ... or three, or a thousand and three ... or has time stood still?" (The script uses Legolas’ ‘Nay, time does not tarry…’ discourse to help address the issue of how much time actually has passed. The question, though, is never answered.)
Gandalf says they now have to go through Moria, which pleases Gimli. They all ascend stone steps to a blank wall of rock. Gandalf runs his staff across the surface, revealing the emblems of Moria. The "hieroglyphics" on the doors of Moria are written in the forgotten ancient dwarf-tongue, which Gandalf can read, but not speak; he translates them as "Sing friend, and enter."
Frodo figures out the riddle (to sing the dwarfish word for friend). Neither Gandalf nor Gimili can speak the ancient dwarven tongue. Gandalf tries speaking some guttural words, but they don't work. Boromir starts making fun of Gandalf, which makes the Hobbits laugh. So Gandalf invites Boromir to try, who then hurls himself against the rock door, falling back rubbing his shoulder. The Hobbits then laugh at Boromir.
Then Gandalf knows what he can do...
"Only Gimili has the memory to open the door...You greedy Dwarves...Greedy Dwarves! Just dig, dig, dig, for precious metals...Dig! You greedy Dwarf!"
So Gimli, entranced, beings cutting into the ground with his axe. It's not fast enough for Gandalf, so he smacks him with his staff, making him dig faster. Then Gandalf throws his cloak over Gimli, and gives Gimli a sound thrashing. This causes Gimli to relive dwarven ancestral memories. Gimli emerges from his hole, and he sings the dwarven word, opening the door.
Gimli is not the worse for the wear, but Gandalf is, as he says to Aragorn: "Too soon on this journey I have called up the very roots of my powers. I fear that when greater challenges come, I may be used up."
The Fellowship is about to enter Moria. Don't expect the Watcher in the Water, because you won't get it. They're going to go right in.
The Fellowship enters Moria, and they step into an "ecoplex". (This term is not in the script, but it is hand-written in the margin.) They hear the still-fresh voice of Gollum echoing: "Preciouss… preciouss… precious..." Gimli refers to the "Dwarves of Once" (which is left unexplained).
Legolas asks Gimli why in the world the Dwarves would want to live "in these dark holes". Gimli grabs Gandalf's glowing staff and hurls it high into the air, where it illumines the splendor of the vast city of stone through which they wander.
Sting starts glowing. Orcs! The Company is moving "over an undulating surface, which is soft beneath their feet." Percussive beats break the silence. Believe it or not, the Fellowship has been walking on inert orcs, and the Company's footsteps are starting up the orcs' heartbeats. "ORCS are human-like creatures, with reptile and bird-like features. A kind of armour grows spontaneously from their bodies."
The revived orcs start kicking the inert ones in the chest, getting them going as well. The orcs surround the Fellowship. Melee. Gimli "conducts a one-man massacre", calling out warcries in his guttural tongue.
The Fellowship cuts its way through the orcs to "a narrow bridge of rotting rope and wood span[ning] a chasm of some twenty feet across."
"Out of the chasm rises a terrifying sight. A huge creature wreathed in flame, whose soft body changes in shape...Its presence makes a strange humming sound." A Balrog!
Interestingly, the Balrog’s presence “has a paralysing effect” on the Fellowship, causing them to progress in “strange slow movements.” This power wanes, waxes, and wanes again as the Balrog struggles with Gandalf, triggering the rest of the Fellowship to speed up and slow down obligingly as they make to cross the bridge. When Gandalf confronts the Balrog, its spell weakens and the Fellowship flees to the bridge. Nobody dares help Gandalf. The frightened Boromir says, "It has gutted and filleted me. Oh, Gondor, forgive me."
Gandalf and the Balrog fight before the bridge, not on it. Gandalf strikes the Balrog with staff and with sword. The Balrog clutches Gandalf and the two fall into the abyss, cutting through the bridge as the Fellowship try to cross. They do, of course, manage to climb up the vertical remains of the bridge and escape. The Fellowship leaves Moria, after being therein for about 7 minutes of screen-time.
The Fellowship, limping and wounded, cross a dusty land. Then they see a lake fed by a waterfall, surrounded by trees, shrubs, and blossoms. "It is idyllic, dream like, a wild garden of Eden."
The Fellowship takes off most of their clothes and bathes, feeling rejuvenated. Then "a figure surfaces out of the waters...She is a tall and beautiful woman of elven features, sparsely clad, statuesque, aloof...Shimmering pearls of water glide down her body." She waves aside her bowmen that now surround the lake, and the Company now notices a tent by the lake as well. Legolas recognizes her as Galadriel.
