189 votes
Accepted

How is Shelob's name known?

From Letter 144: Shelob (English representing C.S 'she-lob' = female spider) is a translation of Elvish Ungol 'spider'. 'Shelob' is therefore not, strictly speaking, a name, but rather a ...
Victim Of Circumstance's user avatar
149 votes
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Why did Aragorn call this stranger father?

Definition 4 of “father” from Collins English Dictionary: A respectful term of address for an old man. That is the sense in which Aragorn uses the word, he doesn’t think that the old man is ...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 62.3k
129 votes

How is Shelob's name known?

"Shelob" probably wasn't her name Fun fact, Sam's name is actually Banazîr and his father Ham is Ranugad. Tolkien's stories are meant to be translations of old books into English. He did, however, ...
isanae's user avatar
  • 11k
124 votes

What does Gandalf the White mean by his strange speech about Boromir?

What Gandalf has to say probably has to be understood from Tolkien's religious point of view. The Lord of the Rings is subtly—but significantly—influenced by the author's devout Catholicism, ...
Buzz's user avatar
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100 votes
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Treebeard: "I always like going South, somehow it feels like going downhill." - Is it really?

This was ad-libed by John Rhys-Davies, the voice actor for Treebeard It is stated by Peter Jackson in the commentary track of The Two Towers Extended Edition that John Rhys-Davies would often throw in ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
90 votes
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What does Faramir mean by "divers characters"?

books and tablets writ on withered parchments, yea, and on stone, and on leaves of silver and of gold, in divers characters. Let me de-archaic this for you: The books and [plaques written] on [old ...
Lexible's user avatar
  • 21.6k
88 votes

Treebeard: "I always like going South, somehow it feels like going downhill." - Is it really?

Classically, south-facing gardens get the most light (in northern hemisphere gardens, that is). Treebeard is referring to being drawn by the increased sunlight coming from that direction. Update ...
Broklynite's user avatar
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81 votes
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Why was the breaking of the wall of Helm's Deep so important in "The Two Towers" movie?

The whole fortification complex at Helm's Deep was not only meant to defend itself, but also, and mainly, to protect the whole valley from external threats. Technically speaking, Helm's Deep was the ...
Sekhemty's user avatar
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67 votes

What did Gandalf mean by "first light of the fifth day"?

Gandalf calculated the time he would need to fulfill the task and come back, and the result was "at the morning in five days from now, I assume to be back". And because he knows, from which ...
Allerleirauh's user avatar
  • 2,191
66 votes

What was the purpose of the quote "Meat is back on the menu boys" in Lord of the Rings?

The orcs from the White Tower had just started a fight/finished killing the orcs from Mordor (Morgul) so they mean they are going to eat the dead orcs. It’s funny because right before that, the orc ...
Himarm's user avatar
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60 votes
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Was it reckless to allow Wormtongue to go free?

There is always some risk in being merciful The question quotes the discussion between Théoden and the others about what to do with Wormtongue. It is clear from that discussion that they are aware ...
Blackwood's user avatar
  • 21.2k
53 votes

How is Shelob's name known?

“Shelob” may be a name of the orcs’ invention Shelob is what the orcs call her, not necessarily her real or original name. ‘You won’t go again, you say? Curse you, Snaga, you little maggot! If ...
Adamant's user avatar
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51 votes
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What was the purpose of the quote "Meat is back on the menu boys" in Lord of the Rings?

tl;dr: It's just a funny* line of PJ's. * Your funny mileage may vary. From an in-universe perspective, I agree with Himarm's answer. From an out-of-universe point of view, we can add that the line,...
lfurini's user avatar
  • 7,769
51 votes

Why can't Merry drink the Ent-draught?

Merry can (and does) drink the Ent-draught. In the film, Pippin is lying, because he wants it all to himself, so he stays bigger than Merry. Treebeard said no such thing, neither in the film nor the ...
OrangeDog's user avatar
  • 10.4k
50 votes

What are the advantages of breeding Uruk-hai for Saruman?

You are comparing the Uruk-hai to Humans or Elves, which isn't a very relevant comparison. Instead, compare them to the other breeds of Orcs that serve Sauron, which the Uruk-hai were bred as a ...
Avner Shahar-Kashtan's user avatar
46 votes
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What was Aragorn talking about when he said "Helms Deep helped them survive in the past"?

