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EE Commentary Transcripts
The Fate of Merry and Pippin

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Peter (cont.): I love the head in the stake. You know what they’ve done with this head in the stake?

Philippa: No.

Fran: No, what did they do?

Peter: For TV?

Fran: No.

Peter: They’ve filmed a helmet, and they’ve, like, got Weta to superimpose a helmet over the severed head, because it would be too shocking for American television audiences.

Fran: The old skewered helmet trick! [Philippa laughs]

Peter: Yes. [Peter and Fran laugh] Sorry, you have to laugh, don’t you?

Fran: No, you do!

Peter: Nothing wrong with a good old head on a stick!

Philippa: Legolas is actually saying here, “May they find peace after death.” We were in two minds as to whether or not to subtitle it, and I think in the end it was too intrusive to chuck a subtitle at it.

Fran: I thought it was “in death”.

Philippa and

Fran: “May they find peace…”

Fran: “…in death”.

Philippa: “in death”, yes, it is.

Fran: [at same time as

Philippa] “in death”. Yeah.

Philippa: It is, “in death”.

Peter: The kicking of that helmet was where Viggo broke his toe, and he’s falling down screaming like that because he’s literally just broken his toe on the helmet.

Fran: That was his real scream.

Peter: Yeah.

Fran: We had to leave it in, in memory.

Peter: And so from that point on, for the next couple of weeks of shooting, Viggo was incredibly sore: he had his foot bound up in bandages underneath his boot. We had to stop filming that particular day, and the scene that we’re now watching – the continuation of the scene where he tracks the markings across the ground – was the following day, and he managed to disguise his limping very, very well.

Fran: How many books were in ‘The Two Towers’? Was it…

Peter: There was two.

Fran: Just two?

Peter: There’s always just two in each of them.

Fran: Right. Mmm.

Peter: So the first half is Aragorn and the guys, and then half way through it suddenly switches to Frodo Sam and Gollum, and then, of course, it ends with Shelob and the whole thing about Frodo possibly dying.

Fran: Yeah. It was quite a challenge to try and link those stories, because they’re not particularly linked in the books, and they are told in those two separate pieces. Gandalf was a very useful character in that regard, because he was the common link between Frodo’s Quest – which he after all had sent Frodo off on – and Aragorn’s fate; and he was really driving both stories, and so we would take time out, as Tolkien does in the book, really, to speak to that, and to speak to the bigger conflict that Gandalf has with Sauron in terms for the struggle for power over Middle-earth.

Peter: You also artificially link stories together, don’t you? Like Aragorn is tracking what happened to Merry and Pippin, and you intercut Merry and Pippin running at night, and then you go back to Aragorn following the footsteps, then back to Merry and Pippin, and so suddenly you actually have Aragorn, Merry and Pippin in the same scene in the film, except they’re not in the same scene. (beat)

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The Lord of the Rings and its content does not belong to me, it is property of the Tolkien Estate;  the commentaries transcribed here, as well as the images used, are the property of New Line Cinema.