Where in the book the Fellowship may have been awed by Galadriel, in this script some openly lust for her. After recognizing her, Legolas - who is “clad in feathers and leaves.” - tries to catch her attention by doing a “bird-like dance” and trying a come-on line. Gimli ogles her at the lake, and later says “Galadriel! A mighty piece of stone she is, for a Dwarfish tool to carve.” Aragorn tries to look dignified. Boromir bares his muscles and makes a pass at her.
Then Aragorn mentions to Galadriel that Gandalf has fallen. She replies, "Gandalf - I knew him once, before he took the guise of man."
"Boromir, with a flush of passion, takes her in his arms and kisses her. She remains aloof and unresponsive. His ardour withers and he turns away, with a bitter cry of humiliation." When Galadriel rebuffs Boromir’s advance, Sam says, “She is a pretty flower, but she badly needs watering, she does!”
Galadriel is more interested in Frodo, touching his Ring, which makes the others gasp. She looks into Frodo's eyes, shakes out her mane of hair, and nets Frodo with it: "You shall look into the Mirror; and you alone."
Galadriel takes Frodo into her tent. Inside are carpets and cushions, as well as a small silver basin filled with water. What can I do now but quote the script:
FRODO: I look and I see nothing.
GALADRIEL: You look and you see nothing, for you are not yet ready.
FRODO: When, when shall I be ready? And how?
GALADRIEL: With knowledge. And I am that knowledge.
FRODO: I - I don't know what questions I should ask.
GALDRIEL: Your eyes ask questions… already.
Accepting the invitation, his eyes wander over her body, drinking in its loveliness. GALADRIEL's austere and aloof features soften. GALADRIEL's hand touches the chain from which the Ring dangles. And FRODO's hand takes hers. FRODO looks again into the reflection in the basin and sees their two faces come together and kiss.
As it turns out, the basin isn’t the Mirror at all; it is, instead, Galadriel’s Elven Ring.
Then we cut away to the rest of the Fellowship, stuck outside the tent in a huge hammock-like thing. Humorously, Merry takes a bite of lembas (which, if you remember, tastes like whatever you are thinking about at the time), rolls it around in his mouth, savors the taste ecstatically, and says, "Galadriel."
The Fellowship talks of two things: desire for Galadriel, and Boromir saying he'll go south to Minas Tirith, while Aragorn saying he'll go north to Mordor.
The next morning Frodo and Galadriel float together in the lake. Frodo can now see that she wears one of the Elven Rings. Frodo hands the One Ring to Galadriel, desiring to give it to her. She handles it, and is about to put it on, but an ugly grimace comes over her face, along with fear and trembling. Frodo pulls back the Ring, saying, "I cannot give it, and you cannot bear it."
"GALADRIEL seems to diminish, and FRODO to grow in stature. He is ascendant now, greater than she."
Galadriel tells him that if he destroys the One Ring, "our powers will fade, too, and the Elves will dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave..."
Frodo responds, "What I felt in you is the stuff of which all life is made."
Galadriel then says, "After we have gone, our powers may find a small place in the hearts of women. In other women you will remember me - in them, men will sometimes find a fleeting vision of what we were."
When Frodo returns to the Fellowship, they look at him angrily. The scenes with Galadriel last a total of about nine minutes. The Fellowship already received elven goodies from Elrond, so there was no need to get them from Galadriel. She didn't give any gifts--except to Frodo, of course.
They leave on a raft down the river. Frodo and Sam later discuss seeing Gollum in the river, following them. At one point, Aragorn is about to strike at the elusive Gollum, but Frodo stays his hand.
As the Fellowship nears the rapids, Orcs start shooting arrows at them. Merry, Boromir, Sam, and Gimli all receive minor wounds. The swiftening water takes them out of range of the Orcs.
The rapids are nasty. They get beat-up and bloodied going through, ending in a shallow pool. Cue music.
INTERMISSION at the 1-hour, 21 minute mark.
The second half of the movie starts with the Fellowship trudging up to a crossroads. Aragorn says it is time to choose: A) Everybody south to Minas Tirith, B) everybody north to Mordor, or C) break the Fellowship? Frodo gets to choose!
Frodo asks for an hour and wanders off. Uh, oh. Here comes Boromir. He tries to take the Ring and Frodo flees, invisible. Under the influence of the Ring, Frodo sees visions of various parts of Middle-earth, ending with the Eye of Mordor. Frodo jerks the Ring off his finger. Frodo decides to go to Mordor alone.
Boromir comes back to the Company, sadness choking his words into incoherence. Boromir points in the direction that he last saw Frodo, and Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Sam rush that way. Merry and Pippin stay to comfort Boromir.
Sam sees Frodo and runs to catch up with him.
