The Patriot Resource - The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings Insights: Books vs. Films
Bree to Moria

In the book, the Hobbits arrive at Bree and the Hobbits eat upstairs. They then come downstairs to the common room, except Merry. He goes for a walk and has an encounter with the Black Riders in which he blacks out. Sam adopts Bill the pony from Bill Ferny, who is a spy. The Hobbits and Strider then make their way toward Rivendell. It is Glorfindel, an Elven Lord sent by Elrond, who finds them and treats Frodo's wound. The encounter at the Ford of Bruinen is brought to an end because Elrond had anticipated a pursuit and had freed up a dam upstream to create the torrent that sweeps away the Nazgûl.

The book has an additional sequence where there is a dinner given in Frodo's honor where he meets dignitaries. It is there that Frodo first sees Arwen and also glimpses Aragorn in a more regal light. He also meets Glóin, a companion of Bilbo on his adventure to the Lonely Mountain. In the book, the membership of the Fellowship is not completed until two months after the Council of Elrond when Merry and Pippin are selected as the final members. At the Pass of Caradhras, they are turned back by fell weather that is attributed to general malice against them. They are then attacked by wargs that night, which hastens the decision to go through Moria.

At Hollin Gate, it is Boromir who tosses stone into the lake, disturbing the Watcher in the Water. The Fellowship is then attacked at Balin's Tomb. They escape down a second door while Gandalf bars the way. They then reach the Bridge of Khazad-dûm before the Balrog overtakes them. The Balrog's whip immediately drags Gandalf down and he cries, "Fly, you fools," as he is falling. The Fellowship has to slash their way through one last handful of Orcs guarding the way out into Dimrill Dale.

Story elements that were eliminated at Bree do not affect the overall story. Substituting Arwen for Glorfindel gives that character a greater role in the films. This and additional scenes with her at Rivendell are meant to make her relationship with Aragorn more central to the story than it is in the book. The addition of a scene between Aragorn and Boromir at Rivendell before the Council of Elrond helps set up some tensions between those two during the film.

The sequence at the Pass of Caradhras is attributed to Saruman, which helps make him the central villain of the first film and helps explain the quicker decision to go through Moria. In the book it is attributed to general malice of the mountain, which may or may not be allied to Sauron. It is interesting that Merry and Pippin replace Boromir as the ones that stir the Watcher in the Water outside the Hollin Gate. Nearly the whole Moria sequence has been changed for the film. The only elements that remain from the books are Frodo and Gandalf's conversation about Gollum, Pippin dropping a stone (a skeleton in the film) into the well, the reading of the Dwarven colony journal and the confrontation at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. The falling stone stairs and being surrounded by the Orcs are dramatic additions for the film.

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