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Why do Elves get their butts wooped at Helms deep?

krash8765

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Well i was watching Helms deep yesterday and I noticed that a bunch of drunk hobbits could fight off the uruk-hai better then the elves. Arent elves skillful and awsome warriers? Why did peter jackson show them getting their butts kicked. Every scene at helms deep is the orcs slaughtering elves left and right. There is not one scene that shows an elf put down an orc except for Haldir. One uruk jumps off the ladder and slices three of them down with one swipe. Isnt it that elves are superior to men in swordfighting? Why are the elves portrayed like this?
 

Arvedui

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I am afraid that noone can tell you the right answer to that. Especially when considering that the Elves weren't really there in the first place. So I guess that the only one that can answer you question, is PJ himself.
 

Turin

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Well said Gothmog. I also noticed that there weren't any elves left after the battle, I guess PJ did it so that people wouldn't wonder what happened to them after the battle, thats just what I always thought.
 

Éomond

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Also, the Elves were way out-numbered, and in the most vurnerable spot in the entire Deep. That could have been a reason, and that the Uruk-hai (especialy the Beserkers) might had been a *tad bit stronger. :D
 

Inderjit S

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Elves were at least as physically endowed as Men and would have a longer life-span and thus a longer time in which to develop their battle skills.

Why did P.J do this or that for? It would be best to ask the man himself. ;)
 

Sarah

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Don't know. Fran was arguing about this saying that the fans wouldn't like the elves there. PJ said he didn't care about the fans. go figure :rolleyes:
 

Arvedui

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Where do you have that piece of extremely interesting information from?
 

aragil

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PJ did not say "I don't care about the fans".

What he did say is that he wanted an uplifting moment. He created a siege atmosphere in which victory was impossible for the good guys. Then the Elves show up- not enough make victory certain, but enough to give the Rohirrim hope, right when it was desperately needed.

Either Fran or Philippa point out that Elves were fighting during the War of the Ring, but given the structure of the films it would be very difficult to show the fighting in Lorien or Mirkwood. They also point out that it reminds them of Elrond sending his sons to fight with Aragorn, hence Haldir's line: "I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell". These are the reasons we see Elves at Helm's Deep- it was NOT an attempt to spite the fans, if that is what is being implied here.

Personally, I consider myself a huge fan of the books. However, I think the Rivendell Elves at Helm's Deep is an improvement over the books (and I've said this before). JRRT gives no indication that Rivendell was in any danger during the War of the Ring. However, after the council Rivendell does almost nothing to help the other free peoples- they just sit back and enjoy the free passage to the Grey Havens that is afforded to them because of the sacrifices of the realms Eastward. This in spite of the fact that Glorfindel (possibly the greatest warrior of the third age) and the remnants of the Noldor of Eregion (who were more than a leetle responsible for the whole Ring mess) were residing in Rivendell. Rivendell Elves should have fought in the War. In the movie, they did. Where's the problem?

Finally- the Elves weren't completely helpless during the battle. They killed many (MANY) Uruk-hai with their bows, which appeared to be there primary weapon. In close combat the Uruk-hai were undoubtedly stronger, while the Elves were more skilled. Unfortunately, skill does not always beat brute strength- but we do see some Elves killing Uruk-hai in hand-to-hand, especially as the ladders first crest the wall and during the Aragorn-led "charge into the breach".
 

joxy

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aragil said:
PJ did not say "I don't care about the fans".
What he did say is that he wanted an uplifting moment.
Sarah says he did say that about the fans....

About the uplifiting moment: did he happen to mention whether he'd read Tolkien's eight pages in which he describes the battle? Those pages contain more uplifting moments, along with more drama, more excitement, more thrills, more emotion, than there is in all of PJ's long-drawn-out mix of melodrama and circus tricks. I'm sure he could have found ONE uplifting moment that Tolkien DID write, if he'd looked for it.
 