Uh, oh! Orcs coming at Boromir, Merry, Pippin. Boromir welcomes the battle. He slays many orcs with his half of the Sword-That-Was-Broken, but the orcs shoot him with many arrows and carry off the two Hobbits. Boromir sounds his horn.
Boromir, Legolas, and Gimli answer the call, scattering the orcs. Boromir says to Aragorn, "Aragorn, my blood brother. Take the Sword-that-was-broken. Go to Minas Tirith in my place." He returns the second half of Narsil to Aragorn, and dies.
Then we cut to a scene in which Boromir lies buried under a mound of stone beneath a tree. Gimli places the weapons of Boromir’s victims on the mound of stones marking his grave. Legolas and Gimli tell Aragorn that the two of them will go after the orcs who have taken Merry and Pippin. Aragorn says he will go, too, in spite of his pledge to Boromir to go to Minas Tirith. This profoundly disturbs Legolas and Gimli, who think Aragorn is mad:
LEGOLAS: Would you set two Halflings above the plight of a great city?
ARAGORN: I cannot, and yet I will.
We then cut to a short scene of Frodo and Sam at the edge of a huge marshland. Beyond it is the Great Wall of Mordor.
Then we're back with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, tracking the orcs. They see a beautiful white horse running across the plain.
And we're back with Frodo and Sam again. Sam reckons that they have 3 days' worth of lembas left. I told you this script really speeds things up! They capture Gollum and make him swear on the Ring to lead them through the marshes to Mordor.
Back with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli: They see in the distance an army of horsemen slaughtering the orcs. They rush forward and arrive only after the battle is over. The leader of the horsemen is Eomer, son of Theoden. (That's right: son of Theoden.) Eomer tells them they saw no Halflings. Legolas and Gimli find the Hobbits' tracks leading into the forest. Legolas says, "These halflings! They manage better without us, it seems."
So the three decide that Merry and Pippin no longer need them. Suddenly a mounted figure gallops across the horizon. "Nazgul" say the Riders. Alarmed, Éomer announces that he will go to Théoden and make “one last plea for war;” and he gives Aragorn three horses. Aragorn in turn announces that he, Legolas and Gimli will ride to Minas Tirith. And that’s just what they do -- with no more thought given to Merry or Pippin. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas indeed never go to Rohan in this screenplay.
1-hour, 41 minute mark.
Frodo, Sam, and Gollum are in the marshes. Wisps of light dance over the bogs. They see dead faces of Elves, Men, and Orcs in the water. Gollum explains that they died in a battle "when I was young, before Precious came our way." Frodo replies, "I have heard the old tales. Elves and Men overcame the armies of Sauron." Thus either Gollum is over 3,000 years old, or Boorman has ignored Tolkien's chronology. (I suspect the latter.)
Gollum tells the Hobbits he was once of Hobbit kind, which makes Frodo and Sam burst out laughing.
We cut to Merry and Pippin stumbling through a forest at night. They bump into a tall figure glowing white. They think it is Saruman, “the bad wizard”. The figure tells them, "I am Saruman...but as Saruman should have been..."
Back to Frodo and Sam: They are asleep and sinking into quicksand. Gollum debates whether he should save them or steal the Ring. His hands fight each other. His right hand wants to pull Frodo to safety, but his left hand wants the Ring. “The two hands clasp and claw each other.” One of his feet kicks him in the stomach.
Back to Pippin and Merry: Gandalf (who isn’t quite himself yet) remains silent, watching as the two hobbits ham their way through a demonstrative retelling of their story. When the hobbits reach the part of the tale where the Riders of Rohan appear, they ask Gandalf for his sword. He remains silent as they take it. Merry then hops on Pippin’s back, and together they charge Gandalf: "For the Shire!" But the sword is too heavy, and they fall backwards. The figure laughs, revealing himself as Gandalf.
Back to Frodo and Sam: Gollum decides to rescue them, but becomes “contorted in a paroxysm of conflicting parts,” and himself sinks in the mire. Frodo and Sam finally waken, too late to pull Gollum free. Frodo yells, "Gollum! You swore on the Precious, to take us to Mordor," to which Gollum replies right before he's engulfed, "We did - gollum." And sure enough--the Great Wall of Mordor is only a few feet away.
Back to Merry and Pippin: Gandalf makes a hawk circle down and land on his arm. By peering into the hawk’s eyes, Gandalf is able to see everything that the hawk has seen of Middle-earth. He sees Aragorn with Gimli and Legolas, and he wonders if Aragorn bears the Ring! And Gandalf notes that he (Gandalf) has "become more like the Dark Lord… Your Gandalf is dangerous… more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought, alive, before Sauron Himself."