The War against the Dunlendings, TA 2758 A Dunlending man Freca, claiming descent from King Fréawine, rode to Meduseld and asked for King Helm's daughter's hand for his son Wulf. Helm, however, mocked ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
46 votes

Was it Gollum who untied Sam's Elf-rope?

In the novel the rope is noted to have been secured tightly He took up the rope and made it fast over the stump nearest to the brink. LOTR: The Two Towers and it does indeed fall down when tugged, ...
Valorum's user avatar
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44 votes

Why was the breaking of the wall of Helm's Deep so important in "The Two Towers" movie?

The Deeping Wall protects the Deep behind the Keep, this is the only escape for the Defenders What you seem to be misunderstanding is the layout of Helm's Deep. The Wall, defended the actual "...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
43 votes
Accepted

Why did Theoden allow the Uruk-Hai to approach Helm's Deep without harassing them?

In the books, the battle plays out a little different... Regarding your question in particular: First, there's a dike "two furlongs below Helm's Gate" that they indeed try to use to harass/...
Annatar's user avatar
  • 2,105
42 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't Sam have to say "Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima"?

It doesn't need to be activated by the words. It's activated when a person of strong spirit (and hope) wields it. Seen in the case of Frodo when he first remembers of the Phial: 'The star-glass?' ...
Voronwé's user avatar
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40 votes
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What's the meaning of "your life will be forfeit?"

Something perhaps worth emphasizing here is that that film dialogue is not a very accurate paraphrase of the book. As already noted in another answer, the book's quote, spoken by Faramir, is: I ...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
35 votes

What does Faramir mean by "divers characters"?

different writing systems In Hammond and Scull's The Lord of the Rings, A Reader's Companion (pg 471), this line is explained as meaning "in many different (diverse) writing systems". 670 (...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93.9k
31 votes
Accepted

What does Sam shout when he uses the Phial?

Sam was speaking Sindarin and crying a prayer to Elbereth The translations are sourced from here, as well as there relevant source books. The direct translation seems to come from the Letters, ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
29 votes

Treebeard: "I always like going South, somehow it feels like going downhill." - Is it really?

John Rhys-Davies, the actor who lent his voice to Treebeard, has gone on record stating that the line was actually an ad-lib. He just thought it would be the strange, almost non-sensical sort of ...
noizetoys's user avatar
  • 407
29 votes

Was it Gollum who untied Sam's Elf-rope?

Elves—or at least, those of Lothlórien—have some funny ideas about what is and isn’t magic. ‘Are these magic cloaks?’ asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder. ‘I do not know what you mean by that,’ ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
  • 3,366
27 votes
Accepted

How did Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli know what Uruk-hai were?

I don't have the movie available, but using the book it's possible to come up with some explanations. Simple and short: Uruk means ork. Despite being Black Speech (the language of Mordor) it seems ...
motoDrizzt's user avatar
  • 3,092
27 votes

Why is Sam unsure about whether or not he has taken out the Elf-rope before in chapter 12 of Two Towers?

Yes, you are misreading. The operative part is "Never noticed it before." Sam is reasoning that if he had taken it out, and if at the time it were dark, he would remember its looking silver. ...
Lesser son's user avatar
  • 3,320
27 votes

Why is Sam unsure about whether or not he has taken out the Elf-rope before in chapter 12 of Two Towers?

"Can't remember as [something occurred]" is a colloquial version of "can't remember that [something occurred]". It expresses that the speaker thinks the thing didn't happen, rather ...
r.j.moon's user avatar
  • 271
25 votes
Accepted

Are Shagrat and Gorbag really talking about "the old days" from personal experience?

No conclusive evidence The relevant part conversation between Shagrat and Gorbag is this: ‘They would,’ grunted Gorbag. ‘We’ll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. ...
Blackwood's user avatar
  • 21.2k
23 votes

Why did Gollum not take the Ring when both Hobbits were fast asleep and extremely vulnerable?

The following things are true to a greater or lesser extent at various points in the timeline while Gollum is traveling with Frodo and Sam. Gollum takes his oath on the ring seriously, and believes ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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