Miss Rainbow

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:eek: I do believe that a lot of people, humans and elves alike really get their butts wooped because the orcs are really evil creatures and for certain the elves and the humans were I believe maybe really weak that night and also fearful, and that was their weakness perhaps; also, Sauron was not yet killed so he had an advantage over the people, and that's probably why the orcs were so strong that night. I don't, I am just guessing; I hope I was a help to you; God Bless you....
 

aragil

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Sarah can say whatever she wants- I listened to the commentaries quite carefully on the point, and that is not what I remember hearing. He did say (IIRC) that he didn't care that the Elves didn't show up in the books, and I suppose that it could be interpreted as meaning he didn't care for the fans. However, there remains a wide gulf between a fan's interpretation of what he said, and what he actually did say.

Uplifting Moment in books:
The king and his Riders passed on. Before the causeway that crossed the stream they dismounted. In a long file they led their horses up the ramp and passed within the gates of the Hornburg. There they were welcomed again with joy and renewed hope; for now there were men enough to man both the burg and the barrier wall.
This is similar to what happens in the movie- there is already a small force at Helm's Deep but they do not have sufficient numbers to hope to defend the fortress. Hope is kindled when reinforcements arrive.
Is there something wrong with the arrival of the Elves in the movie? I've already pointed out how it "corrects" the error of Rivendell Elves not fighting in the book.

On the length of the battle in the movie: I think people actually enjoy exaggerating when they complain about these movies. Has anybody ever actually sat down and determined how many minutes of screen time are taken up by the battle. I have, but I'm tired of correcting people who say stuff without first checking to see that it is true. Anybody else want to do their homework, or should we just continue "making-up" allegations against the movies without worrying about their veracity?
Yes, the book passage is shorter, but much of it is of the sort:
The sky now was quickly clearing and the sinking moon was shining brightly. But the light brought little hope to the Riders of the Mark. The enemy before them seemed to have grown rather than diminished, still more were pressing up from the valley through the breach. The sortie upon the Rock gained only a brief respite. The assault on the gates was redoubled. Against the Deeping Wall the hosts of Isengard roared like a sea. Orcs and hillmen swarmed about its feet from end to end. Ropes with grappling hooks were hurled over the parapet faster than men could cut them or fling them back. Hundreds of long ladders were lifted up. Many were cast down in ruin, but many more replaced them, and Orcs sprang up them like apes in the dark forests of the South. Before the wall's foot the dead and broken were piled like shingle in a storm; ever higher rose the hideous mounds, and still the enemy came on.
The men of Rohan grew weary. All their arrows were spent, and every shaft was shot; their swords were notched, and their shields were riven. Three times Aragorn and Éomer rallied them, and three times Andúril flamed in a desperate charge that drove the enemy from the wall.
Very easy to write that concisely on paper, rather more difficult to compact it on screen.

And yes, PJ did decide to expand the imporance of Helm's Deep- he made it the dramatic centerpiece of the movie. What, precisely, is wrong with that, other than the fact that it is different than in the books? I remind folks that the chapter structure in the books would have been impossible to follow in the movies, as I discussed with Arvedui some time ago.
 

Sarah

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It's more of fran telling the story. Fran talks about how peter jackson wanted the elves there. Fran says "I said the fans are gonna hate this, then peter said I don't care about the fans." then pj says "did I say that?"
 

Turin

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aragil said:
They also point out that it reminds them of Elrond sending his sons to fight with Aragorn, hence Haldir's line: "I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell".

Gee, Elrond sure does have a lot of sons :D :rolleyes:.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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krash8765 said:
Isnt it that elves are superior to men in swordfighting? Why are the elves portrayed like this?
Because that's how PJ & crew wrote it! It certainly had nothing to do with Tolkien!