Gandalf then sees that Frodo and Sam are alive. Then he says, "From the Wraith-essence of the Nine, a Nazgul has risen." That's right. The Nine have combined into a SINGLE Nazgul. Not Nine. There's only one.
He also sees Shadowfax approaching. When the horse arrives, the alarmed hawk flies away, and the three ride towards Theoden's hall.
Frodo and Sam find a withered oak tree growing out of the base of the Wall. They climb into its branches and sleep.
We cut back to Gandalf, Merry, and Pippin. They ride Shadowfax right up to the door of King Theoden's throne room. Shadowfax kicks the door in, and in they go. While the architecture is spartan, delicate drapes hang down. The court sits around, stuffed from eating, listening to musicians playing lutes and lyres. A girl in wispy veils performs a graceful dance.
On one side of Theoden is his counselor, a hunchback. On his other side is his daughter (yes, daughter), Eowyn.
Everyone but Theoden leaps up as Gandalf enters and says, "Danger...will soon engulf your pretty vanities. I come to rouse you from your feather cushions..."
Theoden mocks him, asking, "Aid? Do you bring men? Horses? Are these [the Hobbits] your warriors?"
The hunchback tries to interrupt Gandalf, but Gandalf calls him Wormtongue and basically tells him to shut-up, accusing him of being a servant of Mordor. The wizard then tells the Hobbits to attack Theoden's soldiers. Before they can do so, however, Gandalf starts tearing down the drapes, letting daylight burst in on himself.
Gandalf now speaks for 36 lines. He tells of his mighty fight with the balrog (with details similar to that in the book), his death, and the fact that dreams of good-natured Hobbits drew him back to Middle-earth. He ends by encouraging Theoden to risk all "for one last battle against the Evil that would overwhelm us."
The young courtiers break out into cheers. Theoden replies, "All wars seem urgent to the young. I do not see this one is as special as you claim. But I should ride again."
Wormtongue tries to stab Theoden with a dagger, but is tripped by the Hobbits.
“WORMTONGUE lies on his hunchback, trapped like an upturned beetle.”
Theoden draws his sword and becomes a young and mighty king again and shouts, "To Minas Tirith!" Cheers. He throws his sword in the air...
...and we cut to the mounted Theoden, riding at the head of the Rohirrim, catching his sword. Gandalf and the two Hobbits on Shadowfax ride at Theoden's side. The company halts. Theoden sends his captains forth to gather more men, and to find Eomer. Gandalf rides off, too. They all agree to meet at Minas Tirith. Pippin rides on with Gandalf to Minas Tirith, and Merry (with Dernhelm) goes with Théoden’s men to gather reinforcements. There is no Isengard in the script, or Helm's Deep.
1-hour, 59 minute mark.
Once again a tree does something unnatural. Remember the tree we left Frodo and Sam slumbering in? Its roots tear a breach in the Great Wall of Mordor. This attracts the attention of some orcs, uruks, and trolls. Frodo and Sam, hiding behind fallen branches from the tree, creep away into Mordor while the orcs repair the Wall. The Hobbits see a vast army of orcs marching to war.
Then we have a bunch of quick scenes, each lasting perhaps 5-10 seconds:
Gandalf and Pippin ride upon the galloping Shadowfax.
An orc army crosses Mordor.
Aragorn, who has assembled a group of Rangers off-screen, rides through an ancient battlefield. He calls out in a wordless cry. Dead men and elves stagger out of their graves to their feet, becoming an army of the dead.
Legolas runs from branch to branch of a forest, calling out. Other tree elves answer his call.
Gimli gallops to an open pit, calling out in the dwarven tongue. Dwarves come out of their burrowings, bearing axes, cheer, and climb up.
The hosts of Mordor pass through the Great Gates of Mordor onto the Pelennor Fields. On the horizon is Minas Tirith.
Two companies of Riders converge. One is Theoden's, and the other belongs to Eomer. Father and son meet and embrace.
That's the end of the quick, 5-10 second scenes.
Back in Mordor, Frodo and Sam start running from orcs who have seen them. They come up to a tower - Barad-Dur - surrounded by a canal filled with a brown liquid. They jump in, and the rushing liquid carries them inside the tower. Inside is a terrible whirlpool. The Hobbits seem doomed, but a “thin silvery wire” hangs down. They climb up onto solid ground. They're saved!
Uh, oh. No. The wire recedes, pulling the hobbits up into the Tower - it was spider-web from Shelob! The Hobbits fight it, and Frodo cries out, "I shall slay it, Sam. I am the Lord of the Ring! For you, Galadriel!", only to get stung in the neck by Shelob’s “narrow tongue with a sharp point”. Shelob tries to crush Sam with her bulk, but in doing so stabs herself deeply on Sting (now held by Sam). Shelob retreats into a hole.
