According to this answer :

Recall Gimli's and and Legolas's contest at Helm's Deep which Gimli won 42-41 (or 43-42 in the movie).

We all know that the books and movie differ in many places, but this particular instance seems especially pointless.

Is it ever explained why Peter Jackson increased the number of kills by 1 for each character?

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    To adjust for inflation? ;) – Mac Cooper Apr 22 '15 at 12:11
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    Oh if that were the only pointless deviation from the books... – DevSolar Apr 22 '15 at 12:40
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    He had to account for the Mumakil. – Omegacron Apr 22 '15 at 13:51
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    That's a completely different battle. – IG_42 Apr 22 '15 at 14:21
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    Because the films are nonsense. – Rand al'Thor Jan 17 '17 at 14:58

If I remember rightly the statistic is never read out in the book. Legolas and Gimli are reunited after they get separated and Gimli says:

"Forty-two, Master Legolas!" he cried. "Alas! My axe is notched; the forty-second had an iron collar on his neck. How is it with you?"

"You have passed my score by one," answered Legolas. "But I do not grudge you the game, so glad am I to see you on your legs!"

When you're writing a script from notes in the book it's easier to imagine someone noting down the number 42, then a note "score passed by one" or something like that, but adding one instead of removing one.

  • 3
    I didn't downvote this, but it's more of an opinion than an answer. – Daft Apr 22 '15 at 12:41
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    It started as a comment but go too long including the quote, if someone comes up with any better explanation I'll delete it, but I thought it was worth mentioning – Mikey Mouse Apr 22 '15 at 12:43
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    Perhaps the only reason the numbers were increased is that one of the scriptwriters thought 43-42 sounds better than 42-41. – maguirenumber6 May 13 '15 at 17:15
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    Interesting that script writing & computer programming have 2 things in common: off-by-one errors. – Detective Chimp Jan 17 '17 at 15:47
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    "Why can't people just learn to live together in peace and harmony?" said Legolas. Gimli gave a loud, very hollow laugh. "Forty-two, Master Legolas!" he cried. "Alas! Doesn't work, never mind." --The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Shire – Jeroen Mostert Dec 23 '17 at 13:00

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