Barley

"The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth." —G.C. Lichtenberg 717
 
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aragil

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Transcript of Commentary:
PJ: Of course, the Elves don't actually come to Helm's Deep at all in the book, do they.
PB: No, the definitely don't.
PJ: So, can you explain yourself? Wha ... Why?
PB: {laughing} This was you.
PJ: Me? No I didn't. You girls ...
PB: {still laughing} You wanted it!
FW: This was all Peter's idea.
PJ: No ...
PB: This was a Peter Jackson idea that we had to make work.
FW: He forced us to write all these scenes with Elves in them.
PB: He did.
FW: It was terrible.
PB: This ... this was actually ...
FW: We said "The fans are going to hate it," and he said "I don't care about the fans."
PB: {laughs}
PJ: Ooooh. I did not!
PB: This, actually, was a very good instinct, because every time I've seen this with an audience, they burst out cheering when the Elves turn up. And it really was ... You need this at this moment.
PJ: Well, I tell you what: if for no other reason, it's kind of a ... device of batttle build-up ...
PB: mm-hmm
PJ: That the hero's ... uh, overwhelmingly outnumbereed, and then at the last minute the small band of additional heroes show up. you know, they're still outnumbered ...
PB: mm-hmm
PJ: But they just have another group of ...
FW: They have a fighting chance.
PJ: ... of willing, kind of, supporters.
PB: All the purists who felt this was against the spirit of Tolkien, we just want to remind them that it was very difficult, because the Elves do actually drop-out of the story, and reported, you find out in the book, that they are fighting their own battles and holding the line .. against invasions from the North, attacks are being made on Lothlorien, perhaps not quite at this phase.
PJ: That's something would be great to show that, wouldn't it?
PB: Yeah.
PJ: That Lothlorien under attack.
PB: I know, but you can't. You know, that's ... We knew that ...
PJ: Well maybe we should do that in Return of the King.
PB: Oh God. Do you mean we did all this {laughing} for nothing?
FW: Enough battles!
PB: Fran, stop him.
FW: No. I know.
PB: Stop him now.
PJ: No, but wouldn't it be cool, the, the ...
PB: Oh my God.
PJ: ... Because it's one of those things just hinted at in the books and, well, anyway ...
PB: Yeah. Ok. Well, there was a number of reasons. One, we had already spoken about the Last Alliance and there being an alliance between Elves and Men. You have this presence of Elves in the films, thiw was a way of reinforcing them and showing them holding the line with ... the rest of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Which they are in fact doing in the book. One of my favorite moments is when Elrond sends his sons to Aragorn, and that was a moment that we were never going to be able to do because it would have meant establishing that Elrond had two sons, and introducing two new characters. And so this is in the spirit of Elrond sending his sons to Aragorn.
PJ: And that happens in Return of the King, doesn't it.
PB: It does. Yeah. Just before the Paths of the Dead.
PJ: His sons show up. That's right.
PB: He sends them with the Dunedain.
PJ: Yes. Yeah.
PJ did not say he didn't care fore the fans!! Fran said it AS A JOKE, after PJ had jokingly accused the women of inisting on putting the Elves there in the first place. And even though it is a jest, PJ still denies saying he doesn't care about the fans. As for why the Elves were there, I gave the rest of their reasoning, as I think it is a useful bit of information to have on these boards.

Anybody care to guess about the timing of the battles? In my copy of the books (First edition Ballantine, 75th printing) Helm's Deep (from Gimli and Legolas standing on the breastwork to the end of the chapter) is 14 pages. I estimate that the portion of TT covered by the movie is 284 pages (160 in the West, 124 with F&S). This means that of the portion of the book covered by the movies, 5% is devoted to Helm's Deep, with much of the passages being of the type that I posted before (Three times Aragorn and Éomer rallied them, and three times Andúril flamed in a desperate charge that drove the enemy from the wall). For the movies, Helm's Deep takes 20:36 minutes of the Theatrical cut, and 22:18 of the Extended Edition (including the final reckoning between Gimli and Legolas). The lengths of the films are 2:51:30 and 3:34:37 without credits, respectively. This means that in the two films 12% and 10% of the screen time is dedicated to the battle. This is approximately twice what is spent on the same section of the book, but given the very terse nature of the narrative in the battle description, I hardly think this should be a surprise. The Silmarillion spends about 15 pages describing the Nirnaeth Arnonoediad- how long do you thank that would go in film form?
 

Arvedui

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That depends on who made that (impossible) film. If it was mr. Jackson, I guess it would be about 30-40 mins.

But to make a good film of The Silmarillion would in my opinion take more than 3 hrs.
 

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