Sam thinks Frodo is dead, so he takes the Ring to continue the quest. Suddenly orcs come up! Sam hides. One orc slashes its own wrist, letting its blood pour into Frodo's mouth. Frodo chokes and groans. The orcs take Frodo past a heavy iron grill in the roof. Sam sinks down by it in despair.
Pippin and Gandalf on Shadowfax approach Minas Tirith, and Gandalf points out the Nazgul, a distant speck trailing dust, also heading towards the city.
In a chamber above the gates sits Denethor. The guards start treading on a treadmill device that opens the gates. It opens only a few inches when Denethor waves them away. He looks at Gandalf, mere inches away, through the opening. For a long 2 minutes Denethor stalls at the gate, asking Gandalf about Boromir, and is told of his son's death. Only when Gandalf promises details does Denethor order the gate opened.
But the delay was too long! The Nazgul is here, "mounted on a steed which seems to have no skin. Its live, raw bleeding flesh is exposed." The dust behind it settles, revealing hundreds of mounted orcs who had been hiding within the dust.
Shadowfax bolts inside as the orcs charge. A short fight ensues, but the gates are finally closed.
Denethor stands on the battlements above the gates, oblivious of the trouble below. He demands of Pippin more information about Boromir, to which Pippin offers his services. Denethor accepts Pippin's sword and throws it over the battlements. Gandalf and a captain try to get Denethor to focus on the vast army from Mordor attacking Minas Tirith.
All Denethor can say is, "Go fight and burn: for burn we must. Gandalf, your hope is to rule in my stead," which of course Gandalf denies. Gandalf and the captains then proceed to the battle, leaving Pippin watching as Denethor jerks and winces each time a huge battering ram strikes the walls of Minas Tirith.
2-hour, 12-minute mark.
Sam, sitting by the grill, puts on the Ring when orcs open the grill. When Sam has the Ring on, a cacophony of light and sound swirls around him. And the orcs collapse in agony simply being near Sam. He ascends up, up, and up the tower. Any orcs in his path collapse in pain. Then Sam hears a great Voice: "One Ring to rule them all..." Sam then takes the Ring off and falls unconscious.
Back in Minas Tirth, Pippin is shown “dressed as a court jester, with cap and bells:”
“The clothes do not fit too well, and are blood-stained and full of arrow-holes, suggesting the fate of his predecessor.”
He and Denethor stroll along the tops of the walls, watching the desperate siege. Orcs have breached the outer walls and have set fire to the buildings and land between the two walls, and the orcs now besiege the inner wall. Some of the orcs on the Pelennor Fields ride horses. There are also some who spit fire in the manner that flame-eaters do. Still others, with “bat-like wings,” are catapulted over Minas Tirith’s walls. Denethor asks Pippin how Boromir fared with Lady Galadriel, and he breaks into mad and despairing laughter when he's told that she picked a Halfling instead.
Gandalf on Shadowfax is battling back orcs with torches who take swigs from drinking skins, and then spit the liquid on the torches, making flames shoot forth. When Gandalf gets to Denethor, the latter tells him that it was insane to give the Ring to a Halfling and then send him into Mordor. The Ring should have been given to Boromir instead. Then a cock crows...
And a distant horn of the Riders of Rohan is heard! Led by Theoden and Eomer, they charge into the orcs as Minas Tirith cheers. The people inside, soldiers and civilians, fling open the gates and make a sortie to assist the Riders. The battle rages for a minute or two, and then with "a terrifying vibrato wail" charges forth...
the Nazgul! Theoden spurs his horse towards it. The Nazgul's lance pierces Theoden straight through the chest and out his back. Theoden lands on his feet, pivots, and knocks the Nazgul's horse down with the end of the lance before he (Theoden) falls. The Nazgul draws his sword and walks towards Theoden to finish the job. But here comes a Rider carrying Merry!
"Begone, foul lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!"
The Nazgul hits the Rider's sword arm, thus dropping the sword held in that arm. Merry jumps at the Nazgul, and Merry gets wounded in the thigh, but Merry stabs it in the knee. Meanwhile, the Rider catches his falling sword with his left hand, and slays the Nazgul. The Nazgul's horse picks up the Nazgul's empty helmet with its teeth and heads towards Mordor. Both Merry and the Rider fall senseless. Merry comes to and removes the Rider's helmet, revealing Eowyn. "I should have guessed," says Merry. He then begins to undress her, and "her beautiful body is revealed." Merry then faints.
Gandalf, Denethor, and Pippin approach. Denethor keeps his crown tethered to his belt and lets it drag on the ground. He then "lies down beside Theoden, and grotesquely goes through the motions of dying although he has suffered no wound." When Éomer arrives on the scene, Denethor is “writhing on the ground ranting crazily.”
The battle rages for another minute or so. Amongst the defenders of Minas Tirith are:
1. "the BEE CULTIVATORS, dressed entirely in leather, with wicker masks, and bees swarming around their gloved hands"
2. "BLACKSMITHS with leather aprons and long-handled hammers"
3. "FARMERS with an array of pitchforks and spikes"
4. "WOMEN, some pregnant, some nursing, clad in armour improvised from kitchen ware"
Eomer approaches Theoden, who with his last dying act takes his crown and puts it on his son's head. Then a monstrous snake “perhaps a hundred yards long” slithers onto the battlefield. Everyone is dismayed, while the orcs chortle with joy. Suddenly the snake disintegrates, and The snake was actually warriors holding up their painted shields. The good guys cheer. Éomer charges the snake, but before reaching it, out of the snake’s head "breaks a great white banner with a tree embossed on it." Then the rest of the snake breaks apart, revealing its components to be Aragorn’s collective army of Rangers, Elves, Dwarves, and the Dead -- their shields having been painted to resemble the patterns of a snake.
2-hour, 25-minute mark.
An orc finds Sam, who points the Ring at the orc. The orc convulses, lashing out his arms, accidently hitting another orc. This starts a big orc-vs.-orc brawl. Sam uses the distraction to ascend still further up the tower. He sees a figure that looks unmistakably like Gandalf followed by two orcs carrying the helmet of the slain Nazgul. Sam gets a glimpse of the figure's face, showing that it is not Gandalf. Sam sneaks into a room with them.
It's a torture chamber. Frodo lies naked on a slab. An orc puts the Nazgul helmet on Frodo, screwing its rusty clamps onto Frodo's head; the clamps hold Frodo’s eyes open. The Gandalf-like figure leaves.
Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimili cut a path to Eomer. We see the strange army that accompanies Aragorn: dwarven axemen, tree-elf bowmen (dressed in leaves and feathers), rangers, and the risen dead (dressed in white, blanched faces, silver hair). The dead fearlessly fight the orcs, smiling radiantly.
Aragorn bends his knee to King Eomer. They all charge into battle. They encounter Gandalf, whom Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas thought was dead. Gandalf and Aragorn embrace.
Pippin comes up and leads Aragorn to Merry. Aragorn embraces and kisses him, saying, "Merry! Merry! Wake up!" Merry stirs, better now.
Denethor says, "The hands of the healer, are the hands of a King." And Gandalf sings, "From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring."
Aragorn then kneels by Denethor, embracing him and saying, "Lord Denethor, Boromir is my blood brother."
But Denethor has a dagger pointed at his own heart. When Aragorn embraces him, it pushes the dagger into Denethor's heart, killing him.
Aragorn then sees Eowyn's body. He "spreads out her arms, and covers her with his body. He presses his palms on her palms, his legs on her. After a moment, she moans, and her body writhes, trapped under Aragorn's great weight. When he feels her stir, he rises, lifting her with him, enfolding her in his arms, pressing her mouth and body to his."
Aragorn is enraptured by Eowyn's beauty. She starts to swoon again, but Aragorn "kisses her with passion and intensity." They look into each others eyes with love.
Meanwhile, Gandalf is performing a nifty tie-dye trick with the banner of Elendil. Having ripped the white banner from its mast, he carefully folds it, and then dips it into Denethor's blood. He unfurls it. "On the white flag is a beautiful mandala in blood, radiating from the centre of the white tree. It is as though the bare tree had burst into blossom."
He holds it over Aragorn and Éowyn, and proclaims “The hands of the healer are the hands of the King! The King has returned to Gondor!” A group of onlookers chant “Aragorn King! Éowyn Queen!” Gandalf completes his song: "Renewed shall be blade that was broken: The crownless again shall be King."
Aragorn had stuck the two halves of the Blade-That-Was-Broken into the ground when he healed Merry. The broken ends are brightly glowing. Aragorn picks-up the halves and holds the broken ends together, and they fuse. Suddenly he remembers Frodo and asks: "Where is Frodo? What of Frodo?"
We cut to the torture chamber. Sam kills the orc in the chamber. He then takes the Nazgul helmet from Frodo's head. When Frodo regains his senses he tells Sam, "I've been on a terrible journey. They've broken something inside me, Sam, that'll never be mended."
2-hour, 32-minute mark.
The good guys have once more retreated inside Minas Tirith as the endless orc hordes march down from Mordor. Aragorn wears the red and silver cloak of the King, as well as the gold crown of Gondor. Gandalf gets the idea that Frodo needs more time, and that a trick is in order. "We shall be the bait."
Back in Mordor, Frodo thinks they've taken the Ring: "They've taken everything, Sam...everything." When Sam reveals the Ring, Frodo angrily takes it, accusing Sam of being a thief, and then apologizes.
The gates of Minas Tirith open and out strides a mighty company:
"Eoywn, her golden hair flowing, silver armour following the contours of her body and breasts."
warriors of Gondor
the risen dead
the Riders of Rohan
"They bear the white banner of Elendil with the blood-blossomed tree flaming from it… A small brass band brings up the rear." The Riders form a protective circle around the rest as they march towards Gondor through the hordes of orcs.
Frodo and Sam start to descend the tower, but orcs spot them. The two Hobbits both fall from the ramp into the clutches of the orcs.
We cut back to Aragorn and company, now only an arrow's pitch from the gates of Mordor, which are shaped like open jaws. Gandalf shouts towards Mordor: "The King of Gondor has returned! King Aragorn, heir of Elendil, Aragorn-the-Arrogant, demands that Sauron come forth and atone for his evils."
The gates open, and a black chariot comes out, pulled by two hideous black horses with flames coming from eyes and nostrils. On the chariot is a figure in "the spitting image of Gandalf. His cloak is white, but it shimmers with threads of many colours. A cobra is coiled around his staff."
It is Saruman, the Mouth of Sauron!
The cobra seems like it will bite Gandalf, but instead bites Saruman. And the snake dies. The two wizards have a duel of words:
GANDALF: Saruman, I am the snake about to strike!
SARUMAN: I am the staff that crushes the snake!
GANDALF: I am the fire that burns the staff to ashes!
SARUMAN: I am the cloudburst that quenches the fire!
GANDALF: I am the well that traps the waters!
A bit later Saruman spits at Aragorn, saying, "I spit on your Ring-Bearer." Then he pulls out an effigy dressed in Frodo's clothes. The good guys are aghast.
Cut to Frodo and Sam: Frodo evades the orcs by putting on the Ring, while Sam plays dead by pretending to be impaled by a stalagmite by lying on a truncated stalagmite. Sam then sneaks away.
Saruman is losing power, and Gandalf whispers to Aragorn, "Dare we hope?"
Frodo gets to Sam's side and takes the Ring off. The orcs see them! Sam takes the Ring and swings it around and around on its long chain. This keeps the orcs at bay, since it causes them pain. Sam then puts on the Ring, which makes the orcs fall into spasms of pain.
Saruman sinks to his knees, as though having a stroke. Legolas and Gimli snatch the effigy and cheers start: "Frodo lives! Frodo lives!"
A burning Eye looks down on Frodo and Sam, who keep exchanging the Ring and putting it on, or swinging it around to keep the orcs at bay. To aid their escape from Barad-dûr, Frodo and Sam exchange the Ring no less than four times. The orcs calm down and stare at the Eye. The two Hobbits try to reach a door to get away from the debilitating light of the Eye.
Saruman arises, his power back. An army of orcs, uruk warriors, and “giant-men” vomits out of the gates.
Frodo and Sam escape the tower. The orcs rush out of the door, but instead of going after them, the orcs run towards the battle at the great gate.
In the battle, "Aragorn's power is awesome. He holds one flank alone, rotating The-Sword-Reforged around his head cutting swathes through the enemy. Gandalf is on the other flank employing a mixture of conventional swordsmanship with his Elf-sword, and wizard tricks. Stabs of lightning fly off his oscillating staff. At his mysterious behest, some of the giant-men turn their clubs against their orc masters."
Frodo and Sam climb the slopes of Mount Doom. They ditch almost all of their equipment, and they drink the last of their water. Frodo refuses the last of the lembas: "I have no hunger, Sam. Nothing is left of me, no taste of food, no memory of tree or flower, no sound of wind...I think I know how Gollum felt. Poor Gollum" The two Hobbits look down and see the battle before the gates of Mordor, and beyond that Minas Tirith besieged. Frodo fears they are too late.
Uh, oh! Orcs are coming up the mountain. Frodo calls for Gollum, since he can hear his hissing. Frodo can't go farther, and he won't let Sam carry the Ring for him, so Sam carries Frodo.
In the battle, defeat shows in Gandalf's and Aragorn's eyes. Eowyn fights next to Aragorn. Merry says to Pippin, "I think we're losing...I don't think adventures are nearly as good as people make out."
2-hour, 47-minute mark.
Frodo and Sam make their way up Mount Doom, with the orc patrols ascending behind them. Gollum appears and attacks Frodo and Sam, and Frodo says, "I was expecting you, Gollum. I thought you'd be in at the end." Their fighting is slow and almost languorous because of their exhaustion.
Frodo manages to get to the edge of the fire, but says, "I have come. But I do not choose to do what I came to do. The Ring is mine." Then he puts the Ring on. When Frodo claims the Ring, an earthquake develops. The forces of Mordor cease fighting against Aragorn and company. They look up at the Mountain, and all of Mordor’s hosts (including those at the Gate) race towards Mt. Doom’s summit. Some of the good guys chase after them.
Gollum bites Frodo's finger off, then stumbles into the lava while crying, "Precious… precious… precious." The Quest is over, and only 6 minutes remain in the film.
Mordor is rent by earthquakes. Sauron's tower crumbles into ruins. The gloom darkening the skies disappears, revealing a beautiful summer afternoon.
“On both sides, weapons are thrown down; all thought of war is gone, all heart for fighting, lost.
The ORCS, rather like snakes, shed their scaled skins of armour, revealing themselves to have disgusting white slug-like skin, but rather human. The RISEN DEAD stretch with relief in the sun and fade from sight.”
Frodo and Sam come running down the mountain to the cheers of Aragorn's host: "Hail Frodo! Lord of the Ring. Hail Frodo! Lord of the Nine Fingers." Then: "Hail Aragorn, King of Men and Orcs Repented!" Everyone embraces Frodo. Everyone (including the orcs) cheers and makes music. At one point during the ensuing celebration, the effigy of Frodo is passed through the crowd, which tears it into bits for souvenirs, and chants, “Frodo lives! Frodo lives!”
Gimli walks up to the Gates of Mordor, which look like grimacing jaws of stone. He strikes one corner of the mouth with his axe. "Now the Gates are like the Greek mask of comi-tragedy."
The celebrations continue. People set up stalls and buy and sell. Legless veterans beg by the wayside. Aragorn, with Eowyn by his side, sits on an improvised throne. People clamor for them to hear their petitions and complaints. "Aragorn reads a parchment, using a glass, as he seems a little long-sighted." Pippin (the court jester) and Merry (“acting as page-in-waiting to Éowyn”) both stay behind in Minas Tirith with Aragorn and Eowyn when the rest of the Fellowship leave.
As Gandalf & Co. cross the Pelennor Fields, they see Shadowfax pulling a plow over barren earth. This demonstrates the renewal of things.
Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas see Saruman:
“He is squatting on the ground playing the sleight-of-hand game of the cups and the pea. He has three helmets instead of cups and he uses a marble -- or is it an eyeball? The man glances up with an apologetic smile. It is SARUMAN. GANDALF shakes his head, despairing of SARUMAN.”
The five walk on. They pass the tree over Boromir's grave, which has burst into red blossom. Legolas and Gimli silently pay their respects. Then they come to the road that leads to the Shire. Sam covers his ears when Frodo says, "I can't, dear Sam. I have been pierced by blade, sting and tooth...I can't....."
Sam alone walks into the Shire. “From below a crowd of HOBBITS with banners of welcome comes up to meet him. SAM’s buxom GIRLFRIEND runs ahead and embraces him.”
Gandalf pulls out a firework, but it sputters and fails to light.
Frodo, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas keep walking past the Shire. They come to sand dunes, from which Arwen beckons them, and hear the sound of waves and gulls. Frodo and Gandalf keep walking towards a small sailing boat lying at anchor.
Gimli and Legolas watch Frodo and Gandalf join Galadriel, Elrond, Bilbo, and Arwen in the boat, which "is cluttered with ancient tomes, mysterious alchemical objects, beautiful cloth, and dried fish."
Gimli suggests to Legolas that the two of them remain there on the beach:
“GIMLI: Let us stay here. ‘Tis neither cave nor forest …
LEGOLAS nods contented agreement.
LEGOLAS: It is not quite leaving, nor is it yet remaining, for a beach is between, like the twilight.”
The seashell symbolizes their compromise: It is of stone, yet alive.
The boat sets sail. Gimli cups his hand to his ear and hears Gandalf say, "Across the ocean, I shall talk less and laugh more."
Here are the last words of the script:
"But it is a Hobbit's laugh that comes tinkling over the sound of the waves, and it belongs unmistakably to Frodo. He laughs happily and the others join him. A rainbow arcs up from the water beyond the little craft.
LEGOLAS: Look! Only seven colours. Indeed the world is failing...
The tiny vessel sails on, a smudge on the glistening sea."
And that's the end!
END at 2-hour, 56-minute mark.